Women arguably have been the worst victims throughout history. Framing of women as the location for conflict is not confined to the Indian continent. It is also true for other parts of the world which have experienced genocidal and communal violence provoked by race, religion, language and so on. The domestic violence of honour killings is the manifestation of the same. Women have been subjected to all sorts of imaginable and unimaginable atrocities and violence. Atrocities have been enacted upon the bodies of women by men since time immemorial.

This chapter will try and explore the linkages between feminity and violence in Partition writing. Literature has emerged as an alternative archive of the times. In the study of the Partition of the Indian subcontinent, in particular, literature has articulated the ‘little’ narratives against the grand, the unofficial histories against the official. In the literature on Partition, the short story, novels, magazines, articles and so on hold positions of pre-eminence.

The representation of women as victims, survivors and peacekeepers scripts feminity in terms of vulnerability, non-assertiveness and pacification. This chapter focusses on two important novels on Partition written by women and the way these novels represent women. These novels go beyond the depiction of women as victims (which they were), illustrating how extraordinary determination and grit could combine with an excessively strong survival instinct to tide over the disaster that they had to face through no fault of their own.

The two texts that this chapter focusses on deal with women’s sexuality, respectively, as a domain of exploitation, oppression and violence, in the case of Epar Ganga, Opar Ganga, and as a domain of exploration, agency and autonomy in Swarlipi.