In between cultures and identities : Reflections on multiculturism in Diaspora literature
AuthorIslam, Rashida Ahmed
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In a bid to elaborate on the topic as to how diasporic South Asian and Caribbean writers are creating and reshaping the boundaries of literary texts, I wish to put forward my thesis as a continual process where a few notable writers of South Asian origin have redefined the boundaries of a post- colonial identity. Through a reading of some their notable works, I have found that the question of identity and inhabitant has undergone many levels of assimilation in order to come to the present state of being. Diaspora brings to mind various contested ideas and images. It can be a positive site for the affirmation of an identity, or, conversely, a negative site of fears of losing that identity. Diaspora signals an engagement with a matrix of diversity: of cultures, languages, histories, people, places, times. What distinguishes diaspora from some other types of travel is its centripetal dimension. It does not only mean that people are dispersed in different places but that they congregate in other places, forming new communities. In such gatherings, new allegiances are forged that supplant earlier commitments. New imagined communities arise that not simply substitute old ones but form a hybrid space which is rediscovered in between various identifications. This is only taking place in recent times when Post-colonial literature have come to the fore as a ways and means to distinguish other spheres of writing from the writings of a pre-colonial time. History, culture and an imagined space provided by writers have always given us scope to reinvent ourselves in myriad ways. My efforts to work on this thesis may have provided some answers while some questions do remain unanswered which may find favorable response in another time.