About the Book
The second volume continues the discussion on partition in the eastern region, focusing more fully on both East Bengal and West Bengal. The editors have been guided by the intention ‘to incorporate as much of the Muslim voices and experiences often taking place on the other side of the divide, that is, erstwhile East Pakistan or present-day Bangladesh’. They have also called attention to the lives of some Muslim woman residing in West Bengal. Part I begins with short stories from the both sides of the border, which share common themes of grief and conflict. Part II presents reminiscences that support the narrative of the short stories, offering stories of survival struggles, of a grand mother’s desperate flight to safety, of the reflection on space and identity, of a Hindu Women’s migration from Calcutta to East Pakistan, to Calcutta, and then to Canada. Two thought – provoking pieces are situated wholly in East Pakistan: on a Hindu Professor and his family’s decision to remain in Dhaka, witness to the later War of Liberation. The second is an account of Kaloibibi, the remarkable woman leader of the Nankar rebellion, in Sylhet, 1949-50. Part III, interviews, captured the intricate nature of migration and non-migration, covering Hindus who moved from East Bengal, Muslim of West Bengal who moved to East Pakistan and those who chose to remain. Part IV presents a screen play of an elderly couple who return to their old home in Bangladesh. Part V takes the reader to interviews in the Permanent Liability camps that still hold the original refugees of the partition, dwelling on the implications of the failures of state policy. Of special interest is the study from two villages where the voices of the women of the minority community can be clearly heard. Finally, Part VI offers extracts from state documents, 1946-57, on the themes of communal violence, of the abduction of women, and their rehabilitation.
About the Authors
Jasodhara Bagchi is founder director, School of Women’s Studies, Jadavpur University and former chairperson of the West Bengal Commission for Women.
Subhoranjan Dasgupta is Professor of Human Science, Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata.
Subhasri Ghosh is Publication Coordinator of Swayam, Kolkata.