REPRESENTING PARTITION: ANXIOUS WITNESSING AND TRAUMA IN INDIA AND THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA by TERESA MARIA TOMSKY M.A., The University of St. Andrews, 2001 M.A., The University of Waikato, 2002 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (English) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) August 2009 © Teresa Maria Tomsky, 2009 ii ABSTRACT “Representing Partition,” a comparative study on state division in India and the former Yugoslavia, investigates the way partition literatures, that body of texts covering the violent impact of state-partitioning, register their anxieties in a bid to alter political landscapes. The thesis argues that traumatic affects play a critical role in initiating an antipartitionist consciousness, a vital awareness which is key to the imagining, transformation, and enabling of political communities. My focus on different affects – including anxiety, melancholia, and nostalgia – and their ability to fuel forms of communal solidarity extends current work by postcolonial scholars. “Representing Partition” breaks with the theoretical focus on the nation- state by exploring how partition functions materially as well as symbolically in the generation of new political identities, at the levels of the individual, the regional, the diasporic, and in the creation of new institutions. In representing partition’s traumas, writers seek to perturb and provoke their audience, with a view to reshaping the subjectivities of the reading classes. In four chapters, I examine the way literary narratives insistently return to partition as a site of multiple traumas and suggest new modes of commemoration, that are linked to political praxis. In naming partition’s heterogeneous traumatic effects, such discourses present an alternative to the ethno-national rhetoric of independence proclaimed by the post-partitioned state and gesture towards the formation of future communities. Chapter One analyses the important role of cosmopolitanism and affect in galvanising a form of commemorative ethics that responds to communal, class, and caste violence in novels by diasporic Indian writer Amitav Ghosh. Chapter Two examines the genre of the Indian partition anthology as a vehicle for articulating and, ultimately, institutionalising various collective traumas engendered by partition. Chapter Three concerns questions of recovery, retribution, and restitution as it iii investigates the break-up of Yugoslavia and its repercussions on self-avowed and traumatised Yugoslavs in the novels of Dubravka Ugresic. Chapter Four looks at testimonies to the 1992- 1995 Bosnian war in the comic books of Joe Sacco. Sacco’s visual, self-reflexive strategies and his focus on the international media industry provide a critique of the way trauma is mediated, (re)produced, and commodified. iv TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract............................................................................................................................. ii Table of Contents............................................................................................................. iv List of Illustrations........................................................................................................... vi Acknowledgements ........................................................................................................ vii Epigraph............................................................................................................................ 1 Introduction: Partition’s Experiential Reality................................................................... 2 The Rise of Partition Studies ................................................................................ 5 India and Yugoslavia: Brief Histories .................................................................. 7 Trauma and Partition .......................................................................................... 18 Situating Postcolonial Studies ............................................................................ 34 Commemoration, Reconstruction, Political Praxis............................................. 44 Chapter One: Anxious Cosmopolitans: Partition’s Haunting Presence in the Writing of Amitav Ghosh .......................................................................................................53 Rooted and Utopic Cosmopolitanisms ............................................................... 60 The Consolations of Cosmopolitanism in The Shadow Lines ............................ 66 Spectral Landscapes and Lost Communities ...................................................... 76 Homosocial Kinships and Triangulations........................................................... 86 The Hungry Tide: Critical Cosmopolitanism and Cosmopolitan Classes .......... 90 Political Turbulence and Utopic Possibilities..................................................... 98 Transformative Affects..................................................................................... 109 Chapter Two: The Disputes of Narrating Loss: the Collective Politics of Indian Partition Anthologies ............................................................................................. 116 Institutionalising Collective Memory and Trauma........................................... 118 Academic Intervention and the Work of Partition Anthologies ....................... 127 A Brief Overview of Partition Anthologies...................................................... 130 Partition in the East: Bengal’s Trauma............................................................. 150 In Conclusion.................................................................................................... 166 Chapter Three: Memorialising Yugoslavia: Institution Building in the Literature of Dubravka Ugresic............................................................................................. 169 Witness Anxiety and the Effacement of Collective Memory........................... 175 Yugonostalgia: Absence and Loss.................................................................... 185 The Museum-in-flux......................................................................................... 191 Berlin: City of Spectral Archives ..................................................................... 195 The Ministry of Pain: Yugoslav Refugees and Institutions .............................. 201 The University Asylum: The Pedagogy of Yugonostalgia............................... 205 The (Im)possibilities of the International Criminal Tribunal ........................... 213 v Chapter Four: Graphic Testimony and the Bosnian War: Representation and Responsibility................................................................................................... 230 The Balkan Imaginary ...................................................................................... 234 Trauma and Economics: the Trauma Economy................................................ 243 Joe Sacco and the Trauma Economy................................................................ 250 Self-Reflexive Critique..................................................................................... 268 Bosnian Testimonies......................................................................................... 281 Pencil Power and Political Education............................................................... 302 Concluding Thoughts Public Domains, Literary Circuits, Multidirectional Memory......................... 306 Reflections on Comparative Frameworks ........................................................ 311 Partition’s Aftermath and the Role of the Intellectual...................................... 315 Works Cited .................................................................................................................. 317 vi LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Figure 1 “Walking to the Holiday Inn”................................................................ 261 Figure 2 “Sarajevo’s Twin Towers”..................................................................... 264 Figure 3 “Welcome to Goražde” .......................................................................... 271 Figure 4 “Maps of Bosnia”................................................................................... 275 Figure 5 “Map of Eastern Bosnia” ...................................................................... 276 Figure 6 “Edin’s Testimony: the White Death” ................................................... 283 Figure 7 “Neven” ................................................................................................. 301 vii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Many of my ideas were formed through debate and discussion with faculty and friends. I want to thank my committee especially—Sneja Gunew, Marlene Briggs, and John Cooper—for their time and generous feedback. Sneja was my expert and patient counsel, supporting me throughout and directing me to new lines of critical inquiry. I am extremely grateful to Marlene for showing me just how broad and disparate the field of trauma studies is. My thanks also go to Mandakranta and Tirthankar Bose for providing me with a vital context to the Bengali partition, as well as for introducing me to the important work of Bengali scholars. I am indebted to them, not just for their Bengali hospitality and humour, but also their own memories of partition that Mandakranta, in particular, shared with me. There are other members of the English Department at UBC who may not realise how much they shaped this study: Jisha Menon, who alerted me to the importance of Amitav Ghosh and encouraged me to write on him; Laura Moss, whose interest in Canadian anthologies helped cultivate my own ideas on partition anthologies; Susanna Egan, whose ongoing support was, at times, essential to my sanity. I found intellectual sustenance in friendships (thank you Alyssa, Bettina, Sam, and Steve) and reading groups. The Postcolonial Research Cluster generated various cross-disciplinary insights and inspirations. I am also grateful to the Centre for Indian and South Asian Research, which provided me with grants and a tranquil space to work in. I am greatly indebted to Ed and Eileen’s hospitality and their generous help in taking care of my infant son, Felix. For much of April and May 2009, they made it possible for me to finish my thesis, by effectively facilitating me with a room all of my own, where sustained thinking and writing were made possible. I am also grateful to UBC for allowing me to have a year’s maternity leave; this gave me time to recover from and adapt to the emotional and difficult experience of having a child. Under the conditions of an industrialised society, where – to paraphrase Adorno – the model of physical labour exists as a model for mental work, this time was precious, enabling me to think and reflect upon the work I had done. Finally Eddy Kent must be singled out for his formative, eloquent, and brilliant criticism as well as his unstinting support over the years. Both inspiration and example, Eddy constantly spurs me onto greater things. 1 Is not memory inseparable from love, which seeks to preserve what yet must pass away? Is not each stirring of fantasy engendered by desire which, in displacing the elements of what exists, transcends it without betrayal? ...It is true that the objective meaning of knowledge has, with the objectification of the world, become progressively detached from the underlying impulses. – THEODOR ADORNO, MINIMA MORALIA There are times when words seem futile, and to no one more so than a writer. At these moments it seems that nothing is of value other than to act and to intervene in the course of events. – AMITAV GHOSH, INCENDIARY CIRCUMSTANCES 2 INTRODUCTION Partition’s Experiential Reality At the beginning of the twenty-first century we are still grappling with the traumatic reverberations of state partitions. Overwhelmingly associated with colonial endeavours, partitions seek to reorganize territorial sovereignty along ethnic or religious lines. Partition is always imposed as a last resort, a political solution contingent on the belief that there exist distinct blocs whose irreconcilable differences have made the original state untenable. Far from being relegated to the past, partition is still considered, at least in some circles of policy-makers and foreign affairs analysts, a viable path to conflict resolution.1 But history and literature suggest otherwise. The division of multiethnic, multireligious, and multilingual territories into smaller political units has frequently promulgated conflict, ethnic violence, and mass population displacements – traumas that continue to rivet, incite, divide, and affect millions of people across the world. As the ongoing tensions in Northern Ireland and in Israel attest, the antagonism between groups does not end with partition alone. As sites that were divided many generations ago, these territories instantiate the trouble with partition and its separatist mentalities. More specifically, any attempt to establish a mono-ethnic or cultural state must always confront an irreducible remainder, a minority within the new borders, however carefully drawn. Consequently, the logic behind partition, unlike other nation-building enterprises, foresees no conclusion; as Rada Iveković suggests, “partitions, once achieved, in the quest of a ‘pure’ national state, in numerous 1 Most recently, the surge of violence in Iraq, following the American-led invasion, has led a number of foreign policy experts and politicians to call for a tripartite division of the territory, with separate nations allocated to Iraq’s three largest communities – the Shi’a Arabs, the Sunni Arabs and the Kurds. The problems with this line of thinking are legion. One could ask what space will be left for Iraq’s Jews or its Christians or its secular humanists. By mentioning these groups, my purpose is to show that what is at stake is the way Iraq’s cosmopolitan history is being rewritten and forgotten. There, regional divides are now reconfigured as ethnic. Other partitions have been suggested as solutions in Burundi and Rwanda. 3 cases of pluri-ethnic or pluri-national societies, generally don’t solve the problems, but reproduce and multiply them (by the number of states) in time and in space” (“Partition” 21). It might be said that, for many living under the conditions of a divided society, partition brings with it the uncertainty of future political schisms as well as the lingering memory of violence. Joe Cleary’s groundbreaking study of partitions in Ireland, Israel, and Palestine goes even further to suggest that, beyond the act of partition, “violence is not incidental to but constitutive of the new state arrangements produced” (6, original emphasis). In a recent edited collection, Smita Tewari Jassal and Eyal Ben-Ari build on Cleary’s formulation, when they emphasise that the catastrophic violence of partition extends beyond the apparatuses of the state. Accordingly, partition is “a constitutive experience,” which “creates a different experiential reality” for its human subjects (23). Representing Partition seeks to explore and elaborate this “experiential reality,” by investigating how the traumas of partition structure subjectivity and fuel forms of communal solidarity. In order to do this, my focus is on literature, which has long been acknowledged as an important space to reflect upon these matters. That body of work designated by academics as “partition narratives” describes the violent rupture of the nation-state and its impact upon citizens, some of whom find themselves disenfranchised by new political realities. In other words, the traumas associated with partition are a defining feature of partition literature. That violence has wrought new identities has long been evident to scholars of partition, who have focused on what the Indian historian, Gyanendra Pandey calls “the making of the Partition subject” (Remembering Partition 20). These new subject positions were constituted through the (often) violent emergence of new nation-states, new nationalist histories, and new collective 4 memories, that sharply differentiate one communal group from another.2 In contrast, my study pertains to the way partition’s heterogeneous effects initiate an antipartitionist consciousness, a vital awareness which is key to the imagining, transformation, and enabling of political communities. My objective is to diversify the current understanding of partition’s traumas as well as explain their power in animating individuals, in driving them towards the task of what Jeffrey C. Alexander calls “civil repair,” the reformation of fractured communities (Civil Sphere 7). I concentrate on the way cultural narratives register their anxieties about this present state of affairs in a bid to alter the political landscape. The representation of partition traumas, as I identify them, articulates the complex effects, emotional feelings, and the memories of state-divisions on citizens, sometimes generations and geographies removed from the actual event. I examine how partition narratives excavate the past in their attempt to account for and commemorate these many unmourned traumas and legacies. Breaking with the prevailing theoretical preoccupation with the nation-state, my study elaborates the way partition functions symbolically in the generation of new political identities. To achieve this requires understanding collective formations at the levels of the individual (on the basis of Maurice Halbwachs’ insight that an individual’s trauma invariably intersects with the collective), the regional, the diasporic, as well as through institutions, such as the museum.3 I do this by attending to the cultural production and mediation of partition experiences. Accordingly, Representing Partition encompasses a range of genres, including novels, short stories, essays, anthologies, and graphic novels. In this I illuminate the distinct ways that particular genres can be used to enunciate 2 Pandey, Remembering Partition 15-16. 3 In his work on collective memory, Halbwachs explains the overlap between individual and collective thus: “the individual remembers by placing himself in the perspective of the group” and also that “the memory of the group realizes and manifests itself in individual memories” (40). 5 traumas variously, how they challenge partitionist ideologies, recuperate the past, and reach out to heterogeneous audiences. The Rise of Partition Studies One indication of partition’s enduring influence is found within the burgeoning academic field of partition studies. Distinct from political theory, partition studies is best understood as a synthesis of international relations, history, and cultural studies. It spans such diverse and disparate areas as Cyprus, the Indian subcontinent, Ireland, and Korea and seeks to explain how these various partitions have impacted upon the social, political, and economic lives of the affected populations. Like many academic disciplines, partition studies was already well underway by the time it acquired a name. For the most part, this early work was completed by area specialists whose attentions were focussed on single partitions in order to pass comment on the nation-states that were “born” in the partition event. Consider, for example, the prominent place of partition in histories of India. The focus, however, has been less on partition itself than on the transition from British colonialism to Independence and the birth of the modern state. Initially, political theorists and historians were concerned with partition’s high politics, and examined the figures in power: Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah, and Mountbatten. These studies explored the challenges associated with state-building, including, diplomacy, economic policies, administration, and border-planning. Since the 1980s, these works have been supplemented by studies seeking to understand the rise of ethno-nationalist politics, as well as the contribution of regional movements within the nationalist struggle towards Independence.4 More recently, historiographers, anthropologists, psychologists, feminists, and literary critics have greatly 4 For a more detailed account of these shifts, see Tan and Kudaisya’s analysis of the Indian partition’s changing historiography, 7-23. 6 revised the dominant understanding of partition, particularly by their emphasis on the microsocial, such as the many consequences of state division upon ordinary people. In contrast to the focus on a singular state-division, Joe Cleary’s 2002 literary study of partitions across Ireland, Israel-Palestine, and Germany can be thought to have initiated a new orientation in partition studies, by demonstrating the benefits of a comparative approach.5 Around the same time, Radha Kumar and Sumantra Bose began to frame their political analyses of one partition (Bosnia-Hercegovina) in relation to the legacies of other partitions. Cleary’s inspirational study championed the virtues of comparison, as a way to gain new perceptions of the apparent intractibilities of partition produced by single-site work. While conceding some of the limits in a comparative analysis, Cleary argues that, “a broader perspective can help open up wider sets of theoretical issues and relationships” (10). Moreover, the hope as Cleary puts it, is that a comparative methodology not only fleshes out the “the dilemmas” of one partition, but “can help scholars rethink the Irish or Israeli-Palestinian situations in instructive ways” (9-10). Cleary’s study has inspired subsequent debate on partition conflicts (Didur; Jassal and Ben-Ari). Radha Kumar’s influence is similarly discernable in the discipline of international relations, as indicated by the subsequent collections on different partitions, Divided Countries, Separated Cities: The Modern Legacy of Partition (2003) and Partitions: Reshaping States and Minds (2005).6 Sumantra Bose, in both his public and academic political writings, has also helped shift focus to the way multiple perspectives of partition can enrich inquiry into the convoluted (and often unintended) effects of partition, as well as offer resolutions, by “draw[ing] broader lessons about how the cause of peace can be advanced in adverse conditions” (Contested Lands 1). 