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Main tenu phir milaangi - AMrita Pritam

Amrita Pritam is a legendary figure in Punjabi literature. Her poetry, novels and essays are markedly feminist, documenting with great passion and integrity the complexities and travails of the modern woman in a traditional Indian context. The poem I’m sharing today is a well known poem marking the poet’s passionate love for another poet. It was used in the film Manmarziyan, spoken towards the end of the first half by the female protagonist who is in love with the character played by Vicky Kaushal, who consistently betrays her faith. Their love is portrayed as passionate, but fickle.

Amrita Pritam’s life was filled with this same tumult of passion. Her first romantic tryst was with the poet Sahir Ludhianvi - she is said to have loved him dearly. An oft repeated detail of their affair is that she would smoke cigarettes left by him after their meetings. That affair did not end well, with Sahir leaving her for another woman. She then spent her life with the artist Imroz - a steady, but deep love.

The poem outlines this commitment and honesty as a lover. There is a kind of surrender in her voice, a hope that runs far deeper than the words. One feels like this is how love should be, filled with conviction, and immortal.

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