Partition and Gujarat: The Tangled Web of Religious, Caste, Community and Gender Identities

Compared to Punjab and Bengal, Gujarat's experiences of the Partition of India in 1947 remain curiously under-researched even though the state has a long border with Pakistan and over a million people migrated to Gujarat, mostly from neighbouring Sindh. This paper seeks to fill this lacuna in Partition scholarship by examining the experiences of two Hindu groups, Sindhis and Gujarati Dalits, who left Sindh to settle in Ahmedabad. Drawing on the oral testimonies of migrants, the paper shows that while the official logic of Partition might have been predicated on irreconcilable religious identities, the actual experience of Partition brought into play multiple identities arising from regional, caste and community affiliations as well as gender, which migrants drew on in order to cope with the upheaval caused by Partition.

Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan
Taylor and Francis Online