Failed protection : literature's criticism on the partition of India
McCaulay Joann Singer-Milnes
May 14, 2014
Department or Program
This thesis examines the partition of India using literature approaching the event from Indian and Pakistani perspectives. The texts analyzed include Anita Desai’s Clear Light of Day, Abdullah Hussein’s The Weary Generations, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Intizar Husain’s Basti, Sadaat Hasan Manto’s Mottled Dawn: Fifty Sketches and Stories of Partition, and Sara Suleri Goodyear’s Meatless Days. These texts depict instances of failed claims to patriarchal protection at the level of the nation-state and more private contexts, such as the family. Therefore, this thesis argues the presence of subalternity persists despite national claims to post-colonialism. This thesis also explores the manner in which memory resists partition by maintaining hybridity and mixture. Literature offers alternatives to dominant historical narratives, and thus, in criticizing the partition of India, resists externally perpetuated homogeneity based on categorical identity and works against partitioning of the self.