[Reader-list] Sociology Seminar at SAU: Dr Ravinder Kaur

Diya Mehra diyamehra at hotmail.com
Sun Nov 10 22:13:32 CST 2013

The Department of Sociology, South Asian University cordially invites you to a seminar
Bodies of Partition: On Widows, Residue and Other Historical Waste

by Dr.Ravinder Kaur, Centre of Global South Asian Studies, University of Copenhagen

Wednesday, November 13 2013, 2 30 pm, FSI Hall, Ground Floor, South Asian University, Akbar Bhavan, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi

Abstract: The Indian state embarked upon a large-scale refugee resettlement programme in 1947 to rehabilitate those rendered homeless in what was called the 'world's largest migration' in 20th century history. The resettlement programme from the very beginning was devised along the lines of class, caste and gender so that the displaced people were 'put back in their place' within the social landscape. As a result, upper class refugees were segregated from lower class refugees, upper castes from lower castes, and unattached women from families to be placed in barricaded camps through a range of complex bureaucratic schemes. In this paper, I explore a particular bureaucratic category called 'residue' that was devised in 1960s to classify widows and unattached women who were deemed to be beyond recovery. Through ethnography of such a 'widow colony' in Lajpat Nagar, Delhi, I show how instead of traveling the anticipated path of refugees becoming citizens, the histories of unbecoming are produced too where refugees/victims are deemed unfit for recovery and rehabilitation by the state apparatus  - and left to turn into historical waste. 

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