Fingernails Torn from Flesh: Intiz̤ār Ḥusain, Rām Laʿl, and Travel Writing across the India-Pakistan Border

In: Journal of Urdu Studies
Daniel Majchrowicz Assistant Professor, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, Northwestern University Evanston, IL USA

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Studies on the Partition of India have historically examined the years immediately before and after 1947, drawing heavily on Urdu fiction. Recent historiographic advances, however, emphasize “partitioning” to convey partition’s prolonged, indeterminate, and ongoing nature. This article suggests that the Urdu travel account is a primary literary space to negotiate the long-term signification of Partition and, as such, exemplifies processes of partitioning. It argues for the existence of a distinct category, the “cross-border travel account,” offering a critical and comparative reading of works by Intiz̤ār Ḥusain and Rām Laʿl to explore how the genre negotiates the legacy and future of Partition.

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