Indian Partition Literature: Reading Displacement—Partition Reading Patterns, and Trauma

This chapter shows how Partition interrupted lines of communication and trade affecting India’s literary culture, and argues that books and reading function in Indian Partition literature as a means of moving beyond trauma. Contexts include colonial cartography and pre-Partition literary culture as well as relocated bookshops and research libraries during Partition. The chapter considers Mahasweta Devi’s “Draupadi”, Attia Hossain’s Sunlight on a Broken Column, Anita Desai’s Clear Light of Day, The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh, and Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss, which employ images of maps, mapping, and book movement to challenge gender roles through the strategic employment of books and reading. A case study analyses Tabish Khair’s Filming, which draws on Saadat Hasan Manto’s foundational Partition story “Toba Tek Singh”.

Jenni Ramone
Palgrave Macmillan