Known as the doyenne of Punjabi literature, 86-year-old Ms Pritam also wrote extensively in Hindi and Urdu.Her first story collection, in the Punjabi language, was published when she was 16 years old.She has received many awards, including India's highest literary award, Jnanpith, in 1981. Author of over a 100 books, Pritam’s accounts of Partition became the theme for the Hindi film “Pinjar”.
The story is set against the backdrop of the violent frenzy and rioting that engulfed the whole of Punjab in the months preceding partition.
Born to a Sikh family in Gujranwala, Pakistan, in 1919, Ms Pritam crossed to India after the partition of the sub-continent in 1947. Moving to Delhi, she began writing in Hindi and also worked for the state-owned All India Radio till 1961.
The first prominent woman Punjabi poet and fiction writer, many of Ms Pritam's writings dealt with the pain she felt at the division of the sub-continent, BBC News reports.
A former member of the Rajya Sabha and recipient of the Padma Shri in 1969, she was awarded Sahitya Akademi award for her book “Sunedeh” and Jnanpeeth Award for her contribution to Punjabi literature, The Tribune, India reports.
Ms Pritam's literary works have been translated in several languages including French, Japanese and Danish.
She has written several novels and short stories.
She often wrote on the condition of Indian women and her writings reflected their neglect and suppression in Indian society. A.M.