How is the title justified in "Cracking India?"

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

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The title of Sidhwa's work is justified because it bring out her fundamental contention that Partition was an event that "broke" India.  The idea of something being "cracked" indicates something broken without much in way of regard.  Partition was not something that was conceived out of fair division or with the idea that it had to be carefully designed to ensure that the millions of people who were to be impacted would not suffer.  Instead, Sidhwa makes it clear that the "ice" of Indian politicians, their frigidity to what was to be experienced, makes Partition something that "broke" or "cracked" India and millions of people in the process, reflecting the novel's title.

The title of "Cracking India" also brings forth the notion of something once whole being broken.  Sidhwa's work is a repudiation of the typical narrative that the freedom fighters who fought for Indian independence should be mythologized and not critiqued for their actions once the British left.  In Sidhwa's mind, the same people who fought for Indian independence and demanded a free and "whole" India are the very same people who broke it by Partition, leaving it "cracked."  In a great and poignant pivot, Sidhwa argues that this is experienced more by the women of Partition, who themselves were "broken" or "cracked" by the many rapes of women who were then "raped" again by being rejected by their communities. In this, Sidhwa's "ice- candy man" are those who designed a system in which India would be whole only to be broken, something she feels is the same as the women of India who were whole and then broken themselves by the result of Partition.  In these ideas, the title of the novel can be justified. 


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