Disruption and Belonging: Aligarh, Its University, and the Changing Meaning of Place since Partition

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Abstract: The 1947 partition of India and creation of Pakistan created lasting disturbance in the lives of Muslim students at the Aligarh Muslim University in North India. Students lost faith in the protective capacity of the university and re-placed their confidence in protection from the state. The oral archive exposes a history of social and spatial disruption in Aligarh, even though students did not experience physical violence. Oral histories collected from former students who remained in India reveal how the threats of violence against Muslims during and after partition fomented a persistent "fear of not belonging" in spite of India's official commitment to secularism.

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