Cracking India Questions and Answers
by Bapsi Sidhwa

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How are gender and power discussed in Sidhwa's novel Cracking India?

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Issues of gender and power permeate Cracking India. Through choosing a female protagonist and having much of the action presented through her memories, Sidhwa provides insights into the ways power operates in the adult Lenny’s contemporary Pakistani society and into the limited ways she understood it as a child. Part of the nature of power, Sidhwa suggests, is that it functions at every level of society and is so thoroughly embedded in people’s understanding that they accept it without thinking (this is the concept of hegemony). Gendered inequalities structure both the personal experiences of Lenny and her Ayah (caregiver) and the much larger political processes that constituted Partition.

Lenny’s combined perspectives of past and present are particularly important in conveying the gendered dynamics of power. Sidhwa’s overall approach comes from postcolonialist feminist perspectives. The colonized people of Indian were all part of the “subaltern,” as discussed by Gayatri...

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