(translation from http://www.punjabgovt.nic.in/)
Amrita Pritam lived her intense life in dreams and inspired by them, composed her poetry. For her, dreams were a “contact with realities in another dimension.” Her autobiographical work Black Rose was the first chronicle of dreams and later, her essays and prose were replete with her intense travels within her self. Her spiritual reawakening was also guided by dreams. In many ways, the vividness and expanse of her dreams explains the range of her literary output as well as the continuous psychoanalytic exploration of the self.
Some years ago, the well known Indian critic Suresh Kohli expounded further in Amrita’s words: “Once someone asked me in the course of a television interview: ‘How will I define who and what Amrita Pritam is?’ I laughed and said it is the name of a yatra, a journey, a travelogue of evolution, an odyssey of inner growth . . . there are immense possibilities and various faculties in a human being. And whatever I have written has been an attempt to arouse those submerged feelings.”
Her odyssey has surely not ended. Despite her innate humility, one of her later poems – written for her partner Imroze – is a befitting vision of her immortality:
I will meet you again
Where? How? I don’t know
Perhaps as a figure
Of your imagination
I will appear on your canvas
Or perhaps on your canvas
Appearing as a mysterious line
I will keep staring at you.
(Translation by Outlook India)
Amrita Pritam is not dead; her dreams of peace, universal love and triumph of humanism will continue to shape our collective memories. This is not a time to mourn but to acknowledge that Amrita has crossed another milestone in her quest for self-knowledge and love. Au revoir, Amrita!
Published in the Friday Times Pakistan’s First Independent Weekly Paper Nov 11 – 17, 05