Film, Media, and Representation in Postcolonial South Asia: Beyond Partition 9781138339767, 9780367765880, 9781003167655

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Table of contents :
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of figures
List of contributors
Introduction: Moving beyond partitions: Theorising the
academic dialogue
PART I: Soft power: performance, film, and television
1. Trouble in paradise: The Portrayal of the Kashmir Insurgency in Hindi cinema
2. The vale of desire: Framing Kashmir in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider
3. Finding comfort in silence? The absence of Partition narratives from the contemporary group theatre in Kolkata
4. The rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV network: The one voice that kills other voices
PART II: Art and visual culture
5. Discourses on Partition through visual culture
6. Post-71: Photographic ambivalences, archives, and the construction of a national identity of Bangladesh
7. Speaking soon after catastrophe: The Partition art of Satish Gujral and S. L. Parasher as record, testimony, trauma
PART III: Cyber space, social media, and digital texts
8. Politicising the body of the ‘other’: India’s gaze at Pakistan
9. Keyboard nations: Cyberhate and Partition anxiety on social media
10. Pakistani literary digitalisation: ‘Mediascaping’ Mohsin Hamid’s ‘The (Former) General in His Labyrinth’
Conclusion: Reflections: Building bridges
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Film, Media, and Representation in Postcolonial South Asia

This volume brings together new studies and interdisciplinary research on the changing mediascapes in South Asia. Focusing on India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, it explores the transformations in the sphere of cinema, television, performance arts, visual cultures, cyber space, and digital media, beyond the traumas of the partitions of 1947 and 1971. Through wide-ranging essays on soft power, performance, film, and television; art and visual culture; and cyber space, social media, and digital texts, the book bridges the gap in the study of the postcolonial and post-Partition developments to reimagine South Asia through a critical understanding of popular culture and media. The volume includes scholars and practitioners from the subcontinent to foster dialogue across the borders, and presents diverse and in-depth studies on film, media and representation in the region. This book will be useful to scholars and researchers of media and film studies, postcolonial studies, visual cultures, political studies, partition history, cultural studies, mass media, popular culture, history, sociology and South Asian studies, as well as to media practitioners, journalists, writers, and activists. Nukhbah Taj Langah is Associate Professor of English at Forman Christian College University, Lahore, Pakistan. Roshni Sengupta is Assistant Professor at Institute of Middle and Far East, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland.

Film, Media, and Representation in Postcolonial South Asia Beyond Partition

Edited by Nukhbah Taj Langah and Roshni Sengupta

First published 2022 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2022 selection and editorial matter, Nukhbah Taj Langah and Roshni Sengupta; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Nukhbah Taj Langah and Roshni Sengupta to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this book are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. The data and interpretations based on research material are intended here to serve general educational and informational purposes and not obligatory upon any party. The editors have made every effort to ensure that the information presented in the book was correct at the time of press, but the editors and the publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability with respect to the accuracy, completeness, reliability, suitability, selection and inclusion of the contents of this book and any implied warranties or guarantees. The editors and publisher make no representations or warranties of any kind to any person, product or entity for any loss, including, but not limited to special, incidental or consequential damage, or disruption alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by omissions or any other related cause. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book ISBN: 978-1-138-33976-7 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-367-76588-0 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-003-16765-5 (ebk) DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655 Typeset in Sabon by Taylor & Francis Books


List of figures List of contributors Foreword Preface Acknowledgements Introduction: Moving beyond partitions: Theorising the academic dialogue

vii ix xiii xv xviii




Soft power: performance, film, and television



1 Trouble in paradise: The Portrayal of the Kashmir Insurgency in Hindi cinema



2 The vale of desire: Framing Kashmir in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider



3 Finding comfort in silence? The absence of Partition narratives from the contemporary group theatre in Kolkata



4 The rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV network: The one voice that kills other voices ALTAF ULLAH KHAN





Art and visual culture



5 Discourses on Partition through visual culture



6 Post-71: Photographic ambivalences, archives, and the construction of a national identity of Bangladesh



7 Speaking soon after catastrophe: The Partition art of Satish Gujral and S. L. Parasher as record, testimony, trauma




Cyber space, social media, and digital texts



8 Politicising the body of the ‘other’: India’s gaze at Pakistan



9 Keyboard nations: Cyberhate and Partition anxiety on social media



10 Pakistani literary digitalisation: ‘Mediascaping’ Mohsin Hamid’s ‘The (Former) General in His Labyrinth’



Conclusion: Reflections: Building bridges






5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6a 5.6b 5.7 6.1a 6.1b 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17

Heavy Despair In Search of a New Home LikLikoti Erasures Video still ‘The News’ 2001 From 1.7 million mi2 to 55,598 mi2 From 1.7 million mi2 to 55,598 mi2 Twins A Newspaper Clip on Lablu (Daily Ittefaq 1971) A Newspaper Clip on Lablu (Daily Ittefaq 1971) Unidentified body from mass killing during1971 Civil War Image of a dead body (unidentified) from 1971 Civil War of Pakistan Unidentified body from 1971 Civil War of Pakistan Children at the Museum of Independence, Dhaka, Bangladesh The exhibits inside the Museum of Independence, Dhaka Mourning en Masse, oil pencil on paper, 1948 Days of Glory, oil on canvas, 1953 Dance of Destruction, oil on canvas, 1950 Sermon on the Mount, oil on canvas, 1952 Snare of Memories, oil pencil on board, 1953 Untitled (Self-Portrait), oil on canvas, 1956 Portrait of ‘P’, oil on canvas, 1959 The Condemned, oil on board, 1957 Untitled, oil on canvas, 1959 The Black Road, acrylic on canvas, 1959 Cry II, graphite on paper, 1947–49 Heavy Despair, graphite on paper, 1947–49 Grieving, graphite on paper, 1947–49 Small Comfort, graphite on paper, 1947–49 In Search of a New Home, graphite on paper, 1947–49 Clean Sweep, graphite on paper, 1947–49 Untitled, graphite on paper, 1947–49

84 85 89 90 92 93 94 95 100 101 102 112 113 114 115 121 123 124 125 127 129 130 131 132 132 135 137 138 139 140 141 142


List of illustrations

7.18 Amnesia of Grief – Baldev Nagar Camp, Ambala, oil on canvas, c. 1950–53 7.19 Refugee Woman, terracotta, c.1947–49 7.20 Undivided Punjab, concrete, 1968, on site Leisure Valley Park, Chandigarh

143 143 144


Waseem Anwar is Professor of English at Forman Christian College-University or FCCU, Lahore, Pakistan. Formerly, Dean (Humanities) and Chair (English) at FCCU and GC University, Lahore, he is a two-time recipient of Fulbright at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (1995, Doctoral) and Duke (2007, Postdoctoral). He has also served as President of the Punjab Pak-US Alumni Network and Fulbright Alumni Association. A Gale Group American Scholar, he has been bestowed with ‘Salam Teacher Award 2004’ and HEC ‘Best Teacher Award 2003’ in Pakistan. He is currently serving the SALA (South Asian Literary Association, an allied association to the MLA or Modern Language Association) Executive Committee for the third time. His book, ‘Black’ Women’s Dramatic Discourse was published in 2009. He jointly guest edited the 2010 South Asian Review special issue on Pakistani creative writing in English. With his interest in Critical Theory, a range of Anglo-American and South Asian and postcolonial literature, he has written several articles for various journals and is Editor-in-Chief of the JELLS, a research journal of FCCU English Department. He has presented papers at numerous conferences and is on the advisory and editorial boards of several research journals. Arnab Banerji is Assistant Professor of Theatre History and Dramatic Literature at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, USA. He is currently working on a monograph on Bengali Group Theatre to be published by Routledge. His essays and reviews have been published in Theatre Journal, Asian Theatre Journal, TDR, BOOM California, Ecumenica, Theatre Symposium, Sanglap, Cerebration, SERAS, and Virginia Review of Asian Studies. His current research is on performances by the Indian diaspora, translations of Indian vernacular plays, and contemporary Bengali theatre. Suryansu Guha is a research scholar pursuing his PhD in the Center for English and Cultural Studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. He completed his MA and MPhil from the same department and university in 2014 and 2016, respectively. His primary fields of interest are cultural studies, television, pop culture, humour, and digital media.

x List of contributors Nishat Haider is Professor of English at the University of Lucknow, India. She is the author of Contemporary Indian Women’s Poetry (2010). She has held numerous administrative and scholarly positions on boards and committees, and has also served as the Director, Institute of Women’s Studies, University of Lucknow. Recipient of Meenakshi Mukherjee Prize (2016), C. D. Narasimhaiah Award (2010), and Isaac Sequeira Memorial Award (2011), she has presented papers at numerous academic conferences and her essays have been included in a variety of scholarly journals and books. She has conducted numerous workshops on gender budgeting and gender sensitisation. She has lectured extensively on subjects on the cusp of cinema, culture, and gender studies. Her current research interests include postcolonial studies, translation, popular culture, and gender studies. Altaf Ullah Khan is Professor of Mass Communication and currently serving as Dean of Humanities at the Forman Christian College University, Lahore. He earned a PhD at the Institute for Communication Studies (KMW), University of Leipzig as a DAAD scholar (2004). He taught at the Department of Journalism & Mass Communication at University of Peshawar from 1990 to 2018. Khan has been senior Visiting Fulbright faculty (post doctorate) at Centre for International Studies, Ohio University, USA. He was a Glidden Visiting Professor in Spring 2018 at Centre for International Journalism, Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University, USA. Kamayani Kumar is Assistant Professor, Department of English, Aryabhatta College, University of Delhi, India. Her PhD was on the representation of children in Partition Literature, from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Her thesis focuses on transgenerational transmission of Partition trauma and how cartographic anxiety of the truncated subcontinent was etched on the body of millions of victims. She has worked extensively on the cinema of Ritwik Ghatak, cultural trauma, memory studies, and Partition and cinema. She is presently authoring a book which has its focus on how artists from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have used art as a medium to represent Partition and its continuing impact through paintings, video art, modes of representation. She has coedited a volume on Childhood and Trauma (Routledge, 2019). She has published chapters in several books, journals, and presented papers in National and International Conferences. Her area of interest includes partition studies, childhood studies, film studies, trauma studies, visual narratives of partition. Nukhbah Taj Langah is Associate Professor of English at Forman Christian College University, Lahore, Pakistan. She chaired the Department of English (2013–16) and served as Dean of Humanities (2017–2020). In 2016, she received a postdoctoral fellowship supported by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and French Embassy at Le Centre d’Études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (CEIAS). She was also a Charles Wallace Fellow at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London in 2018. She has published

List of contributors xi a monograph, entitled Poetry as Resistance: Islam and Ethnicity in Postcolonial Pakistan (Routledge 2011) and an edited anthology entitled, Literary and Non-Literary Responses towards 9/11: South Asia and Beyond (Routledge 2019). Her broader area of research in the area of postcolonial studies includes translation theory and praxis, South Asian literature, oral history narratives from South Asia, and Pakistani (and Siraiki diaspora). She is also a freelance translator and political activist resisting the marginality and challenges to Siraiki as an ethnolinguistic identity in Pakistan. During the pandemic, she has focused on digital activism, both as an ethnographic approach and as a means of empowerment. She has recently initiated a digital forum (Taj Langah Siraiki Archive) to promote Siraiki language, culture and identity.A few years ago, in collaboration with Dr. Roshni Sengupta, she also introduced IPAN (India Pakistan Academic Network) as a social media based digital forum to bridge the research by South Asian scholars. Debanjana Nayek is Assistant Professor at the Department of English at Presidency University in Kolkata, India, where she teaches courses on electronic literature, comics and graphic novels, popular culture theory, and the British literary canon. She has completed her M.Phil. and is currently pursuing her PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her research focuses on webcomics, graphic novels, digital storytelling, cyberfeminism, and postcolonial media theory. She has previously taught in a reputed college under Calcutta University. She has presented papers in several national and international conferences. In 2018 she has presented in Transitions 8 – New Directions in Comics Studies Symposium at Birkbeck, University of London and in June 2019 she presented a paper in International Conference of Graphic Novels, Comics and Bande Dessinées. She has also written on graphic novels and webcomics in many peer-reviewed academic journals, such as Colloquium and Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics. She has contributed a chapter in the forthcoming book, ‘Contemporary Gender Movements in India: Space, Conformity, Dissent and New Temporalities’ (Routledge). Shruti Parthasarathy is an independent art historian and writer with a specialised focus on Indian modern and contemporary art. She is the editor of K. B. Goel: Critical Writings on Art 1957–1998 (2020). Her English translation of Mihir Pandya’s Hindi Cinema via Delhi is forthcoming. Nubras Samayeen is an architect, an urban designer, and a doctoral scholar in the joint program of Landscape Architecture and Architecture with a minor in Heritage. Upon completion of her bachelor’s degree in Architecture, she completed dual master’s degrees in Architecture and Urban Design from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor with Distinction. Her design career began in New York and Washington DC. She was an assistant professor at the School of Architecture, Howard University in DC and at the University

xii List of contributors of Asia Pacific in Dhaka. Her doctoral research focuses on modern landscape of South Asia in the post-independence era (1947–1990) and explores the construction of national identity through built forms. This interdisciplinary study probes into modernism’s instrumentality in homogenising culture across the globe. In addition to her publications, she received numerous national and international design-awards including runners-up in Future Legacies Design Competition (2017), Canada and first prize in Designing Conflict (2010) in Zurich, Switzerland. Through her work, she aims to create an association between design and history/theory to catalyse a transboundary approach to design education that affects the built environment. She received the Dumbarton Oaks Summer Fellowship, Harvard University (2018); Kennedy and Feil Travel Awards (UIUC–2017); Illinois Dissertation Travel grant (UIUC–2018); and AAUW (2018). Roshni Sengupta is Assistant Professor, Institute of Middle and Far East, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. She was Assistant Professor at the Leiden Institute of Area Studies, Leiden University, Netherlands and Fellow of the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), Leiden. Among her published work is the monograph Reading the Muslim on Celluloid: Bollywood, Representation and Politics (Primus Books, 2020). Julia Szivak is a PhD candidate in Media and Cultural Studies at Birmingham City University, England, where she researches the transnational networks of British Asian music production. She completed her MA in Hindi Literature from the ELTE University, Budapest and in Comparative History from the Central European University, Budapest. Her research interests include South Asian popular culture, with a special focus on Bollywood music.


I am absolutely delighted to see an anthology on moving beyond Partitions coedited by Nukhbah Taj Langah and Roshni Sengupta that hopes to create a community of South Asian scholars who can bring about a closure to the tragic saga of Partition through possibilities of exploring a cross border dialogue. Desi, a Hindi term loosely used in the diasporic context to designate a person of South Asian origin, foregrounds the similarities between South Asians that are overlooked at home due to the antagonist relations between South Asian neighbours post-partition. In view of the fact that South Asian is an ascription used by the West to describe migrants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and so on, the book’s stated objective to explore a comprehensive South Asian identity gestures to the imagining of a region-based identity transcending the national. The intensification of religious boundaries and religious identities, Muslim or Hindu, in the postcolonial nation states threatens to destroy the ecumenical vision of an ethno-regional and ethno-cultural community. In opposition to a monolithic national identity and the emergence of majoritarian discourses in which the minority is othered, the book’s allusion to Yasmin Saikia’s notion of insaniyat through which ordinary people forget the wounds of Partition by discovering their common humanity suggests a viable alternative. The Partition of the Indian subcontinent has engaged the attention of a large number of scholars from different parts of South Asia over the last three decades. Some of these scholars have successfully crossed political boundaries in putting together cross border narratives of Partition in the reproduction of ethno-regional or ethno-linguistic memories that refuse to be partitioned along the lines of nations. In their belief that academic discourse carries the possibilities of transcending political divisions, the editors of this volume have collaborated for the first time to prove that the academia, like the arts and music, is a world without borders. After having edited a well-researched volume on Literary and Non-Literary Responses Towards 9/11: South Asia and Beyond a year ago, Langah is now contributing to this coedited volume with Sengupta – both uniquely positioned to undertake an academic project that examines postcolonial development of landscapes of film and media in South Asia to explore the post-partition political relationship between India, Pakistan, and



Bangladesh. With their strong credentials in linguistic, literary, cinema, media, and cultural studies, the two co-editors are perfectly equipped to launch this investigation into the mediatised representations of Partition. One of the primary aims of the volume is to examine the way Partition has been mediatised and appropriated by the respective post-independence national media cultures in South Asia. Representations of the Partition in the media, largely in cinema, have been examined in a number of academic studies over the last decade or so followed by those on television, and more recently, on other visual and performing arts. This book is a first in its expanding the scope of visual representations of Partition through exploring a range of media ranging from theatre, television, visual arts, and cyberspace, in addition to cinema and literature, by bringing together interdisciplinary essays by emerging scholars based in different parts of South Asia and beyond. The editors rightly point out that postcolonial cinema in South Asia has largely been defined in national terms and that the domination of Hindi cinema has marginalised the ‘other’ film industries in Pakistan or Bangladesh. Since the history of cinema cannot be partitioned, South Asian scholars skirt the problem by beginning their study of national cinemas through examining post-Partition films. The appropriation of national cinema in the construction of a national identity and its use in the propagation of the national’s cultural power, particularly in the case of Bollywood, simultaneously serves to exclude the religious, class or caste ‘other’. But the volume moves beyond cinema to investigate the role of other media including news in the production of a nationalist rhetoric. Particularly interesting is their invocation of the idea of jang-e-narm to ‘fear of the other’ that permeates a large part of the insidious propaganda in the media landscape of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Postpartition art and photography, particularly of the generation that witnessed Partition, has remained largely underrepresented in Partition studies, a lacuna that the book addresses. The book chalks a new direction by examining new digital media such as online discussions, chatgroups, forums, and so on to inquire if the emancipatory possibilities offered by technologies in enabling crossing of borders and forming of virtual communities is overturned by the emergence of exclusionary spaces through which the ‘other’ is produced. The most important question they pose is how different media have facilitated or impeded people’s attempt to move beyond the 1947 and 1971 Partitions. The book is an exhaustive study of mediatised representations of Partition that play a key role in the formation of South Asian identities, which can be divisive or unifying, as the editors effectively argue. It promises to make an important contribution to film, media, culture, and Partition studies. Anjali Gera Roy Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India


Turning the pages of this important volume, I am reminded of a final moment in Abhishek Majumder’s haunting play The Djinns of Eidgah (2012), set in war-torn Kashmir. A soldier in India’s Central Reserve Police force stands over 14-year old Ashrafi, and in panic holds a gun to her head. Her response to her assailant: ‘Shoot me… and I will come back again… and again… and again… and again.’ (243) Film, Media and Representation in Post-Colonial South Asia performs reparative work to this seemingly relentless cycle of violence, in its multi-perspectival enquiry on representations of South Asian border zones in a rapidly changing media landscape – methods inspired through Arjun Appadurai’s theorisation of mediascapes (2004). Ambitious in scope, the authors trace out mediascapes shaped through the 1947 partition between India and Pakistan, the 1971 Bangladesh War of Independence, the continued Kashmiri border disputes, and unceasing unrest across and within national borders of the contemporary moment. Among analysis are Kolkata’s Group Theatre’s play repertoire, Partition art and photography, Pakistan television, Bollywood films through to digital literature and social media discourses. Editors Nukhbah Taj Langah and Roshni Sengupta compellingly assert the need to move beyond Partition and narratives of trauma by confronting the ghosts of the past, as essential in carving alternative media futures. Langah and Sengupta bring together an eclectic body of scholars, situated in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and beyond who speak from and across their national borders. As the first section of the book amplifies, media has often operated as a form of soft power in treating the region’s conflicts through erasures and one-dimensional religio-nationalist narratives – narratives that the book opens to plurality. Through the multi-situatedness of its authors, the book demands an engagement beyond the ideological impasse of border politics in treatments that are often intimate and deeply felt. The book’s second section examines photography and visual art, powerfully bearing witness to the trauma borne out of the violence inflicted on the survivors and victims of 1947 Partition and the 1971 war. In analysis of Bangladesh’s photographic record, where images of death and massacre symbolically drive the nationalist archive, one of the victims of the photos transpires to be the author’s own



uncle. The authors and editors encourage an orientation toward these media texts through feeling, critique, and multi-directionality. The contributors collectively wage counter insurgency upon the region’s borders and dominant disciplinary formations, bringing expertise in film, theatre, television, photography, visual art, literature, and digital media. Such an interdisciplinary approach is urgent as we move increasingly into new media digital cartographies. A regional dialogue, let alone an interdisciplinary endeavour such as this, still occupies a marginal space in our fields. Visa regimes and ideological imperatives of research funding lines have often obscured scholarly collaboration within the region. From an area studies perspective, scholarship has long been dominated by India-centricity, whereas what passes as ‘South Asian’ invariably only represents the disciplinary and political prominence of India. In my own field of theatre, I can name only one book that attends to the region’s theatres through a multi-authored approach, in Mapping South Asian Theatre (ed. Ashis Sengupta 2014). While film and media studies have witnessed a recent increase of edited volumes that engage the region, they tend to be focused on contemporary media production (e.g. Schleiter and de Maaker 2019; Udupa and McDowell 2017; Jha and Kurian 2017; Banaji 2011). Film, Media and Representation in Postcolonial South Asia explores a longer trajectory. As Arjun Appadurai signals, while this new world is characterised by the increasing mobility of objects, it nevertheless remains one of “Structures, organisations, and other social forms” (2000, 5) – this book’s study of mediascapes, covering over 70 years, is able to locate the structural hegemonic hauntings and erasures of militarisation and religiousnationalism performed at various sides of border zones, which help us to read new media. This is clearly a project of passion by the authors and its editors, who began work in 2016 as India closed its borders upon Pakistani actors in the aftermath of the Uri attack. To create a dialogue beyond borders, they engineered an ‘alterspace’ through the Facebook group ‘India-Pakistan Academic Network’ which now has over 1,000 members. This book is thus one part of a larger project attempting to shift the mediascape, particularly beyond the limited fetishisations and cyberhate nationalisms that the final section of the book critiques. The editors’ commentaries between the book’s three sections, usefully steer the path for future work, pointing to collaboration and conflict as new media engages media auteurs and audiences beyond the boundedness of nations. There is much of interest here, to South Asian media studies, performing arts, visual arts through to security studies. From my own experience over a decade of teaching undergraduate media students in Pakistan, who often must navigate the labyrinth of social media vitriol and the jingoism of outdated textbooks, this will be essential reading. Reading this important new contribution at a time of the global Covid-19 pandemic crisis, with its deep exposes of structural inequities and hope for change, the volume couldn’t feel timelier. It sets up pathways for pushing boundaries of how we engage each other, within and beyond trauma, across



the borders of nations, ethnicities, caste, religion, gender disparities, and minority discourses. Recent media productions including Equality Lab’s online conversation with Black, Dalit, and Sheedi activists and Dr. Cornel West, through to news of khwaja sira and trans people in Pakistan making their own documentaries, are hopeful signs of minoritarian intervention in South Asia’s mediascapes, toward decolonising futures. July 2020 Claire Pamment The College of William & Mary, Virginia, USA, and author of Comic Performance in Pakistan: The Bhānd (2017)

References Appadurai, Arjun. 2000. ‘Grassroots Globalization and the Research Imagination.’ Public Culture 12 (1): 1–19. Appadurai, Arjun. 2004. ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy’ in Lachner, Frank J. and Boli, John. (eds), The Globalization Reader. Malden: Blackwell. Banaji, Shakuntala (ed.). 2011. South Asian Media Cultures: Audiences, Representations, Contexts. London & New York: Anthem. Jha, Sonora. & Kurian, Alka. (eds.). 2017. New Feminisms in South Asian Social Media, Film, and Literature. New York: Routledge. Majumder, Abishek. 2017. ‘The Djinns of Eidgah’ in Ashis Sengupta (ed.), Islam in Performance: Contemporary Plays from South Asia, pp. 168–246. London: Methuen Drama. Schleiter, Markus & Erik de Maaker (eds.). 2019. Indigeneity, Media and Nation in South Asia. London: Routledge. Sengupta, Ashis (ed.). 2014. Mapping South Asia Through Contemporary Theatre: Essays on the Theatres of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. London: Palgrave. Udupa, Sahana. & McDowell, Stephen. (eds.). 2017. Media as Politics in South Asia. London: Routledge.


The book you hold in your hand is truly a labour of great enthusiasm, dedication, and love from the editors and contributors who have come together for the first-of-its-kind volume on the development of post-Partition mediascapes in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh thereby seeking to unpack the nuances of an emerging South Asian identity particularly in the diasporic context. The endeavour began in earnest in the summer of 2016 when Nukhbah – based then at Le Centre d’Études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud – CEIAS, Paris for her post-doc – visited Leiden, The Netherlands for a conference (‘Language, Power, and Identity in Asia: Creating and Crossing Language Boundaries’ held 14–16 March 2016) and met Roshni who was a young academic at Leiden University. Besides the instant camaraderie and friendship that grew between the two young scholars divided by political borders, the germ of an idea to imagine a social and interactive sphere that resisted these political borders in a unique way started taking shape culminating in the setting up of the ‘India-Pakistan Academic Network’ as a Facebook page which has more than 1,000 members at present (and growing) and a roadmap for edited volumes focused on media and literature in South Asia after Partition. We owe a big thanks to the huge network of South Asian scholars who took interest in this initiative and continue to use this forum as a means of knowledge exchange while also struggling to maintain our historical legacies and cultural connections. Following the overwhelming response to an open call for papers and the superior quality of work that we received mainly from young scholars from all over South Asia and the world – besides Routledge’s publishing requirements – the editors decided to split the volume drawing from the overarching themes. This book is the first of these two volumes. The editors would like to extend gratitude to Leiden University and International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) for bringing together academics from all over the world and presenting us with a platform for networking and collaboration – we would perhaps not have met had it not been for the efforts of LU and IIAS. We also wish to thank friends and colleagues in various universities and institutions in Europe – Prof. Nira Wickramasinghe at Leiden Institute for



Area Studies (also for endorsing this book project); Dr. Priya Swamy at the Stichting Nationaal Museum van Werelculturen; Dr. Tom Hoogervorst at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies; Dr. Philippe Peycam and Dr. Willem Vogelsang at the IIAS; Prof. Pralay Kanungo at South Asia Institute, Heidelberg; Dr. Kamila Junik, Prof. Agnieszka Kuczkiewicz-Fraś, and Prof. Renata Czekalska at the Institute of Middle and Far East, Jagiellonian University in Krakow – where we were invited in 2017 for another international conference, ‘India and Pakistan after 70 years of Independence: Study on Culture and Politics’ held 11–17 December 2017; and, Prof. Ananya Jahanara Kabir at King’s College London for her mentorship and support. Special mention is due to Prof. Amritjit Singh, Langston Hughes Professor at Ohio University (USA), who has shown true comradeship in our endeavours to bring the academic minds of the three sub-continental cousins together by being one of the moderators of the Facebook platform and providing us with intellectual and moral support on the book project. Our institutions have over the years provided us with the necessary structural support that makes academic work possible and for this reason alone thanks are due to the administrations of Forman Christian College University, Lahore (Pakistan); Leiden University (The Netherlands), and Jagiellonian University in Krakow (Poland). Our publisher – Routledge – has been the bulwark of this project and has guided us every step of the way, keeping us on our toes with their inputs and editorial support. This project would have been impossible without the timely support and patience of our contributors and hence we thank Julia Szivak, Nishat Haider, Suryansu Guha, Arnab Banerji, Altaf Khan, Kamayani Kumar, Nubras Samayeen, Shruti Parthasarathy, Debanjana Nayek, and Waseem Anwar for contributing towards this academic endeavour; we may not have been the best editors at times but we do value your contribution as you are truly the sails that kept the project afloat! We would specially like to thank Prof. Claire Pamment, The College of William & Mary, Virginia, USA, for writing a glorious preface to the book; Prof. Anjali Gera-Roy, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kharagpur for sparing her time to pen a succinct foreword; and, Raza Rumi for endorsing not only the book project but the idea behind the endeavour – your support is much appreciated. We have been assisted and aided greatly on this journey by Nukhbah’s committed young research assistant, Sumaya Makhdoom whose relentless support in compiling this project has been much valued! Last but not least, we would like to thank our families, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances in India and Pakistan who have been sources of strength, support, and inspiration – even though invisible – through the four years spent on bringing this book project to fruition. Much gratitude is also due to all the ‘midnight’s children’ (like us) who inspired the thought behind launching the project and contemplating a space for seamless interaction between academics from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

xx Acknowledgements After the successful completion of this exciting volume, we now look forward to continuing our collaboration through the second volume entitled, ‘Literary Developments in Postcolonial South Asia.’ Nukhbah Taj Langah Roshni Sengupta

Introduction: Moving beyond partitions Theorising the academic dialogue Nukhbah Taj Langah and Roshni Sengupta

Identity, media, and visual discourses in South Asia In order to rationalise the thematic focus of this volume, it is important to address the question of Muslim identity – the epistemological lynchpin of conflict between post-colonial India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh – which remains an unresolved issue primarily on the political front of South Asia for over a century. Even as the geopolitical map of the region has changed twice during this period (i.e. 1947 and 1971), the question of the Muslim identity has remained a bone of contention. Creation of new nation states (namely Pakistan and Bangladesh) has failed to resolve it, in fact making it even more contentious. The potential albeit theoretical independence of Kashmir may only add to the present complications. The three major nation states in the region have attempted to assert a monolithic national identity while reinforcing that identities of various nations be contained within the discourse of national identity and the political structure that it created. In post-colonial India, a singular majoritarian discourse has silenced all other voices except those that were able to accept the majoritarian garb. Undivided India and divided Pakistan have showed the futility of ignoring ethnic and linguistic divergence and subsumption through an overarching regional Muslim identity. Hence, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are largely studied through the lens of animosity between these post-colonial nations – partitioned, yet historically and nostalgically connected. The connection with Bangladesh is further viewed through the prism of oral histories as a way of capturing peoples’ lived experiences (Kabir 2018) by reviewing the lives of the intellectuals facing the creation of Pakistan in their youthful years. Kabir’s research comprehensively indicates how these crucial years are bypassed in the histories of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and yet constitute a major proportion of national, regional, and personal memories. A major work focusing on the Partition of India is based in collecting the traumatic memories of Partition through oral histories as for instance through the work of Urvashi Butalia’s compilation of traumatic interviews with women and children treated severely during the events of Partition (Butalia). Whereas, in her study of ‘memories’ of violence, humiliation and loss during the DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655-1


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Liberation War of 1971, Yasmin Saikia has found that more than four decades later the awareness of intersubjective relationships leads survivors – victims and perpetrators – to search for meaning beyond their national labels. Thus, the quest leads to the renewal of insaniyat or a uniquely South Asian concept of humanity, which survivors suggest is the site of human freedom from violence and getting over differences. Based on her work with rape survivors and perpetrators in Bangladesh on Luisa Passerini’s treatise on the ‘multiplicity of identities’ in Europe, Saikia identifies memory as the site of a new generosity to reclaim respect for self and others as human beings. Ordinary men and women – Muslims and Hindus, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Indian – survivors of 1971, discuss and conceptualise this newly regained sense of human responsibility in their oral narratives. Survivors’ ethical rethinking engages and moves beyond the labels of national markers, offering a way of imagining history in the subcontinent that is discontinuous but intertwined. The ‘narrative hospitality’ of the survivors exchanging memories for self-recognition and intersubjective relationship with others is sited between the national identities constructed on the ground of religion (Islam and Hinduism) and the emotion of insaniyat. Hence, this volume is based on the love/hate relationship developed amongst South Asian states (mainly India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) – love due to our historical and nostalgic ties and hate mainly due to political differences influenced by the colonial legacy and our profoundly politically charged regimes. Nevertheless, in this volume, our focus is mainly on the gaps that need to be filled by continuing to focus on the pragmatic and constructive aspects of this relationship. The readers will notice that overall this volume includes chapters that engage with hitherto disregarded cultural links manifested in the form of the South Asian mediascape through studies based on cinema, music, drama, and photography from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. They are based on but are not restricted to the themes of our strategic focus on media and nonliterary discourses such as visual culture, art and digital humanities in this volume is significantly important because a large body of research on Partition focuses mainly on literature from India and Pakistan, gender and sexuality, construction of the ‘Other’, representation of war, nostalgia and separation, progressive cinema, stereotypes in radio and television programming, and so on. In keeping with our strategic focus on media and non-literary discourses such as visual culture, art and digital humanities in this volume is significantly important because a large body of research on Partition focuses mainly on literature from India and Pakistan. The aim of the volume, therefore, is not just to explore the post-Partition political relationship between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh but also to examine how, despite the political constraints, they engage with each other as a South Asian community. Moving beyond genrespecific parameters, the volume looks closely at post-Partition developments and towards the future of the sub-continental neighbours in the context of a growing South Asian mediascape which has somehow softened the political borders.

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The research on literature or history of Bangladesh is significantly missing from the libraries or academic circles of Pakistan. This ongoing discussion on historiography being biased is still being debated by Ayesha Jalal (1996); Ian Talbot and Gurharpal Singh (1999), Shashi Tharoor (1997), David Gilmartin (1998); Joya Chatterji (1994), Christophe Jafferlot and many other South Asian and western historians. Just as Indian and Pakistani history textbooks depict the counterpart as an enemy, the Pakistani textbooks largely blame the Bengali politicians for instigating the 1971 war (Aziz 2010). Today, the Bengali community exists as a minority community (largely settled in Karachi) strive for the acknowledgement of their identity. There are rarely any books available on the subject of the 1971 Partition. Perhaps some rare documents which belong to the private or family archives of the rapidly expiring generation of people who experienced or witnessed the division of families during the 1971 partition. This creates a huge gap in the understanding of political differences created during ‘Partitions – 1947 and 1971’ simultaneously losing an important aspect of history addressing why and how these nations survived together for a long time. Hence, our strategic focus on media and non-literary discourses such as visual culture, art and digital humanities in this volume is significantly important because, firstly, a large body of research on Partition focuses mainly on literature and history from India and Pakistan and there are very few academic initiatives that make an effort to bring the academics from all three nations together. Secondly, the overarching presence of Bollywood has subsumed the media responses from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Theorising key themes The thought behind this volume focused on connecting scholars and practitioners from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh in order to address questions concerning the post-colonial development of landscapes of film and media in South Asia. The objective is to create a much-needed academic debate and dialogue and build a collective argument on how we need to move ahead, despite the brutal reality of hearts being politically divided (Shahnawaz 1957). It is significant to discuss two key thematic focuses of this book. The first is ‘shifting beyond partition’ and the second is ‘dialogue’. In our initial discussions at the University of Leiden (Netherlands) when we conceived the idea of this project, we discussed why, despite the borders created through 1971 and 1947 partition; it was important for us to collaboratively work on a book which could bring together academics from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. As an initial effort, we created a social media page entitled ‘India-Pakistan Academic Network’. The two volumes focusing on media and literature were thus planned with the vision to continue promoting a collaboration between the academics from these countries and invite them to write about sanguine connections between us despite facing political borders. Hence, there is no discussion about the trauma of Partitions in the chapters that we offer. Instead, there is a cognisant effort towards


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creating a bridge to be able to understand each other as partitioned communities that remain augmented to their common history. This takes us to the second thematic focus of the book and that is ‘dialogue’ – which mainly refers to the ongoing post-partition dialogue between the academics from these countries. We have witnessed the rare dialogue between the states of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh in the aftermath of Partitions, making this initiative more important. The negativity witnessed at the borders has also resulted in the distancing between the academics. While bound by the norms of citizenships and political borders, the only way for them to reconnect is by creating a third space, which may be a foreign land, a technological forum or an academic dialogue, as for instance, through such academic initiatives. Hence, initiating this discourse involving academics from all three countries is understood as a kind of a dialogue. The readers will observe that the academics discussing their responses towards India/Pakistan/Bangladesh through their focus on soft power, media discourses and performative expressions, somehow, remain focused on the positive image and common historical ties with the political other. By no means do they intend to complicate political controversies through their academic responses in these chapters, instead they do make a conscious effort to disentangle these complexities. Hence, we observe that the overall objective of the contributors remains reconciling with the political reality of these Partitions largely resulting from the colonial influence or political misapprehensions. Since the political restrictions in the states of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh limit the interactions between academics and intellectuals, making them least accessible to each other, ironically, the diasporic space that we also challenge as a colonial burden remains a limitation, yet an important way of reaching out to each other. Hence, another major epistemological consideration that becomes important in this context is the growth and spread of the ‘South Asian’ diaspora – one of the fastest growing diasporas in the world. Beginning as out-migration from the undivided Indian sub-continent, the diasporic formations are now significantly earmarked as Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi in different parts of the world. Yet, a distinct thread of common cultural mores, a shared history and an undying love for cricket, cinema and cuisine strongly unites the three diasporic groups in a foreign location. Popular culture has reflected this ‘dissonant proximity’ between Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi diasporic groups. This reflects in the form of films like Brick Lane (2007, dir. Gavron) based on Monica Ali’s book by the same name and Bend It Like Beckham (2002, dir. Chadha) among others (Brown 2006). One of the editors of this book – in engagement with everyday life as a diasporic Indian – continuously comes in contact with diasporic Pakistanis and Bangladeshis wherein the cultural oneness of the people from the sub-continent clearly emerges thereby positing a basis for a global South Asian identity. While language remains the frontrunner in the contexts that bring us closer as diasporic South Asians, other cultural mores such as food habits, Bollywood, Pakistani dramas, and cricket vie for their pride of place. The initially unexpected yet

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pleasant interactions (some of which have developed into friendships) between members of the Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi diasporas encourages us to move towards contextualising and theorising a South Asian identity at least in view of the expanding transnational community from the subcontinent. While a discussion on the South Asian diaspora remains outside the purview of the book, it has emerged as one of the driving forces for this project – the abject need to understand the contemporary reality of a shared identity marker on the global stage while engaging in geopolitical one-upmanship in the region itself. Any discussion on the conviviality among the sub-continental diaspora, however, does not seek to gloss over the trenchant fault lines that remain etched in the memories and nationalistic socialisations of the various groups thereby resulting in political gamesmanship in the host countries. In Revisiting India’s Partition: New essays on memory, culture and politics, Amritjit Singh, Nalini Iyer and Rahul K. Gairola attempt to expand Vazira Zamindar’s notion of the Long Partition which studies the continuing cultural, political, economic and psychological effects of 1947. Frequent episodes of sectarian violence all over South Asia continue to trigger and reinforce the horrible memories of Partitions, both lived and received, for ordinary citizens, scholars and artists in both productive and destructive ways. To this very day, most communities in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have failed to meet this challenge of overcoming the anger and resentment of the past through generations even as these differences might become far less distinct in a diasporic milieu. In a recent conversation with a Bangladeshi academic on a visit to Europe, one of the editors of the book was surprised by the matter-of-fact tone of the professor who said ‘we always supported India in cricket before Bangladesh entered competitive cricket … Pakistan is the enemy for us’. Such views clearly reflect that the ghosts of the past clearly haunt the present!

Brief overview of the book This book constitutes three major sections as follows: ‘Soft Power: Performance, Film and Television’, ‘Art and Visual Culture’, ‘Cyber Space, Social Media, and Digital Texts’. The volume includes chapters that engage with hitherto disregarded cultural links manifested in the form of the South Asian mediascape through studies based on cinema, music, drama, and photography from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. They are based on but are not restricted to the themes of gender and sexuality, construction of the ‘Other’, representation of war, nostalgia and separation, progressive cinema, stereotypes in radio and television programming, and so on. The first section has attempted to bring together mediatised perspectives on political issues plaguing the subcontinent since Partition, one of them being the continued impasse between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. In doing so, two key contributions to this book reflect on the trauma of a militarised zone and its cinematic representations. The chapters included in this section also provide an in-depth understanding of key strands of the mediascape as it developed in


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the subcontinent after the partitions. The section on Art and Visual Culture focuses on understanding the interstices between art and memory by exploring the works of contemporary post-Partition artists in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and the manner in which the coming to terms with the memory of violence and hatred has created grounds for the development of a consummate collaboration of motifs and modes that define the blurring of cultural, linguistic, and aesthetic borders between the subcontinental neighbours. The third section brings to the fore the normalisation of mythmaking in the post-truth digital world where nationalist cyber wars, online jingoism and the transmission of hate messaging had emerged as the new and accepted forms of communication. From the anonymity provided by the cyber world a more virulent form of jingoistic nationalism has emerged and is in evidence in the three South Asian neighbours and interactions between them. For a more focused overview of these theme-based sections, we offer a succinct introduction at the beginning of each section.

References Ahmad, Manzoor. 2019. ‘Understanding India-Pakistan Relations: Memory Keeps Getting in the Way of History.’ Jadavpur Journal of International Relations, 23 (1): 69–80. Appadurai, Arjun. 2004. ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy,’ in Lachner, Frank J. and Boli, John. (eds.), The Globalization Reader. Malden: Blackwell. Aziz, K.K. 2010. The Murder of History: A Critique of History Textbooks used in Pakistan. Lahore: Sang-e-Meel Publications. Babb, Lawrence A. 1995. Media and the Transformation of Religion in South Asia. University of Pennsylvania Press. Banaji, Shakuntala (ed.). 2011. South Asian Media Cultures: Audiences, Representations, Contexts, London: Anthem Press. Bend It Like Beckam. 2002. dir. by Gurinder Chaddha, prod. by Kintop Pictures, Bend It Films, Roc Media, Road Movies Filmproduktion. Bose, N. 2014. ‘Purba Pakistan Zindabad: Bengali Visions of Pakistan, 1940–1947,’ Modern Asian Studies, 48(1): 1–36. doi:10.1017/S0026749X12000315. Brick Lane. 2007. dir. by Sarah Gavron, prod. by Film4 Productions, Ingenious Film Partners, UK Film Council, Ruby Films. Chatterji, J. 1994. Bengal Divided: Hindu Communalism and Partition, 1932–1947. Cambridge University Press. Gilmartin, David. 1998. ‘Partition, Pakistan, and South Asian History: In Search of a Narrative,’ The Journal of Asian Studies 57(4): 1068–1095. Jalal, Ayesha. 1996.‘Secularists, Subalterns and the Stigma of Communalism: Partition Historiography Revisited,’ Modern South Asian Studies 30 (3): 681–689. Jalal, Ayesha. 1995.‘Conjuring Pakistan: History as Official Imagining,’ International Journal of Middle East Studies 27: 73–89. Jaffrelot, Christophe and Cynthia Schoch (eds) 2015. The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience. Oxford University Press. Kabir, Ananya Jahanara. 2018. ‘Utopias Eroded And Recalled: Intellectual Legacies of East Pakistan,’ Journal of South Asian Studies, 41(4): 892–910.

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Riaz, Ali. 2002. ‘Nations, Nation-State and Politics of Muslim Identity in South Asia,’ Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 22(1–2).53–58. Sabhlok, Smita G. 2002. ‘Nationalism and Ethnicity and the Nation-state in South Asia,’ Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 8(3): 24–42. Saikia, Yasmin. 2016. ‘Destroyed By Love: Nation, Memory, And Humanity In South Asia,’ Women’s History Review 25(3): 427–446. Shahnawaz, Mumtaz. 1957. The Heart Divided. Lahore: Mumtaz Publications. Tharoor, Shashi. 1997. India from Midnight to the Millennium. Arcade Publishing. Udupa, Sahana and Stephen D. McDowell (eds). 2017. Media as Politics in South Asia. New York: Routledge. Singh, Amritjit, Nalini Iyer and Rahul Ka Gairola (eds.). 2016. Revisiting India’s Partition: New Essays on Memory, Culture and Politics. Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan.

Part I

Soft power: performance, film, and television Nukhbah Taj Langah and Roshni Sengupta The following section brings together mediatised perspectives on political issues plaguing the subcontinent since Partition, one of them being the continued impasse between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. In doing so, two key contributions to this book reflect on the trauma of a militarised zone and its cinematic representations. The chapters included in this section also provide an in-depth understanding of key strands of the mediascape as it developed in the subcontinent after the partitions. In order to bridge a critical gap in scholarship regarding performance and media by going beyond the oft-cited framework of geopolitics culminating in a turf war over Kashmir even as two of the essays address the key question of Kashmir – from unique theoretical standpoints – this section encompasses critical new work. In her chapter ‘Trouble in Paradise – The Portrayal of the Kashmir Insurgency in Hindi Cinema’, Julia Szivak focuses on Bollywood films (1990s–2000) based on the political context of Kashmir. The author contends that these films apply various narrative techniques and conventions to ‘portray the Kashmir conflict as a depoliticised, domestic affair’ projected in the backdrop of its harmonic landscape. Nishat Haider, in ‘The Vale of Desire: Framing Kashmir in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider’, analyses Vishal Bhardwaj’s film, Haider (2014) as a contextual archive. The essay explores the Partition of 1947 as an ‘originary trauma’ in the Indian national imaginary through the context of Kashmir while challenging the notions of citizenship through realist cinematic tropes. Haider views ‘Kashmiri identity’ through Agamben’s and Mbembe’s notions of ‘state of exception’ and ‘necropower’, respectively. Bringing into focus trauma theory models of spectrality, spectro-politics, and spectral resistance, she argues that the legacy of Partition violence is far more problematic than violence at the time of Partition. In his chapter ‘Finding Comfort in Silence? The absence of partition narratives from the contemporary Group Theatre in Kolkata’, Arnab Banerji presents an overview of the socio-politically conscious Bengali group theatre scenario after Partition, which maintained a curious silence as a way of dealing with the trauma of the Partition of India in 1947. His chapter explores the reasons behind this silence and argues that the attitude of the Bengali bhadralok samaj (genteel society) led to an assumption that the partition of Bengal DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655-2

10 Introduction: Moving beyond partitions was beneficial for the sustenance of a ‘pure’ Hindu Bengali identity. Banerji bases his argument on two Ritwik Ghatak plays, Sanko and Dolil. In ‘The Rise of the Celebrity Anchor in Pakistan’s Private TV: The one voice that kills other voices’, Altaf Ullah Khan presents his bold structural castigation of the Pakistani television media. He proposes the restructuring of Pakistani television as a combination of ‘production’ and ‘discourse evolution’. He critiques the state narrative projected through Pakistan television under General Musharraf’s rule and regards the journalists working with private channels as disempowered individuals. Khan also launches a trenchant critique on talk shows which are a ‘medium of promoting TV anchors as celebrities’ and propagate a form of negative morality, necessitating the remodelling of national television in Pakistan.

Exploring present paradigms Any engagement with the visual narrative of Partition remains incomplete without an examination of Bengali cinema director, author, and playwright, Ritwik Ghatak and his eponymous cinematic and theatrical works. Raychaudhuri examines the way Partition has featured in the work of Ghatak and the way he resists and rewrites this state-sanctioned version of his country’s and his own past. The Bengal Partition provides the context within which all of Ghatak’s work is situated. Interestingly, however, the filmmaker never depicts the act of Partition itself, choosing instead as his subject the streams of refugees who left what was then East Pakistan and is now Bangladesh, and came to Kolkata in West Bengal. Ghatak’s most characteristic story, then, is the story of the educated, middle-to-upper-class East Bengali refugee, who has lost everything by having to move west. Ghatak has often cinematised the story of his own family and the families of thousands of others in the characters he brought to life on screen, which has become the predominant Bengali narrative of Partition. By focusing on Ghatak’s oeuvre, Raychaudhuri has shown how Ghatak uses it to resist the most pernicious, and also most permanent myth of the Indian Partition – that it was an act which led to two different, mutually exclusive, heterogeneous but unified nations (Raychaudhuri 2009). While Ghatak’s films provide a longue durée view of the trauma of Partition, the body of work produced by the filmmaker and playwright has never been considered in contrast with the popular films produced during the period and their engagement with Partition. Chowdhury (2015) assembles a reading of two ‘rival’ bodies of work for their potent engagement with the production of memory within the cinematic poetics of Partition. In relation to images of the city as a cinematic trope, his work offers fresh insights into the vivisection within the broader scopic regime of visual modernity. The whole schema of Partition-induced mobility and displacement seems to have produced a certain moving imagery and a cultural memory that cinematised the city space like never before. One also notes an overarching postcoloniality of form foregrounded in their spatial interrogation, a consciousness of space and city that

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was to be seen within the larger ontological field of interrogating the new nationhood, the new spatiality that the demise of empire had rendered visible. Priya Jha and Amit S. Rai (2011) state that the dominance of Hindi-Urdu cinema in South Asian media studies has shaped popular culture criticism to the extent of occluding the varied strands of mediation that exist in the cultural landscape of the region. According to them, Hindi-Urdu cinema, popularly known as Bombay cinema or Bollywood cinema has been discussed for the most part in three ways: (1) as national cinema; (2) as a global phenomenon, and (3) as the ‘purple pleasures of the moment’ or the postcolonial apotheosis of a certain melodramatic form. Yet, scant attention has been paid to the intensive processes of emergent filmic forms that take the critical gaze beyond cinema – from Hindi-Urdu cinema’s ‘going global’ to its intermedial forms of habituations, South Asian film in its various moments of media assemblage gives birth to new processes, new meanings, new perceptions, and new interfaces. In their eponymous work on the Islamicate cultures of Bombay cinema, Ira Bhaskar and Richard Allen (2009) primarily present an elaborate discussion on the preponderance of Islamicate (not Islamic) motifs and mores since 1930s up to the new millennium. Focussing on Islamicate genres – Muslim historical, Muslim Courtesan Films, Classic Muslim Socials, and the new wave of Muslim Socials – and using ‘aesthetic idioms’, they explore ‘the influence and impact of the forms of imagined history, social life and expressive idioms that are derived from and associated with Islamic culture, history, upon Bombay Cinema’. Despite being an important contribution with reference to Islamicate cultures in Bollywood industry through aesthetic debate and elaborate imagery, at one level, the work presents a perspective based on religion-inflicted cultural functions that in some ways celebrate the communal and religious differences that these films emphasised, precisely those that emerged out of Partition and deepened since 1947. Rachel Dwyer observes Bollywood as a reflection of South Asian popular culture. She designates Bollywood cinema as reflecting the realities of Modern India and the problems, concerns, and lives of middle classes in India, arguing that Bollywood reflects peoples’ histories can shape their views and attitudes towards politics. Moving a step ahead, Rajadhyaksha (2003) regards Bollywood as a global industry which attracts the middle class, including the diasporic South Asian middle-class groups. In her study of popular Hindi cinema and its narrative structures, Rao has examined how the Indian identity is shaped through Bollywood film industry and how lower middle class and rural India absorb, understand, and engage with these images. Nevertheless, unlike Dwyer, she argues that the non-elite audiences find themselves distanced from the images that Indian cinema has historically constructed. Presenting a different perspective, Nadira Khatun argues that if ‘Indian nationalism’ is to be represented as ‘Hindu nationalism’ and ‘Indian culture’ as ‘Hindu culture,’ it logically follows that this majoritarian construction needs the minority ‘Other’ to reinforce this notion of nationalism and culture. In order to make her point, she critically analyses the representation of Muslims

12 Introduction: Moving beyond partitions in contemporary Bollywood films by deploying Edward Said’s notion of representation and knowledge as imbricated in issues of power, class, and materiality. Using Said’s theoretical framework of Orientalism, Khatun’s work elucidates how specific popular Bollywood films in the historical genre have dealt with the liminality of the Muslim ‘Other’ in the nation-space by either representing Muslims in stereotypical ways or by vilifying their image. Anjali Gera Roy has emphasised the relationship between India’s ‘soft power’ (Nye 1990) and Bollywood. By ‘soft power’ she alludes to the power of the Hindi film industry to impact peoples’ political views across the globe. The dynamic impact of Bollywood as an instrument to attract and influence audience is primarily felt in Pakistan and Bangladesh at times by conveying state policies through cinema. This is accomplished not only through Hindi cinema narratives but also through the regional film industries and several diasporic initiatives. Overall, according to Roy, ‘soft power’ constitutes the hybridisation of policy and aesthetics, through the charismatic personalities of Bollywood actors, the popularity of acknowledged directors, and the general acceptance of popular film narratives. Soft power works ‘not through direct intervention but indirect persuasion, and the aesthetic becomes political through subversive acts rather than political military actions’ (Nye 1990: 14), whereas, ‘smart power’ (Nye 1990: 15) – for Roy – is Bollywood’s cinematisation of international relations and foreign policy. Moving beyond Roy’s contemplation on the soft power of Bollywood, the contributors to this book have explored specific dimensions of cultural soft power’ for instance, the responses to the political and humanitarian impasse in Kashmir or the dialogism of Ghatak’s work. Much in the vein of Roy’s studies on Bollywood’s soft power, Rasul and Mukhtar – in their critical work on the impact of a nation’s foreign policy objectives on its popular culture – lay bare the intricacies of the manner in which the nexus between the film industry and state apparatus has grown critical and complex in the wake of the global war on terror. It attempts to understand the role of Bollywood as soft power in assisting governments to secure their interests at international level through the critical political economy of communication approach. Based on the analysis of popular films portraying tension and cooperation between the South Asian neighbours, the results indicate that Bollywood closely follows the foreign policy initiatives of the Indian government. It is crucial to mention here the scholarly work of Zakir Hossain Raju who – through his extensive work on Bangladeshi cinema – has attempted to correct the considerable imbalance in scholarly engagement with the ‘other’ cinemas of South Asia as he investigates the indigenisation of cinema, from production to reception, within the broader social, political, and cultural domain of early-to mid-twentieth-century Bangladesh. Not only does he reposition different events and processes by which film became localised as these represent initiatives of constructing various alternative but overlapping public spheres for different publics, he elaborates how the colonial rulers, non-Bengalis as well as Bengali Muslims of colonial East Bengal, appropriated cinema in

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different manners and how later in postcolonial East Pakistan both urban and rural Bengali Muslims indigenised film to construct their preferred identities. Moving ahead, Smita G. Sabhlok examines the theoretical foundations of the relationship between nationalism and ethnicity in the South Asian countries of India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka and concludes that attempts to build this relationship through legitimacy of the state, self-determination, national and ethnic identities, symbolic form of coexistence or acceptance of the overall dominant identity has not worked in South Asia. Her work is vital in understanding the links between the multifarious strands of inter- and intra-ethnic negotiations in India and Pakistan – identifies a fundamental weakness – the absence of a viable theoretical model that could bring the diverse ethnic groups into one integrated whole. Sabhlok, therefore, recommends the necessity of a postmodernist discourse. This edited volume is a humble attempt at initiating such a dialogue. To bring the focus on Pakistan, Manzoor posits internal issues (Manzoor 2019: 2), military involvement, and regional issues in Pakistan (5) as the reason behind the country’s political complexity. He also considers the Kashmir conflict as a reason behind the grim relations between India and Pakistan (6–8). After the creation of Bangladesh, he designates post-1971 dealings in relation to Kashmir as becoming more complex due to UN involvement (9). He believes in ‘reimagination and reconciliation’ (Manzoor 2019: 1). Hence, part of this section has focused on Kashmir. Alpana Sharma discusses the shooting of Mission Kashmir (2000 dir. Chopra) in Srinagar as a symbol of homeland and how ‘it (re)creates a field of collective mourning for a paradise lost and, in so doing, clears the way for a collective yearning for, possibly, a paradise regained’ (126). Kashmir, for Sharma also turns into a symbol of risks involved in recording media representations of Kashmir. She argues how local insurgency exemplified through Kashmir is a paradoxical response to globalisation and evidence of regional context-based terrorism (126). In her extensive focus on Kashmir and its cultural representation – particularly on the silver screen through Bollywood adaptations – Ananya Jahanara Kabir contends the necessity of analysing closely the visual, narrative, cinematic, and affective aspects of the Kashmiri as a Muslim, and in contextualising it against global and local politics of Islam (Kabir, 2009). The thrust of her argument remains on how Kashmir, and Islam, while topics with separate discursive genealogies within Bollywood, have converged decisively at a certain historical juncture so as to open up new possibilities for the ideological co-optation of the Kashmir conflict, and the place of Muslims in India, by the popular cinematic apparatus. Overall, it is obvious that a vast body of research is dedicated to the Bollywood film industry. While in Pakistan, television remains a stronger medium of expression. The ‘present’ of the television space in Pakistan remains the key material for an assessment of the way it developed into a glorified media circus having much in common with its counterparts across the border in India. Altaf Khan’s chapter, thus, attempts to fill this critical gap through an important contribution to the field by exploring the growing role of television anchors in

14 Introduction: Moving beyond partitions Pakistan. A broader perspective on Pakistani television programmes has been offered earlier through diverse studies. For instance, the impact of religious programmes on Pakistani youth and how they resist this pressure has been explored by Biberman et al (2016). Research indicates that the interest of Pakistani youth in religious TV shows is more as a result of their commitment to the community or family. Taha Kazi (2021) has explored how talk shows have shaped ideas about Islam and religious authority in Pakistan and the role of religious talk shows that shed light on religious practices, beliefs, and power while resisting the impact of religious media and critiquing the negative impact of such religious programmes. Maintaining the focus on the influence of religion on television, Qaisar Abbas and Farooq Sulehria discuss the intricate dynamics of media, state, and society in Pakistan through the lens of freedom of expression under the influence of religious and political pressures through diverse media types. Within the context of Pakistan, this is a comprehensive interdisciplinary volume that explores media coverage of Kashmir, feminist narratives, and religious debates. Khan presents a sociolinguistic analysis of code switching in Pakistani advertisements to reflect on the social aspects of the code-switched language in these advertisements. These social aspects include gender, geographical background, socioeconomic class, and education. As far as Pakistani cinema is concerned, Eric Egan has rightly critiqued the overarching impact of Bollywood cinema on Pakistani film industry – both, as a ‘subversive force’ and as a ‘cultural manifestation’ impacted by regional and international influences and lacking government patronage (Egan, 2002). A key work focusing on Pakistani films in the early years includes the prominent name of Alamgir Kabir (1969). In recent years, a few academic outcomes from the Pakistani film industry include Ali Nobil Ahmed and Ali Khan’s close discussion on ‘cinephobia’ while highlighting the extent of success and/or failure of trends in Pakistani film industry since the 1970s (Khan and Ahmad 2016. The anthology also explores rare cinematic voices (with rare emphasis on regional voices) while also deconstructing the impact of political regimes impacting this industry. From a feminist perspective, two key publications include Moon Charania’s discussion on the image of a Pakistani woman in global media (2016) and Arshad Ali’s works (2012). While Charania has broadly focused on a decade (1988–99) of women in Urdu and Punjabi films which largely stereotype both, their gender and identity, Wajiha Raza Rizvi has explored the evolution of Pakistani cinema as a gendered medium through the male and female gaze while also exploring the shift of responses from Central Board of Film Censors (2014). It is significant to mention here that the present volume is a rare amalgamation of comparative analysis of media representations from South Asia. Nevertheless, it is significant to mention also Anjali Gera Roy (2012) who has partially created the space for incorporating the Pakistani perspective (as for instance, in the discussion on the ‘Dada negativity’ and stereotyping of Pakistani identity in Bollywood film industry as argued by Langah and Din (2012) and the divergence or convergence of ethnic identities in India and Pakistan

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through her work on Punjabi and Pakistani/India diaspora and a comparative analysis of Bollywood, Lollywood, and Bengali cinema along with the PersionArabic influence on Bollywood. This overview of Part I indicates that in line with the thematic focus of this section of the book, the contributors attempt to present a coherent argument about the post-Partition narratives that have emerged in the field of cinema, performing arts, and television. It can thus be observed that these narratives remain akin to the prevailing political ontology. In the case of the ‘silence’ on Partition one observes in professional theatre circles, it also betrays a certain amount of self-censorship on the part of playwrights and producers to wilfully remain outside the boundaries of what could have been considered ‘stirring the political hornet’s nest’ at the time. The contributors to this section, therefore, focus quite clearly on one central aspect of the post-Partition discourse – the play of power and politics in the sphere of public culture. From the on-screen domesticisation of the Kashmir conflict to the ambivalent silences that pervaded the performing art scenario in post-Partition Bengal, the chapters emphasise the innate urge of state and society to relegate ‘difficult’ issues to the background and thereby attempt to heal the trauma and pain. Herein emerges an exercise of power politics that privileges certain groups and modes of behaviour. The dynamics of power and its unabashed use and abuse is also the central thesis of the theoretical reading of Haider as well as the critical appraisal of the television medium and its development in post-Partition Pakistan. By engaging with these critical questions and bringing the focus on the exercise of power within the mediascape in post-Partition South Asia, the chapters included in this section fill a crucial gap in scholarship on media and mediatisation in the sub-continent. In brief, the focus of this section is on identifying performance, film, and television as a kind of ‘soft power’ (Langah and Din 2016) and an artistic expression. Ngugi strongly reinforces that ‘Art in this sense is silence that screams’ (1998: 28). The struggle between the arts and the state can be best seen through performance in general and in the battle over performance space in particular (Ngugi 1998: 37) while battling against the ‘shrines of power’ (Ngugi 1998: 40–41). Hence, the idea of performance is somehow also based on connecting art with power struggles, reinforcing identities, resisting political pressures, and creating spaces (Ngugi 1998). Hence, media, art, and performance are perceived as a way of breaking the ‘conditions of perpetual physical, social, and psychic confinement’ (Ngugi 1998: 60) that surrounds the postcolonial states of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh through the political borders created in 1947 and 1971. Nevertheless, this section will also indicate that the exploratory character of media and performance raise more questions as compared to answers (Ngugi 1998).

16 Introduction: Moving beyond partitions

References Appadurai, Arjun. 2004. ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy’ in Lachner, Frank J. and Boli, John. (eds), The Globalization Reader. Malden: Blackwell. Ali, Arshad. 2012. Portrayal of Women in Pakistani Cinema: Portrayal of Pakistani Women in Pakistani Cinema (Urdu, Punjabi)1988–1999 – a critical evaluation of 12 Years. LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing. Ahmed, Manzoor. 2019. ‘Understanding India-Pakistan Relations: Memory Keeps Getting in the Way of History’, Jadavpur Journal of International Relations, 23(1) 69–80. Abbas, Qaisar and Farooq Sulehria. 2021. From Terrorism to Television Dynamics of Media, State, and Society in Pakistan. Oxford: New York : Routledge. Babb, Lawrence A. 1995. Media and the Transformation of Religion in South Asia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Banaji, Shakuntala (ed.), 2011. South Asian Media Cultures: Audiences, Representations, Contexts. London: Anthem Press. Bhaskar, Ira and Richard Allen. 2009. Islamicate Cultures of Bombay Cinema. Delhi: Tulika Books. Biberman, Yelena, Sahar Gul and Feryaz Ocakli. 2016. ‘Channelling Islam: Religious Narratives on Pakistani Television and Their Influence on Pakistani Youth’, Asian Affairs: An American Review, 43(3): 78–97. Charania, Moon. 2015. Will the Real Pakistani Woman Please Stand Up?: Empire, Visual Culture and the Brown Female Body. North Carolina: McFarland & Company. Chowdhury, Sayandeb. 2015. ‘The Indian Partition and the Making of a New Scopic Regime in Bengali Cinema’, European Journal of English Studies, 19(3): 255–270. Dwyer, Rachel. ‘Bollywood’s India: Hindi Cinema as a Guide to Modern India’, Asian Affairs, 41(3): 381–398. Egan, Eric. 2002. ‘Pakistani Cinema: Between the Domestic and the Regional,’ Asian Cinema, 13(1): 27–38. Fishman, Jessica M. and Carolyn Marvin. 2004. ‘Portrayals of Violence and Group Difference in Newspaper Photographs: Nationalism and Media’, Journal of Communication, 53(1): 32–44. Jha, Priya and Amit S. Rai. 2011. ‘Intensive Bollywood: Media and Nonlinear History in South Asia’, South Asian Popular Culture, 9(3): 233–235. Kabir, Ananya Jahanara. 2010. ‘The Kashmiri as Muslim in Bollywood’s “New Kashmir films”’, Contemporary South Asia, 18(4): 373–385. Kabir, Ananya Jahanara. 2018. ‘Utopias Eroded And Recalled: Intellectual Legacies of East Pakistan’, Journal of South Asian Studies, 41(4): 892–910. Khatun, Nadira. 2018. ‘“Love-Jihad” and Bollywood: Constructing Muslims as “Other”,’ Journal of Religion & Film, 22(3): 8. Kabir, Alamgir. 1969. The Cinema in Pakistan. Dacca: Sandhani Publications. Kazi, Taha. 2021. Religious Television and Pious Authority in Pakistan. Indiana: Indiana University Press. Khan, A. M. 2014. ‘Social aspects of Code-Switching: An analysis of Pakistani Television advertisements’, Information Management and Business Review, 6(6): 269–279. Khan, Ali and Ali Nobil Ahmad (eds). 2016. Cinema and Society: Film and Social Change in Pakistan. Karachi: Oxford University Press.