5 This is suggested by the rise of multi-disciplinary conferences examining partition across a range of global geographies. 6 Divided Countries is edited by Ghislaine Glasson Deschaumes and Rada Iveković; Partitions is edited by Stefano Bianchini, Sanjay Chaturvedi, Rada Iveković and Ranabir Samaddar. 7 Adopting a comparative methodology, my own study attends to cultural narratives produced about partition within two distinct contexts: India’s 1947 partition and Yugoslavia’s 1991 disintegration. While the partition of British India and the break-up of the socialist supranational Federation of Yugoslavia are two very dissimilar historical events, comparing their cultural mediations yields insight into the common ways in which the post-partitioned state appropriates and filters partition’s discourse and its lived experience in order to disseminate self-serving versions of the event. Moreover, while it reveals the state’s investment in cultivating certain partitionist mentalities, the comparison also illuminates the strategies adopted by writers in order to resist partition’s hegemonic interpretation. From these observations, I will argue that representing partition can play a vital role in energising a new cosmopolitan and communitarian ethics that breaks with the ethno-nationalist legacies of the divided state. India and Yugoslavia: Brief Histories Before undertaking any cultural analysis, it is necessary to provide some historical context to the Indian and Yugoslav partitions. It is not the aim of this thesis to explain why India was partitioned or why Yugoslavia ceased to exist. The factors and contingencies were, for both, legion, the complexity of each being sufficient to sustain entire academic monographs. Moreover, as scholarly debate and disagreements suggest, there still remain considerable gaps in our knowledge about the historical situation.7 Thus, this all-too-brief explication of both India and Yugoslavia, will say little about the dynamic political, economic, educational, and ideological forces operating both within and outside of the state apparatuses. Nor can I discuss 7 The Yugoslav conflict, for instance, is very recent and much of its historical effects are still unfolding. The scholarship around it still remains somewhat contentious and polarised. In the Indian context, Khan notes that entire archives were destroyed after partition by the new governments. Also much of partition’s history is recorded in human memory, a prospect of some urgency as fewer survivors remain as every year passes. 8 the important role and (re)active agency of involved parties, whether international, national, diasporic (in the Yugoslav context), regional, or grass-roots, to the unfolding of events. The 1947 division of the Indian subcontinent by the British into two sovereign states, India and Pakistan, was part of a political arrangement designated to appease two apparently irreconcilable communal groups. But, as scholars have since shown, the notion of discrete, homogenous religious communities is a falsification, belying partition’s inevitability. In part, this idea was shaped by almost two hundred years of colonial rule, which constructed its Indian subjects as knowable, by fixing identities via essentialist theories of race.8 The separating out of monolithic groups was part of a “totalising epistemology,” a way to simplify a divergent and pluralistic society where identities were fluid, formed not only along linguistic, cultural, and regional lines and localities, but also around class, caste, and income similarities and differences (Talbot 19).9 This colonial endeavour was self-serving insofar that it propagated a “divide and rule” strategy, while legitimising colonial authority as modern and stable vis-à-vis perceptions of traditional conflicted native communities. Religious differences were further institutionalised politically within the colonial state as part of a balancing act, most prominently through the creation of separate electorates in 1909. While this act conferred official recognition on the Hindus and Muslims as India’s two dominant groups, it marginalised other groups (notably the Sikhs who, despite their demands, did not receive a separate electorate). Yet, the promotion of abstract communal differences by the colonial government is complicated by the later political appropriation and internalisation of these identities by some 8 For examples of racial stereotypes and their inventions by the British, see Talbot 22. 9 Yasmin Khan notes, “Class, as ever, acted as a social gel and rich Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims of the same social standing partied together in gilded hotels irrespective of religion” (22). As well as simplifying, this construction of identity reflects British cultural (mis)understandings. Talbot points out that the British familiarised themselves with Brahmin texts and so “took at face value the notions of a hierarchized and clear-cut Hindu identity which they received” as opposed to considering the actual organisation of society (20). 9 groups.10 For instance, the seeds of Indian nationalism lay in the work of Hindu elites in searching out a (Hindu-dominated) Indian historical narrative, with which to contest colonial rule.11 In contrast, political separatist movements, such as the Muslim League, were precipitated by a sense of disenfranchisement when the Hindu elite, particularly during the Swadeshi (own country) movement gained vocality and far greater proportional representation in municipal committees. The agitation for Independence, however, diverse and multi-faceted, frequently ran across and unifying different religious communities.12 Galvanised by new ideas and the radicalising impact of the First World War, various anti-imperial movements emerged within India, as seen in the transformation of the political organisation, the Indian National Congress, by Gandhi to a party of the masses, with its Unity in Diversity theme, and its mobilisation of social groups across gender and class. But, in this “terminal breakdown of power in the spring of 1946” as Yasmin Khan notes in The Great Partition: the Making of India and Pakistan (2007), “militia groups, extremist parties and armed groups rapidly burgeoned” (50). By this stage, the Gandhian doctrine of ahimsa (non-violence) had little currency for many Muslim and Hindu groups. Khan explains how trust diminished and tensions and misunderstandings grew in an atmosphere replete with “uncertainties and hesitancies…about the meanings of swaraj [Independence] and Pakistan,” with little idea of what a final settlement would look like (60). The role of extremist groups plays an important part in provoking riots and communal massacres in the run up to Independence.13 Indeed, such conflicts not only polarised groups, initiating retaliatory violence throughout India, but also instigated pro-partition movements and 10 Talbot 19. 11 ibid., 33-51; 115. 12 Khan 26-29. 13 See Khan 63-66 for details of the significant 1946 Calcutta riots and Noakhali massacres in east Bengal, which incited violence around India (69). According to Khan, this violence “was something entirely new…in a metropolis which also had a strong tradition of regional patriotism and coalition governance and where robust trade unions and anti-imperial organisations cut across religious lines” (66). One reason for this unprecedented violence is suggested in Tan and Kudaisya, who describe Calcutta as the “epicentre of the boundary disputes” (68). 10 propaganda by communities, terrified for their safety (Khan 72-76). In this atmosphere, the British Viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten put forward the proposal to partition the subcontinent between the two communal majorities. Once Indian leaders accepted the British plans for partition in June 1947, then the division of the subcontinent began in earnest. Barely two months later, a boundary line cutting through the provinces of Bengal, in eastern India, and Punjab, in the north-west, would be demarcated by Sir Cyril Radcliffe and announced two days after independence had been formally inaugurated.14 According to Tai Yong Tan and Gyanesh Kudaisya, Radcliffe was a man who had no connections with India or Indian politics, and had absolutely no local knowledge of the territories he was to divide. The fact that no one objected to his appointment, despite Radcliffe’s evident lack of knowledge of the Indian problem and his inexperience in arbitration of this nature, suggested that it was probably the promise of his impartiality that was valued above all else. (84) The hastiness with which imperial disengagement was announced and by which the complex task of border-fixing was accomplished has been described astutely as “divide and quit.”15 Causing immense infrastructural and societal problems, the partition boundary severed rivers, canals, agricultural lands, village communities, and divided Pakistan by some thousand miles from its east wing in Bengal. As Khan suggests, the “paper plan…was entirely dislocated from the regional nuances of political life in India…[and] tragically unconcerned with human safety and popular protection” (88). This effectively meant massive last-minute transfers of around twelve million people who found themselves unprepared and, often, facing expulsion and the threat of violence by being on the wrong side of the border. Without even going into the state-level disputes and conflicts over the allocation of resources, the transition to independence ushered in previously unseen levels of disarray and 14 Tan and Kudaisya 96. Tan and Kudaisya note that Radcliffe was given five weeks to complete this task (85). 15 The phrase “Divide and Quit” is the title to Penderel Moon’s eyewitness account of India and Pakistan’s independence. The British pulled out from India in just under seventeen months (Khan 83). 11 violence.16 The upheavals of partition, their complexity and cataclysmic violence, are difficult to describe. They usually begin with the dispossession of minority groups. The exodus of refugees is interlinked within further patterns of violence and trauma, such as looting, the loss of one’s home, as well as the segregation of families and friends, since not all minorities opt to leave. Particularly affected was Punjab, which was “brutally sliced into two parts in 1947, and was the bloody battlefield of Partition” as newly divided communities perpetrated atrocities against one another (Khan 7). As well as mass murder and mutilation, abductions of women, rape warfare, and coerced prostitution were widespread in this region. Post-partition, the violence continued in the governmental form of forced recoveries of abducted women, the containment of refugees in displacement camps, usually under terrible conditions, corruption and profiteering, and state- hostilities, culminating in the Indo-Pak wars (Khan 177). The hardening of religious identities has also contributed to the growth of extremist and fundamentalist groups, as is demonstrated persuasively in a 2003 Pakistani film, Khamosh Pani (Silent Waters). Moreover, ethno-religious extremism has spurred more violence, as signified by the 1992 attempt of Hindu nationalists to cleanse the Indian landscape culturally by destroying the sixteenth-century Babri Masjid Mosque in Ayodhya, North India. The way such traumatic imprints are manifested culturally forms part of the subject of this study. 16 Khan’s research is exceptional in its depiction of “just how disorderly the whole process was and how threatened the very existence of the two new states” (4-5). She describes the range and complexity of the crises created by the lack of a coherent administration as “vast and unprecedented relief operations” had to be assembled quickly. There were immense problems created by the disruption of agricultural harvests, the closure of banks and shops, and the malfunctioning (and looting of) the post office (171). The departure of the professional classes from Pakistan was equivalent to “the wheels [coming] off the machinery off the state” (157). There were acute food shortages (148- 49). The fact that the army was also divided up, rather than being kept impartial – as previously – meant that there could be no security or imposed order to stem communal violence. This polarization of religious identities within the military was another problem, since many soldiers anxious about rumours of violence and the safety of their families would join retaliatory militias (114-17). 12 Yugoslavia and India are similar perhaps only in terms of their complexity, in that they encompassed “communities of multiple identity”;17 and, in both cases, implementing partition and its essentialising principle of “rigid sovereignty” onto intermingled populations has induced appalling violence as well as further dilemmas.18 As my comparative framework will make clear, in the post-partitioned state minority subjects bear the brunt of increased suspicion and hostility. In the polarizing allegiances promoted by ethnic nationalism, there is a consequent transformation of institutional and civic cultures. This not only normalizes theories like the “clash of civilizations,” but also reinforces them through the escalation of schismogenetic violence and the radicalisation of identity politics. As with India’s drawn-out partition, exemplified by Bangladesh’s bloody secession from Pakistan in 1971, its ongoing disputes over Kashmir, its legacies of displacement, rehabilitation, and mass migration, so the dismantling of Yugoslavia’s coalition and the consolidation of these republics into distinct national(ist) states is not quite over.19 The very recent and controversial status of Kosovo, alongside the unresolved fate of its Serbian irredenta, evokes the situations of Kashmir and Bangladesh.20 Yet, for many, to consider Yugoslavia’s devolution into seven separate states as a “partition” is a contentious pronouncement, not least because of the multilateral demands for independence.21 Equally problematic, however, is the contention that Yugoslavia, a federation of Southern Slavs, which 17 R. Kumar 20. 18 Bose, “The Partition Evasion.” 19 Tan and Kudaisya provide a detailed study of partition’s ongoing and long-term effects on the Indian subcontinent. As they demonstrate, mass migration abroad from India was especially pronounced in relation to its minorities, such as the Sikhs in (divided) Punjab, who were left effectively state-less, and the Sindhis in Sindh (230-234). They also describe the plight of other minority communities, marginalised because of linguistic or religious differences as outsiders (234-43). R. Kumar underscores some of the problems with partition in her brief overview of Kashmir. Noting that, as a Muslim majority, Kashmir should have gone to Pakistan rather than Hindu- dominant India, she argues that, to follow a partitionist mentality, Kashmir could not have remained whole and would have to have been partitioned into three to accommodate the Buddhist minority population. Yet, she also points out that the multiethnic make-up of Jammu in Kashmir, would “only set the stage for conflict and ethnic cleansing” (21). 20 Note that the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) remains in Kosovo and that its Independence has been bitterly contested by Serbs as well as the Russians and many others (see fn. 25). 21 Yugoslavia now exists as Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Kosovo. 13 included six republics and two autonomous provinces united by socialism, was an artificial creation, and that, logically, it was untenable, destined to failure and splintering into constituent entities. Here, as with the Indian context where Hindus and Muslims represent culturally and linguistically diverse groups, the division of Yugoslavia into separate ethnicities has consolidated the perception that such groups are “overly ‘homogenous’…at the expense of highlighting the diversity of experiences and attitudes existing within each of them,” to say nothing of the existence of other ethnic and religious minority groups (Dragović-Soso 28-29). The beginning of Yugoslavia’s break-up is commonly associated with the conflicts around Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia’s declarations of independence between 1991 and 1992.22 But before we naturalise these separations as propelled by a nationalist impetus towards self- determination, it is helpful to contextualise the conflict in order to see it as a partition.23 Here, the political theories of Daniele Conversi are key, because they downplay the role of peripheral nationalisms within the Federation of Yugoslavia, and instead foreground the hidden secession tactics at the core initiated by the Serbs and their president, Slobodan Milosevic. This “secession by the centre” appears paradoxical since the Milosevic-run government appeared anti- secessionist, unitary, and even anti-nationalist (333). But, using a number of historical examples that have elsewhere been corroborated by political theorists and historians, Conversi points out that secession began with the consolidation and centralisation of Serb hegemony. Timing was crucial; the institutional and economic insecurity, in particular, that came with the end of the Cold War helped accomplish this feat. A role must also be attributed to the flourishing of Serb 22 Macedonia also declared independence in 1991. While not involved in the Yugoslav wars, it was recognized as a nation by the EU in 1993. Montenegro would declare independence on June 2006; Kosovo on February 2008, though its independent status was recognized belatedly by some – for instance, Canada was initially concerned about setting a precedent to its own Quebecois separatists. Currently, Kosovo is not recognized by many nations, especially those with large minorities and irredentas, such as Cyprus, India, Indonesia, Israel, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Romania, and Russia, amongst others. 23 Conversi thus differentiates the case of Yugoslavia from common understandings of secession, where secession is seen as a nationalist (ethnic) movement that comes from the periphery and is aimed against the centre (see 333). 14 nationalist propaganda and criticism of the socialist multiethnic regime, once firmly repressed under the totalitarian rule of Josip Broz Tito.24 One significant development was Milosevic’s 1990 act, to strip the constitutional power and autonomy of Kosovo and Vojvodina – two provinces with substantial minorities that lay within Serbian boundaries – and incorporate them under the authority of the Serbian Republic. The status of these two provinces had been part of a carefully managed balance, initiated by Tito, which had devolved power across the federation, both to these specific provinces as well as to the different republics.25 This was part of Tito’s strategy to prevent one (ethnic, republican, or economic) group dominating federal power. Milosevic’s strategy in “reclaiming” land that he saw as belonging to Serbia was made perhaps most evident in 1989 when, to a crowd of a million Kosovo Serbs, he delivered a speech commemorating the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo (the victory of the Islamic Ottoman Empire over the Serbs). Here, he emphasised six hundred years of Serb humiliation and the need for (Serbian) integrity – a reference to the segregation and vulnerability of Serb constituents in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo. This rhetoric of victimhood helped mobilise nationalist support at a time when there was much anxiety about the (predominantly Muslim) Kosovo Albanians in terms of their rapid demographic growth as well as their nationalist 24 An excellent overview of the political, economic, military, and societal developments (and their interconnections) is provided by Lenard J. Cohen and Jasna Dragovic-Soso’s edited collection of essays on Yugoslavia’s collapse. As the authors note, Yugoslavia faced many internal problems, especially economic ones due to a lack of economic reform, but also because it was “de facto bankrupt” after its Cold War allies stopped providing funding and soft loans (xviii). A fuller economic perspective is provided by Michael Palairet, who argues that Yugoslavia’s fall can be traced to the collapse of its socialist economic system, particularly its disastrous performance throughout the 1980s and Serbia’s attempt to centralise economic power; accordingly “the new states ha[d] to fight for separation” because of Serbia’s desire for political and economic domination: “Serbia needed to hold together the rest of Yugoslavia to be able to tap the resources of the breakaway republics” (221). Wachtel and Markovic also note that another contributing factor to Yugoslavia’s demise was the problems facing the unified educational system in the 1970s and 1980s. As they put it, “the national educational glue that had held Yugoslavia together was beginning to disintegrate” (204). 