Forbidden Love During Partition
Anita Balakrishnan
WHERE THE RIVER PARTS by Radhika Swarup Rupa Publications, 2017, 282 pp., 295
September 2017, volume 41, No 9

The Partition of India was a cataclysmic event that rent the fabric of the nation, causing scars that persist into the present. The corrosive, debilitating effects of colonialism were temporary, but they ended in a brutal carnage, the real and metaphorical mutilations of which were almost impossible to erase from the collective unconscious. It is the memory of these that provides the creative impetus for the numerous works of fiction that have the savagery and dismemberments of Partition as their central theme.

The novel Where the River Parts, by former investment banker Radhika Swarup, is a recent addition to the long list of Partition narratives. The book has been recently published in India after its initial publication in England by Sandstone Press. Experienced through the eyes of Asha, a young woman born into a prosperous Hindu lawyers’ family, the novel excels at evoking the graciousness of a gentler era. Notwithstanding its solemn subject matter, the novel is an absorbing read, with passages that describe the inner workings of pre-Independence era households and the family dynamics with sympathy and insight.

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