Translation, Migration, & Gender in the Americas, the Transatlantic, & the Transpacific
5-8 Jul 2017 Bordeaux (France)
Trauma in Sidhwa's Cracking India
Zainab Barlas  1  
1 : Beaconhouse National University

Communalism is a significant issue in the South Asian context and has become one of the most deep-rooted problems in India and Pakistan. Originally published as Ice Candy Man, Sidhwa's Cracking India presents a unique and moving perception of the partition of India. It is a narrative of communities; of their relatively peaceful co-existence and the dissent created amongst them through political and religious difference, leading to a final horrifying genocide as two separate nations of India and Pakistan were created in 1947 in the wake of much communal violence. This paper investigates the legacy of hate, violence and subsequent trauma as experienced by the narrator - precocious 8-year old Lenny. She not only witnesses the consequent upheaval and trauma as the Partition affects her family and friends, but also gains a better understanding of her own nature and the issues that make up the adult world. Although her novel is not autobiographical in its details, Sidhwa brings her personal memories of the years leading up to the Partition into her novel and her reference to images that have "haunted" her from childhood imply “a self-imposed task of negotiating between traumatic recall and narrative commemoration, and between different kinds of memory that inhabit and fragment not only nations and communities but also the subjectivities of the individuals who comprise these large identity-groups”.



1. Kabir, A. J. "Gender, Memory, Trauma: Women's Novels on the Partition of India." Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, vol. 25 no. 1, 2005, pp. 177-190. Project MUSE,



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