- Amrita Pritam
Amrita, known as the first prominent Punjabi Woman Poet is remembered for her work on the 1947 Indo-Pak partition. Even though Amrita has written more than 100 novels in a career span of over six decades, she is mostly known for her novel Pinjar.
Her unrequited love story with the poet, Sahir Ludhianvi has impacted a major part of her life which is also published in her novel Rasidi Ticket. Amrita later in life got married to Painter Imroz, who has designed a lot of her novel covers, and made her portraits.
Amrita has been awarded with several awards like Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan, Sahitya Akedmi Fellowship Award.
Her most important and well known poem is ‘Akhan Waris Shah nu’ where she talks about lost love, grief of partition.
- Ismat Chugtai
Chugtai is known as one of the fiercest, bold, and controversial women authors of the 20th Century.She wrote extensively on themes including female sexuality and femininity, middle-class gentility, and class conflict, often from a Marxist perspective.She is famous for her unsettling feminist thoughts in her urdu poetry. One may call Ismat Chugtai an iconoclastic writer of the Urdu Language.
In times when sensuality and sexuality were topics of utmost rarity, Chugtai wrote Lihaf. A story about female sexuality.
- Mahasweta Devi
One of India’s most prominent social activist, Devi was a writer who talked of social injustices, class differences. She wrote boldly about marginalised women of Rajasthan who were professional mourners in her short story, Rudaali. Devi wrote over 100 novels and over 20 collections of short stories primarily written in Bengali but often translated to other languages.
Mahasweta Devi’s specialisation lay in the studies of Adivasi, Dalit and Marginalized citizens with a focus on their women. They were associated as protestor in the face of the oppressive British rule, the Mahajanas and upper class corruption and injustice. She lived in the Adivasi villages in West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh years afer years, befriending them and learning from them. She has embodied their struggles and sacrifices in her words and characters.
- Urvashi Butalia
Urvashi, Associate of Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press (WIFP) is known for her feminist writings like Speaking Peace and heart wrentching stories like The Other Side of Silence.
Urvashi is known for her work for women’s movement in India. She co founded Kali for Women, India’s first exclusive feminist publishing house, in 1984. Now, Zubaan.
Butalia’s main areas of interest are the Partition and oral histories from a feminist and left-wing perspective. She has written on gender, communalism, fundamentalism and media. Her writings have appeared in several newspapers and magazines publications including The Guardian, the New Internationalist, The Statesman, The Times of India, Outlook and India Today.
- Arundhati Roy
Roy, Author best known for her novel The God of Small Things (1997), which won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1997 and became the best-selling book by a non-expatriate Indian author. She is also a political activist involved in human rights and environmental causes.
She contributed to We Are One: A Celebration of Tribal Peoples, a book released in 2009, that explores the culture of peoples around the world, portraying their diversity and the threats to their existence. She has written numerous essays on contemporary politics and culture. In 2014, they were collected by Penguin India in a five-volume set. In 2019, her nonfiction was collected in a single volume, My Seditious Heart.
After 20 years, Arundhati Roy returned to fiction with her book called ‘Ministry of Utmost Happiness’ in 2017.
by Tavishi Kathuria