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Discuss the sufferings of women during Partition.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that it will be difficult to find exact statistics that help to bring the sufferings of women during Partition into full light.  The displacement of millions of people, as well as the border fights that emerged, and the violence all seem to remove gender as a critical issue.  The historical data breaks people down into Hindus or Muslims or other large scale classification based on region or nationality.  Yet, the struggles of women, the gender element, is not entirely focused upon.  It might be here where there can be some thought given.  In general, it is understood that many of the riots during the Partition period took a decidedly gender- based turn.  There was symbolic significance in attacking a group of women of a particular side.  At this, one can see how some attacks were motivated by a convergence of nationality and gender.  Modern writers have been able to seize upon this in their artistic depiction of Partition.  For example, works like Ice- Candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa and Pinjar by Amrita Pritam are narratives that raise the issue of how Partition can be seen as both a political act that might not have had the nations' interest at heart and serve as a cover for violence against women.  One need only read the end of Sidhwa's novel as proof of this.  Ayah's kidnap and rape by men who once loved and revered her is a statement of how Partition was used as a guise for intense violence against women.

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