ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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​Partition, Migration, and Silence

Diverse experiences of partition are spoken about in a limited manner, resulting in a conscious silence.

[The author would like to thank Sajal Banik and Anshikha Adhikari.]

It was claimed quite often that the 20th century was the century of displacement and refugees, which very much continues in the 21st century too. Continuous displacement of people across the globe has initiated the redefinition of home, nation, citizenship, and also identity—whether or not it is rooted in land. Palestinian author Suad Amiry, known for the book Golda Slept Here (2013)beautifully defines home as “Home is where I am.” It may not necessarily be one’s motherland, birthplace, or the memories stemming from different moments of life, but home is where one can have a sound sleep. Suppose someone lives in their motherland, in constant fear of war and bombing, but then migrates to some other country, where their life is free of fear and strife. It is possible that they feel more “at home” in this adopted country. This is the time when the imagination of “desh” begins to disintegrate in the minds of people, and the sense of a nation falls apart. Displacement deserts the self from the nation.

Renowned Bengali novelist and critic Debesh Ray points out the absence of the existence of the Garo and Hajang people in popular narratives of partition. They migrated to Meghalaya from East Pakistan (Bangladesh) due to contaminated utterances of communal hatred. Almost 50,000 Chakmas made Tripura their home when they had to leave the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Mainstream narratives and accounts of partition talk only about two religio-political categories—Hindus and Muslims—thereby limiting the scope of partition history. Buddhists, Adivasis, and Christians of the region equally share the misfortunes and trauma of partition. Therefore, the narrative must include Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam, and even other parts of eastern India. Such diverse experiences of mass exodus are spoken about in a limited manner, resulting in a conscious silence.

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Updated On : 13th Oct, 2020
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