ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Partition and Family Strategies-Gender-Education Linkages among Punjabi Women in Delhi

Gender-Education Linkages among Punjabi Women in Delhi Karuna Chanana Family strategies are often responses to external changes and macro developments influence the options available. Partition harrowed the physical spaces and enlarged the social spaces available to women thereby affecting the practice of parda' or seclusion, modified the impact of caste and regional culture on marriage arrangements, and widened the channels of educational mobility and employment for girls and women. This article, based on the life histories of Punjabi women in Delhi, seeks to demonstrate the change in the dynamics and structure of families as a result of external changes in Society and the economy with particular emphasis on the relationship between gender and education within the family THIS article revolves around the life histories of Punjabi women who migrated from their homeland after the Partition of India in August 1947 and the consequent effect on changing gender roles and family survival strategies. These Punjabi families have survived the holocaust of Partition and have rebuilt their lives. Their case histories represent Hindu families which did not necessarily suffer from direct lose of life, abduction and rape of their women, rioting and murders. Studies of the Partition of India in 1947 have highlighted the mass migration in the wake of large-scale rioting, looting and killing. Statistics are given on the abduction and rape of women, hopelessness of millions of families, their life in makeshift refugee camps, the lack of financial resources, etc These had great implications for women. Literary works, especially novels and stories in the regional languages, have highlighted some of these dimensions especially the plight of women. However, social scientists have hardly focused on this phenomenon, in general, and on its impact on the families and on women, in particular There is need to underscore the point that while migration, uprooting and the consequent trauma were shared by most of the migrating Punjabis, their reactions, responses and the coping mechanisms and strategies varied. Several factors determined the time and impact of Partition. Although India was divided on August 14, 1947, the decision of the British to quit India and to divide it was taken much earlier Therefore, long before the event, Punjabis knew that their state would be divided but where exactly the line would be drawn was not known. The important point of speculation was whether Lahore, the social and cultural centre of Punjab, would be in India or Pakistan. Hindus and Sikhs had hoped that it would be in India. Therefore, several people deferred the decision to migrate till the last.

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