ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Envisioning History through The Shadow Lines

In The Shadow Lines, Amitav Ghosh shows that the narratives surrounding the independence and partition of India go beyond the binary of euphoria and gloom, and can be read through the ambivalent emotions emerging from people’s experiences.

Growing up in a small but historically eminent town—Gaya in Bihar—as a Muslim from a culturally rich and socially privileged family, and studying in a Christian minority school, I was exposed to diverse experiences that ingrained in me a fascination for India’s multicultural history. I was curious to know more and go deeper beyond the impersonal, systematic and chronologically faithful descriptions of incidents in history books, and “objective” explanations about how one event led to another.

This led me to realise that envisioning history through the experiences of witnesses from the independence movement or survivors of the 1947 riots could be a more engaging pursuit. Personal historical accounts can offer a more nuanced version of history and give future generations vicarious experiences of the past, bridging the gap between today and the elusive “yesterday.” They help accommodate parallel opinions and offer space to challenge reality that is seen from a singular perspective.

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Updated On : 2nd Aug, 2021
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