Conflicts During the Planning of Indian Independence and its Partition in Pour l’amour de l’Inde by Catherine Clément and Indian Summer by Alex von Tunzelmann. An Embodiment Approach to Violence



The end of the Raj and the British Empire had multiple consequences on Indian history, geography and society. While India was joyfully declared an independent nation, its partition caused innumerable violent episodes, the exodus of religious groups, Hindu-Muslim riots and conflicts with its new-born neighbour Pakistan. In such a tumultuous scenario, Gandhi’s proclaimed message of ahimsa (non-violence) opposed the will of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, and the, until then, Viceroy Lord Louis Mountbatten who managed British Government policy. Pour l’amour de l’Inde (1993) by Catherine Clément, and Indian Summer. The Secret History of the End of an Empire (2007) by Alex von Tunzelmann both explore the last days of colonized India in detail and with a sharp eye on the events and personalities that shaped this new India. The literary reconstruction of historic events gives a new insight into the decisions which led to Indian independence and division. In both novels, the body plays an important role. With physical and metaphorical references, from the maternal body of India being tainted, to Gandhi’s fasts and refusal of medication, the body is charged with political and symbolic meanings.


Indian independence, Partition, India-Pakistan, Historic novels, Mountbatten, Lady Edwina, Nehru, Body


BRASS, Paul R (2003). “The Partition of India and retributive genocide in the Punjab, 1946-47: means, methods, and purposes”, Journal of Genocide Research, Vol. 5, Nº 1, 71-101. DOI:

CHAKRABARTI, Shantanu (2012). “Quarreling Siblings or Friendly Neighbours? Turbulent Nature of Indo-Pakistan Relationship since 1947”, UNISCI Discussion Papers, Nº 29, 9-33. DOI:

CHANDRA, Bipan, MUKHERJEE, Mridula, MUKHERJEE, Aditya, MAHAJAN, Sucheta, PANIKKAR, K.N. (1989). India’s Struggle for Independence, New Delhi: Penguin Books.

CLÉMENT, Catherine (1993). Pour l’amour de l’Inde, Paris: Flammarion.

GALTUNG, Johan (1990). “Cultural Violence”, Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 27, No. 3, 291-305. DOI:

JALAL, Ayesha (1996). “Secularists, Subalterns and the Stigma of ‘Communalism’: Partition Historiography Revisited”, Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 30, Nº 3, 681-737. DOI:

KHANNA, Tanvi (2014). “Silence, Survival and Recuperation: Reading Women’s Experiences in Partition Literature”, Research Journal of English Language and Literature (RJELAL), Vol. 2, Issue. 3, 19-25.

PANDEY, Gyanendra (2011). Remembering Partition. Violence, Nationalism and History of India, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

ROY, Rituparna (2010). South Asian Partition Fiction in English from Khushwant Singh to Amitav Ghosh, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

TRIPATHY, Anjaly (2014). “History is a Woman’s Body: A Study of Some Partition Narratives”, Odisha Review, 80-84.

VON TUNZELMANN, Alex (2007). Indian Summer. The Secret History of the End of an Empire, London: Pocket Books.

WILCOX, Lauren B. (2015). Bodies of Violence. Theorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations, Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI:

Author Biography

Tagirem Gallego García, University of Castilla-La Mancha

Tagirem Gallego García is PhD candidate at the University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain). Her research is on the image of India in Western literature, women travellers in colonial and independent India. Her work is being supported with a predoctoral contract within I+D-i plan of UCLM, jointly financed by European Social Fund (ESF) [2014/10340]  




Download data is not yet available.