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The Partition and Its Survivors

THIS is a book which should be thrown open to the readers, without the mediation of any reviewer. It is a slice of what has come to be known as the' worm's eye view of history'. The author has collected meticulously, reproduced verbatim and analysed theoretically the voices of those survivors of the holocaust of 1947 (mainly Sikh and Hindu refugees in India) who had till now remained invisible and unheard. The central episode is a movingly recounted story of the author's own discovery of a long lost uncle of hers across the border who had become a Muslim. His story remains the pivot around which her narrative takes its birth, develops, and attempts to reach out towards an understanding of the trauma suffered by those victims of the partition who are now living in Pakistan, But the author is honest enough to acknowledge that her work is incomplete in two respects first, she 'had no access to information, interviews or anything else from Pakistan' (which deprives the readers of what could have been an equally important narrative of reminis- cences of Muslim survivors of the 1947 holocaust who are now settled in Pakistan); and secondly, she has left out the victims of the partition in the east, in Bengal, mainly, as she states frankly, "because I do not have the language", and as "the partition of Bengal was so very different from that of Punjab".

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