By Bhaswati Ghosh
By Subhasri Ghosh
Whereas in Punjab, the actual occurrence of widespread violence prompted the exodus, in Bengal it was often more of hearsay that prompted people to leave. However, it will be a denial of truth to dismiss the existence of explicit violence in Bengal. The most pronounced evidence of post-Partition violence of an explicit nature occurred three years after Partition in 1950, when riots scarred large parts of East Bengal, primarily Barisal, with the echo being felt in the industrial suburbs of Calcutta.
By Binayak Dutta and Suranjana Choudhury
Until recently, in terms of narratives of partition and post-partition displacement, northeast India still remained a much unexplored tract. Though some sporadic scholarship exists on Sylhet partition, they are mostly devoid of popular ongoing experiences that Partition really brings. Partition as divorced from transfer of power was a story of anxiety and pain, which most studies do not engage with. Thus this region continues to languish as an unacknowledged site of Partition experience.
By Bhumika R
Zorami, a Mizo novel in English by Malsawmi Jacob, narrates the traumatic period of the 1960s in Mizoram, which witnessed famine, apathy of the Indian government, assertion of nationalist consciousness by the Mizos, the use of military power by the Indian state in retaliation to Mizos’ assertion of their sovereignty, shifts in the nature of the Mizo Nationalist movement and the lives of those who witnessed these events. The novel re-tells stories of everyday lives of common people and their negotiations with history.
By Susan Haris
There is little to no literature on how Partition as an event that took place in 1947 affected the animal kingdom – especially the domesticated ones such as cows, goats, dogs, and hens. Their value is perhaps too trivial for scholarship against large-scale human massacres and bloodshed. But that would be an unjust rendering for organisms who cohabitate with humans. The figure of the dog is particularly interesting, for the relationship between the dog and his owner or ‘master’ is predicated upon a personal relationship, not an instrumental one.
By Ahmad Zaboor
The alienation of Kashmir is worse than its secession. Vedji’s cogent argument has been that if Kashmir remains friendly as an independent nation, it is a better proposition than staying in the federation by force. At one time, he believed Kashmiri people were reconciled with accession, but the imposition of regressive regimes and undemocratic conditions created by India changed all that. Kashmiris elected one set of people but India put another in power, and they were forced to take guns.
By Nitasha Kaul
The infrastructure in Kashmir is poor and reflects the twin realities of conflict and corruption. Indian soldiers stand with guns right beside slogans that say ‘Indian Dogs Go Back’, or more often ‘Go India, Go Back’. Even the footsoldiers of Indian occupation generally understand that this is a ‘political problem’, which cannot be solved militarily.
By Anindita Chakrabarty
Migration from Bangladesh to India at various epochs is characterized by dynamism and complexity. The divide needs to be contextualized within the centuries-old shared history, an acrimonious partition of territory in 1947 on the basis of religious identity, and the division of Pakistan in 1971, and, subsequently, the emergence of a smaller, less secure state of Bangladesh, surrounded on its three sides by an assertive regional power like India.
By Sahana Ghosh
Since the 2011 survey that conducted a census in all the enclaves, there had been steady rumors about an impending resolution, including the possibility of migrating to India permanently. With that desired future flashing before their eyes, however unknown, the brothers even decided against investing any money in renovating their dilapidated house. The two brothers had taken leave from their contractual job in a steel rod manufacturing company to be present in Banshpachai during the survey and arrive at a consensus within the family.
By Debjani Sengupta
By 1951, my father had managed to find himself a livelihood; he had reclaimed the city. When he first came to the city in 1940, he had lived in a ‘mess-bari’ with his elder brother who worked at the Imperial Library in Central Avenue. But he had not taken to Kolkata much and had decided to leave. However, the city had marked him out as its own. By 1949, the last of his family had come over to this side, never to go back. My grandfather was heartbroken to leave Naranyangunj and complained that the fish and vegetables never tasted the same on this side.
By Priyanka Chatterjee
Ashwin Sanghi unfolds the complex intricacies of the ‘self’ in The Sialkot Saga, where the narrative constantly shifts from myth to history to present day India to fantasy. The action of the novel begins with a horrific description of Partition riots and moves to unfurl the emergence of India of the present times with its tales of progress and regress. The narrative is continuously interspersed with moments from Indian history, ranging from 250 BCE Pataliputra during the reign of Ashoka to 1833 Lahore of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
By Sana Khan
One idea that Manto tried to rescue and which we must rescue today was the idea of secularism. He saw the notion of the secular not as categorically a right of the state but as a vitality of a culture. The significance of Manto in the Indian context is telling if one can go beyond secularism as a politically correct concept.
By Ekata Bakshi
The Dalit refugee accounts reveal that most of the lower-caste refugees were the last to leave. The more fortunate ones were able to reach the borders completely penniless and face the inhuman conditions of refugee camps while the less fortunate were never recognised by the government as refugees for crossing the border later and have been completely written out of memory. The horrors of living in Sealdah Station and later in a refugee camp have also featured frequently in Dalit refugee accounts and have been described in detail by Manoranjan Byapari and Jatinbala.
By Vidya Bhushan Rawat
While the political parties failed and particularly those claiming to represent the Dalits keep disappointing, the positive sign is that Ambedkarite youths are not ready to wait endlessly facing injustices. The huge protest that India saw in the aftermath of Rohith Vemula’s death and the subsequent flogging of Dalits in Una and violence against Dalits in Saharanpur has also put the political parties on alert that they should not take them for granted.
By Raza Naeem
The novel may be read on three levels: as an account of events revolving around the partition of India in 1947; as a description of the politics and sociology of undivided Punjab, with its attendant system of feudalism and patriarchy; and a love story which begins, thrives and eventually falls with the fate of British colonialism in India itself.
By Sohini Chakraborty
Objects and artefacts are tangible remains that link people to past events by attaching a sensory experience to history. What moves in times of war and what gets left behind to be recollected in fond remembrance becomes a hypothetical question when considered in abstraction. Whether they would be precious collections treasured over a lifetime or basic necessities that might serve some practical use in the future was a decision undertaken in moments that had no precedence and provided no possible pattern.
By Jayshree Shukla
I hear the verses of Khusrau ring in my ears as I wander the by-lanes of the Nizamuddin Basti. I revel in the splendour of the Mughal palaces and mosques bequeathed to the city by emperors like Humayun and Shah Jahan. There are a million stories to be told and a million waiting to be heard in the streets and bazaars of Shahjahanabad. With my pictures, I capture some of them.