Episode 147: What memories do survivors have of the 1947 Pakistan–India partition?

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Aqeel Ihsan (York University) is a history PhD candidate focusing on South Asian diaspora currently living in Canada. Topics of Aqeel's interest include South Asian diaspora's memories of the 1947 partition of India into two republics (now India and Pakistan), concepts of 'home' and 'belonging', and how grocery stores, restaurants and kitchens at home serve as spaces for ethno-national identities to be established and continually evolve.

What inspired Aqeel to move from working as a high school history teacher and return to university pursuing graduate studies? What happened in 1947 to the 12 million people displaced by the national borders drawn between communities living in what is now Pakistan and India? How were interviewees found and asked about 1947? In what ways do survivors of the partition remember this event and what has Aqeel's oral history research revealed that may contribute to current discourse and reconciliation among South Asians and members of the South Asian diaspora?

In addition to this Master's research, what does Aqeel's current PhD work look at in terms of the anthropology of food and South Asian diaspora identity and culture? How are the younger generations interacting with western food and culture in ways that differ and contradict those of their parents? What are the links between South Asian diaspora experiences and those of other groups such as East Asian diaspora, the Indigenous nations of Canada and Black communities in 2020's current sociopolitical climate?

You can find more information in the show notes under the episode on our website.

Aqeel can be found on his university page.

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