Bengal Partition

LISTING BOOKS ON PARTITION
***NONFICTION***

Bild: Cambridge University Press
Bengal Divided: Hindu Communalism and Partition, 1932-1947
Chatterji, Joya
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002
Whereas previous studies of the end of British rule in India have concentrated on the negotiations of the transfer of power at the all-India level or have considered the emergence of separatist politics amongst India's Muslim minorities, this study provides a re-evaluation of the history of Bengal focusing on the political and social processes that led to the demand for partition in Bengal and tracing the rise of Hindu communalism.
The Spoils of Partition: Bengal and India, 1947-67
The Spoils of Partition: Bengal and India, 1947-67
by Joya Chatterji
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011
This remarkable book by an acknowledged expert on the subject assesses the social, economic and political consequences of partition. Using new and previously unexplored sources, the book shows how and why the borders were redrawn, how the creation of new nation states led to unprecedented upheavals, massive shifts in population and wholly unexpected transformations of the political landscape in both Bengal and India.
The Bengal Diaspora: Rethinking Muslim migration
The Bengal Diaspora: Rethinking Muslim migration
Claire Alexander, Joya Chatterji, Annu Jalais
Routledge, 2015
Using a creative interdisciplinary approach combining historical, sociological and anthropological approaches to migration and diaspora, this book explores the experiences of Bengali Muslim migrants through this period of upheaval and transformation. It draws on over 200 interviews conducted in Britain, India, and Bangladesh, tracing migration and settlement within, and from, the Bengal delta region in the period after 1947. Focusing on migration and diaspora ‘from below’, it teases out fascinating ‘hidden’ migrant stories, including those of women, refugees, and displaced people.
Bengal Divided: The Unmaking of a Nation (1905-1971)
Bengal Divided: The Unmaking of a Nation (1905-1971)
Nitish K. Sengupta
Penguin Books, 2012
In 1905, all of Bengal rose in uproar because the British had partitioned the state. Yet in 1947, the same people insisted on a partition along communal lines. Why did this happen? Nitish Sengupta peels of the layers of events in this pivotal period in Bengal's history, casting new light on the roles of figures such as Chittaranjan Das, Subhas Chandra Bose, Nazrul Islam, Fazlul Haq, H.S. Suhrawardy and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.
Bengal Partition: Battered Background and Broken Minds
Bengal Partition: Battered Background and Broken Minds
Sandīpa Bandyopādhyāya
Radical Impression, 2013
This book, originally written in Bengali in the early 1990s, dwells on the bizarre circumstances that led to the partition of India in 1947. The focus however is on the traumatic experiences of those who fell victim to the consequent violence.
Bengal Partition Stories: An Unclosed Chapter
Bengal Partition Stories: An Unclosed Chapter
Bashabi Fraser
Anthem Press, 2006
Through oral histories, interviews and fictional retellings, 'Bengal Partition Stories' unearths and articulates the collective memories of a people traumatized by the brutal division of their homeland.
Sunanda Sanyal, Soumya Basu: The Sickle and the Crescent. Communists, the Muslim League and India's Partition.
The Sickle and the Crescent. Communists, the Muslim League and India's Partition.
Sunanda Sanyal, Soumya Basu
New Delhi: Front Page Publications, 2011
The Sickle and the Crescent: Communists, Muslim League and India’s Partition makes an in-depth study of the role played by the communists in India during India’s Partition in 1947. While Indian National Congress and Muslim League are primarily blamed for vivisection of the country, the communists support to the Muslim League between 1942 and 1947 only accelerated the birth of the two nations: India and Pakistan.
The Partition of Bengal and Assam, 1932-1947: Contour of Freedom (Routledge Curzon Studies in South Asia)
The Partition of Bengal and Assam, 1932-1947: Contour of Freedom (Routledge Curzon Studies in South Asia)
The fragmentation of Bengal and Assam in 1947 was a crucial moment in India's socio-political history as a nation state. Both the British Indian provinces were divided as much through the actions of the Muslim League as by those of Congress and the British colonial power. Attributing partition largely to Hindu communalists is, therefore, historically inaccurate and factually misleading. The Partition of Bengal and Assam provides a review of constitutional and party politics as well as of popular attitudes and perceptions.
Sekhar Bandopadhyay : From Plassey to Partition. A History of Modern India
From Plassey to Partition. A History of Modern India
Sekhar Bandopadhyay
New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2014
More than a survey, and much more than a thematically arranged narrative, this book is an eminently readable account of the emergence of India as a nation. It maps a wide and often complicated terrain of historical happenings, their main players in groups and as individuals, and contexts that enable us to see the formation of a nation through documents of resistance and struggle, assimilation and rejection.
Kali Prasad Mukhopadhyay: Partition of Bengal and After. The Great Tragedy of India
Partition of Bengal and After. The Great Tragedy of India
Kali Prasad Mukhopadhyay
Indiana University: Reference Press, 2007
This book is a comprehensive history of the Partition and its impact in the life and property of the minorities, especially in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. ‘Partition, Bengal and After’ examines the horrific atrocities committed against innocent unarmed persons. The book offers eyewitness accounts of the genocide, pangs, and pathos of the minorities, which is still continuing in Bangladesh.
The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India.
The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India.
Urvashi Butalia
Penguin India, Delhi, 1998.Through interviews conducted over a ten-year period and an examination of diaries, letters, memoirs, and parliamentary documents, Butalia asks how people on the margins of history—children, women, ordinary people, the lower castes, the untouchables—have been affected by this upheaval. To understand how and why certain events become shrouded in silence, she traces facets of her own poignant and partition-scarred family history before investigating the stories of other people and their experiences of the effects of this violent disruption.
Kathasahityer Kathakata. (Bengali)
Hasan Azizul Haque
Jatiyo Sahitya Prakashani, Dhaka, 1981

