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Narrating south Asian partition: oral history, literature, cinema

Research output: Book/ReportBook


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This book brings together “private” and “public” forms of memory narratives of the 1947 Indian/Pakistani partition, by looking at oral history testimonies (covering direct and inherited memories) on the one hand, and the literature and cinema of partition on the other. The book makes the case that survivors of partition and their descendants are able to exert control over the ways they remember partition and through the ways in which they tell these stories. The book looks at a number of different themes that appear across the oral history interviews, literature, and cinema—home, family, violence, childhood, trains, and rivers—and shows how these narratives need to be seen as evidence of agency on behalf of the narrators. This agency through narration is sometimes explicit, more often implicit, but always contested and politicized. A careful examination of the ways in which agency is manifested in these texts will, I argue, shed new light on the ways in which the events of partition are remembered, narrated, and silenced in public and private life within and beyond the south Asian subcontinent.


Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages222
ISBN (Electronic)9780190249779
ISBN (Print)9780190249748
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2019

Publication series

NameOxford Oral History Series

    Research areas

  • Partition, Violence, South Asia, Pakistan, India, Memory, Agency, Cinema, Literature, Oral history

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