This book presents the oral testimony of Subhashini (1914-2003), head of an Arya Samaj institution devoted to women's education in rural north India. Subhashini's narrative unfolds a story within a sea of stories, which has hitherto remained silent in the mainstream historical discourse. Her memory, crafted as history, evokes contrasting images of violence, martyrdom and Partition. Not 1947 but 1942-the year of her father's 'martyrdom'-is recalled as a violent rupture. Partition is a moment of celebration, revenge, divine retribution, empathy, remorse, tragedy and fear.
The testimony defies the binary opposition between victim and victimizer, witness and survivor, aggressor and spectator. It expresses the spirit of spoken word interwoven with a somewhat inchoate social history of memory and personal experience, and opens up historians' territory. Moving beyond a profoundly influential historical event, this book offers a parallel history of events and non-events, memory and history, testimony and experience.