The title of Bapsi Sidhwa's novel Cracking India suggests the image of a division, even a violent separation. The narrative is told from the perspective of Lenny, a Parsi woman, recounting her childhood memories of India's independence from Britain and also the following formation of Pakistan. While recounting childhood memories already emphasizes the subjective nature of memory and narrative, Lenny's identity as Parsi, female, and at the time of her childhood, disabled by polio, further augments the lens of her experiences of Partition.
Lenny's early juvenile understanding, while not completely free of political or situational bias, asserts a bystander's point of view, more witness than actor to the violence and carnage resulting out of the Partition. However, Sidhwa is not completely unaware of the problematic and subjective nature that the identity of bystander imbues a narrative with and nuances Lenny's formative experiences with a further analysis of gender relations, minoritarian identity within religious and national turmoil, and an Indian perspective on the impact of Independence and Partition had on the collective Indian national identity. Ultimately, Cracking India exposes the implications of independence from Britain, questions the motives for Partition, and harshly examines the costs of life and fractured identity imposed by Partition.
Lenny's narrative is one of formative experience, viewed through the lens of adulthood. This helps to trouble the concept of a single objective narrative as well as constitute it as the experiences of an subjective individual within the framework of a nation of subjective individuals.
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