“The scent of one’s own country”: The Partition of India as the Unprocessed Cultural Trauma in Shyam Benegal’s Mammo

Olivier Harenda

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/ths.2017.009


The article examines the way in which the historical event of the Partition of India on the 15th of August, 1947 influenced the shaping and later development of trauma within Indian culture. In order to conduct this analysis, the article frstly concentrates on the history behind the Partition event by providing information about the division of India. Then, the notion of cultural trauma and its location within the Indian context is outlined. Next, the reflections of the Partition of India within the domain of cinema are presented. Finally, the article focuses on the impact of cultural trauma on Indian society on the basis of a cinematic text entitled Mammo (1994). The motion picture is analyzed in three parts, answering the following questions: how is the event presented in the flm?; what is the main heroine’s attitude and possible connection with the event?; how is the vision of independent India reexamined in Mammo 30 years after its transformation? The analysis aims to show that the historical event of the Partition of India had a signifcant impact on the people of India as well as Indian culture.


cultural trauma; Indian cinema; Mammo; the Partition of India; postcolonialism; Shyam Benegal

Full Text:



Alexander, J. C., Eyerman, R., Giesen, B., Smelser, N. J., and Sztompka, P. (2004). Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity. Berkeley-Los Angeles-London: University of California Press.

Anderson, B. (1991). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London and New York: Verso.

Das, D. (2009) [2004]. Indie: od Curzona do Nehru i później. Trans. M. Jędrzejewska, M. Jurczyński, A. Ostrowska. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Trio.

Dube, P. R. (2015). “Partition Historiography.” The Historian, 77 (1): 55–79.

Harenda, O. (2017). “Apart Yet Together: The Partition of India as the Catalyst for Nationalism in Post-colonial Times.” In: K. Więckowska and G. Koneczniak, eds. Literary and Cultural Forays into the Contemporary. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. 123–133.

Kinsey, T. (2013). “Garam Hawa.” http://www.flmreference.com/Films-Fr-Go/ Garam-Hawa.html, 17.01 2016.

Kumar, P. (1999). “Testimonies of Loss and Memory: Partition and Haunting a Nation.” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 1 (2): 201–215.

Lapierre, D. and Collins, L. (1992) [1975]. Noc wolności. Trans. J. Pałęcka. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Iskry.

Mammo. (1994). Dir. Shyam Benegal. India. National Film Development Corporation of India.

Mohamed, K. (2014). “Remembering Mammo, 20 Years Later.” https://bollywoodjournalist.com/2014/07/07/khalid-mohamed-remembers-shyambenegal-mammo/, 3.02.2016.

Online documents

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0416077/. 8.02.2017.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110449/. 8.02.2017.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Indian_banknote_demonetisation. 10.02.2017.

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Shyam-Benegal#ref1167437. 3.02.2016.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 2392-1196 (online)

Partnerzy platformy czasopism