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Kim, Youngju and Andrew C. Billings. 2017.‘A Hostile Sports Media? Perceived Nationalism Bias in Online Sports Coverage’, Electronic News, 11(4): 195–210. Langah, N. and Kamal Ud Din. 2012. ‘Dada Negativity and Pakistani Characters for Bollywood Films’, in Anjali Gera Roy (ed.) The Magic of Bollywood: At Home and Abroad. New Delhi, California, London, Singapore: Sage Publications, India. Mathur, Saloni. ‘Partition and the Visual Arts: Reflection on Method’, Third Text, 31 (2–3): 205–212. Ngugi, Wa Thiong’o. 1996. Pen Points, Gun Points and Dream: Towards a Critical Theory of the Art and the State in Africa. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Nye, Joseph. 1990. ‘Soft Power’, Foreign Policy, 80: 153–171. Qadir, Samina Amin and Fakhira Riaz, 2015. ‘Gendered Political Identity Construction in Pakistani Television Talk shows’, FWU Journal of Social Sciences, 9(1): 20–28. Rajadhyaksha, Ashish. 2003. ‘“The Bollywoodization” of the Indian Cinema: Cultural Nationalism in a Global Arena’, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 4(1): 25–39. Raju, Zakir Hossain. 2012. ‘Indigenization of Cinema in (Post)Colonial South Asia: From Transnational to Vernacular Public Spheres’, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 32(3): 611–621. Rao, Shakuntala. ‘The Globalization of Bollywood: An Ethnography of Non- Elite Audiences in India’, The Communication Review, 10(1): 57–76. Rasul, Azmat and Mudassir Mukhtar. 2015. ‘Bollywoodization Of Foreign Policy: How Film Discourse Portrays Tension Between States’, Journal of Media Critiques, 1(1): 11–27. Raychaudhuri, Anindya. 2009. ‘Resisting The Resistible: Re-Writing Myths Of Partition In The Works Of Ritwik Ghatak’, Social Semiotics, 19(4): 469–481. Ray, Shovana and Jitendra Kumar Singh. 2017. ‘Discourse Analysis on Nationalism Debate Reported in Indian Print Media during Feb-Mar 2016’, RIMCIS – International and Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Sciences, 6(3): 251–280. Redling, Ellen. 2018. ‘Fake News and Drama: Nationalism, Immigration and Media in Recent British Plays’, Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, 6(1): 87–100. doi:10.1515/jcde-2018-0013. Rizvi, Wajiha Raza, ‘Visual Pleasure in Pakistani Cinema,’ International Journal of Asia Pacific Studies, 10(2): 73–105. Roy, Anjali Gera (ed.) 2012. The Magic of Bollywood: At Home and Abroad. New Delhi: Sage Publications. Roy, Anjali Gera and Chua Beng Huat (eds). 2014. Travels of Bollywood Cinema: From Bombay to LA. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Sharma, Alpana. 2008. ‘Paradise Lost in Mission Kashmir: Global Terrorism, Local Insurgencies, and the Question of Kashmir in Indian Cinema’, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 25(2): 124–131, doi:10.1080/10509200601074744. Udupa, Sahana and Stephen D. McDowell (eds). 2017. Media as Politics in South Asia. New York: Routledge.


Trouble in paradise The Portrayal of the Kashmir Insurgency in Hindi cinema Julia Szivak

Kashmir insurgency, Bollywood films, formula, national identity The valley of Kashmir has an immense symbolic value in defining the meaning of Indian national identity, as the territory that forms the borderland between India and Pakistan is such that its belonging has been the subject of fierce militaristic, political, and diplomatic dispute for the past 70 years. For this reason, Hindi cinema, one of the most popular media of political imagination, has also addressed the belonging of Kashmir and its people throughout its history. A number of films, such as Roja (1992), directed by Mani Ratnam; Mission Kashmir (2000), directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra; Yahaan (2005) directed by Shoojit Sircar; and Fanaa (2006) directed by Kunal Kohli, engaged with these issues. Despite the fact these narratives interrogated ambitious and highly politicised questions of belonging and identity, they mostly provided formulaic and uniform answers to them. This chapter argues that this mode of engagement is the result of both Hindi cinema’s role as national(ist) cinema and the popular medium’s formulaic nature to provide schematic answers through an easy-to-consume form of representation to a broad public. By focusing on the selection of the above-mentioned cinematic texts, this chapter explores Hindi cinema’s discourse around identities in the Kashmir valley and argues that the representation of these is highly formulaic and came about because of Hindi cinema’s investment in supporting the nationalism propagated by the state. In doing so, the chapter argues that the films work towards reinforcing the dominant state narrative on the Kashmir insurgency.

Hindi cinema – national cinema? Hindi cinema has a long history of discussing issues of nationhood, and since its inception it has portrayed historical and political events and relevant social issues in big-banner, multi-starrer productions that have reached wide audiences. These cinematic narratives have always offered an interpretation of historical, political, and social debates, however, the relative position of the films to the dominant political ideologies have changed multiple times. Whereas, the films of the Nehru era were essential in supporting the state-led project of DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655-3

20 Trouble in paradise nation-building and consolidation (Virdi 2003: 14), this alignment of cinema and state was later less straightforward. Priya Joshi showed that during the 1970s cinema explicitly questioned the capacity of the state to represent its people and the popular narratives that were centred around the figure of the angry young man, were highly critical of the political establishment (Joshi 2015: xviii). However, as national politics shifted towards right wing nationalism during the 1990s, Hindi cinema increasingly got entangled in national politics. The focus of the films shifted from the discontents of the poor to the newly rising middle classes; simultaneously, the growing prominence of rightwing nationalism became apparent in film narratives (Ganti 2017: 259). Among this new wave of films, Amit Rai discerned the emergence of a new genre that he termed ‘cinepatriotic films’ (Rai 2003: 5–6). These discussed contentious social and political issues, like contemporary ethnocentric movements, religious fundamentalism, centre-periphery relations, the earlier quasi-taboo topic of Partition and its contemporary effects of Hindu-Muslim communal relations, border disputes, and cross-border terrorism. These new themes and narratives had a specific nationalistic point of view, which communicated an educational message to their audiences to reinforce the nationalistic agenda of the times by providing norms of patriotic behaviour for its audiences. The image of the united Indian nation offered in these narratives of the 1990s and early 2000s reflected an understanding that is mostly aligned with a North Indian, upper-caste, upper-class, Hindi speaking, male perspective (Virdi 2003: 10). The films focusing on Kashmir discussed in this chapter are also part of this cinematic trend, moreover, their narratives share certain formulas in their portrayal of the Indian nation and the position of Kashmir within it. It is common to all the narratives that they claim to be grounded in a specific historical period of the Kashmir insurgency of the 1990s, but they address this period by telling stories of fictional individuals, whose stories connect to the larger historical period via a complex web of emotions and events. However, this also means that by focusing on the emotional involvement and individual stories, the films present a take on the larger political and historical context that is very different from academic accounts. Research on historical films argues that the academic focus should not be on the difference between cinematic and academic accounts of certain historical periods or events but rather on how they engage with those periods and events. Films do not even attempt to present precise accounts of history, but they build on the capacity of the medium to invoke emotions and depict history in a holistic way (Rosenstone 2006: 16). By doing so, they shape the audience’s relationship to the past in a way that academic writing cannot hope to achieve (Burgoyne 2008:5). In addition, while telling stories of the historical past, cinema also aims to create new national mythologies by relating its narratives to well-known cultural tropes (Dwyer 2010: 386) by means of following certain narrative structures, borrowing characters or recreating storylines. These cinematic narratives are often constructed in a way to imply that these are the modern-day versions of ancient tropes. Moreover, the films

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themselves showcase a great deal of similarity in their stories and approaches with regards to the subject matter, and as such, follow a formulaic structure in order to achieve the status of new national mythological material which are to be canonised. John C. Cawelti argued that products of popular culture can be understood as formulas, as they have rules known to everybody, and they follow a peculiar format. Their relatability is, thus, increased through certain narrative conventions, such as showing patterns of excitement, suspense and release – whereby the core conflict of the story is always resolved. Moreover, these formulas often work towards asserting a sense of stability of cultural values among the consumers of the narrative (Cawelti 2001: 207–208). It can similarly be observed that the Kashmir films follow formulaic patterns that discuss questions of the political and national in the framework of romantic and family relationships, and they interpret the Kashmir insurgency in terms of moral values. These and other formulaic elements contribute to a ritualised, canonised on-screen narrative of the Kashmir insurgency, that corresponds well with the real-life political narrative of the Kashmir insurgency as a threat to the unity of the Indian nation. Therefore, these narrative conventions that pre-empt the claims of the insurgents and justify the claims of the state sit well with the aspiration of creating new national mythologies that help the nation through times of crisis. Nevertheless, while establishing a sense of familiarity and reassurance, this formulaic structure prevents the films from engaging with the proposed question in a novel way or providing new answers to the conflict. By analysing the discourse of four successful mainstream Hindi films that focus on the Kashmir insurgency and its relationship to Indian nationalism, the current chapter identifies three dominant themes, family and gender roles, politics, and religion, through which the formulaic narrative of the Kashmir insurgency is produced in Bollywood cinema. In doing so, the chapter argues that the cinematic narratives that set out to explore separatism and contentious political issues serve to reinforce a hegemonic narrative.

Kashmir and the nation in Hindi cinema While talking about the importance of borderlands in cinema, Sharmila Sen argued that imagined and real borders are important in nationalistic discourses as it is here that national identities are exposed to their ‘Others’ playing an important role in the construction and testing of national identities (Sen 2005: 212). Kashmir has played a similar role in the imagination of the Indian nation since the creation of India and Pakistan, that put the territory of Kashmir in the position of a disputed borderland (Kabir 2009: 4, 14). Since the Partition of 1947, both India and Pakistan have perceived themselves as the rightful owners of the territory, and the belonging of Kashmir became an important building block of national identity on both sides of the border (Ganguly 1996: 79). However, even before its current political situation came about, Kashmir had already been an established part of the subcontinental public imagination on

22 Trouble in paradise account of its mystical natural beauty.1 Hindi cinema also capitalised on the trope of Kashmir as ‘heaven on Earth’, but the Nehruvian interpretation of Kashmir as the token of a multi-cultural, multi-religious, progressive, and secular India also influenced the way it was represented in cinema. A film marrying these previous tropes was Kashmir ki Kali (1964) directed by Shakti Samanta, that set its story against the romantic backdrop of the Valley but left the local histories of religious differences and political tensions unaddressed. This, and similar narratives established the Valley in the national imagination as the peaceful Paradise of modern India, while disregarding the question of its disputed belonging (Kabir 2010: 374). However, this situation changed dramatically both on and off-screen in the 1990s. In Kashmir, local disenchantment with the federal government escalated into an armed insurgency in 1989. In the following period, multiple groups took up the fight against the Indian federal state. Hindi cinema also took note of the evolving situation but in line with the hegemonic Indian national position, the cinematic interpretation of the Kashmir insurgency was portrayed as a law and order problem and not as an aggregation of valid political claims. Nevertheless, the controversial insurgency became an apt background for stories about national unity, Indian hegemony, and North Indian nationalism. Telling stories about the disputed border acted as a tool to produce ideas of the nation and reinforce norms of patriotic behaviour by depicting the border in its material reality, and thus enabling audiences to connect to the abstract notion of national territory (Viswanath 2014: 92). The picturesque territory of Kashmir was especially well-suited for this purpose. Not only was it disputed and under threat from foreign forces, but the filmmakers could also capitalise on the pre-existing images of Kashmir as the idyllic, peaceful heaven of India. This inherent dichotomy made it an excellent background for heroic, nationalistic actions and emotional drama, and Hindi cinema could bring the question of national unity closer to home for its audiences. Interestingly, the first film to address the relationship of insurgency and Kashmir from this perspective was the Tamil film Roja (1992) directed by Mani Ratnam. The film reached all-India prominence through its dubbed Hindi version (Niranjana 1994: 79–82), and it established a variety of formulas that were echoed in later Hindi productions. It contrasted the trope of Kashmir as romantic heaven and the contemporary, insurgency-torn image of Kashmir in its state of decay. It was the first film to portray the leaders of the Kashmiri insurgency as Pakistan-backed religious zealots, threatening the unity of the Indian (Hindu) family (Srinivas 1994: 1225). Moreover, it also showed how the border and the disputed territory can perform a pedagogical, transformative role by teaching people how to overcome their selfish motivations and regional affiliations, and act as patriotic, Indian citizens (Vasudevan 2010: 216). The most important subsequent Kashmir-themed cine-patriotic films took up many of the narrative strategies of Roja and turned them into formulas for ‘Kashmir films’. They engaged with the disturbed ‘heaven on Earth’ trope and placed the fight for the survival of the Indian nation on Kashmiri ground. The heroes of

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these films were the characters who supported the hegemonic Indian narrative of the nation, whereas those who challenged these narratives were shown as deeply troubled individuals, suffering under the weight of personal circumstances, family traumas, and individual mistakes. This mode of representation created a ready-to-consume version of the insurgency’s history, that discredited and infantilized both the movement and those who supported it (Singh 2009: 375). However, by reiterating the formulas, they also established a lasting mode of portrayal that spans two decades of filmmaking. The chapter will now examine four themes that contribute to the formulaic construction of the Kashmir narrative.

History and politics All the above-mentioned films place their stories in the 1990s, which was a very turbulent period in the history of the Kashmir valley and its people. It was characterised by organisations and armed insurgent groups that were divided in their approaches and goals, but seemingly united by their striving for freedom (azadi). However, the situation further deteriorated with the involvement of Pakistan, enmeshed in the conflict by backing certain insurgent groups (Bose 2007: 156). Despite this multifaceted and complex historical and political process, Hindi cinema standardised the portrayal of the insurgency with certain formulas. The politics of the Valley are usually interpreted through personal narratives that depict a small group of people, usually united by blood relations, where different family members have taken opposing sides in the conflict. The characters of these films can be grouped into categories that stand for various positions vis-à-vis the insurgency and are associated with moral dimensions. Mission Kashmir, Yahaan, and Fanaa all presented a three-fold ideological spectrum, where the negative characters, such as Hilal Kohistani in Mission Kashmir (abbreviated as MK in the following), Rehan’s grandfather (Fanaa, abbreviated as F in the following), and Al-Sami (Yahaan, later Y) were portrayed as terrorists associated with the insurgency, and the positive characters, such as Zooni (F), Sufi (MK) or Aman (Y) believed in the ideology of the Indian state and the unity of the nation was paramount for them. The third position was that of the conflicted insurgent. Altaaf (MK), Shakeel (Y) and Liaqat Ali (Roja, R later on) were torn between the perks that their association with insurgency could bring, typically settling personal vendettas, and between the values represented by the state’s narrative, such as familial love and unity. The films followed the format of a Bildungsroman, in which the story traced the personal growth of its central characters that eventually aligned them with the hegemonic, national position. The inclusion of a moral dimension in the portrayal of political agendas was very typical of the Kashmir films and it is most clearly visible in the cinematic representation of certain real-life political goals, such as the goal of azadi. The call for freedom, or azadi, has been one of the most widespread and iconic

24 Trouble in paradise catch-phrase of the insurgency, however, its exact meaning has been widely disputed among the groups involved. Its interpretation ranged from Kashmir’s independence from both India and Pakistan, to the freedom to merge with Pakistan, and to increased autonomy within the Indian Federation and a variety of positions in between (Bose 2007; Kabir 2009; Ollapally 2008). These nuances, however, were mostly absent from the cinematic narratives, and azadi was mostly understood as the Kashmiris’ wish to merge with Pakistan, sometimes even conflated with a radicalised form of Islam (Kabir 2010: 377). In Mission Kashmir, the blood-thirsty Malik ul-Khan declared that he was murdering an innocent family in his fight for azadi, whereas Hilal Kohistani used it as a means to attain financial gain. Altaf also justified his fight against his foster father and all the killings that happened in the process on the pretext of azadi. Rehan’s grandfather (Y) also targeted masses of innocent people both in India and Pakistan in the name of azadi. Even though for Liaquat Ali (R) and for Shakeel (Y) azadi meant a challenge to Indian slavery and the freedom for all to thrive in peace, they both realised that this would come at a price which was too high to pay. They learned that the Kashmiri movements for greater autonomy or freedom were in fact a ploy of Pakistani politics and secret services that disregarded the interest of the Kashmiri people. Fanaa went as far as equating azadi with radical Islam and terrorism, and whereas Mission Kashmir and Yahaan did give some credit to the grievances of the Kashmiri people, it also presented the injustices inflicted by the Indian state as a result of human error and miscommunication between the central government and the people of the borderlands. The notion of azadi therefore, was never represented as the manifestation of valid political claims, but rather as a blanket term covering a variety of ill-defined goals, or as a pretext for the terrorists who only wished to justify the bloodshed in which they engaged. Nevertheless, azadi in the films had another important function by acting as a point of reference for the positive characters of the films to express their patriotic sentiments and refute the claims of the insurgents and terrorists. In many cases, the positive characters, such as Rishi (R), or Aman (Y) echoed the hegemonic nationalist position of Indian politics by stating that India takes the position of a caring father that protects the Kashmiri population from the less benevolent Pakistan.2 Consequently, it became clear that these films considered the Kashmir insurgency as harmful for the people of the Valley. Moreover, they suggested that it was not political ideology or social grievances that stood behind the insurgency, but personal revenge or hopes of financial gain. This mode of portrayal was not new to Hindi cinema: Sumita S. Chakravarty noticed a similar strategy in earlier narratives dealing with separatism and insurgency in Maachis (1996). She argued that on-screen terrorists striving for independence from India have no ideological goal at all, cannot present a better alternative than belonging to the nation-state, but their radicalisation is a result of their own violent pasts and traumas (Chakravarty 2000: 231). The Kashmir narratives, therefore, continued to use the formula of misguided

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young insurgents, and scheming terrorist leaders, and did not suggest a more nuanced approach towards political motivations. Azadi lacked substance and it was only supported by negative figures, or confused characters, who in the resolution of the conflict realised the frailty of the concept. At the same time, the positive characters refuted the ill-founded political claims and echoed the Indian state narrative, which lent additional credence to the anti-azadi stance.

Religion Religion has played an important role in the politics of the Valley since the Partition of the country. As the majority of the Kashmiri population is Muslim, issues around religion have been fundamental for both India and Pakistan in claiming the territory as their own.3 The official Pakistani narrative argues that as it is only Pakistan that can sufficiently cater to the interests of South Asian Muslims, Kashmir should belong to Pakistan (Bose 2007: 156). On the other hand, India maintains that according to the Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh, the state is now rightfully a part of India which, as a secular state, takes care of the needs of religious minorities. In addition, Pakistan’s continued support for the insurgency and the involvement of the mujahedeen of the Afghan war has intensified the debate about the role that religion plays in the conflict which has often been depicted as part of a global jihad (Ollapally 2008: 126). In line with this, all the films discussed in this chapter claimed that there was an intersection between the separatist politics of the Valley and the Muslim religion of its inhabitants, although the depiction of this intersection has undergone significant change. Whereas Roja suggested that the insurgency is a conflict between Hinduism and fundamentalist Islam (Niranjana 1994: 80), later narratives sublimated this opposition into a seemingly less biased dichotomy of secularism and religious fundamentalism. They also framed the insurgency as jihad, but instead of contrasting it to Hinduism, they made a distinction between ‘good Islam’ and ‘bad Islam,’4 and focused on the latter’s detrimental effect on the country’s composite culture. These questions were discussed in an exclusively Muslim milieu and by juxtaposing the formulaic characters of the ‘bad Muslim’ and the ‘good Muslims’ in the films (Kumar 2008:195). The terrorist leaders always embody the stereotype of the ‘bad Muslim’ as they seek to disrupt communal harmony and explain their actions by using the language of militant Islam familiar from news media (Kabir 2010: 377). These characters had foreign origins, like the Afghan Hilal Kohistani (MK) or the Pakistani Al-Sami (Y), which further connected them to the global jihad and emphasised that this understanding of Islam is foreign to the Valley and the country. The aggressive behaviour and misuse of religion by these terrorist leaders was not explained by complex psychological or social factors, and therefore they were not presented as worthy of the audience’s sympathy (Hand 2013: 55).

26 Trouble in paradise The ‘good Muslims’ of the films were, on the other hand, relatable and respectful figures, who were usually also associated with the secular state. Inayat Khan (MK), Aman (Y) and Sufi (MK) all worked in government-related jobs, such as serving in the police and the army or working for the state media. By being patriotic to the extreme, they often served as mouthpieces of the postsecular Indian state narrative (Singh 2009: 347). These narratives addressed the myth of the unreliable Indian Muslim, whose primary loyalty supposedly lies with Pakistan and the greater Muslim ummah instead of India.5 In most films, the ‘good Muslims’ engaged in teleological conversations with the insurgents about contemporary Muslim identities and called out the theological problems with the terrorists’ understanding of Islam.6 Furthermore, through their declarations and actions they demonstrated that being a Muslim and a patriotic Indian was not mutually exclusive for those Kashmiri Muslims, who understood Islam ‘correctly’ and recognised the selfish drive behind the pseudo-religious rhetoric of the insurgent leaders.7 Mission Kashmir is the most explicit in addressing doubts about citizenship and national identity, through the figure of Inayat Khan, the Kashmiri police superintendent. He is portrayed throughout the film as a loving father and husband, a devout Muslim, and a brave police officer, who maintains the authority of the Indian state in the Kashmir Valley (Hand 2013: 57). However, the definition of secularism according to these films is still very much reflective of the dominance of hegemonic nationalism: the positive Muslim characters are evaluated as such because they are devoted to the unity of India and they are the ones to provide the correct understanding of Islam as well. On the other hand, every narrative points out that Muslim fundamentalists use Islam as a pretext to realise their own personal goals. They do not abide by the codes of Islamic conduct – as held acceptable by the Indian nation state and its actors – and only use the religious vocabulary to lend some credence to their actions. On the surface, none of the films depicts the insurgency as a result of religious conflict, but rather a result of clashing worldviews about secularism.

Gender and family Hindi cinema has been using the framework of the family to negotiate issues of citizenship for a long time, and this formula was also used in the case of the Kashmir insurgency (Viswanath and Malik 2009: 64). In films, the family often represents the idea of the nation, with the patriarchal Indian father symbolising the rigid framework of the nation-state and the figure of the mother representing the more emotional concept of homeland (Virdi 2003: 7, 24, 66). In the framework of the cinematic nation-as-family, divided families often symbolised the trauma of Partition (Rai 2003: 5). As Kashmiri separatism similarly questioned the unity of the Indian nation, the formula of the family as a space for negotiating national belonging was used. In the Kashmir-themed films, it was troubled family relationships, most prominently father-son issues, that disturbed the peace of the nation, and

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pushed young men towards radicalism. They wanted to take revenge for events which left them traumatised and consequently susceptible to violence, alienated them from their families, and drove them to join the insurgency. Under the tutelage of the terrorist leaders, they found alternative family structures within the terrorist organisations that encouraged them to heal their emotional wounds by violent means, just as Altaf (MK) joined a terrorist outfit to take revenge on his foster father, Inayat Khan, the murderer of his birth family. The terrorist leaders replaced the birth or foster fathers, who were often associated with the Indian nation state, like Inayat Khan, the police superintendent. The young insurgents’ rebellion against the authority of the Indian state, therefore, could be better understood as rebellion against these father figures, rather than against the state itself. Moreover, the narratives showed that the new, alternative father figures of the terrorists used the insurgents as pawns in their own game and were ready to sacrifice them for their own purposes. Consequently, the insurgents were torn between positive and negative father figures, much like the Kashmiri population between the Indian nation state and its opponents. The insurgents could only survive if they made the right moral decisions: they had to let go of their anger against the Indian nation and return to the fold of the family and the nation. Just like the rupture in the cinematic family signifies a time of national crisis, the family reunion can also be understood as a resolution to the Partition (Rai 2003: 5). As it is required in the formula, the conflicts were resolved in these films, and both the families and the nation reunited. The insurgents returned to the fold of the national family, which was usually achieved with the help of the female protagonists. Mothers and women were instrumental in domesticating the insurgents and reintegrating them into society: they healed their wounds with their love and showed them templates for acceptable social behaviour (Rai 2003: 6). This fits in the tradition of the Indian movement for independence and later of Hindi cinema, where the figure of the mother symbolised the homeland, who nurtures her children and they protect her in return (Virdi 2003: 7). This trope is most apparent in Mission Kashmir, where Altaaf was convinced to subdue his hatred towards Inayat Khan by his love for Neelima, his foster mother and Sufi, his childhood love. Shakeel (Y) also defected from his insurgent group upon realising that his involvement was hurting his female family members, as his grandmother and his sister were almost killed by his own group. These women therefore symbolised the ‘softer side’ of the nation, awaiting the return of her secessionist sons with open arms (Sen 2005: 206). Moreover, the opposition of the two groups of men and the women caught up in the resulting turmoil can be read as a warning that if the fight between Indian security forces and the Kashmiri insurgents continues, it will result in the ultimate destruction of Mother India, just like it happened in the cinematic narrative, which serves as an ultimate warning for the characters of the film.

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Familiar formulas – formulaic families By taking a closer look at the above-mentioned cinematic narratives, it emerges that Hindi cinema, in line with the nationalistic political narrative, disapproves of the Kashmir insurgency and views it as a threat to national unity. Films, therefore, use a variety of formulas to transmit this worldview – which results in the establishment of a hegemonic narrative. As witnessed through the lens of Hindi cinema, Kashmiri insurgents are shown as traumatised and confused youngsters, who join radical movements because of a combination of individual problems and the negative influence of religious fundamentalists who are most often driven by financial gain. Strong political or ideological convictions are very rarely the animating force behind the radicalisation of these insurgents. Even though political issues form a part of the narrative and are often elaborated upon in prolonged dialogues, their main function is to provide an opportunity for the positive characters of the film to refute these claims or expose their falsity. Political and ideological aspects are shown as marginal and additional in the development of the plot and the emphasis is on emotions and family relationships. While some argue that detaching the narrative from politics and concentrating on the troubles of the individual humanises and sensitises the figure of the insurgent and facilitates national reconciliation (Richter 2009: 487), it should be noted that the depiction of terrorists as troubled individuals devoid of political agenda is in itself a political statement. In fact, the mode of representation that projects personal reasons for joining the insurgency as of primary, and frames political claims as of secondary importance, performs the important political purpose of denigrating the political aims of the movement. This tendency of foregrounding the personal instead of the political sits well with Hindi cinema’s established tradition of depicting history and by extension, political history on the screen. Through employing these formulas, these narratives fulfil a political function as well. Whereas the Kashmir conflict serves as a backdrop of the melodramatic plot to a certain extent, love and family are used to project the idea of a unified Indian nation. This has the effect of both undermining the political self-determination claims of Kashmiris, as well as rectifying the claims of the Indian nation on Kashmir. The Kashmir conflict on the film screen serves the same ideological purposes on celluloid as it serves in real life political ideology: it is viewed as an arena where Partition can be reversed and negated, and where the unity of the Indian nation should be constantly performed.

Notes 1 Ananya Jahanara Kabir traces the source of these stereotypes to the Mughal dynasty but shows that these associations became widespread during the 19th-century surge of British tourism to Kashmir (Kabir 2010). 2 Although Fanaa provides a radically different perspective on azadi as a fight for complete independence from both nation-states, the implications of this portrayal

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3 4 5 6 7


are the same with regards to the Kashmiri insurgency itself. Although it shows Pakistan as the victim of the disruptive forces emanating from Kashmir, at the end of the day, it turns out that azadi is used for the individual goals of the leader of the movement, who again does not have the interest of the Kashmiri population at heart. At the outset of the insurgency, 64% of the population was Muslim and 32% was Hindu (Ollapally 2008: 118). This dichotomy is already present in Roja but in a problematic way, as it is Rishi, the upper-caste, middle-class Hindu man, who gives a lecture to the Muslim Liaqat Ali about the ‘correct’ understanding of Islam. For a discussion of the trope of the ‘unreliable Indian Muslim’ providing clandestine support for Pakistan, see e.g. Gyanendra Pandey, ‘Can a Muslim Be an Indian?’ Comparative Study of Society and History 41:4 (1999): 610. The prime example of this type of conversation happens in Mission Kashmir where Sufi reprimands Altaf for believing that the spilling of innocent blood can be understood as a pious act. The epitome of such patriotic deeds can be found in Fanaa, where Zooni shoots her terrorist husband to protect the Indian nation.

References Banaji, Shakuntala. 2006. Reading ‘Bollywood’ – The Young Audience and Hindi Films. Houndmills and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Burgoyne, Robert. 2008. The Hollywood Historical Film. Oxford: Blackwell. Bose, Sumantra. 2007. Contested Lands: Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Cyprus, and Sri Lanka. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press. Cawelti, John C. 2001. ‘The Concept of Formula in the Study of Popular Literature,’ in Harrington, Lee and Denise Bielby (eds), Popular Culture, Production and Consumption, pp. 203–209. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. Chakravarty, Sumita S. 2000. ‘Fragmenting the Nation. Images of Terrorism in Indian Popular Cinema,’ in Hjort, Mette and Scott MacKenzie (eds), Cinema and Nation, pp. 222–239. London and New York: Routledge. Dwyer, Rachel. 2010. ‘Bollywood’s India: Hindi Cinema as a Guide to Modern India,’ Asian Affairs, 41(3): 381–398. Ganti, Tejaswini. 2017. ‘Class, Gender and Colorism in Bollywood Song Sequences,’ in Kristin Lene Hole, Dijana Jelaca E., Ann Kaplan, and Patrice Petro (eds), The Routledge Companion to Cinema and Gender, pp. 256–265. Abingdon and New York: Routledge. Ganguly, Sumit. 1996. ‘Explaining the Kashmir Insurgency: Political Mobilization and Institutional Decay,’ International Security, 21(2): 76–107. Hand, Felicity. 2013. ‘Unwritten Moral Code of Indian Cinema,’ in Jacqui Miller (ed.), Film and Ethics: What Would You Have Done? pp. 50–66. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Hirji, Faiza. 2008. ‘Change of Pace? Islam and Tradition in Popular Indian Cinema,’ South Asian Popular Culture, 6(1): 57–69. Joshi, Priya. 2015. Bollywood’s India. A Public Fantasy. New York: Columbia University Press. Kabir, Ananya Jahanara. 2009. Territory of Desire: Representing the Valley of Kashmir. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Kabir, Ananya Jahanara. 2010. ‘The Kashmiri Muslim in Bollywood’s “New Kashmir Films”’, Contemporary South Asia 18(4): 373–385.

30 Trouble in paradise Kumar, Priya. 2008. Limiting Secularism. The Ethics of Coexistence in Indian Literature and Film. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press. Niranjana, Tejaswini. 1994. ‘Integrating Whose Nation? Tourists and Terrorists in Roja, ’Economic and Political Weekly, 29(3): 79–82. Ollapally, Deepa M. 2008. The Politics of Extremism in South Asia. New York and London: Cambridge University Press. Rai, Amit. 2003. ‘Patriotism and the Muslim Citizen in Hindi Films,’ Harvard Asia Quarterly, Summer: 4–15. Richter, Claudia. 2009. ‘The Ethics of Coexistence: Bollywood’s Different Take on Terrorism,’ Cross Currents, 59(4): 484–499. Rosenstone, Robert A. 2006. History on Film / Film on History. London: Longman. Sen, Sharmila. 2005. ‘No Passports, No Visas. The Line of Control Between India and Pakistan in Contemporary Bombay Cinema,’ in Peter Morey and Alex Tickell (eds), Alternative Indias: Writing, Nation and Communalism, pp. 161–181. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi. Singh, Sujala. 2009. ‘Terror, Spectacle, and the Secular State in Bombay Cinema,’ in Elleke Boehmer and Stephen Morton (eds), Terror and the Postcolonial, pp. 345–361. Chichester: Blackwell Publishing. Srinivas, S. V. 1994. ‘Roja in “Law and Order” State,’ Economic and Political Weekly, 29(20): 1225–1226. Vasudevan, Ravi. 2010. The Melodramatic Public. Film Form and Spectatorship in Indian Cinema. Ranikhet: Permanent Black. Virdi, Jyotika. 2003. The Cinematic ImagiNation: Indian Popular Films as Social History. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. Viswanath, Gita and Salma Malik. 2009. ‘Revisiting 1947 through Popular Cinema: A Comparative Study of India and Pakistan,’ Economic and Political Weekly, 44(36): 61–69. Viswanath, Gita. 2014. The Nation in War: A Study of Military Literature and Hindi War Cinema. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


The vale of desire Framing Kashmir in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider Nishat Haider

Through an analysis of Vishal Bhardwaj’s film Haider (2014), this chapter maps out the triangulation of cultural memory, history, and cinema as a contextual archive to recast the mainstream/majoritarian/official national history of Partition of the Indian subcontinent, the Kashmir insurgency, and the construction of Kashmiris as the Muslim ‘other’ in the national imaginary of India. Haider (2014), the third installment of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespearean trilogy after Maqbool (2003) and Omkara (2006), frames the narrative of violence and betrayal entrenched in Kashmiri separatist politics that is refracted through Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’. If ‘[e]very aesthetic object or process has a frame or frames peculiar to it’ (Frow 2002: 333), then it is significant to explore the terms of Bollywood’s aesthetico-political engagement with the ‘traumatic’ events of the living, lingering spectres of Partition as manifested in the consequent insurgency in Kashmir. Delineating the political implications of the spectre as a representational device, often for the marginalised and disempowered victims of historical injustices, this chapter explores how spectrality has been taken up in Haider to address ‘the quandaries of not merely the past and its persistence in the present but also contemporary life and its socio-political configurations… in relation to influential critical frameworks such as post-coloniality’ (Blanco et al. 2013: 91), nationalism, and, especially, cine-philosophical interrogations of war across the Line of Control, the border between India and Pakistan, and suffering. Examining the contours of the Kashmir imbroglio, the first part of this chapter foregrounds the political significance of recognising and remembering the past in the present. The second part of the chapter elucidates how the uncanny offers an important critical framework for negotiating an ethical engagement with visual representations of Kashmir’s traumatic legacies. From the conceptual core of spectro-politics and spectral resistance, the chapter not only limns out an analysis of Haider, but also examines how Bhardwaj has framed the material and ideological compulsions of Kashmir insurgency, nation-formation, and citizenship in India through the spectral-realist cinematic. Framing or frame selection here refers to the filmmaker’s/actor’s ability to use active frames (herein creative, moral, and ethical frames), their ability to set the frame contexts so that they create a coherent logic resulting in frame DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655-4

32 The vale of desire reinforcement, and, finally, their ability to match the political frames with the film’s framing. Though the meaning of the terms ‘ghost’ and ‘spectre’ varies from one context to another, but I have used the words interchangeably in at least two important ways, one related to the history of Kashmir, the spirit of the dead, or the revenant, and the persistence of the past in the present in a very broad sense; and the other related to the temporal scope of the film in a more narrow sense. Eliding significant differences between concepts like ‘spectrality,’ the ‘hauntology’ and the ‘ghostly,’ the consideration of ‘the ghostly disruption of the present historicity itself’ (Luckhurst 2002: 535–536) is not without merit, as it enables us to engage with political and ethical questions regarding the enunciation of catastrophic history and violent events in Kashmir by focusing on how the ghostly traces of one’s past self or absent others haunt the life of the individual and society. However, it must be conceded at the outset that I will avoid analysing the entire film, but will choose only those scenes that unravel the filmic strategies of haunting as an effective mode of critical engagement, which enables not only an ethical witnessing of visual representations of historical/political trauma and their continuing legacies, but also a working through.

Behind the Vale: the Kashmir conundrum On August 5, 2019, when the BJP-led central government abrogated Article 370 and 35 A that granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir after the partition of the Indian subcontinent, as a sort of a quid pro quo for its ‘accession’ to India (and not Pakistan), it was seen as a massive renegation of the freedoms guaranteed by the Indian government through the Instrument of Accession of October 1947. This was not a random or an accidental executive decision. Sharing common borders with India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, and the former Soviet Union, the region of Kashmir has been ‘subject to a state of untold persecution for the last 500 years’ and in contemporary history ‘India, Pakistan and China have all annexed and occupied some part of the historic Kashmiri nation’ (Misgar 2015). Often described as ‘the unfinished business of Partition’, the current Kashmir imbroglio has its roots in the immediate aftermath of India’s independence from British rule in 1947, when the Hindu Maharajah of Kashmir signed the Instrument of Accession to the Republic of India as a trade-off for India’s assistance against an armed uprising of local tribesman. Since the Partition, the contested border region of Kashmir has been at the centre of the dispute between India and Pakistan, resulting in four full-scale wars between 1948 and 1999, several smaller skirmishes and, for the past few years, an indeterminate proxy war along the Line of Control (Racine 2015: 139). The traces of Indian ressentiment ‘recouped as permits for the maintenance of a politics of inimitié’, implying a targeted charge at a Kashmiri person or collectivity which included incarceration and torture, ‘all of which allow hostile phantasms to thrive and multiply’ (Apter 2018: 70). Though a detailed analysis of the political history of the

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region is beyond the scope of this chapter, it would suffice to say that New Delhi’s mismanagement of ‘the core issue of Kashmir’, which has been aggravated by the repressive AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) led to a surge in local insurgency developed in the Vale of Srinagar 1990 onwards, and all efforts at ‘normalisation’, or at least continued dialogue have proved miserably futile till today, for ‘lack of common ground’ (Racine 2015: 139). Besides, the post-Partition reworking of geographical borders was attended with the invisible ‘borders of the mind’, that is, the ideologies and rhetoric which divided the people within the nation-state (Sinha-Kerkhoff and Bal 2007: 75). While the people are expected to use ‘the antinomies normalised by the state – Hindu and Muslim, majority and minority, Indian and Pakistani, citizen and alien – it is our task as critics to make visible the work of this normalisation, to reveal its un-finished nature’ (Mufti 2000: 250). Owing to the predominantly ‘perfunctory’ (Rai 2004: 5) treatment accorded to the portrayal of the ‘cartographic anxiety’ (Krishna 1996: 196) as well as the consequent insurgency movements in Kashmir by South Asian historians, and the dangers of a ‘teleological’(Zutshi 2004: 324) reading, it is important to ‘rethink history cinematically’ (Martin-Jones 2011: 130). While the mainstream Hindi cinema representing Kashmir has imagined different desires – political, sexual, cathectic, and social – for the Kashmir Valley, yet the representation of the encounter between present and past is defined by aporias. Sometimes, the popular films as cultural texts fail to ‘speak for’ the Kashmiris, yet mainstream Hindi cinema on and/about Kashmir can be a productive site to reveal the fault lines of nationhood (Pandey and Samad 2007).

Framing Kashmir: the shifting gaze In the contemporary discourse of Indian nationalism, if we trace Bollywood’s shifting gaze on Kashmir, we find that its imaginings of the Valley transform from an Elysian territory of desire, romance, and innocence (Kabir 2005) to a terrain which stages a dialectic encounter between Islam, the Kashmir insurgency, and the state, which have encouraged, or resisted, the material and ideological compulsions of nation-formation and citizenship. India’s desire for Kashmir in cinema was inaugurated in 1961 by the film Junglee (The Savage One) directed by Subodh Mukherji. The major ‘Kashmir films’ of Bollywood in the 1960s – Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), Jaanwar (1965), Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965), Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963), and Aarzoo (1965) – framed the Valley in ‘the amber of cinematic excess’ when ‘colour, Kashmir and bouffants ruled the silver screen’ thickened by ‘subsequent nostalgia’ (Kabir 2005: 84). The second crucial phase in the evolution of Bollywood’s obsession with Kashmir, which began in the 1990s, reveals the complex ways in which discourses of nationalism, masculinity, and religion intersected at this particular historical juncture in the Indian subcontinent to form hegemonic patterns that represented, reinforced, and constituted Hindu nationalism. The significant films in this phase include Roja (1992), Mission Kashmir (2000), and Yahaan

34 The vale of desire (2005). The third phase in the mainstream Hindi films on Kashmir, which commenced in the mid-1990s, is set against the backdrop of the Kargil war, an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir along the Line of Control (LOC), the nuclear tests in 1998, and the 13th December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament in New Delhi by Kashmiri separatists. While engaging with militancy in Kashmir, popular movies, which include Fiza, Fanaa, and Mission Kashmir, replicate the affirmative patterns of Bombay cinema, thus sublimating politics through the triumph of love and the insurgent’s reintegration into the family and the nation. Though Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Mission Kashmir does evoke, albeit in a slanted way, the failure of both the Indian nation and the state, it is Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider that disrupts the statist discursive constraints in mainstream cinema (which fetishise the Kashmiri as either sufferer or perpetrator of terror) by creating a dissensual space for critical responsiveness that aims to transform the existing antagonisms, or ‘the political,’ into a situation of ‘agonism’ (Mouffe 2013: 35), in which the ‘other’ is no longer an enemy (to be destroyed) but a legitimate adversary, a political opponent. Haider epitomises the innovative, exciting, and bold ‘Bollywoodisations’ of Shakespeare, which uses the Shakespearean text more as a resource than as the privileged original in terms of postcolonial writing back, cultural resistance, or adaptation inflected by dependence on native geographic milieu and citational environments, and traditions of Indian movies (Chakravarti 2002: 131). As a postcolonial intercultural revision, the main theme of Haider, akin to some of the acclaimed Arab adaptations and appropriations, is ‘political agency… “to be” rather than “not to be”’ (Litvin 2011: 8). Bhardwaj, an auteur, through his unique style and caméra-stylo (camera-pen), transposes Denmark to the contemporary embattled Kashmir in 1995, on the border between India and Pakistan, at the height of the insurgency and the consequent fierce response by the Indian army. The film shows the eponymous character Haider returning home from his University studies on the revolutionary poets in British India to learn that his physician father, Dr Hilaal Meer (played by Narendra Jha), a liberal doctor who dispensed medical care to anyone who sought it without discriminating against militants, was taken for interrogation and has subsequently disappeared. Soon, he discovers that his father is just one of the many ‘disappeared.’ Since the reality of Haider is constituted by the ‘unseen,’ by ‘what vanishes’ the disappearance of presence makes ‘the vanishing point’ itself visible and constitutes the aesthetic experience as a form of bereavement (Holderness 2005: 158). Commenting on this aesthetic experience as an encounter with loss, Mookherjee says, ‘The “vanishing point”, the explosive loss of the childhood home and the chilling and uncertain loss of the father, structures the rest of the film (Haider) both as an attempt to retrieve this loss and as an extended bereavement’ (2016: 158). While the film predominantly charts the trajectories of the major characters within the original play, the political issues in Haider are transferred to the complex politics of Kashmir. Gertrude

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becomes Ghazala (played by Tabu), Claudius becomes a lawyer and promising politician Khurram (played by Kay Kay Menon). While Ophelia (played by Shradha) becomes Arshi who is a young journalist, her father, Polonius, and her brother Laertes become sinister police Superintendent Parvez Lone (played by Lalit Parimoo) and Liaqat (Aamir Bashir) who works for a multinational company. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are adapted to local men, Salmaan and Salmaan, who are paid informants for police intelligence. Much like Hamlet, Haider becomes concerned about the growing physical intimacy between Ghazala and his uncle, Khurram, and when he learns of the circumstances behind his father’s disappearance, he exclaims that ‘all of Kashmir is a prison’ (Bhardwaj and Peer 2014: 64). The kernel of the film Haider came from Basharat Peer’s memoir, Curfewed Night that unravels the lived experiences of Kashmiris during the 1990s as an attempt to make up for ‘the absence of [their] own telling, the unwritten books about the Kashmiri experience’ (2008: 98). Basharat Peer, who honestly disputes his nationality as an Indian and calls Kashmir ‘a siege democracy’ in which a majority of the Kashmiris like him crave for independence (Kingston 2017: 237), makes a brief appearance in the film. He plays the role of a young man, who is so haunted by the ghost-making exercises of necropower such as surveillance, curfews, and crackdowns, that he stands for hours at the entrance of a shop in a catatonic state and refuses to go inside it despite his mother’s pleading. He finally relents when Roohdar frisks him and demands to see his ID card. He enters the door and plunges into the overbearing dialectic of visibility and invisibility, learning and unlearning, acknowledgment and denial, negotiating a journey into the normalised unreality of the other side. This is an exemplary instance that evocatively portrays how the state in the name of fighting insurgency has terrorised and spooked people, and constructed new forms of social existence where entire populations are reduced to ‘simple relics of an unburied pain, empty, meaningless corporealities; strange [calcified] deposits plunged into cruel stupor’ (Mbembé and Meintjes 2003: 35). By examining Bhardwaj’s aesthetico-political intervention as a form of dissensus, the next section examines the function of the postcolonial cinematic spectre and it’s haunting in Haider. Since the ghost is so fundamental in the ‘obtuse meanings’ (Barthes 1977: 55, 60–61 and 67) of cinematic Hamlets, the section reads Haider’s ‘logic of haunting’ (Derrida 1994: 10) together with Derrida’s notion of the ‘phantom’s return’ (Derrida and Stiegler 2002: 24). Although an extensive, integrated, and consistent theory of the cinematic spectre, ghost, and haunting lies outside the scope of this study, the endeavour remains to map out some of its major theoretical issues and concerns.

Spectropolitics: spectral resistance and dialogue in Haider The partition of the Indian subcontinent is conceived of as a haunting, traumatic event that caused a rupture in the national consciousness. The spectre of partition continues to unsettle Indian democracy. Commenting on the

36 The vale of desire relationship between the recent preoccupation with ‘trauma’, in which the belated presence of a symptom proves the subject’s inability to grasp or assimilate a past event that continues to disrupt the present, and the spectral discourse, Gordon writes, ‘Haunting is a frightening experience. It always registers the harm inflicted or the loss sustained by a social violence done in the past or in the present. But haunting, unlike trauma, is distinctive for producing a something-to-be-done’ (2008: xvi). Since the partition of the Indian subcontinent caused a violent, traumatic rupture in the national consciousness that continues to haunt the present, it is in the spirit of attending to how cinema might wrench out that trauma from the realm of the unconscious and engender a ‘something-to-be-done’ that propel my analysis of Partition trauma and its legacies. In his book, Mourning the Nation (2009), Bhaskar Sarkar offers persuasive claims for a sustained haunting of Indian cinema ‘to advance an understanding of both the silence and the eventual “return of the repressed” as strands of one complex process’ (2009: 2). Engaging with the unheimlich, a Freudian psychoanalytic term that scholars of postcolonial literature and Partition narratives in particular have used to describe the phenomenon that is characterised by the ‘utter transformation of what was once settled, understandable, and comfortable’ (Nagappan 2005: 89), the mainstream Hindi cinema on and/about Kashmir like Haider offers a productive archive to reveal the ‘faultlines of nationhood’ (Pandey and Samad 2007). The configuration of the archive is ‘spectral … a trace always referring to another whose eyes can never meet, no more than those of Hamlet’s father, thanks to the possibility of a visor’ (Derrida and Prenowitz 1995: 54). Since the structure of archive is analogous to ‘spectral,’ it is important to uncover the traces of ‘meaning’, ‘explanation’, or ‘truth’ residing within experience (spectral) in Haider so as to reconfigure the celluloid enunciations of the post-Partition Kashmir imbroglio. Nowhere is the aeonic movement of memorialisation of trauma and the ruptures of the borders of the mind better articulated than in Bhardwaj’s Haider. If we understand ‘oneirism’ as the shadowy region between memory and imagination played out as a reverie (Bachelard 1994: 13), then it can be argued that Haider’s pursuit of memory, structurally speaking, as sites of specific spatiotemporal history, follows an ‘oneiric’ movement. In other words, Bhardwaj’s interweaving and overlapping of spectral traces in the filmic narrative fuse the texture of the everyday world with the imagined, haunting past. In Haider, Bhardwaj engages with specropolitics and the possibility of spectral resistance as the ‘strategies of reparation that recognize the paradoxical simultaneity of the necessity to break free of the past and the necessity to accept its pervasiveness’ (Kabir 2013: 15). Though earlier adaptations of Hamlet in the mainstream Hindi films like Dada Athawale’s silent film Khoone-Nahak (The Unjust Assassination) (1926), Sohrab Modi’s Khoon ka Khoon (Blood for Blood) (1935), and Kishore Sahu’s Hamlet (1954) represent a unique phase of existence in the evolutionary chart of the Shakespearean text, Bhardwaj’s Haider engages with spectropolitics to mobilise spectrality as the locus of possible change, ‘where ghosts, and especially the ability to haunt and the

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willingness to be haunted, to live with ghosts,’ can ‘revivify our collective capacity to imagine a future radically other to the one ideologically charted out’ (Radway 2008: xiii) already by the militarised, postcolonial nation-state through challenging its phantasmatic multi-layered structures. Spectropolitics also offers to critique the way the nation-state constructs homo sacer, that is, certain subjects as consistently disenfranchised or, in Judith Butler’s terms, forced to live in extreme precarity as ‘would-be humans, the spectrally human’ (2004: 91), devoid of the least bit of civil rights, who can be tortured, maimed, or even exterminated with complete impunity. Though the notion of homo sacer draws its origins, historically speaking, from ancient Roman law and signifies an outcast made sacred so that he/she can be killed with impunity and such a killing would not occasion any state intervention, this Roman persona of exclusion recurs in contemporary forms of subjugation of life to the social and political power which decrees how some people may live and how some must die. Drawing on Walter Benjamin, who in his 36 ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ employed the term ‘state of emergency’ as the rule, as the very legitimisation of power, Agamben imagined the condition of the homo sacer as the condition of exception, and since the sovereign power of the state chooses the condition of exception, it essentially means that the state decides who the homo sacer is and once that is decided, all his rights are liquidated (Agamben 2001: 5–6). Bhardwaj enunciates the ‘disappeared’ Kashmiris languishing in prisons or killed and buried in unnamed graves as homo sacer. Haider portrays the military occupation in Kashmir as an example of the constant ‘state of exception’ (Agamben 2001: 5–6) that is established through security-related exceptional emergency legislation, especially the Disturbed Areas Act, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), and the Public Safety Act (PSA), which ensure exemption of security force personnel from prosecution that, in practice, preserves the notion of the enemy as internal, the Kashmiri ‘other’, and leaves victims with no legal mechanisms for seeking justice. This initiated the transition of the dissident Kashmiri community from being political subjects to being outside the protective circle of law and in the region of the ‘bare life’ or the ‘Musselman’, which Agamben locates in the state of being ‘homo sacer.’ In Haider, Bhardwaaj maps out the contours of a poetic-performative politics which ushers in a transformative spectropolitics sustained by reclaiming the silenced dissident voices branded as separatist, insurgent or seditious. The occurrences of the uncanny are scattered throughout Haider. The ghost of Hilaal Meer imports a charged strangeness into the place it is haunting, thus unsettling the propriety and property lines that delimit the zone of activity or knowledge. The ghost narrative offers a new way of knowing, then, a knowing that is a practice of being attuned to the echoes and murmurs of that which has been lost but which is still present among us in the form of intimations, hints, suggestions, and portents. Delineating these echoes and murmurs as ‘ghostly matters,’ Gordon says, ‘To be haunted,’ as she puts it, ‘is to be tied to historical and social effects’ (2008: 190). In Haider, Bhardwaj cleverly re-

38 The vale of desire invented the ghost of the murdered King Hamlet as a Kashmiri who is ‘disappeared’ by the police authorities. In Haider, Bhardwaj goes beyond Bollywood’s Pakistan-bashing for Kashmir’s troubles by underscoring the inhuman reign of terror unleashed by the agents of necropower, the Indian Army, the collusion of the local politicians, and the pro-government militia (Ikhwan) in killing the Kashmiris with impunity under the guise of counter-insurgency, the illegal detention of dissenting ‘voices’ in torture camps and the issue of the 8,000 to 10,000 arrested locals who went missing during the Kashmir insurgency in 1995 never to come back. At the beginning of the film, the ‘disappeared’ status of Hilaal Meer plunges him into an uncertain state of being where he is, by social and legal criteria, at once existent and non-existent, alive and dead, which hints at the essential subject of the film, and of the Kashmir issue at large, ‘where people are not merely subjected to physical state-mandated violence, but where the very definition of a person as a legal, political and social entity, i.e. a citizen, is called into question’ (Mookherjee 2016: 5). In the film, we see ‘disappeared’ men including Roohdaar and Hilaal Meer illegally detained in a secret and unofficial detention-cum-interrogation center called MAMA-2, a clever appropriation of the most feared and dreaded PAPA2 in Srinagar, which was an abandoned hotel. Languishing in this ‘hell,’ the doctor laments, ‘The prison is a sullen ghost. Ask the breeze for a whiff of hope.’ (Bhardwaj and Peer 2014: 114). After his escape from this ‘fortress’, Roohdaar recounts to Haider how ‘men who enter MAMA-2 are scarred forever’ (Bhardwaj and Peer 2014: 116). Hilaal Meer haunts the entire film not only in his situation ‘ as a disappeared person – perceived to be neither living nor dead, or simultaneously both living and dead – but in the form of his flesh and blood, satellite phone wielding, ghost: Roohdaar’ (Mookherjee 2016: 5). Reconfiguring the uncanny as the Freudian concept of the ‘ return of the repressed’ in Kashmir where ‘all domination assumes the form of administration,’ producing ‘pain, frustration [and] impotence of the individual’ in the face of an immense apparatus (Marcuse 1966: 98) which legitimates brutality. Bhardwaj enunciates ‘cultures of cruelty’ (Balibar 2004: 6) through the framing of violence inflicted on the unyielding Hilaal Meer and the sibylline Roohdar in the detention centre. The name Roohdaar means the keeper of spirit, and when Arshi inquires about his identity he proclaims, ‘A doctor’s soul’ (Bhardwaj and Peer 2014: 103), one who ‘keeps, possesses or even protects the doctor’s spirit, his essence … a “ghost” identity, an endlessly deferred sign that hints at but never fully represents his character’ (Mookherjee 2016: 5). Khurram tells Haider that Roohdaar is a double agent who has many fake identities and who has changed his allegiances so many times that it is extremely difficult to trust him and to unearth his genuine identity. This uncanny attribute that Roohdaar appears to have can be explained by the conflation of the deep and common memory that Roohdaar shared with Hilaal Meer with whom he experienced imprisonment and torture in the detention and interrogation center. He soon becomes not only the closest confidante of Hilaal Meer, but also the ‘keeper’ of his spirit.

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In Kashmir, ‘the phenomenon of “enforced and involuntary disappearance”’ is a pervasive, organised form of repression based on the idea that dissuading resistance could be best achieved by making people who dissent disappear without leaving a trace (Rashid 2011: 14). In fact, the word ‘disappeared’ is a misnomer since many prisoners who have disappeared may well, at worst, have ceased to live. The wives of disappeared people are called ‘aadhi bewaa [half-widows]’ in Kashmir. The instances of state terror through forced disappearance are not exclusive to Kashmir. However, Kashmir remains a noteworthy illustration in South Asia for accomplishing resistance to such subjugation in the actions and philosophies of the Associations of Parents of Disappeared Persons. Looking for his disappeared father, Haider, too, joins the APDP members to condemn the silence and apathy of the state. During a scene at Lal Chowk in Srinagar, when Haider excitedly asks the crowd, ‘What do we want?,’ the crowd replies back in unison ‘Freedom’ (Bhardwaj and Peer 2014: 145). Summoning the spectators to imagine the ongoing presence of a people (Kashmiris) and their concurrent absence (erasure) from the national history, Haider asks, Do we exist or do we not? If we do then who are we? If we don’t then where are we? Did we exist at all? Or not? Our suffering comes from ‘chutzpah’? … Such audacity, such stupidity, like AFSPA. (Bhardwaj and Peer 2014: 145) Though the disappearance of dissenting citizens is not exclusive to Kashmir, in the context of the film, Bhardwaj enunciates how the disappearance of Kashmiris, which was executed with organised robustness, served to galvanise a collective resistance to state terror through the actions and views of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). As military repression and occupation increasingly inform the politics, the collusion of post-colonial theory with security discourses is revealed in ‘reading movements for selfdetermination as threats to the state or as forms of terrorism rather than as alternate possibilities for freedom and liberty’ (Visweswaran 2012: 440). Haider shows how the machinery of a repressive state apparatus and an extremely powerful military with the collusion of local politicians coercively combats ideological dissent and desire for azaadi and eventually constructs a Kashmiri society of unresponsive somnambulists or ghosts. Bhardwaj enunciates the Kashmir Valley not only as the paradigmatic location for the exercise of biopower, but also as the phenomenon of ‘coma dépassé’ (Agamben 1998: 160), as a new experience and event that redefines the threshold between life and death. At one juncture in the film, Haider exclaims that the entire Valley has become a prison with spiritually and psychologically comatose victims haunted by the ghosts of the past. In Haider, the representation of undercover army torture centres (with strange names like MAMA2, Gogoland Cargo, and Shiraz Cinema), where the ‘disappeared’ Kashmiris are interrogated, reveals that the ‘territorialisation of space and

40 The vale of desire forced rendition of humans into spectral shadows of themselves relies on systematised zones of dehumanization and ideological indoctrination’ (Devasundaram 2016: 258). In one such grotto of suffering, the film reveals a prisoner being emasculated through electric shocks administered to his private parts. The torturers ignore his painful shrieks that he is a student and not a militant. All the prisoners are ordered to chant ‘Long Live India’ and when Hilaal Meer and Roohdar refuse to do so they are mercilessly beaten up. Talking about their shared beliefs, sufferings, and the strong bond of friendship between them, Roohdaar says, ‘After that day the Doctor and I were always together body and soul’ (Bhardwaj and Peer 2014: 120). One day, when Hilaal Meer says to Roohdaar that besides sharing torture in the cell it seemed that they would die together as well, Roohdaar exclaims, ‘You can die doctor but I won’t…. Because you are the body and I am the soul. You are mortal and I’m immortal’ (Bhardwaj and Peer 2014: 121). When Hilaal Meer asks him about his ethnic identity, he declares, ‘A Shia and a Sunni, I’m both… A Pandit as well… I always was… I am… I will always be… Who else will tell these stories in the pages of history?’ (Bhardwaj and Peer 2014: 122). When he is shot along with Hilaal Meer and their bodies are thrown in the River Jhelum, Roohdaar miraculously survives. Just as the disappeared Roohdaar makes his presence known outside his own subterranean world of the dark and obscured detention centre, which was immersed in sorrowful groans, distressing torment, and stolen instants of sympathy and solidarity with his fellow disappeared, he must inevitably emerge as a ghost. Through the representation of the haunted homeland and abandoned houses turned into terror camps, Bhardwaj maps out the affective trajectories of belonging and un-belonging. In the penultimate ‘gravediggers scene,’ the dialectic of burying and excavating is an allegory for the haunting of a troubled and conflicted past. The scene most evocatively frames the mass graves of the disappeared Kashmiris as the chiasmatic locus of abjection that structures postcolonial politics. Although the cemeteries, ‘as liminal places… encode, reproduce, and initiate constructions of memory at individual, familial, and collective levels’ that ‘ bridge notions of self and other… and past and present homeland’ (Francis et al. 2002: 95), but since the partition these unmarked and unidentified graves are the unhomely, haunting ‘lieux de mémoire [sites of memory]’ (Nora 1989: 7) of the state of exception. Extending the spatial and temporal aspects of haunting to the political and ethical questions concerning the dissemination of catastrophic history, negative heritage, the problem of the haunted subject, or the social and phenomenological aspects of ghosts, Haider underscores how the ghostly traces of one’s past self or absent others haunt the life of the individual and society. In the film, Bhardwaj encourages the dialogue with the dead that arises in these textual traces. Since the encounter with the dead and ‘the traumatic real […] opens up the possibility of freedom for the subject’ (McGowan 2007: 17), Bhardwaj enunciates some of the aesthetic and ethical potential of Shakespeare’s Hamlet by forging a dialogue between Shakespeare and Bollywood cinema that involves the questions of

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desire, freedom, and self-determination. The question or the call of the phantom is ‘the question and the demand of the future and of justice as well’ (Derrida and Stiegler 2005: 23–24). In the film, Haider is aware of his father’s wish that he avenge his brother’s betrayal by shooting Khurram between the eyes, and up until the final seconds in a spectacular and an emotionally wrenching scene this appears to be the inevitable outcome. However, at the last moment, Haider recalls his mother’s last words that overlay his father’s call for revenge: ‘Revenge only begets revenge… revenge does not set you free… freedom lies beyond revenge’ (Bhardwaj and Peer 2014: 212). Haider sets himself free from the unending cycle of violence and revenge by sparing the life of his maimed and bleeding uncle and stepfather, Khurram, who is left in agony, guilt, and self-recrimination for instigating his brother’s death. In Haider, Bhardwaj invites the audience to bear witness to the trauma inflicted by various forms of political violence in order to act out and work through the ‘unfinished’ business of Partition ethically. This enables considerations on forgiveness and hope for a possible rapprochement in future. In The Human Condition, Arendt emphasizes the two human capabilities – of promising and of forgiving – that have significant political and moral implications. Delineating that both promise and forgiveness are intersubjective experiences, Arendt says, ‘Both faculties, therefore, depend on plurality, on the presence and acting of others’ (Arendt 1958: 237). Haider underlines the ethical and even political significance of ontological precariousness. In other words, the shared sense of precariousness, vulnerability, exposure and mortality between the self and the other are indispensable for peace and humanism. Ultimately, peace, as defined by Levinas, ‘awakens to the precariousness of the other’ (Butler 2004:134). Acknowledging the difficulties that discourses of forgiveness must come to terms with in the aftermath of collective trauma, Derrida asks, ‘[W]ho would have the right to forgive in the name of the disappeared victims?’ (Derrida 2001: 44). However, the final image of the graveyard scattered with fresh bodies and dismembered human body parts over the white snow and the spectre of the unending cycle of revenge suggests that conflict can only be resolved by dialogue and peaceful means, which include hard won and painful forgiveness. Writing in response to the attacks on 9/11, Judith Butler said that to bear witness to traumatic events and the suffering they induced is an ethical act as it ‘reimagin[es] the possibility of community on the basis of vulnerability and loss’ (Butler 2004: 20). The recognition of shared precariousness and common vulnerability stimulates a more robust desire for restructuring the political community so that it becomes more responsive and responsible for the sufferings of others. Underscoring the significance of witnessing and testimony as the most offered requisite for an unrelenting resolve to survive political atrocities, Haider not only offers a transformative ‘recognition’ of vulnerability and responsibility (Felman and Laub 1992; Kurasawa 2009), but also ‘an economic’ (Derrida 2001: 34) and restorative potential of forgiveness in the reconciled future. Since the past of Hilaal Meer and Kashmir are animated enough in the present, in the now, the

42 The vale of desire ghost in Haider presents itself as a sign to the people that there is a possibility of restorative justice in the fight for the oppressed past. Bhardwaj as a filmmaker wrestles with these vexing issues and the film shows that ethics and politics are extremely entwined, and none of them should be unheeded in any democratic project, which desires reflexivity and openness.

Conclusion If, as Benjamin says, ‘history resolves itself not into narratives but into images’ (1968: 255), then it can be added that Bhardwaj’s film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet marks a significant mediatic turn, another border crossing, which is linked to the socio-political changes induced by the unresolved problem of the partition of the Indian subcontinent, to enunciate in fairly meaningful ways on the contemporaneous moment in Kashmir. Through Haider’s vain searches for the ghost of his ‘disappeared’ father, Bhardwaj summons the spectator not only into ‘an empathic relationship with a besieged Kashmir’, but also to bear witness to the haunting, ‘traumatic effects of a long history of conflict over sovereignty and self-determination, a struggle that is concurrently historical and ongoing’ (Young 2017: 13). The film’s impetus derives from its cine-philosophical interrogations of terror, suffering and spectres of violence. Though in the traditional performances of ‘Hamlet,’ for example, Lawrence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948), Franco Zeffirelli’s Hamlet (1991), Kenneth Brannagh’s Hamlet (1996), and Robin Lough’s Hamlet (2015), the directors are unable to realign the hero’s beliefs based on what he subsequently learns that results in his death, Vishal Bhardwaj’s appropriation of the play works out the epistemological crises by the reconstruction of a more adequate narrative. Resolving a crisis in the Indian aesthetico-political tradition, Bhardwaj not only makes ‘an epistemological break’ (MacIntyre 2006: 6–7) with the type of political thinking that had defined Indian majoritarian nationalism but also enables that epistemological progress through the ‘crosshatching’ of the multivalent textual and political perspectives working in his Bollywood appropriation of Shakespeare (Dionne and Kapadia 2002: 3). This crosshatched Haider imagines the performance as dissensus, or what Rancière calls a politics that can challenge the existing order, the existing distribution of the sensible (2010: 1–2). From a dissensual re-configuration, Bhardwaj underscores the agonistic account of democracy (Laclau 1996: 34–5, 65) in Haider as a tool for engaging with the politics of recognition and misrecognition of the Muslim and Kashmiri ‘other’ within ‘webs of interlocution’ (Taylor 1989: 32, 36). The ghost of the father calling for revenge and restitution is linked to the idea that ‘justice is somehow always tied to a relation to the dead, and that it thereby works according to what we could call a “spectral logic”’ (Ruin 2015: 62). The spectre of violence and the on-screen ghost, which persistently haunt the spectators, serve as counter-epistemic frames (i.e., figures of rememoration) and ethical gestures that call for justice for the absent others. The film reiterates the view that the very possibility of justice depends on our ability to speak with ghosts, which is

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the way to a kind ‘a transformative recognition’ (Gordon 2008: 8). Thus, learning to live with ghosts involves an exchange and, by framing it, Bhardwaj makes visible some of the invisible coordinates of Kashmir’s politics and sets in motion a political economy of love and recognition. It is only by working through that the people can overcome trauma, come to terms with the burden of a national history of violence, construct a sense of collective belonging, and engage with aesthetic introspection at the cusp of the individual and the collective.

