24 October, 2020

Memory: A Wound, A Womb

Memory is a contested field. Demagogues have tried to erase and rewrite it. State apparatuses have bent it to their needs.

Tau tau statues memorialise the dead. A gallery at Lemo village, Tana Toraja province, Sulawesi.
Photograph by Pavel Chakraborty
Memory: A Wound, A Womb

In his novel, Shame, Salman Rushdie calls Pakistan, “insufficiently imagined...a failure of the dreaming mind”. The root of this insufficiency and failure lies in Pakistan suffering from the absence of a history. Pakistan is a nation with an insufficient past, without a long enough historical memory that nations live and suffer from. Pakistan suffers an opposite phenomenon: from the lack of mem­ory. Being a nation built on the logic of religion, its official history had the pernicious burden of dividing its claim to an older history of the Indian subcontinent into religious lines, glorifying the Islamic and downplaying the others. Hamida Khuhro lays bare the lie of Pakistan’s history, which invents its origins from the conquest of Sindh by the Umayyad army, led by the young general Muh­­ammad bin Qasim in 711 AD. In Sindh, textbooks mention Mohenjodaro and the Indus Valley cities, the Maha­bharata, and Buddhism without serious pause or attention. Born out of the ripped belly of a beast named Partition, history for Pakistan not only...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from Manash ‘Firaq’ Bhattacharjee

Latest Magazine

November 02, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section