This book examines the afterlife of Partition as imprinted on the memories and postmemories of Hindu and Sikh survivors from West Punjab to foreground the intersection between history, memory and narrative. It shows how survivors script their life stories to reinscribe tragic tales of violence and abjection into triumphalist sagas of fortitude, resilience, industry, enterprise and success. At the same time, it reveals the silences, stutters and stammers that interrupt survivors' narrations to bring attention to the untold stories repressed in their consensual narratives.
By drawing upon current research in history, memory, narrative, violence, trauma, affect, home, nation, borders, refugees and citizenship, the book analyzes the traumatizing effects of both the tangible and intangible violence of Partition by tracing the survivors' journey from refugees to citizens as they struggle to make new homes and lives in an unhomely land. Moreover, arguing that the event of Partition radically transformed the notions of home, belonging, self and community, it shows that individuals affected by Partition produce a new ethics and aesthetic of displacement and embody new ways of being in the world.
An important contribution to the field of Partition studies, this book will be of interest to researchers on South Asian history, memory, partition and postcolonial studies.
Anjali Gera Roy is a Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India. Grounded in post-colonial literature and theory, her current research spans fiction, film, performance, oral histories, borders, mobilities, refugees and citizenship.
1. Introduction; 2. History, Memory, Forgetting; 3. Intangible Violence; 4. Scripting their Own Lives; 5. They Stuttered: Non-narratives of the Unsayable; 6. Not at Home; 7. Memories of Lost Homes; 8. Resettled Homes; 9. Moving On; 10. Partitioned Subjects
"his excellent book by Roy (Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India) explores the painful memories of Britain's bloody partition of India on August 15, 1947. Based on extensive research and countless oral histories of many of the survivors, the author recounts the tragic events that took place, including rapes, killings, looting, and widespread violence. The focus is on refugees from West Pakistan (today Pakistan) and the suffering endured by the roughly 15 million Hindus and Sikhs forced to leave their homes for the newly independent India, in addition to the roughly 2 million people who were killed in the process. However, mention is also made of the sufferings of Hindu refugees from East Pakistan (today Bangladesh) to India. These refugees, from both East and West Pakistan, made the journey to their new home on foot, in trucks, and on trains without food, water, or their belongings. Roy also covers the resettlement plans carried out by both the Indian government and rich businessmen once these refugees reached India. This well-written and richly sourced text is an important contribution to the literature and is highly recommended for all South Asian and Indian history collections at academic and research libraries."
- R. N. Sharma, emeritus, Monmouth University