References Agamben, Giorgio. 1998. Homo Sacer: Sovereignty and Bare Life. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Agamben, Giorgio. 2001. Means without End: Notes on Politics, Trans. Vincenzo Binetti and Cesare Casarino. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press. Apter, Emily. 2018. Unexceptional Politics: On Obstruction, Impasse and Impolitic. New York: Verso. Arendt, Hannah. 1958. The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Bachelard, Gaston. 1994. The Poetics of Space, Trans. Maria Jolas. Boston: Beacon Press. Balibar, Etienne. 2004. We, The People of Europe? Reflections on Transnational Citizenship. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Barthes, Roland. 1977. ‘The Third Meaning’, in Stephen Heath (ed.), Image Music Text, pp. 52–68. London: Fontana. Benjamin, Walter. 1968. ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’, in Hannah Arendt (ed.), Illumination. New York: Schocken Books. Bhardwaj, Vishal. 2014. Haider. Mumbai:UTV Motion Pictures. Bhardwaj, Vishal and Basharat Peer. 2014. Haider: The Original Screenplay. Noida: Harper Collins India. Blanco, María del Pilar and Esther Peeren. 2013. ‘Spectropolitics: Ghosts of the Global Contemporary’, in María del Pilar Blanco and Esther Peeren (eds), The Spectralities Reader: Ghosts and Haunting in Contemporary Cultural Theory, pp. 91–130. London: Bloomsbury. Butler, Judith. 2004. Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso. Chakravarti, Paromita. 2002. ‘Interrogating “Bollywood Shakespeare”’, in Craige Dionne and Parmita Kapadia (eds), Bollywood Shakespeares, pp. 127–146. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Derrida, Jacques. 2001. ‘On Forgiveness’, in Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness, Trans. Mark Dooley and Michael Hughes. London and New York: Routledge. Derrida, Jacques.1994. Spectres of Marx: The State of the Debt, The Work of Mourning and the New International, Trans. P. Kamuf. New York: Routledge. Derrida, Jacques and Bernard Stiegler. 2002. Echographies of Television: Filmed Interviews, Trans. Jennifer Bajorek. Cambridge: Polity Press. Derrida, Jacques and Eric Prenowitz. 1995. ‘Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression’, Diacritics, 25(2): 9–63. Dionne, Craige and Parmita Kapadia. 2002. ‘Shakespeare and Bollywood: The Difference a World Makes’, in Craige Dionne and Parmita Kapadia (eds), Bollywood Shakespeares, pp. 1–20. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

44 The vale of desire Devasundaram, Ashvin Immanuel. 2016. India’s New Independent Cinema: Rise of the Hybrid. New York: Routledge. Felman, Shoshona and Laub Dori. 1992. Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis, and History. New York: Routledge. Francis, Doris, Leonie Kellaher and Georgina Neophytou. 2002. ‘The Cemetery: A Site for the Construction of Memory, Identity, and Ethnicity’, in Jacob J. Climo and Maria G. Cattell (eds), Social Memory and History: Anthropological Perspectives, pp. 95–110. Walnut Creek, CA: Alta Mira Press. Frow, John. 2002. ‘The Literary Frame’, in Brian Richardson (ed.), Narrative Dynamics: Essays on Time, Plot, Closure, and Frames, pp.333–338. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press. Gordon, Avery F. 2008. Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Holderness, Graham. 2005. ‘Vanishing Point: Looking for Hamlet’, Shakespeare, 1(1–2): 154–173. Kabir, Ananya Jahanara. 2005. ‘Nipped in the Bud? Pleasures and Politics in the 1960s “Kashmir Films”’, South Asian Popular Culture, 3(2): 83–100. Kabir, Ananya Jahanara. 2013. Partition’s Post-Amnesias. New Delhi: Women Unlimited. Kingston, Jeff. 2017. Nationalism in Asia: A History Since 1945. Malden: John Wiley & Sons. Krishna, Sankaran. 1996. ‘Cartographic Anxiety: Mapping the Body Politic in India’, in Michael J. Shapiro and Hayward R. Walker (eds), Challenging Boundaries: Global Flows, Territorial Identities, pp. 193–216. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Kurasawa, Fuyuki. 2009. ‘Message in a Bottle: Bearing Witness as a Mode of Transnational Practice’, Theory, Culture & Society, 26(1): 92–110. Laclau, Ernesto. 1996. Emancipation(s). London: Verso. Litvin, Margaret. 2011. Hamlet’s Arab Journey. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Luckhurst, Roger. 2002. ‘The Contemporary London Gothic and the Limits of the “Spectral Turn”’, Textual Practice, 16 (3): 527–546. MacIntyre, Alasdair. 2006. The Tasks of Philosophy: Selected Essays, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Marcuse, Herbert. 1966. Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud. Boston: Beacon Press. Martin-Jones, David. 2011. Deleuze and World Cinemas. London: Continuum. Mbembé, Achille and Libby Meintjes. 2003. ‘Necropolitics’, Public Culture, 15(1): 11–40. McGowan, Todd. 2007. The Real Gaze: Film Theory After Lacan. New York: State University of New York Press. Misgar, Umar Lateef. 2015. ‘Kashmir – Of Occupation and Casbah-ization’, Kashmir Lit: An Online Journal of Kashmiri & Diasporic Writing, kashmir-of-occupation-and-casbah-ization/(accessed on 14 March 2018). Mookherjee, Taarini. 2016. ‘Absence and Repetition in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider’, Cogent Arts & Humanities, 3(1): 1–11. Mouffe, Chantal. 2013. Agonistics: Thinking the World Politically. London: Verso. Mufti, Aamir R. 2000. ‘Auerbach in Istanbul: Edward Said, Secular Criticism, and the Question of Minority Culture’, in Paul A. Bove (ed.), Edward Said and the Work of the Critic: Speaking Truth to Power, pp. 229–256. Durham: Duke University Press. Nagappan, Ramu. 2005. Speaking Havoc: Social Suffering and South Asian Narratives. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

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Nora, Pierre. 1989. ‘Between Memory and History: Les Lieux De Mémoire’, Representations, 26: 7–24. Pandey, Gyanendra and Yunas Samad. 2007. Faultlines of Nationhood. New Delhi: Roli Books. Peer, Basharat. 2008. Curfewed Night. Noida: Random House. Racine, Jean-Luc. 2015. ‘From the Great Game 3.0 to the U.S. Asia Pivot: The New Geometry of South Asia’s Geopolitics’, in Siegfried O. Wolf et al. (eds), The Merits of Regional Cooperation: The Case of South Asia, pp.137–154. Heidelberg: Springer. Radway, Janice. 2008. ‘Foreword’, in Avery F. Gordon (ed.), Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination, pp. vii–xiii. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Rai, Mridu. 2004. Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects: Islam, Rights, and the History of Kashmir. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Rancière, Jacques. 2010. Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics, Trans. and Ed. Steven Corcoran. London: Continuum. Rashid, Afsana. 2011. Widows and Half Widows. New Delhi: Pharos Media. Ruin, Hans. 2015. ‘Spectral Phenomenology: Derrida, Heidegger and The Problem of the Ancestral’, in Siobhan Kattago (ed.), The Ashgate Research Companion to Memory Studies, pp. 61–74. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Limited. Sarkar, Bhaskar. 2009. Mourning the Nation: Indian Cinema in the Wake of Partition. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Sinha-Kerkhoff, Kathinka and Ellen Bal. 2007. ‘De-partitioning Society: Contesting Borders of the Mind in Bangladesh and India’, in Smita Tewari Jassal and Eyal BenAri (eds), The Partition Motif in Contemporary Conflicts, pp. 75–97. New Delhi: Sage. Taylor, Charles. 1989. Sources of the Self. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Visweswaran, Kamala. 2012. ‘Occupier/Occupied’, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 19(4): 440–451. Young, Sandra. 2017. ‘Beyond Indigenisation: Hamlet, Haider, and the Pain of the Kashmiri People’, Shakespeare, 14(4): 374–389. Zutshi, Chitralekha. 2004. Languages of Belonging: Islam, Regional Identity, and the Making of Kashmir. London: Hurst & Company.


Finding comfort in silence? The absence of Partition narratives from the contemporary group theatre in Kolkata Arnab Banerji

Bengali group theatre in Kolkata prides itself for holding on to the considerations that led to its creation seventy years ago in 1948 – aesthetically robust, socially conscious, politically motivated theatrical entertainment. There is, however, one major 20th-century political event that this theatre has remained surprisingly silent about for nearly the entirety of its existence – the partition of Bengal in 1947. The silence is especially profound given the proximity of the origins of Bengali group theatre in Kolkata to the partition of the Indian subcontinent. The traumatic events surrounding the partition and the mass population displacement that it triggered could not possibly have escaped the critical gaze of the Bengali theatre milieu, many of whom had re-created the pre-Partition trauma of the Bengali famine from earlier in the decade with poetic brilliance and political astuteness unrivalled until then in the country’s nascent people’s theatre movement. This chapter is an attempt to understand that silence. Why does a theatre culture that has regularly taken the side of the oppressed and has introduced the country to the suffering of the marginalised masses remained tight-lipped on what is without doubt one of the most traumatic episodes in its contemporary socio-political surrounding? Is it because the trauma of the partition was too vast to find a place on the stage? Was it because the newly independent nation state had several pressing internal matters that took precedence for social commentary over the partition which was, for the lack of a better phrase, a done deal? Or was it because in its attempt to carve out a creative niche for itself the Bengali group theatre fraternity prioritised works that would guarantee recognition to the art form as a serious practice, like classics from the more recent or historically recognised repertoire? I argue and hope to demonstrate that while all of the above could have been possible and probable reasons behind the silence that engulfed the Bengali stage when it comes to Partition, the main reason is the Bengali Hindu majority’s prejudice against their Muslim brethren which had its roots in the years leading up to the partition. It is imperative, however, that we get a lay of the land before looking at the ways in which Bengali theatre seems to have put Partition and its narratives away from its public. The British viceroy to India, Lord Curzon, partitioned the province of Bengal in 1905 citing administrative reasons. Curzon had taken the time to study and justify the administrative reasons that underlined his project to DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655-5

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divide what he considered to be an unwieldy province that was ‘productive of inefficiency’ (Johnson 1973: 543). Curzon’s move, as Joya Chatterji reminds us, elicited a strong, concentrated, and multifaceted protest in Bengal (Chatterji 2002: 1). The political unrest prompted the British to roll back the partition in 1911. The concerted efforts of the anti-Partition movement sealed Bengal’s place at the helm of the Indian nationalism project. Nearly four decades after the partition was revoked, Bengal was partitioned again in 1947. This time, however, as Chatterji observes, ‘hardly a voice was raised in protest’ (Chatterji 2002: 1). Along with the rest of the Bengali cultural intelligentsia, the Bengali group theatre fraternity has also remained strangely silent regarding the events surrounding and leading up to the partition of Bengal in 1947. The silence has echoed for over seventy years since roughly 15 million people were displaced as part of what was officially labelled as ‘the exchange of populations’ (Menon 2013: 7). The partition took effect close on the heels of a major social upheaval in Bengal which had fuelled new political energy into Bengali theatre – the Bengal famine of 1943. The role of the central squad of the Indian Peoples’ Theatre Association (IPTA) in taking the story of the plight of the starving millions to the four corners of the Indian subcontinent is still fondly remembered as a subject of theatrical folklore (Bhatia 2004). The indifference, therefore, of the theatre fraternity to the human tragedy of the partition seems ubiquitous. Barring the single exception of a Bengali group theatre production of the Ritwik Ghatak play Sanko in the 1980s, there aren’t any significant plays in the Bengali theatre repertoire that discuss, debate, or deconstruct Partition either as a narrative or as a political trope. The lack of engagement with this major political event in its immediate backyard assumes significance especially when we consider that a significant number of Bengali middle-class (bhadralok, gentlemen) who formed an important part of the Bengali intelligentsia at the turn of independence also hailed from the Eastern districts of Bengal. Besides the notable exception of Ritwik Ghatak none of these (bangal, usually a pejorative term for residents of East Bengal) artists commented on the significance of this event or how it might have affected their art and politics. This chapter is an investigation into the reasons behind this silence. The silence, I argue, emanates from a collective act of forgetting that stops the wounds left by the traumatic events of Partition from festering any further. On the other hand, there was, however, a growing trend of communal politics among the Bengali Hindu elite favouring the two-nation solution leading to the silent acceptance of the partition. This legacy shared by its successors in the Bengali group theatre fraternity has continued to ensure the absence of the partition in the Eastern frontier and its trauma from the Bengali language stage as I shall demonstrate below/later.

Popular theatre in Bengal A short overview of popular theatre in Bengal is imperative here to help contextualise the remainder of this discussion. Theatre, in the Western

48 Finding comfort in silence? proscenium style, arrived in Bengal from England during the early English settlement in the city in the 18th century (Raha 1978). At the start of the 20th century, theatre was a commercial enterprise in Kolkata and completely divorced from the political and social turmoil of the time. Bengali poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) would rue the absence of a parallel theatre culture which would excite a finer aesthetic appreciation and encourage experimental theatre (Chaudhuri 2009: 22). In the years following the First World War, the great actor-director-manager Sisirkumar Bhaduri entered Bengali professional theatre as a full-time theatre worker. After an initial euphoric reaction surrounding his maverick genius, Bhaduri too felt trapped within the economic pressures of sustaining a profitable theatre enterprise over ideology and resorted to the formulaic melodramas that had been the staple of the day (Chaudhuri 2009: 25). As Chaudhuri notes, however, Sisirkumar Bhaduri, even though hackneyed and decadent in style and content did enthuse an otherwise ineffectual urban public into taking an active interest in theatre (Chaudhuri 2009: 29). In other words, Bhaduri had accomplished a very significant groundwork for his successors – building an audience. While Bengali theatre was bending under the weight of formulaic stories and melodramatic acting, communism was gradually making its way into its social underbelly. Influenced and inspired by the November revolution of 1917 in Russia, a group of young Indians formed the Indian Communist Party in Tashkent on 17 October 1920 (Chaudhuri 2009: 27). The Communist Party gained significant momentum in India in the aftermath of the First World War when the brutality of Britain’s oppression on India during the war years became starkly apparent (Chaudhuri 2009: 28). The British government reacted with stern and strict measures against the communists. The administration, however, could not stop the movement from spreading across the length of the country and attracting a wide body of the proletarian masses along the way. As noted above, theatre remained distant in this early phase of Indian communism. In 1942, under the aegis of a group of progressive writers, a group called the Indian People’s Theatre Association (henceforth IPTA) was created to exploit ‘the potential of popular theatre as an effective weapon in the fight for national liberation from British imperialism and from fascism’ (Bhatia 2004: 76). By 1945, as Bhatia observes, the IPTA had become a nationwide movement. The IPTA was modelled on ‘the Little Theatre Groups in England, the Works Progress Administration theatre project in the United States, the Soviet theatres, and the strolling players in China’ (Bhatia 2004: 77). At the same time, the IPTA was also rooted firmly in Indian traditions like tamasha, jatra, and burrakatha. The play (Nobanno, New Harvest), IPTA’s third major production after Roar China and Four Comrades was a watershed moment for the newly created group. Written by Bijan Bhattacharya, the play was part of a festival called ‘Voice of Bengal’ and its purpose was to collect money for the victims of the devastating Bengal famine of 1943. Nabanna was a significant achievement in Bengali theatre, since it violated the ‘high realism presented in the well-made

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play that dominated the metropolitan theatre in India in the early decades of the twentieth century’ (Bhatia 2004: 83). The Bengal chapter of the IPTA became one of the most important ones in the country but its success was short lived (Sehgal 1997: 32). As IPTA member and author of Nabanna Bijan Bhattacharya noted, ‘There are several reasons why it [IPTA] failed, but the crux of the matter is there were more careerists than real people in the organization’ (Chaudhuri 2009: 281). Even though IPTA’s mission was entrenched in raising social awareness and becoming a voice for the marginal sections of the society, this was more of a theoretical thought than a practical performative approach. Several artists refused to or disliked leaving the comforts of their urban lifestyle to tour the villages. Others like the actor-director Shombhu Mitra preferred to hold aloft the aesthetic integrity of their work over its political immediacy and refused shows when adequate infrastructure was not available. Political theatre, therefore, remained in its infancy during the Indian independence movement and Partition in 1947. In the aftermath of independence, the Communists came under fresh attack from the newly created federal government of India. In 1948, Shombhu Mitra and some of his devout followers quit the IPTA and formed their own theatre group heralding what is known as the new theatre movement. Over the last seven decades several groups have splintered from the original Bahrupee, as Mitra’s group was popularly known. In spite of idiosyncratic differences most groups share certain basic characteristics. Ananda Lal defines the genre as follows: Amateur troupes in post-Independence India, which produced the great majority of important urban theatre work, are classified as groups (…) [T]he number of groups increased rapidly after 1947, catering to an educated clientele with mainly serious and socially committed material, and disdaining pure entertainment. Since their themes precluded box-office success, groups could not hope to pay their members, who typically hold full-time day jobs in other professions and rehearse in the evenings. (Lal 2004: 139) Lal further observes that the groups register themselves as non-profit organisations and ‘qualify for public funding, corporate sponsorship, and private donations, tax exemptions, and, for theatre, waiver of high entertainment tax on tickets’ (Lal 2004: 139). Given such a politically conscious ethos underlying its beginnings and as Lal observes its ‘serious and socially committed’ content, it is doubly surprising that one of the greatest human tragedies in its immediate cultural milieu has rarely if at all received any serious treatment from this theatre tradition barring the notable exception of Ritwik Ghatak and his plays. Ghatak and his plays were fringe elements in the burgeoning Bengali group theatre culture of the late 1940s. A committed Communist, Ghatak never abandoned his politics or his political organisation and chose to stage his works under the aegis of the struggling Indian People’s Theatre Association,

50 Finding comfort in silence? the reason perhaps that his theatre and its nuanced take on the partition never made its way into mainstream discussions. Celebrated mostly as a maverick filmmaker, Ghatak’s plays betray a creative genius that easily straddled genres. It is befitting therefore, that we reacquaint ourselves with Ghatak before talking about his Partition plays.

Ghatak and Bengal theatre Ritwik Ghatak (1925–1976) was born in Dhaka in undivided Bengal. His family moved first to Berhampore, Murshidabad and eventually to Calcutta (now Kolkata). The partition and its bloody aftermath had a lasting effect on Ghatak and he believed that the ‘whole and glorious’ Bengal that he was born into was ‘shattered by the War, the Famine, and (…) the Congress and the Muslim League’ who ‘tore it into two to snatch for it a fragmented independence’ (Ghatak 2008: 49). Drawn to political theatre, Ghatak joined the IPTA in the 1950s. During his stint with the Bengal Chapter of IPTA Ghatak wrote Dolil and Sanko, two of the only play texts from the period after independence that address the issue of the second Bengal partition directly. Ghatak finished writing (Dolil, Land Deed) in 1952 (Ghatak 2008). It was produced by the Central Calcutta Squad of the IPTA and published by the Gananatya New Masses Publication, Calcutta in the same year (Ghatak 2008: 18). In his introduction to the play Ritwik writes, ‘the uprooted people came over and were scattered everywhere and amidst all this the cruel society and the treacherous leadership played merry games with them’ (Ghatak 2008: 18). Ritwik feels that this episode is the epic of our modern times and cannot be contained within the two hours of a play. He reminds us ‘all of Bengal is today clamoring – we are one, our tradition, our culture is one. And it has been so from the distant past to the foreseeable future’ (Ghatak 2008: 18). In his forceful and passionate rhetoric Ghatak vows to never let the memory of the partition and the trauma that it unleashed fade from the public memory. Dolil (Land Deed), is set on the day of the partition. The village headmaster Haren Pandit is on his way to the town to hear the latest news on the radio. If the partition is announced he will leave for Hindustan immediately. He advises the family of the peasant Khetu to do the same. Khetu and his family are clueless about these developments that are about to tear their life apart and cannot fathom why they must leave their bhite (Bengali word for ancestral land, with its roots in the word Bhit, which means foundation) for another land. The second part of the play begins in the Sealdah Station in Kolkata overcrowded with refugees. Some of them bear land deeds in hand. The poor peasants have been told to show the deed to the Hindu government who will take care of them all. The refugees decide to march to the Governor’s house to petition Prime Minister Nehru. The government opens fire upon the procession and the protesters are arrested. The realisation dawns on Khetu that people who have divided the country will not be willing to listen to the beggars from across the border.

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The third section of the play is set in a refugee colony. Some of the refugees are being sent to Orissa with the promise of agricultural land. Some of the refugees agree to move again, while others refuse to do so. The people are distrustful of the public meetings and journalists who come to make stories out of the misery of the refugees. In the last section of the play the refugee colony is shown afflicted with a cholera epidemic. Several people die as a result and are dumped in bushes, because the families cannot afford a funeral. Khetu’s grandson Haru contracts the disease and is dying in the house. His mother Swarna sits dumbstruck as the doctor comes in to examine the sick child and leaves after delivering the message ‘He is beyond us now!’ (Ghatak 2008: 118). The family breaks into collective hysteria at the turn of events and just then Padma, Khetu’s daughter comes in bearing a letter from across the border. Their erstwhile Muslim neighbor has finally written back. They are not doing very well in the newly formed East Pakistan either. The letter restores Khetu’s faith in humanity as he mumbles the last line of the play, ‘You have divided the land, but you cannot divide hearts’ (Ghatak 2008: 122). Ghatak also wrote a second play (Sanko, The Fragie Bridge) which is set in the 1950s (Ghatak 2008: 123–209). The genesis of the play lies in the Great Calcutta Killings of 1946 which claimed the lives of 5,000 men, women, and children during four days of rioting following the call for Direct Action by the Muslim League and the H.S. Suhrawardy-led Bengal Provincial government’s alleged lackadaisical attitude to contain the rioters (Das 1991: 166). This play was written in 1954 and staged for the first time in 1955. Ritwik revived the play in 1958 (Chakraborty 2008: 20). The play is set with the backdrop of not only the 1946 Great Calcutta Killings but also includes references to the 1950 communal riots in the newly independent metropolis. Mohsin is a young Muslim man who was saved from imminent death by a Hindu young man, Sagar, during the killings of 1946. Mohsin comes back to Kolkata in 1950 to attend a soiree. A second round of riots erupts in the city and chased by rioters Mohsin seeks shelter in the home of a Hindu man incidentally also named Sagar. Initially Sagar protects Mohsin but after reading the accounts of Muslim atrocity in a letter from his sister who now lives in Dhaka, Sagar goes blind with rage and hands Mohsin over to the rioters who butcher him mercilessly. In the next part of the play a repentant Sagar goes over to East Pakistan to confess his crimes to Mohsin’s family. But the affection and love of Mohsin’s mother for Sagar prevents him from doing so. Sagar finds through Mohsin’s mother a side to the feminine psyche that dissipates all darkness. Sagar equates the mother with the earth; his country becomes embodied as an indestructible decorated idol. Ritwik brings to the fore the destructive political machinations that hallucinated the youth of the country in the decades following independence even as the government made claims of making bold strides in science and technology in this play. The Rupdakkha theatre group revived this play in 1993 under Tarit Chowdhury’s direction. The play may have appealed to the Bengali theatre community because even though it critiqued the government and exposed its various hypocrisies,

52 Finding comfort in silence? melodrama, which had become a staple in the Bengal group theatre stage, formed its core. The figure of the mother which binds the play together may have had a universal appeal as opposed to the polarising political sentiments of Dolil. The plays together represent Ghatak’s knee jerk as well as his nuanced reading of the partition. In Dolil Ghatak is more aggressive in his portrayal of the partition. Khetu and his family are both macro and micro symbols of the myriad ways in which the partition and its aftermath destroyed the everyday lives of ordinary people. Ghatak, like Khetu and his family, keep looking for a glimmer of positivity, something that will make them hopeful about their future in a strange land where they are living the life of refugees. The hopelessness and the haplessness palpable in the play is not simply that of the poor family but of the author who seems to be rueing his incapability in doing anything even as his country and the society around him crumbles and falls apart. The play’s title Dolil, the Bengali word for land deeds, is a poignant reminder of the landlessness of the refugees who possess the paperwork that is supposed to ensure rights but little else. The brutality of the partition while still fresh in his memory, seems to have given way to a more nuanced reading of the events leading up to and following the partition on both sides of the border in Sanko (The Fragile Bridge) written a few years into the partition of the subcontinent. The wounds of the partition and the way that it has divided a people that were indivisible are still fresh but they seem to have given way to the building of a fragile bridge to try to connect people from across the porous border. The play is set in a tense atmosphere rife with communal tension. Hindus and Muslims continue to find it difficult to see past the differences that split the country. And yet there is hope, there is cultural exchange, there is the exchange of human values, and at the end there is the realisation that common humanity has the power to tie us all together irrespective of and in spite of our differences. We witness Ghatak’s journey from a reactionary to that of a commentator over the course of these two plays. In Dolil and Sanko, Ghatak puts the partition of the subcontinent into the theatrical centerstage unlike any other playwright in the Bengali group theatre.

The silence on Partition A variety of socio-cultural factors combined to relegate the significance of the partition and the ensuing trauma from popular cultural memory. The major social upheavals in the Indian part of the subcontinent following the mass migration of people and the shift in political power had also festered nationalistic concerns that the political theatre of the time chose to mouthpiece. The early 1950s in India was characterised by a series of nation-building agendas including the establishment of the various national academies of art, letters, and performing arts. Under the aegis of these academies, Indian intellectuals sought to look back to the chequered past of their cultural heritage and stage works reminiscent of and celebrating a glorious heritage to which the nation

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could and would aspire. The new theatre movement, the immediate successor of the IPTA, and the immediate predecessor of the group theatre movement in Kolkata found itself in the forefront of this nation-building agenda abandoning the politics that had formed the foundational basis of this parallel theatre structure in Kolkata. Ghatak’s plays operate in a space that is in sharp contrast to this politically vacuous aesthetic celebration of theatre. Dolil and Sanko are plays that give vent to popular sentiments about a political manoeuvre that was outside of them. Ghatak’s continued adherence to IPTA further alienated him from the evolving Bengali theatre mainstream which saw the erstwhile cultural organisation as simply a redundant appendage of the outlawed Communist Party. They signify the political possibilities of an engaged theatre culture which the theatre mainstream failed to capitalise upon choosing instead to align itself with the safer aesthetic bent of the government agencies. The shift from the political to the aesthetic in theatre runs parallel to a series of socio-political developments in Bengal in the decades preceding the Indian independence in 1947. The roots of the ensuing silence in the Bengali theatre mainstream may be found in these events. And the frustration of someone on the political and the theatrical fringe in the newly independent metropolis of Kolkata can be discerned and gauged from the plays discussed above. Joya Chatterji observes, citing J.A. Gallagher, that Kolkata dominated the Bengal hinterland more completely than any other Indian metropolis (Chatterji 2002: 55). Chatterji proceeds to demonstrate that this balance started shifting in the 1930s with an increasing politicisation of the Bengal countryside which diminished Kolkata’s singular importance in Bengal politics. The politicisation happened simultaneously with Bengal losing its agrarian resources in the wake of declining fertility and the ‘splintering of family plots into uneconomic holdings’ (Chatterji 2002: 55). The absentee landlords, many of whom had gravitated towards Kolkata lured by the luxuries of the city, who made up the bhadralok (gentleman) class in the city, felt the pinch of the declining agrarian income. The declining income of the landed gentry, most of whom were Hindus, paralleled the rise of a Muslim intelligentsia. The Muslim intelligentsia were represented by leaders like Akram Khan and Fazlul Haq and maintained strong connections to their rural roots despite their upward mobility in the socio-cultural life of Kolkata. The educated yet grounded Muslim leadership represented the majority of the sharecroppers who had been supporting the lavish lifestyle that the bhadralok afforded in Kolkata. The leadership therefore organised grassroots organisations like the Krishak Praja Party and the Nikhil Banga Praja Samity to protect tenants and laborers from the excesses of the landlords. The Krishak Praja Party under the leadership of Haq went a step further and adopted the slogan ‘Down with the Zamindari’ as its express aim. Dolil documents the urban-rural divide in the Bengali political imagination in the years leading up to the partition. Khetu and his family, from their rural agrarian setting, are shown as being unaware of the gravity of the politics unfolding around them. The landless peasants suffer because of decisions taken far away from their lives and realities in urban centres, a move

54 Finding comfort in silence? that would have been repudiated by the Krishak Praja Party if their politics hadn’t been mired in communal colours as the ensuing discussion will demonstrate. The Hindu landlords did not take this concerted effort kindly. For example, the Hindu landed gentry in Nabinagar town formed the Shanti-Rakshini Samiti which issued a formal statement denouncing the political organisation of the Muslim peasantry and decried the resultant non-payment of dues. Complicating matters further, a rift appeared between two factions of the Muslim political agenda in Bengal: with one section representing the sharecroppers and the other the city dwelling Muslim ashraf class led by the Nawab of Dacca. The political clashes between these two groups is evident by the number of votes cast in favour of the grassroots Fazlul Haq-led Krishak Praja Party in the 1937 provincial elections when the party of the elites was given a run for their money in rural Bengal. In other words, Muslim politics in Bengal was not simply pitting itself as an anti-Hindu political faction, but as a platform to address the urban and rural interests that played a heavy hand in determining political fortunes in the provincial politics of Bengal. Ghatak’s play aptly captures the situation closer to the roots in both Dolil and Sanko rather than deliberating metaphysically on the politics of the time. Joya Chatterji observes that, Bengal, like most agrarian economies, was no stranger to trouble between tenants and landlords. The disturbances, however, were not communal in origin but were rather inspired by the economic inequality between the two social classes. The Hindu bhadralok, however, always perceived these altercations as communally inspired. Chatterji notes the ‘closed paternalistic vision of peasant society under the benevolent rule of just zamindars’ failed to convince the Bengali gentleman that the grievance of the peasantry towards their overlords had very little to do with communal identities but was economic. Chatterji, in what is arguably one of the first concerted efforts to study the bhadralok communal identity, identifies ways in which the bhadralok was essentially a Hindu identity as opposed to a secular one (Chatterji 2002: 150–190). A 19th-century effort to equate Bengali gentleman identity with Hindu symbols eventually conflated these tropes and motifs by the 1930s and 1940s. This in turn would affect the way the Bengali bhadralok perceived their country and alienated non-Hindu sections of the Bengali population from identifying with the nascent ideas of Bengali nationalism and identity as foreign and Hindu. Hindu nationalism touted as Indian nationalism, a negative bias towards the Muslims, and overwhelming support for the partition amongst the Hindu intelligentsia and political leaders were the main causes behind the Bengali Hindu bhadralok’s impassivity towards the partition. The communal bias amongst the Hindu landed gentry is abundantly clear from the communal colouring of an economic crisis in rural Bengal in the preceding discussion. In the urban centre of Kolkata the communal bias amongst the Hindu intelligentsia took the form of a communally skewed educational agenda that sought to exclude the Muslim intelligentsia from being equal stakeholders as can be seen

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in the arguments surrounding the issue of the Bengal Secondary Education Bill 1940. The Calcutta University Commission (1917–1919) while looking into the problems with the education of the Muslim Bengalis came to the conclusion that the current syllabi with its bias towards a Sanskritised Bengali, use of textbooks that were heavy on Hindu traditions and often showed Muslims in bad light, allegations of prejudicial grading, and the lack of Muslim examiners for secular subjects were unfavourable to the Muslim students (Acharya 1989: 82). In order to change this situation, the Muslims needed greater control over the education system. The Bengal Secondary Education Bill 1940 introduced by A.K. Fazlul Haq sought to create a large single Board of Secondary Education that would oversee all school level education in the state. The Board was to be composed of 50 members of whom 22 were to be Hindus, 20 Muslims and seven Europeans besides the president who was supposed to be appointed by the government (Acharya 1989: 84). The nationalists in Bengal, the overwhelming numbers of whom were Hindus opposed the communal representation in this board. They presented their argument under the guise of Secondary Education in Bengal being the result of private effort and enterprise and that bringing it under the control of the government would impede its growth. The nationalist concern cannot be totally dismissed, since the colonial government suspected private institutions as being a breeding ground for ‘terrorists’ and had tried to prevent their spread (Acharya 1989: 84). But it is not difficult to draw from the various arguments, debates, and discussions that the Hindu nationalists’ main concern was the Muslims gaining an upper hand at the cost of Hindu interests. The Hindu bias in the arguments posited by the nationalists comes easily to the fore in the following speeches that were given as part of the debate surrounding the Bill. Harendra Nath Chowdhury while responding to a retort from the opposition boastfully remarks, ‘It is the caste Hindus who have built up by their lifeblood all these schools and you dare enquire about the caste Hindus!’ (Acharya 1989: 85). Other leaders like Atul Chandra Sen, Pramatha Nath Banerjee, Syamaprasad Mookherjee, Kiran Sankar Roy, Nalini Ranjan Sarkar, and Sarat Chandra Bose were unabashedly communal in their reaction against the communal representation proposed in the bill (Acharya 1989: 85– 86). The debate over the bill continued and was not resolved until Partition broke Bengal apart and the state of West Bengal was able to implement a ‘pure’ Bengali educational system devoid of the spurious ‘Arabic and Persian words’ (Acharya 1989: 88). The fact that the nationalists would consider including Muslims in a discussion concerning public policy as communal while ignoring similar biases in their own attitude should not come as a surprise if we remember the genesis and nature of Indian nationalism as promoted and propagated by the Indian National Congress. The constant evocation of the mother goddess and equating her with the country had definite Hindu overtones. Everything Hindu being equated as Indian legitimised the Hindu, and by extension the Bengali Hindu, claim on Indian-ness. As Poromesh Acharya notes, ‘It was no wonder that

56 Finding comfort in silence? Moslem intelligentsia in Bengal did not find much difference between Congress nationalists and Hindu nationalists’ (Acharya 1989: 81). He further notes that the only difference was that while Hindu nationalists consciously interpreted Indian nationalism in terms of Hinduism, the Congress leadership tried presenting the same as a secular ideology. Therefore, any opposition to anything Hindu or serving the Hindu interest was seen and perceived as anti-Indian even if it was a legitimate claim, like an equal say in education. The presence of such communal sentiment among the Hindu nationalist leadership and their constant claim of purging administrative systems of other communities – notably Muslims brings me to my final point of contention in this chapter – the support that the Hindu nationalists lent to the creation of a separate Muslim state rather than assimilating the Muslim identity within the ambit of a secular India. Haimanti Sarkar reminds us of a poll conducted on 23 April 1947 by the widely circulated English newspaper in Calcutta, the Amrita Bazar Patrika (Sarkar 2009: 1355). The newspaper asked, ‘Do you want a separate homeland for Bengali Hindus?’ An overwhelming 98.3% voted in favour of the partition while a meagre 0.6% voted against the division of the province. The paper further reported that of the 99.6% Hindus and 0.4% Muslims who had replied to the poll most had chosen to favour the partition and this, Amrita Bazar claimed, was evidence that the Bengali people favoured the partition of the province. Sarkar argues in her essay that the poll represented a minority perspective on the partition and was by no means proof of definitive public opinion and goes on to explain her position more explicitly (Sarkar 2009: 1355–1384). It is, however, important to remember that a significant number of Bengali Hindu Congress leaders were also supporting the cause of the partition and making strong claims to the effect in public meetings and other forums. Sarkar quotes two of these leaders at length in her essay. Nalini Ranjan Sarkar and Kiran Sankar Roy, who were both originally from East Bengal and had made their political careers in Calcutta, voiced their support for a separate Bengal for the Bengali Hindus (Sarkar 2009: 1365). Sarkar opined that the Bengali Hindus left behind in East Bengal after the partition should ‘have this satisfaction that West Bengal as a separate province would be there as a safe home for Hindu culture and economic interests’ (Sarkar 2009: 1365). Ray accused the Muslim League administration of discriminating against the Hindus, corruption and for the general retrogression of the province (Sarkar 2009: 1366). Other leaders who came out in support of the partition like D.N. Mukherjee, Sakti Ranjan Bose and Hemanta K. Sarkar did not place their arguments on communal lines and chose instead to argue that the partition was a historical necessity for the continued integrity of the Indian Union (Sarkar 2009: 1363–1365). A combination of the communal bias amongst the Hindu landed gentry against their Muslim tenants, the communal bias against a secular educational system incorporating the Muslim perspective, and the overwhelming support amongst the Hindu intelligentsia for the partition of the subcontinent into

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separate Hindu and Muslim homelands leads me to surmise that the partition was perceived as an inevitable event and a positive one for the common public good in Bengal. It was also thought of as beneficial for the nationalist agenda and to serve the interest of the Hindu population. And since the benefits were seen to outweigh the negative fallouts of the partition, the primarily Hindu intelligentsia of West Bengal chose to ignore the perils of the displaced persons focusing instead on concurrent events plaguing the newly formed nation. The agonies of Partition were thus conveniently forgotten. The leading artists could not or chose not to fathom the trauma of the uprooted millions. Ghatak’s plays Dolil and Sanko exist within this continuum of forgetting as stark and poignant reminders of the miseries unleashed on innocent lives in the wake of this brutal political manoeuvre. The plays, with their very real and very everyday depictions of the miserable life of the displaced in Dolil and of the politically intoxicated youth in Sanko make the silence amongst the rest of the theatre fraternity in Kolkata that much louder. By the time the agonies of the partition entered popular discourse, the erstwhile political consciousness of the theatre activists had been replaced by a superficial pursuance of an aesthetic integrity. Artists like Shombhu Mitra wanted their theatre to look good and aspire for new artistic heights rather than concentrate on political issues (Chaudhurii 2009. During the same time, a majority of the erstwhile IPTA members became disillusioned with the political motive of the undivided Communist Party and were openly critical of the control that the party wanted to exercise over cultural activity. All of this together led to an atmosphere of confusion amidst which the pain and suffering of the displaced masses remained unheard. The 1993 revival of Ghatak’s Sanko seems a weird aberration amidst this overwhelming silence. A slight dive into the narrative of the play, however, makes it abundantly clear that the play found favour with theatre artists not because of its political imports but because the text can be misconstrued as an allegorical tale celebrating one’s country as mother. The central role played by the mother and her being equated with the motherland is a reminder of the Hindu nationalist idea based on the figure of the mother goddess which may have prompted an adaptation of this play two decades after it was first written. The overtly sentimental nature of the play also fostered interest among the theatre workers and the theatre-going public who were by now attuned consumers of the melodramatic kitsch regularly offered by television and film. A similarly interesting episode amidst this silence is Kolkata based theatre group Rangkarmee’s 2005 production Sarhad Paar Manto which dramatises two of Saadat Hassan Manto’s partition stories: ‘Khol do’ and ‘Toba Tek Singh’ (The Telegraph 28 January 2005). Rangkarmee’s director and noted theatre actor Usha Ganguli premiered this play on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Manto’s death. It is interesting that Ganguli would choose to dramatise the accounts of partition from the Western Frontiers but ignore the happenings of the same time in her own milieu which have been captured no less brilliantly and chronicled serially in volumes like Chere Asha Gram, Salil

58 Finding comfort in silence? Choudhury’s short stories, Manas Roy’s personal accounts of the event, and even Ritwik Ghatak’s brutal Dolil (Chakraborty 2008: 2143–145, 2147–151 and Mukherjee 2008:72–79).

Conclusion The silence surrounding the second and definitive Partition of Bengal on the Bengali group theatre stage continues and there is no sign that it will be allowed a voice any time soon. Ghatak’s brutal Dolil and his critical account of the decade after the partition in Sanko are rare theatrical reminders of this time period. These plays and the period that they document and chronicle seems to have been lost amidst the aesthetic pursuance of the theatre workers of the post-independence New Theatre Movement in Kolkata. But the seeds of silence were sown in the decades preceding independence. The communal interpretation of economic demands of peasant workers by the Hindu landowners in rural Bengal and painting the rising rural Muslim political consciousness as an anti-Hindu agenda had done substantial damage to the secular understanding of a Bengali identity. The communal rhetoric invoked by the Bengali Hindu intelligentsia over the way education in Bengal should be crafted and curated added fuel to the anti-Muslim fire across the educated elite in the urban centre. And finally, it would seem based on the sparse evidence of popular opinion in the run-up to the independence that the Bengali Hindu elite and some of their Muslim counterparts preferred the two-nation model over an undivided India. Bengali group theatre, with its loci firmly located in Kolkata and with its largely Hindu activist performers, have therefore never felt compelled to deal with the partition and the resulting devastation. And this silence is uncomfortable even as the Bengali theatre fraternity finds comfort in resorting to it when it comes to revisiting the most traumatic political episode from the subcontinent’s modern history.

References Acharya, Poromesh. 1989. ‘Education and Communal Politics in Bengal: A Case Study,’ Economic and Political Weekly, 24(30): PE81–PE90, 1989/30/review-political-economy-review-issues-specials/education-and-communal-po litics (accessed on 29 May 2020). Bhatia, Nandi. 2004. Acts of Authority/Acts of Resistance: Theatre and Politics in Colonial and Postcolonial India. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Chakraborty, Rathin (ed.). 2008. Ritwik Ghataker Natyasangraha. Kolkata: Paschim Banga Natya Akademi. Chatterji, Joya. 2002. Bengal Divided: Hindu Communalism and Partition, 1932–1947. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chaudhuri, Darsan. 2009. Gananatya Andolan. Kolkata: Anushtup. Das, Suranjan. 1991. Communal Riots in Bengal 1905–1947. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Ghatak, Ritwik. 2008. ‘Dolil’, in Rathin Chakraborty (ed.), Ritwik Ghataker Natyasangraha, pp. 63–123. Kolkata: Paschim Banga Natya Akademi.

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Ghatak, Ritwik. 2008. ‘Sanko’, in Rathin Chakraborty (ed.), Ritwik Ghataker Natyasangraha, pp. 123–209. Kolkata: Paschim Banga Natya Akademi. Johnson, Gordon. 1973. ‘Partition, Agitation, and Congress: Bengal 1904 to 1908’, Modern Asian Studies, 7(3): 533–588. Lal, Ananda. 2004. Oxford Companion to Indian Theatre. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Menon, Jisha. 2013. The Performance of Nationalism: India, Pakistan, and the Memory of Partition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mukherjee, Tutun. 2008. ‘Metaphor, Memory, Myth: Recasting Partition as in Salil Choudhury, Manas Ray, Helene Cixous’, Economic and Political Weekly, 43(19): 72–79. Mukhopadhyay, Kuntal. 1999. Bengali Theatre and Politics. Calcutta: Bibhasa. Raha, Kiranmoy. 1978. Bengali Theatre. New Delhi: National Book Trust. Sarkar, Haimanti. 2009. ‘A Partition of Contingency? Public Discourse in Bengal, 1946– 1947,’ Modern Asian Studies, 43(06): 1355–1384. Sehgal, Zohra. 1997. ‘Theatre and Activism in the 1940s,’ in Geeti Sen (ed.), Crossing Boundaries, pp. 31–39. New Delhi: Orient Longman.


The rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV network The one voice that kills other voices Altaf Ullah Khan

The history of the newspaper in Pakistan is rooted in the tradition of an anticolonial press, which was a political adversary to the British colonialists. After Independence in 1947, the press transformed this role into a social and political responsibility for the betterment of the newly-independent Pakistan. While the government controlled electronic media, the newspapers maintained their freedom against all odds. It was only after the information explosion aided by the rise of information technology that Pakistani electronic media attained the freedom to enter the domain of private television and radio. Pakistan Television (PTV), as a state channel was established in November 1964 by the then military ruler Ayub Khan (1907–1974) with the help of the Japanese government. The aim of the establishment of this ‘expensive’ and new medium was to build trust between the government and its people. The specific aims of this new medium were to support the process of controlled democracy (Dawn News 2015). In his inaugural speech, President Ayub Khan considered TV as a powerful medium and a tool for public awareness, financially and administratively controlled by the government to avoid any misuse of the medium (Dawn News2015). However, the question arises, why did the Pakistani state feel the need for such an expensive enterprise? The answer is already apparent: the government needed television to ‘guide people into democracy’ (Ahmad and Afridi 2014). A government created through the promulgation of the constitution, first in 1960 and then again in 1962 legitimised the first military rule in Pakistan (Ansari 2011). A democratic government, free of direct interference from the military, has yet to legitimise itself in the country (Ahmad 2014: 257). As a result, the government also adopted the role of ‘discourse creator’. This uncertainty about the functions of the state in a democratic polity was an obvious outcome of a military general’s struggle to legitimise his usurpation of power, and his desire to cling to it. Television was thus considered to be of great help for the newly established, underdeveloped state to progress through disseminating ‘information, knowledge, education, and awareness’ (Banerjee and Loigan 2008: 249). DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655-6

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Media in a controlled democracy: causes and consequences This development focused on the non-critical nature of the ‘Plea for Media of Communication’ and the contradictory notion of democracy is evident through the policies of various military and civilian rulers of Pakistan. President Ayub Khan’s inaugural speech reflects obvious signs of this dilemma about his twisted concept of democracy.1 The speech has a discursive contradiction, an inherent conceptual flaw. While on the one hand it announces the inception of a mass medium that could help the people of Pakistan realise their democratic potential, on the other hand it ensures that the new medium will remain under strict governmental control. While it is true that both democracies and dictatorships use the media as an instrument of governance (Citizen 2010), the question of ‘intent’ is important to understand. The dictatorships in Pakistan gave stability and continuity to the working of the state structure. The democratic dispensations were never able to survive long enough in the country; hence the controlled model of governance and its extension to the mass media. A controlled democracy is characterised by features like pre-rigged elections in support of candidates susceptible to power interests of the ruling hierarchy, prevalence of civil and military bureaucracy, and the existence of landed feudal aristocracy. Most of the time the Pakistani military is blamed as the architect of this problematic democratic dispensation. Nevertheless, the idea of Pakistani people being ‘overwhelmingly illiterate masses’ who were ‘bound to act foolishly’ was projected by a civilian leader, the first democratically elected President of Pakistan (1956–1958), Iskandar Mirza (Chandio 2015). Mirza never minced words expressing his displeasure about the plebeian mind. He did not simply see the common mind as prone to making mistakes, but also believed that ‘having no training in democracy, they could not run democratic institutions, but needed a controlled democracy’ (Chandio 2015). Prime Minister Bhutto considered martial law ‘as a reality of power’ and considered it an ‘inevitable development’ and ‘a temporary measure’ to avoid civil war (https:// He lauded the military, saying that he neither supported it nor deprecated it (Bhutto Interview 2018). It is true that the systematic replacement of true democracy with a controlled system is an easy manoeuvre for the ruling elite. Thus, a combination of bureaucracy and aristocracy in the country was possible during military rule. Ayub Khan (‘basic democracy’), Zia (apolitical local body system). and Musharaf (‘devolution of power’ to grassroots level) – the three main architects of controlled democracy – contributed towards the development of a systematic set of political relations within the country to the extent that it became impossible to find a socio-cultural basis for democracy. Consequently, due to this consistent manoeuvring in regular though intermittent phases of martial law the masses were taken out of the political process, both at the levels of political participation and administrative decision making (Chandio 2015). These ‘local bodies systems’, as they were named during all the three martial law periods failed to help the people or the democratic processes,

62 Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV instead they ‘brought new loyalists, proxies and protégés of old established parties’ (Chandio 2015). This has become the essence of political thinking in Pakistan – a country where the very socio-cultural basis of democratic political process was corrupted. The system of basic democracy did suit the traditional elite since its establishment as a class of intermediaries mediated relations between the power elite and the common public. This has created an empowerment void among the masses, who were never able to develop a real sense of citizenry. They kept demanding their rights through the intermediaries – politicians bred in dictatorial regimes. Media served as a handmaiden to the ruling elite and was unable to play its rightful role in the Pakistani polity. Such a fate of the media is unfortunate as it had a strongly democratic beginning through its espousal of the adversary model, remaining critical of the government to keep the people informed and educated. Thus, control over the media remained a very important function of the state. We live in a world where meanings are created through manufacturing consent and creating images through piecing together fragments of information (Lippmann 1991).2 Hence, the stereotypes developed through the everyday discourse are best manufactured by controlling the media; the inauguration of Pakistan Television as the state owned TV network was based on this principle. Unlike the ‘Fourth Filter’, which is ‘Flak and the Enforcers’ (Herman 1988: 27), no punitive actions were needed, because the very sources of information were controlled by the government. Thus, the media was transformed into a state-controlled institution after its beginnings as a strongly democratic one.

Conditioned discourse: television as a tool of power The discussion above indicates that PTV was created to use this medium as a tool for creating a ‘conditioned discourse’ environment. Like all unrepresentative usurpers of power, Ayub Khan considered himself a benevolent ruler and wanted people to believe it. Making people share his so-called ‘vision’ he used all possible tools for establishing his authority, ranging from the idea of ‘basic democracy’ to a ‘development focused media’. As argued earlier in this chapter, the discrepancy in the statements within the inaugural speech by Ayub Khan is due to his perspective on democracy. Democracy to him was a process of transforming common people into ‘better citizens’. Like all dictators and fascists, Ayub was a non-believer in the common person’s ability to make decisions of their own free will. To him, and his government, along with almost all his successors, people needed to be guided into a process of citizenry where they ‘learn’ but do not ‘act’; they ‘follow orders and laws’ but do not ‘make laws or establish their own codes’. The first TV station was not inaugurated as a call for freedom of expression, transparency, ‘social responsibility’, ‘national cohesion’, and ‘development of the country’ in democratic governance, the real motive was to develop a ‘discourse’ as ‘an instrument of power’ by merging power and knowledge (Pitsoe and Letseka 2013: 24) and creating a ‘conditioned discourse’ to support a predisposed idea of nation

Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV 63 building. This was neither a call for freedom of speech and expression, nor for transparency in democratic governance. The rulers at that time were concerned with the development of a power tool that could mould public opinion in their favour. It was a call for ‘social responsibility’, ‘national cohesion’, and ‘development of the country’. All this was being planned under the watchful eye of the government by controlling the funding (Pitsoe and Letseka 2013). The president’s speech very clearly articulates Foucault’s idea of ‘the “general politics” of truth: that is, the types of truth it accepts and makes function as true’ (Pitsoe 2013). This strategy of ‘exclusion’ and ‘inclusion’ of elements in a discourse is the strategy through which ‘knowledge does not simply reflect power relations but is imminent in them’ (Pitsoe 2013). This is the discourse (Mills 2003) mechanism, which enables the oppressors to get sole control of the weaker sections of the society such that they start identifying themselves with the oppression by accepting it as part of the social process (Pitsoe 2013). Power is a continuous process, according to Foucault, to be constantly performed, but never achieved (Mills 2003). In this context, power becomes something more than repressive. This is not all. The function that the Pakistani state had decided to perform through control of television as a medium initiated a discourse by building and influencing the public opinion. The state, in this instance, was strategising in a manner that it ‘should not be seen possessing power but as constructing a range of relations which tend to position people in ways which make the political system work’ (Mills 2003: 37). As a matter of fact, the state, through the office of a military dictator, was announcing the enunciation of a process of communication at mass level that would restore and safeguard ‘negative liberty’, a set of rules that establish the writ of a juridical state; a structure with boundaries and established universal norms. This strategy defined the structure of communicative action in Pakistan. Although the structure relies upon the ‘absence of the mastery by others’, the choices are arguably limited. This is so, because ‘negative liberty’ was fundamentally about a person’s freedom to choose ‘between ultimate values’ (Drolet 2007). The stress on ultimate values and the positioning of the state as a custodian of the same are a recipe for a process which ultimately plays into fear as a cohesive element in social development; a ‘negative moral foundation upon which men could live together in peace’ (Drolet 2007: 249). Through such efforts, the state became dominant by fostering fear and conformity and instigating a fear of rebellion amongst the public using the state and communications apparatus. The concept of rejection of the dominant model, represented and enforced by the state, is inherent in the very nature of this idea. Every negative value has to have a positive counterpart. In this case, the negative morality, used for cohesion and conformity has within itself elements of its own destruction in the form of a positive morality. The control of discourse is, therefore, incomplete without the necessary preparation to avoid any short or long-term challenges to the authority and dominance of the established canons of knowledge. The ‘hegemonic ideology is periodically

64 Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV challenged by a counter-ideology that exists alongside it’(Drolet 2007: 240). As Derrida puts it, ‘juridical State, the State of law and order, the Rechtstaat, is challenged by its radical other, what he called, in a subtle and sophisticated play on words, the Rogue State (L’État Voyou), which embodies the promise of, what he described as, a ‘democracy to come’ (démocratie à venir) (Drolet 2007: 240).The idea of the state being the custodian of culture is to ensure its control over the discourse, the traditional patterns of knowledge, imparted through media of communication, television being the most innovative at that time (and to date). The structure of ‘negative liberty’ has been constructed to build a nation, a group of individuals, as subservient to the dominant structure, ensuring the avoidance of any possible inroads from what Derrida regards, a ‘Rogue State’(Drolet 2007: 240).

The power of television and the empowered news anchor One of the fallouts of the controlled environment in which television took shape in Pakistan was the emergence of the empowered news anchor. Television as a mass medium has the power to emerge as the most influential of all mass media. Its audio-visual advantage over other media of mass communication makes it possible for TV professionals to present their product in a form nearest to face-to-face communication. TV, therefore, influences us most intensely in ways which could be synonymous with personal and intimate conversations with our loved ones and in a setting of our choice. The power of influencing our minds, attitudes, and behaviours in the long run places a great responsibility on those involved in the process of information production leading to production of meaning, and that of culture, both at the individual and societal level. This role is frequently critiqued, and the criticism is becoming harsher amid the present-day technological revolution and globalisation. The advent of new technologies that affect the meaning-making process with similar intensity as TV and the globalisation of discourse in our times has emphasised the debate on the role of this medium. Hence, the power celebrity journalists wield over television itself is one ominous development that could be potentially harmful because instead of helping societies realise their best potential, the present-day discourse patterns on TV are hindering the development of free and critical debate leading to an empowered citizenry. As indicated by Bourdieu, television screens become ‘spaces of narcissistic exhibitionism’ (Bourdieu 1998). The participants, the guests, are outsiders, who would like to be on the journalist’s ‘good side’. They are there to be seen, not to ask questions (Bourdieu 1998: 14). The journalist controls the ‘instrument of production’, while participants have to make concessions and accept compromises for the very purpose of being perceived in the public eye (Bourdieu 1998). One the one hand, this dependency is not simply restricted to artists or intellectuals, but also politicians and other public figures in need of exposure. On the other hand, media professionals need to make such compromises as they lack lasting agency and impact. They have to appear on TV

Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV 65 as much as possible to secure their agency (Bourdieu 1998). This ‘job preservation’ instinct of the media persons creates an internal strife in the profession as well as manifests itself in their dislike for the intelligentsia.

Celebrity journalist: the power of ‘wellknownness’ In this chapter, I reflect on ‘discourse’ as a process where media is used as an agency to control political and social communication as indicated in the previous sections. Control however is not a static event. It trickles down to the cultural landscape. According to Foucault, discourse as a process, which permeates through the whole structure of human existence. My understanding of existentialism is rooted in Nietzsche’s humanism and his focus on human existence and survival. It is within this framework of media as a discourse, I will argue that the transfer of authority and control from the institution to the individual remains the source of power for the individual journalists. Celebrity journalists (a term coined in 1986 by James Fallows) posits newsgatherers as newsmakers (Shepard 1997). According to Shepard, ‘A celebrity journalist is one whose nose is above the wall for various reasons’ (Shepard 1997). One of these, and presumably the most important, is journalists being ‘the creators of well-knownness’ – the image of a celebrity (Shepard 1997). The ability to create the atmosphere for the making of celebrities, or at least well-knownness for some or many, gives them power over a discourse which then becomes part of the process of the creation of social discourse – the reason why those who appear on television make compromises and refrain from asking questions. The unwritten rule results in monotony and controlled debate on television, since media is the most powerful medium when it comes to the creation of ‘well-knownness’. With control over the instruments of information production and diffusion, these celebrity journalists guide public life and ‘the access to ordinary citizens like other cultural producers such as scholars, artists, and writers, who create the “public space,” that is, the space of mass circulation’ (Bourdieu 1998: 46). Thus, in Bourdieu’s terms, ‘even the best-known journalists occupy positions of structural inferiority vis-à-vis social categories such as intellectuals and politicians’ (Bourdieu 1998). It is this feeling of inferiority that shows itself in ‘the tendency towards anti-intellectualism’ (Bourdieu 1998). Television journalism has the power to dramatise events and processes. This power is used to politicise or depoliticise news cycles by using the audio-visual advantage. In order to serve any agenda, ‘TV philosophers’ according to Bourdieu, ‘are called in to give meaning to the meaningless, anecdotal, or fortuitous event that has been artificially brought to stage centre and given significance’ (Bourdieu 1998: 51). It can thus be suggested that through this interplay of medium, devolution of authority, and the use of agenda setting, the TV journalist exercises great power over the production of meaning. This monopoly of power can be used in many ways. Nevertheless, since market forces exercise control over this process of meaning production, it creates an atmosphere of conformity that

66 Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV kills innovation. It does not help support plurality of opinion and diversity in the true sense of the word. Rather, it strengthens the grip of status quo through the influence of journalism, especially television.

Media control, discourse, and television in Pakistan The decision of the Pakistani government run by the military aimed to control the social discourse, resulting in media becoming an instrument for controlling information creation and dissemination. As the overlord of the state system, this gave the government monopoly over the cultural system of meaning making through Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) within the power structures of the market where the government acted as the market (Bourdieu 1998). However, despite the audio-visual advantage over the print medium, government-controlled television was of no use, since it served as a mouthpiece of successive governments in Pakistan. PTV was, thus, one addition to the state-controlled media (Khan 2011: 44). Concurrently, the state nationalised independent newspapers under the National Press Trust (NPT) and converted them into propaganda instruments (Khan 2011); controlled radio under Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) (Khan 2011: 28–39); and a state-owned news agency, Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) (Khan 2011: 49). Furthermore, people working in all the abovementioned media were government employees and did not have any independent status as journalists (Khan 2011: 102). They were also not members of any independent press organisation such as the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ). However, since, the newspaper industry was the only independent and free medium to inform the public, it remained as the main source of news and information until the end of the millennium. Tracing the history of newspapers in Pakistan since the pre-Independence era, Dawn (English), Nawa-E- Waqt, and, Jang (Urdu) started before 1947 and are at present the most influential newspapers. The growth of local and regional newspapers in different languages also contributed to the information dissemination system in Pakistan. At present, the number of newspapers, TV channels, and radio stations is growing rapidly. Pakistan had more than 1,500 newspapers in many different languages, including Urdu, English, Pashto, Sindhi, and many more. The number of national and local channels has risen to more than 2,000. The number of TV channels is around 125, while radio stations exceed 100. The genesis of privately-owned electronic media in Pakistan again happened during the military rule of President General Musharraf (1999–2002). Initially, private TV channels were wary of coming to Pakistan and operated from Dubai. Later, they established offices in Pakistan but still kept a ‘safe space’ outside, primarily in Dubai. The Pakistani state allowed private TV channels in the early 2000s, not because the ruling class changed its thought process but because there was no other option left (Khan 2019). The government-owned-andcontrolled PTV proved ineffective in the cross-border propaganda warfare

Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV 67 against India. ‘Bringing in private TV channels was a half-hearted allowance that was never meant for freedom’ (Khan 2019). The ‘paranoid military government’ led by General Musharraf wanted to create a ‘media deterrent’ against Indian TV channels, which are widely watched by the country’s elite (Suleria 2014).

New medium, incapacity, and extended powers over discourse Private TV channels faced new problems after being granted the required freedom to operate in Pakistan. The country did not have any journalists trained in TV journalism. PTV had always been a government mouthpiece, with no history of independent reporting or debate. The only workforce at hand were experienced journalists from print media. They were exceptional print journalists but adjusting to the audio-visual medium was not easy. Despite importing good print journalists, the problem of a newsroom workforce is a recurrent one. Hamid Mir (GNN, previously Geo), Syed Talat Hussain (GEO), Javed Choudhry (Express), Kamran Khan (Dunya), Najam Sethi (Geo), and many others are but a few examples of this reality as well as exemplars of the ‘celebrity journalist’ culture. Being erudite print journalists, their opinion columns in newspapers and periodicals are of high quality. But when it comes to TV, they have had to go through a process of adjustment to learn the tricks of the audio-visual trade. Print journalists are known through their writing, not their appearance. The most one could get of a newspaper journalist is a picture! But TV, being a ‘cool medium’ (Marshall McLuhan 2002),3 presents the anchor/host in person. All the choices, from wardrobe to sitting or standing postures, and facial expressions, matter. There are no exceptions to this rule. One has to be ‘presentable’ if one decides to be on TV. Being a ‘visual medium’, presenting almost the same news or views makes it important to have a visual edge, which is ‘as important as knowing the five Ws (Why, What, Where, When, Who) and the H (How)’ (Swaminnathan 2004). It is not simply the appearance, however, but also the discourse that matters. Developing good conversation skills and an analytical style are most important for a TV news anchor to develop in order to convey the news and happenings of the day and as a result influence the audience. This is what daily news talk and debate shows are about. Hence, a responsible journalist and news organisation should be conscious of the fact that they are deciding the audience agenda, forming public opinion, which is, in effect, influencing the socio-political and governmental decision making by contributing to the mainstream social, political, as well as cultural discourse patterns. The ‘hotness’ and ‘coolness’ of media could simply be explained as those media that leave little space for audience participation (newspapers). The audience are passive recipients of information with no power over the discourse (McLuhan 2002). The cool medium has spaces in it that are filled by the audience. The audience are equal partners in the discourse process, which is developed in a participatory manner (McLuhan 2002). It was not easy to

68 Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV synchronise the ‘hot to cool’ media transition, because the existing professional self-conceptions of journalists had a strong missionary spirit, a vocal and adversarial role of a leader and a guide, an educator of the hapless masses. Such role conceptions lie in the midst of ‘mixture of historical development of the profession and the immediate needs of the professionals’ (Khan, 2011: 262). Journalists in Pakistan have had a strong hot (adversarial) attitude and ‘missionary self-concepts’ and ‘objectivity’ towards information diffusion (Khan, 2011: 262). This created two challenges for the media persons: First, there was uncertainty about, what should be the new role? What would be the rules? There was nobody to teach these pioneers. Journalists remained a professional group with a self-conception of being leaders, guides and teachers that did not let itself be taught easily. On the one hand, there was (and still is) an air of selfsufficiency among the media persons, especially reporters/anchors/TV show hosts. On the other, the overnight stardom offered by TV as a medium made the news-giver more important than the news itself (Shepard 1997). Secondly, operating 24/7 posed a challenge. The good old print media had fixed deadlines. The newsroom culture has a different flair. TV never sleeps, it never relaxes. Physical and mental fitness are important prerequisites of this medium. The continuous stress of dealing with 24/7 deadlines and the challenge of presenting news in a credible manner in front of the audience requires a lot of patience and practice. Thirdly, the problem of content and presentation was too complicated for private TV channels in Pakistan. Unlike Western journalists, Pakistani journalists had a heightened conception of the self. This enhanced sense of responsibility had the potential of transforming into an idea of control. Consequently, the media solved the problem of 24/7 presence through hourly political and entertainment talk shows during prime time, starting at 8pm and ending at midnight, in most cases. The trend also contributed towards the rise of the celebrity hosts who had a background in print journalism and were also known as reputable writers with a sizable fan following. The advent of celebrity anchors therefore provided relief to the new media owners and also arrested the attention of a viewership that was hungry for news in a time of global crises when Pakistan was considered an epicentre after 9/11. Private television converted into a readymade opinion-making factory, where political talk shows became popular and the hosts became celebrities. The Pakistani private TV network emerged as a ‘positive ethical structure’ which was the very opposite of the controlling negative structure that had been in place for more than 50 years. Nevertheless, as the idea of the Panopticon indicates, even though power centres diversify, the status quo is maintained. The power of the media and people’s dependence on the discourse patterns the media and individual journalists offer makes the media one of the many power centres. Since all the power centres are controlled by economic forces, they create newer Panopticons. In this way, media challenged the established discourse structures of the government-controlled PTV, but they didn’t create any

Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV 69 transparent, democratic, or participatory structures. They become an alternative ‘centre of power’. Consequently, the TV journalist, the celebrity, started behaving in a manner most comparable to the Western world’s attitude toward post-colonial societies. They never develop a horizontal relationship of transparency, participation, and dialogue but are rather the sole arbiters of public agenda from an elevated status (Mills 2003: 45–46). This ‘hilltop’ position from which the celebrity journalists look down upon the common person’s opinion is the problem; instead of developing an interactive, participatory dialogue, they monopolise the debate, institutionalising their opinion, instead of developing one. If we consider the actual happenings in the private TV network in light of the above, it appears as a problem that began with the lack of a work force and capacity. By way of a solution to this problem, developing an alternative, aggressive structure of news production, analysis, and dissemination was encouraged. Thus began the individual journalist’s control over the discourse or information production system. The natural sense of inferiority, in the words of Bourdieu, coupled with the hot media ideals left little room for dialogue and participation. Hence, the professional self-conceptions that were more in favour of guiding and educating an audience rather than informing them, strengthened the celebrity status. Resultant market forces dragged them into the status quo. The journalists could boast authority and autonomy over the established power structures, but never initiate anything useful for the audience and democracy itself due to lack of capacity building and understanding of medium (Khan 2019). The celebrity TV journalist was a ‘way out’ of the problem of 24/ 7 television. But it didn’t work out well. In a conflict-ridden society where a dialogic discourse structure was needed, the celebrity host was unable to lead a decent debate (Khan 2019). Private TV is also criticised for a lack of professionalism. Negligence of public needs while deciding the agenda of the day and faulty structures of presentation and participation become criminal because of the power of the medium to steer public opinion (Nawaz 2014). The ‘breaking news’ syndrome, due to vested or monetary interests, and the absence of a unified ethical code for the medium has worsened the problem (Rashid 2015). The crisis of ethics in television, however, is nothing unique to Pakistan. The rise of commercialisation in the industry has enormously affected ethical standards. Maintaining a balance between truth and financial benefits and resisting the ‘encroachment of commercial interests in broadcast television news’ is a challenge in John Lensing’s view (Steele 2017). This is a crisis that the Western, especially American, media faced as early as 2004. Lensing elaborates that audacity and risk-taking to find truth is a journalistic virtue. Nevertheless, the problem begins where editorial decision-making is used to omit certain facts or topics to avoid any conflict with the people or institutions in power. Such a conscious act of omission to serve certain vested interests is the greatest danger to journalism (Steele 2017).

