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Monday, 22 February 2016

Partitions

Title: Partitions
Author: Amit Majmudar
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Amit Majmudar’s “Partitions” is a return to post-partition India of the 1940s, when the memories of the division of a nation into two new nations tore up individual lives just as much. There are myriad elements – old worldly India, the newborn Pakistan, Hindu, Muslim, age, squalor, disease, families, love, anger, hatred, the living, and the dead – all of which double up as characters that prop the main narrator’s storyline.

The narrating voice is that of a Hindu doctor. The irony is that he is a pulmonologist, and he dies of a bad heart – and becomes the voice of the tale. He stands as the protector of his two young sons – twins, no less, but as different as chalk and cheese. One of his two sons has the same heart problem as he did – and yet, remains the vanguard for his brother. The brothers are about to board a train that would cross over from Pakistan to India, when they are separated from their mother. 

A second narrative flows alongside, essaying the journey of an old Muslim doctor carrying his worldly possessions in a black bag and all his memories in his heavy heart, from India, to Pakistan.
Peppering the world around them are many travellers who move among the massive lot of people from one country to another – and their stories are more than the numbers that history has designated them to be. The boys struggle to find their mother and join her, while the Muslim doctor makes a dangerous trip.

Unlike most other narratives that look at the Partition from a macro level, Majmudar’s book is an attempt that paints a tapestry of truth from the worm’s eye view. The Partition invariably wreaked untold havoc on the lives of many – and it is no surprise to know that upheaval was a common narrative. But, the face of the upheaval in each life was a different story altogether. The summation of individual stories and the trauma they suffer, in their everyday living, culminates in telling the complete story of Partition.