Broken Dreams in a Dimension of Displacement: Mediating Memory in Bhisam Sahni’s Tamas,Intizar Hussain’s Basti and Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West

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S. Asha


Migration and a deep sense of being uprooted is a recurrent theme in World literature. The trauma of dislocation turns out to be an overwhelming reality for the immigrants. Migration is not just a change of physical environment but also spiritual. In fact it is a dream which has turned sour. Memories and histories of the past continue to haunt the surviving generations of the affected families and locates itself through its resurfacing in some form or other in our present. The present paper will focus on this homelessness, dislocation, mourning, shattering of dreams and explore the different dimensions of displacement. For this purpose I have selected three reputed novels Tamas, Basti and Exit West. Tamas by Bhisham Sahni is a novel based on facts collected by the author to reclaim history of India. Set in the backdrop of partition of India in 1947, it reflects on how the political decision to partition the region led to polarization among Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh communities in Punjab. It documents the lives of common people caught in a conflict of identities. Basti by Pakistani writer Intizar Husain depicts the human denouement that followed partition of the Indian subcontinent and looks back at the aftermath of partition. It is a hazy combination of political history and personal memory and recreates the desolation and temporariness of the past. While the first two novels dwell on the theme of perils of forced migration, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid problematizes the plight of the migrants to the so called tolerant nations. What kind of life do these migrants lead there, is shown in its brutal reality.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Transnationalism and the Languages/Literatures of the Global South: South Asian