70 Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV Since private TV was allowed in Pakistan to overcome the handicap in propaganda war with the Indian media, it was always expected to be ready to twist facts to serve certain interests. This halfway information production was affecting public opinion. The public did not receive proper information. The sins of omission led to symbolic annihilation. Since representation in the fictional world (media in this context), in the words of George Gerbner, signifies social representation, absence in the fictional world is clearly annihilation (Gerbner and Gross 1976). The question here is whether the Pakistani celebrity journalist, predominantly an anchor or a talk show host, is aware of the symbolic annihilation they are carrying out through their leading role in the mass media. The answer to this is complex. Unlike their Western counterparts, Pakistani TV celebrity journalists are neither aware of the range of their influence nor are they professional enough to assess their own action as journalists. There is a need for a comprehensive code (Rashid 2015) and an internal dialogue within the journalist community to understand the power TV wields over the audience. The absence of any uniform code of ethics by any media in Pakistan indicates the lack of awareness about the importance of ethics. While it is true that discussion on the problems of ethics takes place on individual and group basis, they always fail to view media as an institution. This is true for all tiers of the media industry – ranging from owners to the editors, to the working reporter in the field, the editor at the desk, the marketing professionals, and so on. Thus, the media industry in Pakistan has developed into a powerful industrial complex rather than a social institution. It is a panopticon, with an eye on the people within the walls, and the ambit of mediated reality. Herein lies the problem of misplaced identity among TV anchors in Pakistan. The absence of the professional self allows them to develop a distanced identity, instead of getting into a more interactive relationship with the audience through this medium. They become media elites instead of information disseminators. The problem is aggravated further by the lack of capacity and the simultaneous inability to acknowledge the need to overcome professional weaknesses. It is this incapacity to unlearn the incorrect, which is behind the self-assertive and dismissive attitude among most TV anchors.

Is the power of television being abused? In Shepard’s view, the audience does not like journalists to be celebrities in their own right. Journalists are news-givers, not the ‘news’ itself and therefore have a function different from that of film actors and other celebrities. The large egos of TV journalists are a danger to the spirit of democratic journalism. Pakistani TV anchors are no exception to the rule. Talk shows hosted by these celebrity journalists, with big salaries and public following are important instruments in the process of production of information and formation of public opinion (Qadir and Riaz 2015). The abuse of this power is a global problem.

Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV 71 It is due to this abuse that instead of sustaining a strong bond with the audience celebrity journalism ‘contributes to public mistrust’ (Shepard 1997). In the words of Naomi Klein the privileged ‘news pundits’ have made their careers ‘misinterpreting’ the world for us for many decades. She has advocated fixed terms for anchor positions: one four-year term renewable for another four years. But the second term could only be secured after competing with younger aspirants for the job. In case of losing the competition, the pundit could either report from the field or find a new job (Kelin 2017). Pakistani TV anchors are no exception to this necessity. In fact, they are in a worse position due to the lack of expertise and experience and part of the ‘adrenaline pumping’ media spectacle which was offered as an alternative to the failing entertainment industry in Pakistan (Pittafi 2012). The confusion between fact and fiction has transformed the dialogue table into a pulpit, led by a celebrity anchor steering a ‘vicious cycle and an engine of mediocrity’ (Pittafi 2012). The pulpit, as mentioned by Kelin, is a position of finality. They are not developing a discourse through interaction, participation, and transparency, rather, offering a verdict, a finished discourse to be followed by the audience unlike fostering a dialogue to support the nurturing of public opinion. The media’s function as interest articulator and aggregator lies in the summation of public aspirations through reporting of events. Instead, the celebrity TV anchors invite people from different strata of the society, who according to the rules identified by Bourdieu, do not ask questions and are passive participants in the mirror show of Narcissus. The audience is subjected to the inflated egos of the celebrity. This is a fatal blow to the plurality of opinion, the very purpose of having a private TV network in Pakistan. Instead of becoming an extension of the free and fierce print media tradition in the country, it has become an added arm of suppression of free thought and plurality of opinion.

Is there a way forward? The way forward is to develop a discourse within the media itself and also to give space to the voices of the public. There is a need for greater involvement of the audience through organisations like the Citizens Media Commission and the media’s acceptance of the recommendations of such institutions. Here, the role of the audience in shaping media agenda is also vital. Audiences must present their opinion and form forums where media analysis and instant responses to media presentations are given. A free and objective media is the cornerstone of democracy of which Pakistani media has all the necessary capacities available. A media system based on ethics of responsibility will ensure capacity building that would bring objective journalism to the foreground. This, in turn, will engender public trust that guarantees media freedom in the true sense of the term. There is a need to redefine the very practice of journalism. The global bandwagon is not necessarily ideal. New Journalism advocates supporting the

72 Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV human cause through mass media. The responsibility towards society as part of the social system must be the lynchpin of journalistic standards and ethics. A revision of all preconceptions is needed. The case of Panama Papers is an important example of how the basic tenets of journalism were innovated to achieve a collective human goal, that of informing the global audience about financial corruption in many different countries. More than 400 journalists were involved from all over the world to sift information to develop a story that was local to many but global at the same time. In the words of Wolfgang Krach ‘the public eye went global’ on 3 April 2017 at 8 am (Krach 2017). All this effort, the collaboration between Suddeutsche Zeitung and International Consortium for Investigative Journalists4 (ICIJ) (Ryle 2016) was made for the common good of humanity, sans borders, sans flags. This is the dawn of a new era of journalism that resists traditional investigative journalism, adopts newer techniques, relies on data and its interpretation through analysis, and above all is ready to accept and deal with the challenges of a globalised world (Ryle 2016).

Notes 1 (accessed on 26 November 1964). 2 Walter Lippmann’s book Public Opinion (1991, originally published in 1922) is the basis of all ideas about public opinion. The term ‘manufacturing consent’ which is attributed to Noam Chomsky was originally coined by Lippmann (1991). 3 The aim here is not to discuss the veracity of McLuhan’s argument, but to emphasise the point regarding the challenges individual journalists and their mediums faced due to the shift in the medium, especially while there was no experienced workforce available. 4 gue-offshore-industry/ (accessed 17 January 2018).

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Part II

Art and visual culture Nukhbah Taj Langah and Roshni Sengupta

This section apprises the forms and motifs in the field of art and visual culture that emerged in the aftermath of Partition to convey trauma borne out of the violence inflicted on the survivors and victims. While on the one hand, there a nation-building impulse can be discerned in the art produced immediately after Partition, there appears to be a largely disquieting silence about the event itself and expressions of its horrors and pain. The war of 1971 and the creation of the new nation of Bangladesh – an unfinished agenda of the Partition of 1947 – brought about a number of new forms of aesthetic expression; the postmemory of cultural and linguistic oppression and nationalism are explored further in the following section. In the chapter entitled, ‘Discourses on 1947 and 1971 Partitions through Visual Culture’, Kamayani Kumar discusses the cultural trauma brought about as an outcome of Partition. She focuses on post-memory and ‘prosthetic memories’ captured by contemporary art from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The identified art pieces are by victims, witnesses, and survivors, the ‘one and a half (1.5) generation’ and the older generation impacted by this trauma. Nubras Samayeen’s discussion on ‘Post-71: Photographic Ambivalences, Archives, and the Construction of a National Identity of Bangladesh’ presents an analysis of the multi-layered history of Bangladesh through the complex dualities of photographic archives. The author focuses on the paradoxical representations of the individual and collective past, the visible and invisible, life and death. Samayeen explores contemporary photography as a medium of representing and engaging with post-1971 nationalism in Bangladesh. In ‘Speaking soon after catastrophe: The partition art of Satish Gujral and S. L. Parasher as record, testimony, trauma’, Shruti Parthasarathy candidly examines the art produced by two survivor-artists of Partition, Satish Gujral and S. L. Parasher, through formal-pictorial analysis of their paintings, drawings, and sculpture. Engaging with these images as psychological testimonials, she reflects on the traumatic experiences of these artists by identifying trauma through violence, loss, and grief. As indicated, the contributors to this section engage with the post-Partition advances in art and aesthetic expression in the subcontinent. In doing so, they try to understand the artistic turn that subcontinental art and performance has DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655-7

76 Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV taken in the past decades and the new forms that have infiltrated the art and visual landscape. The subject of photography and the salience of still photographs as a temporal link with the past remains one of the key investigations of the contributors to this section as also the pictorial analysis of the Partition art of masters such as Satish Gujral and S. L. Parashar.

Exploring present paradigms At multiple levels, the 1947 and 1971 Partitions resulted in the separation of an integrated community and created binaries. According to Mathur, these Partitions resulted in displacement, violence, and the tendency to hark back to a traumatic past which impacted the trajectory of art history in the subcontinent. These binaries – often caught in nationalistic and rhetorical proclivities – has turned art into a critical discourse for understanding both, ‘the status of history’ and the ‘problem of border’. These dates/moments have turned into obstacles towards understanding history. Hence, Partition literature, Partition films, Partition studies, and Partition as part of trauma studies are a matter of concern as we have refused to break the status quo by extending our observations beyond these political partitions. She discusses how contemporary artists have reflected on and ‘critically confronted partition and its legacies’ which is a ‘post-memory’ (Hirsch) expression in response to collective trauma. The significance of the visual work reflects through cultural dynamics which challenge the borders as they exist. In a similar vein, Fishman and Marvin analysed group membership of violent agents and types of violence in front-page photographs from 21 years of The New York Times. Using a trimodal definition of media violence, they confirmed the hypothesis that non-U.S. agents are represented as more explicitly violent than U.S. agents, and that the latter are associated with disguised modes of violence more often than the former. The recurring image of non-U. S. violence is that of order brutally ruptured or enforced. By contrast, images of U.S. violence are less alarming and suggest order without cruelty. The study showed how violent imagery is associated with in-group and outgroup status stratification. This section attempts to discursively address similar theoretical problems that have emerged in the aftermath of the Partition and the national development of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The crucial role of art and popular cultural artefacts in the articulation of various forms of nationalism cannot be denied. It is, therefore, important to view art from the perspectives of ideology, as a form and politics, as an enabler and a result of cultural and political modernity. As such the visualisation of nations, temporal transition into divided entities and their figuration and embodiment encompasses the materialisation and objectification of the image of a nation primarily in the post-colonial era. The emotive value as well as the unruly nature of images and art presents to us a broad-based canvas on which the ideation on post-colonial and post-Partition narratives can be structured. It is also important to note the evolutionary process of art in the

Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV 77 subcontinent because the development of modern art largely paralleled the development of nationalism in the region. Because a nationalist imagination needed cultural imagination, the nascent nationalist discourse and cultural discourse started to overlap in significant ways. The idea of the nation needed to be made tangible for a wider population to understand it, articulate it, and identify with it. Thus, nationalism needed to be materialised, visualised, enacted (in theatre, popular stage, for instance) and made a part of the everyday lives of the political class (in this case the middle classes) during this period. The importance of ‘tradition’ in the field of art production was palpable through the anti-colonial struggle in South Asia which entailed a selection of traditional motifs and images from past presenting a key example of the ‘invention of traditions’ (Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983). Art and the representation of identity also becomes important for us to consider in the context of pre-and- post colonial developments in South Asia (Anderson 2006). Another fundamental consideration must be predicated on the articulation of art as political ideology, relevant during the struggle for independence, the creation of Pakistan as well as the articulation of Bengali angst and trauma in the aftermath of the 1971 separation. The consideration of art also becomes crucial in the imagination of the nation state, national boundaries, and contemporary conflict, but also as a fundamental notion that embodies and represents communities, folk cultures, and ‘people’. The example of the institution of the Hindu Mela characterises the rise of nationalism in colonial India in the late-19th century, tying the cultural identity of the Hindus to the political identity of Hindustan. The concept of India as a nation materialised in craft objects, patriotic songs and plays as the display of the ‘local’ metamorphosed into an expression of the ‘national’. Needless to say, the predominance of the Hindu identity remains visible. The movement for Swadeshi (economic and political self-sufficiency) was inextricably tied to the notions of ‘self’ and the ‘nation’. It also extended to include varied notions of Pan-Asianism and self-sufficiency of the East vis-à-vis the West, for instance Japanese nationalism and the flow of ideas between Japan (Okakura) and India (mainly the Tagores in Calcutta). This period saw the active formulation of symbols and icons of nationalism to support the political climate of Swadeshi. Such a formulation entailed selective celebration of ‘pre-colonial’ art forms (Persian and Mughal miniature paintings and manuscript illuminations in this case) in opposition to colonial art education in ‘Western’ styles and artistic values. The Orientalist aesthetic of the Bengal School developed through an idealisation of Mughal (Indo-Persian visual tradition) miniatures as an ‘unbroken Indian pre-colonial tradition’, therefore consciously circulating the idea of ‘Indian-ness’ through an authentic Indian pictorial tradition. The practice of projecting ‘artistic’ value to ‘nationalist art’ as spiritual practice as well as ‘emotive’ value on historical/political/religious content became commonplace, functional, and acceptable even though art and artists attempted to maintain a conscious distance from active mass politics.

78 Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV The visualisation of the Bharat Mata or ‘Mother India’ remains perhaps one of the earliest visual imaginations of united ‘territory’/ ‘land’ and an aesthetic precursor to the figuration of the ‘nation’. The image of Mother India emerged as the ‘icon’ that signified the arrival of the political aesthetic in the public domain. Boundaries between ‘fine art’ and ‘popular art’ disappeared with the emergence of a popular market for political posters featuring images of the Bharat Mata. The emergence of mass politics under Gandhi in the post-1919 period also seemed to necessitate the ‘need’ for similar images of ‘mass appeal’ as artists were consciously integrated into political platforms. The art forms that grew out of this praxis between the folk and politics were not ‘protest’ images but images of ‘unbroken tradition’ and the continuity of life in ‘village India’ characterised by simple lines, powerful colours, ‘common’ subjects, and images of ‘labour and leisure’/ work and play in rural India. Artists began to make use of simple lines of rural art and craft as an entry into the portrayal of modernist art – no elaborate design, simple strong lines, and flat colours. The portrayal of ‘tribal’ population/indigenous population also emerged as a popular trope as artists moved from the colonial cities into the villages and tribal areas in search of ‘inspiration’ from rural people. ‘Primitivism’ therefore, became a cultural celebration of the non-urban as well as a cultural critique of colonial modernity. Examples can be drawn from artists of the Bengal School such as Jamini Roy. The Communist ideal of ‘taking art to the people’ enters the scene in the 1940s as the nation is aestheticised as the ‘citizen’, as a ‘tortured body’, and as the ‘body of protest’. Chittoprasad’s art, for example, emerged as a strident critique of colonialism and that of class, taking into its fold of criticism both British and Indian nationalist politicians. In a famous cartoon sketched in 1947, Chittoprasad depicted Bharat Mata as a figure of hunger and death at the hour of independence referring to the Great Bengal Famine and the Partition violence that had left countless dead and scores homeless and hungry. Immediately after Partition and a few decades later, few images of the event itself and the refugees surfaced despite the catastrophic communal genocide and forced population transfer that occurred in the wake of independence in August 1947 – Satish Gujral’s Partition art remains one of the few artistic representations. Instead, the art of ‘affirmation’ in new the nation-state under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru became prolific, not only in the fields of visual art but also performance such as cinema and theatre. The aesthetic of national solidarity and modernity was rooted in iconising the rural, exemplified by the early works of the late artist M. F. Hussain. In East Pakistan (until 1971), artists such as Zainul Abedin depicted the ‘un-finished’ struggle of independence in South Asia in the form of tensions between West and East Pakistan (which became Bangladesh in 1971) throughout the 1947–71 period. Herein is evident the cultural representation of collective consciousness through the use of realism and the motif of ‘land and labour’. East Pakistan’s struggle for linguistic nationalism formed the centrepiece of the aesthetics of decolonisation as the struggle for language (Bengali against Urdu) and cultural

Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV 79 resistance to political civil war gained momentum. Also momentous in this context are art installations such as ‘The Tree of Language’ (1969) – installed in front of the Bangla Academy by the artist Qamrul Hasan. While East Pakistan witnessed the political aesthetic of linguistic and cultural nationalism prosper during the conducive political climate leading up to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971, Pakistan was undergoing a re-use and reworking of forms and motifs of Arab culture and the Arabic script. For instance, Sadequain’s art brought forth transnational affiliations with the larger Arab-Muslim world rather than nationalist art in the context of political repression in the new post-independence Pakistani state, making use of techniques such as landscape, pictorial space, and calligraphic figuration invoking the transnational intellectual figures of Islam rather than the cultural identity of Pakistan. In India, the national aesthetic came under visible attack in 2005 as the artist M. F. Hussain was forced into exile after vicious protests by right-wing Hindu groups against his depictions of the Bharat Mata, signifying the Hindu nationalism takeover of the image of Mother India in the post-Independence and post-Nehru period. Artists have played a significant role in resisting the physical and political borders between the partitioned nations. Pakistan’s legendary resistance poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s daughter, Salima Hashmi, has nostalgically strived to bridge the gap between India and Pakistan through organising Partition-themed exhibitions. Based on this vision, she organised one such exhibition in Delhi (organised by the Gujral Foundation and Devi Art Foundation) in 2016, which was based on Faiz’s poem ‘Dawn of Freedom’ (Subha-e-Azadi); the second was organised in 2018, entitled, ‘Pale Sentinels: Metaphors of Dialogue’ at Aicon Gallery of New York ( bitions/). Both these events aimed to bring together the artists from India and Pakistan ( phorsForDialogues). The work by a Pakistani artist, Bani Abidi has established her response to Partition through performances, prints, and videos. She has organised various exhibitions with photographic and art installations to reflect on the 1947 Partition through exhibits organised in India and Pakistan. Pakistani artists such as Jamil Baloch have resisted various military and political regimes using their artwork – an example also reflected in Salima Hashmi’s feminist perspective by resisting Zia’s Hudood ordinance (Unveiling the Visible: Lives and Works of Women Artists of Pakistan, Hashmi 2002). Such artistic inputs from Pakistan reflect the intense efforts of artists as they resist the internal political pressures while also maintaining the linkages with their Indian counterparts. Thus, this section of the volume is primarily focused on bridging the gaps arising due to political differences through art – a much-needed effort considering the animosities that plague the postcolonial nations of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Hence, the chapters included in this section provide a considered view of some of the key developments in the visual culture of the postPartition Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi nation states. They go beyond the

80 Rise of the celebrity anchor in Pakistan’s private TV existing scope and available perspective and seek to engage with hitherto under-studied aspects of the visual turn that the three post-colonial cousins took in the aftermath of Partition and the several decades after. Through their scholarly contributions to this volume, these scholars unearth significant meaning in the representation of trauma and memory following the bloody vivisection of the subcontinent in 1947 and the creation of Bangladesh in 1971.

References Anderson, Benedict. 2006. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso Books. Bhattacharya, Chittoprasad. 2011. Hungry Bengal. Mumbai: People’s Publishing House. Fishman, Jessica M. and Carolyn Marvin. 2004. ‘Portrayals of Violence and Group Difference in Newspaper Photographs: Nationalism and Media’, Journal of Communication, 53(1): 32–44. Hashmi, Salima. 2002. Unveiling the Visible: Lives and Works of Women Artists of Pakistan. Lahore: Sang-E-Meel Publications. Hobsbawm, Eric and Terence Ranger. 1983. The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Korhonen, Pekka. 2001. ‘The Geography of Okakura Tenshin.’ Japan Review, 13:107– 127. Naqvi, Akbar. 2015. Sadequain and the Culture of Enlightenment. Karachi: Oxford University Press Pakistan. Selim, Lala Rukh. 2014. ‘Art of Bangladesh: the Changing Role of Tradition, Search for Identity and Globalization’, South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal [Online] 9. doi:10.4000/samaj.3725.

Web sources Ahmad, Ammara. 2018. ‘Memories of Two Exhibitions,’ Daily Times, https://dailytim (accessed on 15 May 2020). Noor, Tausif. 2018. ‘Pale Sentinels: Metaphors for Dialogue,’ Art Asia Pacific, \http://a (accessed on 15 May 2020).


Discourses on Partition through visual culture Kamayani Kumar

The Indian subcontinent was partitioned in 1947. Seven decades later South Asia is still grappling with the invasive cultural trauma that Partition invoked. Rather than diminishing, this trauma continues to inform, mediate, and reconstruct the experiential world of people on both sides of the contested border. Partition is indeed a cultural trauma whereby ‘members of a collectivity feel they have been subjected to a horrendous event that leaves indelible marks upon their group consciousness, marking their memories forever and changing their future identity in fundamental and irrevocable way’ (Alexander et al. 2004: 1). Several decades on, Partition refuses to be relegated to the annals of the past, instead it qualifies as a ‘monumental traumatic event that resists integration’ (Hirsch 2012: 22). The reason for which could be that Partition in its immediate aftermath was relegated to the realm of the ‘unspeakable’. It was seen as an experience ‘too terrible to utter aloud’ (Herman 1992: 1). Unlike the Holocaust which was heavily represented through the medium of literature, art, photography, and even ‘mixed media’ (Ben Shahn’s This Is Nazi Brutality (1942) being one example) representation of Partition via visual discourses was relatively limited (Margeret Bourke White’s photographs and Sardari Lal Parasher’s pencil sketches being an exception). Literary discourses abounded but even in them the underlying motif was always one of ‘silences’ and ‘gaps,’ a lot remained ‘unsaid’. As Arjun Mahey points out, If nations could suffer trauma, then Partition certainly ignited one – both in India and Pakistan. And, as in some traumata, the victims dissolved into catatonic shock that displayed itself as silence… Something had been permanently lost and the inadequacy of mere words was discerned… [as] an understood code of silent mourning. (Mahey 2001: 138) As Bhaskar Sarkar asserts, ‘Speaking about 1947 remains a difficult task even after the passage of decades: the corporeal, material, and psychic losses, the widespread sense of betrayal, the overwhelming dislocations – in short, the deep lacerations inflicted on one’s sense of self and community – bring up intense and consuming passions.’(Sarkar 2009: 9). Perhaps, this also explains DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655-8

82 Discourses on Partition through visual culture why it has taken us almost 70 years to constitute a ‘public memory’ of Partition. Until 2016 no memorial marked the space where millions of people crossed borders. Yaadgaar-e-Tasqeem, the Partition museum in Amritsar has only recently emerged as a ‘space of memory,’ functional as a conduit ‘… for transforming living memory into (one) institutionally constructed …’ and ‘allowing for rituals of remembrance to be performed in public’ (Simine 2013: 37). Given the absence of ‘milieux de memoire’ (Nora 1989: 7) – real environments of memory essential for expression and recovery by cathartic means – memories of Partition have survived as Lieux de memoire (Nora 1989: 7) – ‘sites of memory’ within the scarred psyches of individuals. It is these repressed memories that have claimed the post-Partition generations through ‘traumatic counter transference or vicarious traumatisation’ (Herman 1992: 140) What emerges from this is that the telling is far from over and that Partition is a trauma to which narrators seem to be compelled to nostalgically return. This chapter has its focus on discourses on Partition that emerge from paintings, video art installations, and public art exchanges from India and Pakistan. The body of work addressed in this chapter testifies to how Partition documentation has become much more assertive with ‘memory boom’ on either side of the border. Hence, while borders and memories are contested the desire to lend voice to the experience of Partition is mutual. This also supports the argument that ‘… “holocaustal events” like Holocaust, Partition, Vietnam War have left modern societies with collective trauma:…(which) cannot be simply forgotten and put of mind, but neither can they be adequately remembered’ (Simine 2013: 38). Such events for resolution cannot ‘rely on conventional historical narratives but need the help of artists to produce…. trauma texts that resist conventional modes of narrativization’ (Simine 2013: 39). It is then that discourses in poetry and art provide an ‘alternative space for expression of disquiet away from the glut of media coverage’ (Beliwal and Mehta 2011: 4) and minimalist official accounts. Again as Villa Vincencio aptly points out, in any society which undergoes horrific cultural trauma and where remembrance is hegemonised, the onus of looking for an answer to the madness that underlines any such violence falls upon art and aesthetics, to quote her ‘… the only solution to answer the question “why” seems to… ‘fall upon ‘… poets, artists and creative writers of fiction to complete the task’ (Villa-Vincencio 2000: 30). Taking this argument further one can list the support of critical theorists Janet Walker, Ann Kaplan, and Joshua Hirsch who point out that visual media provides a semiotic framework which is ‘central to the idea of secondary witnessing and vicarious trauma’ (Villa-Vincencio 2000: 42) and in this capacity offers a crucial tool for understanding the second generation’s response to vicarious trauma. Having stated that art and aesthetics provides a space which is integral for catharsis as well as understanding trauma in its variant perspectives, I would like to move forward with the study of art in response to Partition of the Indian subcontinent. The artists whose works I have chosen for study in this chapter can for argument’s sake be divided on temporal lines – first

Discourses on Partition through visual culture


generations response to the immediate aftermath of Partition, the hingegeneration and lastly the generation for whom Partition is mediated through ‘post memories’ or at times even ‘prosthetic memories’1 (Landsberg 2004: 87). To begin with the focus is on the paintings of those artists who were caught in the immediacy of Partition, S. L. Parasher and Satish Gujral, before moving on to the works of hinge generation artists like Nalini Malani and Zarina Hashmi, and finally contemporary artists like Imran Channa, Shilpa Gupta, Tayeba Begum Lipi, and Promotesh Das Pulak whose understanding of Partition is through vicarious means. Vicarious refers to the countertransference of trauma to people who may not have been direct victims of the intensive and invasive traumatic situations. As Herman points out ‘trauma is contagious’ (Herman 1992: 34) and indeed trauma of Partition has contagiously and vicariously claimed millions born far beyond 1947. According to theorists, historical trauma when denied or repressed often intrudes into public awareness, is retained, and more often than not it eventually resurfaces in our collective cultural consciousness. Given the cultural matrix of the Indian subcontinent which strove to deliberately repress, marginalise, or even negate the horror of Partition it is easy to comprehend why it has sustained as an unintegrated cultural trauma. It is this amongst other perspectives on Partition that this chapter seeks to address through a relatively speaking untouched aesthetic of expression – art. Sardari Lal Parasher’s line drawings of 1947–49 offer a very potent documentation of what Partition meant for millions dispossessed in a most violent manner in 1947. Working in the capacity of Commandant, Baldev Nagar Refugee Camp in Ambala, Parasher experienced pangs of Partition in multiple ways. It is these experiences that he immortalised on paper. His drawings done on bits of paper, envelopes, invoices, pages drawn from ledgers, and notebooks are not those of an artist whose response has been pondered upon, rather it is a response which has captured the raw pulse of violence that defined Partition. As Parasher writes, the line drawings of 1947–49 are, ‘Realistic, almost photographic, they are also a hasty and immediate image of multiple traumas, those in front of him and the artist’s own in the viewing.’(Parasher 2015: 201) Drawn in pencil, charcoal, and ink they radiate the pain, fury of a man who has witnessed intense horror. Even the titles of his paintings resonate with the fissures of loss running deep, for instance, ‘Heavy Despair,’ In another work, entitled ‘In Search of a New Home,’ Parasher captures the plight of those engaged in ‘an unwanted journey into the unknown’ (Parasher 2015: 209).The huddled bodies swathed in deep despair are lost in deep mourning engaging neither with each other nor with the artist.2 A similar strain echoes through his works like Cry I, Cry II, and Anguish to name but a few. Each work resonates with deep anguish and it is through these that Parasher allowed his pain to move from the realm of private to public articulation. Literature abounds with narratives which speak of the pain of displacement, Mohan Rakesh’s Malbe ka Malik, Intezaar Hussain’s Basti, Manto’s signature story, Toba Tek Singh, speak of the trauma of those

84 Discourses on Partition through visual culture

Figure 5.1 Heavy Despair. Source: S. L. Parasher/ Parashar family

Discourses on Partition through visual culture


Figure 5.2 In Search of a New Home. Source: S. L. Parasher/ Parashar family

displaced in the wake of Partition yet the same trope invoked through Parasher’s visual language compels us not only to witness but also wit(h)ness the horrendous event. Like Parasher, Satish Gujral too began his career in art through a series of paintings which have come to be known as the ‘Partition Paintings’. The paintings in this series testify to the deep impact Partition had on his psyche. Gujral was a witness to the mayhem of Partition and also helped several people to cross over to India amidst inhumane violence. Gujral acknowledges that it is his anguish that he has translated into paintings. His paintings express his incomprehensibility about how a community that had been living in harmony could suddenly turn into abductors, killers, and rapists. His works are populated with dark, brooding figures that are isolated and convoluted in agony which is an influence of the Mexican muralists. He adeptly uses the volatile and expressionistic manner of Mexican grotesque distortion to communicate the horror of Partition. This sentiment comes through with force in his paintings Mourning en Masse and in The Snare of a Memory (1952). The faces in these paintings are dark and sombre, shrouded in veils and symbolise an urge to deny the horrific truth or albeit to hide/escape the scourge. The paintings pulsate with a raw energy that disturbs the complacency of the viewer and make him think of the tragedy that Partition entailed.

86 Discourses on Partition through visual culture For Gujral painting about Partition was cathartic impulse, as he himself states, that ‘I started painting Partition to forget it all, and at that time I didn’t realise that I was painting my own suffering’ (Gujral 2017). As art critic, Keshav Malik says Gujral captures ‘… weeping anguished men and women … in throes of ruination, when all was lost, their faces contorted, their bodies writing and their eyes looking upwards uncomprehendingly’ (Malik 2000: 74). A common trope between Parasher and Gujral’s work on Partition is their attempt to document the horror it unleashed. Both artists explore the psychic connotations of Partition as a cultural trauma remarkably capturing it through their wounded and hounded figures. In the work of later artists like Hashmi, Malani, and Gupta, Partition finds resonance however, in a different context. No longer does one witness the raw, pulsating havoc wrought by Partition in its immediate aftermath, instead these later artists explore the continuing impact/manifestations of Partition. There is a change in the discursive ethos stemming from the trajectory of art works from 1947 to the present. One can legitimately state that while the earliest expression represented the violence, mayhem, and dislocation the contemporary artworks speak of perspectives like continuing hostilities which mimic Partition violence, official historiography’s discourses on Partition, cultural divide, and above all the presence of Partition as a trauma in our cultural consciousness. The work of Zarina Hashmi (b. 1937 in India) offers a different perspective on Partition, for she belongs to the ‘hinge generation’. Her understanding of Partition was through a child’s understanding of nationalism, religion, and cartographic anxieties. Ten years old at the time of Partition, it was her family’s decision to migrate to Pakistan in the 1960s that deeply influenced the ways in which she relates to 1947. An urgent desire to ‘belong’ is deeply etched in the works of Hashmi. Almost all her works pervade with a sense of ‘unhinging’ while search for ‘home’ becomes the dominant metaphor. As Aparna Kumar says, ‘Zarina’s artistic practice on the whole remains overwhelmingly enmeshed in this particular experience of political, territorial and social rupture that we know today as Partition.’ (Kumar 2012: 11). In her work, ‘Dividing Line’ Hashmi uses a misleadingly simple black line evidently the Radcliffe Line which works as a signifier, with the minimalist black line connotatively suggestive of the cartographic anxiety spawned by the division. Making dextrous use of her visual language Hashmi speaks volumes with the line that divides and binds. It has also been alternatively interpreted as suggestive of the umbilical cord that marks the independence of two nations from colonial servitude, a ‘cord’ that still ‘ties’ the divided nations. As Aamir Mufti posits that Hashmi’s ‘abstract’ ‘Dividing Line’ is representative of a ‘catalogue of ravaged spaces, places torn apart by war and mass violence…. emerging patterns of social and political dissolution – the experience of dispossession’ (Mufti 2012: 178). In fact, cartographic interventions as a volatile and contested narrative find a consistent echo in her works. In ‘Home is a Foreign Place’ (1999), Zarina Hashmi has used a series of 36 woodcuts printed on handmade Indian paper that artfully and intimately

Discourses on Partition through visual culture


meditate on the meaning of ‘home’ in a time when histories of displacement, dispossession, and social fracture call into question the concept’s very foundations of stability and safety. The woodcuts demonstrate her perception of and remembrance of one’s place – the memory of a house where she grew up. These six rows of prints depict memories from her childhood, abstractions of particular moments that the artist recalls. For instance, an image of a ceiling fan titled ‘Afternoon’ speaks of a lazy summer afternoon of childhood. Her sense of disjointedness is revealed in her work, she illustrates how the familiar has become alienated. As Sharanjya Jayawickrama has observed, even the most familiar of spaces – ‘home’ – becomes alienated in instances of violent intrusion. To quote Jayawickrama, ‘The texture of everyday objects – the house as a space of familial and personal life, the neighbourhood – are all totally defamiliarised by the incursions of violence, where the home, once the productive site of identity, becomes the violently negative space that defines the self as other.’ (Jayawickrama 2007: 73). It is this forced sense of ‘defamilarisation’ that finds voice in Hashmi’s work that makes it cosmopolitan in its appeal. Her work speaks contextually of Partition but mirrors the dilemma of all who have experienced loss of ‘home’. Her works echo an ‘identity based-rift which came about in the lives of millions of individuals suddenly torn from their familiar frame of life, their lands, … and their ancestral homes in the name of an utterly abstract principle: the principle of nationality which had only limited significance for them (Markovits 2008: 58). For cultural theorist Ajit Mann, Zarina’s work is the work of a ‘nomad’ (Mann 2010: 37). Mann observes that Zarina’s work cuts across the conventional and highly regimented, structured, and biased borders of nation, ethnicity, gender, and language and instead creates a powerful discourse through art to lend expression on her experience of being dispossessed and to which each individual who has been exiled from ‘home’ can relate to with wonderful ease. Nalini Malani like Hashmi toys with the idea of ‘home’ in a post Partition context but in a different vein. While Hashmi’s trope of ‘home’ is pregnant with a profound sense of loss and nostalgia, for Malani ‘home’ is no longer Heimlich. This sense of unheimlich/uncanny and dispossession haunting one’s own house and national territory are the primary tropes of Malani’s work. For Malani it was the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 that made Partition and its barbaric legacy mark its presence in her work. As art critic Chaitanya Sambrani observes, Malani in her work engages with the burden/spoils of received knowledge, clearly evident in her manner of invoking Partition’s traumatic history ‘tangentially’ (Sambrani: chaitanya.html, accessed 23 October 2017). Malani is most assertive in critiquing Partition in her mixed media installation entitled ‘Remembering Toba Tek Singh’ (1998). Malani’s installation uses multiple video screens to display archival footage of Partition – bedding, tin trunks of refugees’ images of deportations, childbirth – invoking in the spectators a sense of displacement and loss, an experience further underlined by a

88 Discourses on Partition through visual culture voiceover which reads out excerpts from Saadat Manto’s iconic verdict on the puerility of Partition, ‘Toba Tek Singh’. Amidst this emerges an image of two women – one Indian and one Pakistani – engrossed in the same mundane domestic task of folding a sari. This act of domesticity forces home a shared cultural kinship over and beyond nationalistic, religious, and politically fanned rift. Through a pastiche of different genres, and blurred images, Malani creates a powerful and complex commentary on Partition, one which explores the trauma it generated, critiques it, and at the same time brings forth the kinship ties that have endured over and above the fissures. In another video installation, ‘Mother India: Transactions in the Construction of Pain’ (2005), Malani returns to the theme of Partition and the recurrent instances of intercommunity violence. While the demolition of Babri Masjid was the catalyst for ‘Remembering Toba Tek Singh’, it is the horror of the post-Godhra riots which compel Malani to return to this narrative. The image of the motherland is juxtaposed with the contradictory narrative of interethnic cleansings. Displayed on the five large screens are images of Partition followed by anti-Muslim attacks in Gujarat in 2002: A burning mouth recalls the terrible deeds of the Gujarat incidents while the voice of a woman and a man are heard in succession, recalling the reactions of women abducted during the Partition and that of Indian parliamentarians who dismissed them with a ‘Nehru’ tone – the honour of the state is at stake. (Kayser 2015: 3) Moving beyond borders I will now focus on the work of contemporary artist Imran Channa and examine how 1947 is intercepted by artists from Pakistan. Ironically, the partition of British India had different implications – independence from colonial servitude, the birth of a new nation but amidst holocaustal violence it was not an easy legacy to deal with, complicated further by the state machinery’s stance to undermine, even negate the ‘people’s history of partition’. Thus, while the project of nationalism won an upper hand, official historiography if it did not erase, certainly marginalised the harsh reality of unprecedented displacement, misery, and violence. It is this schism between history’s truth and memory’s truth of Partition that Channa focuses upon in his work. In almost all his works such as the ‘Lik Likoti’, ‘Memories’, ‘Enclosure/ Erasure series’, Channa challenges the efficacy of historical narratives. He asserts that history is no better than a conscious act of fabricating the past whereby every nation tries to reconstruct its historical narrations by discarding the unfavourable parts. Thus, Partition is apprehended differently by India and Pakistan. Each nation testifies to its own ‘fabricated’ history of ‘partition’ which finds no common ground. Contextually speaking, Channa’s painted imagery of Partition throws open questions such as - how history is written, is effaced, and distorted (Ali 2013: 11).

Discourses on Partition through visual culture


Figure 5.3 LikLikoti. Source: Imran Channa

Channa’s work ‘LikLikoti’ uses the metaphor of seen/unseen in 12 graphite drawings. These drawings use as their referential point the mass migration, uprooting, and loss which accompanied Partition. Along with the drawings are four large installations ‘LikLikoti’ – which literally implies hide and seek and metaphorically alludes to the representation/distortion of history. The installations are four wooden boxes with small slits which allow a partial view of images of migrants moving on trains, bullock carts, horse carts, and foot. This deliberate impairing of the view suggests how history’s truth is often at odds with ‘memory’s truth’ and that political and historical narratives of Partition are contested (see Figure 5.3). In a later series, entitled ‘Erasures’ (see Figure 5.4) Channa through graphite and erasure drawings deliberately draws, erases, and smudges the image he has given life to. These two images are best understood when studied together. The idea behind this deliberate distortion is to communicate how the past is often erased, smudged, and distorted to fabricate the illusion termed as ‘history’. In this work he has taken the archival photograph of refugee camps and reworked it to give it a smudged effect. The work can be interpreted on multiple levels while most easily lending itself to the desire of the artist to erase the memories of millions displaced in the wake of Partition. Another instance of how Partition has hijacked the contemporary imagination is the ‘Aar Paar Public Art Exchange Project’ between India and Pakistan in 2000, 2002, and 2004. Shilpa Gupta from India and Huma Mujli from

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Figure 5.4 Erasures. Source: Imran Channa

Pakistan came together in 2000 on a common platform and invited entries from artists from either side of the border on how they understand Partition in today’s context. This project in public art stands in defiance of borders and ‘questions the very foundation of nations and national identities’(Ciocca and Laudando 2008: 67). While playing on the literal and metaphorical implications of the phrase ‘aar paar’ the project went beyond historiographical, political, and military trappings and explores how Partition has overshadowed the everyday lives of people. The second exchange came against the backdrop of the Godhra riots and Shilpa Gupta came very close to being imprisoned for her work. This also brings into focus censorship and the official task of regulation to the point of erasure. Shilpa Gupta’s ‘Blame’ (Aar Paar, 2002) is set against the backdrop of the Godhra riots and Dharavi riots which in a Girardian act mimic Partition violence. This poster carried the slogan, ‘Blaming you makes me feel so good, so I blame you for what you cannot control, your religion, your nationality, I want to blame you, it makes me feel good’. Blame is a powerful indictment of the violent culture of blaming which encourages ‘you and me’ polarities to spawn. The sign with bold white letters on a blood-red background is a chilling reminder to Indian and Pakistani citizens to be wary of the political blame games that for decades have been (repeatedly) instrumental in spilling blood on either side of the border in the name of communal violence that defined Partition.

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In another of her works, ‘Vitrine 1:14.9’ (2011–12), Shilpa Gupta symbolically signifies ‘partition’ through a hand-wound ball of thread. The art installation has a small plaque which reads: ‘1188.5 MILES OF FENCED BORDER – WEST, NORTH-WEST / DATA UPDATE: DEC 31’, the geopolitical division as a gleaming orb – a form that seems, at first, as abstract as the raw statistics. Shilpa Gupta’s work has been interpreted as symbolic at multiple levels – its ovoid shape is suggestive of genesis which invokes the Partition of the subcontinent – an act which can be construed as division as well as birth of two nations. At another level, the fragile thread is suggestive of the fenced border between India and Pakistan. Metaphorically it is the significance of tenuousness of the boundaries that tie/bind as well as demarcate. In ‘Here There Is No Border’, Shilpa Gupta uses strips of adhesive tape with the imprint ‘Here There Is No Border’ and places them where they corrupt the contact spaces. In doing so it both affirms and denies the existence of a border. Its beginning, ‘here there is’, could lead the viewer to expect a real frontier to be actually and actively present; but it’s ending, ‘no border’, excludes this possibility. In doing so she challenges the idea of borders and divisions. In ‘Untitled 2005–2006’ Gupta explores how post-Partition Kashmir has become the arena for enactment of persistent hostilities between India and Pakistan. In the video installation, a sequence of images contrast the utopic beauty of Gulmarg with the presence of military figures that keep towns and villages under siege. On another screen one hears a child learning his alphabet. The child’s utterance of the alphabet voices the contestation Partition has generated in Kashmir – A for Army, B for bomb, C for curfew, D for death, E for explosion, F for fear, G for grave, H for hospital…M for militant… O for obituary, P for Papa, Q for questioning, R for rape… W for widow – half widow. Thus, we are given an insight into the continuing hold of Partitionspawned hostilities in a militancy ridden Kashmir and also how a child with his limited understanding of the notion of nationalism and ethnicity tries to cope with a dystopian reality. Bani Abidi, like Nalini Malani, is a contemporary artist from Pakistan who uses video art installations and photography to critique the politics of identity formation that has infested the fragmented Indian subcontinent. What is engaging about her work is the element of absurdism that underlines it and the way in which it is reminiscent of Manto. For instance, in her mixed media work ‘The News’ Bani mocks the politics of representation (see Figure 5.5). The news programme being anchored simultaneously on either side of the border shows how a culturally constructed Pakistani and Indian news anchor orate two variant versions of the same news. In this way they highlight the fabricated nature of the news and how news is often interpolated to suit nefarious political designs. The Sanskritised Hindi of the official Indian jargon and Persianised Urdu of the Pakistani state is symbolic of how language has been used to pen separatist politics. Like Imran Channa’s ‘Erasure in Memories’ series and Shilpa Gupta’s work ‘Blame’, Bani Abidi too critiques the distortion and fabrication that attends any and every exchange between India

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Figure 5.5 Video still ‘The News’ 2001. Source: Bani Abidi

and Pakistan and even condemns petty nationalisms that abound. This testamentary piece of art also confirms Kaplan’s postulation that trauma captures our senses in different ways either by arousing empathy, or horror or as in this instance deploying the audience as ‘voyeurs of television news’ (Kaplan 2005: 37). By being voyeuristic consumers of such ‘fake’ news we become culpable of indulging in politics of hate and divisiveness. The year 1971 saw yet another division in the Indian subcontinent. Bangladesh wrested its independence from Pakistan after a prolonged war for liberation, a dystopian phase marred by ethnic and gendered violence. This trauma has also found expression in contemporary artists who through their work have challenged and contested the notion of borders and identity. Artists like Tayeba Begum Lipi, Anisuzzaman Sohel, and Promotesh Das Pulak speak of their experiences and perceptions about Partition. Art curator Veerangana Kumari Solanki says that these artists through their work address ‘issues of space, borders, territory, medium, politics and disputed solutions’(Solanki 2013). For instance, Mehbubur Rahman in his work represents his nostalgia for the holistic neighbourhood space which gets spoilt with communal angst and nationalistic politics of rupture and fragmentation. Rahman showcases, ‘the pressure created by man-made systems of divisions that plug the natural flow of human relationships, communication and understanding’ (Solanki 2013). For Rahman, borders have a negative impact on social dynamics. In order to render expression to the threat and intrusion that borders conjure for Rahman he chooses to create sculptures out of scissors which readily lend themselves to imply mutilation. To quote Rahman, ‘borders themselves inherently have the quality of unusual movement that negatively impact social understanding amongst harmonious communities and pre-existing neighbourhoods’ (Rahman 2017). The artist recalls that as a child he often used to hear about those happy days when people of different communities would live in harmony without their ethnic identities infringing upon them. This is similar to the sentiment shared by Nalini Malani for whom once-familiar surroundings have become punctuated with fear, communal angst, ‘blame’, and

Discourses on Partition through visual culture


Figure 5.6a From 1.7 million mi2 to 55,598 mi2. Source: Tayeba Begum Lipi

violence. If Malani takes recourse to archival footage, Rahman makes extensive use of barbed wires to connote disputed borders, army boots to signify conflict, and surgical scissors as instruments of dissection and evocatively conveys his horror upon witnessing the volatile legacy of Partition. Tayeba Begum Lipi in her work titled ‘From 1.7 million mi2 To 55,598 mi2’ (a part of a larger exhibition called ‘Barbed Floss’) uses a series of four circular panels framed in razor blades, suggesting the notions of separation and Partition (see Figure 5.6). The plates connote the subcontinent’s land mass of 1.7 million square miles, which then is dissected into maps of Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. Lipi’s four etched maps on polished stainless-steel plates resonate with a wounded reflection of the subcontinent and how its survivors are bound in a series of wars, violence, and riots. The framing of the plates in

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Figure 5.6b From 1.7 million mi2 to 55,598 mi2. Source: Tayeba Begum Lipi

razor blades is suggestive of the matrix of dismemberment, sacrilege, and the Girardian re-enactment of Partition’s unresolved legacy of violence. Promotesh Das Pulak’s installation ‘Twins’ (See Figure 5.7) alludes to the notion that borders divide and unite. His twins lie in an incubator, created out of beautiful white shoal flowers, which suggest the betrayal of innocence and beauty. As Pulak himself has explained, the position of the twins inside the incubator acts as a vulnerable metaphor of sharing food, oxygen, and physical attributions. This work alludes to the notion of Partition, division, and separation in marked territories that once shared similar histories, cultures, and identities. In these artistic discourses spread across a divergent cultural, political, religious, and temporal matrices one strain is common, that is, the use of aesthetics in art for a candid and powerful articulation of trauma induced by Partition and thereby possibly attaining a cathartic redressal. To borrow Israeli

Discourses on Partition through visual culture


Figure 5.7 Twins. Source: Pramotesh Das Pulak

painter Brach L. Ettinger’s term, by being polycontextural art allows ‘aesthetic wit(h)nessing’,3 that it not only works as testimony but also as ‘a keeper of historical memory.’ The artists representing 1947 are in a very powerful way highlighting the sense of loss, displacement, identity crisis, and ethnic hostilities that Partition engendered. By transgressing into the domain of what had been labelled as ‘unspeakable’ they have enabled expression and in the process are paving way for redemption from the overwhelming sense of loss and horror. For as Seeme Qasim says in her poems, forgetting will only make it happen again, hence it is desirable that expression is neither contained nor hegemonised.

Notes 1 Alison Landsberg defines prosthetic memories as, ‘human beings potential to indulge in media technologies which generate vivid memories of experiences that are not their own’. 2 A couple of images from this essay reappear in Chapter 7 in this volume. 3 The idea of aesthetic wit(h)nessing is borrowed from the theoretical writings of the painter Bracha L. Ettinger (b. 1948–). Ettinger creates a neologism by inserting the letter (h) into the word witness. Wit(h)ness now imply not only bearing witness to the crime against the other, but also being with,…Ettinger is proposing an aesthetic wit(h)nessing: a means of being with and remembering for the other through the artistic act and through an aesthetic encounter. Art becomes a keeper of historical memory for the injured other by creating the site for a novel trans-subjective and transhistorical process that is simultaneously witness and wit(h)ness.

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References Alexander, Jeffery, Ron Eyerman, Bernhard Gieson, et al. 2004. Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Ciocca and Laudando 2008. ‘Indiascapes. Images and Words From Globalised India – Introduction’. An Interdisciplinary Journal 12(2):1–8. Gujral, Satish. 2017. ‘I Didn’t Paint Partition, I Painted my Own Suffering’, The Hindu 21 December: 14. Herman, Judith. 1992. Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror. New York: Basic Books. Hirsch, Mariaane. 2012. The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust. New York: Columbia University Press. Jayawickrama, Shirinya. 2007. ‘At Home in the Nation? Negotiating Identity in Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy,’ in Malashri Lal and Sukrita Paul Kumar (eds), Interpreting Homes In South Asian Literature, pp. 45–61. Delhi: Dorling Kinderseley. Kaplan, E. Anne. 2005. Trauma Culture: The Politics of Terror and Loss in Media and Literature, p. 208. New Brunswock, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. Kayser, Christine Vial. 2015. ‘Nalini Malini: A Global Storyteller’, Studies in Visual Arts and Communication: An International Journal, 2(1): 1–11. Kumar, Aparna M. 2012. ‘Lines of Inquiry: Partition, Historiography and the Art of Zarina Hashmi.’ UCLA Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Berkeley: UCLA. http s:// Landsberg, Alison. 2004. Prosthetic Memory: The Transformation of American Remembrance in the Age of Mass Culture. New York: Columbia University Press. Mahey, Arjun. 2001. ‘Partition Narratives Some Observations,’ in Ravikant Saint and Tarun Kr. Saint (eds), Translating Partition, pp. 135–149. Delhi: Katha. Maan, Ajit. 2010. Internarrative Identity: Place the Self, p. 37. Maryland: University Press of America. Markovits, Claude. 2004. ‘The Partition of India,’ in Glasson Deschaumes and Rada Ivekovic (eds), Divided Countries, Separated Cities: The Modern Legacy of Partition, p. 58. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Mufti, Aamir. 2012. ‘Zarina Hashmi and the Arts of Dispossession,’ in Allegra Pesenti (ed.), Zarina: Paper Like Skin. Westminster, MD: Prestel Publishing. Nora, Pierre. 1989. ‘Between Memory and History: Les Lieux De Mémoire’, Representations, 26: 7–24. Parasher, Prajna. 2015. ‘A Long Walk Out From Partition,’ in Urvashi Butalia (ed.), The Long Shadow of Partition, pp. 200–231. Delhi: Zubaan. Pollock, G. F. S. 2010. ‘Aesthetic Wit(h)nessing in The Era of Trauma’, EurAmerica: A Journal of European and American Studies, 40(4): 829–886. Sarkar, Bhaskar. 2009. Mourning the Nation: Indian Cinema in the Wake of Partition. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Simine, Silke Arnold-de-. 2013. Mediating Memory in the Museum: Trauma, Empathy, Nostalgia, p. 239. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Qasim, Seeme. 2004. After Gujarat and Other Poems. Delhi: Ravi Dayal. Villa Vincencio, C. 2000. ‘Getting on With Life: A Move Towards Reconciliation’, in C.Villa Vicencio and W. Verwoerd (eds), Looking Back Reaching Forward: Reflections on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, pp. 199–209. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press.

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Web sources Ali, Amra. 2013. ‘Re-Aligning Historical Perspective,’ Dawn, documents/Interview%20Dawn%2011%20aug%202013%20copy.pdf (accessed on 16 March 2017). Beliwal, Anup and Amrita Mehta. 2011. ‘Communalism and the Poetic Imagination: A Study of Indian English Women’s Poetry’, Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific 25, (accessed on 2 February 2018). Malik, Keshav. 2000. ‘Contemporary Monograph Series: Satish Gujral,’ Contemporary Monograph Series, (accessed on 2 April 2018). Rahman, Mahbubur. 2015. ‘Traversing Boundaries: Five Bangladeshi Artists Question the Legacy of Partition’. sing-boundaries-five-bangladeshi-artists-question-the-legacy-of-partition/(accessed on 12 December 2017). Solanki, Verangnakumari. 2013. ‘Traversing Boundaries: Five Bangladeshi Artists Question the Legacy of Partition,’ The Culture Trip, bangladesh/articles/traversing-boundaries-five-bangladeshi-artists-question-the-legacy -of-partition/ (accessed on 8 April 2014).


Post-71 Photographic ambivalences, archives, and the construction of a national identity of Bangladesh Nubras Samayeen ‘Those photographs are not an argument; they are simply a crude statement of fact addressed to the eye.’ Virginia Woolf (1938: 165) ‘People like my grandmother, who have no home but in memory, learn to be very skilled in the art of recollection.’ Amitav Ghosh (2005: 214) ‘It took the war to teach it, that you were as responsible for everything you saw as you were for everything you did. The problem was that you didn’t always know what you were seeing until later, maybe years later, that a lot of it never made it in at all, it just stayed stored there in your eyes.’ Michel Herr (1977: 19)

A nation monumentalises and memorialises its past, especially if it has a deeply scarred history. The memorialisation process has become central to nation building and nationalism within the context of South Asia. Through structured ways, a definitive history is often presented to future generations. Such is the case with Bangladesh, which was born after an excruciating nine-month-long civil war and genocide in 1971. This country’s national ethos, therefore, is formed distinctly on its association with wartime violation and brutality, subsequent rage, as well as its Bengali rootedness. The reminiscences of Bangladesh’s traumatic past are passed on to the citizens through photographs and stories about the independence war of ’71 through the processes of postmemory (Hirsch 1996) and post-amnesia (Kabir 2017). The processes of postmemory and post-amnesia are relational, exposing newer generations to the trauma of their forebears, which they cannot directly know or recall but are formed or likewise eliminated by objects that are mediated through different modes of presentations, and re-creations. These processes are intrinsically implanted in exhibitions and built museums such as the Muktijuddho Jadughar (Liberation War Museum), Shadhinota Jadughar (Museum of Independence), and other galleries themselves, which perpetuate neo-nationalist feelings to the immediate and following generations DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655-9

Post-71 99 that have not experienced the war. Hence, there is a strict agenda of monumentalising the images and stories in a very specific framework. These museums and galleries exhibiting war images are essentially archives. With this, the principal role of the archive comes into question, which is to represent and give access to photographs that explicitly and implicitly spur nationalist feelings. As a result, many personal memories and memorabilia also become part of collective memory. This chapter presents the case study of Lablu who remains as a personal memory as well as part of collective memory through his photograph(s). Lablu was a young man and my uncle. He is the central figure in the photograph below (See Figures 6.1 and 6.2) around which the chapter’s argument circumambulates. This example is instrumentalised to establish the interrelation of photographs, archives, and nationalism that emerged from 1971. The questions that this chapter aims to address include: what happens to the generation born after 1971? How does photography play its role? How does nationalism perpetuate itself to post-71 generations and beyond who have not seen or experienced the atrocities of war, and hence are not accountable for their own history? How do feelings of nationalism and identity continue into the future? The following is Lablu’s (See Figures 6.1 and 6.2) story, a newspaper-cutting from 1971: A young man named Syed Shamsul Alam (Lablu) went missing in Dhanmondi area while he was visiting a close relative. When he did not return home, all his relatives started looking for him everywhere and then later informed the local Lalbagh Police Station. The next day his dead body was found and recovered from Dhanmondi Lake. After his body was pulled out from the lake it showed that his hands had been tied with metal strings and his legs were tied using his own shirt. Also, there were multiple stabbing marks on his chest from using a bayonet from a Chinese-made rifle. Later, speaking to Shamsul Alam’s friends and local witnesses, it was revealed that there were some hoodlums in white garb who hung out around the Dhanmondi Lake area. They were sanctioned by the West Pakistan (now Pakistan) regime and military. It was presumed that these hooligans kidnapped Alam and handed him over to the brutal execution squad. These facts were substantiated as it was found that two of Alam’s fellow students who were members of the Al-badar (West Pakistan Sympathiser or Razakaars) group had played an active role in his kidnap and murder.1 Syed Shamsul Alam was an undergraduate student at the Polytechnic Institute in Tejgoan. He was a brilliant student. He had passed his Matriculation Exam (equivalent to middle school) with top marks and completed his ISC Exam (equivalent to high school) with distinction. Alam is the eldest son of Syed Shamsul Huda from Khankandi, Faridpur. (Daily Ittefaq 1971)

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Figure 6.1a A Newspaper Clip on Lablu (Daily Ittefaq 1971). Source: Nubras Samayeen (author) – newspaper clipping from author’s personal collection

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Figure 6.1b A Newspaper Clip on Lablu (Daily Ittefaq 1971). Source: Nubras Samayeen (author) – newspaper clipping from author’s personal collection

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Figure 6.2 Unidentified body from mass killing during 1971 Civil War. Source: Rashid Talukder, Drik Picture Library Ltd. Dhaka, Bangladesh

The above report indicates there were millions of people like Lablu, each being someone’s dear one, who became victims of the genocide that coincided with the birth of Bangladesh. Many witnessed these atrocities, many lost loved ones, and many who actively fought to defend the country suffered the most. However, the discussion below aims to provide a brief context for the subsequent sections by historicising the events that led to the bloody war and the creation of Bangladesh.

Political history The political history of Bangladesh goes far back to the Vanga Kingdom (the word Bengal came from Vanga) which is said to have existed around 500 BC. The idea of nationalism among the people of the subcontinent first emerged much later, in the mid-nineteenth century, simultaneously with the global phenomenon of decolonisation. The basis of Bengali nationalism was the anti-

Post-71 103 colonial sentiment during the British period. This nationalism evolved into a more specific ‘Bengali’ identity after the partition of Bengal in 1905. With the end of 200 years of British colonialism, at midnight of 14 August 1947, the subcontinent was partitioned to create the two nations of India and Pakistan.2 This division was based on a random geographic line that created two countries based on religion, oblivious to cultural and social associations. Therefore, the Indian subcontinent was separated by apparent whim into Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan, fawning more insidious forms of nationalism in both the newly birthed nations. However, Pakistan also had two parts separated by a thousand miles of Indian territory – East Pakistan (today’s Bangladesh) and West Pakistan. These two parts were geographically separated and had more differences than commonalities, but they were expected to live as one nation. The very name ‘East Pakistan’ suggests a disjuncture; it was in a step-relationship with West Pakistan. East Pakistan eventually became a Pakistani colony. As Muslims, the people of East and West Pakistan had strong religious commonalities, yet friction developed between East Pakistan and West Pakistan due to racial, cultural, and, more importantly, linguistic differences. The Bengali language is the core of the Bengali identity. It has its roots in Sanskrit, making it different from Pakistan’s national language, Urdu, which has Arabic and Persian roots. Pakistan’s culture is also distinct from Bengal’s pluralist culture. Bengal’s cultural rituals clearly show Hindu-Buddhist influences. Bangladesh’s deep-rooted pluralistic past was much influenced by other cultural elements like Hinduism, baul culture (a branch of Sufism), and Bengali and Brahma philosophy.3 These characteristics pose a contrast to Pakistan’s comparatively more orthodox Islamic culture. East Pakistan deviated from the mechanics of orthodox Islam. Therefore, despite religious parallels, the first public resistance began in 1952 (the language movement) based on variances. The earliest assault on Bengali culture by the Pakistani regime was the establishment of Urdu as the state language. In 1952, the language movement against state-imposed Urdu was the preliminary but major episode of political unrest, resulting in mass killing in East Pakistan. Later, West Pakistan’s cultural colonisation expanded, reaching the point when Tagore songs and dance practices were banned.4 Thus, the new imposition of religious and cultural rules under one Islamic government created antagonism rather than the anticipated unity. Subversion, violation, and differences in ethnic values exacerbated the tension between East and West Pakistan, which prevailed for the next 24 years. In 1971, West Pakistan rejected the democratic election result by which Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (today called the father of Bangladesh) won the majority of the combined Pakistani vote. When this election result was rejected, a government was formed from West Pakistan. That decision caused a massive uproar in East Pakistan. East Pakistan’s ‘Bengalis’ sought freedom, and thus began the war for independence. It was a bloody war. ‘Kill three million of them,’ said President Yahya Khan at the February conference of the generals, then adding, ‘The rest will eat out

104 Post-71 of our hand’ (Payne 1973: 50–55). During this long, excruciating, nine-month liberation war, the Pakistani Army and local collaborators (razakaars) killed thousands of civilians including women and children. Millions of women were raped and violated; the number varies between from 3 and 9 million.5 It was the worst genocide of the post-World War II era. The imprecision of numbers does not mean much. The West Pakistani regime would be guilty, and the impact of pain and loss would be the same, even if the number were a million more or a million less. It was an organised slaughter of people from all walks of life and the attempted annihilation of a culture. Having lost the war, the Pakistani army in Bangladesh tried to obliterate the very core and soul of an emerging nation by killing its finest citizens. Many innocent civilians were blindfolded and taken to concentration camps. Some survived the agony, and some did not. On the 14 December, just two days before the independence of Bangladesh, teachers, professors, doctors, engineers, intellectuals, and other professionals were rounded up from their homes, taken to Rayer Bazaar area in Mirpur, a part of capital Dhaka, and abruptly executed (Nabī and Nabī 2010: 414). Historian Nurun Nabi writes, ‘Pakistani soldiers continued firing like hunters taking potshots at birds in a cage.… Those who ran and jumped into the river were shot like fish in a barrel’ (Nabī and Nabī 2010: 418). Eyewitnesses reported seeing ‘bodies of lifeless children slung over the laps of their dead mothers, women who clung to the bodies of their beloved husbands before both being shot dead, and hopeless fathers who used their bodies to shield their daughters from inevitable fate’ (Nabī and Nabī 2010: 429). A delegate from the World Bank, Hendric Van Der Heijden, says about a small town, ‘It was like a morning after a nuclear bomb’ (Nabī and Nabī 2010: 419). U.S. Senator Adlai Stevenson, a leader of the U.S. Democratic Party, visited the mass graves and stated in 1972, ‘I was horrified at the brutality of the Pakistani forces. In the annals of history, there is nothing to parallel this genocide. Their inhumanity boggles the mind’ (Nabī and Nabī 2010: 419). They planned it so systematically that they did not want any witnesses to the massacre, and therefore foreign journalists were sent back home (Rai 2013: 11). That reality has endowed the photographic evidences that exist today with greater weight. Moreover, rather than being an amicable resolution, the birth of Bangladesh was blood-stained, which was the core characteristic that eventually created nationalist feelings almost to the point of epigenetics. Lablu was one of the millions of victims of this civil war. Today, only images and voices can provide us with imaginations of the war and therefore can re-establish the core of the Bangladeshi nation-state. Almost 48 years after the civil war, Bangladesh celebrates its Victory Day and Independence Day with images, songs, and shared anecdotes from the war. Therefore, this chapter argues that the photographs of ’71 are artifacts that essentially germinated the post-71 nationalism of Bangladesh and developed a nationalist culture and ideology which by default is in a perpetual dynamic process of creating and re-creating the several forms of nationalism that are evident in the country today.

