The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India

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9780140271713: The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India

The partition of India into two countries, India and Pakistan, caused one of the most massive human convulsions in history. Within the space of two months in 1947 more than twelve million people were displaced. A million died. More than seventy-five thousand women were abducted and raped. Countless children disappeared. Homes, villages, communities, families, and relationships were destroyed. Yet, more than half a century later, little is known of the human dimensions of this event. In "The Other Side of Silence," Urvashi Butalia fills this gap by placing people--their individual experiences, their private pain--at the center of this epochal event. Through interviews conducted over a ten-year period and an examination of diaries, letters, memoirs, and parliamentary documents, Butalia asks how people on the margins of history--children, women, ordinary people, the lower castes, the untouchables--have been affected by this upheaval. To understand how and why certain events become shrouded in silence, she traces facets of her own poignant and partition-scarred family history before investigating the stories of other people and their experiences of the effects of this violent disruption. Those whom she interviews reveal that, at least in private, the voices of partition have not been stilled and the bitterness remains. Throughout, Butalia reflects on difficult questions: what did community, caste, and gender have to do with the violence that accompanied partition? What was partition meant to achieve and what did it actually achieve? How, through unspeakable horrors, did the survivors go on? Believing that only by remembering and telling their stories can those affected begin the process of healing and forgetting, Butalia presents a sensitive and moving account of her quest to hear the painful truth behind the silence.

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Review:

"Butalia has collected some fascinating material."
--Akash Kapur, "The New York Times Book Review"

"Libraries collecting on genocide, migrations, and freedom struggles definitely need this work."
--Library Journal

"Butalia's narratives shed light upon the role of religion in shaping identities of families and communitites."
--Chandra S. Mallampalli, "Books & Culture"

"[Butalia] has gone to great lengths to acquire authentic information. It is precisely for this reason that the book is gripping, especially for those who do not know much about Partition."
--Padma Ramachandran, "Masala.com"

"[L]ays bare the passions of fear and hatred that too often drive the India-Pakistan relationship. . . . The raw horror of it all is mitigated by the author's skillful prose, which draws the reader into the Indian story."
--Foreign Affairs

"Butalia's book is remarkable for the author's critical analysis of her own experiences as well as of the existing literature, and for her skillful demonstration of how the memory of Partition continues to affect India today."
--Publishers Weekly

"[Butalia] captures the emotional richness of individual tragedies and occasional heroism, and she retains and even celebrates the ambiguities and paradoxes in the memories brought to the surface. . . . [A] very worthy addition to our knowledge of partition and its consequences. Recommended for all readers."
--B. Tavakolian, "Choice"

"[An] extraordinary book . . . . [T]he 'silence' must end, so that healing and forgetting can begin. . . . Butalia has opened this largely unexplored chapter in India's history with a mix of anger and anguish that her readers will share. This is an important book. It should be required reading on both sides of the border and beyond."
--Milton Israel, "The Historian"

"Butalia is a pioneer in feminist publishing in India. She is especially alert to the presence--and absence--of marginal voices. . . . [T]he study of popular interpretations of violence as well as the persistence of memory makes this book a critical, self-reflective work. It may seem paradoxical, but the book's freshness comes also from the fact that it examines wounds that have festered for more than fifty years."
--Amitava Kumar, "The Nation"

"[Butalia's] finely tuned sensitivity to her subjects, the degree to which she can read the silences for the stories they mute, consistently astonishes the reader with its acuity. . . . [T]he work offers a model for ethnography. . . . Throughout, what comes through ultimately is the extraordinary pain, anguish, suffering, nostalgia, and irreparable fractures that so many experienced during those violent years--and in the decades that have followed."
--Sankaran Krishna, "Theory and Event"

“Selective amnesia and memory are at the root of the relationship between human beings and their history. This book pierces that amnesia, elicits buried memories, and lays the foundations for a more evolved relationship between human beings on this subcontinent and their histories of gendered and communal violence.”—Kavita Punjabi, "Telegraph" (Calcutta)

“"The Other Side of Silence" is without a doubt one of the most important books ever to be written about the Partition of the Indian subcontinent. More than a history, more than a memoir, it is also an extended reflection on narrative form. Official history has always flinched from acknowledging the full extent of the human cost of Partition. Urvashi Butalia shows us why we cannot afford to forget the suffering, the grief, the pain, and the bewilderment that resulted from the division of the subcontinent. [This] is an extraordinary achievement.”—Amitav Ghosh

“This is a magnificent and necessary book, rigorous and compassionate, thought-provoking and moving. Oral history at its best.”—Salman Rushdie

""The Other Side of Silence" is without a doubt one of the most important books ever to be written about the Partition of the Indian subcontinent. More than a history, more than a memoir, it is also an extended reflection on narrative form. Official history has always flinched from acknowledging the full extent of the human cost of Partition. Urvashi Butalia shows us why we cannot afford to forget the suffering, the grief, the pain, and the bewilderment that resulted from the division of the subcontinent. [This] is an extraordinary achievement."--Amitav Ghosh

"This is a magnificent and necessary book, rigorous and compassionate, thought-provoking and moving. Oral history at its best."--Salman Rushdie

The Other Side of Silence is without a doubt one of the most important books ever to be written about the Partition of the Indian subcontinent. More than a history, more than a memoir, it is also an extended reflection on narrative form. Official history has always flinched from acknowledging the full extent of the human cost of Partition. Urvashi Butalia shows us why we cannot afford to forget the suffering, the grief, the pain, and the bewilderment that resulted from the division of the subcontinent. [This] is an extraordinary achievement. Amitav Ghosh"

