Critical Analysis of the Oral Testimony of Maya Rani on the Partition of India Essay examples

Words: 1105
Pages: 5

Katrina Ann Abdul Hadi
ID: 24681598
School of Arts and Social Sciences
ATS1325 Contemporary Worlds 1

The partition of India in 1948 led to one of the largest mass migration movements in the world. The successful attainment of independence from colonial rule is also a narrative of religious nationalism, displacement and communal violence between the two nation states of India and Pakistan or more definitively the Muslims and Hindus. In Urvashi Butalia’s (2000, pp.264-300) “The Other Side of Silence” the oral testimony of Maya Rani, a Punjabi woman who was a child living in Pakistan during the Partition is particularly important to the histiography surrounding the event as it is told from a different perspective by a person not
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The oral narrative provided by Maya Rani provides a different and extremely important perspective on history although the limitations of oral history is immediately apparent as for one thing there is no way to verify the accuracy of the narrative as well as in the case of Maya Rani, the testimony was taken almost forty years after the event had happened. It would be difficult to tell if the person was remembering the actual experiences or the communal view of them that has been reinforced after years of nation building and ‘imagined’ history. The advantages of oral history far outweigh the limitations in the sense that it has helped bridge the divide in gendered narrative of histiography by providing a more detailed experience that “traditional history would have ignored or even dismissed, to appreciate the issues as they appeared to the actors at the time, and set their responses against the backdrop of that understanding” (Menon & Bhasin, 1998, p.14). Oral testimony can offer a glimpse into the quality of life and fill the void on the emotions and experiences of the event that traditional textual sources cannot provide. Another advantage of oral testimony is the ability it gives present