Women in Cinema on Partition

India’s Independence from the British in the year 1947 was followed by an explosive and violent upheaval of its Partition that brought about in its wake mass displacement, dispossession, and the exodus of millions of people from their native surroundings across the borders of the two countries. Extremely tragic and unfortunate, this violent partition has given birth to a huge mass of literature depicting the life and plight of the humans living in the two countries. A number of films, apart from various books of different genres, have depicted the pitiable state of the victims of Partition which was more due to a false interpretation of religion as well as the rise of personal ambition on the part of politicians of the day who were least affected by the sufferings and the trauma of the people. The present paper intends to highlight the brutality inflicted on the women and the perpetual mental and emotional scars that they were mercilessly subjected to. Being more vulnerable both physically as well as mentally it was mostly the women who had to bear the brunt and who were at the receiving end. According to certain accounts, in some cases s they were killed by their own families while still others were forced to commit suicide to protect their ‘sanctity’ and ‘purity ’. Mostly treated as sexual objects, these women of a patriarchal society had to lose their material belongings as well because of the biased values of the society that could not protect them. The suffering and gender violence that the women had to undergo in the aftermath of Partition, has been aptly depicted in the Indian cinema. The filmmakers like Yash Chopra and Deepa Mehta along with famous scriptwriters like Bheeshma Sahani, Gulzar, and Jawed Akhtar among several others have powerfully portrayed the plight of women in a post partitioned India through their creative renderings. In order to probe into the anguish of the women rendered helpless on account of Partition and the resultant violence, this paper presents a brief analysis of two movies including Earth (Deepa Mehta 1999) and Khamosh Pani (Sabiha Sumar 2003).

Santosh Kumar Yadav
International Research Journal of Humanities, Engineering and Pharmaceutical Sciences