Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan and Margaret Bourke-White’s Partition Photographs

Clash of Narratives or Postmemory Project




Partition of India, 1947, literature, photography, narratives, Train to Pakistan, Khushwant Singh, Margaret Bourke-White, Life magazine, postmemory


Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan and Margaret Bourke-White’s Partition Photographs: Clash of Narratives or Postmemory Project

Memories of the Partition of India have, over the last decades, been constructed through a broad range of media, such as biographical memory, historiography, or literature. An interesting more recent example of remembrance is the illustrated golden jubilee edition of Khushwant Singh’s novel Train to Pakistan (2006) which features more than 60 of photographs of the US-American photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White and a wide range of editorial paratexts. An analysis of this new edition will show that the textual and visual narratives thus combined differ widely and do not support each other as the editor Pramod Kapoor claims. However, if we look at the project as a whole we find it to be more than simply an “illustrated version” of the original novel. Rather, it can be seen as what Marianne Hirsch has called a ‘postmemory’ project: Kapoor connects different viewpoints and narratives and thus finds a form of expressing his own view of Partition and the ways the second generation should deal with it.

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How to Cite

Sarma , Ira. 2015. “Khushwant Singh’s Train to Pakistan and Margaret Bourke-White’s Partition Photographs : Clash of Narratives or Postmemory Project”. Cracow Indological Studies 17 (December):269-92.