Continuing Conversations on Gender
Gender Issues In South Asia
Speaker Series Presenting:
Amrita Ghosh, Ph. D. from Seton Hall University on 4/26/2013
Rahul Gairola, Ph. D. from The University of Washington Bothell on 4/30/2013
Silent Waters: Mapping Silence and Women’s Agency in Post-Partition Pakistan
This talk focuses on a relatively recent Partition film titled Khamosh Pani (2003, directed by Pakistani woman director Sabiha Sumar), and proposes that the film subverts patriarchal religio-nationalism while re-envisioning the totalized history of the two national contructs through the liminal figure of the female protagonist Ayesha. My discussion of Khamosh Pani focuses on two themes — the notion of female agency and honor killings during Partition to explore Ayesha’s liminal subjectivity against the braided discourses of patriarchy, on the one hand, and a virulent religious fascism, on the other. I moreover focus on the “Recovery Act” of the Partition to stake the urgent claim for a nuanced understanding of agency in understanding Ayesha’s subjectivity. Ayesha/ Veero’s final plunge into the silent waters of a haunting well serves as a moment of “agentic revelation” that manifests, in death, her refusal to emulate fossilized religious-ethnic identities and transgresses the territorial spaces of the India and Pakistan that only allow women to be molded into a statist notion of religious identity. We shall place this filmic example into the larger context of women of color agency in South Asia and in the context of International Women’s Day.
** Please note that the subtitled film can be watched for free on YouTube by clicking on the arrow imbedded in this e-flyer.