25 For more information on Tito’s constitutional reform act of 1974, see Pratt 136. Eric Gordy also notes that the 1974 Constitution restructured Yugoslavia “had been designed precisely to make the emergence of a new [transnational and ambiguously ethnic] Tito impossible” (284). Part of the power balance was a revolving presidency. By taking in the two provinces, Milosevic appropriated their two seats in the federal presidency, thus counting on four of eight federal votes in any dispute (see also Judt, Postwar 672). 15 movements and demands for greater republican status.26 Moreover, the dissemination of propaganda from Belgrade bolstered feelings of persecution and nationalism for Serb minorities. Thus, the promulgation of media discourses to the public not only denigrated Tito’s Yugoslavia as a disaster for Serbs, but warned of impending massacres, such as the Muslim jihads, as well as the resurrection of a fascist Croatian Ustashe regime, bent on eradicating Serbs.27 Chief to his initial aim of centralising the Federation (rather than breaking it up) was Milosevic’s restructuring of the state and his control of its resources. By 1990, he had channelled much of the assets of the Yugoslav National Bank into Serbia and was able to co-opt the semi-autonomous and multiethnic Yugoslav National Army (JNA) to his cause of a unified Yugoslavia.28 At the same time, the republic of Slovenia (and Croatia to a more hesitant degree because of its large Serb minority population) became increasingly opposed to Milosevic’s policies – especially the revoked status of the autonomous provinces as well as the looting of Yugoslav federation money.29 The two republics advanced confederation as an alternative polity to Serb-dominated Yugoslavia.30 On the day that a confederalist proposal was announced 26 Nick Miller notes that unlike the national groups in Yugoslavia, the “Albanians existed in a constant state of tension with authority… The state treated them as a problem to be dealt with rather than as potential full partners” (192). Indeed, “because the existence of Albania right across the border always placed them under the suspicion of separatism,” the Albanians were never treated as the other groups and initiated numerous riots and movements to demand more rights, from autonomy to union with Albania (193). 27 Judt Postwar 675. Cushman and Mestrovic 18; 25. 28 According to Gallagher, Milosevic extracted an estimated $4 billion from the Yugoslav National Bank (193). See also Hodge, who points out that the Serbian National Assembly, under Milosevic, “voted secretly to authorise the printing of $1.4 billion in unauthorised loans to the Republic of Serbia, without federal approval” (6). The JNA supported Milosevic (though senior military figures resisted him) mainly because he endorsed the concept of Yugoslav centralization and had offered to increase army funding. This is also complicated by the army’s refusal to support multiparty politics since they viewed such elections as the destruction of the Federal state and the destruction of the Federation’s army. Indeed, Milosevic was able to relay Albanian unrest as a threat to Yugoslavia’s stability (and so gain support from the JNA). Eventually, Milosevic would subject the army to a series of purges and depoliticize it as an institution (see Bieber 316-20). The JNA was of enormous strategic importance, seeing as it was Europe’s fifth largest army. 29 As Judt notes, the Slovenes had contributed one-quarter of this budget, although their population only amounted to 8% of the federation (Postwar 673). 30 Yet, the president of Yugoslavia’s state presidency at that time (Borisav Jovic), confirms that in 1990 Milosevic was open to Slovenia’s secession, but Slovenia was not willing to take this step as its public and politicians were divided about independence, nor was there international support (Jovic 265) 16 between Slovenia and Croatia, the large Krajina Serb community in Croatia announced their autonomy. But, in fact, organised violence by the Croatian Serbs preceded this announcement. In the ensuing political environment, which saw the JNA come to the defense of the Krajina Serbs and the federal military police occupy the headquarters of the Slovenian Territorial Defence unit, Slovene and Croatian public opinion shifted drastically towards supporting independence (Jovic 271). In effect, the break-up of the country was the response to the delegitimisation of the Yugoslav Federation, undermined by Milosevic’s self-serving reforms. In the words of Conversi: “the other republics of former Yugoslavia were rather pressed into developing their reactive forms of secessionism as the abuses exercised by the Milosevic regime made it impossible to sustain the state’s continuing legitimacy” (338). In other words, these republics had little option but to break away (sometimes violently as was the case of Croatia), when facing either Serb hegemony or secession on Milosevic’s “own terms, that is without the lands inhabited by Serbs” (Conversi 343).31 It is imperative here to recall historian Tony Judt’s summary of events in the run-up to war: “Yugoslavia did not fall: it was pushed. It did not die. It was killed” (Postwar 685, emphasis added). Though Milosevic is almost exclusively associated with the destruction of Yugoslavia, it was not his single-handed actions and ambitions alone that “pushed” the federation down this path.32 Competing ethnonationalisms are also to blame, most prominently in the case of Croatia and its leader, Franjo Tudjman, who had his own vision of a 31 Conversi also cites Borisav Jovic’s conversations with Milosevic to highlight their proposal that unruly republics, such as Slovenia and Croatia, could be forcibly expelled from the federation, and borders redrawn (346). 32 For instance, Gordy’s essay on Milosevic describes him, not as a nationalist demagogue, but as someone “carried by events” and “sure of his ability to use force” in his attempt to force a resolution and retain power (297). Indeed, there is little proof that Milosevic initially set upon the course of a Greater Serbia; he was famously chameleon-like in his politics and beliefs. Once Milosevic mobilised nationalism as a strategy, counter-nationalisms fed off one another. Hodge points out that, in the face of economic collapse, Milosevic was losing much popular support in the early 1990s. She also argues that it was “the response of allies outside of Yugoslavia, particularly Britain, which helped shore up Milosevic’s hold over the army and the main political and economic power structures” (6). 17 powerful Croatia through his territorial designs on Bosnia (namely, Hercegovina). It is these counter-nationalisms and their virulent forms of ethnic intolerance that have led writers, such as Dubravka Ugresic and Slavenka Drakulic, alongside academics, to view the break up of Yugoslavia as a partition. This partition was both physical and ideological in that it divided up the pluralistic framework of the federation while enforcing ethnonationalism by the forced migration of minorities and the cultural erasure of a multiethnic history.33 The partition of Bosnia and Hercegovina (hereafter Bosnia) is a different, albeit interrelated, case. Considered a microcosm of the Yugoslav Federation, Bosnia declared independence in 1992, but was partitioned de facto in 1995 by the internationally-brokered Dayton Peace Agreement into two separate ethnicized cantonments. This agreement put an end to an extremely bloody three-year war initiated by the “defensive” actions of Serb separatists who had boycotted the referendum of Bosnia’s independence. Though Bosnia’s partition in no way resembles the colonial dismemberment of India, the scale and the scope of the aggression leading up to partition, recalls India’s “fratricidal” violence.34 Unlike India, partition in Bosnia has “ended a war, but did not create a state,” not least because of the role of the external bodies, such as the Office of the High Representative (created by the Dayton Peace Agreement) in directing and implementing policy.35 Thus, not only are Bosnian subjects lesser political actors 33 See Drakulic’s collection of essays in Balkan Express, especially “Overcome by Nationhood” and “The Smell of Independence,” which describes the destruction of Yugoslavia in terms that evoke the ideological partition of the Berlin Wall, “Walls are being erected throughout Europe, new, invisible walls that are much harder to demolish” (54). Chapter Three engages with the Yugoslav partition through Ugresic’s works, who also employs the Berlin Wall as a metaphor to discuss Yugoslavia’s partition. Rada Ivekovic uses the language and “the logic” of partition to describe Yugoslavia’s break-up and the movement towards national totality in “From the Nation to Partition.” 34 The term “fratricidal” was first recorded in G. D. Khosla’s 1949 survey of partition’s violence (ctd in Tan and Kudaisya 7). Partition scholarship frequently and mistakenly attributes the word to Jason Francisco, a scholar of Urdu literature who called attention to the importance of the term. By, scale of violence, I mean in proportion to the region’s size, but also in terms of atrocity, which included torture and rape camps and massacres. More people were killed in India; guesses suggest around one million and up to 12 million displaced. In Yugoslavia, about 5 million were displaced and some 200,000 killed. 35 Chandler, “Introduction” 13. The Peace Implementation Council (PIC), of whom the OHR is the Chief Civilian, is a group of 55 countries and international organisations that sponsor and direct the peace implementation process. 18 on their own, supposedly sovereign, territory, but they must deal with the constitutional entrenchment of divisive ethnic politics. Such institutional frameworks also assert the stasis of post-war Bosnia, in that they are replicated in the radically altered landscape, which – due to the population expulsions, and the ethnic and cultural “cleansing” of the war – is now populated by majority and (the occasional isolated) minority enclaves (as opposed to its previous interconnected, multicultural spaces).36 Yet, considering the very recent horrors of ethnic warfare and the difficulties of reconciliation, as Sumantra Bose tentatively suggests, the Dayton partition “in daunting fashion” and even paradoxically may provide “the most feasible and most democratic form of government for Bosnia’s precarious existence as a multi-national state” (“Bosnian State” 17).37 Trauma and Partition Given the magnitude of atrocity within these histories, it is unsurprising that partition studies frequently appeal to the vocabulary of trauma. This is apparent, for example, in the academic work on the Indian case, which has since become central to the field of partition scholarship. In a foreword to a 1972 historical study, to give one example, the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University describes the partition of Punjab as “a long and harrowing tale of death and destruction, of rape and abduction, involving millions of people,” adding that it is difficult to “construct the contemporary history, especially when we are living under the impact of those events” (Singh i). However, it was not until the mid-1990s that scholars began to examine more carefully the experience of trauma as well as the impact of partition on subjects’ lives decades later. In many cases these expository projects were undertaken by scholars whose own lives and 36 Gilbert 16n.10, 17. Bose, Bosnia After Dayton 36. 37 This of course depends on time and reform, which, as Bose explains, should aim towards facilitating “a less segmented polity to emerge in BiH” (“Bosnian State” 17). 19 interests were profoundly shaped by partition.38 This subjective dimension forms a contrast to the study of major traumas, like the Holocaust, which deployed extensive psychoanalytic and clinical understandings of trauma to explain and diagnose the suffering of people.39 In any case, these inquiries helped transform partition studies away from its emphasis on political analysis and towards a broader recognition of its human effects. Because history “from above” excluded the details of traumatised communities and their traumatic emotions, scholars turned to literature as one of the sites where collective trauma is represented and memorialised. This is significant because literature was seen as an archive to oppose the triumphalism associated with the nation- state, whose self-defining narrative of an independence struggle disavowed the traumas of partition. As Ananya Jahanara Kabir suggests: “in the absence of public rituals and spaces of mourning sanctioned by the nation-state, Partition narratives present alternative, albeit contested sites for such mourning” (“Subjectivities” 246). Scholars examining other partitions soon built upon the work of Indian academics in their concern to explicate partition’s micro-histories and to examine the way its traumas resisted or bolstered dominant conceptions of nation building. To investigations “from below,” they added the interdisciplinary tools created in the growing field of trauma theory, including its clinical and psychoanalytic approaches. Even more than partition studies, trauma studies has a complicated, multidisciplinary, and not always uncontroversial genealogy. Yet a thumbnail of its development is necessary in order to apprehend how partition scholars have imported and 38 Much of this recent work acknowledges the extent to which it is informed by traumatic memories, as exemplified by writing of literary scholar, Alok Bhalla and feminist historiographer, Urvashi Butalia. 39 Khan notes, “In the 1940s and 1950s people were not well equipped with the language of psychiatry and psychoanalysis; it was too much to hope for any systematic understanding of the collective trauma which a generation had suffered” (187). But fifty years later, psychoanalytic studies on the Indian partition continue to be scarce. A notable exception is the work of psychoanalyst, Sudhir Kakar and the Freudian-influenced literary scholar, Ashis Nandy. This is not to say that studies of the Holocaust eschew the personal; much work on it is also influenced by personal memory. More recently, scholars like Marianne Hirsch have explicitly used their family history as a resource to writing about trauma and memory. 20 interpreted its terminology to apply to their own subjects. To begin simply, trauma studies conceives trauma as a wound, an understanding based on its etymological Greek roots. Strictly speaking trauma belongs to medical discourse, historically employed to describe a physical wound or rupture in the skin. However following the late-nineteenth-century emergence of psychology and psychoanalysis, the term also came to be applied to characterise a psychic violation, produced by an unexpected and shocking event that overwhelms understanding. Since it has been conceptualised, trauma, whether catalogued variously as hysteria, shell shock, or Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (PTSD), is seen to produce both mental and physical symptoms. In a partition context, this ambivalence continues to be relevant, since it suggests the materiality of violence as well as its psychic manifestations. Moreover, as some scholars argue, traumatic symptoms must be linked to material systems and their structures of power (Saunders and Aghaie 19). Trauma has been since taken up variously by partition scholars. Some have turned to Sigmund Freud’s concept of psychic repression to talk about the role of silence as a form of self-deception. There has also been interest in examining the kinds of neuroses produced by the mental containment of trauma. For Joe Cleary, silence relates to the traumatic experience of partition, understood as an event “so hurtful that the episode is repressed… and the original traumatic occurrence displays itself only symptomatically in apparently subordinate, concomitant memories of the original event” (106).40 Critics now tend to emphasise repression as a deliberate, rather than an unconscious, effort; but though repression appears a common theme, studies have yet to investigate more fully its nuances and expressions.41 In his study of 40 Unlike the Irish context, Indian scholars, according to Cleary, have long seen partition as a “great Ur-trauma that serves to remind Indians of the potentially disastrous consequences of further communal conflicts” (106). 41 Here, I am thinking about the work on repression by John Kucich, which calls attention to ideological repression through “silenced or negated feeling” and “cultural prohibitions” (3). This formulation of repression casts it as 21 Arabs and Jews in the context of Israel, Gill Z. Hochberg singles out “the conditions of repression and active forgetting” in forging a culture of enmity between groups (ix). In comparing partition across Israel/Palestine and India/Pakistan, Jonathan Daniel Greenberg also concentrates on the repression of its traumas, but turns his attention to elaborate “the psychic costs of that repression” (92). The denial of this traumatic past means that it not only “remains unhealed” as a wound, but also that it resurfaces as a haunting presence, as with the Freudian return of the repressed (92).42 In Greenberg’s words, “each truncated landscape, abandoned by the exodus of refugees, remains a ‘phantom limb’ in the collective memory of former inhabitants… a limb whole populations can still feel, often with the most excruciating pain, more than five decades after the amputation took place” (93). As with other scholars writing on the Indian partition, there is an emphasis here on the originary trauma of partition as a national trauma. In viewing partition through the lens of Freudian repression, critics suggest that its traumas have been buried beneath a collective silence, an enforced forgetting that is not only inimical to the processes of reconciliation and healing, but also is a denial of the extent to which people are themselves “possessed” by this traumatic past.43 More recently, and commensurate with arguments being made by postcolonial scholars, trauma theorists have begun to reflect upon their Eurocentric origins. Partition scholars, whose subjects are often themselves entangled in the legacies of European colonialism, have been conscious and positive; it is a libidinal act of the expression of refusal, which is “luxuriously self-disruptive” (3). While such an interpretation may not apply to the context of extremely traumatic partitions, Kucich is useful in delineating the limitations of existing models of repression, which do not focus enough on the role of ideologies. His study demonstrates that new models of repression can be configured to show how repression is neither “static nor absolute” (3). 42 In contrast, Pradip Datta cautions that to see the trauma of partition as resurfacing (in the form of communal riots, etc.) can also enact a “double repression,” since the deliberate suppression of partition can entail an appropriation of the past as trauma by a dominant group (319). Datta’s example is the Hindutva right-wing groups, who justified their attacks on Muslims as a way to master their own (invented) Hindu trauma. 43 Souvik Raychaudhuri’s analysis, in contrast, evokes the Freudian notion of melancholia as he describes India’s trauma as the “lost love object” of “the undivided (M)otherland” (22). 