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Partition and its impact on Indian English Novel : A study

The principal object of the present study entitled Partition and its Impact on Indian English novel: A Study is undertaken with a view to study it critically. It aims at highlighting the impact of Partition on Indian English novels after the independence. An attempt has been made to signify novels of Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan, Amitav Ghosh’s Shadow Lines, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and Chaman Nahal’s Azadi as truly Indian expatriate.
The thesis is a modest attempt to bring to light the remarkable work undertaken by major novelists like Khushwant Singh, Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie and Chaman Nahal, in Indian
writing in English. Thus the very end of this study is to review their employed varied technique conveying vision of life. It also reflects distinctive features of their novels and the symbolic
significance of fictional work, mood, tone and technical strategy by characterizing the impact of Partition on Indian English novel today.
The first chapter titled Partition and Two Nation Theory: An Introduction, relates to problem in detail. It deals with Partition of India and Pakistan. The chapter surveys the trends in
Partition historiography, and highlights the importance of Partition corpus as an alternate archive. Chapter second Partition and its impact on creative writings in India, attempts to seek the relation between history, memory and literary responses to the Partition in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It relates to three closely connected issues which influence each other. Special emphasise has been given to the interdisciplinary relation between history and literature. Chapter
three is on Train to Pakistan, which discusses Singh’s brief biography, followed by his memory as being recreated in his classic Train to Pakistan. Singh used Train as the symbol of Partition horror and mass displacement. Chapter four on Shadow Lines, which discusses the concept of freedom and its numerous connotations in the modern world which is the central, all pervading theme of the Shadow Lines. The novel weaves together the idea of freedom, juxtaposing past and
present, the personal and the public, the social and the political ‘freedom’ in its diverse contexts forming the basis for approach to the study of this novel. Chapter five on Midnight’s Children,
discusses Salman Rushdie’s novel Midnight’s Children. It covers the period of India’s Independence to the lifting of the Emergency. The novel begins with the narrator-protagonist
Saleem Sinai, who is the embodiment of a supreme moment of the history. Within the novel, history alone is incapable of doing justice to a series of events, bizarre and romantic, which led
to the birth of two nations out of the carcass of one monolithic structure. Chapter sixth Azadi, briefly discusses Chaman Nahal’s most comprehensive account of Partition; the actual event and its aftermath. The author creates in vivid detail the consequences of partitioning for a Hindu family and its close associates as they journey from Sialkot to Delhi. The story there in represents the story of a whole nation, of millions who were forced to leave their homes and to whom ‘azadi’ brings only untold misery and uncertain future. Chapter seven is about Conclusion drawn and summarises the findings of the research work and points out that history is a ‘living past’ and literature can be used as a source for the reconstruction of the Partition histography. It points out memory that plays a vital role in writing history and Partition has deeply wounded the
creative sensitive minds of writers, Khushwant Singh, Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie and Chaman Nahal who contribute to this historical tradition by leaving their ‘survivors’ accounts on

In addition, the study of these four novels brings out the opinions of the different critics. A critical study is undertaken to seek and to discover the several complexities, effect of Partition
on creative psyche and layers of meaning in Partition and its impact on Indian English novel during Independence.

In general, there are many critics who have directed their critical views towards the novels of Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan, Amitav Ghosh’s Shadow Lines, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and Chaman Nahal’s Azadi. The object of present research work is to study and to evaluate the novels Train to Pakistan, Shadow Lines, Midnight’s Children and Azadi and to bring out the horrors of Partition of the country, its impact upon the mind, of sensitive minds.

The study is restricted to the manageable boundaries of the authors of novels undertaken for this study.

Raju Jayasing Patole
Shri Jagdishprasad Jhabarmal Tibarewala University