The 86-year-old writer has been conferred the La Route des Indes Literary Prize for the novel whose celluloid adaptation more than a year back also won critical acclaim.
The award, which carries a cash prize of Euro 3000, was presented to Pritam, who has been ailing for some time and is bed-ridden, at her residence in Hauz Khas in South Delhi last week, Imroz, her long-time partner, told PTI today.
Imroz said a member of the jury for the award presented the award to the legendary writer.
Pritam, however, was not in a condition to react to the presentation of the award, he said. "She is very ill and can't speak much. Anyway, she has always written for herself. Writing is a very personal thing for her. She is thankful to those who like her work and even if people don't like her writings, it is alright with her." Imroz informed that the novel was translated into French by Denis Matringe, who has earlier taught French at the Rawalpindi University, knows Punjabi very well and has married a Punjabi.
"We had known him when he was in Pakistan, but there was no correspondence after he left the country. He translated the novel, but we had no information about it. We came to know about the French translation only when the award was announced and it came as a pleasant surprise," he said.
`Pinjar' was made into a feature film by director Chandra Prakash Dwivedi of the TV serial `Chanakya' fame, which was released in 2002 and won the Screen and Zee Telefilms awards.
Literally meaning skeleton in Punjabi, the novel tells the story of the partition of India in 1947 from a woman's point of view.
Pritam, with her large body of work in both prose and verse, has won innumerable honours, including the Padma Vibhushan, the Sahitya Akademi and Jnanpith awards as also fellowships of the Sahitya Akademi.