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From Non-places to Places: Transforming Partition Rehabilitation Camps Through the Gendered Quotidian
Published in Sage Publications
Volume: 9
Issue: 1
Pages: 19 - 39
The political partition of India in 1947 into a truncated India and the dominion of Pakistan witnessed a wave of forced migration, hitherto unseen in human history. The alteration of a singular national space into two separate nation-states based on religious identities forced the movement of almost twelve million people, in search of a new homeland. Although this exodus was experienced differently based on socio-economic backgrounds—unfortunately in ways akin to any violent transition—women formed the most susceptible ground to the rigours of the Partition. Gross and barbarous acts of violence perpetuated against women were derived from a hypermasculinized nationalist ideology: one that perceived women's bodies as sites where national and religious identities needed to be forcibly inscribed. Partition historiography, however, has frequently privileged only the political circumstances and elided the traumatic human micro-histories, which dominated and continue to impinge on postcolonial subjectivities. This article explores a key facet of Partition history, which has often been relegated to the footnotes of both political and social narratives: transitory rehabilitation camps established primarily for the recovery of female refugees. Through an analysis of non-fictional testimonies and selected Partition fiction, I demonstrate how the transformation of these refugee rehabilitation camps—from transitory non-places into referential spatial locations or places—was facilitated through the quotidian performances of the female Partition Refugee.
About the journal
JournalData powered by TypesetMillennial Asia
PublisherData powered by TypesetSage Publications
Open AccessNo