Silence And Memory: Violence Against Women During The Partition Of 1947
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For my thesis, I am focusing on the abduction, dissimulation, and recovery of women during the Partition of India in 1947. Women were used as political tools between various religious groups during the tumultuous violence of Partition, and one of the ways this manipulation manifested itself was through the abduction of women from one religious community by men from another community. Women often assimilated into the new community, dissimulating from their previous identity and adopting a new culture. Later, the governments of both India and Pakistan attempted to reclaim the women as a way of creating a national identity. Women were also violated by men from their own communities, a violence that has traditionally been overlooked. The threads of sexuality and identity make talking about this period and these particular events very difficult, and many women who lived through these experiences have remained quiet, a silence that is important to discuss. This silence also affects the collective and individual memory of Partition. Narratives are created to emphasize or erase violence in the midst of this silence, and this affects our perceptions of Partition. This thesis will present the abduction of women during Partition in the context of a legacy of British colonialism, as well as the ramifications of the event for South Asia today.