Voices from the partition of india

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voices from the partition of india

The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India by Urvashi Butalia

Oral History Association Book Award 2001

The partition of India into two countries, India and Pakistan, caused one of the most massive human convulsions in history. Within the space of two months in 1947 more than twelve million people were displaced. A million died. More than seventy-five thousand women were abducted and raped. Countless children disappeared. Homes, villages, communities, families, and relationships were destroyed. Yet, more than half a century later, little is known of the human dimensions of this event.

In The Other Side of Silence , Urvashi Butalia fills this gap by placing people—their individual experiences, their private pain—at the center of this epochal event.Through interviews conducted over a ten-year period and an examination of diaries, letters, memoirs, and parliamentary documents, Butalia asks how people on the margins of history—children, women, ordinary people, the lower castes, the untouchables—have been affected by this upheaval.

To understand how and why certain events become shrouded in silence, she traces facets of her own poignant and partition-scarred family history before investigating the stories of other people and their experiences of the effects of this violent disruption. Those whom she interviews reveal that, at least in private, the voices of partition have not been stilled and the bitterness remains.

Throughout, Butalia reflects on difficult questions: what did community, caste, and gender have to do with the violence that accompanied partition? What was partition meant to achieve and what did it actually achieve? How, through unspeakable horrors, did the survivors go on? Believing that only by remembering and telling their stories can those affected begin the process of healing and forgetting, Butalia presents a sensitive and moving account of her quest to hear the painful truth behind the silence.
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Published 05.09.2019

Voices of Partition: Remembering Partition

The other side of silence: voices from the partition of India

Apart from tracing her own family's encounter with partition, Urvashi Butalia brings out the voices of those participants who very often go unheard - women, children and disadvantaged sections like Urvashi Butalia. The partition of India into two countries, India and Pakistan, caused one of the most massive human convulsions in history. Within the space of two months in more than twelve million people were displaced. A million died. More than seventy-five thousand women were abducted and raped.

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Author: Urvashi Butalia. This is an important book.
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She is especially alert to the presence-and absence-of marginal voices. It may seem paradoxical, but the book's freshness comes also from the fact that it examines wounds that have festered for more than fifty years. The raw horror of it all is mitigated by the author's skillful prose, which draws the reader into the Indian story. Oral history at its best. This book pierces that amnesia, elicits buried memories, and lays the foundations for a more evolved relationship between human beings on this subcontinent and their histories of gendered and communal violence. More than a history, more than a memoir, it is also an extended reflection on narrative form.

5 thoughts on “The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India by Urvashi Butalia

  1. The partition of India into two countries, India and Pakistan, caused one of the most massive human convulsions in history. Within the space of two months in.

  2. Voices from the Partition of India The partition of India into two countries, India and Pakistan, caused one of the most massive human convulsions in history.

  3. In my own early encounters with Partition literature, I traced many personal stories through the pages of history, stories that told deeply disturbing first-person accounts of a time when one nation became two.

  4. The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India. By Urvashi Butalia. pp. xiv,. London, Hurst & Co., The Other Side of Silence is part of an.

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