Conflicts during the planning of Indian Independence and its partition in Pour l’amour de l’Inde by Catherine Clément and Indian Summer by Alex von Tunzelmann. An embodiment approach to violence
The end of the Raj and the British Empire had multiple consequences on Indian history, geography and society. While India was joyfully declared an independent nation, its partition caused innumerable violent episodes, the exodus of religious groups, Hindu-Muslim riots and conflicts with its new-born neighbour Pakistan. In such a tumultuous scenario, Gandhi’s proclaimed message of ahimsa (non-violence) opposed the will of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, and the, until then, Viceroy Lord Louis Mountbatten who managed British Government policy. Pour l’amour de l’Inde (1993) by Catherine Clément, and Indian Summer. The Secret History of the End of an Empire (2007) by Alex von Tunzelmann both explore the last days of colonized India in detail and with a sharp eye on the events and personalities that shaped this new India. The literary reconstruction of historic events gives a new insight into the decisions which led to Indian independence and division. In both novels, the body plays an important role. With physical and metaphorical references, from the maternal body of India being tainted, to Gandhi’s fasts and refusal of medication, the body is charged with political and symbolic meanings.
Published in April 2016 in Indialogs: Spanish Journal of India Studies, Vol. 3, 99-113, http://revistes.uab.cat/indialogs/article/view/v3-gallego