Special Issue: Displacement, Trauma and Beyond: Text and Context
Guest Edited by
*Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Vishwakarma & **Dr. Shayequa Tanjeel (India)
*Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Vishwakarma is Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. He earned his doctoral degree from the Department of English, University of Allahabad. His areas of academic interest include Partition of India, Gender Studies and Disability Studies. Currently, he teaches Literary Criticism and Literary Theory in postgraduate courses and literature from the Romantic Period to the Modern Period in the undergraduate courses. He has published articles on Gender Studies and Partition Literature of India in different reputed journals. He has also edited three books so far which include Feminism and Literature: Text and Context, Mahasweta Devi: Her Art and Vision and Critical Perspectives on Dramatists: Themes and Techniques.
** Dr Shayequa Tanzeel earned her PhD degree in English Literature from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India and is currently working as an Assistant Professor at the Department of English, DDU Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur, India. Her research interests include Gender Studies, feminisms, feminist theology and so on. She has published research articles in reputed journals on topics related to women and literature.
Literature has not only voiced the pain, angst, and trauma of the survivors of socio-political and historical tragedies but also has most often proved to be a means of revelation and liberation of the ‘self’ and the ‘mind’, in the sense of Descartes’s Dualist dichotomy, through inclusion of their ‘lived experiences’ as narratives—either fictional or nonfictional. However diverse the experiences and opinions of the sufferers or the perpetrators are— on the partition of their homeland, displacement of people because of violence (communal or inter-national), disasters, violations or exile— a sustained loss is engraved on the memories of such people and a continuous trauma haunts and tortures their ‘being’. Moreover, the outbreak of the COVID-19 thrust the world into an unprecedented crisis that led to traumatic experiences and adaptation of lives as “New Normal”. Representations of such vitriolic and horrible encounters and projection of people’s fragmented ‘self’ or ‘being’ into literature not only expresses the innermost desires of people, but also registers their resistance. It acts as a potent tool to liberate the imprisoned consciousness of the survivors and secures a solid niche in the collective consciousness of those who have never experienced similar catastrophes. These writings need to be studied and critiqued as testimonies and qualitative documentations of the experiences and imagination of the concerned subjects by the wider reading public. The current issue aims to critically explore the corpus of literature— fiction and non-fiction— written on/about such events and experiences in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the recent trends and developments in the field.
Literary histories all over the world are replete with tales of migration, suffering, violence and trauma that get represented into the writing of their witnesses, survivors, research explorers and academics time to time. Such representations of the phenomenologies of these pathetic experiences have both enriched and redefined the existing epistemology of historical and representational ‘shifts’ in viewing facts through fiction. The Partition of India on both eastern and western sides of the subcontinent is one such historic/al incident in Indian history that caused migration, loss of homelands, violence, trauma and wounded memory. The victims and the survivors witnessed the ‘fault lines of nationhood’ the failed promises of India’s ‘tryst with destiny’ and bloody faces of ‘non-violence’ means of protest—it annihilated the solid foundations of these discourses that promised to guarantee freedom to every individual in India. The metanarratives of ‘truth’, ‘honour’, ‘Independence’ and ‘secularism’ became fake currencies of political propaganda and ideological designs of the ‘great men’ of Indian history. Though the fact that India became and Independent secular nation state providing a ‘safe’ home to the people of all communities cannot be denied. Literatures produced on these issues abound in numbers and constantly negotiate between the ‘lost homelands’, ‘no woman’s land’ and the new ‘imaginary homelands’ into the scattered pages of print, multimedia and archives voicing pain, agonies, displacement, trauma and fractured memories.
The current issue benefits a lot from these ‘shifts’ in the constructions of identities of people(s) on the both sides of the border and literatures on and by them. One research article in this special issue also represents displacement and trauma in German history depicted into the nationalist literature of the country. However, such historical ‘shifts’ repeat themselves like winding stairs in the chronology of history and problematize the whole notions of established ‘truth’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘normalcy’. In that way all histories ‘shift’ from normal to ‘new normal’—like COVID-19, that occurred very recently—engendering displacement, trauma and experiences beyond one’s cognition and comprehension. And so does widen the scopes and approaches of research to engage with these ‘shifts’ in times to come.
Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Vishwakarma
Dr. Shayequa Tanzeel
Exile as a Timeless Problem for Humankind – Mirrored Through Pre-Modern German and Other Literary Texts
Interrogating Ralph Singh as Floating Signifier: A Study of Displacement and Diaspora in V.S. Naipaul’s The Mimic Men