Post-71 105 Collective memory and questions of nationalism are not shaped in a vacuum. The common nationalist sentiments – i.e. the strong desire to retain Bengali cultural values, the struggle for sovereignty, resistance to violations and violence, and general anger – were at the core of pre-71 Bangladeshi nationalism. It was a case of racial, cultural, and national melancholia that was essentially the driving force for creating an autonomous national body. The strong collective angst was instrumental in the unification and building of a collective promise for a free Bangladesh and subsequently produced the core of the nationalism which led to the creation of the modern nation. Since then, Bangladesh’s nationalist ethos has been built and perpetuated with higher intensity by dint of memorabilia, including photographs. The generations following ’71 only see the country’s history through images. As British-Czech philosopher and social anthropologist Ernest André Gellner states, ‘Nationalism as a sentiment, or as a movement, can best be defined in terms of this principle. Nationalist sentiment is the feeling of anger aroused by violation of the principle, of the feeling of satisfaction aroused by fulfilments’ (Gellner 1983: 1). A nationalist movement is one that, actuated by this aggression and violation, consequently creates anger and arouses nationalist sentiment. Unequivocally, in this case, West Pakistan’s violent acts gave rise to the collective sentiment, feeling, and melancholia. Deeply ingrained in that feeling is violence – directly, for those who witnessed it and suffered – and these feelings are carried through time by images. This political paradigm is comparable to the Armenian genocide (1915–1917), the Jewish Holocaust (1933–1945), and the more recent and ongoing Rohingya crisis, which are examples of ethnic cleansing. But, then again, there are now millions who belong to the post-71 generation or expatriate Bangladeshis who were not in East Pakistan during the war and could not experience this genocide and torture first-hand. Like Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, people of the generations born after midnight of 16 December 1971 bear a burden of history, and they perhaps live on reminiscences and myths of war. The post-memory generation lives with narratives of experiences which are often traumatic despite having preceded their birth. For the post-71 generations, who have no direct contact with this horrific past, the history has been transmitted effectively, via stories, images, and other mediated forms of contact. In Ananya Kabir’s words, it is ‘the selfconscious telling of those stories, to the processes of re-memorialisation’ (Kabir 2017). According to Kabir, this is also a pattern of strategic and extrapolated methods of remembering and forgetting, which is foundational for nation building. Kabir invoked the term post-amnesia, a strategic and selective method of forgetting based on Marianne Hirsch’s influential concept of postmemory, founded on the transmission of collective trauma across several generations of Holocaust survivors. Similarly, the post-71 generations create their national identities by remembering and re-enacting the trauma of ’71. Among the mediated forms, photography is probably the most effective one, carrying its power of visuality and also addressing the illiterate masses, freeing them from having to read.

106 Post-71 The liberation war photographs bear the responsibility of retaining and epigenetically passing along the atrocious ’71 moments. They have become the potent and didactic agency to carry the nationalist feelings and hence reconstruct collective memory to the new generations. This evades post-amnesia, which, as Kabir writes, ‘conveys the transmission of trauma through intergenerational forgetting’ (Kabir 2017). This constructed memory is variable and amorphous. In Rushdie’s words, ‘Memory is truth, because memory has its own special kind. It selects, eliminates, alters, exaggerates, minimises, glorifies, and vilifies also; but in the end it creates its own reality, its heterogeneous but usually coherent version of events; and no sane human being ever trusts someone else’s version more than his own’ (Rushdie 1981: 66). With that, photography emerges as the prime, if not the sole, carrier of history and, therefore, carrier of memory. It faces the risks and is responsible for what Rushdie mentions: selection, elimination, alteration, exaggeration, minimization, glorification, vilification, and creation of pseudo-reality. Among the copious photographs that record the atrocities of ’71, it is indiscernible which photograph(s) is uniquely playing the role in creating a neonationalist sentiment. Some photographs have become iconic and, therefore, symbolic of the period. Some remain as supportive material, indexical by their very genesis. Not much research exists on the war photographs of 1971. Many of the images remain unclaimed and the photographers remain unknown. Their qualities are yet to be specified to any precise genre or taxonomy. That also implies how this opens up opportunities for the falsity of images and hence of viewers’ reception. Therefore, they have their part in creating and perpetuating nationalism.

Ambivalence in photography Photographs are by their very essence an ambivalent, bipolar performative medium that bears the burden of transferring history. Photographs, like grandparents, are conduits that make memory come alive. They draw affective associations between readers and a past they did not experience. Amid myriad ambivalences and oppositions – like truth and contrivance, past and present, death and life – a vivid depiction of the feeling and sentiment of war through emotionally intense photographs creates simulacra and recreates the memory of the liberation war. American writer Susan Sontag says, ‘Photographs of atrocity may give rise to opposing responses. A call for peace. A cry for revenge. Or simple bemused awareness, continually restacked by photographic information, that terrible things happen’ (Sontag 2003: 13). With much that has been written and copious photographs that were shot capturing the atrocity as well as of the victorious moments of the war, Bangladesh dwells in the words and visions of that vicious time. Therefore, texts and photographs are the most efficient medium that vividly captured the moments of atrocity and, today, attest to the history of ’71. They create a context spatially, temporally, spiritually, and sensually removed and alienated

Post-71 107 from the audience. This recreated context vacillates between veracity and vilification, reality and myth. Thousands of photographs of ’71 have their own words, and they speak. They give us a vivid image of wartime Bangladesh, put us in that horrifying context, and thus create simulacra. Etymologically, the word context comes from the Latin word contextus or ‘joining together,’ where con refers to ‘together’ and texture is ‘to weave’.6 The duality of image and text thus weaves East Pakistan’s history. But, in accessibility, production, and reproduction, photographs transcend texts and words and say what words failed to say or perhaps have ceased to say. Hirsch writes, ‘Postmemory seeks connection. It creates where it cannot recover. It imagines where it cannot recall’ (Hirsch 1996: 664). For Hirsch, photographs are a key medium of postmemory. On the one hand, they hold both an indexical and iconic relationship with the object, place, or person they depict: viewers can ‘see and touch the past’ (Hirsch 2008: 115), are drawn bodily to the material via acts of looking, seeing, and understanding. Photographs ‘open a window to the past … materialising the viewer’s relationship to it’ (Hirsch 2008: 117). Photographs have a ‘shock’ effect too, expressing more than the dialectic description of the text. Photographs in post-71 Bangladesh made visible documents that could be read or felt to a level that one could position oneself in that time. That established the role of feeling photography. After all, in Bangladesh, with its literacy rate of between 50–65 percent, barely half of the population can reach a level of literacy adequate to rely on written texts to evoke the nationalist core. In addition, compared to the loss and magnitude of the massacre, a very insignificant proportion of written material is available. Photographic theorist Ariella Azoulay writes: Photography is much more than what is printed on photographic paper, turning any event into a picture. The photograph bears the seal of the photographic event itself, and reconstructing this event requires more than just identifying what is shown on paper. One should stop looking at the paper and start watching it. The verb ‘to watch’ is usually used for regarding phenomena or moving pictures. It entails dimensions of time and movement that need to be re-inscribed in the interpretation of the still photographic image. (Azoulay 2008: 14) These powerful images of civil war – violence of the two Pakistans – are well equipped in conveying the nationalist sentiment on both sides. Consequently, they pass that nationalism along to present and future generations as an umbilical cord of the same mother nation. Susan Sontag eloquently says, ‘Photography has the unappealing reputation of being the most realistic, therefore facile, of the mimetic arts’ (Sontag 1990: 51). It is important to observe that photographs, as two-dimensional fragments and as incomplete texts, are limited by their frames. They authorise a room for ‘narrative elaboration’ and the work of the imaginative creation that allows individuals to

108 Post-71 formulate an affective connection to the past that the pictures present. ‘When the subject of the photograph is a person who has suffered some form of injury, a viewing of the photograph that reconstructed the photographic situation and allows a reading of the injury inflicted on others becomes a civic skill, not an exercise in aesthetic appreciation’ (Azoulay 2008: 14). Returning to my reference to Lablu’s photograph, I would therefore argue that this photograph in conjunction with violent war images only makes us think and imagine Lablu to be a victim of gruesome aggression. Azoulay employs the term ‘contract’ in order to use terms such as ‘empathy,’ ‘shame,’ ‘pity’, or ‘compassion’ as organisers of gaze (Azoulay 2008: 15). These words express different feelings that Lablu’s photograph perpetuates as well. Hence, photographs have the embedded quality of ‘feeling’ that defines and testifies the brutality of ’71 and anchors nationalism with an offering of spectatorship to those who haven’t been there and yet are not stopped from being there and imbibing the nationalist sentiment. This, therefore, reduces the likelihood and probable processes of ‘forgetting’ and, consequently, a drifting of nationalism. It, therefore, also creates a continuity of the nationalist culture. Sontag claims, ‘Sentiment is more likely to crystallise around a photograph than a verbal slogan’ (Sontag 2003: 85). In the same line, Barthes mentions, ‘Photography is our contingency and can be nothing else, contrary to text, which by the sudden action of a single word, can shift a sentence from description to reflection – it immediately yields up those details which constitute the very raw material of ethnological knowledge’ (Barthes and Howard 1987: 28).

Oppositions Personal versus collective Looking back at the story of Lablu, as his brother tells us, ‘My eldest brother, Syed Shamsul Alam (Lablu). He stood first in East Pakistan Education board in his HSC exam.’ These words and the mere passport-sized photograph of Lablu does not say much about the war. They bring forth a different, perhaps a commonplace, nonchalant spectatorship. This is simply a frontal image that can essentially attribute limited information intended for a wallet or a family album. In the context of ’71, Lablu now stays inert in the frame. He is someone’s son, someone’s brother, and someone’s beloved. His living photograph is essentially feelingless to us; it is demi-volition of polite interest. At this point, his image is more valuable to his family and loved ones than to any outside viewer. However, once we read the newspaper cutting, we immediately receive his identity as an interchangeable martyr from the ’71 genre. We see the photograph as a symbol of Muktijudhho (Liberation War). He no longer belongs solely to his family but is beyond the threshold of private realm and private lives. The image and he (Lablu) become public. At this juncture, Barthes’s two elements, studium (the word studium in Latin means ‘application to a thing’, taste for someone and of general, without

Post-71 109 specificity) and punctum (devises the effect of feeling), can be brought in for analogy (Barthes 1981: 26). Here, the war photographs of ’71 represent studium, where photographer and spectator both spontaneously act within the realm. Barthes calls studium ‘a kind of education. It is a kind of civility, politeness that allows discovery of the operator.’ (Barthes 1981: 28) A studium is the element that generates curiosity in a photographic image. It shows the intention of the photographer, but we experience this photographic intention in reverse as spectators; the photographer thinks of the idea, then presents it photographically. The spectator, then, is expected to act in response in a reverse way. A photograph leaves it to the interpretation of the spectator to fathom the connotated ideas and intentions. Barthes’s second element, punctum is an element that would break and punctuate the studium (Barthes 1981: 26). Punctum points to and specifies. Punctum is associated with a personal sentiment and emotion. Even though the subject itself is sometimes absent, images often relate to the absence as well; absence becomes the presence. For example, any death in ’71 would be a reminder of a loss to a family who lost someone. Punctum can and usually does exist together with studium. But punctum disturbs it; it creates an ‘element’ and perhaps a feeling that rises from the scene. It is involuntary. Punctum extemporaneously pokes us and fills the photograph with feeling. This is a variable feeling; it changes from person to person and differs from one cultural entity to the other. Punctum is the changeable factor that appeals to one. It is what entices one to an image. As Barthes further writes, ‘I feel that its mere presence changes my reading, that I am looking at a new photograph, marked in my eyes with a higher value. This “detail” is the punctum’ (Barthes 1977: 42). Hence, a photograph becomes a unique visual text that is dependent on its reader. Photographs taken in wartime are powerful with embodied feelings, indexicality, and apparatus that trigger emotion in the viewer and go beyond the time of war. ‘The photograph means nothing. It communicates only “that has been”; unless it becomes a mask, an abstraction greater than particular subject, a type divorced from an individual, a culturally translated symbol’ (Barthes 1977: 43). Hence, the portraiture of Lablu no longer remains to the subject as it denoted in the beginning, a precious Lablu to his family and friends. His image is no longer retained only in the personal realm and the two-dimensional frame of the known. It becomes a symbol, a code, a message that now belongs to the genre of war images. His image would unswervingly stir emotion in his family, which established a punctum. It becomes a collective property, stirring common and public feelings, allowing individuals to understand and connect with the experience of the other. This brings relation and establishes the specificity of Barthes’s punctum versus national punctum, where the national or collective punctum only signifies the pain of the brutality. In this way, a Lablu is both a singular and collective icon at the same time. This analogy also brings another scale of viewing criterion: inside and outside. For Bengali nationals, the importance of a Lablu would be much more than an outsider who is not of Bengali origin. Hence, there lies another form of

110 Post-71 paradox: this national punctum is only for those who adhere to the Bengali identity, which might be different or more resonant for Bengalis and Bangladeshis, but also bears resemblances to other atrocities occurring elsewhere and of other hues of nationalism. Past versus present Somehow, in these omnipresent images, which are spaces of transference in themselves, there is another type of spatial duality. Firstly, they were taken in the past and hence are firmly rooted in the past. At the same time, by bridging past and present, they also give us a vivid understanding of the environment and landscape of ’71. At the same time, these commonplace images have a shock value, particularly for the viewers today, those belonging to the post-71 generation who dwell in the present. Thus, the ’71 photographs connect the past, the present, and eventually the future. Photographs often engage individuals in a forceful, experiential way through visceral, personal means that draw individuals in. With ambivalences, meanings, and feelings, images portray a genocide, but, with their enigmatic quality, they do not tell us anything about the identity of the dead, the process of their killing, or the killers. This polarity of muddy indexicality leaves the viewers, and in this case the post-71 generation, to mere speculation. Sontag writes, ‘Image shock and image as cliché are two aspects of the same presence’ (Sontag 2003: 23). The performance of these war images changes their value in accordance with the time and place at which they are seen. As we continue to look at the repetition of the massacre, our capacity for sensation dissolves and their shock effect diminishes. The images become just another death. Our bodies become impenetrable and shield themselves to the feeling, and the photographs fail at their purpose. Therefore, Barthes’s punctum of the war images is variable, pertaining to a limit of time and value that may be difficult to define. A reproduction of the images carries the risk of making the viewer desensitised. Sometimes constant streaming and non-stop imagery devalue the deeper pain of the war. In Sontag’s words, ‘In an era of information overload, the photograph provides a quick way of apprehending something and a compact form for memorizing it’ (Sontag 2003:18). Shock is reduced and novelty goes away; the photographs of death become a commodity, to which museums and galleries may contribute. Hence, as much as the photograph itself, the value of the archive wherein it is kept also becomes unsettled. Pride versus melancholia These war images are also bipolar in their very effect. In the post-war condition, these images denote an implicit victory and happiness as much as they have a melancholic aura. Therefore, the punctum effect works in time and space. Its meaning is not fixed but dependent on the time and sociocultural

Post-71 111 position of the viewer. Hence, this connotation significantly transports its meaning from the time it was initially taken to the time it is seen. Essentially, this connects the past to the present. The history of Bangladesh, like all histories, was born on an urgent basis, based on the trauma of 1971. Essentially, today’s Bangladeshi nationalism relies heavily on the melancholia of 1971. Freud contends that melancholia is one of the most difficult of psychic conditions both to confront and to cure, as it is largely an unconscious process, ‘that in a group every sentiment and act is contagious and contagious to such a degree that an individual readily sacrifices his personal interest to the collective interest’ (Freud 1955: 33). Hence, the formation of today’s melancholia and, therefore, nationalism and neo-patriotism is part of a collective melancholia wherein individual citizens sacrifice their personal sentiment and ego. This sentiment can be an affect as well as an effect of the visual culture, which is essentially carried by the photography of atrocities. Photographs allow mimicry in material space; therefore, they also construct a system of nationalistic mimicry. Therefore, melancholia passed through photographs becomes a consistent phenomenon of nationalism and the visual culture of Bangladesh. Singular vs. collective, homogeneous vs. heterogeneous, visibility vs. invisibility In line with the discussion of production of nationalism, images are removed from the moment and now presented to the post-71 generation with new meanings. While living, Lablu probably took the picture in some local studio. His death changed its meaning. Moreover, if we try to see even more deeply, this image doesn’t give us any meaning till it is associated with the text and other atrocious images. Here the atrocious images of mass death are a crucial apparatus in explicitly and implicitly relating the death of the singular Lablu to a mass of corpses. Every dead civilian and every skeleton and skull of an unknown becomes a person who belongs as a part of the ‘imagined community’ of New Bangladesh. Viewing Lablu’s photo, though he is absent from the atrocious pictures, we start presuming that he is one of them. However, this also situates the images in a shifting relationship of homogeneity with a heterogeneous mass. It almost dissolves the minor details and defines or indicates a specific nationality as ‘one’. Here ‘one’ pertains to ‘one’ of East Bengal, that is, the deceased were pro-liberation East Pakistanis. A nationalistic conception spontaneously spurs with a collective solidarity. These images of dead civilians have a quickened feeling of hatred towards the foe, stereotyping the killers to be Pakistani. Consequently, it instantly develops an image of a demonic figure of a heavy man with a moustache and boots juxtaposed with an alternative imagery of victimised Bangladeshis, creating a stereotyping in-process. These feelings are propagated in different measures, depending on how and in what context the image is shown. With varying perception and imagination, the objects of photographs hence become perpetrators of feelings and sentiment. Hence, by default they become part of the two different ‘imagined

112 Post-71 communities’ that Benedict Anderson articulates in his influential book Imagined Communities. As Anderson notes, ‘Nationality, or, as one might prefer to put it in view of that word’s multiple significations, nation-ness, as well as nationalism, are cultural artifacts of a particular kind’ (Anderson 1983: 13). Therefore, photographs have the power to make the invisible visible and the unnoticed noticed. These give rise to the idea of visibility and invisibility. The photographs (Figures 6.3 and 6.4) of known-unknown people all become present as one. While photographs are very physical, they also have invisible agendas. Here, this homogeneity brings the danger of losing the value of individual images, but then again as a part of war photography they create a genre that impacts the collective acceptance which essentially carries another form of risk, one of generalisation. That is, these war images are also just another image of ‘a’ war. The importance of the liberation war that is of much significance to

Figure 6.3 Image of a dead body (unidentified) from 1971 Civil War of Pakistan. Source: Rashid Talukder, Drik Picture Library Ltd. Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Figure 6.4 Unidentified body from 1971 Civil War of Pakistan. Source: Rashid Talukder, Drik Picture Library Ltd. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bengalis or Bangladeshis dissolves to any generic war. A photograph’s only hope relies on some signs – ethnic symbols like clothes or landscape that would only uniquely resemble Bangladesh. Hence, again comes the dichotomy of outsider and insider. An insider, by his or her intuitiveness and ethnic connection, would surely realise the significance of the event, which will remain foreign to an outsider.

Ambivalence and the role of photographic archives: how does a discussion based on one picture represent photographic archives at large? Photographs and photographic archives have always been ambivalent. The history of war photography on the subcontinent goes back to 1857, with the images of India’s uprising against the British that were shot by Felice Beato. Later, it was images from the partition of the subcontinent and the departure of the British in 1947. Nineteen seventy-one comes next in the trajectory. Today, after almost 45 years, there have been huge initiatives and sudden spurs to create large-scale museums to commemorate independence. There has been a tremendous interest in ‘representing the past’ through preservation and

114 Post-71

Figure 6.5 Children at the Museum of Independence, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Source: Farzana Mir (personal collection)

presentation of photographs and material artifacts – either in their original settings or in the museums and exhibitions that house them (Figures 6.5 and 6.6). It is undeniably problematic that, by being displayed in the recently built Museum of Independence, Muktijuddho Jadughar (The Liberation War Museum, Dhaka), galleries, and archives, the liberation war photographs are used as visual apparatuses of larger political propaganda. Yet, it is also unquestionable that the photos today act as the unification tool, inducing nationalistic sentiment rooted in the liberation war. In fact, the location of these archives is decisively on the historical sites and cultural corridors, which shows the deliberation of making permanent imprints on people’s memories. In the Museum of Independence, located on the historic Swarwardi Uddyan park, the gallery displays a wide range of photographs that include historical images, freedom fighters, independence movement leaders, and gruesome images of the dead as well as newspaper clippings. This affirms the deployment of political mechanisation to ensure, enroot, and establish the political lineage of the current government, the Awami League, through photographs. Hence, it is a framing of a nationalist view and subtle mechanisation against forgetting. These are destined and programmed to be national pilgrimage sites, particularly during Independence Day celebrations on 26 March and Victory Day, 16 December, invested with nationalist fervour and memory. These are the days

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Figure 6.6 The exhibits inside the Museum of Independence, Dhaka. Source: Farzana Mir (personal collection)

and venues of performing and expressing the Bangladeshi nationalist simulacra. However, this new imposition of a landscape of museums and galleries to shape certain feelings is not isolated. The establishment of Holocaust museums in Berlin, Washington D.C., and Auschwitz and the newly inaugurated Partition museum at Amritsar are also in line with a similar purpose and discourse, though appearing at first glance as a mere curatorial work. The displayed photographs are not a mono-logic framework. With multiplicity, they create dialogue between the newer generation and the history and space depicted in the confined frame of the photographs. These are often silent and silenced spaces, memorialised and mummified to what once was. They show traces of the absent past that persist, speak, and can still be accessed in a language and imagination of the present viewers. Photographs make memory come alive. They draw effective connections between readers and a past they did not experience. In this way, this lost past – and the lost kin are so integrally a part of this past – is rediscovered and actively remembered, these memories re-embodied by readers, so that they can become incorporated into, but also expand and complicate, contemporary cultural and collective memory and national identity. Through these strategic means a person is compelled to feel a profound connection to an event that, though transferred through some kind of mediated

116 Post-71 representation, becomes a part of him or her. Individuals assume memories of a past not their own, their very selves reshaped and transformed. Such memories can, therefore, have important ethical and political repercussions as they work across time and space, across the boundaries of group identities. This allows individuals to understand and connect with the experience of the other, therefore, converging in the formation of ‘imagined communities’. From the construction of a collective memory, conceptions of national identity are reintegrated, are reincorporated, and regain visibility. This systematisation confirms Michel Foucault’s definition of archives as both the system and organising law that counters the endless and meaningless accumulation of material remains as well as governs the appearance. It is a way of monumentalising individual political parties using the liberation war as a tool and the images as political apparatus. In another way, using images of war to instigate neo-nationalist feelings also has the potential to instigate the fear of resistance. Hence, the recent museums come to be controversial and potent as tools of political publicity. This essentially defines and expands the landscape of nationalism as well. Looking from the other side of the glass, this tool of affirmation and establishment, to our fear, also hints on the fragility and temporality of photographs, which really need these institutions to sustain them. This affirms the dependent nature of photographs. Just like most of the recent large-scale monuments such as the 9/11 monument in New York, the Vietnam memorial in Washington D.C., and the Jewish Cemetery as well as the Jewish Museum in Berlin, these museums that are forms of memorialisation and monumentalisation are clearly also forms of visual and memory prosthetics with perpetual ambivalence. A passive photo of Lablu and his body as well as the images of massacre all become part of an archive, framed and focused under spotlights, unmistakably directing our vision. With this form of exhibition, these photographs create a relationship with viewers, particularly with those who have not seen or experienced the ’71 war first hand. This also emblematises the photographic transformation of private subjects into public objects, personal archive to public archive. A Lablu is no longer a private individual, but a public symbol of national loss, in fact becoming a national asset.

Conclusion All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s ‘relentless melt’ (Sontag 1990: 15). Nation building often relies for its meaning on making forms and symbolic practices (Boswell and Evans 1999: 2). The body and image of Lablu, here, essentially becomes a cultural body, an element embodying visual signs and hidden narratives of the Bangladeshi nationalistic landscape. It becomes a national object if not an artifact. The war photographs and their archival

Post-71 117 paradoxes with recurrent usage become a ritual and a commodity. The absent generation cannot be a first-hand witness but relies upon a generation that had the immediate experience and consequently passes this personal memory to the collective: future generations. Hence, photographs essentially become a nationbuilding tool, passed on to the future generations like genetic transmission. The war photographs create an artificial memory for the post-71 generations and beyond. In Marx’s words, ‘The forming of the five senses is a labour of the entire history of the world down to the present’ (Marx 1844). The proliferated use of war images becomes part of the visual culture that perpetuated a nationalist movement. This movement is neither isolated nor generic. It is semi-spontaneous and semi-political. The value and meaning of war live through the photographs. With the millions of dead souls, Bangladeshi nationalism relies on the ghostly spirit that dwells in the frames of the war of ’71. However, the past of Bangladesh is much more complex than binaries of Pakistan and Bangladesh, the framed demon versus the good. Perhaps a multiethnic, multicultural, and multidirectional positioning and orientation might help in getting a holistic image of East Pakistan and the formation of Bangladesh. Lablu, here, is my father’s younger brother, who left our home after lunch and never returned.

Notes 1 In Bengali/Bangla, Razakaar is local dialect for ‘traitors’. 2 Bengali and Brahma philosophy: a part of the eastern region of India and Bangladesh together is called Bengal. The people in Bengal speak a common language, Bangla/ Bengali, formed from Sanskrit roots. Bengali also means the people who speak Bangla. Prior to Bengal’s division in 1905, it was one region of the Indian subcontinent sharing a common language and culture. After this division, East Bengal became Bangladesh and part of the region was called West Bengal, which today falls in India. 3 Brahma Dharma is a book on Bengali philosophy written and instigated By Rabindranath Tagore’s father, Debendranath Tagore, in 1848. 4 Rabindranath Tagore was the first Nobel Laureate from South Asia. He is considered one of the leaders of the nationalist movement, and since the nineteenth century Tagore’s work (music, dance, literature, and spirit) has been an inherent part of Bengali Culture. His ideology, also called ‘Tagorism’, is akin to universalism and far from any orthodox belief. 5 The number differs in different sources. Anusheh Hossain, ‘1971 Rapes: Bangladesh Cannot Hide History’, The Daily Star, 15 November 2013. https://www.thedailystar. net/freedom-in-the-air/stories/58445. 6

References Anderson, Benedict. 1983. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso. Azoulay, Ariella. 2008. The Civil Contract. New York: Zone Books. Barthes, Roland. 1977. Elements of Semiology. London: Macmillan.

118 Post-71 Barthes, Roland. 1981. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. New York: Macmillan. Barthes, Roland and Richard Howard. 1987. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. New York: Hill and Wang. Daily Ittefaq. 1971. ‘A Group of Slaughterers Slay a Sparkling Life’, from the personal collection of Igloo Nazmul, trans. by the author, from Bangla newspaper The Daily Ittefaq. Freud, Sigmund. 1955. ‘Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego’, in James Strachey (ed.), Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, p. 33. Oxford: Macmillan. Freud, Sigmund. 1917. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. London: Hogarth Press. Gellner, Ernest. 1983. Nations and Nationalism. Oxford: Blackwell. Ghosh, Amitav. 2005. The Shadow Lines. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Herr, Michael. 1977. Dispatches. New York: Knopf. Hirsch, Marianne. 1996. ‘Past Lives: Postmemories in Exile’, Poetics Today, 17(4): 659–686. Hirsch, Marianne. 2008. ‘The Generation of Postmemory’, Poetics Today, 29(1): 659–686. Marx, Karl. 1844. ‘The Communist Manifesto’, in Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (eds), The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and the Communist Manifesto. Amherst: Prometheus Books. Nabī, Nūruna, and Mūsh Nabī. 2010. Bullets of ’71: A Freedom Fighters Story. Trans. Shahtiya Prakash. Dhaka: Shahitya Prakash. Payne, Robert. 1973. Massacre: The Tragedy of Bangladesh and the Phenomenon. of Mass Slaughter throughout History. New York: Macmillan. Rai, Raghu. 2013. Bangladesh: The Price of Freedom. New Delhi: Niyogi Books. Rushdie, Salman. 1981. Midnight’s Children: A Novel. London: Penguin Random House. Sontag, Susan. 1990. On Photography. New York: Anchor. Sontag, Susan. 2003. Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Macmillan. Woolf, Virginia. 1938. Three Guineas. San Diego: Harvest/HBJ.

Web sources Boswell, David and Jessica Evans. 1999. ‘Representing the Nation: A Reader: Histories, Heritage and Museums’, Imran Channa, view%20Dawn%2011%20aug%2020 (accessed on 22 June 2019). Hossain, Anusheh. 2013. ‘1971 Rapes: Bangladesh Cannot Hide History’, The Daily Star, (accessed on 22 June 2019). Kabir, Ananya Jahanara. 2017. ‘From Postmemory to Post Amnesia’, The Daily Star, http s:// (accessed on 22 June 2019).


Speaking soon after catastrophe The Partition art of Satish Gujral and S. L. Parasher as record, testimony, trauma Shruti Parthasarathy1

My friends, who died in the hope that I would sing of their sorrow Were I to remain silent, were I to say nothing, they will wander forever like (lost) souls Surjit Patar, Hanera Jarega Kivey2

As a moment of cataclysmic loss, upheaval, and violence, the subcontinental Partition has been an event of widespread trauma that has remained buried in silence for decades. Aside from some early responses of historiographical scholarship, indirect references in mainstream cinema, and literary writings, the first substantial expressions of Partition’s experience did not (as perhaps could not) emerge until as late as the 1980s, at a distance of 40 years. These took the form of novels, television serials, and oral history work recovering personal testimonies, and scholarly attention on Partition has consolidated in subsequent decades.3 Subcontinental visual art in response to Partition also emerged along the same timeline, around the 1970s and 1980s by some noted artists4 (and continued to the present); however, a small number of artists did respond in the immediate wake. Of this mostly meagre and scattered output, the work of two artists stands out for the temporal immediacy, sheer scope, quality, and intensity of engagement – Satish Gujral (1925–2020) and S. L. Parasher (1904–1990); the former’s ‘Partition art’ well known and the latter’s coming to light a little over a decade ago. Gujral was a young artist starting out in Lahore, and Parasher an established one, when Partition uprooted and repatriated them to what came to be Indian Punjab. In wholly dissimilar circumstances, each created art vitally informed by his Partition experience. Through a comprehensive engagement with these works, this chapter seeks to posit Gujral and Parasher’s art variously – as vital record, as testimony of Partition, bearing witness in a political-personal act, and as trauma. It will examine their art as mapping trauma, against the prevalent tropes of trauma theory, particularly, ‘unspeakability’ in trauma’s immediate aftermath as first posited by Cathy Caruth (1996) in Unclaimed Experience and Trauma. Reading the art of the two artists as instructive instances of just such an ‘immediate’ response, this chapter interrogates the theory from the perspective of ‘affect’ – reflecting on if, and how, DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655-10

120 Speaking soon after catastrophe affective-subjective responses as art can articulate and address trauma where speech is rendered impossible.

Satish Gujral: ‘The Dark is Light Enough’5 Satish Gujral has been a noted voice on Partition, gaining distinction as the first artist to have addressed it significantly (exhibiting as early as 1952), richly evoking its sensorium. ‘Witnessing’ is central to the art created by the two survivor-artists, given its temporal immediacy to Partition. Gujral echoed the criticality of this aspect in an interview with this writer, beginning his Partition account with the Hindi saying: Poocho jalne ki toh jaane wahi jis tan laage ‘Ask of burning and only the one whose body is scorched, knows’ Gujral was at his fledgling graphics studio in Lahore in August 1947 when Partition was announced. Assisting his politician father with the evacuation of refugees in highly volatile circumstances, his leaving became a long-drawn-out affair. Added to this was the complexity of his personal circumstances – early restricted mobility in his legs from osteomyelitis, followed by the permanent loss of hearing in childhood which he has written of as an ‘entombment’. Art offered an escape, enrolling at Lahore’s famed Mayo School of Arts, where he met vice principal and mentor, S. L. Parasher. Remaining in newly formed Pakistan for eight months, Gujral was an eyewitness to the horrific violence and brutality attending partition in Punjab, of which he wrote a moving account, indicting too the collective complicit silence and numbed apathy of those that lived through it (Gujral 1997: 71–87).6

Partition paintings: 1948–61 In Simla in 1948, the first of Satish Gujral’s artistic responses to Partition emerged – their iconic, arresting imagery a haunting lament. Gujral’s Partition work has been predominantly discussed as limited to these early years, with effects traced to his Mexico stay (1952–54) and lasting till c.1956. Instead, I offer that it constitutes a continuous, extensive exploration spread over the years from 1948– 61 constituting multiple phases. This (necessarily brief) study presents the first-ever examination of this entirety of Gujral’s Partition oeuvre as an over-a-decade-long evolving continuum of artistic response, instructive in its pictorial and stylistic range and to the development of his art.7 Unconsciously charting its effects on the artist, this evolving art also maps him as Partition’s subject-witness. 1948–51: voicing the pain Gujral’s earliest response was a set of two large drawings in oil pencil in 1948: Mourning en Masset as indicated in Figure 7.1 below.

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Figure 7.1 Mourning en Masse, oil pencil on paper, 1948. Source: Satish Gujral/Gujral family

To date, his best-known Partition works are Mourning en Masse and Days of Glory. 8 Compact and powerful, Mourning iconises Partition’s trauma in its image of a large Punjabi matron in a salwar-kameez convulsed with grief, her mouth contorted in a wail. Her voluminous wrap envelops her in a great swirling motion and drapes over her head. Behind her sit women in identical poses shrouded in black, dark veils pulled low, their faces contorted in grief. In Gujral’s imagery, they are universal mothers, mourning not just their kin but all of Punjab torn by the uprooting, killings, the inhumanity, and overnight mass destitution. The deeply lined faces, the rounded, distended flesh soft with age and grief, wear an open, poignant sorrow.

122 Speaking soon after catastrophe Formally, there is great movement in the picture through the undulating line and a self-conscious visual rhythm created through the multiplying of the main woman’s rounded head, padded hands, and gestures by those seated behind. The effect is powerful, amplifying and manifold the grief. And yet, the monumental, gravid forms hold the picture in great stillness. The veils obscure the otherwise revealing eyes, baring only the bulbous, fleshy nose and mouth twisted in a near audible wail: this is grief turned entirely inward. The obscuring of individuality through the cloaked, huddled forms creates an iconography of collective suffering, the grief gaining greater credence from belonging to everybody, the loss mass. But the inward stances gesture, too, to the individual burden, the pain borne alone. In a companion painting, Mourning en Masse (2) (c.1950), the symbolic rendition grows further compact and the rhythm more pronounced with only the rounded heads and veils of women punctuating the picture plane – seated in pairs embracing one another, supporting each other’s sorrow with padded hands. The earlier, communal mourning turns now into a truly shared one and the perspective moves from the frontal to one almost overhead, helping the viewer take in the scene. Through this image, Gujral draws on and iconises the Punjabi tradition of ritual mourning, siyapa, that became ubiquitous during the crisis of Partition with mass dirges and laments at roadsides and camps. In Days of Glory (1948) (see Figure 7.2), the lines whirl and roil, swept up in eddies of misfortune that encircle the figures. The gesticulating, exaggerated hands draw attention as the knobby, protruding knuckles and thick fingers make an emphatic point on the padded palm – in this moment of utter loss and degradation, reduced to penury on the streets, they insist on the ‘glory’ of a past now irrevocably lost. The eyes do not engage and the window opening into the blackened night offers no escape. The thickly shrouded bodies obfuscate gender and register the emasculating grief in the grimacing lament of the bearded man rendered helplessly mute, emotionally anchorless, whereas the woman’s grief spurs her into action. The fabric coiled around their forms metaphorically evokes the churn of assailing forces, manifesting enormous inner tumult. 1950–52: charting violence By 1950, Gujral’s image of the grieving women emerged as an icon of Partition’s suffering – though located in Punjab, it acquired a universal register of pain and loss, bringing him singular status as Partition’s affective chronicler. The visual imagery now moved towards a kind of expressionism, heightened ‘representation’ of events revealing an instinct to document, as memories of Partition bubbled up in the artist with a specificity of image and urgency of expression. With a highly expressive, gestural language and colour scheme, these paintings registered suffering and solidarity – Christ in the Wilderness (1950), The Wail (1952), or Return of the Abducted (c.1951), the latter

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Figure 7.2 Days of Glory, oil on canvas, 1953. Source: Satish Gujral/Gujral family

featuring the infrequent case of an abducted and now ‘recovered’ woman being accepted by her family. Gujral is also perhaps the only subcontinental artist to have substantively recorded the savagery of Partition. Dance of Destruction (1950) registers the rampaging violence of a perpetrator inflicting a blow upon his unseen victims (see Figure 7.3). Looming over the composition, the figure’s raging, murderous intent spreads from the heaving torso to the muscular arms ending in enormous, clenched fists while dark heaps of dwarfed victims cower at his feet. Gujral’s choice of the exaggerated bodily form here, as recovered in his memory, underscores the

124 Speaking soon after catastrophe

Figure 7.3 Dance of Destruction, oil on canvas, 1950. Source: Satish Gujral/Gujral family

ferocity of Partition’s violence known to us from reportage and oral accounts. It registers the surfacing of his own suppressed trauma of witnessing which has him paint the perpetrators as demonic and crude, driven by bloodlust. In not being ‘measured’ reporting, this subjective witnessing takes on a powerful testimonial urgency – becoming a condemnation of the scale and depravity of Partition’s violence and a protest against the social breakdown that attended the rupture. In 1952, Gujral won an artist fellowship to study and apprentice under the acclaimed Mexican painter-muralist, Diego Rivera. On the eve of his departure, he exhibited his Partition works at Delhi’s Freemason’s Hall. The influential art critic, Charles Fabri, bestowed on Gujral the epithet of ‘genius’ (Fabri 1952) while others saw his work as voicing long-suppressed human morality (Mallik 1956) and inducing shame (Vatsyayan 1952). Turning Gujral

Speaking soon after catastrophe 125 into a celebrity overnight, the exhibition forced attention back to Partition still underway with ongoing rehabilitation, migrations, and the ‘women’s recovery’ programme. For Gujral, however, the realisation these works were ‘on’ Partition came much later as he told interviewers: at the time, its horror had triggered a voicing, accessed and mediated, perhaps, by his personal suffering. 1952–55: Mexico In Mexico, working with the newly invented, quick-drying medium of plastic or acrylic (vinylite) paint used first by muralists like Rivera, Gujral’s vision expanded to the Biblical apocryphal tradition and imagery in his continuing exploration of Partition. Works like Sermon on the Mount (1952) or The Pilgrim (1952) depict figures in grief and convivial acts of mutual survival unrelieved by Christ-like succour (see Figure 7.4).

Figure 7.4 Sermon on the Mount, oil on canvas, 1952. Source: Satish Gujral/Gujral family

126 Speaking soon after catastrophe While Agony in the Garden (1954) or the powerful Grapes of Wrath/Despair (1954) – featuring a man in the throes of inner torment conveyed through his tightly clenched, exaggerated hands – do not lead to a Christian acceptance of fate either. Gujral’s extensive use of white here, instead of opening up the pictorial space seemed to bring, foaming to the surface, the tempest raging in the individual heart; the white that would remind legendary writer-art critic John Berger of ‘hospital sheets torn into shreds’ (Berger 1955). In related works, pictorial movement emerged as lightning-like flashes of paint streaking through the picture plane – heavy, curvaceous, converging strokes and sharpangled fabric folds reminiscent of El Greco that recorded intense torment through melodrama, bright colours, and an oppressive setting. In Snare of Memories (1952), the Gujral image reached its apogee of pictorial movement expressing inner suffering, lending it singular power (see Figure 7.5). The pain is unleashed from the depths of the monumental figure; so intense that the torment spills out, spiking in shards into a Christ-like crown of thorns on the head and ending in the incoherent, blubbering mouth. Gujral’s plunging, pivoting strokes twist, roil and fuse together sinew, skin and clothing into a single feeling, pulsating surface, wrenched from shoulder to clenched fist in a seemingly single, rapid motion – what Berger termed ‘as fast as pain itself’. In this single image of pictorial flux utterly wrought with emotion, in all its overstatement, with the ‘dagger-like finials of the brushstrokes’ expressive of the anguish (Datta 2006: 4), Gujral masterfully emblemises Partition’s trauma that remained unbearable and inexpressible to its subjects. The woman’s looming figure is the very picture of crazed grief, driven to frenzy by the impossibility of bearing the pain concentrated in the gesturing hands. Here, more than in any other work, Satish Gujral arrives at the gesture that bears the psychic burden. The Mexican influence ushered two significant changes: a highly expressionist intent, achieved through an effective deployment of excessive pictorial movement, and a markedly surrealist imagery where objects took on symbolic meaning and conveyed the ‘perfect sequence of a dream’ (Bartholomew 2012: 70).9 Snare registers this mode’s beginnings in the telling use of chain and crown, while in many other works the overt employment of objects establishes a surrealist mise-en-scène. In one iteration of Before Suicide (1953), a heap of skulls and bones allude to the preoccupation with death while a depiction of overt violence in The Conqueror (Dance of Destruction 2) (1954) features knuckle chains, an open sword and club wielded by a naked, many-armed man on rampage astride a crazed bull, a red-eyed serpent on his shoulders – a modern-day, male Kali in a macabre dance of death.10 The crude expression, ominous objects, thick contours and clashing colours, build up an atmosphere of strident menace – mirrored in the demonic, caricatured perpetrator of Glory/Martyr (1954) or the saint’s howling agony in Shrine (1956). In Mexico, the monumentalism in Gujral’s art was seen to bear natural affinities with Mexican muralism, but in New York and London where he

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Figure 7.5 Snare of Memories, oil pencil on board, 1953 Source: Satish Gujral/Gujral family

exhibited next, the influence was attributed more directly – the humanistic credo of his ‘muralish’ paintings traced to the ‘heavy rhythms and social sympathies of Orozco and Sequeiros’ (Devree 1954). While Gujral assuredly imbibed many lessons from the Mexican mural tradition and Orozco remained a significant influence, the ready ascription (persistent to the present day) of Mexican influence is countered by the fact that the heavyset Baroque figure and muralesque size is present from as early as 1948, predating the Mexico visit – perhaps both an instinctive and art school-inspired choice. Critic Santo Datta alone challenged this ascription, finding Gujral was working ‘on his own’ evolving this ‘Baroque plasticity’ in 1950 and prior (Datta 2006: 22).

128 Speaking soon after catastrophe 1955–59: portraits and deepening shadows Back in India in 1955, Gujral’s work shifted unexpectedly to portraiture, but their expressionist, dark mise-en-scènes, the figure beset by psychological forces, announced it was the Partition trauma internalised, manifesting now in a brooding interiority and melancholia. The earliest instance is a 1954 selfportrait, where the artist’s intense figure emerges from a swathe of billowing fabric, what Bartholomew termed the ‘mortal coil’ (Bartholomew 2012: 69) – the triumphant survivor encircled by flame-like leaping strokes. Another remarkable untitled self-portrait (1956) echoes this self-vision, arising from forces that grip him in a vortex, face partly in shadows and a prominent knuckled fist held out as a challenge (see Figure 7.6). Despite the assailing forces, these works emphasised the key idea of survival and wore a more hopeful air. The commissioned portraits of Indian political leaders, too, unlike their expected hagiography, placed the figure in shadows, at the mercy of dark forces – Krishna Menon, Indira Gandhi or Lala Lajpat Rai.11 Prime Minister Nehru’s portrait (1958) bore neither a flattering likeness nor the generally ‘hopeful’ air he then signified; Gujral renders him, instead, as a troubled man stoically under attack by gales of misfortune and a suppressed, lurking threat. Portraits of family and friends, including his father, oddly bore the same dark tenor, leading Gujral further into a darkened world of shadows. In the powerful, Portrait of ‘P’ and Uma Vasudev (both 1959), the ominous and strident juxtaposition of dense black and crimson stage an oppressive predation (see Figure 7.7). P’s face is taut with the anxiety of hunted prey, every muscle strained, merging into the shadows as a harsh light train on her. In Uma, the claustrophobic colours close in until the beleaguered form dissolves into the surrounding space. The portraits chart the terror, loss, grief, anxiety, guilt, and uncertainty which marked the experience of Partition survivors. Whether projections of Gujral’s mind – registering that he saw others too as similarly besieged – or ‘factual’ representations of how others coped, the imagery suggests the longterm psychological impact of Partition’s trauma on its survivors, emerging involuntarily in Gujral’s art. During this period, The Condemned (1957) saw Gujral briefly revive his Partition memories, evoking the terrible privations women bore12 (see Figure 7.8). Hemmed in by sharp rocks, the woman here expects neither saviour nor succour from the swirling ‘dark force’ rising against distant flames that has her in its inescapable grip – Gujral’s visual tropes indict society for attacking and failing to protect women during Partition. By 1959, Gujral’s work, till then based so strongly in the body, moved into entirely psychological territory, fittingly adopting a darkly surrealist language. A pivotal 1957 self-portrait marks this transition from palpable anxiety of recent works into a sharply delineated space of suspicion and surreal forebodings, even threat (see Figure 7.9).

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Figure 7.6 Untitled (Self-Portrait), oil on canvas, 1956. Source: Satish Gujral/Gujral family

130 Speaking soon after catastrophe

Figure 7.7 Portrait of ‘P’, oil on canvas, 1959. Source: Satish Gujral/Gujral family

The artist’s balding figure looms in extreme foreground in the shadows, anxiety and suffering etching lines into his face. The black walls and doorways forbid escape; the trapped figure skulks in this cold, penumbral darkness. 1959–61: spectres This phase marks the last of Gujral’s engagement with Partition, as he moves dramatically from the figurative to the abstract mode, from the aggrieved body to a landscape of the mind inhabiting a space of dark fantasy. The pictorial language now turned abstract, the heightened expressionism was transferred to the surroundings while the figure itself shrank, metaphorically and literally, into blocky, cloaked or stick-like silhouettes. Angular planes marked unending floors and single-hued high walls by which lurked dark figures casting long shadows as they loped furtively across the space, lurking assassins in shadowy alleys sprung as spectres of a troubled mind. In one such work, The Black Road, the reference to sexual violence against women is explicit, the blood on the thighs and hands mirrored in the lurid pinks of the distant horizon (see Figure 7.10). Moving away from the early interrogation of suffering and angry inquiry into man’s violence and from the recent battles with darkness, Gujral appeared to have arrived now at an acceptance of sorts, of suffering and the dark forces that must be endured. The oppressive low skies here suggest danger but there is also recognition of its inevitability as the earlier trauma distils into a language of gloom. By 1961, these gave way to allegorical works of abstraction that featured stick-like anthropomorphic forms placed in backgrounds of finely worked texture that became a hallmark Gujral innovation. These works

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Figure 7.8 The Condemned, oil on board, 1957. Source: Satish Gujral/Gujral family

132 Speaking soon after catastrophe

Figure 7.9 Untitled, oil on canvas, 1959. Source: DAG, New Delhi

Figure 7.10 The Black Road, acrylic on canvas, 1959. Source: DAG, New Delhi

Speaking soon after catastrophe 133 gestured still to human conflict but seemed an epilogue to Satish Gujral’s long Partition commitment that had now well and truly concluded.13

S L. Parasher: art affirming life Sardari Lal Parasher was in Lahore in 1947 when Partition’s violence broke out. Leaving overnight with his family for the hill town of Mussoorie, his paintings abandoned, Parasher soon made a return journey by train without papers or ticket to retrieve documents for travel to Paris on a recently awarded fellowship. At a time of mass violence on the roads and trains under brutal attack, often arriving at destinations with bloodied corpses, it was ‘suicidal under these circumstances’, as reads the measured note at the private museum dedicated to his work.14 Hidden through the night by the watchman reciting the namaz at his former office at Mayo School, Parasher returned via a dangerous journey. Parasher then became one of the scores of Partition refugees now needing to find their feet in the new environment (and nation). Securing the job of refugee camp commandant in Ambala, he lived there with his family for two years, from 1947–49, and it was at the camp that he created the substantial drawings now recognised as his masterful Partition work. First shown at his posthumous retrospective in 2004, his birth centenary, they are now housed in his permanent museum in New Delhi. After the camp, Parasher moved to Simla c.1950 where he set up the state art college, serving as its first principal.15 In later years, many of his murals were installed in Chandigarh and Delhi, while his growing interest in the esoteric articulated an inner consciousness. It was in 1990, a few months before his passing, that Parasher’s family discovered his extensive Partition-period art that had been locked away for fifty years.

The expressive line It was while walking around Ambala’s Baldev Nagar Refugee Camp, restive and troubled, that Parasher began sketching the scenes and individuals before him – it accorded, perhaps, a respite and distraction from his own anguish. This body of work comprises a large number of drawings, a few paintings and sculptures. Portraying men and women alone or in groups, in the new social interactions prompted by circumstance, they offer an invaluable visual record of the rarely available Partition experience. The drawings are on rough sheets and bits of paper at hand, envelopes and pages torn from notebooks; in graphite and charcoal, some in ink, many creased and spotted but on the whole preserved remarkably well, perhaps from the undisturbed storage of decades. Some bear Parasher’s descriptive note by way of a title, a few are signed, most are undated. In their material presence, the drawings – themselves remnants and witnesses to the events they record – point to the camp’s conditions of want and privation amidst pressing concerns

134 Speaking soon after catastrophe of survival: of ‘rotten or missing supplies, of inadequate responses, of rain and mud and flies’ (Parasher 2015: 225). Possessing great economy, the rapid, assured strokes convey the urgency and agitation of Parasher’s hand hastily sketching a non-posing subject. Essentially representational, a pictorial arc yet emerges in his images – from the swiftly rendered, barest outlines, to some with little detailing of clothing or background, to more carefully composed and recorded scenes that manifest deliberate artistic intent. Begun as a means to cope with his own unexamined anguish in the midst of the crowded camp, the daily drawing must have soon taken on a purpose and discipline as, too, an incipient awareness of ‘recording’ what passed before the eyes. Humanising the otherwise anonymous Partition experience of the unnamed, unremarked-upon multitudes who survived its traumatic uprooting – the bearers of a number or the nameless bodies and social types of press photographs – Parasher’s drawings etch individual physiognomies, experiences of suffering, and convivial sharing as they unfold before him: figures who remarkably, even in anonymity, register as individuals. The drawings paint a picture of camp life and capture its emotional tenor, recording how the refugees – destitute, grieving, devastated – coped. Parasher rarely spoke of his Partition experience; he also never exhibited his Partition work and by all accounts did not revisit it beyond the immediate years. Indeed, he held nearly no exhibitions of any of his work and was resolutely opposed to their sale. That, fortuitously, has resulted in his Partition work remaining secure in one place, now accessible. His daughter, the artistscholar Prajna Paramita Parasher, has since written a significant essay on Parasher’s art located within his Partition experience, reflecting on the act of ‘recording’ and witnessing it entailed – balancing a subjective understanding of his life with the scholar’s judgment brought to the reading of his art.

Unbearable grief Of the thematic groupings the works suggest, the most arresting are the heartrending depictions of suffering – the torment so intense it breaks out into spontaneous cries and howls that the camps must have witnessed plentifully. Cry 1 (Cheekh) depicts a Sikh man in the prime of his life – with an unravelling top knot and flowing beard – captured mid-stride, his mouth open in a scream of agony, the eponymous, primordial ‘cheekh’ that is almost audible. The swift lines richly evoke his body language, its contained strength, one arm flailing behind and the other over his head, smiting it in pure frustration, capturing his outrage. In Cry II, possibly the same man, the expressive face breaks out in a howl that is both, accusation and protest, the arm still held up (see Figure 7.11). In these two works, the pithiest and most powerful of his Partition work, Parasher’s otherwise easy-going line moves furiously to take in the heaving body conveying the all-consuming torment, an anger and grief-laden torment

Speaking soon after catastrophe 135

Figure 7.11 Cry II, graphite on paper, 1947–49. Source: S L Parashar/Parashar Family

136 Speaking soon after catastrophe that cannot be assuaged. In them, Parasher evokes an iconic rendering, which emphasised by its near-human scale, creates a powerful and deeply moving image of Partition’s trauma. Heavy Despair, a striking ink drawing, also features a lone Sikh man; his hair undone, upper body bare, lower half in loose, patterned pyjamas, he is possibly the same subject drawing the artist’s eye in the camp with his visible, uncontainable grief (see Figure 7.12). The line is now thick and pronounced, registering a wall and step on which the man sits, unlike the plain background of the earlier drawings. Hunched, holding his bowed head, he is inconsolable – the muscled arms now particularly emasculated in the face of grief. The anguished protest is mirrored in other works as well, though possessing less detail and not this singular power: the howl of the mouth in One Voice, or the distraught gesture in Why?/Calling Out and What Now?/Empty Sky beseech the heavens for an answer. Seated on New Earth registers the bewilderment of uprooting and displacement and the anxious uncertainty of refugee existence – its pronounced, directional lines trace the forms of three grieving, gesturing women, possibly reuniting at the camp. Grieving (see Figure 7.13), comprising a tableau of three women arranged in an arc along the bottom right corner, is a more complex composition gesturing to unspoken narratives, capturing expressions and movements despite rapid execution. Through differing gestures, the women appear to respond to a common aggressor: the one in the foreground beseeches, the central one protectively draws her baby closer, and the third hectors or protests. Parasher gestures to and, indeed, records the difficult negotiations unaccompanied women made in Partition refugee camps, often traumatised, continually at risk of (further) predation, and faced with an uncertain, bleak future.

Suffering internalised Aside from these urgent, arresting images of torment, the majority of Parasher’s drawings are of individuals locked in a silent language of suffering. Their bodies do not keen in distress but, perhaps now past that, they hold within themselves an internalised and stilled, even hardened, grief. Through only the loose contours of the voluminously clothed bodies and the contained gesture, Parasher conveys the trauma, loss, and displacement of Partition playing out in the camp. Of these, the largest feature groups of women – those such as Small Comfort depict women seated together, the rounded contours of their saris wrapped around their bodies, often their backs resolutely to the artist and viewer, while registering some individual details as wrinkled skin or babies cradled in laps. The group seating registers shared suffering, enactment of traditional social linkages among women who sought each other at this time of common misfortune.

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Figure 7.12 Heavy Despair, graphite on paper, 1947–49. Source: S L Parashar/Parashar Family

138 Speaking soon after catastrophe

Figure 7.13 Grieving, graphite on paper, 1947–49. Source: S L Parashar/Parashar Family

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Figure 7.14 Small Comfort, graphite on paper, 1947–49. Source: S L Parashar/Parashar Family

Covering Grief, Grief Has No Voice, and Curled Up reveal similar ordering where the expansive, flowing clothing register the hunched outlines, drawn knees, and rounded backs, pointing to the strategies women employed to carve out privacy for themselves in the public space of the camp; the averted faces and lowered eyes stemming from ‘modesty or despair’ (Parasher 2015: 221). Absence and Nothing Safe, in multiple vertical registers, suggests complex social (possibly family) dynamics of veiled women figures, evidently alone, with young children to care for. While the odd work records events such as refugees surrounding a visiting politician for help, Parasher’s camp drawings remain anchored in compositions evoking individual experience and, remarkably, their inner world.

Life at camp Parasher’s drawings also comment on camp life, denuded of the intense emotive charge or the concentrated gesture of suffering. From the Road, Way Station, and In Search of a New Home (see Figure 7.15) are vividly drawn portraits of bullock carts transporting people and buffaloes at their troughs. They bring forth an unanticipated slice of camp life, with its pastoralagrarian rhythm, and stand out for impeccable draughtsmanship and realistic detail, a marvel given their circumstance of making. Others portray camp inhabitants: the watercolour, Kaka Ram seated at his dholak, or sketches of

140 Speaking soon after catastrophe

Figure 7.15 In Search of a New Home, graphite on paper, 1947–49. Source: S L Parashar/Parashar Family

the smiling camp chowkidar, Bhagat, in Night Watchman. The most evocative of these is Clean Sweep, a portrait of the short sweeper at the camp, bent double with a lifetime’s work, holding his broom (see Figure 7.16). Parasher’s sensitivity and artistry are visible in the evocation of the man’s wizened, halfmocking and resigned expression, the disproportionate body acknowledging the social ridicule he bears, and in the Partition narrative, the lot of the lower caste – the Dalit assigned the task of cleaning filth – remaining mostly unchanged even amidst such colossal social upheaval.16 Works such as Company or Another Day capture figure glimpsed at the camp in relative repose, in moments even of shared light-heartedness. Many compositions capture the ‘waiting’ central to camp life, people dulled into a state of limbo as they await some resolution to their fate, as in Waiting – Grandmother and Grandchild, where the dowager’s crabbed expression gestures to a hard life, pushed now, perhaps unwillingly, to the charge of the child.

Of violence From the focus on the refugees’ experience of surviving violence and loss, Parasher’s hand also examined the violence briefly, attesting to his witnessing

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Figure 7.16 Clean Sweep, graphite on paper, 1947–49. Source: S L Parashar/Parashar Family

of Partition violence and, possibly too, its presence in the camps. Among realistic sketches of sword and dagger-wielding assailants standing over cowering victims is one phantasmal and allegorical reading (see Figure 7.17). Avian, bull, and animal-headed figures stand in a circle, axes held in the ostensible service of a central, deity-like figure rising iconically with bent knees and outstretched arms, whirring in a frenzied dance of destruction. However, a closer look reveals the figure to be a victim trapped within a terrifying predator circle, caught in a heaving bind from behind as leering, minions, symbolically animal-headed, await their turn. Parasher’s line that was precise and emphatic thus far, now turns tentative and fuzzy, building up, through the hand-erased chafe and scuff marks the frenzied movement of the bloodlust on view; his use of symbolism mapping the very real, possibly witnessed, violence.

Later works While the camp drawings primarily constitute his Partition work, Parasher did return to the subject in the immediate years in Simla, in a few oil paintings and

142 Speaking soon after catastrophe

Figure 7.17 Untitled, graphite on paper, 1947–49. Source: S L Parashar/Parashar Family

sculptures. Of the former, Amnesia of Grief – Baldev Nagar Camp, Ambala (c.1950–53), departs from the drawings with its expressionist overtones and surreal imagining (see Figure 7.18). In a densely packed picture plane with intersecting cross sections and a pronounced diagonal movement, a procession of mourners attends a mass burial of infants, led by a blinded, grieving patriarch in ascetic robes. Angels hover overhead in a corner and the deaths suggest an epidemic of disease at the camp but the image, resembling Mexican death pictures, chillingly, could also be from Partition’s genocide. The women make for an intriguing presence: their blouseless saris suggest eastern or Bengali origins while Parasher’s drawings of the Ambala camp feature Punjabi and north Indian women in salwar kameez or saris with blouses. S. L. Parasher went on to be a noted sculptor and muralist, and his Partition work is marked by some sculptures as well – the most striking being, Refugee Woman, one of two works Parasher made from the camp’s very earth (see Figure 7.19). A delicate face with large, heavy-lidded eyes looking away, palpable anxiety in the creased forehead, she is modelled on an unknown camp inmate now lost to oblivion and embodies Partition’s refugee experience. A 1950s wood sculpture, Lonely Pilgrim, of a man with sloping shoulders and stunted body recalls the camp sweeper and another noted Parasher sculpture, Dervish – evoking the

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Figure 7.18 Amnesia of Grief – Baldev Nagar Camp, Ambala, oil on canvas, c. 1950–53. Source: S L Parashar/Parashar Family

Figure 7.19 Refugee Woman, terracotta, c.1947–49. Source: S L Parashar/Parashar Family

144 Speaking soon after catastrophe hunchback’s mocked figure potent with the concentrated energy of suffering which drew the artist’s compassion. In a later Punjab government-commissioned public sculpture, Undivided Punjab (1967), Parasher created three connected, undulating concrete structures commemorating the reorganisation of Indian Punjab into three regions: Punjab, Haryana, Kangra (see Figure 7.20). Through this celebratory image of the post-independent, unified Punjab state 20 years after Partition, I would suggest, Parasher harks to a nostalgic and seemingly idyllic past of pre-Partition, undivided land-of-five-rivers, Punj-ab –

Figure 7.20 Undivided Punjab, concrete, 1968, on site Leisure Valley Park, Chandigarh. Source: S L Parashar/Parashar Family

Speaking soon after catastrophe 145 its glory reinstated via a visibly larger presence in the sculpture as it marches to a new future flanked by the smaller partners. In the ‘resolve’ that this new Punjab remain united it thus serves as an emotional erasure or challenge to Partition17.

Reflections on Satish Gujral and S. L. Parasher’s Partition art Satish Gujral’s sustained, decade-long response to Partition traces a pictorial arc from the intensely expressionistic, subjective rendering to a more ‘documentary’ chronicling of witnessed suffering and violence to, eventually, a surreal abstraction that registers Partition’s psychological effects. S. L. Parasher’s Partition response possesses a striking immediacy and historicity, not only from being composed within the experience as it unfolded but conveyed by the vitality of the lines imprinted on the drawings. His work chronicles the spectrum of Partition refugee experience – the anguish and suffering as survivors attempted to cope, the violence that lurked never too far, the difficult conditions, and the resilient human spirit – vividly evoking a sensorium of experience that still challenges survivors’ speech. The instinctive mode both artists choose is largely representative and figural. The body is central to Gujral’s pictorial rendering: it is the site of emotional experience. The artist’s own physical challenges forced his consciousness inward, where the body became a significant means to cognise the world, other senses sharpened in the absence of sound, and became the carrier of experience in his art too, expressive of the Partition-subject’s suffering. ‘There was fire all around us but his eyes reflected it most intently,’ his erstwhile teacher, the artist B. C. Sanyal said of Gujral’s response to Partition in later years (Dhar 2000). In his art, the overwhelming torment is felt in the body and hence its monumental placement in the frame; the stylised figures loom over the composition and yet their vulnerability is writ large – they are neither messiahs nor martyrs, not even wholly demonic. The pictorial excess peopled with archetypes of perpetrators and victims drew merited comparisons with the Mexican muralists, particularly Orozco, but unlike them, Gujral’s work is remarkably free of any underpinning of ideology or didacticism, remaining essentially humanist. If the Gujral style is expressionistic and exaggerated, Parasher’s, within a documentary ethos, is realistic. The chief vehicle of narrative and emotion here, too, is the bodily form which, built with only the line, is yet extraordinarily expressive of inner state, evoking the individual refugee figure. Parasher’s line gestures to the fragile moment, marked by an evident empathy and tenderness towards his subjects: perceptive, intimate, yet respectful in recording what they share of themselves. The artist intended for these images to remain private by never exhibiting them and despite the realistically rendered physiognomies, it is no small achievement that his work preserves the figures’ anonymity and, thus, autonomy. Significantly, even as each artist conveys pain and affect centrally via the body – neither ever fetishises it.

146 Speaking soon after catastrophe Movement remains key to Gujral’s art until quite late in his Partition art – drawn to its life-affirming essence even in this moment of life’s negation – when it is exchanged for an expectant stillness and suspicion. Infusing the essentially static picture surface with the force of such movement that conveys inner tumult, Gujral stages a protest by the suffering Partition survivors who will not go silently into the night. The moving subjectivity of Parasher’s figures stage a similar protest through the vivid, individual presence of the refugee figure – otherwise effaced in the larger Partition narrative where the camp experience little exists or is wholly absent from an insider’s perspective. The drawings possess the quality of the snapshot, frozen in time and able to take the viewer into a now-disappeared moment of the past. Yet, this does not imply stasis: within an overall quietude, their vitality stems from the mobile, lively lines capturing clothing, body stance, and emotive gesture. Seemingly charting a ‘past’ moment, they make present instead the grief, loss, and disorientation of the women and men before us who, long lost to time, now come alive before the viewer. To behold them is to gasp at the persisting feeling of being faced with ‘historical reality’, the real subjects of Partition’s upheaval.

