Porous Borders

Posted by sepoy on May 22, 2010 · 2 mins read

The February 2002 issue of Seminar, Porous Borders/Divided Selves, on the Partition should be read immediately.

I especially draw your attention to Santosh Kumar Ghose's short story Hoina, the poems by Jibananda Das and Tasleema Nasreen, and the essay by Meghna Guha Thakurta, Uprooted and Divided.

There is yet another phenomenon which distinguishes East Bengali Hindu reminiscences of Partition from those promoted by the Muslim migration from West Bengal. This is the Bangladesh liberation war of 1971. Memories of 1947 or Partition have often been superseded by memories of 1971, or movements which led to 1971, because in the quest for a Bengali identity many Bengali Muslims had to rethink their positions. Thus when memories of Partition are revived, they are either blocked or coloured by memories of 1971.

Many Muslims came to the East from West Bengal and Bihar in the hope of finding their promised land, though not all of them believed in the Muslim League ideology. Many progressive cultural activists and professionals came from Calcutta, not spontaneously, but with the ambition of constructing a new nation that would give shape and colour to their dreams. But for most this dream was short-lived. The repression of Bengali identity and the imposition of a new cultural identity of Pakistan, the imposition of martial law, generated spontaneous resistance from the people whether in the form of the language movement of 1952, or the anti-Ayub demonstrations of 1969, culminating in the liberation war of 1971 for an independent Bangladesh.

Go read it all...

And Ishtiaq Ahmed's Lahore Effect (2006)

ps. I also need to grab this: Stories about the Partition of India. Edited by Alok Bhalla. 3 vols (1994)


omar | May 22, 2010

Sepoy, shouldnt you have those "share buttons" by now so that we can post your posts on the infidel facebook and other such sites?

sepoy | May 22, 2010

Since "Face" is haram in Islam, I have deal only in "Book".

Akbar | May 22, 2010

Since “Face” is haram in Islam, I have deal only in “Book”. Cute! Here is Google CEO's take on it, "SAN FRANCISCO: Google chief executive Eric Schmidt on Friday said he suspects suppressing political criticism is a factor behind the move to block YouTube and Facebook in Pakistan in the name of Islam." http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/03-google-chief-suspects-ulterior-motive-in-pakistan-ss-01 and since when LHC became Shari'a ct ?

Qalandar | May 22, 2010

Thanks for this -- never too late to feel one's heart getting knifed over some legacy of partition. Haven't had a chance to read all the pieces yet, but the Butalia one in particular was amazing; actually, I should say the reality she describes is so absurd it's almost beyond Swift...

Qalandar | May 22, 2010

Judicial arrogance in Pakistan is getting out of hand -- many of these judges (beginning with Iftikhar Chaudhury) seem to have a god complex. [Not suggesting I didn't support the Lawyers' Movement -- I did -- but that cause was so just I would have supported an ass for Chief Justice if he had been illegally removed by Musharraf. But instead of addressing the cases before them with no broader a holding than is needed to decide the case -- a basic tenet of the common law system -- these judges consistently overreach and go out of their way to reach broader decisions. It's a problem in India as well, and IMO represents shameless exploitation of the prestige that the judiciary (high/appellate, even if not the lower/trial courts) enjoys among the middle-classes/in the media; where one can always count on the question being framed such that the courts are on the side of the angels...]

Anirban | May 23, 2010

That is a very nice excerpt. As an ethnic Bengali from West Bengal, this is a matter of great interest to me and I have very detailed views on "identity". Take care