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Narrating South Asian partition : oral history, literature, cinema

Anindya Raychaudhuri
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The history of the 1947 Indian/Pakistani partition is one of separation: a country and people newly divided. However, in telling this story, Anindya Raychaudhuri, the son of a partition participant, looks to unity, joining for the first time the public and private memory narratives of this pivotal moment in time. Narrating Partition features in-depth interviews with more than 120 individuals across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the United Kingdom, each reflecting on a direct or inherited experience of the 1947 Indian/Pakistani partition. Through the collection of these oral history narratives, Raychaudhuri is able to place them into comparison with the literary, cinematic, and artistic representations of partition, and in doing so, examine the ways this event is remembered, re-interpreted, and reconstructed―and the narrator's role in this process. These stories also reflect on the themes of home, family, violence, childhood, trains, and rivers within these public and private narratives. Crucially, Raychaudhuri is the first writer to use oral history in addressing the Bengal/Punjab partition as part of this same event, examining the memorial legacy in both the Bengali and Punjabi communities.