Partition of India: Contemporary Resonances

kamayani kumar's picture
Type: 
Call for Papers
Date: 
December 2, 2019 to January 2, 2020
Location: 
India
Subject Fields: 
Borderlands, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Literature

Type: 

Call for Papers

Date: 

December 2, 2019 to January 02, 2019

Location: 

India

Subject Fields: 

Humanities, Literature

 

The Indian subcontinent was partitioned in 1947. Seven decades later South Asia is still grappling with an invasive cultural trauma that Partition invoked. Rather than mitigating, this trauma continues to inform, mediate and reconstruct the experiential world of people on both sides of the contested border. 

 Several decades on, Partition, as a cultural trauma, refuses to be relegated to the annals of the past, instead it qualifies as a ‘monumental traumatic event that resists integration’ (Hirsch 2012:22).  The reason for which could be that Partition, in its immediate aftermath was relegated to the realm of the ‘unspeakable’. It was seen as an experience ‘too terrible to utter aloud (Herman, 1992:1).

Unlike Holocaust which was heavily represented through the medium of literature, art, photography and even ‘mixed media’ (Ben Shahn’s This Is Nazi Brutality 1942, just being one example), representation of Partition via visual discourses was relatively liminal, (Margaret Bourke White’s photographs, Sardari Lal Parasher’s pencil sketches, being exceptions).  Literary discourses abounded, but even in them the underlying motif was always one of ‘silences’ and ‘gaps,’ a lot remained ‘unsaid’.

As Bhaskar Sarkar observes, ‘Speaking about 1947 remains a difficult task even after the passage of decades: the corporeal, material, and psychic losses, the wide-spread sense of betrayal, the overwhelming dislocations – in short, the deep lacerations inflicted on one’s sense of self and community – bring up intense and consuming passions’ (Sarkar 2009:9). Perhaps, this also explains that it has taken us almost 70 years to constitute a ‘public memory’ of Partition. Until 2016, no memorial marked the space where millions of people crossed borders. Yaadgaar–e–Tasqeem, the Partition museum in Amritsar has only recently emerged as a ‘space of memory,’ functional as a conduit ‘...for transforming living memory into (one) institutionally constructed...’ and ’allowing for rituals of remembrance to be performed in public’ (Simine, 2013:37).

In the recent decades, writers, artists, and film-makers have brought to fore the experiences of those for whom Partition constitutes ‘received history’ – the second generation. For millions of them, Partition was a past which they apprehended through oral stories related to them by their parents/ grandparents who had been either victims, perpetrators or witnesses of the violence that accompanied Partition. For many others, Partition was a horrific past that captured their imagination through intense and invasive stories of Manto, Bhishm Sahni, Amrita Pritam (to mention a few) or the art works of painters like Sardari Lal Parasher, Gujral, etc.   

Partition continued to generate discourses in art, literature and films. Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice Candy Man, Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines, Nina Sabnani’s Mukund and Riaz, Shilpa Gupta’s Aar Paar project, Zarina Hashmi’s, Nalini Malani’s, Nilima Sheikh’s art work, Shyam Benegal’s Mammo, Ramchand Pakistani are but a few of the responses to Partition from the second and third generation respondents.

The Girardian re-enactment of Partition violence in each instance of communal violence in India post 1947, and the cross-border exchange of hostilities are a constant reminder that even 70 years on, Partition continues to haunt the imagination of millions on either side of the border.

 

 

This book seeks to elicit short stories and poems from the generations which even today are reeling under the continuing impact of Partition – from either side of the border.

 

Send in creative responses to Partition to kamayani.bhatnagar@gmail.com

Short Stories: 2000–25000 words long

Contact Email: 

kamayani.bhatnagar@gmail.com

 

Contact Info: 

Type: 

Call for Papers

Date: 

December 2, 2019 to January 02, 2019

Location: 

India

Subject Fields: 

Humanities, Literature

 

The Indian subcontinent was partitioned in 1947. Seven decades later South Asia is still grappling with an invasive cultural trauma that Partition invoked. Rather than mitigating, this trauma continues to inform, mediate and reconstruct the experiential world of people on both sides of the contested border. 

 Several decades on, Partition, as a cultural trauma, refuses to be relegated to the annals of the past, instead it qualifies as a ‘monumental traumatic event that resists integration’ (Hirsch 2012:22).  The reason for which could be that Partition, in its immediate aftermath was relegated to the realm of the ‘unspeakable’. It was seen as an experience ‘too terrible to utter aloud (Herman, 1992:1).

Unlike Holocaust which was heavily represented through the medium of literature, art, photography and even ‘mixed media’ (Ben Shahn’s This Is Nazi Brutality 1942, just being one example), representation of Partition via visual discourses was relatively liminal, (Margaret Bourke White’s photographs, Sardari Lal Parasher’s pencil sketches, being exceptions).  Literary discourses abounded, but even in them the underlying motif was always one of ‘silences’ and ‘gaps,’ a lot remained ‘unsaid’.

As Bhaskar Sarkar observes, ‘Speaking about 1947 remains a difficult task even after the passage of decades: the corporeal, material, and psychic losses, the wide-spread sense of betrayal, the overwhelming dislocations – in short, the deep lacerations inflicted on one’s sense of self and community – bring up intense and consuming passions’ (Sarkar 2009:9). Perhaps, this also explains that it has taken us almost 70 years to constitute a ‘public memory’ of Partition. Until 2016, no memorial marked the space where millions of people crossed borders. Yaadgaar–e–Tasqeem, the Partition museum in Amritsar has only recently emerged as a ‘space of memory,’ functional as a conduit ‘...for transforming living memory into (one) institutionally constructed...’ and ’allowing for rituals of remembrance to be performed in public’ (Simine, 2013:37).

In the recent decades, writers, artists, and film-makers have brought to fore the experiences of those for whom Partition constitutes ‘received history’ – the second generation. For millions of them, Partition was a past which they apprehended through oral stories related to them by their parents/ grandparents who had been either victims, perpetrators or witnesses of the violence that accompanied Partition. For many others, Partition was a horrific past that captured their imagination through intense and invasive stories of Manto, Bhishm Sahni, Amrita Pritam (to mention a few) or the art works of painters like Sardari Lal Parasher, Gujral, etc.   

Partition continued to generate discourses in art, literature and films. Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice Candy Man, Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines, Nina Sabnani’s Mukund and Riaz, Shilpa Gupta’s Aar Paar project, Zarina Hashmi’s, Nalini Malani’s, Nilima Sheikh’s art work, Shyam Benegal’s Mammo, Ramchand Pakistani are but a few of the responses to Partition from the second and third generation respondents.

The Girardian re-enactment of Partition violence in each instance of communal violence in India post 1947, and the cross-border exchange of hostilities are a constant reminder that even 70 years on, Partition continues to haunt the imagination of millions on either side of the border.

 

 

This book seeks to elicit short stories and poems from the generations which even today are reeling under the continuing impact of Partition – from either side of the border.

 

Send in creative responses to Partition to kamayani.bhatnagar@gmail.com

Short Stories: 2000–25000 words long

Contact Email: 

kamayani.bhatnagar@gmail.com