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Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory by Aanchal Malhotra
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“Memory dilutes, but the object remains unaltered.”
Aanchal Malhotra, Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory
“We should have realized it sooner, at least my father should have, that there was no coming back. Not in September when the riots died down, not in October when the subcontinent still lay in shock, not even in November as he had hoped and promised us. Lahore was now lost forever”
Aanchal Malhotra, Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory
“Migration is often accompanied by a feeling of unavoidable disorientation, and the circumstances of 1947 would have pronounced this feeling. In most cases, it would have created an involuntary distance between where one was born before the Partition and where one moved to after it, stretching out their identity sparsely over the expanse of this distance. As a result, somewhere in between the original city of their birth and the adopted city of residence, would lay their essence – strangely malleable.”
Aanchal Malhotra, Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory
“Memorialization is not a passive practice but an active conversation.”
Aanchal Malhotra, Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory
“Every time the train stopped at a station, we would all hold our breath, making sure not a single sound drifted out of the closed windows. We were hungry and our throats parched. From inside the train we heard voices travelling up and down the platform, saying, “Hindu paani,” and, from the other side, “Muslim paani.” Apart from land and population, even the water had now been divided”
Aanchal Malhotra, Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory
“Partition memory is particularly pliable. Within it, the act of forgetting, either inevitably or purposefully, seems to play as much a part as remembering itself.”
Aanchal Malhotra, Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory
“The notion that where one is from can be understood using what remains of that place opens up a highly sensitive and rich terrain that can help unpack belonging, especially if that place has now been rendered inaccessible by national borders.”
Aanchal Malhotra, Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory
“If I considered the Partition an archeological site, and the many experiences of those who witnessed it as the site’s structural sedimentation, then the deeper I excavated, the more I found, and that too in innumerable renditions.”
Aanchal Malhotra, Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory
“A transference of memory was occurring as she, the vessel, the source, wrung every small, muffled detail into me, the depository. And once it began, it was difficult to interrupt or stop”
Aanchal Malhotra, Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory