Class Year

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Honors Designation

Honors

Department

Women's Studies

Primary Advisor

Mieka Loe

Second Advisor (if necessary)

Navine Murshid

Abstract

The partition and subsequent creation of India and Pakistan in 1947 continues to mark a watershed moment in my life, as I am an Indian student of Punjabi descent. The dominant history of the partition remains rooted in patriarchal constructions of honor situated on women’s bodies. Though Pakistan was created a Muslim state, and India as a seemingly secular state, the Indian state fashioned Bharat Mata, Mother India, to justify its dominant Hindu practices and its overall existence. The Indian nation was created as a motherland, on a goddesses’ body. The states of India and Pakistan continued to articulate its borders on women’s bodies, specifically abducted women. Through the Inter-dominion Treaty and the Central Recovery Operation, the patriarchal state, community, and family communicated with each other by controlling women’s bodies, sexualities, and lives. Women were not considered autonomous beings with full citizenship in the nation building project. By focusing on women’s testimonies, I document and analyze their lived experiences in order to question and challenge the linear narrative of recovery put forward by the state. I honor women’s diverse testimonies in my aim to speak the truth, reinvestigate, and retell, reconstruct history to become herstory.

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