The Other Side of Silence

Voices from the Partition of India

June 2013 9781850655336 278pp
Temporarily out of stock


The Partition of India in 1947 precipitated one of the greatest upheavals in history. Pieced together from oral narratives and testimonies of participants this text is a personal chronicle of partition that places people, rather than high politics, centre stage.


‘Powerfully written and eminently readable… It is only oral history that can preserve significant experiences of persons and groups, and in this particular case, of a period torn by forced exile, dispossession, and bereavement.’ — Shail Mayaram, Interventions

‘Selective amnesia and memory are at the root of the relationship between human beings and their history. This book pierces that amnesia, elicits buried memories, and lays the foundations for a more evolved relationship between human beings on this sub-continent and their histories of gendered and communal violence.’ — Kavita Punjabi, Telegraph – Calcuttan Publication

‘This is a magnificent and necessary book, rigorous and compassionate, thought-provoking and moving. Oral history at its best.’ — Salman Rushdie

The Other Side of Silence is without a doubt one of the most important books ever to be written about the Partition of the Indian sub-continent. More than a history, more than a memoir, it is also an extended reflection on narrative form. Official history has always flinched from acknowledging the full extent of the human cost of Partition. Urvashi Butalia shows us why we cannot afford to forget the suffering, the grief, the pain and the bewilderment that resulted from the division of the subcontinent. The Other Side of Silence is an extraordinary achievement.’ — Amitav Ghosh

‘[Butalia] places before us the honest soul-searching of those who were scarred and branded by this violent disjuncture… What makes [her] book so special is that she uncovers the myths, the memories, and the event in a way that makes it a living document, not just data.’ — Ira Pandey, Biblio


Urvashi Butalia is an Indian feminist and historian.

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