Punjab Research Group

Partition and Locality. Violence, Migration, and Development in Gujranwala and Sialkot, 1947–1961 by Ilyas Chattha

Posted in Migration, New Publications, Partition by Pippa on November 27, 2011

This book provides original and challenging insights into the processes of violence, demographic transformation, and physical reconstruction arising from partition of the subcontinent in 1947. The study focuses on the cities of Gujranwala and Sialkot that experienced violence, demographic shift, and economic transformation in different ways. The work is not only a significant contribution to the understanding of the Partition process of British India and its aftermath in Punjab that became Pakistani territory, but it also provides an authoritative and thought-provoking approach to the themes of broader twentieth-century processes of collective violence, mass displacements, and economic recovery.

About the Author: Educated at the Universities of Warwick and Southampton, Dr Ilyas Chattha obtained a PhD in 2009. He is presently based at the Centre for Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies, University of Southampton, and is carrying out research on the impact of Partition on the Punjabi Christians in Pakistan.

To Purchase: http://www.oup.com.pk/shopexd.asp?id=2104

EXCERPT: Stories of an unacknowledged massacre: http://www.dawn.com/2011/10/23/excerpt-stories-of-an-unacknowledged-massacre.html

Book review in Pakistan Today: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/10/the-review-30th-october-2011/


Andrew Whitehead – images and interviews

Posted in Digital resources by Pippa on May 8, 2010

Please follow link to hear some of the radio programmes Andrew Whitehead made in 1997 which feature the memories of those who lived through Partition.

Also on the website are details of the interviews conducted for the series, which have been deposited in the SOAS archive.

Punjabi University, Patiala hosts Punjab Research Group Meeting

Posted in PRG Meetings by Pippa on December 28, 2009


A collection of distinguished scholars from the UK, USA and India were present in Patiala on December 19th, courtesy of the Sociology Department of the Punjabi University. The UK based Punjab Research Group held its bi-annual meeting for the first time in Punjab, India. As part of the Group’s twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations, the group of organised a number of special seminars. The first was held in Lahore in February of this year. The meeting in Patiala was attended by many of the leading international scholars of Punjab studies. Professor Gurinder Singh Mann, from the University of Santa Barbara, California, Virinder Kalra from the University of Manchester, Harjant Gill from the University of Washington and Pritpal Virdee, De Montfort University, UK were present. The main themes of the workshop spanned the historic time period from pre-colonial to present times. The aim of the seminar was to look at the Punjab as an area from an inter-disciplinary perspective. A wide range of issues were explored in depth referring to the social and cultural landscape of Punjab. A lively and informed discussion took place that was well appreciated by all the participants.

The programme had the following presentations:

‘Revisiting the Janam Sakhis’ by Gurinder Singh Mann, University of Santa Barbara, Chaired by HS Gill

‘Jangnama and Precolonial Punjabi Consciousness’ by HS Bhatti and Rabinder Powar, Punjabi University, Patiala, Chaired by Gurinder Singh Mann

‘Understanding Popular Sufi Centres in Punjab’ by Yogesh Snehi, Department of History, DAV College, Chaired by Surinder Jodhka

‘From Putt Jattan De to Munde UK De: The Transformation of Masculinities in Punjabi Cinema’ by  Harjant Gill, University of Washington, Chaired by Dr Malkiat Kaur

‘Silent Narratives: Women and Partition in West Punjab’ by Pippa Virdee, De Montfort University, Chaired by Dr Birinderpal Singh

‘Mela of Daud Bandegi, Shergarh, West Punjab’ by Virinder Kalra, University of Manchester, Chaired by Dr Harvinder Bhatti

CFP: Contemporary Amritsar: Society, Economy, Polity

Posted in Conferences by Pippa on October 18, 2009

Department of History, DAV College, Amritsar
Venue: Seminar Hall, DAV College, Amritsar
Date: 30 November 2009 to 01 December 2009
Time: 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM

Interested scholars who wish to present a paper should submit their work address, provisional paper title and one page abstract of around 500 words to the organising committee at contemporaryamritsar@gmail.com by 30th October 2009.

