Title: THE REVENUE STAMP
Introduction: THE REVENUE STAMP is the autobiography of the famous poet, novelist and short story writer, Amrita Pritam. Explosive in its revelations and poetic in its content, the book is a candid account of her extraordinary life. She reflects on her full and creative journey of life—her uneasy relationship with her father, her forays into the world of literature, accolades received, brickbats borne and the rather turbulent equation she had with society at large.
Always considered a controversial figure in the realm of literature, she was often criticized for her outspoken and allegedly explicit writing. Several of her books and poetry collections were banned for either being disrespectful to religion or being sexually vivid. In her autobiography she has expressed her anguish over her contemporaries’ malice against her and the narrow-mindedness of the world of Punjabi literature.
On the personal front, Amrita Pritam has dwelt on her failed first marriage, her relationship with Imroz—the noted artist and writer and her rather unique and probably unrequited love for Sahir Ludhiyanvi—the famous poet and Hindi films lyricist. In her beliefs and writings, Amrita Pritam was much ahead of her times and consequently, had to face the angst of society. All this has been beautifully and lyrically brought out in this autobiography.
I turned her fan the moment I read her line
” मैं तुम्हें फिर मिलूँगी” . The book is an autobiography of Amrita Pritam. She keeps to the chronology of events more or less. Her story is laid out in a series of episodes that she feels were important in her life. So we hear about how her mother married her father, the genesis of her name, her mother’s death, her disillusionment with god at that moment, why she took to writing, when she first met Sahir.
There are chapters devoted to her dreams and how she believes they are an omen and often a solution to the problems she faced at the time. Her spirituality was eclectic. She believed in Sikhism, Sufis, Sadhus and Sants who were rumoured to have special powers.
Amrita’s prose is poetic and full of metaphors and imagery. What is outstanding is her broad mindedness, and a lively outlook towards life, love, friendship and literature. She recollects the kind of attitude she had to face from many other contemporary writers. Perhaps a woman writing openly of her feeling terrified them. The part of the book where she tells the account of her travels through Russia and the rest of Europe and the mere mention of Tolstoy were undoubtedly my favourite bits from this book. Reading this book was like travelling through time with her to all these amazing places that she had been to. Amazing, a life that was way ahead of times. Emotions so deep that one cannot help getting gone in it.
Name: THE REVENUE STAMP
Author: Amrita Pritam
Date of publishing: 1976
Language: Original in Hindi, Translated in English in 2015
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