The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India


Author: Urvashi Butalia

9780140271713 | PB | pp. 399 | 1998 | Penguin Books

The Partition of India in 1947 caused one of the great human convulsions of history.The Other Side of Silence brings to light the personal trauma caused by this cataclysmic event.

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The partition of India in 1947 caused one of the most harrowing human convulsions in history: over twelve million people were displaced amidst a frenzy of murder, rape and abduction on a massive scale. For decades these violent realities remained buried in silence, even though the memories of brutality never faded. Urvashi Butalia’s The Other Side of Silence was the first major work to exhume the personal trauma of the Partition. An undisputed classic, it meticulously locates the individual experiences and private pain at the heart of this cataclysmic event. Furthermore, Butalia reveals how people on the margins of history—children, women, ordinary people, the lower castes, the untouchables—were affected by this upheaval.

In a passionate and stimulating new introduction, the author examines not only recent developments in the expanding field of Partition studies but also the heart-breaking ways in which this colossal tragedy continues to impact our lives and what this means for the future of the Indian subcontinent.

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Urvashi Butalia




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About the Author

The author is a renowned writer and the publisher of Zubaan, a feminist publishing house. She has been active in the women’s and civil rights movements in India, and writes on issues relating to women, media, communications and communalism. She is the editor of Partition: The Long Shadow, and the co-editor of Women and the Hindu Right: A Collection of Essays and In Other Words: New Writing by Women in India. She is the recipient of the French Chevalier des Artes et des Lettres, the Nikkei Asia Prize and the Padma Shri from the Indian government. She was awarded the prestigious Goethe Medal in 2017.


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