How Violence Leaves a Mark in Veena Das’ Life and Words Essay examples

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Veena Das’ Life and Words is an attempt to capture the way in which major “events” reside in the recesses of everyday life. Drawing mainly from the aftermath of the Partition of India in 1947 and the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, Das explores the way violence leaves its mark on the people it touches, how it affects them at the immediate moment, and how it is carried through various forms of memory and silence into their everyday lives. Das also addresses that the manner in which the nation-state dealt with and constructed the violence of events also shapes the moments of and after violence, and the way these events inhabit the everyday life. The relation of the event and the everyday is understood in terms of how a number of…show more content…
Veena Das’ Life and Words is an attempt to capture the way in which major “events” reside in the recesses of everyday life. Drawing mainly from the aftermath of the Partition of India in 1947 and the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, Das explores the way violence leaves its mark on the people it touches, how it affects them at the immediate moment, and how it is carried through various forms of memory and silence into their everyday lives. Das also addresses that the manner in which the nation-state dealt with and constructed the violence of events also shapes the moments of and after violence, and the way these events inhabit the everyday life. The relation of the event and the everyday is understood in terms of how a number of dichotomous factors, related to the inside and the outside, interact and affect each other. In blurring the boundaries between the ordinary and the eventful, Das is able to give significant insights into the interface between the individual and the collective, the self and the other, and the everyday and the event. In order to better understand these relations, Das undoes the stereotype of the detached, unbothered researcher and explores how the events and the people affected by them alters the ways of looking at things, as well as her own perceptions; making her ethnography akin to an autobiography. The time spent with the participants leads Das to undertake explorations in the domain of the inside and outside interaction, through an
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