Book Reviews

Review of Partition as Reception

Review of Partition as Reception: A Critical Study of Indian Partition Literature in Translation 
Ed. P.V. Laxmiprasad, Authorspress, New Delhi, 2023, ISBN: 978-93-5529-493-7  Pp 122

Partition as Reception: A Critical Study of Indian Partition Literature in Translation is a 21st anthology of critical study edited by Dr P.V. Laxmiprasad that proclaims both his quest for critical insight and literary inquisitiveness. Translation enriches Indian English Literature to a larger extent as India is a land of many languages. The book contains critical output from eight literary critics who have approached the repercussions of the Indian Partition from multiple perspectives. Though Partition has invited critical insights from writers and critics across the countries and continent, the critical study of Dr P.V. Laxmiprasad stands out to the fact that it includes insight from different fictional narratives which sprang up from different parts of our old Indian subcontinent. These diversified experiences undergone by the people of different religions at the different parts of the country expressed in multiple languages illuminate and enrich the Partition studies in Indian English Literature and bringing them under one roof deserves appreciation. 

The book commences with a study on the novel A Village Divided, an autobiography by Rahi Masoom Rezza. The self-representation of the novelist on a historical event adds authenticity to this text and the critic studies the individual traumas reported by the author from collective perspectives and highlights how the marginalized get struck in the partition and how they are culturally traumatized even after, by this political event. The second critical writing on the Hindi novel Tamas unravels the divide and rule policy of the colonizer and how for personal gains the leaders of both Hindu and Muslim communities fuel the religious riots letting loose pandemonium on the Indian soil. Still the author and critic do not fail to show a ray of hope at the end of a dark tunnel.  The same novel has invited another critical insight which analyses the novel in two parts focusing on the way the story progresses from the killing of the pig which triggers the riot to how it results in the outburst of a bloody violence turning even friends into foes.

The next article introduces Ikramullah, a Pakistani writer who writes in Urdu. “Regret” and “Out of Sight” are the two works critiqued here that gently touch upon Partition in its backdrop. Though not outright Partition novellas, they do narrate persuasively how power are misused by the majority over minorities and the growing intolerance among the multitudes who lived amicably before the partition. This is followed by a critical analysis of another Urdu writer Intizar Hussain’s memoir Basti. It traces the story of a teacher of History who finds teaching a boring task and he inadvertently gets traumatized by the Hindu Muslim riots that expose him to the mass migration as well as the plague that claimed many lives. The article also throws light on the diverse cultural practices of the Indians especially Muslims.

The postcolonial study on Umar Memon’s short story collection An Unwritten Epic is like a chapter rather than an article in which the critic registers his anger and protest against the violence and hypocrisy of the people in the name of religion. The stories also address the trauma faced by the people during partition and its psychological overtones even after it. The next article on Khadija’s Mastur’s The Women’s Courtyard is a translation of an Urdu novel that brings to the fore the social injustice that the violence brings about through a Muslim girl Aliya. The personal account of her agony and sufferings lends authenticity to the historical massacre that took place in the name of religion.

An article on Sadat Hasan Manto’s widely read short story Toba Tek Singh is the concluding critique of the book which records the various concerns that partition and its aftermath inflicted on the common man. The plot set in the lunatic asylum gives ample scope to probe into the mental trauma that the Partition caused in the minds of the people who experienced this bitter phase in the history. The critic also divulges on the lapses the story suffers from due to its deviance from the original text.

The diversified tone of these critical essays is indeed an asset to the researchers who work on the historical event as well as to every individual in the present times. Every human indubitably has something to learn from the bifurcation of land based on the religious beliefs which not only had torn the lives of the few in the bygone era but still has its hold on young and adult minds even in this postmodern world of artificial intelligence. This aspect of the study validates Dr P.V. Laxmiprasad’s book Partition as Reception: A Critical Study of Indian Partition Literature in Translation. Such writings should emerge in plenty, equipping humanity to learn from the past mistakes and create a tolerant society which can be plural in all its social, political and cultural practices and beliefs. 


More by :  Dr. Sheeba S. Nair

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Views: 355      Comments: 4

Comment Excellent review. Good explorations. Laxmiprasad did it so well in the end. Congratulations to Dr.Sheeba madam.

03-Sep-2023 08:34 AM

Comment Very impressive review. Well written. Appreciations.

03-Sep-2023 06:04 AM

Comment Congratulations to both.

Neha Chikhale
03-Sep-2023 02:31 AM

Comment Well written

Dr. D. Vijaya Lakshmi
02-Sep-2023 20:39 PM

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