GU Organizes Seminar on ‘Partition and North-east: Human Tragedies and Political Uncertainties’

The Seminar was organized by the Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) of Gauhati University.

The horrors and the trauma of the Partition of India is the outcome of the imperial way of cartographical demarcation of the boundaries without physical verification of people and culture. This was stated by Prof. P. J. Handique, Vice Chancellor, Gauhati University while inaugurating the  Seminar on ‘Partition and North-east India: Human Tragedies and Political Uncertainties,’ organized as a part of the initiatives of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India’s ‘Partition Horrors Remembrance Day’ on August 14, 2023.

The Seminar was organized by the Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) of Gauhati University. With instances and evidences, Prof. Handique pointed out that horrors are negative in nature, and therefore, the remembrance of it makes us pessimistic.

However, the remembrance of the Partition makes us responsible and restrained not to indulge in divisive acts of any kind that pose threat to our dignified existence.

Prof. Handique also reminded that at the point of partition both India and Pakistan were given only dominion status, and, only with the commencement of the Constitution of India we have become a Republic. He also asserted the Republic is the future for us that can help in saving the country from any trauma and tragedy experienced during the partition.

Delivering the keynote address in the Seminar Prof. Udayon Misra, eminent author and Head, Department of English, Dibrugarh University said: ‘Let the Partition horrors that brought in unimaginable human disaster make us committed to plurality of lives, faiths, and thought’.

Prof. Misra, in his address, delved into the trauma and the critical journey, both during the Partition and the post-Partition phase in India and reminded that it were the makers of the Constitution who refused to be swayed away by the horrors and trauma and committed themselves to the values of democracy, justice, and mutual tolerance, based on the principles of secularism and plurality of lives and thought.

Prof. Misra, citing literature and archival materials, went into a deep description of the Partition process, which was done in a rather insensitive way by the imperial forces and had left the region of Northeast India quite unsettled, which continues to haunt us. However, the shared culture has saved and sustained us and our polity, and we need to be hopeful about our future.

Prof. Akhil Ranjan Dutta, the Coordinator of the Seminar, noted that the Constitution of India, which was framed during the period of horror and human disaster of Partition, promised to come out of it through the vision of reconciliation, based on the fundamental principles of mutual tolerance, accommodation, basic human freedom, social justice and fraternity and upholding the Constitution as the fundamental law of the land.

As we remember those horrors of partition, we also take the pledge to refrain ourselves from any act that bring in any kind of divide based on faith or religion, community, caste, or gender. In his welcome note, Prof. Bhaben Tanti, Director, IQAC, Gauhati University, also insisted on the fact that the horrors of the Partition make us sensitive and responsible citizens and caution us to refrain ourselves from any act of hatred and exclusion.

Participating as a key speaker in the Seminar, Prof. Bibhash Choudhury, Dean, Faculty of Arts, Gauhati University, dealt in length with the literary works of eminent authors, like Bapsi Sidhwa, Khushwant Singh, Urvashi Butalia, and Salman Rushdie, who have captured the trauma and tragedies of the Partition.

He also reflected on not much-publicized literature of the communities, like that of the Parsis, whose works have enlightened us about the trauma and tragedies of the Partition.

Dr. Binayak Dutta, another key Speaker, reminded that, beyond the binary of Hindus and Muslims, many other communities in Northeast India have been living under shadow of Partition.

The Khasis-Jaintias, Garos, Nagas, etc. are all still affected by the Partition created by the colonial powers. We only have limited literature on them, which we need to work on. Prof. Rajib Handique, who chaired the Technical Session, reminded that the instruments of the Partition - colonial cartography and censuses - created the boundaries and otherness, which we need to overcome.

Orientation Programme held at Gauhati University

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