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Last Updated: Monday, 31 October 2005, 17:18 GMT
Indian writer Amrita Pritam dies
Amrita Pritam
Pritam's works were translated into a number of languages
Renowned Indian writer Amrita Pritam has died at her home in the Indian capital Delhi after a long illness.

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.

Feature film

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.

Hindi film, Pinjar
Pinjar (Skeleton) was made into a feature film in 2003

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.

One of her famous novels, Pinjar (Skeleton), was made into a feature film a few years ago,.

The story is set against the backdrop of the violent frenzy and rioting that engulfed the whole of Punjab in the months preceding partition.

"Her death symbolises the end of an era. Punjabi literature, after the country's independence, will be known as her era," said London-based Punjabi poet, Amarjit Chandan.

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.

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