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Three Generations Outside Partition

"In April 2018, I was invited to the University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh, to deliver a talk at an international seminar on the Bangladesh Liberation War. While preparing for the talk, as an Indian youth born 15 years after the war in a village near India’s border with Bangladesh, I wondered what qualified me to speak on the war and that too in Bangladesh.

I learnt from my father that my grandfather, along with his elder brothers, came to Nadia district in India from Kushtia district in present-day Bangladesh in the early 1940s, a few years before partition. Interestingly, pre-partition Kushtia was a small mufassal town in Nadia district; that means, my ancestors moved from one mufassal to another within the same district. But what was the rationale behind this? My grandfather’s elder brother, who was a village teacher, came to know that the country would be divided soon and the river that flowed through their village would be considered the border for Hindustan–Pakistan. However, the joint chairperson of the two boundary commissions, Cyril Radcliffe’s pencil mood did not draw the line on the paper map the way that my ancestor had conceived the desh. And so, my ancestors found shelter and peace from the anticipated disturbances of partition in the same district, walking just a few miles after crossing the river. Incidentally, they found a Muslim family afraid of the same. And so, both these families engaged in binimay (exchange) of their property and rebuilt their lives on opposite sides of the river"

Mrinmoy Pramanick
Economic & Political Weekly