The Line of Hatred: the Border in the Literature of Partition
When, after a series of violent riots, the Congress Party decided to accept the request of the Muslim League for a separate and independent Muslim state, the British authorities drew the boundaries that split up the regions of Punjab and Bengal creating East and West Pakistan. To the West the line was called Wagah and successively sadly known as the line of hatred. The year 1947, while marking the freedom and independence of the Indian population from British rule, at the same time marked the simultaneous partition of the subcontinent into two different nations.
This article examines the ethnic, religious and gender violence which deflagrated in and after 1947, through its representation in South Asian literature. I take as my point of departure the role played by the frontier between the new two countries: a territorial wound which caused a still unhealed infection. Questioning the nationalist idea of identity and the role played by borders, the analyzed works deal with the necessity of unearthing the trauma and loss attached to Partition. The kernel of meaning of this fiction lies at the intersection between aesthetical research and moral concern. An intersection from which the various voices seem to vindicate the primacy of narrative in the acts of understanding and witnessing what chronicle, politics and even history were failing to see: the dark side of the glorious Independence of India, the Partition, in all its absurdity and horror.
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