Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter looks at the literary and cultural legacy of the 1947 India-Pakistan partition to uncover and interrogate some motifs that are associated with political partitions – that they are inevitable and all-pervasive, that they are violent, that they are moments of complete disorder, and, most importantly, that they are examples of imperial powers getting things wrong. In this chapter, I explore the ramifications this historiographical narrative has had on the production and reception of partition literature, and argue that across multiple genres of literary texts, characters are depicted as bewildered or confused by the events happening around them, and that this confusion has important political ramifications for the nature of partition, and for our understandings of the extent to which people who lived through partition experienced agency over the trajectory of their own lives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge companion to twentieth-century literature and politics
EditorsChristos Hadjiyiannis, Rachel Potter
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781108886284
ISBN (Print)9781108840521, 9781108814195
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2022


  • Partition
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Conflict
  • Violence
  • Bapsi Sidhwa
  • Amitav Ghosh
  • Saadat Hasan Manto
  • Colonialism


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