Title: The Unsafe Asylum: Stories of Partition and Madness
Author: Anirudh Kala
Publisher: Speaking Tiger
Publishing Date: 10th June 2018
My Rating: 4 stars
The memory of partition still haunts the ones who had witnessed the adversity of it and had lived through it. Only they could tell the trauma and pain they continue to carry with them. Every time partition stories are told and retold, it leaves with the feeling of unhappiness and disheartening thoughts making you ponder that those dark events have indeed happened.
The Unsafe Asylum is a book telling stories of people affected by the partition and its aftermath. The effect it left in the minds of them and how this ordeal had been instilled forever. It also narrates the impact that partition had left in the minds of the mental patients and how it continues to worsen their life.
The mental patients were also exchanged during partition between the two countries that is Muslim patients were sent to the mental hospital in Pakistan and Hindu patients were sent to the mental hospital in India. The book accounts the distress of Rulda Singh and Fateh Khan, two mental patients who got separated with this exchange.
The stories of Harpreet, Sikh married lady being abducted by a Muslim man after her house was set on fire and was married off to his Muslim younger brother and the woman having a delusion of being chased by murderous Muslim mobs and how her children were also caught by this same delusion left me troubled and upset.
Prakash Kohli, an Indian psychiatrist, discovers his birth story during partition and how his patients have enduring partition effects even after years of partition.
The narrative is impressive and will leave you emotive and empty. The book is really a necessary read.
While reading, I felt that the interlinked stories have not been well presented thus somehow leaving confusion and the reader loses the trail of the story which could only be recovered by referring back to the chapters.
Have you happened to read this book? or thinking of it lately?
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