22 frequently at the forefront of these inquiries. Other new directions taken within partition studies reflect the theoretical transformation of trauma scholarship. From pondering the traumatic emotions generated by partition and the trauma of perpetrators, to the roles of second and third generation memories and issues of transnationalism, there is a growing interest in the ways cultural narratives can legitimate and explore the grief and nostalgia that have become illicit ever since national independence. The most innovative work is in the area of the Indian partition, an anticipated development considering the substantial body of research by Indian scholars as well as the influence of the Subaltern Studies project in its examination of history from below. Here, the contributions of feminist scholars, such as Urvashi Butalia, Kavita Daiya, Veena Das, Jill Didur, Priyamvada Gopal, Ananya Kabir, Ritu Menon and Kamla Bhasin, and Sangeeta Ray have been pivotal to directing attention to the various gendered aspects of partition violence and trauma. Additionally, some of these scholars have cautioned against reading silence as a sign of repressed trauma, instead attending to the ambivalence of silence; others – albeit, to a lesser degree – have developed an increased sensitivity to local and regional specificities of partition traumas. In these critical engagements, scholars have articulated various forms of ethical and political modes that help refine understandings of trauma as well grasp some of its multiple dimensions. For most of the theorists, historians, sociologists, and literary analysts discussing trauma, memory is usually central to working through the traumatic past. Memory refers not only to individual memory, but also to collective and cultural or social memory, what we might see as the social construction and location of memory in cultural artifacts and as mediated by semiotic objects. In such sites, we can trace what Moishe Postone and Eric Santner call “the nature of the afterlife of historical trauma, the ways in which disaster inscribes itself not only in 23 human memory but also in the very texture of cultural, social, and political life across generations” (12, original emphasis). But these very sites are frequently unreliable and unstable, as suggested by the work of critics such as Cathy Caruth, Dori Laub, Kelly Oliver, and Roger I. Simon, who emphasise the impossibility, unrepresentability, and elusiveness of traumatic experience. The theoretical projects of postmodernism and poststructuralism have opened up new and valid avenues of inquiry into exploring the “gaps” of unassimilable trauma. But, they also risk bearing a dangerous correlation with relativism. For some, historical trauma is interpreted or uncritically appropriated as a teleological condition or symbol. For others, a trauma can be disavowed precisely because of its aporetic, ambiguous, and discursive dimensions; it is rejected because it is not considered credible or representing documentary truth.44 Because the experience of trauma is, at times, beyond comprehension and difficult to represent (and then only available in its mediated and discursive form), it does not necessarily follow that it did not occur. This inadequacy of testimonies, what Santner and Postone describe as the “the insufficiency of cognition in the encounter with the reality of what happened,” is one of the tenets that the polyphonous and disputed arena of trauma studies both productively engages and struggles with (12). Against this, we can consider the importance of testimonial, historical, and literary accounts of historical trauma. While these are undoubtedly discursive fictions, frequently they are underpinned by what historian Eric Hobsbawm calls the “raw material” of “verifiable fact” (On History 272). Hobsbawm is of course well aware of the way historical discourses can be constructed and used powerfully to assert and legitimise traditions; yet, he insists that such 44 In response, many scholars of trauma have emphasised the validity of testimonies by emphasising how subjective truths, rather than empirical ones, are produced by witness accounts. See the work of Dori Laub (especially 62) and Simon. 24 “historical verifiability” can be ascertained by returning to the “old-fashioned” methods of proof and source-references to corroborate such accounts (272). By extension, witnesses to trauma embody such proof. As Ana Douglass and Thomas A. Vogler assert, there is a “special dependency on the witness, whose trauma authenticates…the reality of the traumatic event” (36, emphasis added). The claims “to some fundamental injury,” as Alexander puts it, are especially crucial to initiate the “demand for emotional, institutional, and symbolic reparation and reconstitution” (“Theory of Cultural Trauma” 11). Consider the role of the International Criminal Tribunal in relation to the Former Yugoslavia, where historical traumas have been corroborated within the court of law. Here the physical evidence of mass graves as well as the rhetoric of witnesses has been pivotal within legal prosecutions, both to proving genocidal acts occurred and to assigning responsibility. But, even here, the Hobsbawmian reliance on the “supremacy of evidence,” such as the witness, raises ethical and methodological quandaries, most problematically, in relation to the repressive powers of new post-partition regimes (271). To begin with, Hobsbawm’s reliance on physical evidence means that in the absence of such materials, reparation and restitution are not possible. As my third chapter will demonstrate, the wars that accompanied Yugoslavia’s dissolution involved the systematic destruction and extirpation of materials that signified the existence of particular communities. Moreover, the witnesses to this political effacement were themselves targeted. Nor does the retrieval of such objects guarantee that justice or official acknowledgement can be established. In their work on testimony, Anne Cubilié and Carl Good have noted some of problems associated with prioritising corporeal evidence. Building on Elaine Scarry’s conceptualisation of pain, Cubilié and Good point out that pain is frequently immaterial and “prelingual” (10). Where pain is inscribed materially, then placing the burden of 25 evidence on the wounded body or corpse “as the site of survivorship” enacts “another injustice of dehumanisation” (10). Furthermore, as the body is reduced to a “crucial piece of evidence” this reduction overwhelms quotidian life (10). Transformed into a spectacle, the body is a “cipher that places the burden of interpretation on its viewers” (10). The danger of this symbolic violence is not merely the “pleasures of spectatorship” it can induce (10), but also the way it powerfully positions the viewer as the “active gaze[r],” which closes down critical stances of empathy and self-awareness in relation to trauma (11). The constraints of institutions can be traced to their cultural, political, and economic structures. But, in their engagement with memory, trauma, and experience, institutions are profoundly important in their propensity to effect change, a theme I elaborate upon in this study. Yet, as repositories of culture (and particularly traumatic culture), institutions also risk isolating individuals and social groups. In part, this has to do with the reification of lived experience; more chiefly, however, it relates to the commemorative capacity of such institutions, what diasporic Bosnian writer Aleksandar Hemon describes as “a whole technology of storing records and memories outside of human beings.” According to Hemon, archives thus created are no more than “mechanisms for remembering,” where the “past and history are removed from people’s lives so they can happily live and shop in the eternal present.” In contrast, Hemon advocates the importance of literature as a form of testimony, a discursive representation of traumatic events that has a diurnal presence as they circulate amongst the populace. Hemon’s point – that institutions help mediate and structure the way individuals think and feel – indirectly emphasises the importance of feeling in the manufacture and circulation of subjectivity. This is a significant reworking of Enlightenment discourses, which privileged “the faculties of thought and reason” above irrational passions, and so disparaged unruly emotions as 26 “a sign of our prehistory” that threatened “the formation of the competent self” (Ahmed 3). As recent work on affect theory suggests, it is not merely the many registers of emotions and affects that demand our attention, but it is also their ubiquity (Ahmed; Brennan, Transmission of Affect; Khanna, LaCapra; Massumi; Sedgewick; Thrift). Yet, to distinguish affect from emotions may be somewhat disingenuous since, as Nigel Thrift observes, “there is no stable definition of affect” (59). Indeed it is helpful to begin by quoting Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s reminder that affect is a contested term, which does not have “a unitary category, with a unitary history and unitary politics” (Touching, Feeling 110). I see affect theory as having immense potential to supplement our understanding of partition trauma. Frequently viewed as a transferential force as well as a state of emotion, affect is understood to permeate environments and shape subjects. Broadly, affect describes an emotional energy, relating both to sensation and to an intensity of feeling, which compels or inspires an individual to (re)act in the world. Via affect theory, certain strong feelings are reconfigured as the agents rather than as the catalysts of knowledge production so that affect obtains a political dimension. In trauma studies, however, the remarkable scholarship on affect theory remains fairly untapped. In their engagement with testimony, scholars of trauma frequently point out the existence of “traumatic affects,” which circulate and disturb listeners and readers. To describe trauma simply as affect is a nebulous assertion that in some way replicates the difficulties of narrating radical loss and suffering. Yet critics recognise how traumatic affects – in and of themselves – testify and help facilitate an understanding of the extremity of traumatic experience. In her work on Holocaust narratives, Froma Zeitlin reminds us of the importance of affect and emotion in shaping culture and calling attention to the legacy of traumatic events, including the efforts to “relieve – but also relive – the effects of traumatic 27 experience through the act of writing itself” (201-202). It is surprising then that while researchers note the surplus of traumatic affect produced by testimony and literature alike, these affects still remain somewhat undertheorised in trauma studies. Dominic LaCapra, Marianne Hirsch, and Eric L. Santner have been particularly attentive in this regard. Above all, LaCapra brings to the forefront some of the academic concerns around traumatic affect imbedded in narratives, such as how the reader and researcher are frequently implicated within it, the risks of emulating traumatic affect, and the difficulties of acknowledging affect within disciplinary frameworks (“Holocaust Testimonies” 220-21). Indeed, Freud, probably the central figure in trauma studies, frequently wrote about the place of affects in trauma and loss. My study takes up recent scholarly interpretations of trauma that have returned to, revised, and reformulated Freud’s concepts of the unconscious, including anxiety, melancholia, the difficulties of psychic assimilation, repression, the belatedness of recurring symptoms, the acting out of trauma, dissociation, hysteria, transference, notions of mourning, and working through. To discuss trauma, I identify the significance of anxiety as an affect, a feeling that initiates political action, confronting and redressing lingering injustices. Partition, it seems, is rife with anxieties, a fact that relates to the project of carving out and homogenizing ethnic sovereignties. But rather than examining the cartographic or cultural anxieties related to national construction (Tan and Kudaisya 19; 25), I am more concerned with anxiety as a self-critical mode of unsettlement towards partition’s totalist vision and its ongoing traumas. Anxiety is important because of its links to the Freudian concept of “unpleasure” (“Inhibitions” 92), and so as LaCapra points out, it “affectively inhibit[s] closure, complacency, or self-assurance” (History in Transit 52).45 Moreover, anxiety helps account for the fact that 45 My reference to anxiety and “unpleasure” also references the work of Henry Krystal, whose research used survivors of natural disasters, the Nazi concentration camps, Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Krystal saw trauma as an 28 writers overwhelmingly emerge out of (relatively) affluent and elite classes, and therefore must disentangle their compulsion to act from the problem of speaking for or on behalf of a collective. Building on Edward W. Said’s notion of “anxious witnessing,” I show how, ideally, anxiety activates the critical self-scrutiny necessary to organise a writerly ethic that is appropriate for the purpose.46 It seems to me that Said’s notion of “anxious witnessing” is particularly apt for theorising the traumas of partition, since its anxieties relate to those with a “broken history,” who are “are cut off from their roots, their land, their past” (“Reflections” 177). For Said, anxious witnessing describes the critical understanding that accompanies the condition of exile, that “discontinuous state of being” (177). Whereas Said sees anxious witnessing specifically as a product of the trauma and the “estrangement” of the exiled intellectual (181), I propose to reformulate its meaning to extend it beyond an individual’s physical or geographical exile. Instead, I suggest we can consider the pertinence of anxious witnessing as a heuristic in relation to the dilemmas of partition. The sense of estrangement, prompted by the chauvinism of the new state, as well as the forms of hauntedness and agitation, produced by the unresolved losses, sorrow, melancholia, and nostalgic memories that remain in the postpartitoned order, are some of the affects that undergird anxious witnessing. “affective experience” of overwhelming sensations “of primary unpleasure” (Ullman and Brothers 57). I should note that Freud wrote extensively about anxiety in multiple ways (including seeing it in relation to prototypal danger of birth as well as the detached parts of the copulation act). In “Inhibitions, Symptoms, and Anxiety,” he saw anxiety as the “felt loss of the [loved] object” (137); yet it is also a response of helplessness to a traumatic situation, in that it is “an expectation of trauma, and…a repetition of it” (56). In The Ego and the Id, he sees “anxiety [as] the expression of a retreat from danger” (58). My formulation of anxiety is antithetical to this interpretation of a retreat. In some ways, it replicates postmodern theories of melancholia, where the ego holds onto an otherwise disabling affective state as a political stance. But, as I show in my chapters, I also stress how anxiety can initiate action. 46 Said references the idea of anxious witnesses and anxious witnessing throughout his essays in his 2000 collection Reflections on Exile and Other Essays. 29 Equally, I am concerned to understand how writers struggle to marshal either sympathetic or empirical support for their accounts. Since partition is central to the “birth of the nation,” it has already been narrated by the nation’s established institutions. That powerfully ideological interpretation is deeply sedimented in public discourse, and so anxious witnesses must additionally confront problems of collective amnesia. I conceive of this condition as “witness anxiety,” which describes the struggle to narrate as the narrator attempts to recall the past in the disappearance of first-hand witnesses and in the face of a revisionist, state-sanctioned history. While there is no doubt that partitioned states endorse an active form of forgetting, my deployment of affect theory explains the political futures opened by partition literature. It is not a shared repression, I argue, that binds readers and writers of partition literature together but rather affects such as anxiety, estrangement, what Said calls the “sense of dissonance,” melancholia, nostalgia, and love (“Introduction” xxxiii). Thus far, scholars of partition have tended to discuss traumatic affects as a unitary phenomenon (Kabir; Kumar, “Testimonies”), or have singled out one particular traumatic affect to the exclusion of others (Almond). My privileging of certain affects, nevertheless, is also a gesture that narrows the scope of this project, for partition is also re-experienced within the different registers of guilt, hatred, rancour, and shame, an especially resonant affect in relation to the sexual violence perpetrated in both Bosnian and Indian contexts.47 The affective dimensions of partition literature help account for 47 Urvashi Butalia’s study details some of these feelings in her interviews with perpetrators of violence. In the Yugoslav context, the negative affects of perpetrators are only now being assessed in an official capacity via the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTFY). Other affects are rife within the exiled diasporic community, which played a large role in funding nationalisms (something that also occurred, albeit, post- partition with the diasporic Sikh community in Canada). These diasporic communities, according to Paul Hockenos, “bred infectious cultures of paranoia, hatred…fiercely bitter and screaming for revenge” (10). Part of the problem was that the diaspora lived in a micro-society and, largely banned from returning home, could only perceive Yugoslavia “through the filters of myth and legend” and through “decades of disparate socialization, conflicting propaganda, and limited travel possibilities” (4). The affect of shame in relation to rape is complicated, 30 the vicissitudes of the trauma, including not only its psychic pain and its epistemic or symbolic violence, but also its materiality, as seen in the rubble of destroyed homes and cities, or in the physical actualisation of violence on later generations, whether through communal riots, state hostilities, or of minority groups. In the absence of tangible evidence, traumatic affects become an equally significant resource for many of the characters and authors of the partition narratives I study. Building on Freud’s 1917 “Mourning and Melancholia” essay, cultural theorists have highlighted the productive role that affects, such as the loss and melancholy that emanate from a traumatic past, play in formulating political work that seeks to improve the present (Butler; Eng and Kazanjian; Khanna; Santner). In his essay, Freud describes how mourning has to do with coming to terms with loss by successfully assimilating the lost object; melancholia, in contrast, relates to the subject’s refusal to let go of this loss. In melancholia, as Freud puts it, “the existence of the lost object is thus psychically prolonged” (245). For theorists, this haunting condition may be grief- ridden, but it also represents an aesthetics or politics of loss as it enables new forms of agency. In particular, they view the adherence to melancholia as an act of resistance. In refusing to work through grief and leave it in the past, the subject holds onto the past over assimilation into the present, thus refusing much of what the present-day signifies. Similarly, the characters of partition narratives frequently embrace these affective states in order to disrupt the partitionist present and resist its new national history. As my first and third chapters show, the pervasiveness of traumatic affects within communities and settings enables discerning characters to utilise them, and so draw up virtual archives that bear witness to since it exists at several levels within the Indian context as well as for the Bosnian Muslims of Bosnia. At one level, it relates to a cultural taboo, where community (and patriarchal) shame is linked to the identification of women as symbols and possessions. But at another level, it relates to the many ambivalent feelings of the women themselves. Some accepted these new circumstances in different ways, whilst others did not, but were nevertheless attached to the children of rape. See especially the work of Ritu Menon and Kamla Bhasin. 