Remembering Sylhet: Hindu & Muslim Voices from a Nearly Forgotten Story of India's Partition

Anindita Dasgupta
Manohar Publishers and Distributers
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From Amazon: "Partition, the break-up of colonial India in 1947, has been the subject of substantial research, but the focus has been almost exclusively on the best-known dividing of Punjab and Bengal. This work presents the little-known story of the district of Sylhet in colonial Assam, partitioned and ceded to East Pakistan following a referendum in July 1947. Unique in Partition historiography, this research presents memories of the 1947 Sylhet Referendum and Partition, using oral narratives of both Sylheti Hindu and Muslims who migrated to Assam/India in the period 1947-50. The study documents the memories of Sylheti Hindus who voted in favour of Sylhets retention within India but had to migrate after the Referendum decided in favour of Pakistan; it also presents the voice of Sylheti Muslims, many of whom had voted in favour of joining Pakistan, but found themselves to be part of India due to their inability to move to the newly-created country. Oral testimonies of these two groups of Sylhetis are used to reconstruct and analyse the Sylhet Referendum and Partition, especially in terms of the impact on the lives of lay citizens, as also remembered six decades later. This book adds a significant geographical area - Sylhet - to the growing corpus of history-writing on the 1947 Partition of the subcontinent."