by Samira Ahmed

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Analyze chapter 20 of Internment. Consider any social issues present in this chapter and connections to the real world (historical and current examples). Provide specific examples, quotations, and page numbers. 

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In chapter 20 of Internment, one social issue that Samira Ahmed raises is earlier discrimination against Muslim people. The author establishes a connection to a historical real-world event, the Partition of India. In 1947, as the British prepared to cede their rulership of India, the territory was divided into two countries, India and Pakistan. India would be a primarily Hindu state, while Pakistan—which had East and West components—was established as a Muslim nation. Ahmed draws an analogy between the discrimination, and often violent attacks, that Muslims endured, especially if they remained in their former homes in India. The civil strife went on for several years, and millions of people were displaced.

Near the end of the chapter, Layla anxiously awaits the retribution she expects the camp administration to exact against the protest she and her comrades will initiate. It comforts her to recall her grandmother’s words. She remembers her nanni saying a prayer,

the one she said over and over during the Partition in India, when she was terrified of the mobs and the horror the British left in their wake.

The connection to the Indian nationalist liberation movement is also appropriate because some peaceful tactics that the rebels will use in trying to regain their freedom are drawn from that movement. One of these is their planned hunger strike. Gandhi engaged in numerous hunger strikes and made fasting a key component of his protests.

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