Further details:Seminar Schedule and Seminar- Concept Note

A quiet triumph for humanity

Posted in Articles by Pippa on October 7, 2009

MUCH-AWAITED REUNION: Grandmother Leelo Begum flanked by her brother Lekh Raaj and sister Kamala Devi.

It has now been nearly three months since my naani (maternal grandmother) reunited with her brother and sister. They were separated in October 1947. Witnessing the two sisters meet for the first time after that, yards forward of the family home in Mendhar (District Poonch in Indian-administered Kashmir), was nothing short of an epiphany for me.

I spent the last 22 of my 37 years trying to make this happen, and for the most part, it seemed an unattainable dream. Since April 2005, staying put in Pakistan-administered Kashmir — I came down from the United Kingdom — was my only means to ensure my dream was attained.

Read further: http://www.hinduonnet.com/2009/09/19/stories/2009091951480900.htm

Tagged with: , ,

The Long Walk Home By Manreet Sodhi Someshwar – book review

Posted in Book reviews, Partition by Pippa on August 27, 2009

The Sunday Tribune,  August 23, 2009

Tumultuous history of Punjab by Aradhika Sharma

Some things don’t change Anant, you are the son, Neymat tells her brother as the three siblings (Anant, Neymat and Noor) gather to mourn the death of their father, the protagonist of the story. The Long Walk Home is the journey of Baksh, the man who had lived through the holocaust of Partition. It’s an ambitious panorama that she undertakes to paint but her technique of telling the story of the life of one man and about the life of two nations through his experiences pulls the story through.

Someshwar, as a matter of fact, has taken quite a risk because she not only seeks to portray the troubled pre-Partition and Partition times but also tries to straddle two-time frames, thus integrating history into the modern-day scenario. This could have resulted in rather confusing reading, but Someshwar, with consummate skill, manages to give the book a linearity that makes it seemingly easy. She uses what she calls “the device of layering the intimate with the epic to make history accessible”.

Read full book review: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090823/spectrum/book2.htm

Distortion of history by Kuldip Nayar

Posted in Articles by Pippa on August 27, 2009

The Daily Star  Friday, August 28, 2009

I have returned from the Wagha-Amritsar border disheartened, not because there is no lessening of martial posture of soldiers at the sunset parade, but because of a new monstrosity that has come up there. The Pakistan authorities have put up 10 reliefs, projecting figures in carving on boards to show how Hindus and Sikhs had killed and looted Muslims during partition. The reliefs have been displayed in such a way that they are visible only from the Indian side. They cannot be seen from the Pakistan side because the back of the reliefs are just blank boards.

The scenes carved out are offensive in expression and deprave in purport. They have been installed in the last two months, probably because the voice of peace with India is gaining strength in Pakistan and because nearly 50 people came to the border, the zero point, for the first time last year to light the candles since independence six decades ago.

Read full article: http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=102410

Tagged with: , ,

Ludhiana Personality: Saadat Hasan Manto

Posted in Articles by Pippa on May 12, 2009

As it was Manto’s birthday…

Saadat Hasan Manto was born on May 11, 1912. He was the leading Urdu short-story writer of the twentieth century of Kashmiri ancestry, who was born in Samrala in the Ludhiana district of Punjab. He completed matric in 1931. He was a journalist, critic and film writer. He worked for All India Radio during World War II and was a successful screen-writer in Bombay before moving to Pakistan during Partition of India. During his controversial two-decade career, Manto published twenty-two collections of stories, seven collections of radio plays, three collections of essays, and a novel. He is best known for his short stories – over 250 in 2 decades, many of which have been enacted in plays and films.

Read further: http://www.ludhianadistrict.com/personality/saadat_hasan_manto.php

Tagged with: , , ,

Understanding Change in the Lives of Dalits of East Punjab since 1947

Posted in Articles by Pippa on May 4, 2009

By Harish K. Puri. Retired as Professor of Political Science and Chairman Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Chair, Guru Nanak Dev University.

