Crossing Borders in Partition Studies and the Question of the Bangladesh Liberation War

Louise Harrington


With the seventieth anniversary of the 1947 Partition of India in sight, this paper examines the uneasy position that the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 has long held at the edge of Indian Partition Studies. The Liberation War is implicated in decisions to exclude Bengal, East Pakistan and Bangladesh from much of the scholarship on Partition over the years, as evidenced by the state of the canon generally and the work of some feminist scholars more specifically. In order to rebalance Partition Studies and to resituate 1971, this paper engages with some fictional representations of Partition and the Liberation War to demonstrate the merits of border-crossing. It brings to light a contemporary shift in the direction of Partition Studies and argues for inclusive methodologies that avoid the privileging of one time or place over another at the expense of human experience, both in the individual case of India and across global partitions more broadly.


Partition of India; Bangladesh Liberation War; methodologies

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