“We Would Rather Have Shaak (Greens) Than Murgi (Chicken) Polao”: The Archiving of the Birangona
2015. "“We Would Rather Have Shaak (Greens) Than Murgi (Chicken) Polao”: The Archiving of the Birangona", The Spectral Wound: Sexual Violence, Public Memories, and the Bangladesh War of 1971, Nayanika Mookherjee
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This chapter explores the processes of documenting the narratives of wartime rape from the perspective of the Enayetpur birangonas and through their notion of “talkable history.” This and the following chapters focus on the ethnographic engagement with the women, their families, their communities, the village of Enayetpur, and its surrounding areas during an initial eight-month period of fieldwork in western Bangladesh. The contradictory subject positions of the war heroines show that they are trying to carve out their own definition of being a birangona. Also, the interplay between the local and national actors shows the conditions under which the experiences of the birangona are documented. This necessitates an exploration of the role of photography, visualism, orality, and commodification. This documentation process reveals how the experiences of wartime rape of 1971 are being combed (searched) while the birangonas’ talkable histories of the 1990s are combed over (hidden).