Homed, Unhomed and Rehomed in Partition Stories of East Bengal/East Pakistan
Taking three translated short stories with specific focus on “home,” namely Syed Waliullah’s “The Tale of a Tulsi Plant,” Abu Rushd’s “The Bone” and Ashraf Siddiqui’s “A House with a Pond” from Niaz Zaman’s edited book, The Escape and Other Stories of 1947 (2000), this paper will attempt to bring to light both the erasure and the enduring memory of the 1947 Partition of Bengal. We interpret “home” as a symbol of uprooting and enrooting for people crossing from the West to East Bengal within a volatile world of insecurity, loss and fear. While the stories do not directly engage with the grand and populist discourses of the 1947 riots, they represent an uncanny world-in-transition for Muslims trying to cross into East Bengal/East Pakistan to start a new life. We analyse the stories’ indissoluble relation between materiality and memory, necessary for the identity of the region’s collective posterity. In doing so, we employ Ananya Jahanara Kabir’s terms such as “postmemory” and “post-amnesia” to argue that the essay is our attempt to reclaim the literary memories of 1947, which shape the intergenerational identities of Bangladeshis.
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