Cinema and Partition 2

Well Ms T seems to have made up her mind. She was faking all that euphoria as the theme of displacement in Partition being attached to her own biography. Yes, she feels uncertain and distressed at the possible wrenching out of the path of a career and fall into marriage, the latter being an institution that will confine her into child bearing and cooking for her family. And surely there is dislocation to be sensed in her passing over from her father’s shelter into her husband’s ownership, but she is not intellectually endowed enough to be able to raise all of this into the grand metaphor of the Partition. Hence she was only trying to be in league with me when she appeared to be excited and emancipated with the discovery that the displacements that women face with the Partition is all of a metaphor of the general and rather usual condition of life for this segment of humanity. In order for a person to think in terms of metaphors, I realized, rather late in life is a matter of intellectual training, a certain level of cerebral maturity, an elevated command of language. No wonder then popular cultures especially our formula films, the Bollywood in particular tries to inculcate a sense of metaphorical imagination. In the absence

Anyway, Ms T has sent me her finalish proposal. She is back at the same position where she was before I confused her with my pet habit of the metaphor. She intends to study the films around Partition to get a sense of the different ways in which people have suffered in the west Punjab and East Bengal. She intends to use the cinema as evidence or narrative of such sufferings. She then intends to compare the states of women post Partition to the promise of Mother India which she accesses through the paintings of Abanindranath and other songs of Freedom around the imaginations of India as the Mother. To her, the cinema is a document rather than being another work at an attempt to create myths. To her the truth of cinematic representations are unimpeachable. She intends to use cinema in order to defy and decry the myths built up and circulated through paintings and modern music. Then is there a secret desire to establish the cinema as truth and every other medium, paintings and music in particular as false, or better still falsified. In order to reinforce cinema as truth Ms T then proceeds to extend the medium to establish sociological nuances about the differences in culture of Punjab and Bengal. The differences in cultures as seen through the cinema and cemented as sociological fact will turn around and reinforce the cinema as truth. Ms T wavers about what she thinks about the Partition, but sticks to cinema as the subject of study precisely because she wishes to infer the irreproachability of this medium.

The cinema attracts loyalties from the Indian masses; its spectacle, its wonderment, the largeness of the screen, the high standards of the theatres makes the cinema stand over its viewers as the pronouncements of gospels atop holy mountains. The dramatic form of the cinema, together with its physical dimensions and technological capabilities create a world of truth, which is absolute albeit tautological. This is the cinematic bug that has caught Ms T and not Partition. The Partition merely positions herself in the cinema, having heard stories of gore of the world’s most violent civil strife from her ancestors; and now in a city which is not hers, she intends to draw her identity from her strange history and to etch her boundaries against the variety of her Punjabi neighbours who also have descended from families affected by the Partition at the other end of the nation.

About secondsaturn

Independent Scholar. Polymath.
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