Looking Back: The 1947 Partition of India, 70 Years On
Rakhshanda Jalil, Tarun K. Saint and Debjani Sengupta
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

In what ways can we re-think and re-imagine 1947 today? Has the subcontinent worked through its burden of history and trauma relayed across generations? Or are we still trapped by the curse of mutual animosity, incoherence and distrust? Are there routes beyond polarised perceptions and attitudes that wait to be (re-)discovered? Seventy years after India’s Independence and Partition, this anthology of diverse narratives collects fresh reflections on the continuing relevance and impact of 1947, and its afterlife, in South Asia.

Earlier Partition anthologies have underplayed narratives of the aged, of marginal castes and tribes. The genres of poetry, drama and reportage have likewise not been collected and read as a whole. This anthology—of essays, memoirs, short fiction, art, poetry, graphic narrative, reportage and drama—seeks to rectify these omissions in ways that are both self-reflexive and historically aware. It also features fresh translations—from Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and Bangla—of older, lesser-known works together with new writing that narrates unheard and forgotten stories from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In times when we remain as divided by religion as by how we imagine the nation, this is an effort to cast new light on our fractured and conjoined past, and help us reflect on it with humanity. Scholars and readers of South Asian literature, history, and Partition literature will find this a rich and valuable contribution.

Rakhshanda Jalil is a writer, critic, translator and literary historian.

Tarun K. Saint is an independent scholar.

Debjani Sengupta teaches English Literature at Indraprastha College for Women, Delhi University.

Publisher’s Acknowledgements


Tarun K. Saint, Rakhshanda Jalil, and Debjani Sengupta


1. Cabinet Mission Reconsidered
Anil Nauriya

2. In Other Words
Sameer Thomas

3. Partition and Dalit Politics: The Figure of Jogendra Nath Mandal
Anwesha Sengupta

4. A Sepia-Toned Past: A Photo Album Travels from Maghiana to Delhi
Aanchal Malhotra

5. History, Memory, Genre: A Critical Reading of I Too Have Seen Lahore and Milne Do
from the anthology This Side That Side
Kajal Tehri and Asmat Jahan

6. Photo-framed Installations: Second and Third Generation Narratives about the Partition and the Holocaust
Margit Köves

7. Undoing Partition: Flight of Utopian Fantasies across Borders

8. Twins, But not Identical: Music in India and Pakistan
Vidya Rao

9. Scripting an Enclave’s Marginal Lives: Selina Hossain’s Bhumi O Kusum
Debjani Sengupta

10. The Absent Presence: The Partition in Modern Urdu Poetry
Rakhshanda Jalil

11. Spaced: Notes towards an Exhibition
Salima Hashmi

12. Inheriting the Hamam-dasta and its Stories
Maya Mirchandani

13. The Sixth River: A Journal from the Time of the Partition of India
Fikr Taunsvi
Translated from the Urdu Chhata Dariya, by Maaz Bin Bilal

14. Dandakaranya: Some Memories in Words
Saibal Kumar Gupta

15. Orality of Silence
Manas Ray

16. Lahore Reporting
Vishwajyoti Ghosh

17. Of Lost Stories
Anwar Ali
Translated from the Punjabi novel Gwacchiyan Gallan, to Urdu by Julien Columeau,
and translated from the Urdu by Farha Noor

18. People of God
Gurmukh Singh Musafir
Translated from the Punjabi short story Allah Wale, by Hina Nandrajog

19. Nothing but the Truth
Meera Sikri
Translated from the Hindi short story Saccho Sach, by Tarun K. Saint

20. The Other Shore
Syed Muhammad Ashraf
Translated from the Urdu short story Doosra Kinara, by Rakhshanda Jalil

21. The Echo
Zakia Mashhadi
Translated from the Urdu short story Sada-e Baazgasht, by Zakia Mashhadi

22. God is Great
Amena Nazli
Translated from the Urdu short story Allah-ho Akbar, by Asif Farrukhi

23. A Face to Hate
Joya Mitra
Translated from the Bangla short story Ghrinar Samasya, by Joya Mitra

24. Border Stories
Sunanda Bhattacharya
Translated from the Bangla short story from Tripura, Borderer Golpo, by Debjani Sengupta

25. Lost and Found
Jhumur Pandey
Translated from the Bangla short story from Assam, Mokkhodasundorir Haranoprapti,
by Farha Noor and Debjani Sengupta

26. The Return
Selina Hossain
Translated from the Bangla short story from Bangladesh, Meyetir Bari Phera,
by Nabina Das and Debjani Sengupta

27. After Death: Twenty Years
Birendra Chattopadhyay
Translated from the Bangla Mrityur Por: Kuri Bochhor, by Debjani Sengupta

28. Rehabilitation
Sankha Ghosh
Translated from the Bangla Punorbashon, by Sankha Ghosh and Debjani Sengupta

29. Twenty-sixth January
Sahir Ludhianvi
Translated from the Urdu Chhabbees Janwary, by Rakhshanda Jalil

30. After the Riot
Javed Akhtar
Translated from the Urdu Fasaad ke Baad, by Rakhshanda Jalil

31. Six Shared Seasons
Kaiser Haq

32. Cold Storage
Sukrita Paul Kumar

33. Cyril’s Map
Tarun K. Saint

34. Those Who Haven’t Seen Lahore Haven’t Lived
Asghar Wajahat
Translated from the Hindi Jis Lahore Nai Dekhya O Jamyai Nai, by Alok Bhalla and Nishat Zaidi

35. The Last Conversation
Intizar Husain in conversation with Nasir Kazmi
Translated from the Urdu, by Asif Aslam Farrukhi  

Notes on Contributors

1. Should we relegate Partition to history books? | The Print, August 2017
2. 'Looking Back': Filling in the gaps of Partition | The Print, October 2017
3. Partition: A line that criss-crosses | LiveMint, October 2017
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