Home, by the River down that Valley, beyond that Fence
This documentary fiction builds on lived experiences in the borderland district of Poonch, in the contested region of Jammu and Kashmir, administered by India along the contested border with Pakistan. The short story draws on fieldwork conducted between 2018 and 2020 as part of my PhD thesis and for an article published in this journal. The characters and events in the essay are fictional but inspired by real-life people and history, based on informal conversations, unused data collection, and other reflections from the field that did not make it into my academic work. An inspiration for this approach is the writing of Gloria Anzaldua on the US–Mexico border. Her reflections demonstrate that lived experiences need not always fit established academic and disciplinary boundaries. Subjective narratives around partition and separation cannot be contained by any one disciplinary framework. The trauma, yearning, and loss within these experiences are so multifaceted that they can be expressed through various writing styles. It is time, I believe, that borderland studies encourage interpersonal accounts in disciplinary inquiries, following some of the steps taken in sociology and social anthropology.
Copyright (c) 2023 Malvika Sharma
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