This piece was borne from a family anecdote, wherein, sometime in the late 1970s, my nana came
home upset that some white men had mistaken who he was. What transpired was that these men
had called him a slur, telling him to ‘go home to Pakistan’, the joke being that, rather than being
angry at the racist intent behind the comment, my nana was instead more aggrieved these men
thought he was Pakistani, rather than Indian. As a child, I could not understand why this would be
the more offensive element of this altercation, and it was not until I was older, hearing the bloodsoaked
tales of Partition, that I began comprehending what it meant to have this defining moment
of history denied and ignored.
In this piece, I have attempted to highlight the entanglement of knowledge and power, not only in
the matter of what is known, but also the importance of what is ignored and erased. The experience
upon which I chose to base my piece exemplifies a hierarchy of history that dictates who is allowed
to define national identities.
Partition lies at an intersection of unconfirmed statistics, political ideology and individual and
collective memory. Joginder’s story is an amalgamation stories from hundreds of children of
partition, who witnessed the inhumanity and carelessness at the end of the Imperial regime.