“जहाँ भी आज़ाद रूह की झलक पड़े, समझना वह मेरा घर है।" (Jaha bhi azad ruh ki jhalak pade, samjhna waha mera ghar hai.) This line by legendary poet ‘Amrita Pritam’ in a sense captures her true spirit. Amrita Pritam was born on August 31, 1919 in Gujranwala, Pakistan.
From childhood, she always questioned all the abrupt norms and challenged people to think about them. Her writing reflects this critical thinking. When she was a young kid around 11 years old, she lost her mother and turned into an atheist as she believed her prayers failed after her mother’s death.
Later on, she moved to Lahore, when her first collection of poetry ‘Amrit Lehran’ (Immortal Waves) was published in 1936. With the passage of time, her father tied her knot with Pritam Singh and young Amrita turned into Amrita Pritam, but unfortunately, she was trapped in a loveless marriage. She carried the last name of her husband throughout her life but there was no deep love or passion in their relationship. They had two children.
Love stories tend to be special but when it comes to Amrita’s love life, it is unique and memorable. “तेरा मिलना ऐसा होता है, जैसे कोई हथेली पर एक वक्त की रोटी रख दे।”(Meeting you is as though someone has kept food on the palm of a person starving for food.)
The real love story of Amrita started in 1939 when she attended mushaira (poetry reading session) and met a budding poet ‘Sahir Ludianvi’. On the very first meeting, she fell in love with him. In one of her interviews, she states, “I don't know if this was the magic of his words or what but I fell in love with him.” They both were in the same college and shared mutual feelings.
Amrita’s family did not accept this relationship because she was already married and Sahir was from a Muslim family. Other reason was also that his financial status was not strong enough. On the order of Amrita’s father, Sahir was expelled from college and everyone thought it was the ending of their love, although it is believed that Sahir never expressed his feelings for Amrita in front of everyone.
Life is uncertain, and that's the beauty of life. Nobody imagined that these two spirits would meet again and after 5 years both of them met again because of poetry, in which both of them had their own achievements.
“ तुम मिले तो कई जन्म मेरी नब्ज़ में धड़के तो मेरी साँसों ने तुम्हारी साँसों का घूँट पिया तब मस्तक में कई काल पलट गए ”(Tum mile toh koi janam meri nabz mai dhadke toh meri saso ne tumhari sanso ka ghut piya tab mastak mai kayi kal palat gaye.)
After some time, the heart-wrenching event of partition in India and Pakistan took place. Due to which Amrita settled in Delhi and Sahir came to Mumbai. After the partition, both of them lost touch again. A new character Imroz who was an illustrator, painter, and poet entered in Amrita’s life.
They first met when Imroz was called upon to design the cover page of Amrita's award-winning poem Sunhere, then they kept on meeting regularly and after some time they both moved in together and started living at Hauz Khas in Delhi. Soon after that Imroz fell in love with Amrita but she was still in love with Sahir even after without meeting him for years.
Imroz devoted all of his life to Amrita and kept loving her throughout his life silently. Even after staying together Imroz never took the personal place of Amrita. Many of their stories have been discussed: writing was Amrita's passion, and sometimes in between midnights, she used to write and Imroz always brought her a cup of tea.
Once Amrita asked Imroz to go out and experience the outer world, and then decide if you still want to be with me. Thus he went around away from Amrita several times and said, here I am and I am back to you.
For Imroz, Amrita was always her soulmate when amrita was on her death bed she dedicated a poem ‘Main tenu phir ‘milangi’ to Imroz:
“ मैं तैनू फ़िर मिलांगी कित्थे? किस तरह पता नई शायद तेरे ताखियल दी चिंगारी बण के शायद तेरे ताखियल दी चिंगारी बण के तेरे केनवास ते उतरांगी जा खोरे तेरे केनवास दे उत्ते इक रह्स्म्यी लकीर बण के खामोश तैनू तक्दी रवांगी"
I will meet you yet again, How and where? I know not. Perhaps I will become a figment of your imagination and maybe, spreading myself in a mysterious line on your canvas, I will keep gazing at you.