The history of the Partition is neither singular nor static. It appears different from different perspectives. The past is never over, its presence looms large over our presents.
The Partition narrative exceeds the bounds of history, to the large scale exodus often referred to as the third partition—most painful and long-lasting in its emotional, political and social contexts. It impacted both collective and individual identities. In some ways it rendered the individual invisible with identity being transformed into a stereotype which evoked conventional patterns of behaviour. The heartache and anguish of divided families and frustrated, failed individual lives lay heavy on the joy of a much coveted freedom.
Oral histories break the hegemony of the written. Fictional narratives offering psychological insights and a history of relationships move beyond facts to cultural constructs, the psychology of fear, and the uncertainty and bewilderment of the moment. They enter individual psyches to explore morality and ethics, guilt and regret.
Bridge Across the Rivers: Partition Memories from the Two Punjabs seeks to debate issues and throw light on discourses other than those of violence and darkness, working with a chronology, located in time. The narratives unfold expectation, hope and harmony, flight and violence, psychological fallouts, gender issues and questions of guilt and reflection. As the stories trace the shifts in emotions and focus on individual wills, the undercurrents of cultural oneness form a counter discourse.