Theme : The Freedom Struggle - Its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.
Paper : GS - 1
The history of Indian literature after the arrival of the British in India has seen many ups and downs, including attempts by the British to restrict publications which were sympathetic to the cause of the freedom struggle. At the same time, another body of literature has been developed due to multiple partitions in the Indian subcontinent.
TABLE OF CONTENT
- History of Partition Literature
- Global Partition Literature
- Partition in India
- Approaches to Partition Literature
Context : The history of Indian literature after the arrival of the British in India has seen many ups and downs, including attempts by the British to restrict publications which were sympathetic to the cause of the freedom struggle. At the same time, another body of literature has been developed due to multiple partitions in the Indian subcontinent.
History of Partition Literature :
- History of Press in British India: Bengal Gazette, by James Augustus Hickey, was the first weekly newspaper published in India. It was first published on 29 January 1780. However, its publication had to be stopped after a couple of years, due to the reactionary policies of the then Governor General of India, Warren Hastings.
- Policies of British authorities against Press: In general, Britishers tried to suppress the expansion of Indian press as they understood its ability to influence public opinion. The British introduced various laws to discourage press in India like Censorship of Press Act, 1799, Licensing Regulations Act, 1823, Press Act of 1835 (which was also known as Metcalfe Act) and Licensing Act of 1857.
- Atrocities against journalists: Many Indian journalists suffered for lending support to the cause of the Indian freedom struggle. For e.g., Tilak was sent to Mandalay under Regulation III of 1818. It is believed that Mirza Bedar Bakht, who was the editor of Payam-e-Azadi, was publicly hanged for his support to the revolt of 1857. Even the readers, from whose houses Payam-e-Azadi was found, were punished.
- Sedition: Section 124A was introduced by the British after the revolt of 1857. It further included Clause 153A (causing disaffection among classes) and 295A (promoting hatred between communities) in its ambit. It was used by the British to suppress the ideas of freedom struggle. Unfortunately, the Act still continues to be a part of statute books in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
- Other laws concerning Press: The British tightened their grip over Press by introducing various laws like the Official Secrets Act, 1898, Indian Post Office Act and Indian Customs Act. Finally, the Indian Press Act was introduced as all-encompassing legislation governing Press in India.
Global Partition Literature :
- Partition Literature: Partition literature refers to the literature produced at the time of the partition of India. Due to contemporary circumstances, it is laced with religious and social strife. It is also replete with instances of the holocaust and sectarian violence. Therefore, sometimes it is also referred to as holocaust literature for Refugee literature.
- Cause of Imperialist Policies: Partition in various parts of the world was majorly due to imperialist policies of Western world. For e.g., the partition of Israel and Palestine, partition of Germany and partition of Korea. This is amply visible in the partition literature.
- Examples of partition literature: Some noteworthy works included in partition literature are
- Partition of Palestine and Israel: Men in the Sun by Palestinian writer Ghasan Kanfani (1962), Anton Shamma’s Hebrew Novel Arabesques (1988), Picnic Grounds: A Novel in Fragments by Israeli writer Oz Shelach (2003) and AB Yehoshua’s The Lover (1977).
- Partition of India: It includes Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. Recently, the International Booker Prize has been awarded to Geetanjali Shree’s Hindi novel Ret Samadhi (Tomb of Sand), which is also based on the theme of Indian partition.
- Separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan: The soldier in the attic (1987) and Khoabnama (1996) by Akhtaruzzaman Ilias.
- Korean Partition: Kim Won-il’s novel Spirit of Darkness (1973) and Pak Wan-suh’s novel The Naked Tree (1970)
Partition in India :
- Partition literature in Indian context: The history of partition in India starts from 1905, when Bengal was divided. Later, two more partitions were seen in 1947 and 1971, when Pakistan and Bangladesh were separated respectively. The ensuing riots, loot and the terror regime led to literature based on the psychological pain associated with these events.
- Partition of India in 1947: The partition holocaust led to the killing of more than a million people and the displacement of another 15 million. Almost 3.5 million people went missing. Authors and writers have composed vivid descriptions of events associated with ‘the Great Calcutta Killings’, Noakhali riots and so on.
- Major works: The major novels and stories associated with Indian partition are Thanda Gosht, Khol Do, Dog of Titwal and Toba Tek Singh by Saadat Hasan Manto, the Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh, Peshawar Express by Krishan Chander, Jhutha Sach by Yashpal, Aadha Gaon by Rahi Masoom Raza, Kitne Pakistan by Kamleshwar, Basti by Intizar Hussain and Tamas by Bhisham Sahni.
- Separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan: The 1971 liberation war in Bangladesh was a result of second grade treatment to the people of Bangladesh and the language Bangla by the rulers of West Pakistan. Incidentally, India played a major role in the fight for independence of Bangladeshi people, which is appreciated by the people of Bangladesh even today.
- Major works: Some important creations associated with separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan are Meghe Dhaka Tara, Komal Gandhar and Subarnlataby Ritwik Ghatak, Chinnamul by Nemai Ghosh, Jalpaihati by Jibanananda Das, Palanka by Narendranath Mitra, Pitamahi by Santa Sen, Aagunpakhi by Hasan Azizul Haque, Arjun by Sunil Gangopadhyay and Ghunpoka by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay.
Approaches to Partition Literature :
- Biographical accounts: It includes non-fiction narratives by various authors including Awake Hindustan! by Doctor Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Pakistan or Partition of India by Dr B R Ambedkar, Divide and Quit by Penderel Moon, Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, The Marginal Men by Praful Chakraborty and India Wins Freedom by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
- Feminist approach: During partition, women also suffered assault and humiliation, which has given rise to literature from a woman’s perspective. It includes The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India by Urvashi Butalia, Border and Boundaries by Ritu Menon, Trauma and the Triumph by Jasodara Bagchi, Bengal Divided by Jaya Chatterjee, the Sole Spokesman and the Pity of Partition by Ayesha Jalal.
- Collective approach: It includes collections of short stories and poems, as well as translations of various creations. For e.g., Bhed Bibhed by Manbendra Bandopadhyay includes the translation of Bengali and Indian short stories. Similarly, Raktmanir Hare by Debes Ray is a Bengali translation of short stories in various Indian languages. Other collections include Bengal Partition stories by Bashabi Fraser and Stories about the Partition of India Vol I, II and III.
1. What is the Feminist Approach?
Answer : During partition, women also suffered assault and humiliation, which has given rise to literature from a woman’s perspective. It includes The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India by Urvashi Butalia, Border and Boundaries by Ritu Menon, Trauma and the Triumph by Jasodara Bagchi, Bengal Divided by Jaya Chatterjee, the Sole Spokesman and the Pity of Partition by Ayesha Jalal.
2. Which was the First Weekly Newspaper published in India?
Answer : Bengal Gazette, by James Augustus Hickey, was the first weekly newspaper published in India.