Partition trauma and social identity
The book focusses on the psychological and social dimensions of the distress and trauma emerging out of Partition, but a discussion on the rhizomatic web of caste is absent in Partition studies.
HE book under review is a welcome contribution to the study of the psychological impact of the partition of India. It lays on the table the reorganisation of medical and psychiatric services on account of Partition and the resultant neglect of the psychological dimensions of Partition in symptomatology and in treatment and care.
Several of its chapters focus on the psychological and social dimensions of the distress and trauma caused by Partition such as vulnerability and violence; political trauma, mental illness and identity crisis; social progress, politics, and medical care; and, psychiatry’s reluctance to account for the social-psychological location of the individual.
This is a beginning in mental health studies, especially in India and South Asia, but beginnings are often compromised when their foundations are not adequately reflected upon.
The rationale for the work remains rooted in the orthodox take on the philosophy and epistemology of psychiatry as science deswhich pite protestations, questionings and elaborations to the contrary and the “pre-occupation” with the social.
BROAD DOMAINS OF REFLECTION
The book’s engagement with the “social” and “psychological” remains perfunctory and inadequately theorised; thus, it is littered with quick and cursory statements on complicated and fundamental theoretical questions and notions arising from the literature to which it alludes and to it does not.
The work could be located in two broad domains of reflection, namely Partition studies and mental health studies. There are two ways in which it can be viewed: one is to note this or that aspect of contemporary scholarship on Partition in India and South Asia specifically and on Partition, migration and bordering internationally, which have not merited attention or have been considered incidentally in the chapters. The other way is to raise the question of perspective or framework that occasions and guides the study. A few salient absences in the book in the context of Partition studies are the following. It reflects the elision of two major considerations, that is, the question of the partition of eastern India and the question of caste.
PARTITION OF EASTERN INDIA
Almost all the essays in it are located in the northern or north-western region of India, physically and cognitively vis-a-vis Partition despite the recent efforts of a fairly large corpus of literature on the partition in eastern India (specifically, Bengal (West Bengal/ Bangladesh), Assam and parts of the other States of north-eastern India) attempting to overcome the historical deficiency of studying eastern India in Partition studies. This literature, based on almost all the genres that have been used in the work (that is, the humanities, performing arts, and the social sciences), alerts the student of Partition on the massive historical and civilisation specificities of
The Psychological Impact of the Partition of India Edited by Sanjeev Jain and Alok SarinSage, New Delhi, 2018Pages: 260Price: Rs.850