As we reckon with the #MeToo movement, the gender-based violence that occurred during the 1947 Partition continues to remain forgotten in mainstream discourses and is an emotive and polarising issue within both India and its diaspora. Just like mainstream news in the United States covered the Gabby Petito case, causing a controversy as it led to the realisation that the rape and gender-based violence of missing indigenous women were not covered, it can be suggested that mainstream news channels both within India and in the diaspora construct narratives that privilege the stories of some over others – with issues of shame, izzat (‘honour’) and policing of women's bodies compounding the silence in South Asian communities. In this chapter, I argue that we need to rethink the Partition as a genocide to recognise the gender-based violence that occurred on women's bodies as the cataclysmic event occurred. I discuss the feminist historiographical research led by Urvashi Butalia, Kamla Bhasin and Ritu Menon who interviewed survivors in the aftermath of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that triggered their research and reminded them of the Partition violence. It is only recently when the 1947 Partition Archives (in 2010) and the Partition Museum (in 2017) that the conversations of Partition are also taking place in academic spaces.
Shrivastava, N. (2022). Genocidal violence, biopolitics, and treatment of abducted and raped women in the aftermath of 1947 partition in India. In M. S. Schotanus (Ed.), Gender violence, the law, and society (pp. 23-33). Emerald Publishing. Doi: 10.1108/978-1-80117-127-420221003
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