31 a past that no longer remains in the present. I draw upon the work of Eric L. Santner here and his formulation of “spectral materialism” to show how traumas can be remembered. For Santner, spectral materialism relates to an attunement to the invisible “history of suffering” that surrounds oneself (Creaturely Life 115). As the term “spectral materialism” implies, materialism, as Santner puts it, becomes spectral “in the sense that it registers and archives a real, whose status is, paradoxically, virtual” (52, emphasis added). Building on Walter Benjamin’s and W. G. Sebald’s writings as well as the work of artist Christian Boltanski and his Holocaust “archives of absence,” Santner shows how a traumatic history can be thus reanimated (53). The awareness of the spectres and traumas of the past “acquires the radical quality of thereness whose impact is experienced as traumatic” (51, emphasis added). In perceiving and exposing oneself to these registers of loss and traumatic absence, Santner suggests, spectral materialism opens up forms of engagement within the “sphere of ethical and political agency and production” (62). So far, I have described the way traumatic affects both perturb characters and are channelled by them in the attempt to recuperate the past. I also want to highlight the (elusive) influence and effects of partition’s affects upon readers as well as upon the characters of the text. In his work on the Holocaust, LaCapra recognises the transferential energies of traumatic affect and their role in shaping people as well as (reading) practices. To avoid the dangers of uncritical empathy, he suggests that affect should be utilised as a critical intellectual force. Calling this “empathic unsettlement,” LaCapra argues that it would form the “affective dimension of inquiry which complements and supplements empirical research and analysis” (Writing History 78). As he explains, empathic unsettlement raises in pointed form the problem of how to address traumatic events involving victimization, including the problem of composing narratives that neither confuse one’s 32 own voice or position with the victim’s nor seek facile uplift, harmonization, or closure but allow the unsettlement that they address to affect the narrative’s own movement in terms of acting out and working through. (78) Empathic unsettlement is different from anxious witnessing in that it relates more to the act of reading and research by the critic, rather than the exclusive witnessing and writing work of the writer. Nevertheless, it is reminiscent of anxious witnessing in that it involves a self-critical stance towards (representations of) worldliness and its traumas. This mode of reading checks the appropriation and passive consumption of traumatic affects by readers and researchers. As LaCapra notes, empathic unsettlement “poses a barrier to closure in discourses and places in jeopardy harmonizing or spiritually uplifting accounts of extreme events from which we attempt to derive reassurance or a benefit” (Writing History 41-42). As my study shows, this lack of closure is, frequently, a structural device reiterated by authors that reminds readers, writers, and critics alike that, far from disentangling ourselves from our texts, such unsettlement underscores the interconnections and cross-overs between cultural narratives, their global settings, and our own role in interpreting and consuming trauma. LaCapra’s object in theorising empathic unsettlement is to understand more properly its influences on the way subjects “work through” trauma. In a similar way, throughout my subsequent chapters, I seek to elaborate the effects of anxious witnessing on working through. In his writings, LaCapra returns frequently to working through, not only because it is under- theorised, but also in order to stress its importance in addressing as well as engaging with trauma and its many psychic wounds, including, grief, loss, and despair. For LaCapra, working through offers a means to “viably come to terms with (without ever fully healing or overcoming) the divided legacies, open wounds, and unspeakable losses of a dire past” (“Trauma, Absence, Loss” 697-98). Introduced by Freud in his 1914 essay, “Remembering, 33 Repeating, and Working Through,” the term initially referred to the patient’s “resistance” to therapy as he or she underwent psychoanalysis. The concept illuminates the sustained, interpretative analysis conducted of a patient’s psychic conflict; indeed, for Freud, it helped explain the seriousness of neurosis because of the lengthy time frame needed for analysis while in the process of a cure. The term’s meaning has undergone some change and expansion over the years;48 overall, many psychoanalysts concur that working through is a “process of development” that facilitates insight, clear thinking, and, ultimately, beneficial change for the patient (Brenner 98). In contrast, LaCapra’s explanation of working through, perhaps most carefully formulated in his book, Representing the Holocaust: History, Theory, Trauma (1994) which I will only briefly summarize here, moves outside of the clinical practice of psychoanalysis in order to articulate its broader “ethical and political considerations” (210). This shift makes LaCapra’s interpretation especially pertinent for understanding the endeavours of the partition narratives examined in the thesis. In other words, many partition narratives function as a kind of working through, attempting to identify and make sense of trauma while at the same time indicating their own implication in such trauma, without recourse to totalising resolutions or redemptive notions of closure; through this effort, they relate to the “rebuilding of lives and to the elaboration of a critical historiography” (200). Thus, they disclose not only the differences between past and present, but also acknowledge a “comparison of experiences and…a reconstruction of larger contexts,” a self-questioning perspective that informs “one’s own problems” in relation to others and their larger sociopolitical implications (200). 48 See Charles Brenner’s essay, “Working Through: 1914-1984,” for a detailed review of the different meanings given to the term over the years. 34 Situating Postcolonial Studies Although I utilise anxiety, and Said’s concept of “anxious witnessing” more specifically as a critical hermeneutic, this thesis is not a psychoanalytic study of partition consciousness. By placing into dialogue current scholarship on trauma and affect with postcolonial theory, my work contributes to the efforts of investigating traumas that have emerged out of colonial, neo- imperial, and contemporary violence. The overlap between trauma and postcolonial studies is a productive one, because the multidisciplinary approaches of both fields open up critical inquiry, while directing new forms of meaningful and cross-disciplinary interpretation.49 As I have already made clear, Freudian psychoanalysis and its theoretical concepts are a large part of this study because, as Roger Luckhurst suggests, Freud’s work is “the unavoidable foundation for theories of trauma and this is undoubtedly the case for cultural studies” (8). As is the case with feminist theories, Freud cannot be dismissed from postcolonial studies because of certain ideological incompatibilities.50 Instead, we might reconsider Freud in the light of Said’s assessment in his 2003 long essay, Freud and the Non-European. While recognising the historical bounds of Freud’s “own cultural moment” (23), Said acknowledges Freud as an “extraordinary” thinker, “whose work has enabled other, alternative work and readings based on developments of which [he] could not have been aware” (24). Said thus looks beyond the limitations of Freud’s cultural and historical tendencies in order to stress the achievements and provocative effects of his writing as it “travels across temporal, cultural and ideological boundaries in unforeseen ways to emerge as part of a new ensemble” (24). Said effectively rehabilitates Freud here as “an overturner and a re-mapper of accepted or settled 49 Inversely, we could say that such a multidisciplinary venture helps illuminate specificities with less danger of falling into the academic niches of specialisation and its associated jargons. 50 Freud’s writing is not only gendered, but also affiliated with (at the very least) Eurocentrism, bourgeois patriarchy, and the discourses of modernity. Yet consider the productive way Juliet Mitchell has been able to take up notions of Freudian hysteria and rework them within a feminist critique. 35 geographies and genealogies” (27). Indeed, the range of Freud’s influence is suggested by the way scholars have engaged impressively with his work. These Freudian ideas are much in evidence in the texts and theories I examine by postcolonialists, such as Leela Gandhi, Paul Gilroy, Ranjana Khanna, and Sara Ahmed, as well as in the writings on trauma and reparation in postcolonial and anticolonial contexts.51 At a broad level, my thesis is informed both by Freud’s original writings as well as the analyses of academics who have called attention to some of the flaws and inconsistencies in Freud’s arguments.52 If, in its engagement with trauma, postcolonial studies must overcome its distaste with Freud as a canonical, Eurocentric figure, it must also deal with the Jewish Holocaust as a prevailing (and at times, fetishized) paradigm within trauma studies. To many, the seminal importance of the Holocaust has the whiff of cultural imperialism about it, since the production of materials around it is inextricably linked to the genocide’s appropriation by the US and its subsequent central role in American culture.53 As Kali Tal has pointed out, the Holocaust continues to be the site of an “ideological struggle,” as its meanings are sacralised and consolidated in relation to political power (24). The Holocaust is also a controversial trauma because of the enormous cultural work associated with it, raising charges of the exploitation of trauma for profit, political, and economic. For postcolonial scholars, the dominance of the 51 The work, produced around South Africa (especially in relation to the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission) and Israel-Palestine, provide an obvious example. The fact that traumatic encounters and experiences have informed postcolonial theory is also clear from the work produced around anticolonial studies and postcolonial theories by writers, such as Edward Said, Frantz Fanon, and Aimé Césaire, as well as my investigations into the Indian partition, and colonial partitions more generally. 52 For example, see the work of Herman; Leys; Luckhurst; Ullman and Brothers. 53 See Flanzbaum and also Shandler on the Holocaust within US cultural life. See also the 2008 Studies in the Novel special issue on “Postcolonial Trauma Novels,” edited by Stef Craps and Gert Buelens, which attempts to “decolonize” trauma studies. Yet to disparage predominant trauma paradigms as that of “white Westerners” is reductive, not least as Michael Rothberg notes in the same issue, because Jews and the Irish have not always been considered white (“Decolonizing” 2; 227-28). Instead, class and economics should also be considered part of the concern over hierarchies of trauma. I also find it ironic that the attempt to decolonize trauma studies involves looking at the novel, perhaps that most canonical and western of all literary forms (and indeed this focus appears to raise no questions in the issue)! 36 Holocaust and Freudian analysis within trauma studies is troubling. In a special issue on comparative non-Western traumas, Rebecca Saunders and Kamran Aghaie argue that “trauma studies” as a field has been grounded in events and processes of Western modernity – such as industrialization and world wars – and…there has been insufficient exploration not only of how Western theoretical and diagnostic models translate into a ‘non-Western’ context but of how sites of traumatic memory in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (dis)confirm, challenge, or revise dominant Western conceptions of trauma and memory. (16) In his study of the Indian partition, historiography, and violence, Pandey evokes the Holocaust as a point of comparison for the way collective violence can be historicized and explicated. Echoing Saunders and Aghaie, Pandey rejects the Holocaust as a possible referent for understanding the historical atrocities of 1947. As he sees it, the problem lies in socio-cultural specificity, for the Indian partition is “even more ‘unhistorical’ and inexplicable than the Holocaust. For this was not industrialised slaughter, directed from a distance, but a hand-to- hand, face-to-face destruction…Its sites were more random. Its archives are more dispersed and imprecise” (Remembering Partition 45).54 In the light of a study that examines two massive historical traumas, one that had occurred in Europe (although the location of trauma as a Western site is disputed) and the other in South Asia, these variegated approaches insightfully attest to the geopolitical and cultural differences of traumas. But, as my study will also show (particularly in my third chapter), scholarship on the Holocaust remains a rich and substantive vein for many non-Western scholars and for my own investigations into the cultural and critical dimensions of trauma scholarship. On an autobiographical note, the Holocaust as a historical and cultural event also underpins my interest and evaluation of trauma. But, as the granddaughter of Jewish Holocaust 54 Pandey notes another difference: Unlike the Indian partition, Holocaust literature deals with “apportioning guilt” as opposed to “justifying, or eliding, what is seen in the main as being an illegitimate outbreak of violence…about how this goes against the fundamentals of Indian (or Pakistani) tradition and history” (Remembering Partition 3). 37 survivors, I also recognize the difficulties of reconciling traumatic experience with theoretical thought, however nuanced. This is not to suggest experience is fully opaque nor to dismiss theories of trauma out of hand, but rather to insist upon the historical specificity of trauma and to suggest that theoretical emphases tend to be inflected by the cultures in which they are produced.55 Because the history of a traumatic event is frequently contested, and especially so in the context of partition, where history can serve to distort and consolidate the past, there is an imperative need to remain vigilant to detailed and careful distinctions. While many scholars of trauma urge this approach, I have found the perspective of historiographers particularly indispensable. Consequently, my study draws much from the historically informed work of LaCapra and Alessandro Portelli, their self-awareness as scholars, and their refusal to amalgamate or totalise disparate experiences, while stressing the mutable conditions, under which knowledge and memories are (re)formed.56 The vexed issues around the continuing prominence of the Holocaust signal the importance of postcolonial studies as a relevant tool in our thinking about trauma. Broadly speaking, postcolonial studies focuses on critiquing the operating structures of (neo)colonial orders, past and present. Building on Said’s Orientalism (1978), much of postcolonial theory 55 The multiple geographical locations and experiences of three of my grandparents in relation to the Holocaust (involving hiding places and camps in Czechoslovakia, Germany, Poland, and Yugoslavia), and particularly their decision to remain in communist Czechoslovakia until 1968, when both sides of my family moved to Germany for good (“Of all places!” as my babička would say) provides a very different frame of reference for me that sometimes seems at odds with the dominant emphasis on the U.S. To give one example, I find that while Marianne Hirsch’s theory of postmemory is extremely useful in understanding the mediation of someone else’s memory, her emphasis on loss and absence does not correlate to the experience of my parents. Their inherited memories about the Holocaust precluded guilt and sorrow. Instead, there was shame, and resentment, since the second-generation wanted to disassociate with the war and the burden of suffering. Also, during my parents’ childhood, there was shame and the estrangement of being a minority (an ambivalent one at that, what Isaac Deutscher insightfully calls “the non-Jewish Jew”), linked to a tiny community in an implicitly anti-Semitic communist country. 56 As Portelli reminds us, mourning is “a process shaped (‘elaborated’) in historical time” (144). LaCapra also stresses the importance of historical specificity over any originary or transhistorical interpretation of trauma (Writing History, Writing Trauma xiii). Any focus on the writing of history (or historiography) helps call attention to the way shifts in international politics are linked to changing perspectives and new cultural interests. Following scholars that theorise the social construction of traumas, my study shows how major traumas, like the Holocaust, create a framework for helping integrate other traumas that have been elided in the West (see Alexander et al). 38 seeks to demystify the dominant, typically Eurocentric, politics and the way this hegemony both underlies cultural discourses as well as shapes the relationship between power and knowledge. In this, scholars have been able to draw attention to the way colonial power and institutional practices are consolidated as well as reveal forms of anticolonial resistance, so reinstating formerly excluded and misrepresented experiences and cultures. Postcolonial studies encompasses a divergent and contested field and its critical approaches to hegemony and cultural politics vary widely.57 Nevertheless, the field’s frequent return to the politics of representation offers a useful theoretical framework for assessing the occlusion of non-Western traumas, or indeed the marginalisation of “quiet” traumas, and for gauging the way epistemologies of trauma and suffering are constructed and privileged. Whereas India is an obvious subject for a postcolonial inquiry, Yugoslavia’s place appears more problematic. It is significant to grasp the meaning of postcolonial studies as a critical practice of scholarship, rather than cast it as a historical event or paradigm (Lazarus, “Postcolonial Studies” 17-18). The demise of nineteenth-century empires should not be confused as the worldwide terminus of hegemonic or imperial projects. Moreover, the break up of Yugoslavia, the partition of Bosnia, the UN and NATO interventions, the role of international agencies, and the imposition of their neoliberal economic policies has already been described in neo-imperialist terminology, most notably in Michael Ignatieff’s resonant phrase “Empire- 57 Timothy Brennan rightly notes that postcolonial studies is not “a discrete subliterary field but a collection of attitudes and styles of inquiry” (Wars of Position 94). Postcolonial studies is mostly synonymous with its deconstructionist and poststructuralist critics, most famously Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin, as well as Homi Bhabha, and Robert Young who frequently focus their analysis on the textual and the linguistic. But as Laura Chrisman notes, this work was emerging simultaneously alongside materialist and Marxist analyses by critics such as Timothy Brennan, Arif Dirlik, Terry Eagleton, Benita Parry, (and Chrisman herself). The field has also produced critics that frequently cross both sides of the divide, such as Gayatri Spivak (see Chrisman 1-3). These differences have generated rancorous debates and conflict within postcolonial studies about its purpose and politics, leading to denunciations of the field itself. 39 Lite.”58 Further analogies with interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan also invite postcolonial inquiry, and particularly that branch of analysis that deals with capitalist structures and the economic and political inequities perpetuated by them. But, while I see a place in postcolonial scholarship for such a project, there is also the danger that some critics have rushed to seductive and simple theories of new imperialism, without a careful historical assessment first.59 In such theories, there is the additional wrinkle that, during the outbreak of the war in Bosnia, the newly independent Bosnian government called for international involvement. This complicates the idea of western intervention as a purely imperial endeavour. The partitionist solution engineered by the Dayton Agreement is considered anathema, rather than a solution, for Bosnians who wanted an integrated Bosnia, with an overarching national identity. While partition has clearly benefited some parties, such as the Bosnian Serbs and their Republika Srpska, which was “founded on expulsions of hundreds of thousand of Muslims and tens of thousands of Croats” (Bose, Bosnia After Dayton 70), extreme nationalists, such as the Croatians in Herzegovina, are also dissatisfied and regularly demand an independent statelet (28-29). 58 See Sungar Savran, who interprets American President George H. W. Bush’s “New World Order” as part of an imperialist politics. Savran suggests that international intervention in Yugoslavia was politically strategic, consolidating “the newly acquired power of imperialism in that region” (149). 59 For example, Jasminka Udovicki and James Ridgeway’s Yugoslavia’s Ethnic Nightmare (1995), casts Serbia as the misunderstood victim of imperialist powers. Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair’s Imperial Crusades: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yugoslavia (2004) provides a far more controversial thesis. An exemplar of historically inaccurate scholarship, Cockburn and St. Clair claim all sides in the war were equally perpetuating atrocities (the Croats with UN/NATO support). They even allege egregiously, that the Bosnian Muslims “were manipulating Western opinion, most notoriously by almost certainly lobbing a missile into a marketplace filled with their own people” (5). Kate Hudson’s revisionist Breaking the South Slav Dream: The Rise and Fall of Yugoslavia (2003) also views Serbia as the victim (and so unwittingly take up Serb propaganda and its rhetoric of victimization). Hudson defends the cause of Serbia as the last bastion of Yugoslav socialism and champions Serb action as “defending their right to self-determination (104). For Hudson, the Bosniaks, with the help of the Western media and a US-based PR firm (!) were “consistently and inaccurately portrayed…as the multi-ethnic victim of Serb aggression” (103). Hudson not only rubbishes evidence that suggested the Serbs carried out rape warfare and had rape camps, but claims that all sides were responsible for atrocities from the start. These atrocities and their perpetrators (notably Serbs, but also Croats) have since been verified by the ICTFY. A number of the statements of guilty pleas are available online at the ICTFY website. 40 To return to the question of imperialism and put it explicitly, Yugoslavia and Bosnia were never settlement colonies, and were definitely not colonies in the sense of the military conquest, economic exploitation, and racial stratifications that applied to places like British India, or Dutch South Africa. Simply applying models developed to understand these situations would be both ethically inappropriate and historically inaccurate. On the other hand, the Balkan region, which incidentally includes the regions of the former Yugoslavia as well as Greece, Romania, and Bulgaria, were part of the Roman and Byzantine Empires (Wilmer 32). The pre- World War region that later became Yugoslavia was within close proximity to the centres of the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires and was roughly divided between them. Consequently, these Empires did shape the geographic, historical, and cultural vicinities of these regions – Bosnia in particular reflects this meeting ground of plural cultures. The historical influence of these empires is evident in the ways the civilisations of Yugoslavia, as well as that amorphous Balkan entity, continue to be understood.60 Consider, for instance, the way the Balkans’ multiple cultural, geographical, and ideological allegiances are construed and mystified variously by others, whether in religious and political terminology or in ideological and cartographic (but never geographically specific) ones: secular, multicultural, Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim, Communist (bloc), Eastern Europe, South Europe, South-East Europe, the Balkans, the Western Balkans, etc. It is imperative to keep in mind Yugoslavia’s heterogeneity and its shifting, ambiguous geopolitical affinities, which complicate discursive constructs of a passive other. In The Balkans and the West: Constructing the European Other, 1945-2003 (2004), Andrew Hammond argues that the Balkan region (itself is a nebulous site) cannot be strictly understood within the 60 Here, I draw on Neil Lazarus’s assessment of conceptualisations of the West (“The Fetish of ‘the West’” especially 44-46). 