Chhatra-Bhanger Purbapar Sirajul Islam Chaudhuri (Bengali)
Bidyaprakash, Dhaka, 2012

No Woman's Land: Women from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh Write on the Partition India
No Woman's Land: Women from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh Write on the Partition India
Ritu Menon
New Delhi: Women Unlimited, 2004
Features Ismat Chughati, Sara Suleri, Anis Kidwai, Phulrenu Guha, Meghna Guhathakurta, Shehla Shibli, Manikuntala Sen, Kamlaben Patel and others, speaking and writing about communalism and literature, what they learnt from refugees and what Partition means to them more than 50 years later.
Chhere Asha Gram (The Abandoned Village)
Dakshinaranjan Basu (ed.)
Kolkata: Jigyasa, 1975

Settling the Unsettled: A Study of Partition Refugees in West Bengal by Monika Mandal
Settling the Unsettled: A Study of Partition Refugees in West Bengal
Monika Mandal
Delhi: Manohar, 2015
This work, while attempting to document and analyze the relief and rehabilitation measures undertaken by the central and state governments in India in response to the massive influx of refugees from the then East Pakistan into West Bengal, also reviews the assimilation and integration of the erstwhile refugees with the host state and community. The research has involved situating experience of the victims of Partition and also those who were forced to seek refuge in West Bengal due to communal clashes and persecution afterwards.
A Fighting Spirit : Selected Writings of Ashoka Gupta
Partition of India and its impact on the Scheduled Castes of Bengal
Narayani Gupta
New Delhi: Niyogi Books, 2013
Suitable for scholars of history, sociology and women's studies, for those working on Mahatma Gandhi, on communitarian relations, particularly the All-India Women's Conference, this title conveys the ethos of the times - the terrible 1940s through war, famine, riots, and Partition-situations, when actions spoke more strongly than words.
The Trauma and the Triumph. Gender and Partition in Eastern India.
Partition of India and its impact on the Scheduled Castes of Bengal
Jasodhara Bagchi & Subho Ranjan Das Gupta (Eds)
Vols I-II
Kolkata: Stree, 2003
Contributed articles on the sufferings of women during the partition of Bengal in 1947; includes personal narratives.
Bāṃlā upanyāse deśabhāga o deśatyāga (Bengali)
Tāraka Sarakāra
Kolkata: Aruṇā Prakāśana, 2009
A Study on the partition of Bengal in 1947, and the resultant migration as reflected in Bengali fiction published since then.

The Partition of Bengal: Fragile Borders and New Identities
The Partition of Bengal: Fragile Borders and New Identities
Debjani Sengupta
Cambridge University PressThis study looks at the rich literature that has been spawned through the historical imagination of Bengali-speaking writers in West Bengal and Bangladesh through issues of homelessness, migration and exile to see how the Partition of Bengal in 1947 has thrown a long shadow over memories and cultural practices. Through a rich trove of literary and other materials, the book lays bare how the Partition has been remembered or how it has been forgotten.
Coming out of Partition – Refugee Women of Bengal
Coming out of Partition – Refugee Women of Bengal
Gargi Chakravarty
Delhi: Bluejay Books, 2005
An excellent study of the ways in which Partition broke down the traditional family structure for many refugees in Calcutta, enabling women to work outside the home and become politically active.
Amar Dekha Rajnitir Panshash Bachhor(Bengali) (50 years of politics, as I saw it)
Abul Mansur Ahmed’s
Dhaka: Khosroz Kitab Mahal, 2013

Asampata Atmajibani
Asampata Atmajibani(Bengali) (The Unfinished Autobiography)
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Dhaka: UPL, 2012
When Sheikh Mujibur Rahmans diaries came to light in 2004, it was an indisputably historic event. Written during Sheikh Mujibur Rahmans sojourns in jail as a state prisoner between 1967 and 1969, they begin with his recollections of his days as a student activist in the run-up to the movement for Pakistan in the early 1940s. They cover the Bengali language movement, the first stirrings of the movement for Bangladesh independence and self-rule, and powerfully convey the great uncertainties as well as the great hopes that dominated the time.
Deshvag: Smriti ar Stobdhot
Deshvag: Smriti ar Stobdhot(Bengali) (Partition: Memories and Silence)
Semanti Ghosh (ed.)
Kolkata: Gangchil, 2008
Haimanti Roy, "Partition of Contingency? Public Discourse in Bengal, 1946-47" Modern Asian Studies, 2009
This essay offers a counter narrative to the ‘inevitability’ of the Partition by focusing on Bengali public discourse in the months leading up to the Partition. The possibility of a division generated a large-scale debate amongst the educated in Bengal and they articulated their views by sending numerous letters to leading newspapers, district political and civic organizations and sometimes published pamphlets for local consumption. A critical examination of this public debate for and against Partition reveals the countdown to August 1947 as a period of multiple possibilities.

The Tragic Partition of Bengal
The Tragic Partition of Bengal
Suniti Kr. Ghosh
Kolkata: Radical Impression, 2017
Deshbhag: Binash o Binirman
Deshbhag: Binash o Binirman
(Bengali) (Partition: Destruction and Deconstruction)
Madhumay Pal (ed.)
Kolkata: Gangchil

