Amrita Pritam, a prolific writer

This refers to Always Amrita, Always Pritam by Gulzar Singh Sandhu (Saturday Extra, Nov 5). The title of the write-up sums up the greatness of Amrita Pritam as a writer. This pretty and petite woman reigned over the world of letters and was a path-breaking writer in Punjabi language.

Sandhu has made an apt observation about Amrita in the article: “She put Punjabi literature on the world map. She cocked a snook at convention and defied social norms. There was no split between life and literature for Amrita because literature was her life.”

To think of Amrita is also to think of her immortal poem addressed to Waris Shah, Ajj akhan Waris Shah nu. “It’s the fire in my eyes, and the flash of my teeth, the swing in my waist and the joy in my feet, I’m a woman phenomenally phenomenal, that’s me”— this tribute to womanhood by Maya Angelou fits no one more precisely than Amrita, a phenomenon which defies categorisation.


Her autobiography Rasidi Ticket and the sequel to it Shadows of Words bears testimony to a life lived to the hilt. Poets and writers of her stature are never dead.

In one of the last poems written by her, she consoled her companion, Imroz, by saying, Main tainu phir milangi (I shall see you again). She will meet us all again through her writings.



Job Act will give respect and dignity to the poor

This has reference to Professor Janak Raj Gupta’s article Make the job guarantee Act sustainable (Perspective, Oct 30). I strongly believe that if honestly and carefully implemented, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act will give substantial relief to millions of rural poor. The most backward regions of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan will benefit from this scheme.

The national average wage is around Rs 66 and if the rural poor get even Rs 60, it will help them eke out a living. As I have noticed, countless people from rural areas are migrating to comparatively prosperous states despite facing a lot of humiliation and degradation.

Even the poorest of poor are never willing to go to the distant land in search of jobs but when they find it almost impossible to survive economically in hostile circumstances, they leave their native land.

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act will give respect and dignity to the poorest people. I see a lot of weight in Mr Gupta’s argument that “long-term employment opportunities” should be created because short-term works like construction of link roads, housing, land reclamation etc last for a few days or weeks only.


Insaniyat at stake

This refers to Insaniyat amidst insanity by Usha and Rajmohan Gandhi (Spectrum, Oct 16, 23 and 30). The writers deserve appreciation for their write-up as they have tried to bring out the truth. Thousands of families perished during Partition within no time. Mainly two states, Punjab and Bengal, bore the brunt of Partition.

Though the unruly mob did not spare anyone, even then there were some families who, at the risk of their lives, saved their neighbours of other faiths.

The memory of the dark days of Partition still haunts the minds of our older generation. The write-up is an admirable effort to acquaint the younger generation about the incidents that took place during the Partition.

Prof PARVEEN RANA, Hoshiarpur

Consummate artiste

Apropos of In a class of his own by M. L. Dhawan (Spectrum, Nov 6). Harihar Jethalal Jariwala was an actor of rare distinction. He had a unique style of dialogue delivery and made subtle use of facial expressions. He had the capability to mould his voice to suit a role and would use his body language to express a wide range of emotions.

He played quite a number of characters beautifully — whether it was of a policeman and a thakur in Sholay, a mentally challenged person in Khilona, a supportive husband in Aandhi, a lover in Anamika, a father in Trishul and Parichay, or a comedian in Manchal.

Sanjeev Kumar also had some of the most memorable Hindi film songs picturised on him, including Khilona jaan kar tum to (Khilona) and Tum aa gaye ho, noor aa gaya hai (Aandhi).


Ustad Daman

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s write-up Ustad Daman (Saturday Extra, November 5).

I saw Chiragh Din Daman in a Kavi Darbar in Lahore in 1946. He recited a patriotic poem. Its refrain was Jawaana jawanni chali ja rahi ey.

He couched verses in chaste Punjabi, avoiding figurative and ornate expressions and high-sounding Persian words. He was against the division of Punjab. In a musha’irah in New Delhi, he recited a very touching poem on the aftermath of the Partition. He said: Laali akhiyan dee paee dasdi ey roey tuseen vee ho roey aseen wee haan (The redness in the eyes shows that you have wept bitterly and we too have blubbered).

He vehemently criticised the military rulers. His lines Pakistan diyaan maujaan hee maujaan/ Chaarey paasey faujan hee faujan became a household saying. A poet told me in Lahore that Daman satirically remarked that people were so much terrified during military rule that even if someone wanted to say Insha-allah (God willing) or Maasha-allah (May God preserve from evil eyes), “martial law” fell from his lips. n


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |