Remnants Of A Separation by Aanchal Malhotra

To a South Indian, Indo-Pak partition was never a serious topic of discussion. I knew it as a terrible incident in the modern history of independent India blemished with stains of blood and marks of violence. Nothing more,nothing less. Kushwant Singh’s “A train to Pakistan” was the catalyst. I was interested in knowing the stories from that miserable period and I decided to go with Ms. Malhotra’s debut book.The friend from the other corner of the world sent it as a gift through giggles bookshop.

Author: Aanchal Malhotra

Publisher: Harper Collins

Pages:386

Format Read : Hard-cover

Kindleandkompass Rating : 4.5/5

We all have those treasured pieces,memories from our past, safely secured and when taken out, a wave of nostalgia would hit us. Those pieces would have been passed on by our ancestors as heirloom pieces.  Or it could be pieces treasured in memory of a loved one. But when you will have to flee a country what will you choose to take, essentials or the treasured artifacts.? What will run through your mind when you will have to leave a land where you’ve lived for ages and move in to a new one? Remnants of separation is all about the memories and memoirs of those who witnessed that one single event which was the outcome of one single word and that one single line and eventually two different countries.

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Aanchal’s work is a collection of memories and memoirs of those who survived and crossed the border to reach India or Pakistan. Each chapter speaks about a treasured artifact that was carried across the border and preserved till date.She begins with her maternal and paternal family’s histories and their objects that crossed the border.There are 19 chapters and each one speaks of an object or a memory with beautiful photographs unfolding a painful past.

My favorite one is that of a Nazmuddin Khan who decided to stay back in India, the country he loved. He possessed no objects ir artifacts to tell a story.It’s his memories of pain and trauma that are firmly etched – a poignant reminder.

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Anchal effortlessly narrates the stories. Objects,memories and emotions of the narrator are beautifully weaved and written in first person with an insertion of the colloquial languages like Punjabi, Hindi and Urudu. The painstaking efforts taken by Aanchal in her research is commendable. Her conversations with the partition survivors are put in chapters that are neither too long nor too short. Some stories may seem to be repetitive with similar kind of emotions, but exceptionally unique in its own way.The prologue and the number of chapters or the number of stories were a bit long, causing a bit of a slump.I would recommend this to all history lovers.

Lahore is now in my dreams. Julundhar and Amritsar too. Unfortunately, there is no arrangement between India and Pakistan for a tourist visa!

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