Yasmin Saikia's work on oral histories of 1971 times

Prof Yasmin Saikia hails from Assam and is chair of Peace Studies at the University of Arizona USA. I found her to have a strong grip on the possibilities of sense-making and justice-making that we might achieve around the events of 1971. Naration and recruitment of intepretations and reconstructions of these events continue to lobotomise our polity.  A video from her recent talk to Brick Lane Circle will be posted up soon. Congratulations to the group for making the space to hear about these matters, beyond the poisoned, shrill and hopeless treatment meted out by the Liberation Industry.

She's interviewed hundreds of people, victims and participants and was quite disturbed at what is going on in the name of national justice-making. That she studied at undergraduate and masters level in Alighar Muslim University adds a greater expectation of her epistemystique, to which she delivers in sack loads.

Exploring ideas of insaniyyat (humanity), huquq al insan (rights of humankind), tauba (forgiveness) and restorative justice from the South Asian Islamic universe adds depth and spirit to any analysis of the wrongs wrought on the people, by Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Indians at the time. She mused on the concept of neighbours and strangers in Quran, and how these transform under nationalism. She sees 1971 as an ongoing narrative and quite rightly resists the national narratives around it. 

The state of publicly countenances debate on the crown jewels of 1971 is abysmal. On the Internet check Genocide Bangadesh, ICSF and Mukto Mona. In real(er) life check out the Ghatak Nirmul Commission, the Sector Commanders Associations and the Awami League in general. It is disgraceful epistemicidal projection that must be superseded, but will be difficult to.

A few years ago Shah Abdul Hannan, a prominent Islamic social figure in Bangladesh was subject to tremendous abuse from the Liberation Industry for talking publicly about 1971 as a civil war.  there is a not of ignorance manufactured by people  who believe themselves to be acting pro-Liberation. Prof Mushtaq Khan says there are elements of civil, liberation and independence in the war as a device to build a future narrative that integrates the three running already. 

Saikia penetrates a few dimensions deeper into the lived experience:

  1. A Civil War of East versus West Pakistan
  2. A, International War of India vs Pakistan
  3. An Ethnic War Bengali vs Bihari, and
  4. A Gender War Man against Woman
I have her 2011 book on 1971 on order and recommend her work generally, she's already established, so this cannot be accused of being an attention seeking ploy by angry Liberation Industrialists. Now that our collective stupidity and cruelty is on national display through the International War Crimes Tribunals, people at home, diaspora and abroad might be interested in understanding things with some humanity.

This is one of the few means.

Here's a video of one of her talks on remembering to be human.

If you want to get to the meat, a 2004 paper can be found on line: 'Beyond the Archives of Silence: Narratives of Silence of the 1971 Liberation War in Bangladesh.'  I challenge you to read it and not choke and be moved.http://fugstar.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/new-word-epistemystique.html#!/2012/02/new-word-epistemystique.html

1 comment:

asikha said...

gutted I missed it! liking the new layout...your writings changed a bit? :)