Khamosh Pani: Partition trauma, gender violence, and religious extremism in Pakistan
Keywords:partition, partition of India, gender, feminism, violence, communal violence, gender based violence, patriarchy, colonialism, neo-colonialism, imperialism
This paper looks at the question of partition of British India in 1947 and the rise of religious extremism in Pakistan through an analysis of internationally acclaimed and award-winning Pakistani film Khamosh Pani (silent waters). The paper uses Symbolic Interactionism and Feminist Theory with a critical perspective to establish how the present-day religious extremism in Pakistan has its roots in the colonial history of the country. However, it also highlights the diagnostic inability of Symbolic Interactionism as it smacks of the volunteerism and overlooks how statist and organized institutional power infringes upon socio-political meaning making processes. This paper argues that the film connects the communal nature of pre-partition violence to grassroots contemporary religious extremism in Pakistan to show how the rupture of a village life is the continuation of colonial heritage of communal violence. We argue based on the findings of this study that religious extremism that is manifest in today’s Pakistan is not a break from the past; instead, it is rooted in the colonial history connecting the national Pakistani elite with the regional neo-colonial interests.
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