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PARTITION LITERATURE: MEMORY AND INHERITANCE OF SELF 8-9 FEBRUARY, 2014 NETAJI SUBHAS OPEN UNIVERSITY SUB-THEME: Literary

canon of trauma of Partition: historicity and problem/ Memories of Partition: Sources lost. Abstract for proposed paper: In this paper I will explore how the forces of history work towards erasing complexities and ambiguities in definitions of identity. The Partition of the Indian subcontinent, dividing the people along the religious lines of Hinduism and Islam, has aggravated the common human inclination to think along simplistic lines, thus homogenizing communities and identities. The truth however is always far more complex, and the nature of culture (and consequently identity) far more heterogeneous. My paper will argue that during-Partition and post-Partition, we have surrendered many realties and identities that could not be narrated along the simplistic lines of hostility between the Hindu and the Muslim. In discourses of Partition, we are uncertain of how to position those experiences that blur this divisive understanding of identity. The need to document history along the lines of caste, class, race and religion tends to elide the plural, mixed and confusing identities of the people who are positioned in-between the more significant communities. I will take up examples of one religious community and one caste community to study this and through their literatures explore these gaps which we have left unexamined. This I believe is one of the problems we face in Partition history: an essentializing of the inherently fluid nature of culture and identity, resulting in a loss of valuable resources of memory.

Sipra Mukherjee Department of English, West Bengal State University