a1 Department of History, School of Humanities, University of Southampton, Southampton S017 1BJ, UK Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Studies of Punjabi partition-related refugee resettlement have revealed a gap between official accounts and those provided by migrants. The former seek to legitimize the state by narrating its role in the transformation of helpless refugees into productive citizens. First hand accounts on the other hand frequently write the state out of the rehabilitation process. This paper seeks firstly to illustrate these processes at work by contrasting the narrative account contained in the Government of India publication, The Story of Rehabilitation, with interview material collected amongst former refugees. It then goes on to reveal the presence of state agency in cases of rehabilitation, despite refugee denial. Finally, it explores the refugee-state tensions arising from migrants’ experience of local level bureaucratic and police services’ corruption, which goes some way towards explaining the narrative dissonances.
(Online publication November 29 2010)