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Saturday, Dec 04, 2021
Outlook.com
Review

An Act Of Recovery

An excavation of a brutal history and its aftermath in India

An Act Of Recovery
An Act Of Recovery
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Borders and Boundaries begins by describing how women were led to commit mass suicide, had their breasts, hands or feet cut off, and were raped or kidnapped in the course of Partition violence. But its central subject is the 'recovery' of women—Hindu and Sikh by India, Muslim by Pakistan—in the immediate aftermath of Partition. The book itself is an act of recovery: it moves between a series of oral histories and analytical comments which probe the histories (as recounted to the authors). Its chief protagonists are women who were repatriated and women who organised the repatriation. One of the most interesting of its many strands is the complex and often troubled relationship between repatriator and repatriate. Thus, a group of Muslim girls who are forced to go to Pakistan bitterly ask the woman who arranged their repatriation: "Who are you to decide for us?" But Mridula Sarabhai, who spearheaded the bill for the return of kidnapped and abducted women, argues that repatriation is a citizen's right. Here is a dilemma which international agencies, such as the UN's High Commission for Refugees, are familiar with.

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