41 paradigm of Saïdian Orientalism.61 Instead of conceiving the Balkans as “the alien other, that point of absolute difference from the West,” Hammond suggests they should be considered as “‘the outsider within,’ an entity whose European location and marks of similarity to Western European culture produce a particular form of anxiety” (xiv, emphasis added). This unsettling familiarity, according to Hammond, marks the break from postcolonial studies, since Balkanist “styles of representation emerge from both west and east [rather than from one dominant power]….The designation of other has been appropriated and manipulated by those who have themselves been designated as such” (xvi).62 Rejecting the binaries of Manichean conflict that sets east against west, Hammond instead cautions awareness of the complicated and intricate realities of the different Balkan nations. Perhaps because of these differences – between “the outsider within” and Oriental otherness, as well as in the assertion of multiple (Balkan) agencies – Hammond prompts attention to Yugoslavia within the representational discourse known as “Balkanism.” To an extent I agree with Hammond, but his thesis is also complicated by new interpretations of the Yugoslav wars that both supplement and resist the history of the Balkanist discourse applied to the region. This has much to do with the way the wars, and the Bosnian war especially, were perceived as ideological collisions. As Lene Hansen persuasively shows in her analysis of Samuel Huntington’s policies the Bosnian war was “the only conflict occurring directly on the fault line between the Western and the Islamic civilizations” and served as a microcosm for his clash of civilizations thesis (168). More prominently, the Western fear of involvement (especially the US) in the Yugoslav wars had Empire-lite echoes of the entrapment 61 Hammond builds here on Thomas Cushman’s work and his critique (26). 62 See also Tim Beasley-Murray, who offers a helpful assessment of the ambivalence and complexity of Slav cultures during the Habsburg Empire. Beasley-Murray builds on Todorova’s theories to describe Slav culture as “both familiar and alien, domestic and exotic, central and peripheral,” what might be designated the “internal other” (133). Wilmer reminds us that “people in Croatia and Slovenia [were] truly offended by the prospect of being thought of as being in the Balkans” (32). 42 of earlier ideological conflicts, such as the protracted Vietnam occupation or the military intervention in Somalia.63 Keeping these differences in mind, my study is generally in consonance with the thinking of other scholars that the break-up of Yugoslavia and its subsequent wars ushered in Balkanist conceptual framework (albeit a revised and updated one). Here, Chapter 4 will show in greater detail, Western media outlets were integral to instilling a binary vision, that not only obscured the historical specificity of Yugoslav culture and its regional history, but also constructed the Balkans negatively against ideas of “the West,” and engendered a sense of Western political and cultural superiority over the region. The problem with these misrepresentations and preconceptions is they have an enduring presence and so have permeated contemporary (international) perceptions of Bosnia as well as authorised disinterest from its traumatised site. But alongside this cultural violence, as it might be termed, there is also the matter of economic and political domination in Bosnia, which implicates the international media, the NATO forces, and even academic researchers as part of such structures. Here, the contributions of postcolonial theory, and particularly attention to the unevenness of contemporary globalisms become immensely important. One innovative direction is the materialist model of cultural analysis applied to both colonial and post-colonial eras, a critical project which has emerged from the collaboration between Marxism and postcolonial studies.64 In a recent essay collection edited by Crystal Bartolovich and Neil Lazarus, Bartolovich argues that the overriding concern is to recognize all 63 Hansen 135. But Hansen is careful to note that this ideological category was not the reason used by the West not to intervene in Bosnia. In fact, as Hansen notes, critics of Western inaction used this charge (i.e. that the West saw the Muslims as Other) because they were concerned that non-intervention would have a negative impact on relations with the Islamic nations (219). Hansen’s conclusion is that Islamic religion didn’t exert a large influence since “it seems more likely that the ‘Balkan Other’ was ‘Other enough’” (220). 64 A number of journal collections have emerged out of such collaborations, such as the 2006 New Formations special issue on “After Iraq: Reframing Postcolonial Studies,” by Priyamvada Gopal and Neil Lazarus. This 43 current global asymmetries, economic, political, institutional, ideological… The persistence of these asymmetries today….makes it doubly important to situate all cultural works and forms in their specificity, with reference to their conditions of production and circulation at their point of origin as well as in wider circles.…[We] must be ever vigilant to the inequality that structures production, circulation and use of cultural forms, and to the various irreducible effects of this inequality. (14-15) This study endeavours to diagnose some of these conditions in relation to the production and reception of trauma (as all my chapters, and chapter 4 especially, will show). Thinking through these different hegemonic forms enables a serious engagement with issues around the canonization of culture and trauma (the relevance of genre here is a key consideration and its relation to elite institutions or mass culture, respectively), the sites of production and circulation of culture, as well as the question of audience. While my study seeks to identify the critical role of partition traumas in galvanising new political configurations, I ask what are the effects of these asymmetries upon the traumatised partition subject? Furthermore, in what ways do they (ir)reconcile the different positions of the reader of partition trauma with the traumatised subject? Taking cue from Bartolovich, my project is occupied with the praxis and production of cultural work and the scope of my study helps rectify some of the biases dominant in postcolonial literary analysis. In gathering a wide assortment of narratives, a number of which deal with the experience of rural communities, I assert the need to examine partition’s imprints within peripheral and subaltern spaces as well as upon urban and metropolitan life. This is less a balancing act than an effort to attend to the diversity of partition narratives, as suggested by the broad selection of perspectives in my survey of Indian partition anthologies (chapter 3). In the academies and publishing world of North America and Europe, the fiction of the Indian partition collection examines the role for postcolonial studies in relation to the invasion of Iraq, and new developments in relation to labour and human rights (Guantanamo especially) environmental concerns as well as the Israel-Lebanon conflict. See also the recent issue of South Atlantic Quarterly (2009) on capitalism in the academy (Ganguly). 44 is frequently conflated with the diasporic writer, writing in the English language (Salman Rushdie being the prominent example). Yet, this does the disservice of entrenching the narrow and inaccurate perception of the subcontinent’s prolific and occasionally brilliant writings on partition, both in English and in Indian languages (here the Urdu short stories and sketches of Saadat Hassan Manto come to mind). One intrinsic limit here is that chapters 2 and 3 deal only with translated works into English. Chapter three engages novels, translated from their original Serbo-Croat into English. In contrast, many of the Indian anthologies are published in English, albeit by publishers in India, rather than in England. This Anglophonic context reinforces the hegemonic position of English as a language, spoken by “a global minority,” while also signalling a desire for inclusivity, in terms of international reach and within the institutional realms of canonization and pedagogy (Brennan, Wars of Position 27). Additionally, while we must not lose sight of the fact that English is also an Indian language, as Chelva Kanaganayakam has contended, there is the spectre of class, raised both by the problem of literacy in India as well as literacy in English in India. Commemoration, Reconstruction, Political Praxis The following chapters illuminate how partition traumas initiate new modes of commemoration, which are themselves linked to a political praxis in the face of representational limits. In sketching out the many ways ethnic violence and partition traumas have shaped contemporary life, writers not only capture the horror and atrocity of this past, but also demonstrate how the past continues to be felt palpably within the postcolonial and postsocialist present by individuals and groups. Frequently, there is a utopic imaginary at work here that expresses a multicommunal solidarity or a cosmopolitan citizenry. Such visions of inclusivity and pluralism 45 challenge ethnonationalist regimes and their institutions. There thus exists a sense of hope or aspiration which finds its sustenance in the fleeting images and objets trouvés, affects and friendships, political and civic communities and projects that have either survived partition in fragmented form, or have been actively recovered via collective and personal memories. Yet, the meanings of these ideals can be contradictory, at once suggesting a level of wishful thinking and the transcendence of material conditions, whilst encouraging and advancing substantive change. Consequently, most of the texts examined here share a concern with their attention to audience. In fact, the narratives, at points, elaborate a self-conscious and reflective awareness, calling upon readerly participation and suggesting that a critical understanding, if not activism, of an antipartitionist politics simultaneously complements the worldliness of the text, while going beyond its literary dimensions. As with the recent creation of divided states and partitionist ideologies, the authors investigated in this study are alert to the ideological abuses of history and the artifice of national discourses, more specifically. There is an attempt to highlight the construction of cultural institutions, whether literary canons, national cultures and apparatuses, or historical memories, and so not only destabilise these existing formations and question their legitimacy, but also produce counter forms of knowledge. This resistance gestures towards the important thinking of Walter Benjamin, Karl Marx, Georg Lukács, and Giambattista Vico. Essentially, these authors put forward a “critical philosophy” of history, “a theory of theory, and a consciousness of consciousness” that “dissolves the rigid, unhistorical, natural appearance of social institutions” (History and Class Consciousness 47). In the struggle to relate an antipartitionist cultural identity and legacy, each partition narrative adds to a body of knowledge. This growing material 46 repository helps structure and change public opinion, substantiating as well as authorising alternative institutions. The influence and inspiration of the critical thinkers mentioned above within the texts I examine is difficult to determine precisely. Yet, it is no coincidence that academics, scholars, teachers, artists, writers, social activists, and journalists, those who form the intellectual class, populate the texts examined here. Many are the actual authors or editors of the texts examined, such as the Indian scholars who have compiled anthologies of partition literature; others figure as textual characters and constitute key figures of inspiration and action. The task of testifying to traumas and explicating them often falls to such intellectual figures. In both Indian and Yugoslav contexts, there are efforts to search out and recover information from the past that opposes the ethno-nationalist cast of the present. The Indian diasporic writer, Amitav Ghosh (whose novels are discussed in more detail in chapter 1) exemplifies such an intellectual. Before becoming a writer, he had completed a PhD at Oxford University and had published work for the Subaltern Studies group, looking at the way marginalised histories could be retrieved and re-imagined. In contrast, the Yugoslav writer, Dubravka Ugresic develops her conceptual tools from the work of past intellectuals and writers, such as Victor Shklovsky and Vladimir Nabokov. Searching out seemingly trivial objects and mementos, she is able to piece together a version of the Yugoslav past that strategically avoids both the ideological nets of the post-partitioned state and Tito’s socialist Yugoslavia. Ugresic’s methodology here is reminiscent of the historical practice articulated by Benjamin, and especially his description of the collector, whose act of collecting, even those discarded items considered worthless, resembles a form of practical memory (Benjamin, Arcades 205). 47 To return to the Saïdian concept of anxious witnesses, this then is the particular responsibility of intellectuals, to stand “apart from….the dominant currents of their own time,” witnesses to the “impinging and even threatening circumstances they could neither ignore nor elude” (“Reflections” xxi). The commitment to a worldly criticism, that calls attention to culture as “a system of exclusions” and overturns dominant conceptions, is idealistic, but necessary given the role of traditional intellectuals – understood in the Gramscian sense as those linked closely to the political apparatus of the state – and their complicity in bolstering the hegemony of the state and its memory politics (Said, The World 11).65 This was certainly the case in Croatia and Serbia, where academics, church leaders (Orthodox and Catholic) as well as politicians were instrumental in shaping nationalist propagandas and mythologies (Magaš and Žanic xxiv). Ugresic, an academic by trade, reminds us “to face our aspect, the history of our profession which has been compromised so often…to face the fact that some of us forge words like knives” (“Priests and Parrots” 46).66 Unsurprisingly, intellectuals who continued to sustain the legitimacy of Tito’s Yugoslav project and who resisted the new ethno-nationalist regimes were among the first to be targeted as casualties.67 But whatever their personal experiences of persecution and exile, these intellectual figures are also the cultural and metropolitan elite. To cite Ugresic again, 65 In his essay, “The Intellectuals,” Gramsci differentiates between the traditional and the organic intellectual. The traditional intellectual is the “man of letters, the philosopher, the artist,” and the priest, who has a socio-political purpose, linked to the State (141). As Gramsci notes, these intellectuals are “born and developed as an ‘economic’ group and turned into qualified political intellectuals, leaders and organisers of all the activities and functions of an integral civil and political society” (150). In contrast, the organic intellectual comes not out of “eloquence but in active participation in practical life” leading to the “possibility of proletarian cultural hegemony through the work process” (10, emphasis added). 66 Or as Hobsbawm says more bluntly of the practices of “dangerous” history: “The sentences typed on apparently innocuous keyboards may be sentences of death” (On History 277). 67 See Lavrence, who notes that, at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, faculty-wide purges were common. Academics received death threats from a nationalist group, who were also responsible for the disappearance of the Dean of Sciences (6n.8) 48 The identity of the writers, the intellectual, is called into question in the turbulent times of the destruction of old values and the establishment of new ones. Some have found an identity, others have lost one. To speak about identity at a time when many people are losing their lives, the roof over their heads and those closest to them seems inappropriate. (“Priests and Parrots” 45) For Ugresic, there is a pervasive sense of anxiety in relation to this incommensurability.68 What for some was a political and ideological crisis was for others an unimaginable catastrophe. In making visible the material asymmetries of power, Ugresic reminds us that partition was felt variously across socio-economic classes. Every privileged migrant author has a double, in the figure of the impoverished refugee. As my analysis of partition literature demonstrates, the traumas of partition can be measured by their hierarchies of displacement and disenfranchisement, their scales of horror, atrocity, and suffering, inflected variously in rural and metropolitan settings. These differentiated aspects of partition’s violences necessarily unsettle any generalist reading of trauma per se. The first chapter reads across the essays and novels of Amitav Ghosh to explore how the trauma of the Indian partition and, its traumatic affects, in particular, can galvanise new forms of cosmopolitical subjectivity. This chapter traces the emergence of a specifically affective cosmopolitanism in Ghosh’s writing – a cosmopolitanism formed by affects such as anxiety, sympathy, love, and longing that emanate from unorthodox attachments and encounters with others. I examine the development of Ghosh’s affective cosmopolitanism from its emphasis on the individual protagonist in The Shadow Lines, to its collective significance in his later work. In The Shadow Lines, affective cosmopolitanism is melancholic foremost, and is driven by unfulfilled desire to recuperate memories and substantiate spectral memories in order to work through personal traumas related to communal violence. In contrast, the affective 68 It is important to note, in context of the incommensurability of traumas, that anxiety is frequently linked to secondary or vicarious traumatisation. See LaCapra, History in Transit 114. 