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

PartitionSubscribe to Partition

Jangpura Triptych

A neighbourhood history of one central Delhi neighbourhood is attempted as a way of addressing the lack of such work in existing urban studies. The focus is largely on the perspective of middle-class residents, their attempts at place-making, and their relation to other residents.

​Partition, Migration, and Silence

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

Bureaucracy and Border Control

Studies on militarisation and borders in South Asia have often remained focused on zones of spectacular conflict such as Kashmir, or Punjab during the partition. This article tracks the production of a discourse on borders by those charged with border security such as the police and other senior bureaucracy in the decades following the partition. It suggests that the “border question” evolved gradually out of a series of everyday concerns over local criminality that finally coalesced into the more abstract category of “national security.” It examines bureaucratic debates on police reorganisation in Kutch between 1948 and 1952 to suggest that contemporary discourses on nation and borders were arrived at through intra-bureaucratic negotiations with the far less abstract categories of village, locality and region.

Relative Intimacies

Described here are stories of families within the borderlands of India and Bangladesh who have kin relations on the other side of the border. They are about the continued making and maintenance of kinship ties across transnational family networks over the changing practices of border control. Officers and constables in the Indian Border Security Force, tasked with preventing all cross-border movements, recognised with sympathy the existence and emotional power of cross-border family ties. This article attempts to answer questions like what normative and emotive ideas about kin obligations and morality prevail upon individuals and families as they decide whether or not to continue investment in relations across borders. How do these sit within the larger political economy of the border itself?

Forgetting Partition

History’s silence resonates in the textual silence of the Indian Constitution on the immense scale of violence and exodus accompanying the partition of the subcontinent, despite the contemporaneity of partition and constitution writing. Clearly discernible on a closer reading of the Constituent Assembly's debates are implicit influences of partition on key constitutional decisions, such as citizenship, political safeguards for religious minorities and provisions creating a strong central tendency in the union. The constitutional memory of partition, as a freak occurrence for which the "outsider" was to be blamed, resembles the understanding of official historiography. Behind these common registers of memory lie powerful nationalist narratives of identity and unity, which indicate a deep and abiding connection between constitutional amnesia and nationalism.

On a Bengali Dalit Autobiography

Surviving in My World: Growing Up Dalit in Bengal by Manohar Mouli Biswas, edited and translated in English by Angana Dutta and Jaideep Sarangi, Stree Samya Books, 2015; pp 150, ₹ 280.

Pointers to Partition

A Narrative of Communal Politics: Uttar Pradesh, 1937-39 by Salil Misra; Sage, New Delhi, 2001; pp 363, Rs 295.

Iqbal, Jinnah and India's Partition

This paper brings out some dimensions of the crucial political relationship between Muhammad Iqbal and Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Though this relationship had far-reaching consequences in shaping the contours of the subcontinent's turbulent history, it has not been adequately studied in partition histories.

Misreading Partition Road Signs

History does not retrace its steps. It is no longer useful to ask if the partition could have been avoided. The question is no longer important. The different perceptions of the shared history of India and Pakistan have, perhaps, contributed in some measure to create barriers of prejudice between the two nations. However, there are issues of history that need to be looked at again. This article attempts to highlight some of those contentious and often ill-understood issues. Offered here is an attempt by a sociologist-cum-social anthropologist to highlight some issues. It is not an alternative history.

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