Chapter

Ethnic Amnesia

Ravinder Kaur

in Since 1947

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780195683776
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081844 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195683776.003.0008
Ethnic Amnesia

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This chapter follows the often discontinuous identification process wherein primordial identities—based on shared religion, language and region, and imagined ascriptions like nationality and citizenship—frequently competed for prominence, suffered interruptions, and were popularly revived. The instant pointer to ethnic amnesia is the language in which different generations of the Delhi Partition migrants speak to each other and to strangers. Three main identity labels—Hindu, Punjabi, and Indian present themselves as a result of the historical events leading to the partition of British India, communal violence and the accompanying mass migration. The language conflict between Hindi and Punjabi had a lasting impact on Hindu-Sikh relations. Hindu and Punjabi identities frequently compete with one another, and yet continue to occupy a common space. Identification with the Indian nation-state is deeper among the displaced Punjabi Hindu population, which has been delinked from its ethnic identity following displacement.

Keywords: religion; language; region; nationality; citizenship; Delhi Partition migrants; Hindu; Punjabi; ethnic identity

Chapter.  13789 words. 

Subjects: Migration Studies

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