A Writer’s Urge for a Cathartic Narrativization
A Study of the Narratives from the Traumatic Memory of Kashmir Victims in Basharat Peer’s Curfewed Nights
Keywords:Trauma, Narration, Memory, Catharsis, Narrativizing
Kashmir, post 1990, has become a land rife with the struggle for freedom by the Kashmiri militants and the resultant military invasion by the Indian Government. As the clash between the military and the militants gains momentum, the native Kashmiris experience a major shift in their lives. The natives, irrespective of religious affiliations, endure the worst of violence. The collective cries for freedom resulted in attracting the antagonism of the Indian Army for the Kashmiri Muslims as well as the exodus of the Kashmiri pundits. The trauma of exile as well as the trauma of the violence perpetrated by the Indian Army is formative of a memory which becomes a permanent communal identity marker of Kashmiris. With each violent event, the traumatic memory evolves, and each tragedy contributes to complete the picture of victimization in the conflict Zone. Whereas the violent events reduce the Kashmiris to living ghosts, the narrations of the stories of these victims help them relieve the burden of their traumatic memory. Basharat Peer, the writer of Curfewed Nights (2011), feels the drive to write on Kashmir each time he comes across a victim. Curfewed Nights manifests the force of the traumatic narrations which compel the writer to listen to the tragedies and to pen these down. Writing becomes an obligation for the writer for it seems to work not merely as his own catharsis but also as a means to recover the victims. The study of the text Curfewed Nights is supported by the works of Cathy Caruth (1995), Shoshana Felman (2002), and other writers in Trauma Studies. This research argues that narrating the traumatic experiences by the victims is therapeutic in nature for them and narrativizing the collective traumatic memory is helpful in relieving the writer of the pain inflicted upon him by bearing the burden of an ever-growing traumatic memory.
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