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Many Partitions

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Organizer: Anjali Gera Roy

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The 1947 Partition of India was one of the most violent events in human history in which a million people lost their lives and fifteen million were forced to cross the border on the east and the west. Critical thinking about the Partition and its aftermath needs to examine not only its historical dimensions but also its physiological operations and affective dimensions. Emotions such as loss, anger and nostalgia need to be understood as implicating neurobiology, society, history through a study of  the language of the body as well as the language used in literature and oral histories. This project draws on the notion of microhistory or microstoria, affective memories and epigenetic transmission of trauma to examine the microhistories of forced migrants from frontier and border districts, dialect regions as well as princely states. The project aims to close the gap between history, memory and cultural representations through comparing archival documents with affective memories and post-memories of Partition survivors from microregions including North-Western-Frontier Province, Dera Ismail Khan and Dera Ghazi Khan, Sindh, Multan, Bahawahalpur, Potohar, Kargil resettled in five metro and non-metro cities. It will also analyse their affective charge in representational forms such as music, songs, lyrics, folklore, proverbs, sayings, ritual practices and pilgrimage places through which these pre-print communities have represented Partition’s collective trauma. Through combining the methodologies of oral histories with those of trauma, memory and affect studies, it hopes to address important questions raised by the recent upsurges in intercommunal violence, cross-border threats and separatism.


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