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Accepted Paper:

Problematising the Concept of Home: Generational Memories among East Bengali Migrant Families  
Subhasree Ghosh (Asutosh College, University of Calcutta)

Paper short abstract:

This paper interrogates the memories pivoting around the construction of home among the first and the subsequent generations of East Bengali migrant families based in Calcutta, to analyse whether one can identify a shifting trajectory in inter-generational conception of home.

Paper long abstract:

Taking the 1947 Partition that led to the creation of India and Pakistan as the backdrop, the paper analyses whether the trajectory of memory surrounding one's home and hearth undergoes any shift with the passage of years and generations. Pivoting on memory-history, this paper explores the idea of home as reflected in the memory of first and second generation migrants based in the metropolis of Calcutta. Situated at the intersection of memory and commemoration, the paper interrogates how memories are both allowed for and erased for the present. In the reminiscences of the first-generation migrants, the chiaroscuro of nostalgia of lost homeland and trauma of uprootment ceaselessly intertwine, even after seventy years. Against this would be juxtaposed the narratives of the second generation migrants, who did not experience the pain of uprootment. Having been born and brought up in Calcutta, understandably, they do not feel the same kind of attachment with East Bengal across the international border. However, at the same time, they are not completely scissored from the past. Being fed on a healthy dose of nostalgic stories, they deploy modern-day technologies, like blogs, social media platforms, digital archives, to stay connected with their past. The paper thus brings to the fore the various shades of memory which continue to inform, mediate and reconstruct the experiential world of the refugees and their progeny and in the process focus on the changing conceptions of home and belonging. Home thus emerges as a place that needs to be constantly (re-)negotiated.

Panel P144
New horizons: second generation perspectives on experiences of migration