Narrating South Asian Partition: Oral History, Literature, Cinema

ISBN : 9780190249748

Anindya Raychaudhuri
240 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Sep 2019
Oxford Oral History Series
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The history of the 1947 Indian/Pakistani partition is one of separation: a country and people newly divided. However, in telling this story, Anindya Raychaudhuri, the son of a partition participant, looks to unity, joining for the first time the public and private memory narratives of this pivotal moment in time.
Narrating Partition features in-depth interviews with more than 120 individuals across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the United Kingdom, each reflecting on a direct or inherited experience of the 1947 Indian/Pakistani partition. Through the collection of these oral history narratives, Raychaudhuri is able to place them into comparison with the literary, cinematic, and artistic representations of partition, and in doing so, examine the ways this event is remembered, re-interpreted, and reconstructed-and the narrator's role in this process. These stories also reflect on the themes of home, family, violence, childhood, trains, and rivers within these public and private narratives.
Crucially, Raychaudhuri is the first writer to use oral history in addressing the Bengal/Punjab partition as part of this same event, examining the memorial legacy in both the Bengali and Punjabi communities.


1. Wasn't It Golden?: Remembering the Lost Home
2. My Other Mother: Separated and Reconstructed Families
3. This Eight-Year-Old, He's Too Little: Children Taking Back Control
4. The Most Awful Thing I Watched: Partition and the Many Meanings of Violence
5. All Trains Stop There: The Icon of the Death-Train
6. I Still Dream of the Padma: Changing Riverscapes of Partition
7. The Cause: Working through the Memories of Partition
Conclusion: The Vital Importance of the Word
Appendix 1: List of Interviewees
Appendix 2: Glossary of South Asian Words

About the author: 

Anindya Raychaudhuri is Lecturer at the School of English, University of St Andrews. He was previously British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, first at UCL and then at the University of St Andrews. He is editor of The Journal of the Oral History Society and The Spanish Civil War: Exhuming a Buried Past. In 2016, he was named one of the BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers.

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