    LISTING BOOKS ON PARTITION
    ***FICTION***

    East-West (Purbo-Paschim) Part One
    East-West (Purbo-Paschim) Part One
    Sunil Gangopadhyay
    New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 2000
    This novel is a record of the tumultuous times in East Pakistan as well as in Indian Bengal. But their problems were vastly different. The story, revolving around two college friends, both Bengali, though one Hindu and the other Muslim, soon takes into its expanding orbit other characters, families, issues. The two friends drift apart, separated by the political division. Under the deceptively simple surface are hidden deeper and more complex human issues.
    A Life Long Ago
    A Life Long Ago
    Sunanda Sikdar
    Anchita Ghatak
    New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2012
    A stirring memoir that opens the floodgates of one woman’s memories of a land, and a life, previously forgotten. In the 1950s, ten-year-old Dayamoyee watches with bewilderment and curiosity as her whole world changes before her eyes. The people she knows and loves start to pack their belongings and move away. India has been partitioned, and her village of Dighpait has now become part of a new country, (East) Pakistan.
    The Shadow Lines
    A Life Long Ago
    Amitav Ghosh
    Boston: Mariner Books, 2005 (first published: Ravi Dayal Publisher, Delhi, 1988)
    Opening in Calcutta in the 1960s, Amitav Ghosh's radiant second novel follows two families—one English, one Bengali—as their lives intertwine in tragic and comic ways. The narrator, Indian born and English educated, traces events back and forth in time, from the outbreak of World War II to the late twentieth century, through years of Bengali partition and violence, observing the ways in which political events invade private lives.
    A Golden Age
    A Golden Age
    Tahmima Anam
    London: John Murray, 2007
    Set against the backdrop of the Bangladesh War of Independence, A Golden Age is a story of passion and revolution, of hope, faith and unexpected heroism. The first volume in a planned trilogy.
    An Atlas of Impossible Longing
    An Atlas of Impossible Longing
    Anuradha Roy
    New York: Free Press, 2011
    On the outskirts of a small town in Bengal, a family lives in solitude in their vast new house. Here, lives intertwine and unravel. A widower struggles with his love for an unmarried cousin. Bakul, a motherless daughter, runs wild with Mukunda, an orphan of unknown caste adopted by the family. Confined in a room at the top of the house, a matriarch goes slowly mad; her husband searches for its cause as he shapes and reshapes his garden. As Mukunda and Bakul grow, their intense closeness matures into something else, and Mukunda is banished to Calcutta. He prospers in the turbulent years after Partition, but his thoughts stay with his home, with Bakul, with all that he has lost—and he knows that he must return.
    Nilkantha Pakhir Khonje
    Nilkantha Pakhir Khonje (In Search of Nilkantha Bird)
    Kolkata: Karuna Prakashani, 2008
    Atin Bandyopadhyay’s novel Nilkantha Pakhir Khoje is considered as one of the most powerful pieces on Partition in Bengali literature.
    Sroter Sange (Along With the Current)
    Narayan Gangopadhyay

    Khanditaa (The Broken Up)
    Samaresh Basu
    Kolkata: Ananda, 1987
    Sakalbelar Alo (The Morning Light)
    Sankha Ghosh
    Kolkata: Aruna

    Supuri Bon-er Sari
    Supuri Bon-er Sari (Rows of Betel-nut Trees)
    Sankha Ghosh
    Kolkata: Aruna
    Dayamoyeer Katha
    Dayamoyeer Katha (The Tale of Dayamoyee)
    Sunanda Shikdar
    Kolkata: Gangchil, 2010
    Khoabnama
    Khoabnama (Tale of Dreams)
    Akhtaruzzaman Iliyas
    Dhaka: Mowla Brothers, 1996
    Khoabnama depicts the socio-political scene in rural pre-partition Bangladesh.
    Sat Ashman
    Sat Ashman (Seven Heavens)
    Shamim Ahmed
    Kolkata: Gangchil, 2012
    The protagonist, German, has decided to travel to Murshidabad. His reasons are twofold: There is a famous mazar in Murshidabad where he hopes to be cured of his dream-sickness. He also knows Murshidabad will become part of Pakistan.
    When the state of Pakistan is born, Murshidabad becomes a part of the new country. But in three days, following Radcliffe line recommendations, the district is returned to India.
    Agun Pakhi
    Agun Pakhi (The Phoenix)
    Hasan Azizul Huq
    Dhaka: Sandhani, 2006
    Agunpakhi is set in rural Rarh, now in West Bengal, of early twentieth century. It chronicles a rural family's ups and downs. The story is told by a country housewife in first person narrative. The story begins a score years before the Partition of India. The protagonist makes a powerful observation of herself and people around her. Through her eyes, we see the way of life of the then Rarh region.
    Ekti Tulsi Gachher Kahini
    Ekti Tulsi Gachher Kahini (The Tale of a Tulsi Plant)
    Syed Waliullah
    in Short story collection “Dui Teer o Onyanyo Golpo”, Dhaka: 1964
    The partition of British India in 1947 saw massive migration of Bengali Hindus from what was then East Pakistan to India, and a flow of Muslims in the opposite direction. Many of these migrants found refuge in the homes abandoned by those who had left – places that still retained vestiges of the lives of the original inhabitants. Syed Waliullah’s Ekti Tulsi Gachher Kahini (A Tulsi Plant’s Tale) is a story of one such house in a corner of what is now Bangladesh, and one in which the absence of what once was is equally powerful as what is now.
    Bishaad Brikkho
    Bishaad Brikkho (Tree of Sorrow)
    Mihir Sengupta
    Bishaad Brikkho is regarded as an important literary document of the 1947 partition and won the ‘Ananda Puroshkar’- literary prize.
    Dhansiddhir Parankotha (The Story of the Soul of Dhansiddhi)
    Mihir Sengupta
    Kolkata: Dey’s, 2008

