Situating the Post-Partition Muslim Migrant in Pakistan

Abstract:Millions of people were forced to migrate after the Partition of the Indian subcontinent. Themassive human displacement enabled the creation of new ethnic identities. This was, especially,pronounced for migrant Muslims in Pakistan who had to settle there and restart their lives. Althoughinitially, they were regarded as religious refugees who had sacrificed everything for Pakistan, soonthey were treated as unwanted outsiders. Ethnic tensions, between natives and migrants, transformedinto open political hostilities and Karachi, where several migrants had shifted, would witness violentriots throughout the following decades. These circumstances subvert the idea of Pakistan as ahomeland for the post-Partition Muslim migrants who could not feel secure there. It forced them to organize themselves as a new distinct ethnic group called the ‘Muhajir.’ Intizar Husain’s
The Sea Lies Ahead and Kamila Shamsie’s Kartography facilitate a deeper understanding of the dynamics thataffected these migrants and how they, eventually, were able to situate themselves in Pakistan. Thispaper seeks to study these dynamics, and it argues that three stages – becoming, unbecoming andfinally, re-becoming – were involved in the transformation of ‘Muhajirs’ from a group ofheterogeneous migrants to a distinct and homogeneous ethnic group in Pakistan.

Soumyadeep Neogi
Daath Voyage: An International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in English , 2020