Concept Note: The history of the epochal cartographic shift brought about in 1947 by the Radcliffe Line, which divided India into two countries – India and Pakistan – is extensively archived and continues to be documented, both in academic works and anecdotally across a range of mediums – literature, art, and, films.
In 1971, the two nations became three as Bangladesh emerged out of Pakistan following a bloody war. India’s borders – on the east and the west – remain beset with tension and possibilities. India’s relations with its neighbours along these two borders swing – as do its equations with forces within its boundaries – with stock-market like fluctuations. Words like “War” and “Violation (of cease fire)” collide with those like “Azaadi” and “Self-determination” with exhausting frequency.
Indeed, if one were to turn the focus off the border areas and look within India, one could see the many fissures that kept erupting during the last seventy years. From demands for statehood to complete cessation from the state, from tribal and ethnic movements to uprisings to revolt against exploitation and persecution of minorities – these internal divisions have assumed different contours at different times.
Kashmir burns. Bleeds. Gets blinded and blindsided.
Adivasis are robbed of the land they have lived in and preserved for centuries.
Brash impunity humiliates, lynches, and butchers minority groups and voices of reason.
Dalits and lower-castes are hung from trees, university hostel ceiling fans, shoved down gutters.
Poverty flourishes in the ghettos of the poor, the rich walk away with fat subsidies and tax cuts that keep inflating their corporate empires.
Folks cheer for the government and the army when people across the border are surgically exterminated, then war amongst themselves over water, the nature of animal meat and territorial rights.
And so the partitions continue. The theme for August, 2017 Cafe Dissensus special issue is “India at 70: The Many Partitions.” In this issue, we aim to explore the Partition not only as a one-time event in history but the many ways it continues to rear its head, bifurcating space and dividing people.
We invite submissions in the following areas, which are not exhaustive by any means:
Research essays (sans academic jargon) Personal reminisces Book excerpts, reviews of recent books Photo essays
(For this issue we aren’t accepting any creative writing.)
Last date for submission: 30 June, 2017. Date of publication of the issue: 15 August, 2017. Word-limit: 1500-2000 words. Email your submissions to Bhaswati Ghosh: email@example.com