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Dec 2, 2011

Representation of Partition

Representation of Partition in Indian Novels

Novels of “partition” horrors are basically legion but these novels never achieved the discipline of art. As Devendra Satyarthi puts it: “No literature based on hate and prejudice can really be great. It was a drama of degradation and shame, a drama of human decay, showing how the minds of two communities were poisoned by the dogma of two nation theory.”

One of the more satisfying imaginative records of Partition is Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan 1956). The whole horror is there, but humanity and compassion are there too. In Balachandra Raja’s The Dark Dancer (1959) also we get, towards the end, glimpse of the partition horrors. In Manhohar Malgonkar A Bend in the Ganges explores more fully the origins of the two nations theory and presents in some details the sheer frenzy that possessed people in Punjad in August 1947. Again in Malgonkar Distant Drum the veil is lifted a little over what happened in these fateful days in Delhi and later in Kashmir

Partition in Midnight’s Children
 Midnight Children is the storey about the children born in the midnight hour of India’s ‘tryst with dystiny’ on 15 August 1947. The narrator hero, Saleem Sinai, is one of the elect 580 children scarred by the time of their nativity with an exceptional and also projects his and the India sub-continent’s history till the time of the Emergency (1975-77). The spread of the novel is about six decades and spatially all India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The massive novel has three part structure with 30 chapters: Part I going back to Jalianwalla Bag and ending with the birth of Sinai, the narrator hero, on the fateful midnight of 15 August 1947. The Part II Concluding with the end of the Indo-Pakistan War on 23 September 1965; and Part III, carrying the narrative forward to march 1977, and the end of the Emergency.

Midnight’s Children is based on the early life of its author. Critics credited it with making the worldwide literary audience aware of the changes that India underwent through the twentieth century. As a part of, Rushdie takes reader on an imaginative trip that makes them see his native country in a way that they did never before.

The novel is not only the story of Rushdie but also the history of India. The hero Saleem misplaced Gandhi’s Death, and obviously seminal movement in Indian history as well as willfully misremembers the date of an election. The version of history Saleem offers comes filtered through his perspective, just as every other version of history comes filtered through some alternate perspective.

Partition in Train to Pakistan
Train to Pakistan projects with pitiless precision a picture of the bestial horrors enacted days of August 15, 1947. the ‘leaders’ had showed the wind of communal suspicion, and Partition was the result. The mad act of Partition was uprooting masses and then “the riots become a rout”, as Khushwant Singh Writes: By the summer of 1947--- ten million people—Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs—were in flight. By the time of monsoon broke, almost a million of them were dead”.

The novel begins in Mano-Majra, a border village on the bank of Sutlet on Indo-Pak border, with housebreaking, robbery and murder of the moneylender Lala Ram Lal by Dacoit Jugga.

Soon the fire of partition comes in the village with the arrival of Iqbal Singh. There was a meeting of Sikhs in the village which was also joined by Muslims and they asked: “What we have to do with Pakistan? We are born here. So, were our ancestors? We have lived amongst you as brothers.” And then Sikh headman answers “yes, you are our brothers…. You….can live here as long as you like”. But to be on safe side, the Muslims decide to go. But some policemen give the fire of cruelty by saying “For meach Hindu or Sikh they kill, kill two Mussulmans…… for each trainload of dead they send over, send two across.” The Hindus decide to kill the people of the train that was going on that night but the rough Jugga comes across the decision and “The train went over him, and went on to Pakistan.”

A nightmare with an exciting finish, one closes the novel with a sense of relief; the lie has become the truth, the unbelievable has happened! What is recorded with such particularity was but a speck in the dust-whirl that was a partition

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