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15 October 1928-14 March 2013

Urmilla Anand was born in Naushera, United India.  She was the third child of Gurbaksh Singh who was serving as a Railway engineer at that time,  before taking up writing as his vocation and establishing Preet Lari magazine, as well as the township of Preet Nagar. 

Urmilla had her initial education in Preet Nagar Activity school set up in the newly formed Preet Nagar by her father in 1939. Along with her elder brother Navtej Singh,  she became the editor of children's magazine Bal Suneha that was later rechristened as Bal Sandesh. 


Subsequently she went for higher studies to to Fateh Chand college, Lahore where she met her future husband Jagjit Singh Anand whom she eventually married in 1951 after a long courtship.

Post partition, the young couple moved to Jalandhar and set up home there. Urmilla got involved in Punjab Istri Sabha, the Punjab chapter of  All India Women's Federation.  She also worked as a teacher in a children's school before joining daily Ajit as the editor of their women's section in early 1960s.

Urmilla wrote articles on women’s issues for various papers and magazines during this period.  Her first book was published in 1963  under the name ‘Dharek Pungar Payee’, a book that was much appreciated for its sophisticated, emotionally expressive and lyrical prose.


Urmilla remained a political activist all her life, devoted to women's causes even as she was bringing up her two young children, and often wrote on matters of particular concern to modern women. Much later, commissioned by Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar she wrote another book about her recollections of Preet Nagar days. The book written in Punjabi under the title ‘Preet Nagar - Dhundhle Parchaven’ was subsequently translated into Hindi as well as English.


She passed away in 2013. An award for the best Punjabi short story of the year was established in her memory in 2018.

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