Dr. Naveen Minai

The dominant historical narrative of the partition of 1947 is a teleological story of two nations, that is, Hindu and Muslim, who could not share space in India. Hence on August 14, 1947, the two states of India and Pakistan were created through a remapping of the borders of the subcontinent. This telos of partition is showcased every day during a military ceremony at the Wagah border between India and Pakistan. In this paper, I use visual analysis and gender theory to examine this ceremony as a ritual affirmation of Pakistani and Indian nationalism. I argue that the nationalism on display is gendered as masculine and sexualized as heterosexual. I contend that the daily repetition of this spectacular ceremony marks a performance of sovereignty. This performativity suggests a sexual dimension of the fear the other on the other side of the border. In other words, xenophobia is a referent for homophobia, and both are fears of penetration by the male body as the body of the nation-state. 

Dr. Minai is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Business Administration. She has a PhD in Gender Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (2014) and a Bachelors in Politics, Communication and Media Studies from Loughborough University (2006).