21 October, 2020

Our Dark Spots

Joins the growing literature on Partition and adds an important dimension to it: Haryana's Jat community, the creeping influence of the Arya Samaj via the Gurukuls...

Our Dark Spots
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Although not directly about Partition, Nonica Datta’s book joins the growing literature on Partition and adds an important dimension to it: Haryana’s Jat community, the creeping influence of the Arya Samaj via the Gurukuls, and two lives, that of a father and a daughter.

Datta chalks up several firsts: how the Arya Samaj took a different shape in what is now Haryana than it did, say, in Punjab, and how the demonisation of the Muslim came to be central to its spread. Further, she explores the testimony of a woman who confesses to the violence she has been complicit in, someone who has no qualms about strengthening caste structures.

The central narrative is structured around one defining event: the murder of Arya Samaj leader Bhagatji in 1942, and the story of his daughter Subhasini who set up the women’s gurukul her father had planned. Although it is never clear who killed Bhagatji, five years later, in 1947, Hindu nationalists, with Subhasini’s tacit support, burn down an entire village of Muslims in...

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