49 cosmopolitanism in Ghosh’s novel, The Hungry Tide, emerges out of contact with a subaltern class of dispossessed Dalits, mostly refugees displaced by the events of partition. I demonstrate how, in this novel, subaltern affect is the agent of a critical transformation for the novel’s bourgeois cosmopolitan protagonists, animating them anew to push for social and political reconstitution for groups that were politically disenfranchised in the post-partitioned nation- state. In the pursuit of ethical interventions, we can trace the central role of anxious witnessing in shaping intellectual action. Anxious witnessing emerges out of the experiences of affective cosmopolitanism. Driven by the imperative to bear witness and respond to past traumas, it transmits traumatic affects as a surplus beyond the horizon of personal witnessing and into the larger community of writers and readers. The second chapter returns to the Indian partition in order to map out the growing genre of the Indian anthology of partition literature. I argue that such collections provide a forum where the traumatic memories of partition are both constructed and commemorated. I pay special attention to the significance of this genre which is published in English on the Indian subcontinent, as they seek to establish dialogues with an English-speaking readership and the Indian nation-state. Such anthologies are important not only because the use of multiple narratives makes them appear more representative and thus more able to encase a national trauma, but also because they remain implicated in pedagogical institutions, especially universities. As with the novels of Ghosh, I illuminate how the project of the partition anthology emerges within a national context that lacks public commemoration of the suffering experienced. Thus far, academics in North America and the UK have acknowledged these anthologies, but have directed very little (if any) critical attention to their competing claims. A greater concern of this chapter is to develop a more complex understanding of the partition 50 experience by elaborating the differentiated and distinct forms of partition trauma represented by these anthologies. The findings of this chapter reveal that individual anthologies contest the notion of a singular collective or unitary national partition trauma. Instead, they demonstrate a heterogeneity of competing voices, experiences, feelings, and sensibilities shaped by partition, from its gendered violence, to the marginalisation of Indian Muslims, and the scattering of the Sindhi community. This chapter finishes with a detailed analysis of a recent Bengali partition anthology. Whereas scholars overwhelmingly focus on the partition of Punjab, this literary anthology – the first of its kind that exclusively considers the division of Bengal – enunciates the way partition has not only indelibly shaped Bengal’s regional, cultural, and intellectual identity, but how its melancholic and nostalgic affects can actually impede or mystify a critical awareness of the way pre-partition class hierarchies and their associated violences continue to be sustained in the present. Marking the shift to the Yugoslav context, the third chapter explores the critical relationship between trauma and institution-building. Turning to the dissolution of Yugoslavia as represented in two novels by Dubravka Ugresic, this chapter assesses the significance of human institutions, such as the museum and the courts of international justice, in reconstituting and commemorating a rapidly disappearing past. As this chapter shows, the failure to memorialise the past not only perpetuates the irreconcilable ethnic divides of partitioned states but also disavows both the collective memory of Tito’s Yugoslavia and the unprecedented violence of the Yugoslav wars. In the novel, The Museum of Unconditional Surrender, Ugresic takes up the critical practice of nostalgia – known in this context as Yugonostalgia – to assemble the minutiae and the memories of the past. Here, she utilises the trope of the museum, in its spectral and corporeal forms, in order to resuscitate a Yugoslav multicultural subjectivity that 51 now no longer exists in the material world. If Museum denotes a theoretical model as well as an imaginative practice that transgresses the constraints of the partitioned present, by way of contrast, Ugresic’s later novel, The Ministry of Pain attempts to express that theory into practicable form. Ministry tells the story of Tanya, an ex-Yugoslav university teacher of (the now defunct) Serbo-Croatian language and culture and her class of ex-Yugoslav students in the Netherlands. Despite Tanya’s pedagogical attempts to excavate the Yugoslav past, both through her class and her visits to the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, Ministry offers a bleaker prognosis of the ongoing traumatisation and despair of ex-Yugoslavs by suggesting that without institutional reform, at national and international levels, not only is the critical promise of Yugonostalgia blunted, but also neither mourning nor justice are possible. The final chapter constitutes an extended analysis of the discourses, produced for an Anglophone audience, of the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. The primary object of analysis is the way such discourses are foundational to authorising detachment or initiating forms of ethical witnessing in relation to Bosnia’s traumas. Whereas Bosnia’s war attracted extensive international media coverage, it has since received very little attention, a surprising development considering its precarious existence as an international protectorate and an ethnically partitioned polity. Indeed the shift within this discursive history can be seen as reflecting the greater asymmetries inherent in the relationships between powerful states and far less powerful ones. I single out the comic books of US artist and journalist Joe Sacco for consideration, not only because they focus on Bosnia as a space that was manipulated and misrepresented by the media as a war of ancient ethnic hatreds, but also because, ten years after the war, any knowledge about Bosnia (at least, in the West) continues to be shaped by these constructions. I show how Sacco’s attention to the voices of Bosnians themselves is of tremendous significance. 52 Assembling a wide range of Bosnian testimonies, Sacco highlights the disparities between local experiences of trauma and the way the media codified a complex war into reductive elements. What makes Sacco’s work especially pertinent, however, is his shift away from attempts to represent trauma and towards a critique of testimony as commodity. In Sacco’s narratives, the visual comic narrative plays a dialogic role in exposing what I call a trauma economy, the modes of mediation, representation, production, and commodification by which we perceive and think about trauma. While Sacco reminds us of the instability of all representational discourses, he ultimately insists that, like the cartoonist that includes himself in his drawings, his Anglophonic audience must reflect upon their own position (of power, of privilege, of desire) in relation to testimony before embarking upon meaningful sociopolitical change. Sacco’s self- reflexive strategies subvert the power relations between Bosnia and the West, complicating the idea that “when cultures are formed as objects of Western knowledge they are also formed as objects of Western control” (Hammond xvi). 53 CHAPTER ONE Anxious Cosmopolitans: Partition’s Haunting Presence in the Writing of Amitav Ghosh If cosmopolitanism is perceived as a broad term that evokes numerous, and often conflicting, discourses, its recent theoretical turn emphasises questions of responsibility and belonging that rest on the search for a political ideal. In line with contemporary theories of the cosmopolitan, this chapter centers on cosmopolitanism as an ethical project that both comes out of and searches for affective encounters in the post-partition space of independent India. In the wake of ethnic partitions, conducted under the auspices of nationalism, cosmopolitanism becomes a strained concept. The rigidity of homogeneous, national identity formations does not easily allow room for what Pandey has called the “hyphenated national” citizen, such as those found in minorities and marginal groups (“Disciplining” 159). To be cosmopolitan in the space of the nation-state implies hospitality to others; but such a notion places into jeopardy the post- partition and separatist project of state-building. To use a drastic example, the aspirations of South Asia’s post-colonial states, such as Bangladesh, make the practice of cosmopolitanism, with its tolerance of synthesis and integration, suspect at best and impossible at worst. Whereas the partitioning of societies functions to inhibit cosmopolitanism, cosmopolitanism works in reverse, enabling the overthrow of partitionist mentalities. Paying particular attention to the violent consequences of the 1947 Indian partition, my chapter examines the way the novelist Amitav Ghosh develops a form of cosmopolitanism that works through partition’s traumas. Ghosh’s conceptualization of cosmopolitanism relies on an ethics of openness and represents a move away from nationalism’s exclusivist loyalties. More specifically, in his recent novels, Ghosh advances cosmopolitanism as the basis of a new politics that responds to the unresolved dilemmas of partition, and is thus oriented towards the formation of future communities. 54 The tension between nationalism and cosmopolitanism is illustrated in Ghosh’s 1992 novel In an Antique Land, where a confrontation between the two ideological positions takes place. Ghosh describes a journey, taken in Egypt, to visit the tomb of Sidi Abu-Hasira, a Jewish saint who “had once been equally venerated by Jews and Muslims alike” (342). On reaching the tomb, Ghosh and his driver are detained and interrogated by uniformed guards, representatives of the state. Unable to fathom Ghosh’s interest in the tomb (for, as Ghosh’s interrogator asks, being neither “Jewish or Israeli…what connection could [Ghosh] have with the tomb of a Jewish holy man, here in Egypt?”), the guards let Ghosh go on the condition that he leave at once, without visiting the tomb. Pondering this episode, Ghosh realises the extent to which the historical displacements of colonial legacies and nationalist discourses are inscribed: It struck me…[that] the remains of those small indistinguishable, intertwined histories, Indian and Egyptian, Muslim and Jewish, Hindu and Muslim, had been partitioned long ago. Nothing remained in Egypt to effectively challenge [the interrogator’s] disbelief… It was then that I began to realize how much success the partitioning of the past had achieved; that I was sitting at that desk now because the mowlid of Sidi Abu-Hasira was an anomaly within the categories of knowledge represented by those divisions. (339- 340) Whereas In an Antique Land foregrounds these “intertwined histories,” Ghosh’s reconstruction of a medieval, non-western, multi-religious world has been much criticized by the feminist scholar Inderpal Grewal because, amongst other things, its cosmopolitanism can only be realized through the University of Oxford’s “repository of…documents that made this history possible” (55). Rejecting this precolonial world as idealized and nostalgic, Grewal argues that ultimately Ghosh provides us with wishful thinking, a depiction of “a utopian time and place” (54). My use of In an Antique Land, in contrast, serves as a brief introduction to Ghosh’s deployment of cosmopolitanism as a philosophy that provides the basis for a particular ethic. 55 If Grewal’s analysis provides a useful corrective to Ghosh’s selective cosmopolitanism – she urges us to consider the ways in which colonial histories play a part in producing his narrative, while calling attention to his marginalisation of female and working class diasporic subjects – she fails to contextualise or elaborate on the two implicit ideas of In an Antique Land, the diasporic intellectual and the space of utopianism, as incomplete critical modes that work towards a cosmopolitan politics. The first concerns Ghosh’s self-insertion into his text as writer and ethnographer-historian, whose diasporic displacement as postcolonial intellectual enables a particular cosmopolitan perspective.69 Ghosh implies that, from this critical position, hidden knowledges can be unearthed; the traces of heterogeneous communities and transcultural connections can be retrieved and reimagined. The figure of what might be loosely called the secular intellectual, embodied variously by the writer, the researcher, the humanitarian worker, and the academic, recur in many of Ghosh’s writings, and speak to the importance with which Ghosh views cosmopolitans as having (consciously or unconsciously) the imaginative tools that can challenge exclusivist ideologies.70 Ghosh himself seems to exemplify the role of the secular intellectual in his public commentaries that tirelessly advocate greater social and political engagement; consequently, I 69 I have borrowed the term “Ethnographer-Historian” from the title of Javed Majeed’s 1995 article. 70 I take the term “secular intellectual” to refer to particular commitments to a greater social good and to ideals that go beyond the self, such as to reformed political and social practices. My choice of the term is much influenced by Bruce Robbins’ idea of a “secular vocation,” where the “ethical, epistemological, aesthetic, and political beliefs” of an individual are “inextricable” from their “attachment to their work” (Secular Vocations 23). While Robbins’s emphasis is on professional scholars, my denotation of the “secular intellectual” also refers to non-academic, public, and independent figures, such as activists and humanitarian workers. The secular intellectual, unlike the connotations suggested by the phrases “ethnic” or third world intellectual, can be found within the third world, within diaspora groups, but also within western, non-diasporic groups. In Ghosh’s works, the secular intellectual can be seen in a whole or inchoate form in his characters in their pursuit of what Robbins calls “an ethic of public service” (Secular Vocations 216). My use of intellectual refers to the character of this cultural elite, and their implication in forms of knowledge (though as Pheng Cheah points out, cosmopolitanism in its French eighteenth- century context, stood for “an intellectual ethic.” See Robbins and Cheah, 22). Note that in The Shadow Lines, the narrator, like his uncle, embarks on a PhD thesis, while May Price is a humanitarian worker connected to various charities across the world; in The Hungry Tide, we have Piya, an academic researcher, Kanai, a linguistically gifted businessman, his uncle, a former university professor, and his aunt, who sets up a NGO that educates women and helps poor communities become self-sufficient. 56 turn to his journalistic writings, which foreground the issue of intellectual work and the theme of political agency. For instance, in “The Diaspora in Indian Culture” (1989), Ghosh articulates the importance of the diasporic subjectivities in relation to the Indian nation-state. His exclusive attention, however, is focussed on writers, “the specialists of the imagination” who “play so important a part” within this relationship (76). While writers of fiction are significant, Ghosh’s interest also extends to the social and political energies that come out of India’s intellectual culture. Like writers, intellectuals have a role in explicating the past, particularly in the overlap between disciplines in which Ghosh himself operates – history, literature, sociology, and anthropology. It might be argued that, as with cultural narratives, intellectual work lends itself well to offering an understanding of cultures, groups, and nations.71 For Ghosh, diasporic writings are part of India that is “both hostage and representative in the world outside” as the writer provides “the mirror in which modern India seeks to know itself” (“Diaspora in Indian Culture” 78). But the appeal to the readerly residents of “modern India” also contains a political and pragmatic subtext that can be traced in Ghosh’s other writings.72 In his 1995 essay, “The Ghosts of Mrs Gandhi,” Ghosh speaks of the “catastrophe” of sectarian violence, and couples it with the equally disastrous effect of its representation: the excision, within many cultural discourses, of the efforts to oppose and quell such violence (46). In reading accounts that describe the violent dilemmas of the world, Ghosh suggests that rather than thinking of these events as “mere spectacles,” we must “recognize the urgency of remembering the stories we have not written” (60; 62). He drives us, in other words, to think beyond the aesthetic character 71 Ghosh’s academic background is less relevant here than his interest in the role of particular academic groups, such as the subalternist studies group. Ghosh is all too aware of the dangers implicit in forms of knowledge, such as anthropology, which can turn “people into abstractions,” or history, which can be complicit in nationalist projects (Aldama 86). For an example of the optimistic, rather than the pessimistic view of academia, see Ghosh’s correspondence with Dipesh Chakrabarty. Here Ghosh extols the way Provincializing Europe provides “insights into oneself and the ways in which one’s own experience is constituted” (Ghosh and Chakrabarty 147). 72 Ghosh has explained the importance of India to his writing because “I have a much, much bigger audience in India than I have anywhere else” (Aldama 87). 57 of textual discourses to acknowledge the existing efforts that act and intervene within these volatile circumstances. It is within such a framework that Ghosh’s utopianism must be understood since it denotes a conscious mode of political praxis. Whatever popular connotations it may have accrued, utopian thought does not necessarily suggest a disconnect from political realities, but rather represents a serious desire to resolve existing problems and to secure emancipation for groups enmeshed in particular political realities. Scholars such as Peter Fitting have pointed out that utopia has a performative function…intended ideally to push the reader to action…utopia and dystopia by their very nature remind us of their connections with the real, and it seems foolish and obtuse to ignore the deliberate engagement of these works with contemporary issues. (142-43, emphasis added) Similarly, Ghosh’s use of utopias sets up a way to advance a dialogical encounter between an imagined past and the present, through which new forms of experience, agency, and politics can be found. Rather than projecting an impossible ideal, the utopia of In an Antique Land responds to communalist separatism and its violences, encouraging and anticipating social change. This chapter examines Ghosh’s formulation of a utopic cosmopolitanism in two novels, The Shadow Lines (1998) and The Hungry Tide (2004). At the centre of each is the cosmopolitan figure of the displaced (though not necessarily diasporic) secular intellectual through whom Ghosh outlines a response to the diverse kinds of violence of the Indian partition. Through their bourgeois protagonists, the two novels search out a perspective that would contest the partitionist identities and the onset of historical amnesia, in order to recover some of the communitarian possibilities projected by utopian cosmopolitan ideals. These articulations of cosmopolitanism function as a form of working through, an orientation towards healing oneself and others of the traumatic histories of the past. 58 In distinction from other theorizations, Ghosh’s cosmopolitanism is energized, if not wholly formed, by the affects emanating from memories, experiences, and the spaces of otherness. By affect, I mean the experiential and frequently subliminal sensations or impulses, which one interprets or registers as particular feelings or emotions.73 Affect expresses our social practices and, as my investigation will reveal, is connected to particular histories, memories, and locations. Because I concentrate on the affective character of Ghosh’s cosmopolitanism, the general nature and history of cosmopolitanism, particularly as it is taken up by cultural theories, needs to be understood. Scholars frequently refer to the themes of cosmopolitanism in Ghosh’s work, but rarely do they explore its relationship to the concepts of affect and utopia (see Black). One purpose in this chapter is to show the overlap in ethical concerns between contemporary theories of the cosmopolitan and Ghosh’s ideas of cosmopolitanism. The bulk of this chapter turns to the social and political role of Ghosh’s cosmopolitanism in relation to the traumas of partition, exemplified variously through displacement, communal riots, impoverishment, and individual, as well as collective trauma. In particular, my chapter traces a development in Ghosh’s use of an affective cosmopolitanism and the shift from his focus on the individual in The Shadow Lines to the collective in The Hungry Tide. The Shadow Lines seeks to counter the suppressed memories of partition and to scrutinize the role of communal violence in shaping the post-partition lives of individuals. The unnamed narrator utilizes a melancholic and cosmopolitan form of imagination to generate insight into his personal trauma. Mobilized through an intellectual desire for knowledge, the narrator searches 73 Donna M. Orange offers a helpful differentiation between affect and emotions when she writes that emotions, like feelings, are “complex processes rather than…simple entities” that are “knowable or known only by introspection and empathy” (90). However, critics like Sara Ahmed talk of the difficulty of creating a divide between emotion and sensation (affect) as contact with a subject that generates feelings also involves the “histories that come before the subject...[if] the distinction between sensation and emotion can only be analytic…[it] is premised on the reification of a concept” (6). Affect must be understood as a broad and non-quantifiable concept, and its definitions continue to be widely debated. For a concise introduction to the different positions in this discussion, see Nigel Thrift’s essay on affect. 