Selective amnesia and memory are at the root of the relationship between human beings and their history. This book pierces that amnesia, elicits buried memories, and lays the foundations for a more evolved relationship between human beings on this subcontinent and their histories of gendered and communal violence. Kavita Punjabi, Telegraph (Calcutta)"

"The Other Side of Silence is without a doubt one of the most important books ever to be written about the Partition of the Indian subcontinent. More than a history, more than a memoir, it is also an extended reflection on narrative form. Official history has always flinched from acknowledging the full extent of the human cost of Partition. Urvashi Butalia shows us why we cannot afford to forget the suffering, the grief, the pain, and the bewilderment that resulted from the division of the subcontinent. [This] is an extraordinary achievement."--Amitav Ghosh

"Selective amnesia and memory are at the root of the relationship between human beings and their history. This book pierces that amnesia, elicits buried memories, and lays the foundations for a more evolved relationship between human beings on this subcontinent and their histories of gendered and communal violence."--Kavita Punjabi, Telegraph (Calcutta)

-The Other Side of Silence is without a doubt one of the most important books ever to be written about the Partition of the Indian subcontinent. More than a history, more than a memoir, it is also an extended reflection on narrative form. Official history has always flinched from acknowledging the full extent of the human cost of Partition. Urvashi Butalia shows us why we cannot afford to forget the suffering, the grief, the pain, and the bewilderment that resulted from the division of the subcontinent. [This] is an extraordinary achievement.---Amitav Ghosh

-Selective amnesia and memory are at the root of the relationship between human beings and their history. This book pierces that amnesia, elicits buried memories, and lays the foundations for a more evolved relationship between human beings on this subcontinent and their histories of gendered and communal violence.---Kavita Punjabi, Telegraph (Calcutta)

-This is a magnificent and necessary book, rigorous and compassionate, thought-provoking and moving. Oral history at its best.---Salman Rushdie

-[L]ays bare the passions of fear and hatred that too often drive the India-Pakistan relationship. . . . The raw horror of it all is mitigated by the author's skillful prose, which draws the reader into the Indian story.---Foreign Affairs

-Butalia has collected some fascinating material.---Akash Kapur -The New York Times Book Review -

-Butalia is a pioneer in feminist publishing in India. She is especially alert to the presence--and absence--of marginal voices. . . . [T]he study of popular interpretations of violence as well as the persistence of memory makes this book a critical, self-reflective work. It may seem paradoxical, but the book's freshness comes also from the fact that it examines wounds that have festered for more than fifty years.---Amitava Kumar -The Nation -

-Butalia's book is remarkable for the author's critical analysis of her own experiences as well as of the existing literature, and for her skillful demonstration of how the memory of Partition continues to affect India today.---Publishers Weekly

-Butalia's narratives shed light upon the role of religion in shaping identities of families and communitites.---Chandra S. Mallampalli -Books & Culture -

-Libraries collecting on genocide, migrations, and freedom struggles definitely need this work.---Library Journal

From the Back Cover:

"Selective amnesia and memory are at the root of the relationship between human beings and their history. This book pierces that amnesia, elicits buried memories, and lays the foundations for a more evolved relationship between human beings on this subcontinent and their histories of gendered and communal violence."--Kavita Punjabi, "Telegraph" (Calcutta)

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Book Description Penguin Books India, 2000. Softcover. Book Condition: New. The Partition of India in 1947 caused one of the great human convulsions of history. The statistics are staggering. Twelve million people were displaced; a million died; seventy-five thousand women are said to have been abducted and raped; families were divided; properties lost; homes destroyed. In public memory, however, the violent, disturbing realities that accompanied Partition have remained blanketed in silence. And yet, in private, the voices of Partition have never been stilled and its ramifications have not yet ended. Urvashi Butalia?s remarkable book, the outcome of a decade of interviews and research, looks at what Partition was intended to achieve, and how it worked on the ground, and in people?s lives. Pieced together from oral narratives and testimonies, in many cases from women, children and dalits?marginal voices never heard before?and supplemented by documents, reports, diaries, memoirs and parliamentary records, this is a moving, personal chronicle of Partition that places people, instead of grand politics, at the centre. These are the untold stories of Partition, stories that India has not dared to confront even after fifty years of independence. Printed Pages: 384. Bookseller Inventory # 21819

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Book Description Penguin Books India, 2000. Softcover. Book Condition: New. The Partition of India in 1947 caused one of the great human convulsions of history. The statistics are staggering. Twelve million people were displaced; a million died; seventy-five thousand women are said to have been abducted and raped; families were divided; properties lost; homes destroyed. In public memory, however, the violent, disturbing realities that accompanied Partition have remained blanketed in silence. And yet, in private, the voices of Partition have never been stilled and its ramifications have not yet ended. Urvashi Butalia’s remarkable book, the outcome of a decade of interviews and research, looks at what Partition was intended to achieve, and how it worked on the ground, and in people’s lives. Pieced together from oral narratives and testimonies, in many cases from women, children and dalitsâ€"marginal voices never heard beforeâ€"and supplemented by documents, reports, diaries, memoirs and parliamentary records, this is a moving, personal chronicle of Partition that places people, instead of grand politics, at the centre. These are the untold stories of Partition, stories that India has not dared to confront even after fifty years of independence. Printed Pages: 384. Bookseller Inventory # 21819

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