    Eka Kumbha (The Potter, on His Own Way Alone)
    Sadananda Paul
    Kolkata: CAMP

    Short stories ‘Ahalya’ (Ahalya) or ‘Janmabhumi’ (The Birthplace) by Nani Bhowmik

    Short story ‘Path-er kanta’ (The Thorn of the Road) by Rameshchandra Sen

    Short story ‘Palanka’ (The Bed) by Narendranath Mitra

    Short story ‘Adaab’ (Salute) by Samaresh Basu

    Short story ‘Gayatri-Sandhya’ (The Evening Prayer) by Selina Hossain

      LISTING FILMS ON PARTITION

      In search of the root



      A film by Nemai Ghosh/Black and white/117 mins./1950/Bengali
      (The Uprooted) was a 1950 Bengali film directed by Nemai Ghosh.This was the first Indian film that dealt with the partition of India. The story revolved around a group of farmers from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) who were forced to migrate to Calcutta because of the partition of Bengal in 1947. Russian film director Vsevolod Pudovkin came to Kolkata at that time, watched this film, and being inspired, he bought the print of this film to release in Russia. The film was shown in 188 theaters in Russia.
      The film is based on a story of Swarnakamal Bhattacharya. Depicting the physical pain and crisis, the film is about the partition of Bengal and the flow of refugees from East Pakistan (present Bangladesh) into India. The story of the film begins in a village of East Bengal where people (Hindus and Muslims) leave peacefully. Govinda and Sumati are husband and wife and they are about to have a child. But the partition forces Hindu people to leave their ancestral village. So, they become refugees. They don't find any location or shelter in Calcutta and eke out their daily lives in temporary shelters in and around Sealdah railway station. Along with millions of refugees the family has to face untold misery in the big city.

        Matir Moina



        A film by Tareque Masud/Colour/95 mins./2002/Bengali
        Matir Moina (The Clay Bird) is a Bengali film directed by Tareque Masud, a Bangladeshi film director. The film was released in 2002. It was awarded the FIPRESCI Prize in section Directors' Fortnight outside competition at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, and became Bangladesh's first film to compete for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
        Matir Moina deals with Masud's own experiences studying at a madrasah against the increasing tensions in East Pakistan culminating in the Bangladesh War of Liberation. Throughout the film there are references to historical occurrences in agitated times, and the film portrays these episodes through the human experiences of the young protagonist, his family, and his teachers and peers at the madrasah. Matir Moina won a number of awards internationally but was initially banned in Bangladesh on the grounds that it dealt with issues sensitive to the religious. The ban was repealed and the DVD version was released on April 16, 2005.

          Meghe Dhaka Tara
          (The Cloud-Capped Star)



          A film by Ritwik Ghatak/Black and white/1960/126 mins./Bengali
          Meghe Dhaka Tara (The Cloud-Capped Star) is a 1960 film written and directed by Ritwik Ghatak, based on a social novel by Shaktipada Rajguru with the same title. It stars Supriya Choudhury, Anil Chatterjee, Gita Dey, Bijan Bhattacharya, Niranjan Roy, and Gyanesh Mukherjee. It was part of a trilogy consisting of Meghe Dhaka Tara (1960), Komal Gandhar (1961), and Subarnarekha (1962), all dealing with the aftermath of the Partition of Bengal during the Partition of India in 1947 and the refugees coping with it. The film revolves around Neeta (played by Supriya Choudhury), a beautiful young girl who lives with her family, refugees from East Pakistan, in the suburbs of Calcutta. Neeta is a self-sacrificing person who is constantly exploited by everyone around her, even her own family, who take her goodness for granted. Her elder brother (played by Anil Chatterjee) does not care for the family as he wants to be a singer, so she needs to take the burden. Her life is ridden with personal tragedy: she loses first her fiancé, then her job and finally her health by contracting tuberculosis. Her mostly absent would-be singer brother is the only person who cares about her in the end. At the end of the film, she screams out her agony, throwing herself into her brother's arms. She utters her last words: "Brother, I want to survive

