Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

'Friends from an earlier life': radical possibilities of nostalgic melancholy in poems of the 1947 Indian Partition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


School/Research organisations


This paper will examine poetic responses to the trauma of Partition, and will consider both poetry written at the time and since. I will examine works in Bengali, Urdu and English, by such poets as Agha Shahid Ali, Jibanananda Das, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and Achintya Kumar Sengupta. I will examine how poets deal with the memory of the violence and the resulting legacy of dislocation and alienation. I will examine the possibilities of poetic melancholy as a tool in order to respond to and negotiate the enforced and violent change in identities that Partition precipitated. In the process, I will make a case for the radical potential of what might be called nostalgic melancholy. I argue that in these cases poetic melancholy can be read as a corrective to the imperialist act of Partition, as well as a gesture which defies the nationalist appropriation of history by the independent, postcolonial states. I will analyse how poets from both countries have tried, through their writing, to question the very legitimacy of the border that divides them.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-136
Number of pages16
JournalRevista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2018

    Research areas

  • A. Ali, J. Das, F. A. Faiz, Melancholy, Partition, Poetry, A. Sengupta

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Facebook Poet: Poetic Dissent and Social Media in Contemporary India

    Raychaudhuri, A., Aug 2019, World Literature and Dissent. Burns, L. & Muth, K. (eds.). Routledge

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  2. Narrating south Asian partition: oral history, literature, cinema

    Raychaudhuri, A., 11 Jul 2019, New York: Oxford University Press. 222 p. (Oxford Oral History Series)

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  3. Partitions and their Afterlives: Violence, Memories, Living

    Raychaudhuri, A. (ed.) & Mohanram, R. (ed.), 2019, Rowman and Littlefield International. 272 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  4. 'They Don’t Call Us Indian': Indian Muslim Voices and the 1947 India/Pakistan Partition

    Raychaudhuri, A., 2019, History, Historians and the Immigration Debate: Going Back to Where We Came From. Henrich, E. & Simpson, J. M. (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan, p. 113-132

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  5. Homemaking: radical nostalgia and the construction of a South Asian diaspora

    Raychaudhuri, A., Oct 2018, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. 202 p. (Critical Perspectives on Theory, Culture and Politics)

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

ID: 255208531