Ramchand Pakistani, Khamosh Pani and the traumatic evocation of Partition

This article will address the themes of partition, gender and trauma within two independent films from Pakistan, Sabiha Sumar's Khamosh Pani (2003) and Mehreen Jabbar's Ramchand Pakistani (2008). The article will consider how the events of 1947 – partition of India and creation of Pakistan – recur within the films as disruptive trauma. The article will consider what an engagement with the characteristics of trauma such as involuntary recall and disruption can bring to my readings of the films. Connections are established between women's experiences of ethnic tensions within the contemporary settings of the films and the gendered experiences of 1947. These are expressed in distinct ways, however; the prominence of the themes of trauma within both work to create a powerful presentation of women's subjectivity in Pakistan. Further to this, they draw attention to the possible inevitability of trauma being central to identities and locations forged out of a partition that entailed border creation, large-scale disruption, and violence. The article will conclude that close readings of both films highlight the role of the traumatic in the formation of gendered national identities.

Humaira Saeed
Taylor & Francis Online