Changing identities of the symbol, ‘OM’: crossing borders, conflicting identities and violence in 1947

Author:   Mishika Nayyar
Publisher:   GRFDT
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Long drawn debates in symbolic anthropology have projected the idea of symbols sustaining definitive meanings governed by fixed structures of identity and territory. This paper aims to highlight not only the shift in understanding of symbolism from a structuralist to a post structuralist framework but also to chart the operation of fluid categories of identity, violence and memory by throwing light on how the symbol of ‘OM’ almost became a harbinger of death on one side of the border and bestowed life on the other for the Punjabi community which moved from Pakistan to India in 1947.

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