Explain the fundamental issues present in the novel, Cracking India/ Ice- Candy Man.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Sidhwa's novel is one that discusses the reality that confronts individuals when political reality overwhelms them.  In the specific context of the novel, the Partition of India is shown to be one that exists as a success only in the theoretical realms of political reality.  British and Indian politicians carved up or "cracked" India into different parts, thinking that this would be an ideal solution to a complex problem.  Yet, the brunt of this political reality was endured by those who were not in the position of political power.  It is here where Sidhwa's novel takes form.  Individuals, regular people, must construct their own reality, sometimes in opposition to what political reality dictates.  Partition was designed to work, but only in theory, as it failed to take into account the fundamental intermingling and intensity of religious fervor of the people who were impacted.  When Lenny narrates the subjugation of people and, in particular, of women in the context of Partition, the novel raises the issue that there exists a gap between those in the position of political power and those who must live with the consequences of such decisions.  This gap helps to create a view of the world that does not embrace political reality, but rather critiques it in no uncertain terms.

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