Representation of Partition of India in Sunlight on a Broken Column, Ice-Candy Man, and 1947 Earth.
Partition of India, which is almost overlooked in traditional historiography with India’s Independence and Birth of Pakistan, led to one of the largest and bloodiest migrations in the history of the world. Sunlight on a Broken Column, Ice-Candy Man and 1947 Earth are all set in the same time span and portray Partition in quite different ways. Different as in not only different from each other, but also different, more significantly, from the way it is portrayed in traditional historiography. Traditional historiography merely gives facts and figures without examining all its social, political, economical, cultural and psychological effects. Also, it is largely governed by national biases and hence, tends to sweeps under the carpet anything that projects a negative image of the nation or raises a finger at its pet ideologies. Hence, it not only fails to give a true picture but is also, incapable of examining “why?” or linking the past with the present as in bringing out the relevance of it as of now. The above three texts, to a lesser or greater extent do precisely that, as in question the traditional historiography. And, I think that’s where their merits lie.
Sunlight on a Broken Column which focuses chiefly on how it was an era of changes and change whether it be for good or for bad cannot occur without pain examines the causes of partition most effectively. Not only was it the end of colonial rule, resulting into a power struggle between Hindus and Muslims (with Muslims having ruled over India for centuries before British and the Hindu dominated Congress gaining power after them) but, it also marked the end of feudalism which is very significant as in it brings to light the power struggle that occurred amongst Hindus and Muslims themselves. A society based on class (feudal lords) was being replaced to that governed by caste (Congress, Muslim league). That is, change or reversal of Power roles occurred not just at a political level between Hindus and Muslims or British and Indians (as in colonial India) but, also at a social level amongst the Hindus as well as amongst the Muslims themselves. To quote from the text: “For times had changed sadly since the integration of the Princely States, and Their Highnesses were left with titles, no states, reduced incomes and unchanged habits and tastes, To play polo, entertain, race, drink, flirt or fornicate with the proper air of aristocratic nonchalance needed co-operation between those who had the means and those who had the titles.” Also, psychologically, it brings out the conflict between modernity and tradition as in the Laila, "I felt I lived in two worlds; an observer in an outside world, and solitary in my own….” Because on one hand was the very strong urge to cling to all that was Indian as in not imported or forced on by the British while, on the other hand was the need and desire to break free from the old, rotten customs. Or in other words, an individual’s cultural identity was being questioned. Which, on summing up gives a very different cause of the riots and the massacre, as in it was “A resistance to change that changed everything”. That is, contrary to what we would like to believe, British might be one of the several reasons but, they are certainly not the only ones to blame. The causes were manifold and lay very much within India. Divide and rule policy of British was not the only reason. This fact is also brought out through Saleem’s character in the text. Saleem believed and blamed the divide and rule policy of British initially but, later his opinions changed he blamed the Congress leaders (very much Indian!) instead and himself become a supporter of the Muslim League. Partition did not occur all of a sudden but, it was a gradual process that occurred at all levels, most importantly, inside the minds of people!
Talking about the implications, it...
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