an essay by the sociologist Veena Das titled “Language and Body:
Transactions in the Construction of Pain”. Apart from the fact that
the birth of India and Pakistan was the scene of unprecedented collective
violence, one hundred thousand women from both sides of the border were
forcibly abducted and raped. As Das says, “The bodies of women were
metaphors for the nation, they had to bear the signs of their possession
by the enemy”.
The language of pain as expressed by women who suffered the violence
turned into a zone of silence or the “ language having all the
phonetic excess of hysteria that destroys apparent meaning.” It
is this form that I use in my work. Possession by inflicting extreme
sexual violence on women has had a trajectory right up to present times.
Witness Gujarat 2002. In a sense this is a work in line with my video
“Unity in Diversity” which addresses the dissolution of
this very concept that India as a nation state started out with.
Also the woman as mutant, de-gendered, violated beyond imagination,
has been an on going pre-occupation in my work.