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Humanities 2019, 8(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010019

Subverting the Nation-State Through Post-Partition Nostalgia: Joginder Paul’s Sleepwalkers

Concurrences: Center of Postcolonial Studies, Department of Humanities, Linnaeus University, 35195 Växjö, Sweden
Received: 18 September 2018 / Revised: 14 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 January 2019 / Published: 23 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Nostalgia)
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Abstract

With the advent of the Progressive Writers Movement, Urdu Literature was marked with a heightened form of social realism during the Partition of British India in 1947. Joginder Paul, once a part of this movement, breaks away from this realist tradition in his Urdu novella, Khwabrau (Sleepwalkers), published in 1990. Sleepwalkers shifts the dominant realist strain in the form and content of Urdu fiction to open a liminal “third space” that subverts the notion of hegemonic reality. Sleepwalkers is based on a time, many years after the Partition in the city of Karachi, and focuses on the “mohajirs” from Lucknow who construct a mnemonic existential space by constructing a simulacrum of pre-Partition Lucknow (now in India). This paper examines the reconceptualization of spaces through the realm of political nostalgia and the figure of the refugee subject “performing” this nostalgia. This nostalgic reconstruction of space, thus, becomes a “heterotopia” in Foucauldian terms, one that causes a rupture in the unities of time and space and the idea of nation-hood. The refugee subjects’ subversion of the linearity of time opens a different time in the narration of a nation that necessitates that the wholeness of the “imagined” physical space of a nation be questioned. View Full-Text
Keywords: memory; partition; nation-state; Foucault; heterotopia; India; Pakistan; Partition fiction; refugees memory; partition; nation-state; Foucault; heterotopia; India; Pakistan; Partition fiction; refugees
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Ghosh, A. Subverting the Nation-State Through Post-Partition Nostalgia: Joginder Paul’s Sleepwalkers. Humanities 2019, 8, 19.

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