The Lowland

The Lowland


Jhumpa Lahiri

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This refers to the 1947 division of British India into two separate states: India and Pakistan. Partition was—and still is—seen as a hasty, ineffective, violent, and irresponsible dismantling headed by British administrators seeking to create a clean break from colonial control after India achieved independence. The upheaval in the wake of Partition, as Indian Muslims fled to Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs fled Pakistan for India, claimed hundreds of thousands—some estimate millions—of lives in just a few short months. Despite the fact that India and Pakistan were intertwined economically and culturally, Partition engendered riots, uprisings, and refugee crises in both countries. The bitterness and pain of the separation is still felt in politics and relations between India and Pakistan today, and survivors of the violence still struggle to understand why and how the two countries descended so quickly into such animosity.

Partition Quotes in The Lowland

The The Lowland quotes below are all either spoken by Partition or refer to Partition. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Political and Personal Violence Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Lowland published in 2014.
Part 1, Chapter 4 Quotes

Now if they happened to pass the Tolly Club together on their way to or from the tram depot, Udayan called it an affront. People still filled slums all over the city, children were born and raised on the streets. Why were a hundred acres walled off for the enjoyment of a few? Subhash remembered the imported trees, the jackals, the bird cries. The golf balls heavy in their pockets, the undulating green of the course. He remembered Udayan going over the wall first, challenging him to follow. Crouching on the ground the last evening they were there, trying to shield him. But Udayan said that golf was the pastime of the comprador bourgeoisie. He said the Tolly Club was proof that India was still a semicolonial country behaving as if the British had never left. He pointed out that Che, who had worked as a caddy on a golf course in Argentina, had come to the same conclusion. That after the Cuban revolution getting rid of the golf courses was one of the first things Castro had done.

Related Characters: Subhash Mitra (speaker), Udayan Mitra
Page Number: 29-30
Explanation and Analysis:
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Partition Term Timeline in The Lowland

The timeline below shows where the term Partition appears in The Lowland. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 2
Political and Personal Violence Theme Icon a caddy at the club. Bismillah is a Muslim who stayed in Tollygunge following Partition—the violent and devastating 1947 division of British India into two independent nations, India and Pakistan.... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
Political and Personal Violence Theme Icon
Heritage and Homeland Theme Icon
...“displaced dynasty” of Muslim rule has soaked into the bones of the town, and though Partition has made Muslims a minority in Calcutta, the streets of Tollygunge retain Islamic names. (full context)