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Rosamma Thomas | TOI | Jan 25, 2016
JAIPUR: Feminist and author Urvashi Butalia, speaking of the 1947 Partition underlined how the eruption of violence could not be fully understood until one took into account the routine violence that women suffer in families. She said men killed their own women at the time of Partition. We have few resources to understand such violence.
Despite the wealth of scholarship on this traumatic phase of history, there are still unexplored areas, Butalia said, adding that people and traditions had been impacted in ways not studied so far. She spoke of how she recently came across a Muslim family in Ladakh, known for taking offerings to the Dalai Lama in Tibet. The journey would take two months. Once Partition occurred, however, Ladakh itself became just a region within the state of Jammu and Kashmir and crossing over into Tibet became impossible. This discussion was part of the "The Great Partition," session at JLF on Sunday. Butalia spoke with eloquence about how the discourse around Partition should not be restricted to religious groups. Women, dalits, people with property – these groups were also targeted.
Butalia spoke of how Partition featured seldom in day-to-day discussions, even though there is by now a wealth of academic scholarship on the subject. She said art projects that spanned Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, cross-border archives, a Partition history museum, literature and films would all go a long way in fostering greater understanding.
Journalist Nisid Hajari pointed out that no book could possibly tell the whole story – each narrative would pick and choose. Reviewers might point to omissions, but that is only to be expected, he said, underlining why there is need to approach the subject with openness.