As record and testimony of Partition The temporal vantage point of Satish Gujral and S. L. Parasher’s art – in response to the recent and ongoing traumatic experience of Partition, respectively – sets up an immediacy, lending to their art the status of a contemporary record and testimonial account of Partition. Significantly, the artists engage with Partition not as a historical event, examining its political basis or as a meta narrative of societies and nations, but as an affective experience. Artistic response, based in subjectivity, possesses the truth-value of fiction as it sidesteps, even subsumes, the rigidity of ‘facts’. Gujral’s images of individual and mass grief, bloodlust and its haunting aftereffects record Partition despite the lack of specifics of dates, places, identities, or events; and notwithstanding their epic dimension, they remain trained on individual experience. Parasher’s measured voice remains that of the compassionate, fellow-sufferer observer and his pictorial perspective remains intimate throughout – at eye-level – as he evokes his subjects’ vulnerability and humanity. Despite the refugee camp setting, there are no distant, overhead views of tents and crowds familiar to us from press images but a ground level view that remains trained on and affirms the individual. Together, their art evokes Partition’s sensory experience, especially its unspeakable, mass grief – indexed by Gujral’s grieving matrons or Parasher’s man locked in the vortex of his anguish or the uncertainty of endless wait registered in the hunched forms. Significantly, each artist substantively and sensitively portrays the experience of women – Partition’s subjects who suffered its worst and could speak of it the least. Registering their own experience and of others, what the artists produce, thus, become affective records of Partition.

Speaking soon after catastrophe 147 Urvashi Butalia, whose tracing of oral testimony as a valid and indeed, necessary, artifact in interrogating Partition’s legacy in The Other Side of Silence revolutionised Partition Studies, argues for the need to look similarly at memory ‘even if…shifting, changing, unreliable’ (Butalia 1998: 13). She quotes James Young on the Holocaust that as much through ‘history’, the event comes to us through multiple representations; through not just ‘facts’ but ‘how people remember those facts’ (Butalia 1998: 9). Taking this analogy further, I would suggest that art – such ‘affect pictures’ that bear witness, record and relay experience, becoming a historical document of a kind – turn into a vital means to access and understand Partition’s experiential reality within precisely such a framework of subjective remembering; one that is able to express through creative intervention what the testimony, speech-dependent, cannot voice.18 If testimony, i.e., speech drawing on the memory of experience, accords one kind of representation, then visual art – with representation at its very heart – can be a significantly valid mode of expressing traumatic experience. Butalia says of memories, registering their inherent subjectivity: ‘they are the history of the event’ (emphasis author’s), dependent on ‘the way people choose to remember’ (Butalia 1998: 10). The non-linear visual medium comes close to achieving representation of sensory (visual-aural-tactile) experience (as it survives in memory), speaking through colour, form, line, volume, and space. At a larger level, like cinema it can also convey Partition’s mass scale, unlike oral testimony broadly confined to individual experience and perspective. Partition’s dominant imagery has come to us thus far from literature, testimony, cinematic approximations and documentary visuals of press photography and the newsreel. But, in going beyond these, visual art as by these artists, I would extend, could provide an ‘alternate’ visual history of Partition.

Mapping trauma: ‘unspeakability’, speech, and art An extremely significant dimension these works address is Partition’s trauma. Given its etymology, trauma is housed in the body and both artists speak through it. In Gujral, both fury and anguish are borne in the body through movement and exaggerated gestures. Parasher’s refugee images – featuring only their bodies, with little else in the frame – bear and convey emotional state via gesture, stance, and clothing contours. The large sizes make for iconic rendering but also lend, conversely, a compelling intimacy in the encounter created for the viewer. Each artist’s figuration recalls parallels in world art navigating trauma territory: in Parasher, affect conveys from the often contained presence of the grieving, inertly held body, recalling the stilled, internalised anguish of Kathe Kollwitz’s figures made in the wake of World War I. And the expressionist excess of colour, movement, and the corpulent form in articulating violence and loss in Gujral bespeaks a strong bodily preoccupation suggestive of Francis Bacon or Francisco Goya’s depiction of killings and death in his Disasters of War series.

148 Speaking soon after catastrophe The personal and the larger trauma, inasmuch as they are separate, are linked, and the works bear witness to both. Gujral’s long artistic engagement with Partition accorded an unconscious expression of its unfolding effects on his imagery that drew on his own traumatized psyche. His besieged and paranoiac self-image and anguish links, crucially, via the same visual rendering, to the trauma of others. Parasher’s lines capture the unspeakable welter of pain that seems to break the subjects’ very bodies as they blindly seek, failing, any succour or means to lessen their burden. His images record, apparently, only the trauma of others. But contained in the anguished urgency of his lines is the acknowledgement of his own suffering that the witnessing entailed, drawing an attempt to counter it. A widely held position in trauma theory (derived from Holocaust studies) posits the psyche’s inability to immediately respond to traumatic experience – it becomes overwhelmed and ‘numbed’ as a coping mechanism, with the ensuing, normative response of ‘silence’. Propounded first by Cathy Caruth in works like Trauma and the influential Unclaimed Experience, it is subscribed to broadly by many trauma scholars such as Shoshana Felman, Dori Laub, and philosopher-theorists like Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Derrida, and Jean-Francois Lyotard. In Caruth’s words, ‘There is a response, sometimes delayed [to a traumatic event or experience]… along with a numbing that may have begun during or after the experience’ (Caruth 1995: 4); assimilated ‘only belatedly’, it becomes the titular ‘unclaimed’ one. Escaping full cognition, this trauma is then unspeakable, evading representation and recurs, condemning the subject to reliving it (Caruth 1996).19 Examining, first, this unspeakability, one acknowledges the extreme difficulty and pain in speaking of trauma, as borne out by the work of clinicians and researchers. Manifesting a state of continual negotiations constituting both speech and silence, the torment comes from trauma’s double-edged sword: the intensity of experience demands expression but is faced with the inability to verbalise – the abiding aporia at the heart of traumatic experience. With Partition, silence has, indeed, been the overwhelming response for decades – deriving from its traumatising-debilitating unspeakability for the subject as, equally, the complicity of patriarchal structures (of family and state) in enforcing the silence. The work of its oral historians such as Butalia, Kamla Bhasin, and Ritu Menon or anthropologist, Veena Das, particularly with women subjects, attest to the frequent stumbling block of the survivor’s inability to articulate – so great the horror and pain as to evade verbal language and appear as silence or metaphor, leading to erasure and further trauma. It is women who most suffered Partition’s violence, loss, and shaming, alongside the loudest demands for silence. The two artists under study manifested, remarkably, the same complexities when speaking of Partition. From the late 1980s, Satish Gujral had often discussed his Partition experience in interviews and writings and yet, significantly, the original trauma remained despite the long passage of years, speaking resulting in emotional reliving of the experience.20 S.L. Parasher, on the other

Speaking soon after catastrophe 149 hand, apparently, hardly ever spoke of his Partition experience. His demeanour at the camp was one of calm, ‘immaculately dressed to ensure an aura of routine and maintain general confidence’ (Parasher 2015: 206). However, postPartition, there must indeed have been the grim, still-present past to deal with. Prajna Parasher writes movingly of Parasher spending time daily with his aged mother deeply impacted by the upheaval, and her own mother’s trauma, protesting her daughter’s queries about what ‘she had taken a lifetime to forget’ (Parasher 2012: 204). The reluctance to speak about the experience, Prajna Parasher insightfully characterises as the (survivor’s) mode of being ‘in a constant state of translation’ with others who do not share the trauma, including family.21 While speaking of the trauma remained difficult, if not impossible, art allowed each artist the means to access, remember, and express it. Even as trauma’s sensorium thus evades speech, how do we reconcile its expression via art with Trauma Theory’s compelling position on ‘unspeakability’, particularly so in the immediate aftermath? Thomas Trezise, in Witnessing, critically reads it as a ‘radical disjunction between traumatic experience and its representation’ (emphasis mine) (Trezise 2013: 41). Examining narrativity (or its absence), the centrality of ‘representation’ in the survivor’s recovery of memory/experience and analysing Caruth’s reading of Freud, he demonstrates her reliance on trauma’s ‘unspeakability’ as ‘epistemically unfounded’ and inadequately explained (Trezise 2013: 46, 48). Arguing for ethical imperatives in working with trauma (both listening and interpretive), Trezise states that not only is trauma not unspeakable or unrepresentable, the very assumption comes from failing to recognise modes of speech/representation, even ‘appears[ing] to stand in for a refusal to listen’ and ‘itself a reaction to trauma’ (Trezise 2013: 211, 226). A theory which defines trauma as intrinsically ‘unspeakable’, he warns, poses a ‘great danger for survivor testimony and its reception’ (Trezise 2013: 62).22 Furthermore, the very discipline of trauma studies, Holocaust-derived, has been rightly criticised in recent years for its Eurocentric focus, since the methodologies developed to deal with the Holocaust may not apply to events of (collective) trauma elsewhere.23 Approaches articulated from within the specific South Asian socio-cultural-historical context could be more useful countermeasures – Ananya Jahanara Kabir’s etching of an affect-based, post-Partition landscape mediated through the personal in Partition’s Post-Amnesias is an instructive instance. Adapting Marianne Hirsch’s concept of ‘postmemory’ – where trauma transmits inter-generationally to those who did not experience it but (growing up) hearing about it or via objects, are able to access and, thus, ‘remember’ it. Kabir uses it to examine the ‘forgetting’ (silence) of the trauma by the next generation (following the survivors) so central to post-Partition reality. She studies the subsequent return to memorialising and re-accessing by Partition’s third generation – a ‘post-forgetting’ which she terms post-amnesia (Kabir 2013: 26). Such transference of traumatic affect, becoming an indirect or intergenerational memory challenges unspeakability and in Partition’s complex terrain, it is vividly manifest in the subcontinental invoking of past trauma to form

150 Speaking soon after catastrophe affective community identities, invoked to justify and fuel violence/retribution in the present. Eurocentrism has ignored and elided the rites and social mourning in nonWestern cultures that have traditionally dealt with bereavement and (mass) trauma. Traditionally a major part of women’s social life, strongly so in South Asia, these ritual laments provide affective means to express and share grief. In the absence of any state-sanctioned means/spaces for mourning, ‘Partition narratives present alternative, albeit, contested sites for such mourning’ (Kabir 2002: 246). Artistic (subjective) expression can provide such a mode for representing trauma that Trezise speaks of and permit affective means of mourning and addressing trauma, challenging Adorno-led assertions of the impossibility of its expression.24 Indeed, the vivid imagery of collective mourning of congregations of women in both Gujral’s and Parasher’s work, centrally convey Partition’s affect to the viewer,25 while the work of artists in similar global south contexts emerge as means to address and deal with trauma.26 The philosopher Wittgenstein, in his tract, Philosophical Investigations, argued that pain, so fundamentally corporeal, is ‘not incommunicable’ (Wittgenstein 1973: 190), even that pain in one person’s body could be felt by another (188–197), which the anthropologist Veena Das draws on to posit pain as shareable and thus, social (Das 2007: 39–41). Accounts of Partition oral historians and researchers becoming deeply disturbed by what they were hearing and recording, enough to halt work affirm such communication of affect.27 The response of Partition readers to chilling accounts of violence – the affective power possessed by names as Thoa Khalsa or Noakhali – operate similarly, transmitting the pain and horror of the victims and survivors, and forming an affective landscape with great recall power. Whatever be the medium: oral testimony, literary fiction/memoir, art, documentary records – we complete the shared circle as listeners, readers, viewers, and bear witness anew, with several ethical imperatives of responsible, empathetic listening and action – for, trauma cannot be disavowed.

Conclusion Where language breaks down in severe trauma, art might provide useful means to transform and articulate the ‘inassimilable’ mediated through creativity, including in immediate aftermath. But, perhaps, it does more. Ten years of engagement allowed Gujral to leave Partition behind as a theme, as did Parasher, after responding in its traumatising midst. Perhaps the art offered a means of articulation of the trauma while speech failed – permitting an engagement, if not sublimation. Seventy-three years after the event, there can only be further questions, given that research on psychological impact of Partition’s traumatising experience is nascent (Jain and Sarin 2018). I would like to close with two fundamental questions: does the temporal closeness to traumatic event, while not foreclosing response as this study examines, largely privilege the expression of a subject’s experience, while more analytic, ironic,

Speaking soon after catastrophe 151 or critical artistic engagements/perspectives only come from greater distance or from a non-subject? What does it tell us of what trauma enables or disables?

Notes 1 I gratefully thank late Satish Gujral and Ms. Kiran Gujral, and with profound regret for the loss of Mr.Gujral before this publication could be issued. Thanks to the Parasher family for their warmth and generosity, particularly, Dr. Prajna Parasher. To RB, deep gratitude and more, for the long-ago introduction to Surjit Patar. A few images from this chapter reappear in Chapter 5 in this volume. 2 ‘Hanera Jarega Kivey’ is a poem by the Punjabi poet, Surjit Patar. All translations in the chapter are by the author. 3 Subcontinental/Indian mainstream cinema from the 1950s to the 1970s (with few noted exceptions as Ind: Lahore (1949), Chinnamul (1950) or Pak: Kartar Singh (1959), Lakhon Mein Ek (1967)) avoided Partition as a subject, making only indirect references in the form of a few set tropes: the separated and reunited family/ fraternal brothers, the breakup of the joint family or the orphan child. Only the 1980s saw a direct addressing in (Indian) television series such as Tamas or Buniyad. Literary scholarship has studied responses to Partition in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and English as emerging only in the 1960s – prominently, Rahi Masoom Raza’s Adha Gaon or Abdullah Hussein’s Udas Naslein – and, certainly, the 1970s, with Sunil Gangopadhyay’s Arjun or Bhisham Sahni’s Tamas, while, inexplicably, an (albeit small) body of work from the 1950s lies mostly neglected, except for the trailblazing presence of Urdu writer, Saadat Hasan Manto. 4 Most notably, those as Krishen Khanna, Zarina Hashmi or Somnath Hore in the modernist period, besides the two artists under study. 5 This heading borrows from the Indian art critic, Richard Bartholomew’s 1960 article title on Satish Gujral. 6 In his memoirs and essays in Partition volumes (1990s and early 2000s, see References), Satish Gujral has visited the pain, violence, and horror of his Partition experience, besides the nostalgia for the lost past. Details of his Partition experience discussed here are taken from two interviews with Gujral conducted by this writer on 8 and 15 September 2016, in New Delhi, besides his written accounts and published interviews. 7 Most art critics of the 1950s and 1960s saw Gujral’s Partition exploration as limited to the early phase, except Richard Bartholomew, who alone registered paintings post c.1956 as still dealing with Partition. His Partition work continues to be predominantly read as limited to this early phase of 1948–52, including in recent curatorial premises. Critics as Gayatri Sinha remarked the Partition works spread over 1948–57 in a newspaper article (1989) and Santo Datta noted a pictorial continuity through the 1950s, but the 1957–61 period yet remains unexplored in Partition’s context, as does a study of its relevance to Gujral’s art evolution. This study, noting too the latter, emphasises Gujral’s Partition response as a continuum till 1961. 8 Gujral originally created these three earliest works as drawings on paper in oil pencil. Subsequently, he also rendered them as oil paintings on canvas and lithographic prints and so, multiple versions (bearing the same titles) exist of the same compositions with no variations. The discussion and illustrations here refer to the first works. 9 Emerging 20 years prior, surrealism in art and literature privileged the unleashing of the inner unconscious, through a psychic automatism where the imagery adopted, and objects depicted took on symbolic meaning. 10 An animist goddess adopted later into Hinduism; Kali’s wrathful nature is often propitiated by devotees seeking her protection. A form of ‘shakti’, universal female

152 Speaking soon after catastrophe

11 12

13 14 15






21 22



power, her religious iconography depicts her bare breasted, wearing a garland of skulls, standing or dancing on the prone form of her consort, Shiva. The latter painting was acquired for the Indian Parliament by then Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Women suffered the worst of Partition’s violence – physical, sexual, and psychological, estimated to be around 75,000 lost and raped. Women abducted during Partition’s chaos were marked by the two nation states to be traced and ‘recovered’ as a part of a forced programme that went on for years, till about 1956. Condemned to silence and erasure of their trauma, the work of some of the programme’s social workers and, later, oral historians recovered a fraction of their narratives. Satish Gujral did not return to Partition as a theme after this period, except briefly in the 1980s and early-2000s, when he ‘revisited’ some of his 1950s paintings by painting them anew, with no changes in composition, imagery or style. The Parasher family runs the museum under the aegis of SarNir Foundation. Helming this new institution in independent Indian Punjab (which later moved to Chandigarh), with fellow-Partition-displaced artists as colleagues, in the wake of Mayo School of Art going to Pakistan, S. L. Parasher is an important part of the untold story of the early years of art of independent India. First discussed in the context of Partition at considerable length, by Urvashi Butalia (Butalia 1998: 297–343) and noted too by Prajna Parasher (Parasher, 2015: 220–227) with respect to Parasher’s drawing of the sweeper figure. Aside from the pioneering work of scholar Ravinder Kaur, caste within Partition still remains a greatly neglected area of study. Housed at Leisure Valley park in Chandigarh – then capital of the combined state of Punjab, Haryana and Kangra. Texts of a Punjabi poem and folk songs from the other two regions on its curving facades emphasised their cultural individualities within the unified vision – which however didn’t last with the eventual break into three new states. Here, I use testimony’s more accepted context of ‘reporting’, ‘truth telling’, possessing a documentary currency despite its inherent subjectivity. Compared to testimony’s dependence on speech/language, particularly within an interview’s selfconsciousness, visual art – non-linear, visual, and abstract – I would argue, can represent trauma in new, more effective ways. This widely discussed position references the humanities-driven discussion of trauma – literary theory and criticism (drawing on psychoanalysis and post-structuralism) – rather than clinical psychoanalytic practice. The latter too, though, speaks (via wellknown syndromes as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)), of victims unable to access/speak of the trauma, forced to endure its recurring psychic return. The reliving is traumatic, the memory vivid and fresh, as witnessed by this writer in the two interviews with Satish Gujral cited from 2016 and a subsequent meeting in March 2018, and as also mentioned in the artist’s newspaper interviews from the 1990s and early 2000s. Email interview with Prajna Paramita Parasher, 24 May 2018. Reading the original Freud texts closely, Trezise declares Caruth’s interpretation of Beyond the Pleasure Principle and Interpretation of Dreams as a misreading. He underscores the centrality of ‘representation’ in the recovery of memory/experience as the only, and necessarily second hand, means by which the analyst/non-victim (and researcher) can access the victim’s trauma. The belief in trauma’s unspeakability, he writes, not only goes against the survivor’s attempt (and need) to speak but denies it possible healing, worsening the listener-survivor power imbalance. Western scholarship on trauma that has moved away from the Holocaust-focus to more recent traumatic events, most notably, Judith Butler or W.J.T. Mitchell’s work on 9/11, too, are not useful to understand traumas in Asian, Latin American, or African contexts or indeed, the wider global south. Theodor Adorno’s famous nihilist refuting of the possibility of creativity (and thus, speech) in the Holocaust’s wake – ‘To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric’

Speaking soon after catastrophe 153 has moulded a generation of scholars’ faith in the ‘unspeakability’ theory in trauma’s immediate aftermath. The precedents of direct, robust challenges to this presumption by concentration camp survivors, Paul Celan and Primo Levi’s poetry and fiction, respectively, hold significant instructive value in Partition’s context and this discussion. 25 Similar imagery is seen in a painting by another Partition survivor-artist, Pran Nath Mago, and these attest to such rites of mourning being adopted during Partition on the streets and camps where female companionship arose from shared misery – attested, too, by accounts of women social workers working in Indian Partition refugee camps such as Anis Kidwai or Kamla Patel. 26 An instance of art offering a means of mourning is seen in the works of some contemporary Sri Lankan artists featuring bodily dismemberment and death. Others, as Jagath Weerasinghe, Chandragupta Thenuwara, or, more recently, T. Shanaathanan, use diverse means from figurative to conceptual art to address collective trauma and conflict reconciliation. 27 Urvashi Butalia writes of the frequent overwhelm from the nature of the stories she was recording (echoed by other scholars) – of violence, hatred, loss, grief – forced the pausing of work and seeking a collaborator, who too eventually left the project for the same reasons (Butalia 1998, 24–25).

References Agamben, Giorgio. 1999. The Witness and the Archive. Trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen. New York: Zone Books. Anthony, Kenny. 1973. ‘Investigations’, in The Legacy of Wittgenstein. London: The Penguin Press. Bartholomew, Richard. 1961. ‘Contemporary Indian Painting, Modern Art of Asia’, in The Art Critic, pp. 69–70, 2012. New Delhi: BART. Bartholomew, Richard. 1955. ‘Indian Painting since 1947’, Thought, 13 August, in The Art Critic, p. 51, 2012. New Delhi: BART. Bartholomew, Richard. 1961. ‘The Wall of Satish Gujral’, Span, June, in The Art Critic, pp. 141–144, 2012. New Delhi: BART. Berger, John. 1955. ‘Shame or Tenacity’, The New Statesman and Nation, 2 July. Butalia, Urvashi. 1998. The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India. Durham: Duke University Press. Butler, Judith. 2006. Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. USA: Verso. Caruth, Cathy, (ed.). 1995. Trauma: Explorations in Memory. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press. Caruth, Cathy, (ed.). 1996. Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative and History. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. Chare, Nicholas. 2010. ‘Trauma and Testimony’, This Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory, 18(1): 315–326. Daiya, Kavita. 2008. Violent Belongings: Partition, Gender and National Culture in Postcolonial India. New Delhi: Yoda Press. Das, Veena. 1995. Critical Events: An Anthropological Perspective on Contemporary India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Das, Veena. 2007. Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Datta, Santo. 2006. ‘Ecce Homo! Behold the Man!’in Satish Gujral: An Artography. New Delhi: Roli Books.

154 Speaking soon after catastrophe Derrida, Jacques. 1993. Aporias. Trans. Thomas Dutoit. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Devree, Howard. 1954. ‘Oriental Invasion’, The New York Herald Tribune, 28 November. Dhar, Shobita. 2000. ‘Painter Gujral Turns 75, his Teacher Raises a Toast’, The Hindu, 17 December. Fabri, Charles. 1952. ‘Satish Gujral’s Paintings’, The Sunday Statement, 10 August. Felman, Shoshana and Laub, Dori. 1992. Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis, and History. New York and London: Taylor & Francis. Gujral, Satish. 1993. The World of Satish Gujral: In His Own Words. New Delhi: UBS Publishers. Gujral, Satish. 1997. A Brush with Life: Satish Gujral. New Delhi: Penguin Viking. Gujral, Satish. 2000. Selected Works 1947–2000. New Delhi: Lalit Kala Akademi. Gujral, Satish. 2002. ‘Crossing the Jhelum’, in S. Settar and Gupta, Indira B. (eds), Pangs of Partition I: The Human Dimension, pp. 47–58 . New Delhi: Manohar. Gujral, Satish. 2006. A Retrospective 1948–2006. New Delhi: National Gallery of Modern Art. Hirsch, Marianne. 1997. Family Frames: Photography, Narrative and Postmemory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Hirsch, Marianne. 2012. The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust. New York: Columbia University Press. Jain, Sanjeev and Sarin, Alok. (eds.). 2018. The Psychological Impact of the Partition of India. New Delhi: Sage. Kabir, Ananya Jahanara. 2002. ‘Subjectivities, Memories, Loss: Of Pigskin Bags, Silver Spittoons and the Partition of India’, Interventions 4(2): 245–264. Kabir, Ananya Jahanara. 2013. Partition’s Post Amnesias: 1947, 1971 and Modern South Asia. New Delhi: Women Unlimited. Kidwai, Ayesha. 2018. ‘Are We Women Not Citizens?’ in Sanjeev Jain and Alok Sarin (eds) Mridula Sarabhai’s Social Workers and the Recovery of Abducted Women, The Psychological Impact of the Partition of India. New Delhi: Sage. Luckhurst, Roger. 2008. The Trauma Question. New York: Routledge. Mallik, Keshav. 1956. ‘Satish Gujral’, Surge, 13 January. Menon, Ritu and Bhasin, Kamla. 1998. Borders & Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition. New Delhi: Kali for Women. Mitchell, W. J.T. 2011. Cloning Terror: War of Images, 9/11 to the Present. Chicago: University of Chicago. Pandey, Gyan. 2001. Remembering Partition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Parasher, Prajna Paramita and Sterner, Sandy. 2004. Time, Space, Light, Consciousness, 1904–1990. New Delhi: SarNir Foundation. Parasher, Prajna Paramita. 2015. ‘A Long Walk Out From Partition’, in Urvashi Butalia (ed), Partition: The Long Shadow, pp. 200–230. New Delhi: Zubaan and Viking. Settar, S. and Gupta, Indira B. (eds). 2002. Pangs of Partition I: The Human Dimension. New Delhi: Manohar. Trezise, Thomas. 2013. Witnessing Witnessing: On the Reception of Holocaust Survivor Testimony. New York: Fordham University Press. Vatsyayan, S. H. 1952. ‘Satish Gujral’ Exhibition Catalogue. New Delhi. Young, James. E. 1990. ‘Introduction’, in Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust: Narrative and the Consequences of Interpretation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Part III

Cyber space, social media, and digital texts Nukhbah Taj Langah and Roshni Sengupta The following section examines New Media – buoyed by technological advancement and a vision for the future – and the manner in which it provides a platform for the manifestation of the wounds and traumas of Partition and the subsequent political and social engagement between people of the subcontinental nations. It explores developments and transformations in the world of virtual communications and the impact it has had on discourse in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Most importantly, it engages with the metamorphosis in the ‘contention of the enemy’ depending on the political chills and thaws that occurred with regards to the neighbours. In ‘Keyboard nations: cyberhate and partition anxiety on social media’, Suryansu Guha provides a critical view of the changes experienced in modern India and Pakistan as a result of the technological revolution and the burgeoning of virtual communities and digital accessibility which has ‘complicated’ the public sphere. While he observes rapid interaction between the publics of the two countries through social media, he argues that this interaction depends on a ‘transmedial trigger’ defined as, ‘anything that originates in politics, culture, and religion to address Indo-Pak hostilities’, keeping the injuries and memories of Partition alive and is thus responsible for complicating the relationship between the Indian and Pakistani publics. In ‘Politicising the Body of the “Other”: India’s Gaze at Pakistan’, Debanjana Nayek reflects on the aftermath of the Uri attack in 2016 which led to a number of vehement protests against Pakistani actors – who were suspected to be spies – working in India. Nayek argues that despite strong opposition, there was an equally intense fetishisation of these artistes through Indian social and print media, which can also be linked to the objectification of Pakistani cricketers and female diplomats and politicians in the past. The author analyses online articles, discussions held on various social networking sites, memes and web-comics, and contextualises them through the theories propounded by Foucault, Said, Cartwright, Sturken, and Mulvey. Waseem Anwar (‘Pakistani Literary Digitalisation: “Mediascaping” Mohsin Hamid’s “The (Former) General in His Labyrinth”’) presents an engaging view on digitalisation of Pakistani literary forms. Building on Arjun Appadurai’s concept of ‘mediascapes’ and ‘ideoscapes’ and Katherine Hayles’ notion of the DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655-11

156 Speaking soon after catastrophe cybernetic as a digital literary medium for opening new horizons, Anwar presents Mohsin Hamid’s story, ‘The (Former) General in His Labyrinth’ as an example of digitalising Pakistani literary forms. Anwar also argues that the multimodal and multicursal electronic literariness of the story places a transcultural challenge to the Pakistani literary stalwarts writing in English by bringing aesthetic strategies closer to new interpretative traditions of media and its mediascaping. Through their contributions revolving around exaggerated online jingoism on social media platforms, fetishisation of the ‘other’ on mainstream and social media, and transmedial localisations of literary forms, the scholars lending their voices to this section seeks to bridge a key gap in the academic understanding of developments that have taken place post-Partition in the sphere of New Media. They argue for a more comprehensive assessment of the propagation of mediatised images (especially hate messaging) that circulate in cyber space therefore making this an almost vacuous arena of communication and one of the most critical in these times.

Exploring present paradigms Part of Lawrence Babb’s extensive work on the transformation of the media in South Asia has been the discussion on the impact of communication technology on religion and how religious symbols are transmitted through media. For instance, through Hindu devotional traditions, audio recordings, Sufi qawwalis, and children’s literature such as Ammar Chitra Katha. The focus of this section, however, remains on the wider impact of media like film, television, visual images, and digital representations. Moving this discussion forward, Udupa and McDowell propose that media engages people with ‘local, national, and transnational power’. It creates interconnections between media and politics and a certain mediatised political culture is inspired and activated as a result. They have discussed participation, control, and friction – implicated in contestation over citizenship and recognition – through the lens of media. For them, media are a means of participation and a source of creating forged or reshaped meanings. In their view, media can also be controlled by authorities and established interest groups in order to influence, delimit and reshape the domains of public debate and political expression. For Udupa and McDowell, media in South Asia reflects shifting trends in the methodologies of global communication. It can impact the expression of competing nationalisms. Shakuntala Banaji emphasises the importance of media cultures, particularly the interaction between audiences, their sense of meaning making, and representations through various media formats. The interplay of politics, history, and finance in the relationships between media producers, ideologies, and social texts, according to Banaji has shaped media cultures in South Asia. She has observed media-associated cultural practices across the sub-continent through historical, political, and theoretical engagements sharing common

Speaking soon after catastrophe 157 elements. In her view, stereotypes about countries, cultures, traditions, and religion is the result of the influence of media. Banaji has observed that the shared history of South Asia includes violence, military coups, feudal cultures, disappearance or killings of media persons, poverty leading to political instability, and so on. Hence, the discussion on how the media landscape is shaped in these countries is important. Ethnic divide, caste, religion, gender disparities (9), and minority discourses form an integral part of this discussion. The ‘mediascape’ in South Asia (Appadurai 2004) has resulted from a combination of ‘patchy technologisation interlinked with vested interests that reproduce existing social structures and discourses across Asia and Africa’(10). One of the key challenges confronting the media in the subcontinent remains the ruling elites appropriating the medium – and as such the message itself. Thus, questions about the erstwhile effects of media texts are always about particular sets of representations and discourses circulating in specific communities, at precise historical moments, in wider political climates. An important aim of this section, therefore, is to discuss the manner in which Partition has been mediatised and appropriated by the respective postindependence national media cultures in South Asia. These images continually circulated are often related to identities, people or places. In one such study, Sarcar discusses the streets of post-Partition Delhi reflecting the ‘emotional topography’ of the city and how the event has impacted the everyday life of people. The physical sites and letters made part of the study reflect the traumatised forged identities created after Partition – how refuges talk back and create their own emotional landscape. The visuality of Partition in the ‘post-truth’ world also becomes important when considered in the context of magnifying nationalist tendencies in South Asia. Writing in the context of British performing arts – particularly plays – in the aftermath of Brexit, Ellen Redling alludes to the failure of liberal, postmodern techniques of communication and dissemination of political messages to the public which has been swayed by shrill nationalist rhetoric. They often lack efficacy as they have been undermined by ‘post- truth’ or they can merely reflect, rather than challenge, the mechanisms of fake news and the widespread feeling of uncertainty and trumped up fear. Presenting the results of a discourse analysis of the nationalist discourse in the media in the initial months of 2016 in India, Ray and Singh have elucidated the large scale sensationalism indulged in by mainstream Indian television channels through staged in-studio debates around an alleged incident of ‘anti-national’ or ‘seditious’ slogan shouting in a leading Indian university. An innocuous instance of campus politics was turned into a media circus leading to the categorisation of students and others as acting against the interests of the country. Viewed in the larger framework of generation of fake news and post truth, the JNU incident stands as an exemplification of the trend that is reflected in most facets of media communication in South Asia. A key manifestation of the post-Partition culture of competitiveness and rivalry – borne out of political, religious, and ideological binaries – is what

158 Speaking soon after catastrophe transpires in the field of sports between India and Pakistan – especially in the context of cricket. In their work on sporting nationalism, Kim and Billings examine how perceptions of a story can be altered by manipulating the reported winner or loser of a sports contest as well as how individual perceptions of a sports story change when the story is written by a perceived in-group (home nation) versus a perceived out-group (opposing nation), revealing that the effect of nationalism strength on hostile media perception is greater when the national team loses than when a team wins a game. In addition, the interaction effect of nationalism and game results on the news bias perception is greater when the news is reported in a foreign newspaper than in a domestic newspaper. In his examination of myth, nationalism, and media in Iran, E. L. Blout analyses the term soft war or jang-e narm which has become a common phrase within the ruling establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran. During the 2009 presidential election and its aftermath, state broadcast media and members of the country’s conservative political factions used the term as a euphemism for the spread of foreign ideas, culture, and influences through information communication technology. The target of soft war, according to this usage, was Iranian culture and national identity – the very underpinnings of the modern nation-state. While some have deemed soft war a relatively new discourse associated with the contested presidential election of 2009, this chapter argues that soft war is in fact the latest iteration of a long-standing myth of foreign conspiracy. It promotes a Manichean view of the world in which foreign powers are continuously working to violate Iranian sovereignty through informational and cultural means. Similar trends are noticeable in the media landscape of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh as ‘fear of the other’ permeates a large part of the insidious propaganda that passes off as news and entertainment. The commencing section provides a selection of key academic works that examine the ‘grey areas’ as they exist on the political and ideological landscape of the subcontinental neighbours through a comprehensive view of New Media and what it brings to the table in terms of accessibility, acceptability, mediatised jingoism, and the changing nature of nationalism as is being experienced in each of these nations. This crucial understanding of cyberspace and how it affects and steers the relations between India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh remains a critical bridge in research concerning the micro and macro politics of the three post-colonial cousins.

References Ahmad, Manzoor. 2019. ‘Understanding India-Pakistan Relations: Memory Keeps Getting in the Way of History’, Jadavpur Journal of International Relations, 23(1): 69– 80. Appadurai, Arjun. 2004. ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy’, in Lachner, Frank J. and Boli, John. (eds), The Globalization Reader. Pp. 295– 310Malden: Blackwell. Babb, Lawrence A. 1995. Media and the Transformation of Religion in South Asia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Speaking soon after catastrophe 159 Banaji, Shakuntala (ed.). 2011. South Asian Media Cultures: Audiences, Representations, Contexts. London: Anthem Press. Blout, E. L. 2017. ‘Soft War: Myth, Nationalism, And Media In Iran’, The Communication Review, 20(3): 212–224. Kim, Youngju and Andrew C.Billings. 2017. ‘A Hostile Sports Media? Perceived Nationalism Bias in Online Sports Coverage’, Electronic News, 11(4): 195–210. Ray, Shovana and Jitendra Kumar Singh. 2017. ‘Discourse Analysis on Nationalism Debate Reported in Indian Print Media during Feb-Mar 2016’, RIMCIS – International and Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Sciences, 6(3): 251–280. Redling, Ellen. 2018. ‘Fake News and Drama: Nationalism, Immigration and Media in Recent British Plays’, Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, 6(1): 87–100. Udupa, Sahana and Stephen D.McDowell (eds). 2017. Media as Politics in South Asia. New York: Routledge.


Politicising the body of the ‘other’ India’s gaze at Pakistan Debanjana Nayek

The historic Partition of British India in August 1947 resulted in the creation of two independent nations, India and Pakistan. From the very beginning, a relationship of hostility and bilateral tension initiated between them concerning the frontiers. The 1947 Partition not only caused severance of lands but also of people, on the basis of religion, where India emerged as a country with a dominant Hindu populace and Pakistan became a nation with a Muslim majority. This sparked off the process of national identity formation, in both India and Pakistan, by segregating and differentiating one’s own country, culture, and language from the other. It has also engendered a perennial power struggle between India and Pakistan which is reflected in the nations’ politics and culture, the field of sports as well as the media. Based on this context, the chapter focuses on the Indian media’s reportage of Pakistani personalities to examine the image that is fabricated by the Indian press. This image is disseminated in cyberspace as well and, consequently, to a larger audience. The social media users and bloggers subsequently participate in intensifying the impression constructed by mainstream and digital media. The chapter analyses the power struggle and the ‘self-other’ binary which are present in the depiction of the Pakistani figure by the Indian media. For this purpose, the chapter utilises the gaze theory of Michel Foucault and Jacques Lacan. In order to fully comprehend the ambivalence in the relationship between a Pakistani persona and an Indian spectator, the chapter will also use Laura Mulvey’s feminist perspective regarding the visual power of the gaze. It further employs the theoretical works of Christian Metz, Lisa Cartwright, and Marita Sturken to manifest how power works through photographs in the context of an Indian gaze and the Pakistani spectacle. The gaze dissociates the self from the ‘other’, the onlookers from the observed. Michel Foucault has related gaze with the discourse of power and knowledge in his study of ‘medical gaze’ and ‘judicial gaze’ (Boxer 2003: 257) where an anonymous organisation continuously examines individuals and scrutinises them to impose some judgment. By employing the ‘simple instruments’ of observation, registration, unrelenting evaluation, and training, a disciplinary power is exercised by the onlooker (Foucault 1977: 195–228). The kind of surveillance that Foucault talks about regarding the concept of the DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655-12

162 Politicising the body of the ‘other’ Panopticon penal institution in his book Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (Foucault 1977: 196), can be perceived in the contemporary media culture. The lens of a journalist’s camera casts a distinct gaze on individuals which then extends to the print media, electronic media and digital media. One such scrutinising gaze can be discerned in Indian media culture as well and that is towards the appearance of Pakistani men and women.

Disempowering through desire When the first female foreign minister of Pakistan, Hina Rabbani Khar, visited India in 2011 for peace talks, the reportage of the Indian media emphasised more on her glamorous looks and demeanor than her statements. The leading newspapers of the nation directed their attention to the brand of her handbag and sunglasses, along with a detailed description of her outfits and the jewels she sported. On 27 July 2011, Times of India, one of the widely read English newspapers of the country, introduced Hina Rabbani Khar with the headline ‘Pak puts on its best face’. Their obsession with Khar’s looks becomes even more evident in the next day’s issue of the paper, which stated: Her oversized Hermes black Birkin bag was among the top trending items on Twitter on Wednesday as India’s Khar-ites contemplated the purported Rs 17-lakh price tag. She alighted on Tuesday in a blue tunic-pants ensemble teamed up with pricey South Sea pearls glistening at her neck and ears and Roberto Cavalli shades covering half her face. (‘Pak puts on its best face’ 2011) Reports in other reputed newspapers of India too, identified Khar by her designer attire and expensive accessories. While it may seem that the media, in the manner of paparazzi, was only overwhelmed with what she wore and where she went, a survey of the headlines and captions of the newspapers will reveal the actual nature of the gaze. The Hindi newspaper, Navbharat Times, quipped that India was ‘sweating over the model-like minister’ (Nelson 2011), The Mail Today believed it to be a ‘Glam touch to Indo-Pak talks’ which was followed by the rhetorical question, ‘Who says politicians can’t be chic?’ (Nelson 2011) and the headline of Mumbai Mirror read, ‘Pak Bomb lands in India’(Mumbai Mirror 2011). This gaze of the print media towards Pakistan’s first female foreign minister is an act of surveillance where the media observed her closely, registered minute details about her, assessed her based on the observations, and finally imposed their judgment on her. In this case the judgment is in the form of labeling her a ‘style icon’ or ‘fashion icon’, rather than identifying her as a minister who came to discuss bilateral and diplomatic issues with the neighbouring country. Through this gaze the media has thoroughly examined the minister, objectified her, and, as a result, acquired the power to impose a verdict on her. The Indian media has reduced Khar, a significant and powerful

Politicising the body of the ‘other’ 163 foreign dignitary, from her authoritative position to an object of surveillance as well as of desire. She has been subjected to both a scrutinizing and a fetishising gaze. In both cases the gaze has disempowered the Pakistan foreign minister and, at the same time, has empowered the ‘self’. This is distinctly evident in those reports where the foreign minister was pictured as a romantic partner of India as it termed the foreign minister’s visit as ‘Hina Rabbani Khar’s date with India’ (2011). The website of Daily Mail, a British newspaper, titled its article as, ‘That’s one way to mend relations: India falls in love with Pakistan’s first female foreign minister’ and its opening lines professed, ‘Pakistan’s first female foreign minister managed to woo her Indian counterpart and his whole country yesterday, as she stepped into her new role’ (2011). Such statements from various acknowledged papers present Hina Rabbani Khar as a desirable object. The gaze that is functioning here resembles the ‘male gaze’ that Laura Mulvey identifies in the cinematic field. The ‘male gaze’ is about the representation of women and objectifying them from a male point of view. Mulvey associates cinematic ‘male gaze’ with sexual fantasy and fetish (Mulvey 1989: 14–28). However, in this case, the gaze of Indian media does not continue for long and does not appeal to multiple sensory faculties in the way the gaze of a film does. It is more akin to the fetishising gaze that is present in a photograph where a moment can be frozen, ‘cutting off a piece of space and time’ (Metz 1985: 85). The photograph can be replicated and used in several other contexts, thus sharing the gaze as well as the fetish with more people. A scope for this has been created by the social media and digital journalism. For instance, the photographs of Hina Rabbani Khar were hugely shared on Twitter and also posted in various blogs. In addition to that, there were quite a few tweets ‘about her styling, such as ‘the new foreign minister of Pak, Hina Rabbani Khar, is their weapon of mass distraction’ (Goswami 2011) and ‘I like the way Hina Rabbani looks. With her movie star sunglasses, head covered, Birkin in tow’ (Panag 2011). These posts were then retweeted by other users of Twitter. Furthermore, subsequent to the visit of Hina Rabbani Khar in 2011 a number of articles surfaced in cyberspace which were concerned with the appearances of Pakistani female politicians and how they are much more beautiful than their Indian counterparts. The fetishising gaze of the print media that was reporting the visit of Khar in India later became purveyed in the digital media and, consequently, in social media. There is a mélange of blogs which enumerate the names of Pakistani female politicians, along with their photographs, under the epithets of ‘attractive’, ‘beautiful’, ‘sexy’, and ‘hot’. On top of that, there has also been an array of memes which make appeals for an interchange of female leaders as they posit the pictures of the nations’ politicians against each other. The two questions which emerge at this juncture are: does the gaze victimise only the politicians of the country to disempower them and is it only women who are examined and compared? The answer for both the queries is, no. The gaze neither fixates only on politicians nor on women alone.

164 Politicising the body of the ‘other’ An Indian lifestyle website for men, MensXp, features articles entitled, ‘Pakistani Cricketers and Their WAGs’ (MensXP 2011) and ‘India Vs Pakistan: Whose WAGs are Better?’ (MensXP 2012), as they distinctly fetishise the wives and girlfriends of Pakistani cricketers. In the description of the Pakistani captain’s wife the article stresses that she is never seen without her ‘traditional veil’ and only the looks of her three daughters ‘give way to their mother’s hidden beauty’ (‘It Isn’t Just Ram Gopal Verma Who Wanted A Good Looking Indian Politician’ 2016). The image of the woman that the account portrays before its audience has a deep-rooted fetishism in it which is both racialised and sexualised. The gaze is quite akin to the power of the imperial gaze where the veiled woman is presented as an exotic object and is looked-at as the ‘other’. However, it is not the first time that the gaze has been turned towards the realm of cricket. In fact, the fetishising gaze of the Indian media towards a Pakistani personality dates back to the time when the two nations used to play bilateral cricket against each other. The well-known Pakistani cricketers from the 1970s to 1990s, Imran Khan – the present Prime Minister of Pakistan – and Wasim Akram, often appeared in the leading Indian newspapers where their outward appearances and their personal lives gained as much prominence as their cricketing performances. Imran Khan has always been labelled as the ‘sexiest man ever to walk on to a cricket pitch’ (‘From the Previous World Cups. From Now to Then. Our Team Handsome from the Previous World Cups, 1975 to 2007’ 2011), a ‘Casanova’ (Times Now 2018) and ‘lover of many women whose hearts he broke easily’ (Tripathi 2009)[ whereas Akram has been variously described as a man better with the ball, and almost as attractive without it. It is significant to note that cricketers have always held a crucial status in the power struggle between India and Pakistan since cricket has been a site for staging the ongoing political conflict between the two nations and, at the same time, it has paved the way for diplomacy. Both Khan and Akram have played the role of ambassadors and, like Hina Rabbani Khar, objectifying these men also involves the mechanism of empowerment and disempowerment through gaze.

A multifaceted gaze on the body In most newspaper reports that have objectified and fetishised a Pakistani personality, from a politician to a cricketer and also actors, there are two pivotal channels of conveying the gaze. One is the photograph of that individual and the other is a descriptive title. While the title explicitly categorises the personality as an object of desire, the accompanying photograph enhances this impression in an indirect manner or through concealed implication. This coded message is then transferred from one medium to another, from the print newspapers to the social media. Hence, there is a pattern in which the fetishised gaze of the Indian media towards a Pakistani personality is produced, interpreted and reproduced by its readers. Roland Barthes traces this pattern of

Politicising the body of the ‘other’ 165 the production and reception of a message in photographs in his essay, ‘The Photographic Message’. He states: on the one hand, the press photograph is an object that has been worked on, chosen, composed, constructed, treated according to professional, aesthetic or ideological norms which are so many factors of connotation; while on the other, this same photograph is not only perceived, received, it is read, connected more or less consciously by the public that consumes it to a traditional stock of signs. (Barthes 1977: 19) Indian media also carefully constructs a particular image of a Pakistani personality that it develops over time and, generally, all the later articles on this individual also revolve around one predominant image. An example of this is the image of Imran Khan as a cricketer, as a rising politician as well as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. While he was called a ‘lover of many women whose hearts he broke easily’ (Tripathi 2009) when he was a cricketer of Pakistan, after he became the Prime Minister in 2018 a report in The Times of India described the event as ‘Imran Khan: Playboy cricketer now set to be Pakistan’s next PM’ (2018). Therefore, his transition from a sportsperson to a politician or a prime minister has not greatly affected the media’s gaze on Khan. The fascination amongst newspaper readers and social media users in India regarding the image of a Pakistani woman politician or a male cricketer transcends beyond the question of gender. This fetishising gaze is dominated by the differently perceived cultural backgrounds and the shared history of Partition. In his works, the renowned psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan has emphasised the role of desire in constructing the self. For Lacan, gaze is ‘vision, representation and that elusive thing behind both vision and representation that slips forever from our grasp – object a’ (Murphy 2001: 79) and ‘Man’s desire is the desire of the Other’ (Lacan 1998: 235). In a series of four seminars that Lacan delivered in 1964 he propounded that gaze and desire belong on the side of the object, that is the ‘other’ and a person standing in front of a painting is under the influence of a gaze where he is ‘caught, manipulated, captured, in the field of vision’ (Lacan 1998: 92). Several film theorists have employed the concepts of Lacanian gaze to understand the lure of film in culture or the fascination of cinematic images on its viewers (Cartwright and Sturken 2009: 72–75; Mulvey 1989). Unlike in films, in the case of a photograph in a newspaper there is no darkened room to regress the spectator to an infantile state (Cartwright and Sturken 2009: 75) but the image produced in front of the viewer in a newspaper or on a computer screen still makes him or her recognise the self and experience a fascination for the object. It is ‘the Narcissistic, moment of the mirror-phase- the moment of identification of and with the self; and the look which is a component of the externally directed sexual drive to objectify the other’ (Burgin 1982: 187). This is also a ‘practice

166 Politicising the body of the ‘other’ of looking’ (Cartwright and Sturken 2009) that has been repeatedly transferred from one newspaper article to another, from print to social media. The desire, along with the gaze, has also been conveyed from one medium to another. Lacan states: The necessary and sufficient reason for the repetitive insistence of these desires in the transference and their permanent remembrance in a signifier that repression has appropriated – that is, in which the repressed returns – is found if one accepts the idea that in these determinations the desire for recognition dominates the desire that is to be recognised, preserving it as such until it is recognised. (Lacan 2006: 431) The Partition has propelled the citizens of India and Pakistan into a multilayered love-hate relationship. There is fascination for the ‘other’ as well as vilification. On the one hand, where Akram or Khan have been constantly desired or fetshised, there is the figure of another Pakistani cricketer, Javed Miandad, who has been epitomised as ‘Enemy No. 1’ of India (Sardesai 2015). Not only because he had hit a six on the last ball to defeat India in a historic 1986 match in Sharjah, but also owing to his consistent good performance against the Indian cricket team and his frequent comments against India. What transpired due to all these is the framing of a ‘bad-boy image’ (Sardesai 2015) for Miandad in the Indian media. An Indian newspaper recollects the performances of Miandad with an introduction to his relationship with Indians: Think of Javed Miandad. What do you see? A man in cricket-armour kangaroo-hopping around a bemused Kiran More. Or, a man whacking Chetan Sharma over the fence for a match-winning six, off the last ball of the game. Some cheek. But that’s Miandad. A man most Indians love to hate, but also love to pay to see. (Ghosh 2003) The ‘body’ of the other, therefore, becomes a site where a multitude of gazes intersect. This ‘body’ is not of any one person or of any one gender, like that of a film where there is no ‘specific image of bodies on screen with which the viewer is thought to identify most significantly’ and no ‘singular universal spectator’ can be established, due to change in viewing circumstances (Cartwright and Sturken 2009: 75–76). Hence, it is necessary to understand that the gaze is directed towards the body of a country with whom the self is at war and also in love. There is ambivalence in this gaze which is as complicated as the relationship between the two countries. Lisa Cartwright and Marita Sturken examine the gradual change in the gender of the gaze and the object. It is true that women are no longer the only individuals to be objectified for pleasure and desire and there are also men in

Politicising the body of the ‘other’ 167 visual media, newspapers, advertisements, and films who are subjected to voyeurism. The image-making conventions and gendered spectatorship have transformed from the time Laura Mulvey had theorised about the ‘male gaze’ and analysed the sexual representation of women. The theorists state that the ‘[c]ontemporary visual culture involves not only a highly complex array of images and spectators but also of gazes’ (Mulvey 2009: 82–87). When the Indian media and the Indian viewers look at the body of a Pakistani personality, the gaze is multifaceted. The object is not only a woman or a man, an actor or a politician or cricketer. The gaze can be voyeuristic, antagonistic, ‘auto-erotic’ (Burgin 1982: 187) or of curiosity about the ‘other’. However, in all these gazes there is an equation of power enacted through desire and gaze. It is the Lacanian mirror stage where the image of the Other induces both narcissism and aggression, attraction and rejection. (Lacan 1995: 34). Mulvey points out that in cinema the process of objectifying female characters by a male spectator makes him ‘the representative of power’ (Mulvey 1989: 63) and it further institutes the sexual difference between the spectator and the spectacle. In case of the Indian spectator and the Pakistani spectacle, although the former acquires power over the visiting personality through the ‘gaze’, here the difference is not sexual. It is of national identity and this distinction is highlighted by the Indian media in presenting every Pakistani personality, irrespective of gender. As indicated above through the example of Pakistani cricketers, it is not only the women of Pakistan who are exoticised by the Indian print and digital media but also the men, especially the actors. In multifarious articles, those materialising in varied social networking sites, blogs, and popular media websites, the Pakistani male as well as female actors are scrutinised and detailed in vivid terms. They are catalogued on the basis of their ‘good looks’ and attractiveness, in the same way the women politicians are indexed. The actors feature in similar lists such as, ‘These 22 Men From Pakistan Are A Perfect Cocktail Of Good Looks & Talent’ (Chaudhary 2015), ‘9 Pakistani actors we want to see in Bollywood’ (Kaur n.d.), ‘The Most Good Looking Men of 2014 in Pakistan’, ‘Handsome boys of Pakistan – To Make Your Heart Skip A Beat’ (Jindal 2016).The erotic terminologies employed in these articles to describe the actors and even some sportspersons, irrespective of their gender, emphatically divulge the fetishising and sexualised gaze of the Indian on-looker. While writing about the appearance of a Pakistani male actor, Imran Abbas, The News Tribe compares him with another popular actor from the same country, Fawad Khan, by calling the latter ‘Lahori kebab’ (The News Tribe 2015). There is a wide-ranging series of disquisitions on the appearances of Pakistani men which use erotic expressions like, ‘Who could resist him?’, ‘[i]f looks could kill, he would be a serial-killer’, ‘looking like descendants of Adonis’(Chaudhary 2015), ‘[l]ook at that beard and those deep eye and tell me you don’t feel like you have died and gone to heaven’ and ‘handsome devil’ (mahlail92 2015). These expressions and sexually explicit phrases corroborate the fact that male personalities from Pakistan are equally objectified as females.

168 Politicising the body of the ‘other’ The gaze that exoticises and eroticises the body of a Pakistani individual is not the gaze of a reporter alone or even the gaze of the media industry. As Foucault has observed, in reality a patient is not merely under the surveillance of a doctor and a prisoner is not under the powerful gaze of only a prison guard. They are being observed and examined by larger, anonymous fraternities, like the medical and judicial organisations. In this case the gaze towards the body of a Pakistani personality is the gaze of the entire body of socialmedia users of India. The escalating number of social media users in India has also led to an augmentation in the involvement of people with media. The emergence of digital journalism and social media has transformed the way in which news is distributed and consumed, by providing an opportunity for the audience to come out of quiescence and participate in the media culture. A newspaper has now transcended from personal space to public sphere, from reading news alone to a collective and shared experience. In other words, readers can now contribute to the news as well as produce more textual and graphic commentary on it. This is manifested through the number of articles, posts, tweets, graphic stories, and memes created by ordinary social media users after the media wrote about Hina Rabbani Khar’s styling. Moreover, some media sites have voting systems, for instance, wants their readers to vote and comment on various Pakistani actors whom they wish to see in the Hindi film industry on the basis of their appearance. In addition to this, the option of sharing the articles on social networking sites proliferates the gaze as it allows the readers to share the gaze with more fellow social media users. One such hugely disseminated article is ‘10 Pakistani Actresses Who Pose A Serious Threat To Our Bollywood Divas’ (n.d.) which has 43,423 shares on Facebook and Twitter. While the number of shares of an article manifests the magnitude of its promulgation and the voting system gives a count of the supporters of the articles’ views, it is the comments section that fully reveals the psychology of the readers and their stance towards such blatant objectification of Pakistani men and women. The comments section of media websites, like Scoopwhoop, Buzzfeed,, and of personal blogs make space for their readers to initiate a discussion on their articles. Following this trend, under the article of Scoopwhoop on attractive and talented Pakistani men their readers have expressed opinions regarding the subject matter of the write-up. Although some of the readers have raised their voice against the article’s content owing to its degrading approach towards Pakistani men, the majority of the comments reflect a duality. This duality is between the vehement dislike of the Pakistani personalities, coupled with an assertion that Indians have far better appearances, on the one hand and, on the other, there exists an equally powerful fetish for Pakistani men. The hate speeches proclaim that there are many Indians who are more ‘talented’ and good looking than ‘those pakis’. In contrast to this, the fetishized gaze acknowledges their good looks but wonders if they ‘are good lovers’ too (Jindal 2016). Hence, the gaze of India towards the bodies of Pakistani personalities cannot simply be defined as a ‘male gaze’ or

Politicising the body of the ‘other’ 169 merely a fetishised gaze; this objectification has much more deep-seated intricacies. The politics of India’s ‘gaze’ involves antagonism and ‘othering’ as well as a desire for the body of the ‘other’. In his book, Orientalism, Edward Said enunciated that the West posits the East as its fundamental antithesis. The Orient is always portrayed as the other which is looked upon as threatening as well as enthralling. This divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’, between the self and the other can be discerned in the postpartition relationship of India and Pakistan. In the manner of the Occident and the Orient, this differentiation is also based on geographical location, religion as well as imagination (Said 2001). This gaze is a consequence of Partition and the long history of conflict that the two nations have experienced. The fact that conflicts with Pakistan have affected the cultural industries in India and have constructed the way in which the Indian citizens ‘look at’ Pakistani individuals came to the forefront after the Uri attack. Though there have always been contradictory perspectives on Pakistani artists who work in India, it was after the 2016 Uri attack that these views were most strongly expressed. In the wake of the terrorist attack that killed many Indian soldiers a dominant, regional political party and Indian Motion Pictures’ Artists Association (IMPPA), a filmmakers’ group, issued a ban on all the Pakistani artists who were working in India. The list included a number of actors and singers but the leading name amongst them was that of Fawad Afzal Khan. This actor from Pakistan is highly admired in India, predominantly because of his good looks. The obsession of Indians, especially women, with Fawad Khan is emphatically stated in articles, such as, ‘The exoticness of Fawad Khan: Why one man is giving Indian women (and men) sleepless nights’ (Ghosh 2016), ‘Let Fawad Khan stay in India, you can ban the rest of Pakistani artists’ (Bhattacharya 2016), ‘Pakistan’s Fawad Khan: India’s Heartthrob’ (De 2014) and ‘Indian Fans Going Crazy For Fawad Khan’(Siddiqui 2016). In a multitude of rankings and reviews of Pakistani personalities on the internet Fawad Khan is a constant name. Forbes India interviewed the actor in March 2016 when it mentioned his gradual ingress into the Hindi film industry, The women were enchanted and Bollywood had to tap into the Fawad frenzy. He was cast in the romcom Khoobsurat… Inevitably, he was hailed the new Khan in town, and Bollywood was happy to call him one of its own. He is now a regular at awards shows, social gatherings and on film magazine covers. That said, the 34-year-old actor is still a bit of a mystery. (Khaitan 2016) The report upholds one segment of the episode where Fawad Khan is accepted as a part of India but there is always a ‘mystery’ around him. This mystery makes him ‘exotic’ and sets him apart from Indian artists, in turn evincing a fascination for him. The genesis of this mystery around Fawad Khan lies in the fact that he hails from the ‘enemy land’, from the other side of the border. There is a constant fear and skepticism regarding him and, therefore, while

170 Politicising the body of the ‘other’ one part of the media highlighted only his charm and popularity, the other questioned his stance on the India-Pakistan conflict. It is not only Khan’s silence on the Uri attack that enraged a section of Indians but also their suspicion that he is involved in terrorism and other unlawful activities. Furthermore, there is also an inherent insecurity and assumption that Pakistani artists are appropriating the opportunities available to the Indian performers and also snaring away money from India. This has surfaced in various news articles as well as in social media posts. One such tweet gives away the general anxiety as it states: They come They enjoy democracy They have fun with Hindu actresses They earn loads of money Achieve stardom Kick dem (sic) out #SayNoToPakArtists. (Srivastava 2016) The call to boycott Pakistani artists is a revelation of the cynicism with which the majority of Indians regard Pakistani artists. The angst is reflected in scores of tweets, Facebook posts, and, at the same time, in open letters, such as, ‘Dear Fawad Khan. It’s time. Go back to Pakistan’ (Banerjee 2016). In order to establish the notion that Pakistani artists are dangerous for India and by working in India they are illicitly taking away its money, a news channel performed a sting operation on the managers of these artists. This secret operation uncovered that these performers, including all the prominent actors and singers from Pakistan, had evaded the statutory laws of India and have earned black money (‘Demonetisation: News18 Sting Operation Reveals How Black Money Helps Hire Pakistani Artistes’ 2016). Nevertheless, the authenticity of this operation was never verified. These news reports primarily assert the idea that Pakistani ‘imports’ are monetarily benefitting from the Hindi film industry without being vociferously supportive of India’s political stand. India looks at Pakistani artists as inferior, coming from a lesser developed country, in dire need of money, and a threat to the Indians. These are the very characteristics which are employed to distinguish the Indian from the Pakistani and to maintain the binary of the self and the other. It also helps to perpetuate the modalities of power between the host country and the political guest or the ‘imported’ artiste, in the same way that it sustained the Occident’s power over the Orient even after the colonial era. The patronising representation of the visiting Pakistani personality is placed adjacent to a fetishising graphic rendition of the individual. This rendition is in the form of photographs, juxtaposed with an equally circumstantial and descriptive caption. Through condescension and, at the same time, desire for the photographed Pakistani ‘other’, the Indian on-looker constructs his/her

Politicising the body of the ‘other’ 171 own national identity. The difference in appearance between the Indian ‘self’ and the Pakistani ‘other’, which is manifested in the photographs as well as in the body of the ‘other’, enables the former to frame a definition of its own self. By pointing out all those characteristics which the Pakistani ‘other’ possesses and the Indian ‘self’ lacks, the spectator creates his/her own national identity. Stuart Hall puts forward an argument that precisely describes this process, which states that ‘we need “difference” because we can only construct meaning through a dialogue with the “Other”’ and, thus, the other is ‘essential to meaning’(Hall 1997: 235) Despite that Hall also asserts: Difference is ambivalent. It can be both positive and negative. It is both necessary for the production of meaning, the formation of language and culture, for social identities and a subjective sense of the self as a sexed object…and at the same time it is threatening, a site of danger, negative feelings, of splitting, hostility and aggression towards the Other. (Hall 1997: 238) The difference between the Indian ‘self’ and the Pakistani ‘other’ is also based on imagined positive and negative factors. It is time and again wrongfully stressed by the media and also by the political groups who protested against employing Pakistani actors that the latter come to India as a member of the enemy country. These reports are never based on facts and it is only a way to defame every Pakistani artist who were working in India and all the Pakistani actors as well as acclaimed singers, like Ghulam Ali Khan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, were subjected to this conjecture. It is particularly after the Uri attack that these artists were suspected as Pakistani spies who have come to India to earn money and gain information about the country. For instance, in a digital forum one user has posted the assumption: ‘Pakistani actors and singers are not coming here because they love us, but because they love our money. So their coming has an economic dimension. It is not all about deepening the bonds of friendship, or Aman ki Aasha’ (Cocomo 2016). Such speculation reveals the fear and discrimination embedded within the Indian gaze. Since Pakistan has been involved in a number of violent attacks on India, the body of a Pakistani individual is perceived by Indians as a threat. Consequently, a binary has been constructed about an ethical, morally upright, and innocent Indian and an immoral, violent, and exploitative Pakistani. In this case the meaning that is being created by comparison with the ‘other’ is not only a national identity but also a collective identity. Since social media users and the readers of digital journalism are also active participants in cyberspace, as they share the news reports with their acquaintances, produce and reproduce more of these articles, initiate dialogues on various topics, and comes across people with similar views, the personal identity transcends to merge with a collective identity. As long as an individual reads about and experiences a difference from the ‘other’ he strives to shape his/her personal identity based on that difference but the moment that individual shares his/her

172 Politicising the body of the ‘other’ experience with more people he/she finds support and also difference of opinions. The collective identity is created through such consensus and dissent. While national borders exist in the real world, in the virtual sphere the identification of similarities with a group of people and, alongside that, an emphasis on the differences with another section lead to a communal feeling amongst internet users. This communal feeling is manifested in the comments section where miscellaneous opinions are expressed, and debates take place. One significant episode occurred in 2015, when BuzzfeedIndia’s editor, Rega Jha, tweeted a message after a cricket match between India and Pakistan. This tweet perspicuously exhibits the fetishism that is present in India’s gaze and also endorses the binary of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Jha proclaimed that, ‘it’s so sad that no matter who wins, Pakistanis will continue to be way hotter than us and we’ll continue to be their ugly neighbours’ (Sharma 2015). Although Jha apparently imparts supremacy to the neighbouring country’s citizens through her words, her gaze objectifies the residents of an entire nation-state. On the one hand, she is assigning a specific feature to all the Pakistanis and on the other, she is building her own national identity through this discriminatory comparison. The French philosopher, Jacques Derrida, argues that binary oppositions are rarely neutral and there is always a relation of power involved in the binary oppositions where one pole becomes the dominant and the other is included in its field of operation (Derrida 1974). The Partition of British India in 1947 dissociated India and Pakistan into two different nations as well as two binary oppositions. However, since their origination these two poles of binary oppositions has been constantly striving to become the dominant one and their ascendency to dominance is contingent on the situation. For instance, in the situation where a Pakistani individual is travelling to India or an Indian writer is reviewing a Pakistani artist, politician, or cricketer the gaze is towards the latter and the on-looker acquires the dominance over the observed personality. Lisa Cartwright and Marita Sturken postulate that power can be exercised through photographs as they are a form of representing an object, event, place or person where the power lies in ‘the act of looking’ and with the person who has the camera (Cartwright and Sturken 2009: 100), deducing that ‘[t]he photograph is thus a central tool in establishing difference’(103). The photographs of Hina Rabbani Khar, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, and Fawad Khan are, therefore, equally instrumental in embodying ‘codes of dominance and subjugation, difference and otherness’ (100). The captions under the photographs which vividly describe physical attributes, such as the ‘sharpness’ of a Pakistani individual’s features, the ‘light, liquid eyes and the effortless good looks’ (Vasundara 2016) of a Pakistani actor and the attractiveness of female politicians, further augment the fetishising gaze and dominance of the spectator. The photographs and their captions underscore the difference of the ‘other’ from the self and, at the same time, they also become a mode of surveillance. Photographs provide the opportunity to examine a person closely, to scrutinise their physical attributes and, consequently, place them in ‘a network of writing’ as well as in ‘a whole mass of documents that capture and fix them’

Politicising the body of the ‘other’ 173 (Foucault 1977: 189).The Indian on-looker, however, does not attempt to ‘fix’ the body of a Pakistani as these bodies empower the former to differentiate and eroticise the ‘other’. Conversely, the Indian spectator goes on to ferret out the ‘clones’ or ‘look-alikes’ of Hindi film actors within Pakistan. Nonetheless, the pursuit of clones is restricted only to actors and not to politicians or sportspersons. In 2016 a Pakistani man, Hammad Shoaib, became recognised in cyberspace because he seemed to be similar in appearance to a popular Hindi film actor. A leading Indian newspaper reported that this Faisalabad resident had ‘captured the Internet’s fancy’ and emerged to be ‘the object of online affections’ (Kohli 2017). Besides this, there are multifarious articles on such ‘look-alikes’ from Pakistan who draw the attention of social media users of both the countries. This is one instance where the Indian ‘self’ seeks similarities with the Pakistani ‘other’ as the ‘other’ is somewhere connected to the ‘self’ and, in a way, it also helps the ‘self’ to form its own identity.

