The partition of India, which accompanied its independence from colonial rule in 1947, was a mammoth event in its history. It forever altered the geography, history, culture and politics of India, with consequences like reverberating ripples stretching into the modern day. Here is a list of 10 best books about the Partition of India, with focus on the West.
10 Best Books About The Partition Of India:
- The Other Side of Silence by Urvashi Butalia
- Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
- Ice-Candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa
- Mottled Dawn by Saddat Hasan Manto
- The Broken Mirror by Krishna Baldev Vaid
- Sunlight on a Broken Column by Attia Hosain
- Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
- Midnight’s Furies by Nisid Hajari
- The Skeleton and That Man by Amrita Pritam
- The Great Partition by Yasmin Cordery Khan
The Other Side of Silence by Urvashi Butalia
This non-fiction views the partition of Punjab from the perspectives of the marginalized sections – women, children and Dalits. It thus collates decades of research through archives, interviews, personal narratives and condenses it into a sensitive work that moves readers. The book begins with Butalia’s own story, plunging us directly into the horrors of the time.
Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
From one of the leading writers from India, this is the haunting tale of an idyllic Indian town where Sikhs and Muslims coexist in harmony. But one day, a ghost train from Pakistan containing refugees arrives, bringing with it the horrors of the Partition. Now the ripple effects of Partition scourge this town like ghosts of a haunted past forever.
Ice-Candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa
This book follows a relatively privileged Parsee girl, Lenny, who suffers from polio and is confined to a wheelchair. She whiles away her time with her young and beautiful Ayah, an her home in Lahore. But when Partition strikes, leading to the abduction of her Ayah, her endurance and strength are tested beyond measure.
Mottled Dawn by Saddat Hasan Manto
This collection of short stories from the master storyteller Manto brings together his finest narratives on the Partition. It includes his famous ‘Toba Tek Singh’, a haunting story about the effects of the Partition on a mental asylum that exists on the border. His reflections on the heedless violence as well as on important figures like Jinnah are worth reading too.
The Broken Mirror by Krishna Baldev Vaid
A beautiful coming-of-age story, this unfolds in the times of the impending Partition. We follow Beero, and glimpse through his eyes a host of eccentric characters like a prostitute, wrestler and quack, all from different religions. But when the Partition erupts, the ‘insane turn out to be the only ones sane’ as the back cover mentions.
Sunlight on a Broken Column by Attia Hosain
In this delightful book, we explore the Partition from the perspective of an adolescent Muslim girl in an orthodox family. When she finally moves to her uncle’s and gets exposure to the vibrant Independence movement, she falls for a man not chosen y her family. And when the Partition erupts, there is little they can do.
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
This magical realist classic explores the stories of several children united by a single bond – they are all born on the magic hour of India’s Independence. Their chance birth gives them superpowers. What unfolds is the story of the aftermath of the Independence and Partition, through the eyes of these innocent boys with special powers.
Midnight’s Furies by Nisid Hajari
This non-fiction account of the Partition gives a bird’s eye view of the political, historical and social circumstances surrounding the Partition of India. A haunting portrayal of the searing divide between countries, religions and people, this book will move you.
The Skeleton and That Man by Amrita Pritam
In Khushwant Singh’s beautiful translation come together Pritam’s finest stories. With her feminine and feministic outlook on the Partition, she crafts brilliant characters. And she also portrays the Partition without sensationalizing it, but with all the gory that actually took place.
The Great Partition by Yasmin Cordery Khan
A landmark book in Partition studies, this non-fiction collates a lot of new resources on the Partition of India. Exploring this geographical divide which had temporal, social, cultural, economic, political and more dimensions in a holistic way, this book outdoes itself.
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10 Best Books About The Partition Of India