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A Nation and its Fault Lines

From June 2021 to February 2022

This project focused on historical ruptures within the Indian nation since the Partition of 1947, 1971 and the present moment that includes the long Kashmir conflict as a painful legacy of the colonial border alignments and construction of the two nation-states. It raises questions on belonging and and the idea of citizenship in its creation of the ‘other’ within the national imaginary.

One section of the project studied Partition texts from the Eastern and Western border experience: We looked at Partition narratives from the Eastern borderlands and studied themes of belonging and outsider-insider tropes within such texts. This part of the project also traced the shifting concept of home from 1947 to 1971, (the second Partition) and situated it along the historical archives of newspaper to locate the affects of nostalgia, disappointment and how to rethink one’s rightful place in the nation. Finally, a sub-theme within this part of the project looked at the ways in which contemporary Bangladesh constructs and curates a cultural memory of the nation structured around the Liberation War of 1971 and how those included and excluded from it engage with this public history.

The second part of this project took into account the aftereffects of the long Partition and brought in the present conflict of Kashmir. It analysed how frames of belonging and legitimacy of citizenship alter when it comes to the fractures of the present moment. This section investigated representations of Kashmir by Kashmiri writers and poets, and from the gaze of the Indian mainland, including the effects of the Kashmir conflict in far away states, through emerging cultural and popular narratives. It  revealed how the idea of rightful belonging undergoes curious reversals in their larger narrative of framing the sovereign nation and its citizens. How do codes of trust, belonging and home shift within the nation-state through the hauntings of Partition and the present Kashmir conflict?

This project critically questioned ideas about home and citizenship in its varied meanings and their implications on the idea of legitimate belonging at home and within the nation through its historical and present fault-lines.