Conclusion In his conversation with Perrot and Barou, Michel Foucault reveals that the concept of the ‘Panopticon’ defines ‘the principle of a system’ to exercise power in an effective way but at the same time it is true that the modern methods of implementing power are ‘numerous, diverse and rich’ (Foucault 1980: 148). In the sphere of Indian media culture, the ‘gaze’ acts as a dynamic technique of surveillance over a visiting Pakistani celebrity. Fetishism and fear act concurrently through this ‘gaze’ to formulate a definition of the national identity. The body of a Pakistani individual is one that is both feared and desired by the quintessential Indian gaze. The fear within an Indian spectator emerges from the fact that Pakistan is the very nation which attacks his country on the borders and is also involved in cases of violent terrorism in India. For the Indian gaze, the image of a Pakistani personality signifies terror, antagonism, competition, and a conflict for power and possession of lands. Fetishism, on the other hand, is a defensive approach to subdue that fear, emphasise their difference through appearance, and, at the same time, gain power over the Pakistani individual. Moreover, the gaze of India towards the Pakistani ‘other’ and the politicisation of its body are essentially determined by the ‘visibility’ of the spectacle. Similar to the Panopticon, in this case ‘visibility’ also gives the opportunity to acquire knowledge about the individuals, particularly their outward appearance, and this knowledge is then used for segregation as well as the exertion of power. This is the reason why objectification by the Indian media has been exercised predominantly on the famous personalities of Pakistan and why the ordinary residents of the country have been excluded from this ‘gaze’. The ‘gaze’ of India towards Pakistan, therefore, does not strive for institutional disciplining, like in hospitals, schools, or prisons. It is an agency for controlling, subjugating, and for ‘othering’ a known and visible Pakistani resident only to establish a powerful national identity of the ‘self’.

174 Politicising the body of the ‘other’

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Keyboard nations Cyberhate and Partition anxiety on social media Suryansu Guha

Our virtual togetherness It took less than two decades for the world to grow out of the facile tech optimism that marked the beginning of media studies and digital humanities in Europe. The initial promise that computer-mediated communities held for forecasters like Howard Rheingold (1993) soon shriveled and grew faint. In fact, Rheingold himself added a supplementary chapter to a later edition of his book The Virtual Community (2000) admitting that he may have overestimated the internet community’s potential to become an idealised space of civility and sociability. His early scholarship coupled with many others was found wanting as certain rudimentary questions regarding the nature of the community, the public sphere, and the individual were overlooked. Perhaps this was the result of seeing the internet as the great enabler of choice among many other things. Turkle’s (1996, 1997) work on the MUD (Multi-User dungeons) and Walther’s (1996) work on CmC (Computer Mediated Communication) among many others bears testimony to that. Kellner while looking forward to a radical democratic techno politics said ‘it is amazing that the Internet for large numbers is decommodified and is becoming more and more decentralised, becoming open to more and more voices and groups’ (Kellner 1998: 180). The individual’s choice to actively engage or opt out of discussions on bulletin boards, or to subscribe or unsubscribe to groups or pages is something that is undoubtedly fostered by computer mediation. One can then choose the community he or she wants to be a part of unlike its real-life counterpart. Part of the critique of tech-determinism comes from questioning what it means to be part of a real community outside the virtual world. The overemphasis on choice prevented a deeper engagement with the notion of community; whether virtual communities can at all be considered communities or not. Stephen Doheny-Farina writes ‘You can’t subscribe to a community as you subscribe to a discussion group on the net. It must be lived. It is entwined, contradictory, and involves all our senses’ (1996: 37). The more pertinent question, however, is to expand this parochial sense of community in the age of computer mediated societies to which many subscribe. This is not to say that a virtual community cannot be a real community but to simply suggest that a congregation of people on a particular platform, say message boards or subreddits, will not DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655-13

Keyboard nations 179 become a community simply by virtue of participation and a willingness to exercise the choice to do so. To put it in simpler terms, for a community to foster a shared sense of space and medium is ‘necessary but not sufficient’ and one ought to recognise that ‘cyberspace, like any other media landscape simply does not dictate the nature of individual experiences and social relationships but is also subject to legal and political manipulation, economic exploitation and individual variability of usage’ (Mitchell and Hansen 2010: 16).

Antagonism and social media That the Rheingoldian dream of the ideal cybersociety lies in tatters today is best exemplified by the hostile cyber mediascapes. It may be said that social media today has realised half of Rheingold’s dream. Cybersocieties are a site of contestation but it might not be a site of resolution of the contest. Enabled by disinhibition and empowered by anonymity Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit are at times truculent spaces of spite-mongering which are perennially belligerent, spewing venom at whatever is trending. Twitter is the site of civilisation’s inveterate and irremediable discontents where the wheels are fuelled by anger and hatred, of many-authored histories written in 280 characters or less. The compulsory brevity itself is indicative of not only the disengagement and disinterestedness fostered by an increasingly low attention span, which will perpetually poison the Rheingoldian dream, but also the mercantile forces that profit from it. Far from shepherding the new Indian public spheres away from this ‘Argumentative Weltanschauug…which fosters a rhetoric of antipathy’ (Zickmund 2000: 237), it seems that the educated intelligentsia have adapted to and embraced it. And to think this is all to get heard in a congregation frequented by individuals who mostly ‘talk without speaking and hear without listening’, to loosely borrow a phrase from a popular Simon and Garfunkel song. Eminent journalists, public figures, and intellectuals are often targeted and ‘doxxed’ online by both politically right as well as left-leaning individuals on Indian Twitter as researchers on cybercrime continue to flounder to separate what is legally reprehensible while simultaneously combating issues such as freedom of expression. There is ample research and literature on the subject debating the ethical and legally correct use of social media space (Solomon 2009; Jaishankar 2008) to tackling what Imran Awan and Brian Blackmore term cyber terrorism (2016: 174). Investigative journalism has often revealed the systematic attack on public figures in India on Twitter to be a right-wing conspiracy where the dominant political outfit might be culpable for the actions of several thousands of hate-mongers online. For journalist Swati Chaturvedi what else could account for such ‘online viciousness’ (2016: 37) other than a secret ‘digital army’ fuelled by a government-internet nexus? It is, however, beyond the scope and ambition of this chapter to draw the demarcation between what constitutes a cybercrime and what does not. Instead of devising ways to tackle and eliminate hate one must as one has learned to adapt to this fractured dream of the ideal cybersociety, learn to dip

180 Keyboard nations their feet in the discursive culture of cyber hate and dabble, frolic, and splash about in its anarchic possibilities. What Chaturvedi manages to do is compile a journalistic recapitulation of her experiences online which ultimately provide for quality source material for further research. What Chaturvedi and countless other left-leaning liberal commentators and journalists who have Twitter accounts agree upon is that the caustic hatred of the online ‘trolls’ (a term used pejoratively) is oriented towards Muslims, especially Kashmiri dissenters. The ‘idyllic’ Kashmir valley and the dispute surrounding it remains a MacGuffin around which the Hindu-Muslim/ India-Pakistan 280-word mini plotlines seem to revolve. One of the most popular Twitter reactions was witnessed following the funeral of young Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani who was killed by the Indian army in an effort to curb the unrest in the valley. The social media (primarily Twitter) in the last few years has played the great enabler of dialogues and spats between individuals and celebrities from both sides of the border. Social media-fostered visibility, exposure, disinhibition, delayed response time have given birth to a new mode of interaction across borders which ensures the possibility of a greater degree of active participation. The way in which we actively seek out retribution and renew the bloody and violent pact that ‘cracked India’ (Sidhwa 1991) is something that revises the ‘polity that compulsively reenacts the original divide’ (Kaul 2001: 4) in an unprecedented way. This is because the cross-border ‘enemy’ whose material manifestation was absent to the common mass has suddenly emerged out of his impalpability. He has come out of his cloak of intangibility and has become accessible via his social media presence which is a relative degree of corporeality that one can desire for. The ‘enemy’ is finally there for us to take a swing at not only to reaffirm but also consummate the original divide of ‘us versus them’ that was a direct result of our midnight pact. Previously being passive, yet vocal participants in war, be it every time India took the field against Pakistan (be it in Kargil or the Wankhede), one is presumed to act via his representatives, i.e. either through the soldiers or the cricketers, notwithstanding how ironic that transition from war to cricket, from serious to the banal, sounds and is in practice. With social media, however that ever-so-elusive Pakistani collar is almost within reach. This follows a paradoxical relation and reversal of ‘words’ and ‘deeds’ where the hand literally speaks thereby performing the reintensification of this ‘original divide’. Hence, the afterlife of the partition on social media in the form of exchanges, diatribes, slurs, libels, and affronts between Indian and Pakistani Twitter add sinister proportions of irony to Bhairav Singh’s (played by Sunil Shetty) declamatory harangue in J. P. Dutta’s fulminating film of the 1990s from the epigraph at the beginning of this chapter.

Communal hate as continuity and transmedial spillage: cricket and pop culture The everyday quarrels on social media encompass immense diversity that not always smacks of outright loathing and phobia on geopolitical and communal

Keyboard nations 181 lines. The communal quarrel derives itself from a transmedial commodity space vis-à-vis social media where specific forms of knowledge shape the communal subject. The social media commodity space can be seen as the 21stcentury reincarnation of the kind of anthropological space that Pierre Levy (2001) documents in his works as he traces the history of the commodity space back to the first emergence of the world market. For Levy, the thing that sets this commodity space apart is that instead of eliminating the preceding spaces it appropriated them and subsequently outpaced them. Henry Jenkins has already outlined that the study of this space (even more so in the context of the social media which is a vast repository of complex consumption practices) needs to be hinged on taking into account its transmedial plurality. In Jenkins’ words, the shift is one from ‘individualised and personalised media consumption toward consumption as a networked practice’ (2006: 244). To speak of social media hostility is to therefore speak of the communal practice that informs it and this communal practice is itself transmedial since it incorporates intelligence, knowledge, and beliefs that originate outside its spatio-temporal confines. The complex tangle of networks, therefore, not only comprises a participatory culture of communities/individuals/entities but also of varied media. It becomes crucial then to understand how the social media troll conferences of communal hatred is informed by networked relations originating both outside and within it. This transmedial ‘spillover’ is perhaps best exemplified by the communal competitiveness in sports which has its origins outside social media. The competitiveness which is at times a most pernicious and latent form of communal jealousy and hatred bleeds into the social media space which becomes a site for an ensuing contest of bragging rights. Sport, therefore, serves as one such transmedial trigger which sparks debate and dissent on social media almost inevitably. Of course, a sporting rivalry in this particular instance is not just a sporting rivalry because it sprouts from a protracted and bloody political history. As a medium, sport originates outside the social media space, yet its political ramifications reverberate throughout Twitterverse. This gives rise to a kind of accessibility that was previously contained, symbolic, and abstract but has now turned material. The sporting confrontation may end in real time outside social media, but it serves as a transmedial vestige that opens up the possibility of an aftermath of virtual confrontations between communally motivated spectators and consumers. These secondary confrontations between individuals have made consumer attitudes more dynamic and participatory. The social media platform enables the supporter to not just have a conversation about the game with his fellow supporters but also the supporters of their opponents. As a result the entitled supporter whose team just defeated the opponent will now get a chance to look down upon his defeated opponents. Usually in spectator sports this is called fan banter which escalates beyond the game into a history of sporting rivalry. However, in the case of Pakistan and India it goes beyond the sport itself into the political, religious, and cultural meta-history. At times the enmity is just rivalry which takes the form of banter, almost playful yet not completely devoid of sinister

182 Keyboard nations undercurrents. When Omar R. Quraishi, editor of a Pakistan-based television channel, criticised India’s excitement after Sakshi Malik’s bronze medal in the 2016 Olympics, it unleashed a chain reaction of tweets from Indians counterridiculing Pakistan’s lack of sporting prowess. The Twitterverse, however, is not always hinged on bragging rights as banter evolves into serious ridiculing and rivalry turns into enmity reminiscent of a long history of mutual discord, political and otherwise. It is interesting, however, to note that cricket has often been used to fashion and manipulate diplomatic ties with Pakistan albeit unsuccessfully. After the two successive Indo-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971, cricket was used by political representatives of both countries to resolve the enmity and bitter discord. In 1999, shortly after the erstwhile Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s diplomatic bus visit to Pakistan, the Pakistani team came to India for a series of ODIs and test matches. Ironically, shortly afterwards in May the historic Kargil war broke out with Pakistani encroachment in Kargil, Dras, Kaksar, and Mushkoh sectors, putting an end to all the work done towards achieving peace. Such political initiatives have been taken ever since the time of Indira Gandhi down to the times of Manmohan Singh; their successes short lived and failures all too glaringly evident. What is the political philosophy behind using sports as a site to propagate mutual harmony, peace, and brotherhood? Why did it fail so gloriously? A brief comparative study of cricket and virtual communities (both as overlapping mediums of Indo-Pak interaction) will highlight the often overemphasised role of the media that Mitchell and Hansen point towards, that media itself is subject to changing social relationships and precarious power dynamics that govern them. That cricketing tournaments will in themselves function as a symbol of burying the hatchet, comes from a very novel assumption about sports as a ‘disinterested practice, a finality without an end’ (Bourdieu 1993: 430). There may have been two reasons why cricket or sport in general was seen as a way of attaining closure away from our violent beginnings. It may have been viewed as a way of familiarising through popular representatives (since in India cricketers are only rivalled in popularity by Bollywood actors), and thus resolve the enmity to emanate and inculcate a ‘feel-good’ atmosphere. The problem with this, as Bourdieu so efficiently points out in his essay is that sports is not at all aristocratic as we might think. Rather the same form of nationalist machismo, a sense of pride that urges us – in Suvir Kaul’s words – ‘to venge a tooth for a nail, one mohalla (locality) for ten’ is instituted in the very character of the sport that is supposed to broker peace between us: … the social definition of sport is an object of struggles, that the field of sporting practices is the site of struggles in which what is at stake, inter alia, is the monopolistic capacity to impose the legitimate definition of sporting practice and of the legitimate function of sporting activity. (Bourdieu 1993: 431)

Keyboard nations 183 Bourdieu’s reading of sports and spectatorship brings us to the second reason. Far from acting as the white dove being the symbolic certification of peace and mutual prosperity, cricket acts as a ‘healthy’ mediator to channel aggression towards the other. Operating on the classical Freudian logic of displacement mechanism, the collective mortido is expended in a 22-yard cricket pitch instead of waging a war which is bloody and expensive. In fact, this is an age old colonial trick as Appadurai writes that the government officials back in the day used the sport to ‘lubricate state dealings between various Indian ‘communities’ which might otherwise degenerate into communal (Hindu/Muslim) riots’ (1996: 93). This could explain the importance Indians attach to a cricket match each time they meet Pakistan. It is truly more than a game of cricket because it bristles with the resonance of a bloody history which goes back 73 years. It reverberates with lives lost, lands seized, villages burned and plundered, the women raped, the children bloodied, a people divided. However, the question remains whether sports acts as a buffer only for the Verschiebung (displacement) of violent passions, or does it in the noble act of redirecting it become a part of the Partition machinery and keeps it running albeit with slightly healthier alterations? Cricket, far from diffusing the tensions serves only to re-enact the great violent divide. It gives the appearance of limiting tension but in truth the antagonism is only managed and disseminated to an extent before history and its selective remembering re-asserts itself with thunderous poignancy. This is not to suggest that India should cease all cricketing ties with Pakistan but rather to point us in the direction of its failure to attain its lofty and gullible project of peace, harmony, and mutual concord (for those who choose to believe in peace being the ultimate political end).The trajectory of the history of Indo-Pak cricket is a burning testimony of that as we see interludes of amicability and surface cordiality being sandwiched between words and deeds of war. Dispersed across newer mediums the compulsive polity is not only repeated but this repetition entails a renewal, for this is the only way trauma is perpetually experienced, through repetition. The performance of Partition always falls shy of the desired goal of absolution. Derrida explains this repetition compulsion following violence in his ‘Archive Fever’: the One, as self-repetition, can only repeat and recall this instituting violence. It can only affirm itself and engage itself in this repetition. This is even what ties in depth the injunction of memory with the anticipation of the future to come. The injunction, even when it summons memory or the safeguard of the archive, turns incontestably toward the future to come. It orders to promise, but it orders repetition, and first of all self-repetition, self-confirmation in a yes, yes. If repetition is thus inscribed at the heart of the future to come, one must also import there, in the same stroke, the death drive, the violence of forgetting, super repression (suppression and repression), an archive, in short, the possibility of putting to death the very

184 Keyboard nations thing, whatever its name, which carries the law in its tradition: the archon of the archive, the table, what carries the table and who carries the table, the subjectile, the substrate, and the subject of the law. (Derrida 1995: 51) Derrida repeatedly quotes the phrase, ‘time is out of joint’ from a Hamlet soliloquy, not just in ‘Archive Fever’ but also in Specters of Marx (1993) to illustrate what he means by the repetition compulsion of trauma and violence. While sporting events are the most visible popular mediums through which an attempt at peace has been sought, it is by no means the only one. Collaborative music concerts like ‘Aman ki Asha’ ((Hope for Peace) and ‘feel-good’ cinema has also played its part in facilitating amity and goodwill between the nations – to remedy the ‘out of jointedness’ and having chosen representatives to ‘set it right’. In this respect, one must talk about Vishal Bharadwaj’s topical adaptation of Hamlet in Hindi titled Haider (Bhardwaj 2014). What was interesting was the massive and outrageously bold departure that Bharadwaj attempted and to an extent successfully saw through in the dénouement of the movie. Whereas Hamlet perishes along with the antagonist Claudius in Shakespeare’s original, Bharadwaj’s Haider stops short of killing his uncle instead deciding that this is the only way of ensuring that the bloodbath ends, by simply stopping. In what was a delayed anagnorisis (after the initial and thereby false anagnorisis) Haider muses to himself after dropping the gun with which he was about to kill his uncle – ‘inteqam se inteqam paida hota hai’ (revenge breeds only revenge). Bharadwaj’s masterly innovation involved not only a thorough revision of Shakespeare but also a cunning manipulation of Aristotelian dramatic devices. What is important, however, is the didacticism of the movie which is perhaps age-old considering how scriptures across religions and cultures emphasise the moral necessity of forgiveness and its relevance in dealing with issues of communal hatred. Needless to say, that like its scriptural predecessors, Bharadwaj’s pearl of wisdom contrived painstakingly and with much artistry, remains a model of rectitude easy to preach but impossible to practice. Jisha Menon writes that ‘[d]espite the institutional strategies of redress and reparation and the redemptive accounts of the nation’s nonviolent path to freedom, the unruly memories of the Partition resist efforts toward a harmonising closure’ (2013: 5). It has to be accepted though that the popular media even before the rise of digital media had also simultaneously contributed to furthering communal hostility with Indo-Pak war movies in tandem with state interest and political expediency. The objective has always been to ‘set it right’ either by heroically defeating the enemy in the social imaginary or by rising above antipathy and meeting him halfway through acts of forgiveness. The great change that digital media brought about which its forerunner couldn’t was that the latter operated through institutional agents who would represent the people of the nation. The representative becomes the idealised and national self who would either embark on a fight to end all fights or would give anything to ensure there will

Keyboard nations 185 not be one anymore. These national personas, both real and fictional, entrusted with the peacekeeping mission would engineer the way forward. Propriety would dictate both the nation’s people not to identify with these agents but rather aspire to be like them. The shift in digital media is that the application of this ‘collective intelligence’ – to borrow Levy’s term – the onus of action is not only upon the institution, state or otherwise but also upon the individual. In other words, digital media’s hyper democratisation of Indo-Pak interaction has impaired to an extent the collective functioning of the nationalist public sphere which has become disorganised. While sports, especially cricket has been the premier site of the dissipation of the political, social, and often religious enmity and communal hatred between India and Pakistan from both sides of the border, the chapter draws attention to a fresh site of interaction for the interminable renewal of the implacable polity. But at the same time the social media bitterness draws simultaneously from previous sites and spaces of sub-continental interaction as we can see from the tweets cited above. The act of internet trolling is ‘often delivered in the most spectacular and often in the most ethically offensive terms possible’ (Coleman 2012: 101). What is new about social media wars is that we are simultaneously engrossed in the conflict through ourselves as well as through representatives of the collectives as we invoke what Ashis Nandy calls ‘fantasies of orgiastic violence’ (2003: 2). This can be best instantiated by the Twitter war that was sparked in the confusion of the aftermath of the alleged surgical strike that the Indian army conducted in 2016. Far from condemning the futility of human loss at the Line of Control (LoC), inhabitants of both the nations were embroiled in a bitter war of words over bragging rights. The waywardness of the sense of collective justice that the assault symbolised was both funny and sad for the observer who did not readily share their enthusiasm for nationalist machismo. An acute readiness and a keen willingness to believe in the respective narratives that the state has conferred upon us with little introspection is a burning testimony to how credulousness contributes to social memory. With burning conviction concluded from an unchallenged state narrative, the nationalists from both sides started calling each other’s ‘bluff’ on Twitter. What we see on most social media assemblages that keep the engines of hate running is a ‘preoccupation with statistical analysis, dates and the “bare truth” to produce narratives that suppress the terrible human experiences’ (Roy and Bhatia 2008: 13). This is no dialogue; this is a contest between two enemies who do not even know each other but are ready to smack each other across the face with their respective narratives to convince each other and themselves of their respective superiorities. We no longer fight the war just through our representatives; we fight the war of words with our Pakistani counterparts via our representatives and by ourselves albeit in bad grammar at times. This is because the act is never enough, the consolidation of the act in words more than in deeds is important. The potency of the act is only realised once it’s written and recognised so that it would in turn shape history and collective memory – the dualistic memory of

186 Keyboard nations our gallantry vs. their cowardice, our spirit and fortitude vs. their defeated pride and vanity.

Meta-media histories and social memory The transition from muscle power to vocal (or verbal) power is a curiously mixed bag of paradoxes and ironies. The keyboard becomes the new penile prosthesis with which the self-attempts to silence the other. In a somewhat Baudrillardian fashion the war may be fought out there at the LoC (Line of Control) but it is actualised and involuted in social media discourse. This ‘involution precipitates us precisely into the virtuality of war and not into its reality, it precipitates us into the absence of war’ (Baudrillard 1991: 48). The spectral nature of the surgical strike, the absence of information and the lack of irrefutable evidence is not what preoccupies the national imagination. In fact, those who ask these very questions are labelled as heretical dissenters because challenging the state narrative is detrimental to how social memory ought to be constructed. The objective is precisely not to disrupt the: …process in which memory of past events is partitioned between forms that promote social equilibrium at a given historical period (sustained as dominant ‘collective memory’ of the period) and forms that disrupt or threaten that equilibrium (memories that are repressed or ‘forgotten’ within a given community in the same period). (Greenberg 2008: 257) One ought to believe what the state says lest one collapses back into a ‘knownothing solipsism’ (Lowenthal 2015: 296). The anarchic modernity enables the act of remembering and simultaneously forgetting, a fact highlighted by Paul Connerton in two of his seminal works written exactly two decades apart (How Societies Remember in 1989 and How Modernity Forgets in 2009). The act of commemoration that was for Connerton achieved through rituals and repetitive bodily practices assumes a more discursive nature in the digital era. This is precisely what the digital prosthesis has perhaps ushered in as our nationalist machismo that no longer needs to be borrowed as there comes many a Bhairav Singh’s gunning down the ‘detractors’ and naysayers with words and tweets that smack of war, hostility, tensions, and antagonism. Connerton argues that we remember our past which moulds our identities through commemorative rituals and bodily practices. The social media mudslinging conferences then are a modern ritual of renewing our membership and affiliation to a group and cultural identity. Although it’s unmethodical and sporadic since it does not repeat itself annually, but perhaps its arbitrariness and flexibility is what makes it more exacting. Connerton writes how we remember to answer questions that are either asked to us or imagined having been asked from us. With several members of the same national identity bombarding Twitter with the same opinions and memories albeit

Keyboard nations 187 unsubstantiated and unfounded, each of those members find not only the assurance of their version of the truth in each other but also the subsequent assurance of the opposition’s falsities: For what binds together recent memories is not the fact that they are contiguous in time but rather the fact that they form part of a whole ensemble of thoughts common to a group, to the groups with which we are in a relationship at present or have been in some connection in the recent past. (Connerton 1989: 36) One has to, therefore, acknowledge that social media’s assumed potency of promulgation of visibility, exposure, and a concomitant breeding of familiarity that had been overstated by a class of earlier scholars is but only half the picture. This is not to suggest with a blanket statement that social media fails to achieve any of those goals and serves only to fracture the public sphere. Doing so would be to fall into the tech-pessimist and anti-media trap of believing that virtuality only alienates. What is worthwhile is to investigate the transmedial nature of the discourse which is fraught with power relations and to ask why social media serves to further this distance by keeping the cauldron of prejudice and othering bubbling. Plugging oneself onto the virtual world doesn’t entail a rebirth but rather a special kind of forgetting, one that Connerton expounds upon with visionary detail in the early part of his introduction to How Society Remembers. It is a forgetting that entails a kind of remembering which is informed by a life already lived and a social memory already internalised. It is, therefore, indeed foolish to assume that social memory will not invade the virtual space. To be even more specific about the failures of envisioning networked spaces as platforms of conflict resolution is to talk about the great impasse in dialogue between users of Pakistani and Indian national identities. The hatred, however, is not just directed towards Pakistanis, but is often directed inwards and takes an uglier communal shape. Mitra has, therefore, argued, ‘The image of the struggle is manifest in a variety of contexts that deal with the issues in Kashmir, terrorism in Punjab, the general Hindu revival and anti-Islamic feelings in India’ (Mitra 2000: 685). It isn’t true that in a pre-network era the deeds and tales of war had no bearing on how we remember and practice Partition hatred, since (and I reiterate) the acts of war and conquest mean very little unless they are reflected in discourse, especially unrecorded ones. However, what the Rheingoldian dream envisioned was simply this: that the discourse would be susceptible to change once there was scope of interaction. Interaction fostered by the new media, however, has served to re-intensify and strengthen the existing discourse instead of weakening and challenging it as we have infected this fresh site of exchange with the reciprocity of dismissal and prejudice; only this time we deliver the blows ourselves instead of having to rely on elected and unelected representatives.

188 Keyboard nations

References Appadurai, Arjun. 1995. ‘Playing with Modernity: The Decolonization of Indian Cricket’, in C.A. Breckenridge (ed.) Consuming Modernity: Public Culture in a South Asian World, pp. 23–48. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Awan, Imran and Brian Blackmore. 2016. ‘Introduction’, in Imran Awan and Brian Blackmore (eds) Policing Cyber Hate, Cyber Threats and Cyber Terrorism, pp 1–5. New York: Routledge. Baudrillard, Jean. 1991. The Gulf-War Did Not Take Place, Trans. Paul Patton. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Bharadwaj, V. 2014. Haider [Motion picture]. India: UTV Motion Pictures. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1993. ‘How Can One Be A Sports Fan?’, in Simon During (ed.) The Culture Studies Reader, pp 427–440. London: Routledge. Chaturvedi, Swati. 2016. I am a Troll. New Delhi: Juggernaut Books. Coleman, E. Gabriella. 2012. ‘Phreaks, Hackers, and Trolls: Politics of Transgression and Spectacle’, in Michael Mandiberg (ed.) The Social Media Reader, pp 99–120. New York: NYU Press. Connerton, Paul. 1989. How Societies Remember. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Derrida, Jacques. 1995 ‘Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression’, Trans. Eric Prenowitz. Diacritics, 25(2): 9–63. Derrida, Jacques. 1993. Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International, Trans. Peggy Kamauf. New York: Routledge. Doheny-Farina, Stephen. 1996. The Wired Neighborhood. New Haven: Yale University Press. Greenberg, Jonathan D. 2008. ‘Against Silence and Forgetting’, in Anjali Gera Roy and Nandi Bhatia (eds) Partitioned Lives: Narratives of Home, Displacement, and Resettlement, pp - 255–273. New Delhi: Pearson Longman. Jaishanker, K. 2008. ‘Cyber Hate: Antisocial Networking in the Internet’, International Journal of Cyber Criminology, 2(2): 16–20. Jenkins, Henry. 2006. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press. Kaul, Suvir. 2001. ‘Introduction’, in Suvir Kaul (ed.) The Partitions of Memory: The Afterlife of the Division of India, pp. 1–29. New Delhi: Permanent Black. Kellner, Douglas. 1998. ‘Intellectuals, the New Public Spheres, and Techno-Politics’, in Chris Toulouse and Timothy W. Luke (eds) The Politics of Cyberspace, pp. 167–187. London: Routledge. Menon Jisha. 2013. ‘Kashmir: Hospitality and the “Unfinished Business” of Partition’, in The Performance of Nationalism: India, Pakistan, and the Memory of Partition, pp. 154–185. New York: Cambridge University Press. Mitchell, W.J.T and Mark B. N.Hansen. 2010. ‘Introduction’, in W.J.T. Mitchell and Mark B.N. Hansen (eds) Critical Terms for Media Studies, pp. 8–32. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Mitra, Ananda. 2000. ‘Virtual Commonality: Looking for India on the Internet’, in David Bell and Barbara Kennedy (eds)The Cybercultures Reader, pp. 676–697. London: Routledge. Nandy, Ashis. 2003 ‘The Days of the Hyaena: A Foreword’, in Debjani Sengupta (ed.) Mapmaking: Partition Stories from the Two Bengals. New Delhi: Srishti Publishers & Distributors.

Keyboard nations 189 Levy, Pierre. 2001. ‘Collective Intelligence’, in David Trend (ed.) Reading Digital Cultures, pp. 253–258, Malden: Blackwell. Lowenthal, David. 2015. The Past is a Foreign Country – Revisited. New York: Cambridge University Press. Rheingold, Howard. 1993. The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. London: MIT Press. Roy, Anjali Gera and Nandi Bhatia. 2008. ‘Introduction’, in Anjali Gera Roy and Nandi Bhatia (eds) Partitioned Lives: Narratives of Home, Displacement, and Resettlement, pp 9–30. New Delhi: Pearson Longman. Sidhwa, Bapsi. 1991. Cracking India: A Novel. New York: Milkweed Editions. Turkle, Sherry. 1996. ‘Virtuality and its Discontents: Searching for Community in Cyberspace’, The American Prospect, 24: 50–57. Turkle, Sherry. 1997. ‘Multiple Subjectivity and Virtual Community at the End of the Freudian Century’, Sociological Inquiry 67(1): 72–84. Walther, Joseph B. 1996. ‘Computer-Mediated Communication: Impersonal, Interpersonal, and Hyperpersonal Interaction’, Human Communication Research, 23(1): 3–43. Zickmund, Susan. 2000. ‘Approaching the Radical Other: The Discursive Culture of Cyberhate’, in David Bell and Barbara Kennedy (eds)The Cybercultures Reader, pp. 237–252. London: Routledge.

Web sources Solomon, J. Study. 2009. ‘Hate Groups Flood Social Networking Sites’, CNN Wire Blog. king-sites (accessed on 15 February 2014).

10 Pakistani literary digitalisation ‘Mediascaping’ Mohsin Hamid’s ‘The (Former) General in His Labyrinth’ Waseem Anwar1

The book and the labyrinth [are] one and the same. (Borges 1974: 88)

In his 1936 article ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ Walter Benjamin implies to the ‘irony’ posed by the impact of massive mechanical reproduction of epistemology, art and its ‘aura’ (Harrison and Wood 1992: 513). Today at the transition of the twentieth to the twenty-first century, the internet apparatuses of our social-media technology have started generating art-aura knowledge at such shattering rates that we realise the massiveness of mechanical reproductions even more than before. Such reproductions have thus impounded the domains of information that Arjun Appadurai phrases as ‘mediascapes’ or the world of the fantastic appearing to be realistic. In his ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy’ (Appadurai 2004), Appadurai extends Benedict Anderson’s notions about print capitalism and its imagined worlds to describe the mediascapes as a means of distributing ‘electronic capabilities [that] produce and disseminate information’ (Lachner and Boli 2004: 104). Mediascapes, therefore, become a source of providing large and complex repertoires of images and narratives that, when commodified and politicised, concatenate with ideas, ideologies and even ideologues termed as ideoscapes, like freedom, liberty, democracy, welfare, rights, resistance, warfare etc. Appadurai is of the view that mediascapes and ideoscapes form a closely related landscape of images for interacting with the ideologies of the state and the counter ideologies of movements in both human ecumenical or accretive conditions to shape our constructed primordalism as a paradox.2 My argument in this chapter is based on Appadurai’s idea regarding the paradox of mediascapes that recaps for us Benjamin’s concerns about the massive ironical reproductions along with Anderson’s imagining for their possible media mechanisations. On the grounds of its reproductive and commodified mechanism, mediascapes, I contest, involve not only the electronically disseminated information and its digitisation but also its digitalisation that has fast emerged as an integrated body of interactive ideas based on today’s technology-dependent world. Digitisation (normally, the changing of analog to DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655-14

Pakistani literary digitalisation 191 digital forms) and its digitalisation (the use of the digital technologies for wider purposes of marketing and its creative aspects), being integral components of mediascapes in concatenation with ideoscapes, are growing gravitationally as well as gigantically. Some further explanation drawing on the possible difference between digitisation and digitalisation may help us understand the complexity of the matter. Though both digitisation and digitalisation overlap at times and are used confusingly within the media and market worlds, my chapter refers more to the processes of digitalisation. Generally speaking and in a sophisticated manner, digitisation falls under the category of representation and may also connote transformation, copying, and translation, while digitalisation clues to the heavy technical and technological processes that produce and reproduce all other, including art and literary forms of innovative and creative work. Because our idea about ‘Pakistani Literary Digitalisation…’ in this chapter goes beyond just Mohsin Hamid’s story, that being one seminal example available, our future generations would presumably be more involved in the processes rather than simple transformations. The chapter, thus, focuses on analysing Hamid’s online story ‘The (Former) General in His Labyrinth’ and its fictionalised representation of Pakistani engagement with democratic processes under dictatorial practices, but it equally and simultaneously offers an exposé to the broader South Asian readers-community regarding convergent digital complexities and cross-genre interactions that are fast emerging within the postcolonial and post-partition media-literature or technology-literature landscapes. For further understanding on the debatable digital complexity, digitising versus digitalising, one may quote relevant examples from our field: future libraries may digitise books while the future writers and authors may be more involved in digitalising their works …! Another example, which can be picked from one of the websites, is: If I scan a document, I digitise it. But I would digitalise a factory.3 Hence, we can say that the interactive intensity of digitalisation transacts information to improve processes that develop mass media and its mechanised mediation into a digital mediascape. Within the context, Appadurai’s notion of massive critical reproduction very much resonates N. Katherine Hayles’ formative thought about the cybernetic ‘hopeful monster’ that internalises our electronic and digital mediums to discover the ‘New Horizons for the Literary’ (Hayles 2008: 4, 5), a connection that I will pick up later and exemplify in this chapter. Nevertheless, let us first go back briefly to the question of Benjamin’s ‘irony’ as an outcome of the massive mechanised reproduction. The mechanically reproductive condition close to the middle of the 20th century highlights the importance of mass media for totalitarian systems while, against Benjamin’s concerns, it primarily also seconds Theodore W. Adorno’s argument about the privileged place of art and literature. In his 18 March 1936 letter to Benjamin, Adorno reacts: ‘I agree with you that the aural element of the work of art is declining … But the autonomy of the work of art … is not identical with the magical element in it’ (Harrison and Wood 1992: 521). Arguing so, Adorno

192 Pakistani literary digitalisation was actually asking for a more dialectical penetration of art’s autonomy that transcends its magic, techniques and technologies. Consequently, he was relying on what Raman Selden would interpret as the ‘special significance and power’ of the work of art ‘… to “negate” the reality [and thus] reveal as well as “defamiliarise” [it]’ (Selden et al. 2005: 92). In spirit then, Adorno refers to the significance of art to criticise by detaching itself from reality. Art, therefore, Adorno argues, acts within the reality as an independent irritant to evoke rebellion. We can link this reproductive and revealing rebelliousness of art to the transformations that Appadurai imagines through his media- and ideoscapes or the images of ‘Enlightenment worldview’ (Lachner and Boli 2004: 104) – and additionally probe how the electronic forms of art and literature become vital for today’s digital mediascaping. 4 Amid the thin margins of modern to postmodern as well as colonial to postcolonial theories, philosophers like Benjamin, Adorno, and many others serve well as a germane backdrop to concatenate with our South Asian understanding on the work of art. We connect to a trail of overlapping ideoscapes and find the ‘Enlightenment [of our] worldview’ echoed through the ideas like discursive practices (Michel Foucault), deconstructive plurality (Jacques Derrida), and depthless simulacra and pastiche (Jean Baudrillard). We also find our understanding developed on the notions like decentered micropolitics and romantic anarchism (Jean-Francois Lyotard), literary choronotopes (Mikhail Bakhtin), nuclear-powered technologies along multinational globalism (Fredric Jameson), and commodity fetishism (Terry Eagleton). All these overlapping notions challenge the meaning-streams of our media-ideo transaction, and its fascistic fundamentalism developed within the mid-20th century. But besides these, of course so many other theorists have analysed for us our 21st-century global-local assumptions that emerge at the forefront of obscurities entailed by the Modern-Postmodern and Colonial-Postcolonial hegemonies, their ‘transcontextualised repetition[s]’,5 which we can see as fragments floating to generate some sort of Jamesonian fluid ‘spell … of glossy mirage’ (Selden et al. 2005: 186). These being the motifs of future critical intervention, Appadurai’s mediascapes as well as N. Katherine Hayles’ cybernetic ‘hopeful monster’ (Hayles 2008: 4) open avenues and alternatives for spatial and cyber identities that make us think how we were comprised imaginatively but then how we are currently/ recently constituted digitally, humanly and posthumanly. In light of what Benjamin had pointed out as ‘irony’ and what Foucault had analysed as the employment of procedural practice of ‘infinitesimal power’ on human bodies (Foucault 1979: 137), Jameson’s ‘glossy mirage’ picks on the latest transcultural challenges for our cognitive mapping along our computational thinking. The idea, of course, also converges well with the burgeoning issues of global digitalisation with reference to literary spaces. Much then that goes on at the turn of the 21st century, the digital developments, debates, departures, differences, and directions, to use Julian Wolfreys’ interrogative skills (Wolfreys 2002: 1), we stand at the spatiotemporal intersection of

Pakistani literary digitalisation 193 engaging with the hyperreal that merges with the new erupting electronic geographies of our virtual communities, our ‘Neuromancer’.6 With electronic geographies determining our positional parameters, the global framework of digitalised modes of information not only record and reproduce for the Third World and South Asian countries their colonial histories but also what Paul Carter, the Oxford historian and philosopher, suggests, a ‘spatial history … of horizons, possible tracks, bounding spaces’ that annihilate the temporal through the computational imperial.7 The spatiotemporal and computational imperial then certainly calls back to the human historical mediascapes and ideoscapes that Appadurai refers as distribution of ‘a chain of ideas’ based on ‘complicated’ but ‘interconnected repertoire of print, celluloid, electronic screens and billboards’ (Appadurai 2004: 104). It is because of such complicated technical, mechanical, and computational lineages that the poetic and the aesthetic becomes political, plastic and pastiche to continue to parody what Ihab Hassan had identified as the ‘polylectic’ (Hassan 1981: 92) or what Brian McHale had labeled as the ‘POSTcyberMODERN…’ filled with fantastic as well as phantasmagoric realities.8 Quite ironically then cyberculture and its digitalisation, according to Stacy Gillis, becomes a closing down of space and time, a reproduction of ‘nothing’ compressed by the technological advances of spatiotemporal hyperrealities that continuously exercise their virtual presence on us from somewhere ‘behind the computer’ (Wolfreys 2002: 202–203). The cybercultural compression of space, time, and its nothingness from behind the computer that once was in the front, advances our by-production of the ‘interactive fiction’, a category that Hayles recognises as the stronger game element of alternative bodies and boundaries belonging to our electronic geographies (Hayles 2008: 8). Such electronic and entertaining intersections of bodies and boundaries, nationalities and internationalities, localities and globalities transfuse our experience into digital signals and scapes that we add or delete for our epistemological as well as etymological needs like the computer files themselves.9 Given this extensive context, we can realise that our understanding of digitalisation through the cybertext offers a wide range of ‘possible textualities’ and ‘kinds of literary communication systems where the functional differences among the mechanical parts’ play ‘a defining role in determining the aesthetic process,’ awarding it ways of expansion for the scope of our contemporary literary and critical studies.10 The multicursal or maze like pathways of the game-world of cybertext, its nonlinear arrangement, its complex-artistry and symbolic architectural-layout lends it a narratological labyrinth to convert it into a powerful information tool so that the readers become players, gamers, and gamblers for discovering the secret paths in the text. The readers thus act as interpreters of the literariness of literature as it expands its horizons beyond authorial commands. Whether the textual dynamics of the digital game elements generate a ‘monster’ of size is yet awaited for our future implications attached to its technologies while its techniques in the South Asian countries like Pakistan e-merge or electronically merge as a growing reality for the

194 Pakistani literary digitalisation hopeful inclusion of cultural, popular, postmodernistic, postcolonial and other studies, making them move ‘toward the broader category of “the literary”’ (Hayles 2008: 5).

Analysis One can, thus, rightfully assume that the media- and ideoscapes of the postmodern-postcolonial ‘literary’ tagged to their artistic and aesthetic technologies of South Asian humanities exuberate the ‘irony’ of textual and narratological labyrinth. But in doing so, and with its power to ‘reveal’ and ‘defamiliarise’ playfully, the labyrinth becomes a determinate negation for evoking new rebellions within the digitalized Pakistani English literary-world reality. Such digitalised Pakistani or South Asian identities are to happen differently whether or not the authors look into reproductive possibilities that Benjamin had implied to be part of the ‘literary technique’ or that Adorno had identified as its ‘magical element’ (Harrison and Wood 1992: 485, 521). Then, as the postpostmodernist-postcoloniality of our diasporic frameworks spread across the globe, the online Pakistani identities get ready to produce exhilarating histories across genres, geographies, and the planes of formation that may become more compatible to the evolution of future digital humanities studies. Mohsin Hamid’s story ‘The (Former) General in His Labyrinth’ (now on abbreviated as ‘The (Former) General’) sets one such example to explore diversity along hybridity as its hyper-link, offering an e-merging (or electronically merging) digital poetics of our times.11 As said before, the story, despite its focus on Pakistani socio-political scenario, converges around the postcolonial crossgenre digital complexities that are exposed, experimented, and represented for a broader South Asian post-partition readers-community. In many ways, the story also questions the reductionist hegemonic geopolitics of delimiting ideologies across the continental constraints. While its multimodal and multicursal quality opens a transcultural challenge to Pakistani literary writers writing in English to bring the aesthetic strategies closer to new interpretative traditions of humanities and its evolving digital media- and ideoscapes, the story becomes an attempt to replace the conventions of narrative linearity for redefining our current digital human as well as posthuman composition. As the author of the story ‘The (Former) General’, Hamid, himself explains it to be an outcome of the request from his UK publisher to take part in a project called ‘We Tell Stories ’ in which six writers would try to extend the boundaries of digital fiction (that I also interpret as an attempt to digitalise). Each of the writers was given a classic work for inspiration. In Hamid’ case this was ‘Tales From the 1001 Nights’, often called Arabian Nights. 12 Hamid was pleased to work through the Arabian Nights format because it operates within a frame, the tales that are ostensibly told by Scheherazade to save her own life. A similar ‘frames’ feature has been part of Hamid’s novels even before because he believes that there is a rich interpretative tension to be explored when telling a more or less ‘realistic’ narrative within a clearly

Pakistani literary digitalisation 195 ‘unreal’ or fantastic though formal setting (much as novels are ‘unreal’ but, while being read, can feel ‘real’).13 The very first instruction that the reader receives from the author in-absentia right under the title of the story and put on the opening slide goes like this: The (Former) General in His Labyrinth’ is told by choosing your own direction. Move from one part of the story to the next by selecting the direction that corresponds to what you want to do. … You can move by using the arrow keys on your keyboard, or by clicking on the arrows. ( A digital story, thus, allowed Hamid to free it from its usual sequential structure, just as a three-dimensional video game and its digitalisation frees its worldwide players to move around in an imagined and fantastic sphere. In this context, all texts for Hamid are interactive squiggles of ink on a page only to become images and characters inside the minds of readers, while he believes in the most exciting features of print story-telling – the ‘story co-creating’ to push this notion of digitalised narrative labyrinth further. The result is ‘The (Former) General in His Labyrinth’. It is notable that in many ways the non-sequential structures of Hamid’s story and its co-creative and interactive squiggles echo Hayles notion of ‘interactive fiction’ to redefine for us the scope of computational imperial and its erupting electronic geographies. We see Hamid’s postmodernistic and cybernetic application of the frame and game theories very much exercising the Foucauldian ‘infinitesimal powers’ on our readerly bodies but to remind us of Jamesonion ‘glossy mirage’ and Benjaminian ‘irony’ that intersect with the growing alternative and e-merging forms of boundaries and bodies; national, international, local, or global. To an extent, Hamid’s experimental strategies not only sophisticatedly integrate Appadaurai’s combination of ideoscapes and mediascapes with Benjamin’s presages and concerns but also Hayels’ practical yet futuristic considerations about the monstrous yet massively influential electronic reproduction of art, literature and its literariness. Hamid’s ‘The (Former) General’ was part of the 2010 South Asian Review (SAR) (31: 3), a special issue on Pakistani creative writing, subtitled ‘Tracing the Tradition, Embracing the Emerging’. The story could not be printed because of its multimodal electronic quality and its expanded electronic geography. The SAR recorded the author’s statement followed by a note of regret from the Guest Editors: Regrettably, because of the dynamic, interactive nature of the story, we are unable to reproduce the remainder of the story; however, Mohsin Hamid’s ‘The (Former) General in His Labyrinth’ may be read on line at: (Afzal-Khan and Anwar 2010: 320–322)

196 Pakistani literary digitalisation Reading the online story ‘The (Former) General’ on screen offers a divergent experience. It appears with one cell visible at a time, offering readers different choices and then taking them to different cells as they choose. For navigation, the author gives a very partial map, showing where a reader has already been. The PowerPoint format mediates between the print and the online digital format, spreading over almost 40 unnumbered slides or electronic pages (a point already explained) that still may increase in quantity if the readers are to read the story differently and repeatedly. The text is incorporated constantly with suggestions like ‘Press down the arrow to begin’, ‘The text in the Cell # 2 changes…’, ‘Proceed to your meeting’, ‘Greet the other guest’, ‘Ask about the agenda’, ‘Turn to the window’, ‘Examine the studio’, ‘Continue the story one way’, ‘Continue it the other way’, so on and so forth. With the readers’ autonomy to author it, the story with its sci-fi detective format and gameplaying fluid-movement invites our application of the computerised and digitalised intelligence. This way the story not only allows freedom to the diverse nature of readership at emotive or attitudinal levels, moving them to what Hayels had stated as ‘the broader category of ‘“the literary”’ (2008: 5), but also addresses the consensual, hallucinatory, and canonical intent of the cyberpunk fictional techniques by increasing the intimacy between human mind and computational thinking or computational matrix. The story embodies the metaphors of human experience and experiment incorporated with the riddling environment of computerised videogames. Based on its content, ‘The (Former) General’ offers multiple possibilities to twist and switch directions, depending on the reader’s choice. The beginning of the story informs: ‘You sit at your desk, the president of a country with nuclear weapons, simmering insurgencies, and rapidly proliferating pop starlets on music television’. The statement juxtaposes the overall dictatorial mindset as practiced in a country like Pakistan where the nuclear bomb became an exploitable pride while the supportive media-music became a luxurious entertainment to lure and stupefy people into passivity and acceptability of the infringement of human rights. Shaan Azad, the male Secretary of the male General, when summoned becomes the female Scheherazade-like figure of Arabian Nights to knit tales out of tales. So Shaan Azad drowns out ‘the protests of those bloody lawyers gathered outside the gates,’ while the General, engulfed by frequent fits of melancholia regarding his retirement and with his dwindling options between dream and reality, waits as it rains outside. We then find ourselves loitering or hovering along with the General through hallways or galleries, encountering bureaucrats and bodyguards ‘like a gang of parched newts around a potentially turtle-infested waterhole’. Amid the hoard of commercial attaches and media advisors, we drown ourselves like the General into ‘solitude’ that is ‘eerie’. We see a strange dreamy, fantastic and phantasmagoric arrival of number of characters like ‘His Highness’, the chief investment officer of the celebrated equity group Mr. Nasser Yamamoto, Mr. President, and many others as the ‘low-bellied clouds [move] through the night sky …’. We experience mist-like spray mixing with the directory of telephone

Pakistani literary digitalisation 197 extensions, abrupt departures and puzzle games, recording studious for speeches, cameras, lights and national flags, lady producers wearing sunglasses, secularism confused with sensibility, democracy delving into army uniforms, threats and friendly entreaties to the enemies, and many more fuzzy situations to make us realise: ‘… feel momentarily dizzy’ ( ies/week6). Amid all our optional journeys through the paths paved, unpaved, or repaved, Shaan Azad keeps reminding us that there are two or more ways of telling stories/tales, and we keep swirling into the whirlpool of frames; thematically as well as technically. One hauntingly senses that Shaan Azad keeps whispering or shrieking at us to set the mood and tone from his frame within the story, while the narrator-author also keeps ambivalently instructing us to go right or left or above or below. However, we independently move ahead with our own human-machine interface to intersperse with reflective moments: The man lies flat … He feels his breath – exhaling, inhaling … Without his breath he would not be… He revels in his freedom, the freedom of an animal … The freedom of an unfettered soul ( And we are then startled: ‘You are ready for a soldier’s death, and remain so even though you are a civilian’ ( Whether we walk through a small dusty street in the seaside of [our] youth or our face is bloodied, whether our schoolwork is destroyed in a bargain or we experience the effeminacy associated with schools to finish what we started, we finally end up in a ‘Place of dreams’ to brush with our fingertips the ‘storm clouds passing overhead’ ( Our hours pass as we continue or re-continue our story one or the other way, confusingly gauging between: ‘CA: Listen to Shaan Azad’s story’ while CB alarmingly: ‘Turn your attention to your office’. We travel the tale with the General and experience our General-ship, our authority and author-ship to stay above all an independent reader who commands multiplicities full of reminiscence and reflection. The expounding fluidity of ‘The (Former) General’ and its hypertextual nonlinearity offers us flexible logic from innovative angles, making it less frozen and more volatile to contend with human motives. Juxtaposed against Pakistani political history where the country has simply been ruled by its military or other mafias for more than two-thirds of its national life, the character of [Former] General in the story stays a secretive symbol of control concealed in a mazy medium of search for the culprit. As a mysterious creature, the General, the ruler for almost 45 out of 79 years, is the one who manoeuvres, manipulates, and mutilates the country. The General implies social odds as well as the authoritative metaphysical gods to transfigure as a cruel cyborg who tries to kill his subjects for personal vested interests. The readers, on the other hand, are positioned in the sporty race to search for the source of chaos, looking for its origin that is never traced! The country thus

198 Pakistani literary digitalisation translates into a space where dictators along with the demi- and semi-democratic political forces exploit, if not completely loot and plunder, the human resources. Such search-research modes of the story lend its textual transaction a hypertextual mosaic-like magnitude, making it a digitalised mediascape that constantly interacts with its ranging ideoscapes. Placed within the context of Appadurai’s human primordial paradox as well as his interpretation of the mediascape as a domain of fantasy that appears to be ‘realistic’, the non-printable 3D space of Hamid’s text helps us grow hyper- as well as inter-textual. His story expands the representative modes of the ‘real’ as fantastic and the fantastic as ‘real’, leading us into a cybernetic mega-text or what most of the digital story writers would call an imaginatively computerized cross-dressing. By allowing new imaginative and computerised ways to cross-dress and look at human beings through dungeons and domains or manage the multiple ‘cyborgic’ identities based on racial, cultural, gendered, sexual or economic differences, the story ‘The (Former) General’ like any other digital text, permits ever-creative rhizomatous and nonlinear playfulness. The spectral construct of the fantastic in the story merges with the phantasmagoric to converge the absent as present. In many ways, it is the technique and technology of the story that helps us foreground our unprecedented mediascapes, translated and engineered through their digital means. The story’s artistic processes enable us to authenticate our selfhoods in the form of multiple visible and invisible identities emerging and re-emerging like art-aura placed within its meandering spaces. Amid the massiveness of such mechanically reproduced images and meanderings, it is through its digital mediascaping that the story lets us transform our technological capabilities into our additions, deletions or reproductions. The digitalised media techniques thus offer the story a game-frame for transcending the mechanical, electronic and digital effects of its magical aftereffects. As a generative web-word-art-form within the South-Asian-ising sway of digital humanities, Hamid’s Pakistani-style digitalization in ‘The (Former) General’ offers a primary model for Hayles’ ‘hopeful monster’ as well as for Appadurai’s ‘Enlightenment worldview’, encouraging our computational intermediation from print or page to screen and from morpheme to grapheme. While there are more possibilities for knitting and weaving the stretchable domains of the poetic, the epic and the lyric, the story and its digitalised literariness makes its literacy what Hayles claims to be its ‘electracy’ (Hayles 2008: 70) and what I maintain to be its media-cracy. Stories like Hamid’s ‘The (Former) General’ engage with the e-merging or electronically merging phenomenon for reconfiguring friskily the dynamics of digital intercessions by the author as well as the readers. No doubt, while Hamid’s experimenting with the digital literary forms foregrounds Hayles’ pronouncement about ‘the textual condition of the twenty-first-century’ (Hayles 2008: 186), it also and equally enunciates Appadurai’s imagining of the distributing mediascapes that constantly and continuously proliferate through their concatenated ideoscapes. It is in this context of synthesised reproductions that Hamid’s digital

Pakistani literary digitalisation 199 refraction, his narrated labyrinth makes ‘The (Former) General’ an imperative model for our fast digitalising media world in South Asia/Pakistan. It engages experimentally and innovatively with Appadurai’s fluid, complicated and chimerical mediascapes to relocate the translocated and invincible ‘forces of [our] cultural gravity’ (Lachner and Boli 2004: 100).

Conclusion To conclude then, under the current textual, contextual, and spatiotemporal conditions of 21st- century re-productivity the bigger cross- or transcultural question and the forthcoming postmodern-postcolonial challenge for our South Asian/Pakistani literary writers is not only to get the literary aura of their artworks transformed electronically and digitally but to also get them digitalised within the upcoming contesting global markets of art and literature. Benjamin’s apprehensions acknowledged and Adorno’s arguments advanced, we in South Asia today are gearing for our virtual reality and social media to integrate and connect Hayels’ cybernetics, informatics, and electracy along with Appadauri’s mediascapes, ideoscapes and their counter movements to our fast e-merging media-cracy. Late realisation for such late capitalism works as Hamid’s story can offer us viable junctions to mediate our fantasies through our realities or vice versa. But the question also arises, has our South Asian and Pakistani ‘hopeful monster’ of electronic literatures grown to such a size to offer such challenges and work as independent art-irritants for evoking rebellion against the multinational, global coercive practices? How much then does the global and local reductionist geopolitics permits us to confront if not control the computationally imperialistic and hegemonic designs that still hamper our wills or obstruct our dreams to keep pace with the digitally awarded autonomies? What then will be our aesthetically informed multimodal or multicursal strategies to review the narrative and interpretative traditions of global art-aura knowledge and its ever-changing dialectics? Do our ecumenical and accretive nodal-acts of aesthetic-electronic playfulness allow us to revisit the South Asian/Pakistani readership-authorship dynamics to relate it to the politically globalising democratic standards that the impounded domains of digital, digitising, and digitalising promise us? Or are we still entangled in the Benjaminian ‘irony’; its massive reproductions along with its equally remote repercussions?

Notes 1 I am grateful to Ian Baucom, 2008 Director of John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI) at Duke, for introducing me to N. Katherine Hayles, the author of Electronic Literature. Her work motivated me for Digital Humanities, while the hastac (Humanities, Arts, Sciences, Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) at FHI inspired me. Thanks to Rahul K. Gairola for encouraging me to be part of his Presidential panel on ‘South-Asianising the Digital Humanities’ at MLA-2013. Thanks also to Mohsin Hamid, the author researched in this chapter, for giving a

200 Pakistani literary digitalisation





6 7 8 9


special interview, and for granting me permission to use his online story, ‘The Former General in His Labyrinth’, for analysis. Finally, my presentations on the topic for various forums helped me shape the chapter. For details, see Appadurai’s ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy’ in The Globalisation Reader, pp.100–108 (Appadurai 2004). Appadurai believes that in our electronic age mediascapes cater to the growing number of private and public interests throughout the world as well as to the images of the world created by the media (104), leading to what he classifies as ‘the paradox of constructed primordalism’ (101). For details, please consult websites such as, tion-vs-digitalization-wordplay-or-world-view/ or sonbloomberg/2018/04/29/digitization-digitalization-and-digital-transformation-con fuse-them-at-your-peril/#1c4f385e2f2c. For details, please consult Bloomberg (2018) and Prause (2016). Adorno’s work on Proust, Beckett, and the music composer Schoenberg endorses his point of view for locating alienation effect, emptiness, or ‘radical atonality’ in the works of these authors as a powerful enforcement through their use of form and technique. Appadurai, while accounting for the deeply disjunctive relationships between human movements and technological flows, explores the refracting effects of mediascapes and ideoscapes on images of ‘Enlightenment worldview’. For details, see Selden et al (2005: 91–95), Irena R. Makaryk (1993: 226–230), and Appadurai (2004: 100–108). See Gordon E. Slethaug’s reference to Margaret Rose’s comments on parody in Makaryk, ‘repetition is excess, and excess is dissemination or waste, where the original energy and originality are dissipated… all repetition is parodic and transgressive’ (Makaryk 1993: 604). In her article ‘Cybernetics’, Stacy Gillis (2002) refers to William Gibson who coined the term cyberspace in Neuromancer in 1984. See Makaryk (1993: 630–663. For connections between postmodernity and cybernetics, consult Ihab Hassan (1981: 84–96) and Brian McHale in McCaffery (1991: 308–323). The cybercultural belief in compression of space, time, and its nothingness from behind the computer that once was at its front is a rich notion that advances the theories of ‘cyberpunk’ to rebuild on the sci-fi works like Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein or Elmer Rice’s The Adding Machine, or George Orwell’s Nineteen EightyFour. Additionally, the depiction of electronic environment in Star Wars, the fluidity of movement made possible through trans-linear hypertext in George Landow’s The Dickens Web, or the narratorial strategies to redefine the real embarked in Wachowiski Brothers’ The Matrix illustrate some of the posthumanistic and technopoly stages that allow more of our human-machine interface. With Donna Haraway’s employment of the term ‘cyborg’ in ‘A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late 20th Century’ (1991, originally published in 1985), ‘cyborg’ becomes a reality through the transgressive mix of human biology with technology so that new experiential frameworks become what Hayles terms as the ‘boundary markers for the creation of corresponding discursive systems’ (Hayles 1999: 205). That the origin of human interface with technology existed in the pages of science fiction where Gillis argues ‘although it [existed] only virtually’ (qtd in Wolfreys 2002: 202) or that it became a by-product of ‘Interactive fiction’ with stronger game elements (Hayles 2008: 8), the question about looking for alternative identities, bodies and boundaries belonging to the posthuman electronic geographies is growing pertinently and relevantly. It is here that our experiences have started transforming into digital signals, getting added or deleted like computer files themselves (Gillis in Wolfreys 2002: 213). See Espen (1997: 1–23).

Pakistani literary digitalisation 201 11 Mohsin Hamid’s ‘The (Former) General in His Labyrinth’ is available online. For our convenience, the story has been cited (Hamid, Mohsin ‘The (Former) General in His Labyrinth.’ Available at l-his-labyrinth and and The author doesn’t give page numbers or slide numbers in the story. Because Hamid believed in the readers’ prerogative, autonomy and empowerment (free-reading and co-creating) for this online work (this also being one of the objectives of the ‘wetellstories’ or ‘We Tell Stories6’ project), the page or slide numbers could be changed as per the readers’ decisions to move the story along or move along the story. So, basically no pagination of the story had been done, and, thus, reference to page or slide numbers is not possible even here in this chapter. 12 There are more than a thousand published versions of the medieval epic Arabian Nights that has also been adapted into countless films and TV serials. The original stories of the Sultana Scheherazade have been copied, replicated, translated, adapted, and transformed into classic and popular cultural icons so many times that it is difficult to distinct or compare one from/ to the other (also a befitting example of the ‘mechanical reproduction’ of art and its digitalised ‘mediascaping’). However, if readers are interested in finding details about the format of Arabian Nights, they may track the published versions (available also on line now), like the one in 1909 at the link: Or, readers may opt for many of the available and multiply re-published versions of Arabian Nights: The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, a translation by Richard Francis Burton, originally published in 1885. 13 For details, see the Guest Editors’ note in South Asian Review 31.3 (2010), pp. 320–322.

References Aarseth, Espen J. 1997. ‘Introduction’, in Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Adorno, Theodore. 1936. ‘Letter to Benjamin’, in Charles Harrison and Paul Wood (eds) Art in Theory 1900–2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, pp. 520–522. Massachusetts: Blackwell. Afzal-Khan, Fawzia, and Anwar, Waseem (Guest Editors) 2010. South Asian Review: 2010 Creative Writing Issue, 31 (3): 320–322. Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh. Appadurai, Arjun. 2004. ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy’, in Lachner, Frank J. and Boli, John. (eds), The Globalization Reader, pp. 100–108. Malden: Blackwell. Benjamin, Walter. 1934. ‘The Author as Producer’, in Charles Harrison and Paul Wood (eds) Art in Theory 1900–2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, pp. 483–488. Massachusetts: Blackwell. Benjamin, Walter. 1936. ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, in Charles Harrison and Paul Wood (eds) Art in Theory 1900–2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, 1992, pp. 512–519. Massachusetts: Blackwell. Borges, Jorge Luis. 1974. Fictions. London: Calder and Boyars. Eagleton, Terry. 2003. After Theory. London: Penguin. Foucault, Michel. 1979. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage. Gillis, Stacy. 2002. ‘Cybercriticism’, in Julius Wolfreys (ed.) Introducing Criticism at the 21st Century, pp. 202–216. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Haraway, Donna. 1991. Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. London: Free Association Books.

