The Partition of India and Pakistan is considered to be a singular moment in the history of South Asia and Britain. Partition had two fold purposes, one it granted independence to a supposedly Hindu India and secondly created a new nation called Pakistan which was predominantly populated by Muslims. The violence that it generated was not only unprecedented but even barbaric. The vengeance that ordinary Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs wrecked on each other distorted the political judgements. The real sorrow of the Partition was that it ended a long and communally shared history. The relationship between the three major communities of India worsened and which in return led to many heinous crimes. The moments of active malevolence and communal frenzy left an indelible mark on the minds of the people. These unforgettable moments were encapsulated in the form of Partition Literature.
Memories of Partition though are often hurtful are well represented in art forms . As it has been argued that art better than any language can voice the unresolved burdens of the past . Literature as a form of art generally goes beyond the strictures of official history. Jason Francisco in his review article ‘In The Heat Of Fratricide , The Literature of India’s Partition Burning Freshly’ , says ,“ literature truly evokes the suffering of the innocent, whose pain is
more universal and ultimately a vehicle of more honest reconciliation than political discourse”.
Regarding the study of Partition , the word ‘trauma’ achieves major significance. It comes from the Greek word meaning ‘wound’, a separation of bodily tissues. However several dictionary entries define trauma as a disordered state resulting from an extremely distressing experience resulting in long-lasting psychological effects. This term however accounts for numerous medical and surgical metaphors . The Partition of India and Pakistan is not just history alone , it is memory too. A memory that continues to bring the past into the present that might stay locked within the patterns of consciousness below the everyday reality. Krishna Sobti defines Partition as something which is ‘difficult to forget but dangerous to remember’ (Quoted in Urvashi Butalia’s The Other Side of Silence : Voices from the Partition of India , p. 269 ) . These events left the people physically and psychologically traumatised.
Trauma is often defined as a wound or external bodily injury in general. However there is one cited example from Popular Science Monthly Magazine in 1895, which contradicts the above mentioned emphasis by referring to ‘ psychical trauma’ as a morbid nervous condition. In Partition narratives thus remembrance becomes very important. As Urvashi Butalia defines the inextricable relationship between the past and the present :
It is the present , our...