            Jukti takka Goppo



            A film by Ritwik Ghatak/Black and white/120mins./1977/Bengali
            In this film Ghatak plays the role of Nilkantha Bagchi, an alcoholic, disillusioned broken intellectual, in the character's own words "a humbug". His wife leaves him because of his insufferable alcoholism. After losing his wife and being forced from his home, he wanders through the countryside and meets unusual folks along the way. Nilkantha meets Bongobala, who was driven away from Bangladesh and does not have any shelter in Kolkata; he gives her shelter. He meets Jagannath Bhattacharjee, a village school teacher of Sanskrit. Jagannath's school was closed after political killings and he came to Kolkata in search of a job. Nilkantha meets Naxalites whom he describes as the "frame of Bengal", but misguided, successful and unsuccessful at the same time. The film, adventurous and revolutionary, is an exceptional mix of images that challenge the limits of narrative storytelling.

              Komol Gandhar



              A film by Ritwik Ghatak/Black and white/134mins./1961/Bengali
              It was part of the trilogy, Meghe Dhaka Tara (1960), Komal Gandhar, and Subarnarekha (1962), all dealing with the aftermath of the Partition of India in 1947 and the refugees coping with it, though this was the most optimistic film of his oeuvre. The film explores three themes juxtaposed in the narrative: the dilemma of Anusuya, the lead character, the divided leadership of IPTA, and the fallout from the partition of India.

              Subarnarekha



              A film by Ritwik Ghatak/Black and white/143mins./1965/Bengali
              A man opposes the love between his sister and the orphan they adopted years earlier.

              Nagarik



              A film by Ritwik Ghatak/Black and white/125mins./1977/Bengali
              Ramu,eldest son a family of migrants to Calcutta,is a fresh graduate searching for a job like many others in post-partition Calcutta.

              Titas Ekti nadir naam



              A film by Ritwik Ghatak/Black and white/159 mins./1973/Bengali
              A 1973 Bangladeshi film that describes the life of the fishermen on the bank of the Titas River in Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh.

              Ora thake odhare



              A film by Sukumar Dasgupta/Black and white/1954/Bengali
              This story revolves around the contemporary fights between the Bangal and Ghoti in 50's West Bengal. Just after the partition, refugees were coming from east-Pakistan-they are bangal. The old residents of West bengal are ghatis. Both are Bangali but there are some differences in pronounciations, in culture and also in rituales. Two families start to stay as neighbours. The movie shows the various conflicts that arise between them.

              Jibon Theke Neoya



              A film by Zahir Raihan/Black and white/114mins./1970/Bengali
              The film is a political satire based on the Bengali Language Movement under the rule of Pakistan metaphorically, where an autocratic woman in one family symbolizes the political dictatorship of Ayub Khan in East Pakistan, and stars Shaukat Akbar, Anwar Hossain, Khan Ataur Rahman and Rosy Samad. Jeebon Theke Neya has been described as an example of "national cinema", using discrete local traditions to build a representation of the Bangladeshi national identity.

              Shyamol Chaya



              A film by Humayun Ahmed/Colour/110mins./2004/Bengali
              Twelve people are passengers on board of a boat.The boatmen are taking them to safety, far away from the fierce clutches of war. All the people on board are devastated by the horrors of war. As the story advances, different events unravel.

              Rajkahini (A Tale of the Raj)



              A Film by Srijit Mukherji/Colour/160 mins./2015/Bengali
              In August 1947, the British passed a bill regarding the partition of Bengal. Delving into the grim history of the Partition, Srijit's movie Rajkahini is weaved around a border between the two nations that runs through a brothel housing eleven women.

              The narrative follows the erection of the Radcliffe Line as the boundary between the newly formed nations of India and Pakistan (present day Bangladesh).
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