59 out the ghosts of the past in order to secure a coping strategy for the individual life. Melancholia, as well as the sensations of longing and unfulfilled love, inflect the narrator’s search through his memories. Through the cosmopolitan imagination, Ghosh offers us a critique of post-partition realities and challenges us to conceive of future kinships, based not on identificatory politics, but constructed around affinities of belief, what Timothy Brennan describes as “communities defined by shared positions, ideas, and visions for the future” (Wars of Position 6). In my analysis, I argue that any celebratory reading of such communities is undercut by Ghosh’s propagation of a masculinist norm where women, and in particular women’s bodies, serve only to reinforce homosocial links across cosmopolitan communities. In contrast, The Hungry Tide takes up Ghosh’s exploration of cosmopolitanism, reworking the masculinist cosmopolitan creed of The Shadow Lines into a critical cosmopolitanism that foregrounds its role within political and social practices. I concentrate on how The Hungry Tide addresses the predicaments of the subaltern, who is victim of the nation-state’s distribution of power. Ghosh’s subalterns are part of a displaced refugee community, whose struggle for post- partition recognition has been occluded from official discourses. Because the limited agency of the subaltern cannot withstand the material strength of the state, Ghosh calls upon the cosmopolitan intellectual to assume moral responsibility for an impoverished collectivity. Ghosh’s critical cosmopolitanism derives from a proximity with subaltern space and the subaltern’s traumatic experiences, which leave an affective imprint on his protagonists. Experiencing a sense of estrangement and disorientation, his characters become aware of new feelings of attachment. Unlike The Shadow Lines, The Hungry Tide is concerned with the formation of a new subjectivity. In this way, a critical cosmopolitanism seeks to redress the structural inadequacies of the postcolonial nation-state. In my analysis of The Hungry Tide I 60 want to argue that, as with India’s pre-Independence movements, critical cosmopolitanism emerges in a time of global turbulence, and culminates in the creation of unorthodox solidarities, pointing towards the promise of a new society. My discussion explores the role of the cosmopolitan intellectual, and Ghosh’s contemplation of the obligations that ought to come with particular privileges. Moreover, in aligning the reader with the viewpoints of his cosmopolitan subjects, and by stressing the modes of production of the book itself, i.e. its creation, its global publication, and its consumption by a bourgeois audience, Ghosh implicates the reader in his critical cosmopolitanism to demand an ethics that pushes for social and political reconstitution. Rooted and Utopic Cosmopolitanisms In western political philosophy, the tradition of cosmopolitanism begins with Diogenes the Cynic and his claim to be a citizen of the world. Broadly speaking, the premise of an allegiance to the world, rather than to any particular nation, raises ideas of tolerance and receptiveness to other cultures. Concurrently, it operates through a process of detachment, a loosening of local prejudices or affiliations.74 Cosmopolitanism was developed further after the Greeks during the advent of modernity. As Walter Mignolo notes, the major cosmopolitan projects emerged first during the sixteenth century, when technological innovations brought disparate communities into contact for the first time, and then later in the eighteenth century, most famously in Kant’s essay on “Perpetual Peace.”75 In both the Greek and the Enlightenment contexts, 74 This detachment is viewed as positive and negative. For example, in the positive vein, both Paul Gilroy and Amanda Anderson talk about the need to cultivate degrees of estrangement in order to procure a critical perspective of one’s society. The negative understanding of detachment is exemplified by estrangement through an attachment to nowhere and nobody, a rejection of the nation-state (and thus the need for regional/national political frameworks) or an attachment to an abstraction too large to be helpful (the world or humanity in general). Detachment also indicates insularity as an attachment only to the nation; these examples are extremes that Kwame Anthony Appiah sums up as “the nationalist who abandons all foreigners or the hard core cosmopolitanism who regards her friends and fellow citizens with icy impartiality” (Cosmopolitanism xvii). 75 See Walter Mignolo’s historical genealogy of modernity and cosmopolitanism, pps. 725-37. 61 cosmopolitanism claimed abstract and universal ideals, but, as scholars such as David Parker argue, its formulation remained encased by a restrictive set of norms: it privileged the moral and cultural superiority of its European foundation, and posited cosmopolitanism as an objective philosophy, desirable and acceptable to all. Recent theories of cosmopolitanism break with this universalist framework to stress the importance of local space. Bruce Robbins, for instance, rejects the “preconceived totality” of cosmopolitanism as a critical mode since “intellectuals and academics are “not ‘detached’ but situated” in diverse ways (“Comparative Cosmopolitanism” 173; 172, original emphasis). Building on Spivak’s formulation of “worlding,” he argues instead for understanding cosmopolitanism as a “process in which more than one ‘world’ may be realised, where ‘worlds’ may be contested” (176). In postcolonial literatures and theory, the commitment to cosmopolitanism manifests itself in different ways: through multiculturalism, hybridity, mobility, a familiarity with many languages, literatures, and cultures, and so on.76 Most often, cosmopolitan subjects frequently surface in postcolonial literatures and theory as a privileged class. Their cosmopolitan perspective supposedly endows them with the disruptive power of a politics of difference. But such powers also exist in the “politics of deterritorialised flows” found in forms of global capitalism that also easily transcend borders (Hardt and Negri, Empire 142). Brennan is right to assert that cosmopolitanism is “a fundamentally ambivalent phenomenon,” articulated by ethical interests on both sides of the political fence (Wars of Position 205).77 Parker reminds us that the force of capital and political power has always been 76 In contrast to the idea that cosmopolitanism is somehow intrinsic to the experiences of diasporic intellectuals, Pnina Werbner argues that cosmopolitanism “does not necessarily imply an absence of belonging but the possibility of belonging to more than one ethnic and cultural localism simultaneously (34). She puts forward the case for working-class Pakistani cosmopolitans, who gain knowledge of other cultures through their experiences of migration and labour, opening up a transnational links that are not centred around Europe. 77 See Brennan, At Home in the World for details of the relationship between corporatism and cosmopolitanism (209-11). Here Brennan reminds us of the xenophobic uses of cosmopolitanism in the nineteenth century when it was used to denigrate marginalised groups, such as Jews and homosexuals. Another example of imperial cosmopolitanism is offered by Paul Gilroy, who talks of an “armoured cosmopolitanism” (60) that refers “to the 62 implicit in the cosmopolitan ideal. Parker, who positions the classical interpretations of cosmopolitanism within their historical context of slavery and expansionism, explains that the terms on which cultural differences are encountered, appropriated and absorbed have never been free from power; from being embedded in the asymmetrical relationships and pressures of commerce, colonialism, and military force. (156) Thus, we should remember that neither postcolonial cosmopolitan subjects nor postmodern capitalism necessarily resolve the crises prompted by intolerance, ethnic violence, and current inequities; in fact, they may perpetuate them. Ghosh is sensitive to the diverse discourses of cosmopolitanism and their contradictions. For example, The Hungry Tide documents the rich religious cosmopolitanism of refugees whose physical immobility makes them unlikely cosmopolitans. On the other hand, The Shadow Lines describes the clichéd cosmopolitanism of global and capitalist professionals, who, despite their global travels, remain narrow-minded. Ghosh carefully delineates the partiality of all cosmopolitan sentiments, revealing cosmopolitanism, in its myriad forms, as neither universal nor neutral, but situated, inextricably dependent upon social, economic, and class distinctions. Critical theorists, principally James Clifford, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Pheng Cheah, and Homi K. Bhabha, have elaborated this nuanced understanding of cosmopolitanism variously as “discrepant,” “rooted,” “embedded,” and “vernacular.” Producing an ethical cosmopolitanism as a critical view towards the planetary, Ghosh follows the description of “discrepant cosmopolitanism” offered by Robbins. For Robbins, discrepant cosmopolitanism is “modest” in its “impulse to knowledge that is shared with others, [its] striving to transcend partiality that is elaboration of a supranational system of regulation that opposes or contains the nation state from above...In the names of cosmopolitanism and humanitarianism, these particular moral sensibilities can promote and justify intervention in other people's sovereign territory on the grounds that their ailing or incompetent national state has failed to measure up to the levels of good practice that merit recognition as civilized” (59-60). 63 itself partial” (176; 181). In short, this form of cosmopolitanism is not a new world view in itself, but rather a declaration of a search for new ways of understanding the world. Like the “rooted,” “vernacular,” and “discrepant” interpretations of cosmopolitanism, Ghosh’s cosmopolitanism recounts to the ethical relation between self and other. As we see in recent formulations of the term, Ghosh uses cosmopolitanism to critique our ideological situatedness, “to clear up the encumbrances of the past, and to point to the future” (Mignolo 735). In Ghosh’s model of critical cosmopolitanism, revealed in The Hungry Tide, the cosmopolitan is not only acutely aware and open to others, but carries a strong sense of collective responsibility towards others. The responsibility towards others is prioritized over individual interest; the self experiences a radical decentering. I use the phrase “critical cosmopolitanism” to gesture towards similar conceptualizations of cosmopolitanism, which have surfaced recently in cultural theory to apprehend modes of self-transformation, obligation, action, and agency.78 For instance, sociologist Gerard Delanty deploys the term “critical cosmopolitanism” to understand the process by which a new consciousness, which he calls “the cosmopolitan imagination,” occurs in response to cultural and social transformation. Propounding its dialogic and developmental role as the “new relations between self, other and world…in moments of openness” (27), Delanty sees the cosmopolitan imagination as going beyond the recognition of plural differences; through its openness, “the social world is made intelligible,” expressing “new ideas, opening spaces of discourse, identifying possibilities for translation and the construction of the social world” (42). For Delanty, critical cosmopolitanism occurs in the tensions of modernity (i.e.: in the dialectical tensions of global and local, universal 78 Mignolo also alludes to a form of critical cosmopolitanism that he calls “border thinking,” which he views as “the alternative to separatism, the recognition and transformation of the hegemonic imaginary from the perspectives of people in subaltern positions” (736-37). As with Ghosh’s cosmopolitanism, this mode of thinking seeks “to escape the ideological frame imposed by global designs” in order to search for “other options beyond both benevolent recognition and humanitarian pleas for inclusion” (724). 64 and particular), and its ethical core appears to lie in its expression “towards self- problematization” (35). Delanty’s critical cosmopolitan instills a new way of thinking, a heightened awareness to the contingency of one’s position, which manifests itself through irony, reflexivity, skepticism, and a commitment to dialogue. However, Delanty does not make clear what the obligations of critical cosmopolitanism are, outside of embodying the values described above. His articulations of self-awareness and situatedness recall notions of anxiety and vulnerability, affective registers that I see as crucial to implementing an ethos that responds to the inequities produced by entrenched orthodoxies, such as class and caste. I would like to turn to Kwame Anthony Appiah’s work on the ethical dimensions of cosmopolitanism as a model for understanding Ghosh’s critical cosmopolitanism. In Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (2006), Appiah advances two cosmopolitan positions: first, “the idea that we have obligations to others” and second, “that we take seriously the value…of particular human lives, which means taking an interest in the practices and beliefs that lend them significance” (xv). Cosmopolitanism, for Appiah, is steered towards pluralism and, at its center lies the “sense that our knowledge is imperfect, provisional, subject to revision in the face of new evidence” (144). Appiah’s view of what might be termed a “modest cosmopolitanism,” is imperative for shaping a sense of accountability, because he places emphasis on the contingency of privilege (what is usually called “the accident of birth”) and pushes us into greater political action. True cosmopolitanism comes with a “collective obligation” to maintain attachments formed through one’s identity, and it also includes a commitment within a national framework, to change the nation-state, if it cannot or does not respond to local needs (164). 65 While Appiah’s cosmopolitanism goes a long way to explaining the actions of Ghosh’s characters, it is important to differentiate in his call for rights and tolerance the avocation of liberal thought from a true pluralist cosmopolitanism.79 Cosmopolitanism differs from liberalism in its valorization of difference so that even intolerance would become part of the cosmopolitan conversation, rather than being subject to a particular law of justice or rights. In his review of Appiah’s work, John Gray observes that cosmopolitanism in fact depicts a tension between “the possibility of mutual understanding between…different moralities” and the overall lack of “any ultimate consensus” (26). Gray argues that thinkers like Michel de Montaigne offer a cosmopolitan ethics precisely because they reject the singular, whether a form of government or a way of life, in order to affirm “a common humanity” that emanates from different customs and traditions (27). I see a modification of Appiah’s theory as necessary in order to incorporate de Montaigne’s dimension of ethics, but I would argue that these two versions can work productively together in critical cosmopolitanism without succumbing to either the liberal or colonial framework in which they were originally articulated. The positive utopia of de Montaigne’s cosmopolitanism can be seen to supplement Appiah’s “rooted” cosmopolitanism; the pragmatic turn to the local, in other words, benefits from having a utopian ideal that offers a politics of hope through its progressive vision. Picture Imperfect (2005), a study that responds to the contemporary dismissal of utopia by Russell Jacoby, delineates the goal of utopic thinking as promoting the idea of harmony and alliances, the opposite of “nationalist, ethnic, and sectarian passions” (xii). Jacoby’s definition of utopia might be seen as elaborating the political hope of critical cosmopolitanism in an age of ethnic 79 In an earlier essay, Appiah explicitly defends a liberal cosmopolitanism that tolerates differences on the grounds that “these differences meet certain ethical constraints – so long…as political institutions respect the basic human rights the notion of human rights – we are happy to let them be” (“Against National Culture” 178). As John Gray observes, such an argument presumes that there is a universal set of rights that applies equally to all communities rather than allowing for a mutual understanding between communities. 66 and caste-based violence: utopia “seeks to emancipate by envisioning a world based on a new, neglected, or spurned ideas” (12, emphasis added). Utopia, as envisioned by Jacoby can help us understand Ghosh’s cosmopolitan aspirations. The postcolonial present is thus nourished by the inspirations of an idyllic cosmopolitan past. The Consolations of Cosmopolitanism in The Shadow Lines In The Shadow Lines, the affective cosmopolitan imagination has a specifically palliative function. It not only provides insight for the narrator into the national and personal traumas of partition, but also helps him work through his sense of loss.80 Readings of the novel that emphasise the trauma of partition are commonplace, sustained both by historical accounts that alert us to the traumas of displacement, communal riots, and by Ghosh’s assertion that he wrote The Shadow Lines in response to his own childhood memories of communal violence and to the 1984 Sikh pogroms of Indira Gandhi’s Operation Bluestar.81 However, in these same readings, the referencing of trauma appears cursory at best; as an already-formed analytical tool, trauma supplements their theses that The Shadow Lines is foremost a memory novel that investigates “the burden of a colonial past” (Bose, “Introduction” 17). Ghosh’s critics seem to take for granted that trauma per se exists in the text, without really examining the symptoms of trauma, or, more puzzlingly, why it might be important for Ghosh to focus on the trauma of an individual removed from the sites of disturbance (i.e. at a third-generation distance from partition, as well as the narrator’s literal absence from Tridib’s death).82 On the one hand, the 80 For example, see many of the fifteen essays in Arvind Chowdhary’s collection; see also Brinda Bose’s collection of edited essays. 81 See Ghosh’s essay “The Ghosts of Mrs Gandhi” (60), and for a more detailed analysis of Ghosh’s childhood memories, violence, and his writing of The Shadow Lines see his essay, “The Greatest Sorrow: Times of Joy Recalled in Wretchedness.” 82 One possible reason for the reluctance of critics to engage trauma categorically, whilst simultaneously avowing or assuming the novel to be traumatic, might be the complex and unresolved status of partition traumas (including 67 subject position of the traumatised and anonymous narrator indicates how partition violence has been captured in a residual collective memory that haunts the cultural identity of groups across generations. On the other, Ghosh’s focus on a third-generation figure might suggest possibilities for new understandings and resolutions of trauma to emerge as the originary event becomes more remote and abstract. The narrator’s trauma draws upon a number of anxieties and affects; a detailed investigation speaks to the mediation and the meaning of trauma, but also offers a glimpse into the trauma’s resolution. Structured around the narrator’s family history, at a first glance The Shadow Lines fits the description of a memory novel, since it is a narrative that insistently returns to the memories of the narrator’s favourite uncle Tridib. The novel intersperses these memories with the narrator’s activities as a student in London, where he meets his cousin, Ila and renews his acquaintance with May Price, an old family friend, who had a romantic friendship with Tridib, and whose brother, Nick, ends up marrying Ila. The narrator’s meetings with these characters evoke further “lines” of memories, through which the narrator plots out his own and Tridib’s experiences, his feelings of love for Ila, as well as his fraught relationship to his nationalistic grandmother, Thamma. Thamma’s history is plotted against the colonial history and partition of India, and memories of her pre-partition home in Dhaka, East Bengal, haunts much of the narrative. In fact, towards the end of the novel, we learn that Tridib was killed in a communal riot some twenty years earlier during a special return trip to Dhaka, to see Thamma’s ancestral home and rescue her aged relative. those of communal violence) within India, reflected in the presuppositions and disinclinations in the writings of (mainly Indian) critics. Another reason could be the largely underdeveloped relationship between trauma theory and postcolonial studies, which leads scholars to downplay trauma; for instance, critics repeatedly employ the term trauma, but rarely pausing to consider its variegated meanings. 68 Concerned with the reconstruction of three generations worth of history, the novel juxtaposes past and present, memory and lived experience, overlapping fiction with imagination and recorded historical events. Reading The Shadow Lines, one is reminded of a detective novel except that, instead of pursing a culprit, the narrative searches out the actual event of Tridib’s death as well as its underlying logic; in doing so, the narrator shows how ethnic and religious antagonisms were amplified as a consequence of the 1947 partition. The narrator’s preoccupation with both Tridib and the veil shrouding the circumstances of his death establishes a palpable sense of melancholy. According to Freud’s 1917 essay “Mourning and Melancholia,” melancholia, unlike mourning, can be understood as an abnormal clinging to the lost object: the subject’s “love for the object…cannot be given up though the object itself is given up” (251). Freud’s understanding of melancholia is helpful insofar as it suggests why the narrator attempts to “psychically prolong” Tridib’s existence, and even self-identify with him (245);83 however, for the narrator in The Shadow Lines, melancholy does not inhibit the “normal” course of mourning, but instead offers a productive course of action, a re-engagement with the past in a way that passes on a critical legacy into the future. The narrator’s fixation with memories of Tridib, his own childhood, and personal histories (mainly made up of other people’s stories and newspaper accounts) leads him to confront the formation and pattern of historical conflicts; his search for counter-histories constitutes a form of working through. These counter-histories are not uncovered, revealed, or remembered through either an archaeological or archival expedition; rather they are imagined. Furthermore, a very specific form of imagination is at work, a narrative agency which originates 83 Freud explains that the lost object must be of “great significance” for the ego (“Mourning and Melancholia” 256); he also argues that melancholia establishes “an identification of the ego with the abandoned object,” which helps explain why the narrator frequently po
UBC Theses and Dissertations
Representing partition : anxious witnessing and trauma in India and the former Yugoslavia Tomsky, Teresa Maria 2009
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