Bruised Memories: Communal Violence and the Writer

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Tarun K. Saint
Seagull Books, 2002 - Indic literature - 193 pages
This unusual volume explores India s history of recurring communal violence through the feelings and emotions of poets and writers and of those who comment on society and politics. Poems, short stories, memoirs, essays and a panel discussion together probe how it feels when violence erupts, turning neighbours into enemies and home into an alien land. In a time when religious identities hardened in the public sphere (manifested in the form of communalism), and exploded time and again into riots, artists and writers sought to articulate the subtler truths of lived intercommunity experience. They also gave expression to the shock and outrage of the people at the barbarisms visited on the country. A plurality of voices, in different genres and languages, exists; this selection highlights some of the distinctive attempts to contend with the reality of modern-day communalism, juxtaposing translations with writings in English to allow a comparative perspective to emerge. In these writings, several ways of dealing with the communal predicament in imaginative terms become visible. Such literary efforts bear witness to the mutilation of our dreams, as well as to the struggle to keep the lamp of understanding and good sense burning. Secular India may be under siege, but, as these contributions indicate, it is certainly not yet dead. Contributors: Amitav Ghosh, Amlan Das Gupta, Anjan Sen, Ashis Nandy, Badiuzzaman, Bhisham Sahni, Bilquis Zafirul Hassan, D. R. Nagaraj, Deeba Zafir, Dileep Jhaveri, Dilip Simeon, Harish Trivedi, Hussain-ul-Haque, K. Satchidanandan, Ketaki Kushari Dyson, Mahasweta Devi, M. K. R. Nair, M. V. Narayanan, Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Naghma Zafir, Ranjit Hoskote, Ravikant, Shampa Roy, Shormishtha Panja, Sisir Kumar Das, Subha Dasgupta, T. P. Rajeevan, Vijay Dan Detha.

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