My MOVES doctoral research focuses upon the analysis of the testimonies and oral narratives collected from the 1947 partition migrants who crossed the borders of West Bengal in India and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). The study will critically examine the narratives of the second and the third generation of the partition witnessed families and explore how the 1947 Partition has entered into the daily lives of these migrants as part of their everyday language fabric. I will study what role mediums like bedtime stories, stories of legends, children’s rhymes and lullabies have in keeping the memories of the 1947 mass-migration alive. The study will look into the linguistic strategies of healing, reclamation and negotiation in the second and third generation partition migrants and how the post-partitioned language changed from that of the colonial times and if the language imbibes the traumatic experiences of the migration in any manner. I aim to understand how the contemporary partitioned subjects make meaning of their lives through their histories and memories of migrations, trauma and recreating their identities.
I grew up in an East Bengal refugee colony in New Delhi, India. The stories of the Partition migrants have been an innate part of my life. Due to my interest in narratives and traditions of story-telling, I did my undergraduate degree in B.A. (Hons.) Humanities and Social Sciences, with a Major in English Literature from Cluster Innovation Centre, University of Delhi. I completed my Master’s degree in Society and Culture (Post-colonial Literature and Partition Studies) from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, where I studied the literary representation of women in several short stories and how they responded and reacted to the social turmoil of both the pre-partition years and after the India-East Pakistan borderline was drawn in 1947. I am a trained Oral Historian with the 1947 Partition Archive, California and have collected over 25 actual oral accounts of the migrants who witnessed the 1947 India-Pakistan Partition. I have also worked with Katha Publication rewriting, designing and translating folk-stories for young children and incorporating them in the mainstream curriculum of the schools.