Post-memory and the third generation’s inheritance of the Indian partition (1947): A comparative study of the linguistic register across spatial axes

Avishek Ray
Sage Journals
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The experience of the Partition (1947)—the contexts of migration and the experience of refugeehood—in East-India is assumed to be different from that in the West. But, even after some 70 years after the Partition, there has been no substantial study on the difference in the ontology of refugeehood across the two sites. More to it, narratives from the North-east (Meghalaya, Assam, Tripura), which again differ significantly from their western Indian or West Bengali counterparts, are under-represented in the existing database of oral narratives and ethnographies on the Partition. Departing from here, this paper engages in a critical comparative study—across three spatial axes: western India, West Bengal, and North-east India—of the third generation’s experience of “growing up refugee” in India. It offers a nuanced, but empirically-grounded, insight on how memories and narratives of the Partition are grounded in the linguistic registers of those who “grew up refugee” (not the refugees per se). Based on interviews, this paper analyzes the patterns, circulations, transactions, tropes, and motifs in the linguistic registers using methodologies of Digital Humanities, and how they compare across spatial axes. Link: