Padmaavat and What We Choose to Remember About Pride

Social Commentary

Padmaavat and What We Choose to Remember About Pride

Illustration: Sushant Ahire


s a third-generation refugee of the Partition, I am no stranger to memory. Every family gathering where you speak to a whimsical old relative is an occasion to recount the Punjab that is now Pakistan, with its wondrous bazaars, chilgoze, and people irretrievably lost. There is a certain opulence to this memory, for grandmas from the time fondly remember the swathes of heere-moti they left behind as the men lament the loss of ancestral land, simultaneously coronating themselves as rajas of a bygone world.

One way to deal with these narratives is to enjoy them for their lightness, for the joy and grief that their nostalgic subjects emanate in remembrance. Another, the way of the haughty historian, is to declare memory to be a historical fiction with no basis in reality and yet, held by unthinking mortals in their eagerness to exaggerate.