202 Pakistani literary digitalisation Harrison, Charles and Wood, Paul. 1992. Art in Theory 1900–1990: An Anthology of Changing Ideas. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. Hassan, Ihab. 1981. The Postmodern Turn: Essays in Postmodern Theory and Culture. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press. Hayles, N. Katherine. 1999. How We Become Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago: University of Chicago. Hayles, N. Katherine. 2008. Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. Lachner, Frank J. and Boli, John. (eds). 2004. The Globalization Reader, pp 100–108. Malden: Blackwell. Makaryk, Irena R. 1993. Encyclopaedia of Contemporary Literary Theory. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. McHale, Brian. 1991. ‘POSTcyberMODERNpunkISM’, in L. McCaffery (ed.) Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction, pp. 308–323. Durham, USA: Duke University Press. Selden, Raman, Peter Widdowson, and Peter Brooker. (eds). 2005. A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory, 5th edn. Harlow: Prentice Hall. Wolfreys, Julian (ed.). 2002. Introducing Criticism at the 21st Century. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Web sources Bloomberg, Jason. 2018. ‘Digitization, Digitalization and Digital Transformation: Confuse Them at Your Peril’, Forbes Insights, bloomberg/2018/04/29/digitization-digitalization-and-digital-transformation-confu se-them-at-your-peril/#1c4f385e2f2c (accessed on 9 February 2020). Hamid, Mohsin. ‘The (Former) General in His Labyrinth’, We Tell Stories, http:// (accessed on 4 February 2019). Prause, Jacqueline. 2016. ‘Digitization or Digitilization - Wordplay or World View’, SAP (Systems, Applications and Products), Business Technology Platform, https:// (accessed on 9 February 2020).

Conclusion: Reflections Building bridges Nukhbah Taj Langah and Roshni Sengupta

The volume has been an attempt to contribute to existing scholarship on a developing South Asian identity and the several temporal and cultural links that run through the subcontinent by building on the body of existing research around broadcast media, artistic, and visual engagement, and theatrical and digital representation in contemporary South Asia. A major focus areas of this book broadly has been to reflect on research conducted around post-1947 and post-1971 connections between Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan; the South Asian mediascape as a public discourse and its tenacious presence in the public sphere; the emergence of Bangladesh through semiotic research; responses from Bollywood with particular focus on Kashmir as a symbol of political friction between India and Pakistan; and a varied range of visual or artistic responses related to post-partition developments in South Asia. Hence, in this volume, a majority of the contributors have focused on the 1947 and 1971 Partitions by attempting to take scholarship beyond trauma studies and mnemohistorical emphasis, tracing the common grounds that bring together the people of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh through these mediums. For us, exploring these linkages is important to build a positive approach towards developing a South Asian identity within our historical, political, and cultural context. We hope that this objective has been achieved through our initiative. In this time of critical political strain between India and Pakistan, one example that we could not miss and that plays a crucial role in creating these linkages is through a close discussion on the representation of Kashmir. Numerous works by scholars focusing on Kashmir fail to see this ‘territory of desire’ (Kabir 2010) as a point of linkage between India and Pakistan as also depicted in many Bollywood films in conjunction with fictional and non-fictional works by Kashmiri writers such as Basharat Peer (2008), Mirza Waheed (2012), and Rahul Pandita (2017). These linkages, for instance, can be observed through the references to shared cultural practices and a strong emphasis on the peaceful elements of Sufi Islam, love as a symbol of countering the image of war associated with Kashmir, the shared burden of the trauma of Partition, and the acknowledgement of human ties despite a state of perpetual war. Similar observations are made about films based on Kashmir, for instance the adoption of a Kashmiri child by an Indian soldier in ‘Mission Kashmir’ (dir. DOI: 10.4324/9781003167655-15

204 Conclusion: reflections Chopra 2000). In this context, Kashmir is more than a war zone. As a matter of fact, it turns into a subliminal space for Indians and Pakistanis, which has significance beyond violence, politics, and physical borders. This concept is explored at length by some of the contributors to this book by analysing the responses from Bollywood. We believe the epistemological exploration of the South Asian identity – does such an identity exist? – with which we started this project has taken some steps forward through the pages of this volume. In order to provide an in-depth overview of existing paradigms governing each of the sub-themes the extensive section introductions have attempted a rare scholastic enterprise – thus lending this academic exploration vigor and an eclectic methodological approach. Through these introductory pieces and the extensive chapters, this book has undertaken a deep engagement with the mediascape that ultimately impacts the development of our identity as South Asians. As we went through the first part of the project, the realisation dawned that such a teleology at present exists on the margins of our societies and nations – fraught as we are with geopolitical squabbles and internecine conflict. As the conceptualisation of stringent borders, jingoistic nationalism, and unbridgeable political and religious differences moves to foreign locations, a more holistic picture begins to emerge – a new South Asian diasporic consciousness. The space available to Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis to meet and develop relationships has hitherto remained a largely diasporic reality, with such an opportunity rarely in sight for the people of these three countries. Interactions between the people have been confined to foreign locations and in largely neutral milieus. Regrettably, any further engagement with this sphere of identity formation remains outside the scope of this book. The editors, however, have been deliberating on the merits of a larger project that would undertake to understand the development of such a diaspora consciousness in a more comprehensive manner. This volume has also sought– and succeeded to some extent – to fill the gaps in existing studies and works on the mediatisation of national identity formation in post-colonial India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. While the Indian state institutions were subsequently stripped off all vestiges of common culture – particularly with regard to the usage of a Sanskritised form of Hindi without any direct association with the spoken language of North India – with what was until then undivided India, the association of Urdu with Muslim identity in India/Pakistan (Rahman 1997; Ayres 2009; Farouqui 2010) exemplifies the speed at which the newly formed nations rushed to solidify the differences between the neighbours rather than celebrate ontologies that unified them until a few years ago. Hence, language emerged as one of the key elements employed by both states to rapidly obliterate forms and nuances of commonality of culture. The movement for a separate state for Bengali Muslims in erstwhile East Pakistan is a living example of the linguistic motivations of the post-colonial cousins. Not only did the Bangla language emerge as the leitmotif of the movement for the state of Bangladesh, it was also projected as the

Conclusion: reflections 205 cultural personification of the underdog suffering silently under the post-colonial neo-imperialist state of Pakistan that adopted Urdu as its national lingua franca. This volume has stepped beyond the capacities of national linguistic and cultural symbolism that the three nation states are wont to engage in, presenting studies on the emergence of a new mediatised digital space that seeks to break down such deliberately created linguo-cultural and political barriers. It has also – in the process – attempted to introduce a new category of research, that of advancement and developments in cyber and digital space within South Asia. The works on new and alternative media in this volume, therefore, perform a critical function – initiating a much needed academic dialogue and unleashing potential for further research work on digital spaces and cyber media within the larger framework of mediatisation of politics and culture in post-colonial India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. In doing so, the volume does take the first nascent steps towards truly shifting ‘beyond Partition’ and examining spaces that have provided alternatives platforms for the projection of nationalistic fury and jingoistic sabre rattling. It is interesting to note, however, that the contributions point towards one disheartening fact – the prolongation and continuance of the imagination of Partition in the conversations and engagements that appear on new media platforms and in the digital space – thereby indicating that the spectre of the events of 1947 and 1971 remain very much on the forefront of present-day associations between netizens in the three countries. While there is an argument about moving beyond Partition gaining strength on the one hand, there appears to be a harking back to the vestiges of the cataclysmic events in everyday indulgences on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Online battles over cricket matches for instance have – in the last decades – taken on a whole new avatar with images and memes being created around the vivisection of the subcontinent to somehow resonate with the criticality of the cricket match at hand, especially those being played between India and Pakistan. By foregrounding these vital developments, the book widens the scope of study for future scholars of the media in post-colonial societies. Nonetheless, this project has suffered some limitations. For instance, we have been unable to expand the scope of the project by including all or most of the regions of South Asia since thematically our focus has mainly been on concerns which only connect India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. This is mainly due to the complex historical context of all the regions – and modern nation states included within South Asia – a feat which could not be accomplished within one volume. While this has most definitely limited the scope of our work, it has helped us resist the tendency towards parochial scholarship of any kind. This is reflected in the chapters focusing diversely on social media, image making, theatre, ethnographic observation and cultural studies. This also reflects through our effort towards projecting new scholarship emerging from these nation states. Due to the focus on multiple genres, another limitation of this volume has been the restricted ability to explore the intricate connections between

206 Conclusion: reflections Bollywood, Tollywood and Kollywood – a key dimension of Roy and Huat’s (2014) explorations. While closely engaging with critical cinematic narratives on Kashmir and Ritwik Ghatak’s Partition-themed films, this volume also faces the drawback of not being able to reconnoitre regional cinema (as opposed to national cinema) in Pakistan – a subject that needs much focus as compared to the transcultural and diasporic dimensions of the regional or cross regional cinema even in well acknowledged works on Indian cinema, primarily Bollywood. The focus on Indian cinema in the volume, therefore, has been largely limited to Kashmir and Ghatak’s works from the political perspective and has not ventured into explorations of the role of religion in Bollywood such as studies by Ira Bhaskar and Richard Allen on the ‘Islamicate films’. Bhaskar and Allen define the Islamicate film as one that explores Muslim societies, primarily from the cultural point of view. For instance, ‘Pakeezah’ (dir. Amrohi 1972) categorised as an Islamicate film because of the Muslim cultural patterns that are on display in the narrative of the film. It is, therefore, not necessarily an exploration of religion. Same is the case with films like ‘Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro’ (dir. Mirza1989), ‘Mammo’ (dir. Benegal 1994), ‘Sardari Begum’ (dir. Benegal 1996). Despite our broader focus on mediascapes and representation of South Asian identities, we remain rarely enriched by various performative dimensions and genres rooted in the South Asian cultural tradition. This includes tracing the linkages through vernacular and folk theatres (for instance, Bhand folk theatre from Kashmir), oral or folk discourses, and many such culturally representative dimensions of expressions which are carried forward both as points of cultural convergence and as a cultural legacy shared by India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh even after partition. In our view, one of the most debilitating limitations of this academic exercise is the restricted contributions from Pakistan. Even so, the volume has been enriched by the robust work of scholars from both Pakistan and Bangladesh. The publication of this book and the forthcoming volume on post-Partition literary developments is a small step in making a South Asian academic network possible, which would inevitably foster scholarly collaborations between researchers from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh but also encouraging more exploratory works.

References Ayres, Alyssa. 2009. Speaking Like a State: Language and Nationalism in Pakistan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Farouqui, Ather. 2010. Redefining Urdu Politics in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Kabir, Ananya Jahanara. 2010. ‘The Kashmiri as Muslim in Bollywood’s “New Kashmir films”’, Contemporary South Asia, 18(4): 373–385. Pandita, Rahul. 2017. Our Moon Has Blood Clots: A Memoir of a Lost Home in Kashmir. New Delhi: Penguin Random House India.

Conclusion: reflections 207 Peer, Basharat. 2008. Curfewed Night. New Delhi: Penguin Random House India. Roy, Anjali Gera and Chua Beng Huat (eds). 2014. Travels of Bollywood Cinema: From Bombay to LA. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Rahman, Tariq. 1997. Language and Politics in Pakistan. Karachi: Oxford University Press. Waheed, Mirza. 2012. The Collaborator. New Delhi: Penguin Random House India.


‘Aar Paar Public Art Exchange Project’ 89–90 Aarseth, Espen J. 200n10 Aarzoo (film by Ramanand Sagar, 1965) 33 Abbas, Imran 167 Abbas, Qaisar 14 Abedin, Zainul 78 Abidi, Bani 79, 91–2 Absence (Parasher, S.L.) 139 Acharya, Poromesh 55–6 The Adding Machine (Rice, E.) 200n8 Adha Gaon (Raza, R.M.) 151n3 Adorno, Theodor 150, 152–3n24; literary digitisation 191–2, 200n4 Afzal-Khan, F. and Anwar, W. 195 Agamben, Giorgio 37, 39, 148 Agony in the Garden (Gujral, Satish) 126 Ahmed, Manzoor 13 Ahmed, Z. and Afridi, M.K. 60 Ahmed, Zahoor 60 Akram, Wasim 164, 166, 172 Alexander, J., Eyerman, R., Gieson, B. et al. 81 Ali, Amra 88 Ali, Arshad 14 Ali, Monica 4 Allen, Richard 206 Amnesia of Grief – Baldev Nagar Camp, Ambala (Parasher, S.L.) 142, 143 Amrita Bazar Patrika 56 Anderson, Benedict 77, 112 Another Day (Parasher, S.L.) 140 Ansari, S.H. 60 Anwar, Waseem 155–6 aporias, definition of representation by 33 Appadurai, Arjun xv, xvi, 155–6, 157, 183, 200n4; mediascapes, concept of 190, 191, 192, 193, 195, 198, 199, 200n2

Apter, Emily 32 Arabian Nights (Burton, R.F.) 201n12 Arabian Nights (medieval epic) 194, 196, 201n12 ‘Archive Fever,’ Derrida’s notion of 183–4 Arendt, Hannah 41 Aristotle 184 Arjun (Gangopadhyay, S) 151n3 art: aesthetics and, understanding of trauma through 82–3; art affirming life, Parasher and 133–45; catharsis, art, aesthetics and 82–3; identity, art and representation of 77; visual culture and 75–80 ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ (Benjamin, W.) 190 Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) 66 Athawale, Dada 36 Awan, Imran 179 Ayres, Alyssa 204 Aziz, K.K. 3 Azoulay, Ariella 107–8 Babb, Lawrence A. 156 Bachelard, Gaston 36 Bacon, Francis 147 Bakhtin, Mikhail 192 Baldev Nagar Refugee Camp, Ambala 133–41 Balibar, Etienne 38 Baloch, Jamil 79 Banaji, Shakuntala xvi, 156–7 Banerjee, I. and Loigan, S. 60 Banerjee, Pramatha Nath 55 Banerjee, Soumyadipta 170 Banerji, Arnab 9–10 Bangladesh, construction of national identity of 98–117; ambivalence in

Index 209 photography 106–8; Daily Ittefaq 99–101; dead, killing and identity of 110; homogeneous vs. heterogeneous 111–13; identity, nationalism and 99; image and identity 108; Imagined Communities (Anderson, B.) 112; Lablu (Syed Shamsul Alam), case of 99–103, 104, 108, 109–10, 111, 116–17; mediated representation, effects of 115–16; memento mori, photographs as 116; memorialisation of past 98; Midnight‘s Children (Rushdie, S.) 105; Muktijuddho Jadughar (Liberation War Museum) 98–9, 114; nation building, symbolic practices and forms in 116–17; past vs. present 110; personal vs. collective 108–10; photographic archives, ambivalence and role of 113–16; political history 102–6; post-anmesia, process of 98–9; post-memory, process of 98–9; pride vs. melancholia 110–11; Shadhinota Jadughar (Museum of Independence) 98–9, 114–15; singular vs. collective 111–13; visibility vs. invisibility 111–13; war images, visual culture and proliferation of 117 ‘Barbed Floss’ (Tayeba Begum Lipi exhibit) 93–4 Barthes, R. and Howard, R. 108 Barthes, Roland 35; national identity, construction of 108–9, 110; photographic message, production and reception of 164–5 Bartholomew, Richard 126, 128, 151n5, 171n7 Bashir, Aamir 35 Basti (Hussain, I.) 83 Baucom, Ian 199n1 Baudrillard, Jean 186, 192 Before Suicide (Gujral, Satish) 126 Beliwal, A. and Mehta, A. 82 Bend It Like Beckham (Gurinder Chadha film) 4 Benjamin, Walter 37, 42; literary digitisation 190, 191, 192, 195 Berger, John 126 Beyond the Pleasure Principle (Freud, S.) 152n22 Bhaduri, Sisirkumar 48 Bhardwaj, V. and Peer, P. 35, 38, 39, 40, 41 Bhardwaj, Vishal 9, 34, 42, 184 Bhasin, Kamla 148

Bhaskar, I. and Allen, R. 11 Bhaskar, Ira 206 Bhatia, Nandi 47, 48–9 Bhattacharya, Ananya 169 Bhattacharya, Chittoprasad 78 Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali 61 Biberman, Y., Gul, S. and Ocakli, F. 14 The Black Road (Gujral, Satish) 130, 132 Blackmore, Brian 179 ‘Blame’ (Shilpa Gupta artwork) 90 Blanco, M. d P. and Peeren, E. 31 Bloomberg, Jason 200n3 Blout, E.L. 158 Bollywood 4–5, 9, 21, 38, 167–8, 182, 203–4; aesthetico-political engagement with trauma 31; enchantment with 169; Indian identity, Bollywood and 11; interconnections between Tollywood, Kollywood and 14–15, 205–6; Kashmir, shifting gaze on 33; Kashmir cultural representation, Bollywood and 13–14; Kashmir insurgency, Bollywood films and 19; Muslims in Bollywood films, representation of 11–12; overarching presence of 3; Pakistani identity in Bollywood, stereotypes and 14–15; Shakespeare, Bollywoodisations of 34, 40–41, 42 borders and identity, contested notion of 92 Borges, Jorge Luis 190 Bose, Sakti Ranjan 56 Bose, Sarat Chandra 55 Bose, Sumantra 23, 24, 25 Bourdieu, Pierre 64, 65, 66, 71, 182–3 Bourke White, Margaret 81 Boxer, Lionel 161 Branagh, Kenneth 42 Brick Lane (Sarah Gavron film) 4 British India, historic Partition of (August 1947): Pakistan, India’s gaze at 161; Partition through visual culture, discourses on 81 Brown, Eric H. 4 Buniyaad (DD National TV series) 151n3 Burgin, Victor 165, 167 Burgoyne, Robert 20 Butalia, Urvashi 1, 147, 148, 152n16, 153n27 Butler, Judith 37, 41, 152n23 Buzzfeed (website) 168, 172

210 Index Carter, Paul 193 Cartwright, L. and Sturken, M. 165–7, 172 Cartwright, Lisa 155, 161 Caruth, Cathy 119–20, 148, 152n22 Cawelti, John C. 21 Celan, Paul 152–3n24 celebrity anchor, rise in Pakistan of 60–72; abuse of power of television? 70–71; Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) 66; celebrity journalism 65–6; conditioned discourse, power and 62–4; Dawn News 60; discourse, extension of powers over 67–70; fictional representation 70; Jang (Urdu newspaper) 66; media control, television in Pakistan and 66–7; media in controlled democracy 61–2; misplaced identity, problem of 70; Musharraf, General Pervez, television in Pakistan and 61, 66, 67; National Press Trust (NPT) 66; Nawa-E- Waqt (Urdu newspaper) 66; news anchors, power of television and empowerment of 64–5; newspapers in Pakistan, history of 60; Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) 66; Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) 66; Pakistan Television (PTV) 60, 62, 66, 68–9; Public Opinion (Lippmann, W.) 72n2; television as tool of power 62–4; way forward, possibilities for 71–2; ‘wellknownnes,’ power of 65–6 Central Board of Film Censors 14 Chakraborty, Rathin 51, 58 Chakravarti, Paromita 34 Chakravarty, Sumita S. 24 Chandio, Manzoor A. 61–2 Channa, Imran 83, 88–9 Charania, Moon 14 Chatterji, Joya 3, 47, 53, 54 Chaturvedi, Swati 179–80 Chaudhary, Swetambara 167 Chaudhuri, Darsan 48, 49, 57 Chere Asha Gram (Salil Choudhury short stories) 57–8 Chomsky, Noam 72n2 Chopra, Vidhu Vinod 13, 19, 203–4 Choudhry, Javed 67 Chowdhury, Harendra Nath 55 Chowdhury, Sayandeb 10–11 Chowdhury, Tarit 51–2 Christ in the Wilderness (Gujral, Satish) 122

cinema: cinematic representations 5, 9; easy-to-consume form of representation 19, 23; Hindi cinema, national cinema? 19–21; real-life political goals, cinematic representation of 23–4, 28 Ciocca and Laudando 90 Clean Sweep (Parasher, S.L.) 140, 141 Cocomo 171 Coleman, E. Gabriella 185 collaborative music concerts 184 collective consciousness, cultural representations of 78–80 collective identity and Pakistan, India’s gaze at 171–2 communal identity 54 community hate as continuity 180–86 Company (Parasher, S.L.) 140 The Condemned (Gujral, Satish) 128, 131 conditioned discourse, power and 62–4 Connerton, Paul 186–7 The Conqueror – Dance of Destruction 2 (Gujral, Satish) 126 Covering Grief (Parasher, S.L.) 139 Covid-19 pandemic crisis xvi–xvii cricket 4, 5, 155, 158, 166; diplomatic ties and 182; gaze on 164–5, 167, 172; online battles over matches 205; pop culture and 180–86; violent divide and 183; virtual communities and, comparative study of 182–3 cross-genre interactions, digitalisation and 191 Cry I – Cheekh (Parasher, S.L.) 134 Cry II (Parasher, S.L.) 134–5 cultural identity 77, 79, 186 cultural trauma, remembrance and 82 Curfewed Night (Peer, B.) 35 Curled Up (Parasher, S.L.) 139 Curzon of Kedleston, George, Marquess 46–7 cyberspace: articles on 163; digital texts and 155–8; exploration of present paradigms 156–8; game-world of cybertext 193–4; hostile cyber mediascapes 179 Dacca, Nawab of 54 Daily Ittefaq 99–101 Daily Mail (UK) 163 Daily Star 117n5 Dance of Destruction (Gujral, Satish) 123–4

Index 211 ‘The Dark is Light Enough’ (Gujral, Satish) 120 Das, Suranjan 51 Das, Veena 148, 150 Datta, Santo 126, 127, 151n7 Dawn Media Group 66 Dawn News 60 ‘Dawn of Freedom’ (Faiz, Faiz Ahmed poem) 79 Days of Glory (Gujral, Satish) 121–2, 123 De, Shobha 169 Derrida, J. and Prenowitz, E. 36 Derrida, J. and Stiegler, B. 35, 41 Derrida, Jacques 35, 41, 64, 148, 172, 192; ‘Archive Fever’ 183–4 Dervish sculpture (Parasher, S.L.) 142–4 desire, disempowering through 162–4 Devasundaram, Ashvin Immanuel 40 Devree, Howard 127 dialogue, spectral resistance and 35–42 The Dickens Web (Landow, G.) 200n8 difference, ambivalent nature of 170–71 digital mediascaping 192 digital representation 156–7, 191, 203 digitalised mediascapes, interaction with ideoscapes 198–9 digitisation and digitalisation 190–91 Dionne, C. and Kapadia, P. 42 Disasters of War (Francisco Goya paintings) 147 Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (Foucault, M.) 162 discourse, extension of powers over 67–70 The Djinns of Eidgah (Abhishek Majumder play) xv Doheny-Farina, Stephen 178 Dolil – Land Deed (Ritwik Ghatak play) 10, 50, 52, 53–4, 57, 58 Drolet, Michael 63–4 Dutta, J.P. 180 Dwyer, Rachel 20 Dwyer, Richard 11 Eagleton, Terry 192 East as fundamental antithesis of West 169 Egan, Eric 14 El Greco 126 Electronic Literature (Hayles, N.K.) 199n1 electronic literatures 199; see also literary digitalisation (Pakistani) ‘Enclosure/Erasure’ (Imran Channa artwork) 88, 89, 90

Equality Lab xvii eroticism (and exoticism) in gaze 167–8 ethnic identity 40 Ettinger, Bracha L. 95n3 expressive line (Parasher, S.L.) 133–4 Fabri, Charles 124 Facebook 168, 170, 179, 205 Faiz, Faiz Ahmed 79 Fallows, James 65 familiar formulas, formulaic families 28 Fanaa (Kunal Kohli film) 19, 23, 24, 28–9n2, 29n7, 34 Farouqui, Ather 204 Felman, S. and Laub, D. 41 Felman, Shoshana 148 fetishising gaze 165–6 fictional representation: celebrity anchor, rise in Pakistan of 70; literary digitalisation (Pakistani) 191 Fishman, J.M. and Marvin, C. 76 Forbes India 169 Foucault, Michel 63, 65, 116, 155, 192; body of the ‘Other,’ politicisation of 161–2, 168, 172–3; ‘Panopticon,’ concept of 173 Francis, D., Kellaher, L. and Neophytou, G. 40 Frankenstein (Shelly, M.) 200n8 Freud, Sigmund 111, 152n22 ‘From 1,7 million mi2 To 55, 598 mi2’ (Tayeba Begum Lipi artwork) 93–4 From the Road (Parasher, S.L.) 139 Frow, John 31 Gallagher, J.A. 53 Gandhi, Indira 128, 182 Gandhi, Mohandas K. (‘Mahatma’) 78 Gangopadhyay, Sunil 151n3 Ganguli, Usha 57 Ganguly, Sumit 21 Ganti, Tejaswini 20 Garfunkel, Art 179 Gellner, Ernest André 105 gender: family and 26–7; stereotypes of identity and 14 ‘The (Former) General’ (Mohsin Hamid digital narrative) 191, 194–9, 201n11 Gerbner, G. and Gross, L. 69 Gerbner, George 69 Ghatak, Ritwik 10, 12, 206; Bengal theatre and 50–52; Kolkata theatre, absence of Partition narratives in 47,

212 Index 49–50, 53, 54, 57, 58; Partition-themed films of 206 Ghosh, Amitav 98 Ghosh, Devarsi 166, 169 Gibson, William 200n6 Gillis, Stacy 193, 200n6, 200n9 Gilmartin, David 3 Glory/Martyr (Gujral, Satish) 126 Gordon, Avery F. 36, 37, 43 Goswami 163 Goya, Francisco 147 Grapes of Wrath/Despair (Gujral, Satish) 126 graphite on paper (Parasher, untitled, 1947–49) 142 Greenberg, Jonathan D. 186 Grief has no Voice (Parasher, S.L.) 139 Grieving (Parasher, S.L.) 136, 138 Guha, Suryansu 155 Gujral, Kiran 151n1 Gujral, Satish 75, 76, 78, 83, 85–6; Agony in the Garden 126; The Black Road 130, 132; charting violence (1950–52) 122–5; Christ in the Wilderness 122; The Condemned 128, 131; The Conqueror – Dance of Destruction 2 126; Dance of Destruction 123–4; ‘The Dark is Light Enough’ 120; Days of Glory 121–2, 123; Glory/Martyr 126; Grapes of Wrath/Despair 126; Mexico (1952–5) 125–7; Mourning en Masse 120–21, 122; oil on canvas (untitled, 1959) 130, 132; Partition paintings (1948–61) 120–33; The Pilgrim 125; Portrait of ‘P’ 128, 130; portraits and deepening shadows (1955–9) 128–30; record, testimony and trauma, Partition art of 119, 147, 148–9, 150, 151n1, 151n5–8, 152n13, 152n20; reflections on Partition art of 145–6; Return of the Abducted 122–3; self-portrait (untitled, 1956) 128, 129; Sermon on the Mount 125; Shrine 126; Snare of Memories 126, 127; spectres (1959–61) 130–33; Before Suicide 126; Uma Vasudev 128; voicing the pain (1948–51) 120–22; The Wail 122 Gupta, Shilpa 83, 86, 89–91 Haider, Nishat 9 Haider (Vishal Bhardwaj film) 9, 31–2, 34–5, 42–3, 184; spectropolitics, spectral resistance and dialogue in 35–42

Hall, Stuart 171 Hamid, Mohsin 156; literary digitisation 191, 194–9, 199–200n1, 201n11 Hamlet, traditional performances of 42 Hamlet (Franco Zeffirelli film) 42 Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh film) 42 Hamlet (Kishore Sahu film) 36 Hamlet (Lawrence Olivier film) 42 Hamlet (Robin Lough film) 42 Hamlet (Shakespeare play): Kashmir, framing in Bhardwaj’s Haider and 40–41; social media, cyberhate and Partition anxiety on 184 Hand, Felicity 25, 26 ‘Hanera Jarega Kivey’ (Surjit Patar poem) 119, 151n2 Haq, Fazlul 53, 54, 55 Harraway, Donna 200n8 Harrison, C. and Wood, P. 190, 191, 194 Hasan, Qamrul 79 Hashmi, Salima 79 Hashmi, Zarina 83, 86–7, 151n4 Hassan, Ihab 193 Hayles, N. Katherine 155–6; literary digitisation 191, 192, 193–4, 195, 196, 198, 199, 200n9 Heavy Despair (S.L. Parasher painting) 83, 84, 136, 137 Heijden, Hendric Van Der 104 ‘Here There Is No Border’ (Shilpa Gupta artwork) 91 Herman, E.S. 62 Herman, Judith 81, 82, 83 Herr, Michel 98 Hindu identity 77; silence, Kolkata Group Theatre and 54 Hirsch, Joshua 82 Hirsch, Marianne 76, 81; national identity, construction of 98, 105, 107; ‘postmemory,’ concept of 149 history: images and, Benjamin on 42; politics and 23–5; representation/ distortion of 89 Hobsbawm, E. and Ranger, T. 77 Holderness, Graham 34 Holocaust: comparison with Partition 81; multiple representations in memories of 147 ‘Home is a Foreign Place’ (Zarina Hashmi artwork) 86–7 Hore, Somnath 151n4 Hossain, Anusheh 117n5 How Modernity Forgets (Connerton, P.) 186

Index 213 How Societies Remember (Connerton, P.) 186, 187 The Human Condition (Arendt, H.) 41 humanising Partition experience (Parasher, S.L.) 134 Hussain, Intezaar 83 Hussain, M.F. 78, 79 Hussain, Syed Talat 67 Hussein, Abdullah 151n3

Association (IMPPA) 169; national identity of, Kashmir insurgency and 19, 21–2; Peoples’ Theatre Association (IPTA) 47, 48, 49–50, 53, 57; see also British India; Pakistan, India’s gaze at International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) 72 Interpretation of Dreams (Freud, S.) 152n22

identity: acknowledgement of 3; art and representation of 77; Asian identity 4–5; Bengali identity 10, 54, 58, 103, 110; citizenship and, doubts about 26; communal identity 54; crisis of identity, displacement and 95; cultural identity 77, 79, 186; dominant identity, acceptance of 13; ethnic identity 40; future identity, change in 81; gender and, stereotypes of 14; ‘ghost’ identity 38; Hindu identity 54, 77; Indian identity, Bollywood and 11; Indian national identity, Kashmir insurgency and 19, 21–2; Kashmiri identity 9; misplaced identity, problem of 70; Muslim identity 1, 56, 204; national identity 1, 115, 116, 158, 161, 167, 171, 172, 173, 186–7; national identity, construction of 75; national identity, mediatisation of formation of 204–5; nationalism and 99; Pakistani identity in Bollywood, stereotypes and 14–15; personal identity 171–2, 173; political identity 77; production site of 87; representation of 77; representation of identities in South Asia 206; shared identity 5; South Asian identity 203, 204; stereotypes of identity and gender 14 ideoscapes, mediascapes and: literary digitalisation (Pakistani) 193; mediascapes 155–6, 193, 195, 198, 200n4 image and identity 108 image-making conventions, gendered spectatorship and 167 Imagined Communities (Anderson, B.) 112 Imran Channa, art of 88–90 India: critical political strain between Pakistan and 203; India-Pakistan Academic Network (Facebook group) xvi, 3; Indian identity, Bollywood and 11; Motion Pictures’ Artists

Jaffrelot, Christophe 3 Jain, S. and Sarin, A. 150 Jaishankar, K. 179 Jalal, Ayesha 3 Jameson, Fredric 192 Jang (Urdu newspaper) 66 Jayawickrama, Sharanjya 87 Jenkins, Henry 181 Jha, Narendra 34 Jha, P. and Rai, A.S. 11 Jha, Rega 17223 Jha, S. and Kurian, A. xvi Jindal, Rajinder 167, 168 John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI) 199n1 Joshi, Priya 20 Junglee – The Savage One (Subodh Mukherji film) 33 Kabir, Alamgir 14 Kabir, Ananya Jahanara 1, 13, 21, 22, 24, 25, 28n1, 149, 150, 203; framing Kashmir in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider 33, 36; national identity, construction of 98, 105, 106 Kaka Ram (Parasher, S.L.) 139–40 Kaplan, E. Anne 82, 92 Kashmir: cultural representation, Bollywood and 13–14; Kashmir Valley, cross-border enemy and 180; Kashmiri identity 9; Kashmiri ‘Other,’ notion of enemy as internal and 37, 42–3; Maharajah of 32; media representation of 13, 203; nation in Hindi cinema and 21–3; traumatic legacies, engagement with visual representations of 31–2 Kashmir, framing in Bhardwaj’s Haider 31–43; aporias, definition of representation by 33; behind the Vale, conundrum of Kashmir 32–3; Curfewed Night (Peer, B.) 35; democracy, agonistic account of 42–3; dialogue, spectral resistance and 35–42; ethnic identity 40; Fiza (Khalid

214 Index Mohammad film) 34; ‘ghost’ identity 38; Haider (Vishal Bhardwaj film): spectropolitics, spectral resistance and dialogue in 35–42; Hamlet, traditional performances of 42; Hamlet (Franco Zeffirelli film) 42; Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh film) 42; Hamlet (Kishore Sahu film) 36; Hamlet (Lawrence Olivier film) 42; Hamlet (Robin Lough film) 42; Hamlet (Shakespeare play) 40–41; haunted homeland in Haider, representation of 40; history and images, Benjamin on 42; The Human Condition (Arendt, H.) 41; Junglee – The Savage One (Subodh Mukherji film) 33; Kashmir’s traumatic legacies, engagement with visual representations of 31–2; Khoon ka Khoon – Blood for Blood (Sohrab Modi film) 36; Khoonee-Nahak – Unjust Assassination (Dada Athawale silent film) 36; Maqbool (Vishal Bhardwaj film) 31; Mourning the Nation (Sarkar, B.) 36; Muslim ‘Other’ in Indian national imaginary 31; Omkara (Vishal Bhardwaj film) 31; political adversary, ‘Other’ as 34; precariousness of the ‘Other’ 41; shifting gaze 33–5; spectre as representational device 31; spectropolitics 35–42; torture centres in Haider, representation of 39–40; transformative recognition 42–3 Kashmir insurgency, portrayal of 19–29; citizenship and identity, doubts about 26; familiar formulas, formulaic families 28; Fanaa (Kunal Kohli film) 19, 23, 24, 28–9n2, 29n7, 34; gender, family and 26–7; Hindi cinema, national cinema? 19–21; history, politics and 23–5; Kashmir and nation in Hindi cinema 21–3; Kashmir ki Kali (Shakti Samanta film) 22, 33; Maachis (film directed by Gulzar, 1996) 24; Mission Kashmir (Vidhu Vinod Chopra film) 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29n6, 33–4; real-life political goals, cinematic representation of 23–4, 28; religion 25–6; representation, cinema as easy-to-consume form of 19, 23; Roja (Mani Ratnam film) 19, 22–3, 24, 25, 29n4, 33–4; Yahaan (Shoojit Sircar film) 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 33–4 Katha, Amar Chitra 156 Kaul, Suvir 180, 182

Kaur, Manpreet 167 Kaur, Ravinder 152n16 Kayser, Christine Vial 88 Kazi, Taha 14 Kellner, Douglas 178 Khaitan, Abhilasha 169 Khan, A. and Ahmad, A.N. 14 Khan, Akram 53 Khan, Altaf 10, 13–14 Khan, Ayub 60, 61, 62 Khan, Fawad Afzal 169–70, 172 Khan, Ghulam Ali 171 Khan, Imran 164, 165, 166, 172 Khan, Kamran 67 Khan, Rahat Fateh Ali 171 Khan, Ulla A. 66–7, 67–8, 69 Khan, Yahya 103–4 Khanna, Krishen 151n4 Khar, Hina Rabbani 162–3, 164, 168, 172 Khatun, Nadira 11–12 ‘Khol do’ (Saadat Hassan Manto story) 57 Khoon ka Khoon – Blood for Blood (Sohrab Modi film) 36 Khoone-e-Nahak – Unjust Assassination (Dada Athawale silent film) 36 Kidwai, Anis 153n25 Kim, Y. and Billings, A.C. 158 Kingston, Jeff 35 Klein, Naomi 71 Kohli, Amrita 173 Kohli, Kunal 19 Kolkata Group Theatre xv Kollwitz, Kathe 147 Krach, Wolfgang 72 Krishna, Sankaran 33 Kumar, Aparna 86 Kumar, Kamayani 75 Kumar, Priya 25 Kurasawa, Fuyuki 41 Lablu (Syed Shamsul Alam), case of 99–103, 104, 108, 109–10, 111, 116–17 Lacan, Jacques 161, 165, 166, 167; Lacanian gaze, representation, and desire of the ‘Other’ in 165–6 Lachner, F.J. and Boli, J. 190, 192, 199 Laclau, Ernesto 42 Lajpat, Lala 128 Lal, Ananda 49 Landow, George 200n8 Landsberg, Alison 83, 95n1

Index 215 Langah, N. and Din, KU. 14–15 Langah, Nukhbah Taj xv Laub, Dori 148 Lensing, John 69 Levi, Primo 152–3n24 Levinas, Emmanuel 41 Levy, Pierre 181, 185 ‘Lik Likoti’ (Imran Channa artwork) 88, 89 Lipi, Tayeba Begum 83, 92–4 Lippmann, Walter 62, 72n2 literary digitalisation (Pakistani) 190–201; The Adding Machine (Rice, E.) 200n8; Arabian Nights (Burton, R.F.) 201n12; Arabian Nights (medieval epic) 194, 196, 201n12; ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ (Benjamin, W.) 190; cross-genre interactions 191; The Dickens Web (Landow, G.) 200n8; digital mediascaping 192; digitalised mediascapes, interaction with ideoscapes 198–9; digitisation and digitalisation 190–91; Electronic Literature (Hayles, N.K.) 199n1; electronic literatures, ‘hopeful monster’ of 199; fictional representation 191; Frankenstein (Shelly, M.) 200n8; game-world of cybertext 193–4; ‘The (Former) General’ (Mohsin Hamid digital narrative) 191, 194–9, 201n11; human historical mediascapes 193; ideoscapes, mediascapes and 193; John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI) 199n1; The Matrix (Wachowiski Brothers) 200n8; mechanical reproduction, Benjamin’s ‘irony’ in 190, 191–2, 195, 199; mediascapes, Appadurai’s concept of 190, 191, 192, 193, 195, 198, 199, 200n2; narratological labyrinth, determinate negation in 194; Necromancer (Gibson, W.) 200n6; Nineteen Eighty-Four (Orwell, G.) 200n8; South Asian Review 195, 201n13; technologyliterature landscapes 191; transcultural challenges for cognitive mapping 192–3 Litvin, Margaret 34 Lonely Pilgrim sculpture (Parasher, S.L.) 142 Lough, Robin 42 Lowenthal, David 186 Luckhurst, Roger 32 Lyotard, Jean-Francois 148, 192

Maachis (film directed by Gulzar, 1996) 24 MacIntyre, Alasdair 42 Mago, Pran Nath 153n25 Mahey, Arjun 81 Mahlail 92 167 Mail Today 162 Makaryk, Irena R. 200n4–5, 200n7 Malani, Nalini 83, 86, 87–8, 91, 92–3 Malbe ka Malik (Rakesh, M.) 83 Malik, Keshav 86, 124 Malik, Sakshi 182 ‘Mammo’ (Shyam Benegal film) 206 Mann, Ajit 87 Manto, Saadat Hasan 57, 83–4, 88, 91, 151n3 Mapping South Asian Theatre (Sengupta, A., Ed.) xvi Maqbool (Vishal Bhardwaj film) 31 Marcuse, Herbert 38 Markovits, Claude 87 Martin-Jones, David 33 Marx, Karl 116 Mathur, Saloni 76 The Matrix (Wachowiski Brothers) 200n8 Mayo School of Art 120, 133, 152n15 Mbembé, A. and Meintjes, L. 35 McCaffery, Larry 200n8 McGowan, Todd 40 McHale, Brian 193, 200n8 McLuhan, Marshall 67–8, 72n3 mechanical reproduction, Benjamin’s ‘irony’ in 190, 191–2, 195, 199 media control: controlled democracy, media in 61–2; Pakistani personality, Indian media construct of image of 165; television in Pakistan and 66–7; see also celebrity anchor, rise in Pakistan of mediascapes 5–6, 206; Appadurai’s concept of 190, 191, 192, 193, 195, 198, 199, 200n2; engagement with South Asian identity and 204; human historical mediascapes 193; ideoscapes, mediascapes and 155–6, 193, 195, 198, 200n4; power within, post-Partition South Asia and 15; representation of South Asian identity, mediascapes and 206; South Asian mediascape 2, 5, 157, 203 mediated representation, effects of 115–16 memories: Holocaust, multiple representations in memories of 147; meta-media histories, social memory

216 Index and 186–7; ‘milieux de memoire,’ absence of82; past, memorialisation of 98; post-amnesia and post-memory, processes of 98–9; post-memory, process of 98–9; ‘postmemory,’ concept of 149; representation, centrality in recovery of 148–9, 152n22 ‘Memories’ (Imran Channa artwork) 88 Menon, Jisha 47, 184 Menon, Kay Kay 35 Menon, Krishna 128 Menon, Ritu 148 MensXP 164 Metz, Christian 161, 163 Mexico, Satish Gujral in (1952–5) 125–7 Miandad, Javed 166 Midnight’s Children (Rushdie, S.) 105 ‘milieux de memoire,’ absence of 82 Mills, Sara 63, 69 Mir, Hamid 67 Misgar, Umar Lateef 32 Mission Kashmir (Vidhu Vinod Chopra film) 13, 203–4; Kashmir insurgency, portrayal of 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29n6, 33–4 Mitchell, W.J.T. 152n23 Mitchell, W.J.T. and Hansen, M.B.N. 179, 182 Mitra, Ananda 187 Mitra, Shombhu 49, 57 Mizra, Iskandar 61 Modi, Sohrab 36 Mookherjee, Syamaprasad 55 Mookherjee, Taarina 34, 38 ‘Mother India: Transactions in the Construction of Pain’ (Nalini Malani installation) 88 Mouffe, Chantal 34 Mourning en Masse (Satish Gujral painting) 85, 120–21, 122 Mourning the Nation (Sarkar, B.) 36 Mufti, Aamir R. 33, 86 Mujli, Huma 89–90 Majumder, Abhishek xv Mukherjee, D.N. 56 Mukherjee, Tutun 58 Muktijuddho Jadughar (Liberation War Museum) 98–9, 114 Mulvey, Laura 155, 161, 163, 167 Mumbai Mirror 162 Murphy, Sara 165 Musharraf, General Pervez 10; television in Pakistan and 61, 66, 67

Nabï, N. and Nabï, M. 104 Nabï, Nurun 104 Nagappan, Ramu 36 Nalini Malani, art of 87–8 Nandy, Ashis 185 nation building, symbolic practices and forms in 116–17 National Press Trust (NPT) 66 nationalism 22, 31, 33, 47, 56, 75, 86, 88, 98; Bangladeshi nationalism 104–5, 111–12, 117; Bengali nationalism 54–5, 102–3; cultural artifacts and articulation of 76–7; ethnicity and, relationship between 13, 91–2; hegemonic nationalism 26; Hindi cinema and 19–21; identity and 99; jingoistic nationalism 6, 204; linguistic nationalism 78–9; majoritarian nationalism 42; media in South Asia, competing nationalisms and 156; memorialisation process and 98–9; minority ‘Other’ and reinforcement of notion of 11–12; shifting ‘beyond Partition’ and projections of 205; South Asia, idea of nationalism among people of 102–3; sporting nationalism 158 Navbharat Times 162 Nawa-E- Waqt (Urdu newspaper) 66 Nawaz, Maryam 69 Nayek, Debanjana 155 Necromancer (Gibson, W.) 200n6 Nehru, Jawaharlal 50, 78, 162n11 Nelson, Dean 162 New Theatre Movement in Kolkata 58 New York Times 76 ‘The News’ (Bani Abidi mixed-media art) 91–2 The News Tribe 167 newspapers in Pakistan, history of 60 Ngugi, Wa Thiong’o 15 Nietzsche, Friedrich 65 Night Watchman (Parasher, S.L.) 140 Nineteen Eighty-Four (Orwell, G.) 200n8 Niranjana, Tejaswini 22, 25 Noakhali 150 Nobanno, New Harvest (Bijan Bhattacharya play) 48–9 Nora, Pierre 40, 82 Nothing Safe (Parasher, S.L.) 139 Nye, Joseph 12

Index 217 oil on canvas (untitled, Satish Gujral, 1959) 130, 132 Olivier, Lawrence 42 Ollapally, Deepa M. 24, 25, 29n3 Omkara (Vishal Bhardwaj film) 31 One Voice (Parasher, S.L.) 136 Orientalism (Said, E.) 169 Orwell, George 200n8 ‘Other’: body of the ‘Other,’ politicisation of 161–2, 168, 170–71, 172–3; curiosity about the 167; definition of self as 87; fascination for the 166; fetishisation of the 156; Lacanian gaze, representation and desire of the ‘other’ in 165–6; Muslim ‘Other’ in Indian national imaginary 31; nationalism, minority ‘Other’ and reinforcement of notion of 11–12; Pakistani ‘Other,’ Indian ‘self’ and 171; Partition construction of the 2, 5; ‘Politicising the Body of the “Other”: India’s Gaze at Pakistan’ (Nayek, D.) 155, 161–73; precariousness of the 41; self from, dissociation of 161–2 The Other Side of Silence (Butalia, U.) 147 ‘Pakeezah’ (Kamal Amrohi film) 206 Pakistan: critical political strain between India and 203; India-Pakistan Academic Network (Facebook group) xvi, 3; newspapers in Pakistan, history of 60; Urdu as lingua franca in 205; see also literary digitalisation (Pakistani) Pakistan, India’s gaze at 161–73; British India, historic Partition of (August 1947) 161; Buzzfeed (website) 168, 172; collective identity and 171–2; cricket, gaze on 164, 167, 172; cyberspace, articles on 163; difference, ambivalent nature of 170–71; Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (Foucault, M.) 162; disempowering through desire 162–4; East as fundamental antithesis of West 169; eroticism (and exoticism) in gaze 167–8; fetishising gaze 165–6; fixated gaze? 164; Forbes India 169; imagemaking conventions, gendered spectatorship and 167; Indian Motion Pictures’ Artists Association (IMPPA) 169; Lacanian gaze, representation and desire of the ‘Other’ in 165–6; love-

hate relationship, multilayering of 166; MensXP 164; multifaceted gaze 164–72; The News Tribe 167; Orientalism (Said, E.) 169; ‘Other,’ curiosity about the 167; ‘Other,’ fascination for the 166; Pakistani artists, call for boycott on 170; Pakistani ‘Other,’ Indian ‘self’ and 171; Pakistani personality, Indian media construct of image of 165; ‘Panopticon,’ Foucault’s concept of 173; personal identity 171–2, 173; photographic message, production and reception of 164–5; photographs, exercise of power through 172–3; ‘Politicising the Body of the “Other”: India’s Gaze at Pakistan’ (Nayek, D.) 155, 161–73; Rediff (website) 168; representation, patronisation in 170–71; Scoopwhoop (website) 168; self from ‘Other,’ dissociation of 161–2; social media commentaries 168–9; Srivastava 170; Times of India 162, 165; women, ‘male gaze’ and representation of 163, 167 Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) 66 Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) 66 Pakistan Television (PTV): celebrity anchor, rise in Pakistan of 60, 62, 66, 68–9; conditioned discourse, television as tool of power 62–4; news anchors, power of television and empowerment of 64–5 ‘Pale Sentinels: Metaphors of Dialogue’ (exhibition at Aicon Gallery of New York) 79 Pamment, Claire xv–xvii Panag, Gul 163 Pandey, G. and Samad, Y. 33, 36 Pandey, Gyanendra 29n5 Pandita, Rahul 203 ‘Panopticon,’ Foucault’s concept of 173 Parasher, Prajna 134, 149, 151n1, 152n16, 152n21 Parasher, Sardari Lal 75, 76, 119, 120, 148–9, 152n15; Absence 139; Amnesia of Grief – Baldev Nagar Camp, Ambala 142, 143; Another Day 140; art affirming life 133–45; Baldev Nagar Refugee Camp, Ambala 133–41; Clean Sweep 140, 141; Company 140; Covering Grief 139; Cry I – Cheekh 134; Cry II 134–5; Curled Up 139;

218 Index Dervish sculpture 142–4; drawings of, representational nature of 134; expressive line 133–4; graphite on paper (untitled, 1947–49) 142; Grief has no Voice 139; Grieving 136, 138; Heavy Despair 136, 137; humanising Partition experience 134; Kaka Ram 139–40; later works 141–5; life at camp 139–40; Lonely Pilgrim sculpture 142; Night Watchman 140; Nothing Safe 139; One Voice 136; Partition work (1947–49) 133; reflections on Partition art of 145–6; Refugee Woman 142, 143; From the Road 139; In Search of a New Home 139, 140; Seated on New Earth 136; Small Comfort 136, 139; suffering internalised 136–9; unbearable grief 134–6; Undivided Punjab 144; of violence 140–41; visual culture, discourses on Partition through 81, 83–5, 86; Waiting – Grandmother and Grandchild 140; Way Station 139; What Now?/Empty Sky 136; Why?/Calling Out 136 Parimoo, Lalit 35 ‘Partition Paintings’ (Satish Gujral, 1948–61) 85, 120–33 Partition through visual culture, discourses on 81–95; ‘Aar Paar Public Art Exchange Project’ 89–90; art and aesthetics, understanding of trauma and 82–3; Bangladesh Partition from Pakistan (1971) 92; ‘Barbed Floss’ (Tayeba Begum Lipi exhibit) 93–4; Basti (Hussain, I.) 83; ‘Blame’ (Shilpa Gupta artwork) 90; borders and identity, contested notion of 92; British India, historic Partition of (August 1947) 81; catharsis, art, aesthetics and 82–3; crisis of identity, displacement and 95; cultural trauma, remembrance and 82; ‘Enclosure/Erasure’ (Imran Channa artwork) 88, 89, 90; ‘From 1,7 million mi2 To 55, 598 mi2’ (Tayeba Begum Lipi artwork) 93–4; future identity, change in 81; Heavy Despair (S.L. Parasher painting) 83, 84; ‘Here There Is No Border’ (Shilpa Gupta artwork) 91; history, representation/ distortion of 89; Holocaust, comparison with 81; ‘Home is a Foreign Place’ (Zarina Hashmi artwork) 86–7; horror, documentation of 86; identity, production site of 87; Imran Channa,

art of 88–90; ‘Lik Likoti’ (Imran Channa artwork) 88, 89; Malbe ka Malik (Rakesh, M.) 83; ‘Memories’ (Imran Channa artwork) 88; ‘milieux de memoire,’ absence of 82; ‘Mother India: Transactions in the Construction of Pain’ (Nalini Malani installation) 88; Mourning en Masse (Satish Gujral painting) 85; Nalini Malani, art of 87–8; ‘The News’ (Bani Abidi mixed-media art) 91–2; ‘Other,’ definition of self as 87; ‘Partition Paintings’ (Satish Gujral) 85; politics of formation of identity 91–2; politics of representation, Bani Abidi and mocking of 91–2; ‘Remembering Toba Tek Singh’ (Nalini Malani installation) 87–8; representation of, limited nature of 81–2; rift in lives, identity-based 87; Sardari Lal Parasher, art of 81, 83–6; Satish Gujral, art of 83, 85–6; The Snare of a Memory (Satish Gujral painting) 85; This is Nazi Brutality (Ben Shahn ‘mixed media’ art) 81; ‘Toba Tek Singh’ (Saadat Manto artwork) 83–5, 88; ‘Twins’ (Promotesh Das Pulak artwork) 94–5; ‘Untitled 2005–2006’ (Shilpa Gupta artwork) 91; visual discourses, representation of Partition in 81–2; ‘Vitrine’ (Shilpa Gupta installation) 91; Yaadgaar-eTasqeem Partition museum in Amritsar 82; Zarina Hashmi’s art 86–7 Partitions (1947 and 1971) 203; Bangladesh Partition from Pakistan (1971) 92; British India, historic Partition of (August 1947) 81, 161; imagination of, continuance of 205; indifference of theatre fraternity to human tragedy of 47; social media platforms for 205 Partition’s Post-Amnesias (Ananya Kabir etching) 149 Passerini, Luisa 2 Patar, Surjit 119, 151n1–2 Patel, Kamla 153n25 Payne, Robert 104 Peer, Basharat 35, 203 Philosophical Investigations (Wittgenstein, L.) 150 photographs and photography: ambivalence in photography 106–8; exercise of power through 172–3; memento mori, photographs as 116;

Index 219 photographic archives, ambivalence, and role of 113–16; photographic message, production and reception of 164–5 The Pilgrim (Gujral, Satish) 125 Pitsoe, V. and Letseka, M. 62–3 Pitsoe, Victor J. 63 Pittafi, F.K. 71 ‘Politicising the Body of the “Other”: India’s Gaze at Pakistan’ (Nayek, D.) 155, 161–73 Portrait of ‘P’ (Gujral, Satish) 128, 130 portraits and deepening shadows (Satish Gujral, 1955–9) 128–30 Prause, Jacqueline 200n3 Public Opinion (Lippmann, W.) 72n2 Pulak, Promotesh Das 83, 92, 94–5 Qadir, S.A. and Riaz, F. 70 Qasim, Seeme 95 Quraishi, Omar R. 182 Racine, Jean-Luc 32, 33 Radway, Janice 37 Raha, Kiranmoy 48 Rahman, Mehbubur 92 Rahman, Sheikh Mujibur 103 Rahman, Tariq 204 Rai, Amit 20, 26, 27 Rai, Mridu 33 Rai, Raghu 104 Rajadhyaksha, Ashish 11 Raju, Zakir Hossain 12–13 Rakesh, Mohan 83 Rancière, Jacques 42 Rashid, Afsana 39 Rashid, Haroon 69, 70 Rasul, A. and Mukhtar, M. 12 Ratnam, Mani 19, 22 Ray, S. and Singh, J.K. 157 Raychaudhuri, Anindya 10 Raza, Rahi Masoom 151n3 Rediff (website) 168 Redling, Ruth 157 Refugee Woman (Parasher, S.L.) 142, 143 ‘Remembering Toba Tek Singh’ (Nalini Malani installation) 87–8 representation: aporias, definition by 33; cinema as easy-to-consume form of 19, 23; cinema as easy-to-consume form of representation 19, 23; cinematic representations 5, 9; collective consciousness, cultural representations of 78–80; communal representation,

Hindu opposition to 55; digital representation 156–7, 191, 203; forced population transfer, Partition art and representation of 78–9; Holocaust, multiple representations in memories of 147; of identities in South Asia 206; of identity 77; identity, art and representation of 77; individual and collective past, paradoxical representation of 75; Kashmir, media representation of 13, 203; Lacanian gaze, representation and desire of the ‘Other’ in 165–6; limited nature of representation of Partition through visual culture, discourses on 81–2; memory, centrality in recovery of 148–9, 152n22; Muslims in Bollywood films, representation of 11–12; Parasher’s drawings, representational nature of 134; patronisation in 170–71; South Asia, media representations from 14–15; of South Asian identity, mediascapes and 206; trauma theory, evasion of representation and 148–9, 152n22; visual imagery and representation of events 122–4, 128–30 Return of the Abducted (Gujral, Satish) 122–3 Revisiting India’s Partition (Sing, A., Iyer, N. and Gairola, R.K.) 5 Rheingold, Howard 178 Rice, Elmer 2008 Richter, Claudia 28 Rivera, Diego 124 Rizvi, Wajiha Raza 14 Roja (Mani Ratnam film) 19, 22–3, 24, 25, 29n4, 33–4 Rose, Margaret 200n5 Rosenstone, Robert A. 20 Roy, A.G. and Bhatia, N. 185 Roy, A.G. and Huat, C.B. 206 Roy, Anjali Gera 12, 14 Roy, Jamini 78 Roy, Kiran Sankar 55, 56 Roy, Manas 58 Ruin, Hans 42 Rushdie, Salman 105, 106 Ryle, Gerard 72 Sabhlok, Smita G. 13 Sadequain 79 Sahni, Bhisham 151n3 Sahu, Kishore 36 Said, Edward 12, 155, 169

220 Index Saikia, Yasmin 2 ‘Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro’ (Saeed Akhtar Mirza film) 206 Samayeen, Nubras 75 Sambrani 87 Sanko – The Fragile Bridge (Ritwik Ghatak play) 10, 47, 50, 52, 54, 58; revival (1993) of 57 ‘Sardari Begum’ (Shyam Benegal film) 206 Sardesai, Rajdeep 166 Sarhad Paar Manto (Rangkarmee’s production of) 57 Sarkar, Bhaskar 36 Sarkar, Haimanti 56 Sarkar, Hemanta K. 56 Sarkar, Nalini Ranjan 55, 56 SarNir Foundation 152n14 Schleiter, M. and de Maaker, E. xvi Scoopwhoop (website) 168 In Search of a New Home (Parasher, S.L.) 139, 140 Seated on New Earth (Parasher, S.L.) 136 Sehgal, Zohra 49 Selden, R., Widdowson, P. and Brooker, P. 192, 200n4 Selden, Raman 192 self-portrait (untitled, Satish Gujral, 1956) 128, 129 Sen, Atul Chandra 55 Sen, Sharmila 21, 27 Sengupta, Ashis xvi Sengupta, Roshni xv Sermon on the Mount (Gujral, Satish) 125 Sethi, Najam 67 Shadhinota Jadughar (Museum of Independence) 98–9, 114–15 Shahn, Ben 81 Shahnawaz, Mumtaz 3 Shakespeare, William 31, 40–41, 184 Shanaathanan, Thamotharampillai 153n26 Sharma, Alpana 13 Sharma, Sritam 172 Shelly, Mary 200n8 Shepard. A.C. 65, 68, 70–71 Sherry, Sunil 180 Shoaib, Hammad 173 Shradha 35 Shrine (Gujral, Satish) 126 Siddiqui, Areeba 169 Sidhwa, Bapsi 180 silence, Kolkata Group Theatre, and comfort in? 46–58; Amrita Bazar Patrika 56; Bengali Hindu

intelligentsia, communal rhetoric invoked by 58; Chere Asha Gram (Salil Choudhury short stories) 57–8; communal identity 54; communal representation, Hindu opposition to 55; creative aims of Kolkata Group Theatre 46; Hindu identity 54; Indian Peoples’ Theatre Association (IPTA) 47, 48, 49–50, 53, 57; indifference of theatre fraternity to human tragedy of Partition 47; ‘Khol do’ (Saadat Hasan Manto story) 57; New Theatre Movement in Kolkata 58; Nobanno, New Harvest (Bijan Bhattacharya play) 48–9; Partition, silence on 52–8; popular theatre in Bengal 47–50; Ritwik Ghatak and Bengal theatre 50–52; Sanko – The Fragile Bridge (Ritwik Ghatak play), revival (1993) of 57; Sarhad Paar Manto (Rangkarmee’s production of) 57; silence on Partition 52–8; ‘Toba Tek’ (Saadat H. Manto story) 57 Simine, Silke Arnold de 82 Simon, Paul 179 Sing, A., Iyer, N. and Gairola, R.K. 5 Singh, Maharaja Hari 25 Singh, Manmohan 182 Singh, Sujala 23, 26 Sinha, Gayatri 151n7 Sinha-Kerkhoff, K. and Bal, E. 33 Sircar, Shoojit 19 Slethaug, Gordon E. 200n5 Small Comfort (Parasher, S.L.) 136, 139 The Snare of a Memory (Satish Gujral painting) 85, 126, 127 social media: antagonism and 179–80; commentaries on, Pakistan, India’s gaze at 168–9; digital texts and 155–8; exploration of present paradigms, digital texts and 156–8 social media, cyberhate and Partition anxiety on 178–87; antagonism, social media and 179–80; ‘Archive Fever,’ Derrida’s notion of 183–4; collaborative music concerts 184; community hate as continuity 180–86; cricket, diplomatic ties and 182; cricket, pop culture and 180–86; cricket, violent divide and 183; cricket, virtual communities and, comparative study of 182–3; Hamlet (Shakespeare play) 184; hostile cyber mediascapes 179; How Modernity Forgets

Index 221 (Connerton, P.) 186; How Societies Remember (Connerton, P.) 186, 187; Kashmir Valley, cross-border enemy and 180; meta-media histories, social memory and 186–7; social memory, meta-media histories and 186–7; Specters of Marx (Derrida, J.) 184; transmedial spillage 180–86; Twitterverse 181, 182; The Virtual Community (Rheingold, H.) 178; virtual togetherness 178–9 soft power 9–15 Sohel, Anisuzzaman 92 Solanki, Veerangana Kumari 92 Solomon, J. 179 Sontag, Susan 106, 107, 108, 110, 116 South Asia: dialogue about Partition 4–5; diasporic consciousness of 204; engagement with mediascapes, South Asian identity and 204; idea of nationalism among people of 102–3; identity, media and visual discourses in 1–3; media in South Asia, competing nationalisms and 156; media representations from representation 14–15; power within post-Partition South Asia, mediascapes and 15; representation of identities in 206; scope of work in, limits on 205; shifting beyond Partition 3–4; South Asian identity 203, 204; South Asian mediascape 2, 5, 157, 203 South Asian Review 195, 201n13 Specters of Marx (Derrida, J.) 184 spectres (Satish Gujral, 1959–61) 130–33 spectropolitics 35–42 Srinivas, S.V. 22 Srivastava 170 Steele, Bob 69 Stevenson, Adlai 104 Sturken, Marita 155, 161 Suddeutsche Zeitung 72 suffering internalised (Parasher, S.L.) 136–9 Sufi Islam 203 Suhrawardy, H.S. 51 Sulehria, Farooq 14 Suleria, Farook 67 Swaminnathan, R. 67 Szivak, Julia 9 Tabu 35 Tagore, Rabindranath 48, 117n3–4 Talbot, I. and Singh, G. 3

Tamas (Sahni, B.) 151n3 Taylor, Charles 42 The Telegraph 57 Tharoor, Sashi 3 Thenuwara, Chandragupta 153n26 This is Nazi Brutality (Ben Shahn ‘mixed media’ art) 81 Thoa Khalsa 150 Times Now 164 Times of India 162, 165 ‘Toba Tek’ (Saadat H. Manto story) 57 ‘Toba Tek Singh’ (Saadat Manto artwork) 83–5, 88 torture centres in Haider, representation of 39–40 transcultural challenges for cognitive mapping 192–3 transformative recognition 42–3 transmedial spillage 180–86 Trauma (Caruth, C.) 119–20, 148 trauma theory, evasion of representation and 148–9, 152n22 ‘The Tree of Language’ (Qamrul Hasan art installation) 79 Trezise, Thomas 149, 150, 152n22 Tripathi, Salil 164, 165 Turkle, Sherry 178 ‘Twins’ (Promotesh Das Pulak artwork) 94–5 Twitter 162, 163, 168, 179, 180, 185, 186–7, 205 Twitterverse 181, 182 Udas Naslein (Hussein, A.) 151n3 Udupa, S. and McDowell, S.D. xvi, 156 Uma Vasudev (Gujral, Satish) 128 Unclaimed Experience (Caruth, C.) 119–20, 148 Undivided Punjab (Parasher, S.L.) 144 ‘Untitled 2005–2006’ (Shilpa Gupta artwork) 91 Unveiling the Visible (Salima Hashmi) 79 Vajpayee, Atal Bihari 182 Vasudevan, Ravi 22 Vasundara, R. 172 Vatsyayan, S.H. 124 61 Villa-Vincencio, C. 82 of violence (Parasher, S.L.) 140–41 Virdi, Jyotika 20, 26, 27 The Virtual Community (Rheingold, H.) 178 virtual togetherness 178–9

222 Index visual culture: art and 75–80; discourses on Partition through 81, 83–5, 86; present paradigms, exploration of 76–80 visual discourses, representation of Partition in 81–2 visual imagery, representation of events and 122–4, 128–30 Viswanath, G. and Malik, S. 26 Viswanath, Gita 22 Visweswaran, Kamala 39 ‘Vitrine’ (Shilpa Gupta installation) 91 voicing the pain (Satish Gujral, 1948–51) 120–22 Waheed, Mirza 203 The Wail (Gujral, Satish) 122 Waiting – Grandmother and Grandchild (Parasher, S.L.) 140 Walker, Janet 82 Walther, Joseph B. 178 Wani, Burhan 180 Way Station (Parasher, S.L.) 139

Weerasinghe, Jagath 153n26 West, Cornel xvii What Now?/ Empty Sky (Parasher, S.L.) 136 Why?/ Calling Out (Parasher, S.L.) 136 Witnessing (Trezise, T.) 149 Wittgenstein, Ludwig 150 Wolfrey, Julian 192–3, 200n9 Woolf, Virginia 98 Yaadgaar-e-Tasqeem Partition Museum in Amritsar 82 Yahaan (Shoojit Sircar film) 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 33–4 Young, James 147 Young, Sandra 42 Zamindar, Vazira 5 Zarina Hashmi’s art 86–7 Zeffirelli, Franco 42 Zia-ul-Haq, Muhammad 61, 79 Zickmund, Susan 179 Zutshi, Chitralekha 33