By: Dr. Santosh Patel
Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is an ongoing celebration that provides an opportunity to go through our history minutely especially for our young generation as it has voluminous records of our freedom fighters, their struggle, sacrifices, and the martyrdom which they attained for making this country free from the Britishers hence, it becomes essentially necessary to celebrate such a gala program. It is a matter of fact that after independence, three generations came during these seven decades, the first generation struggled for freedom and sacrificed their lives, faced all challenges, and confronted the Britishers with all their mettle, the second generation only heard the stories from their grandfather and father regarding freedom struggle, sacrifices, dedication, the devotion of freedom fighters toward motherland as well as the partition of the country whereas the third generation is completely not aware of all these, they know these only through lens of textbooks and heard in occasional speeches or discussion but it is not so easy to understand all these because it could hardly fill the sense of patriotism in the heart and mind of our younger generation, consequently Government of India has decided to celebrate Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav on the completion of 75 years of independence of this country for the year-long program.
At this juncture, it becomes necessary to ponder upon the Partition Literature which is also a part of the undergraduate-level syllabus in many universities in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. First and foremost, we should ponder upon the topic what is Partition Literature. It refers to the literature in which the story, plot, or theme is mainly based on the Partition as Norwin Akhtar states. Based upon the partition, India, Pakistan, and authors have created a plethora of literature in which nostalgia is a powerful theme. Prof. Chaman Lal defines Partition Literature stating that the partition in India in August 1947 was the culmination of the politico-social process and a large body of literature has been written on the partition in Bangla, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, English, and Sindhi relating to partition of the country. Some of the literature may also be found in Gujarati, Marathi, and Dogri. Now, it is clear, that Partition Literature has broad intervention in most of the popular languages spoken in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Debjani Sengupta sees the Partition of 1947 meant a redrawing of the map of South Asia that created new borders and borderlands and resulted in massive population migration across these borders of the newly independent nation-states of India and Pakistan. Millions of people, Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims, crossed the freshly defined boundaries; in West Bengal alone an estimated 30 lakh Hindu refugees entered by 1960 while 7 lakh Muslims left for East Pakistan. Over a million people died in various communal encounters that involved the major communities. For more than 80 thousand women, in India and Pakistan, independence came accompanied by abduction and sexual assault.
Partition Literature consists of Abdulla Hussain, Qurratual Ain-Hyder, Sa’dat Husain Manto, Faiz Ahamand Faiz in Urdu, Chaman Nahl, Khushwant Singh in English, Nanak Singh, Sohan Singh, Amrita Pritam in Punjabi, Yashpal, Bhishma Sahani, Rahi Masoom Raza, Kamleshwar and Shambhu Singh Narula in Hindi, Jibananada Das are noted writer and poet of this genre.
Recently one Hindi novel, i.e. Ret ki Samadhi jotted down by Geetanjali Shree made history by becoming the first Hindi novel to win the prestigious 2022 International Booker Prize which was given on its translation which has done by Daisy Rockwell as Tomb of sands. The novel depicts the story of an 80 years old widow who decides to travel to Pakistan hence it has characteristics of partition literature in which the trauma of partition is depicted. Tomb of Sand now stands with Jyotirmayoee Devi’ Epor Ganga Oper Ganga (1968) and Krishna Sobti’s Gujrati Pakistan se Gujrati Hindustan.
The Partition of India and Pakistan is one of the most sensitive subjects in the history of modern South Asia. It has moments of happiness, sadness, anger, hatred, and varied emotions. The memories still prevail in the minds of authors and poets which compel them to delineate. In the ongoing celebration, Partition Literature must be brought into the limelight for making our younger generation more sensitive towards humanity. (The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)