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Posts tagged ‘Partition and Displacement’

Contents: Women as the ‘displaced’: The context of South Asia (Issue 44)

Contents: Women as the ‘displaced’: The context of South Asia (Issue 44)

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Contributors

Contributors

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Guest-Editorial: Women as the “Displaced” in South Asia

By Suranjana Choudhury and Nabanita Sengupta
All these articles, included in this volume of Café Dissensus bring out the amorphous and multi-layered nature of displacement. Just as its causes are numerous, so are the ways in which each community or each individual engages with it. South Asia being one of the largest community of migrants and IDPs, gives rise to multiple discourses in terms of displacement. Through these essays here, we have tried to bring to our readers as many different perspectives on the agenda of displacement of South Asian women as we could.

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Doomed by Circumstances

By Amarinder Gill
I write the story of a lady from my extended family who was abducted, sexually violated but learnt the art of survival. Let us call her Jaspal Kaur, wife of Major Jasdev Singh. She was my father’s chachi and her Muslim identity is an open secret. I know her as a devout Sikh who reads the Japji Sahib and Rehraas Sahib every day, along with the Sukhmani Sahib.

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Muted Voices and Gendered Memories: Some notes of violent uprooting from partitioned Assam

By Binayak Dutta
While tales of violence and perceptions of security became the core concerns guiding displacement of the minorities from Sylhet, it is important to understand that the idea of violence itself in historical studies has undergone a transformation. Violence today is not understood as only an external act of physical harm and violation. It is to be understood in more subtle terms as encompassing both psychological and perceived acts of violence and violation.

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Restored, or doubly displaced?: Women and the Recovery Commission in India’s Partition Narratives

By Debasri Basu
Jamila Hashimi/Hashmi’s Urdu story, “Banwaas”, translated twice into English as “Banished” and “Exile”, shows an abducted Bibi, a Muslim, remaining with her Sikh abductor Gurpal even after learning about soldiers from Pakistan visiting a nearby village to seek out abducted women. We get a glimpse of the fundamental anxieties of women through the incessant questions that crop up in her mind, when she receives news of this recovery mission.

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A Tale of Being Female in a Time of Conflict: Displaced in One’s Native Land

By Paromita Sengupta
Volga’s imagination of a defiant Renuka, who is rooted to her personal choices and beliefs, is inspirational. However, there are in real life many Ayeshas/Veeros who have lived displacement, who have tried to fight back but had to ultimately succumb. Ayesha’s jumping to death may be read poetically as her route to freedom.

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Chhor aaye hum who galiyaan: Representations of women displaced by Partition in popular cinema

By Sudeshna Chakravorty
Even after the crisis moments of actual war or riots are over, while male survivors are welcomed back with open arms, without any questions being asked about the number of rapes or murders to his name, women exposed to sexual violence find it very hard to be rehabilitated. But among the majority of Shantis and the Sakinas, there also exist the Puros; and it is their story that needs to be highlighted more, in academics, government documents as well as popular culture. 

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Carrying on an ‘Imaginary Rooting’ in the Journeys of ‘Uprooted-ness’: Refugee Women and Bengal

By Anindita Ghoshal
The female members of elite or middle refugee families, who settled in Calcutta and its suburbs, had experienced a life qualitatively inferior to that of East Bengal. The houses and colonies, which the refugees built, not only reflected needs of a middle class population desperate for property and some semblance of security, but also indicated a reorganization of space.

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“Her Thighs Still Smell of Milk”: Partition and Poetry in Northeast India

By Rajashree Bargohain and Rohini Mokashi-Punekar
Writers from Northeast India are faced with the challenge of negotiating with both forms of unspeakability while producing testimonial accounts of the trauma undergone by women of the region. Yet, a third layer of silence is added to the experiences of these women by the underrepresentation of such traumatic stories from the Northeast. Scholarly and literary engagements with Partition have largely limited themselves to the experiences on the western frontier and the Bengal region to some extent.

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My Grandmother’s Tales of the Partition, 1947

By Sashi Teibor Laloo
My grandmother’s tale is just a drop in the ocean of displacement narratives and still I ponder at the fate of many who stayed back and persisted with life, dwelling in adjustment and sacrifice. In my conversations with the older people in these borderlands, they generally agree to a similar point that during the Partition, which gradually continued till the 1950s, the people in the border regions felt that the Government of undivided Assam neglected them as orphans.

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