Diacronie. Studi di Storia Contemporanea (Oct 2011)

Lasciar parlare il silenzio. La Partition del subcontinente indiano e le abducted women

  • Piera CAVENAGHI è dottoranda di ricerca (PhD Student) in Storia, culture e strutture delle aree di frontiera presso il Dipartimento di Studi Umani dell’Università di Udine; sta sviluppando un progetto di ricerca sul tema degli honour killings nelle comunità immigrate in Italia. Nel 2007 ha conseguito un dottorato di ricerca presso l‟Università la Sapienza di Roma con una tesi dal titolo Origine e sviluppo del nazionalismo pukhtun tra Afghanistan e India dal periodo coloniale alla metà del Novecento.

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 3, no. 4
pp. 1 – 22


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The acts of violence committed during the Partition of India in 1947 are known and proved. Less well known is violence that struck tens of thousands of abducted and raped women. Both India and Pakistan admitted these crimes and agreed to recover and restore the abducted women. The Indian Government especially committed to accomplish the recovery plan even at the cost of sending the women forcedly back. The recovery of abducted women became a issue of national honour that apparently contrasted with the family and community concept of honour. Many of the recovered women were indeed rejected by their families, regarding them as impure. On its part the Indian Government made a great deal of effort to restore them. After that, silence enshrouded them and the memory of their pain faded. By contrast memories of women who had committed suicide “to save their honour”, were emphatically handed on.