Not many are aware that the Scheduled Castes (SCs) constituted a very substantial segment of population in Punjab state – 28.9 per cent, as per Census 2001. This is the highest level of concentration in any one state of India. The present study is related to the nature of change in the lives of the Dalits (Scheduled Castes) of Punjab since the Independence of India and the Partition of Punjab in 1947. It covers the change in the external conditions of their living i.e. demographic, economic, political and social and the also the change in the subjective dimension or their perception. The subjective dimension referred to the way persons belonging to the Scheduled Caste communities viewed themselves and the manner in which they were viewed and treated by the others at the two ends of this time span i.e. at the beginning of the 1950s and at present.

Read full article: understanding-change-in-the-lives-of-dalits

The Punjab and its Diaspora: Representations and Identities

Posted in New Publications, Research by Pippa on April 12, 2009

Attention to Punjab has tended to be bifurcated along the lines created by Partition, with scholars of India and Pakistan focusing on their own part of the region. However, this book breaks down such divisions to consider the area on both sides of the border.  In doing this, the contributing scholars (who include the poets Amarjit Chandan and Daljit Nagra, historian Grainne Goodwin, religious studies scholar Jasjit Singh, and literary critic Nukhbah T. Langah) draw upon the two Punjabs’ shared but differentiated legacies of British colonialism, traumatic experiences of partition, relative economic vitality, dominance in their regions, and centrality to (re)inventions and imaginings of the postcolonial Indian and Pakistani nation-states. Given many of the contributors’ location in Britain and elsewhere, non-resident Punjabis are another key area of concern.


In an effort to enhance understandings of Punjabi literature, history, and anthropology, the volume discusses representations of the Punjab and its diaspora in research from different disciplines. It examines the protean nature of Punjabi identities and the cultural, religious and linguistic diversity of the region/s. The collection represents a genuinely interdisciplinary attempt to theorize the Punjab and many of the major languages and dialects spoken there are represented (including Punjabi, Siraiki, and English).


Possible paper topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Partition and its legacies
  • Rural, urban, and suburban Punjab
  • The politics of language in the Punjab (interventions into Potohari and Hindko are particularly welcome)
  • Punjabi Islam and Sufism
  • Punjabi cultural identities and practices
  • Political flashpoints in the region
  • Artistic, filmic, literary, and musical representations
  • Political relations between the two Punjabs
  • The Punjabi diaspora

Please send an abstracts of not more than 200 words and a few sentences of biodata (via Word attachment) to Claire Chambers: c.chambers@leedsmet.ac.uk by the deadline of  21 April 2009.  The volume’s emphasis is on representations and identities, and your abstract needs to address one or both of these issues.

Rabba Hun Kee Kariye – review and next screening

Posted in Film, Partition by Pippa on April 1, 2009

Please find attached a recent review of the partition documentary Rabba Hun Kee Kariye in the Mail Today ( 25th March) by Ajay Bhardwaj. mail-today


Also the next screening of Rabba… is at Peace and Global Justice Day  – Marian College, Indianapolis


April 7  — Marian College Peace & Global Justice Day  

Sessions discuss capital punishment, racism, forms of interfaith activism; watch a film about mass murder in Punjab

When: Tuesday April 7, all day
Where: Marian College Allison Mansion

Rabba Hun Kee Kariye” will show at


Rabba Hun Kee Kariye (Thus Departed our Neighbors) tracks a shared history of Punjab – a sub-continental culture, language and a way of life – that was torn asunder in the fateful year of 1947. It captures the documentary filmmaker’s unexpected encounter with feelings of guilt and remorse about the genocidal violence of the partition. These informal tales, almost like folklore, are strewn across the memory-scape of Punjabi countryside. This documentary invokes it in the public domain for the first time.







Tagged with: ,

Comments Off on Rabba Hun Kee Kariye – review and next screening

Screening of ‘Rabba Hun Ki Kariye’

Posted in Events, Film by Pippa on March 20, 2009


In their ‘Nashisht’ Series 

Impresario Asia invites you to the screening of a documentary on the partition memories


A film by Ajay Bhardwaj


The screening will be followed by an interactive session with the director  

DATE:  Wednesday 25th March 2009

TIME:  7.00 p.m.

VENUE: Gulmohar, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi



Pramilla Chhabra                                       K.K. Kohli

 2462-1685                                              98107-23979


Comments Off on Screening of ‘Rabba Hun Ki Kariye’

%d bloggers like this: