Diasporas by James Clifford – Shivangi Bhardwaj

Clifford, James. “Diasporas.” Cultural anthropology 9.3 (1994): 302-338.


James Clifford in his work Diaspora brings to light the way the term has been used and how it has evolved over time and how it is placed in society now. He begins with the Jewish idea of the term and how it is used in context with Polish, Chinese and African context now. The term is more than geographical and merges with history and despite the continuous heterogeneity if these diasporic experiences the common thread of ambivalence runs through. The experience differs but the sense of homelessness, the rootedness in the home country and the alienation from and for the host country. He talks about how border and histories merge and the difference is very thin between what was felt in medieval ages and in contemporary times, even though the idea of exile hardly exists in current times. There are times when two communities associate with each other when they share the same diasporic geography. Their histories might differ but their experience merges. He brings in Said and Bhabha to create a diasporic identity that runs through the world and that identity is based on fragmented history, memories and a need for identity. And in the case of English Diaspora he draws from Rushdie who points out the fact that the British history was a diasporic construction, something made entirely outside their geography, hence a certain ambivalence seeps in towards both the host country and their homeland. This paper helps in constructing and understanding diasporic identities in the research that will be undertaken. This paper does not look at Indian diaspora and looks at medieval and contemporary diaspora missing out on the one that took place in the modern times.

Comparative Indian Literature: Problems and Perspectives – Shivangi Bhardwaj

Chellappan, K. “Comparative Indian Literature: Problems and Perspectives.” Indian Literature 30.3 (119) (1987): 101-08. Web.

The article brings to light the comparative literature studies that have been done in the field of Indian literatures and what can be further done. The writer traces the origin of Indian literatures and studies how there are elements that are not completely unique to the text that is written. He talks about how there are traces of the Vedic age, the Bhakti movement and the epics written in India in the Indian Literatures that was produced in modern era. Each character reflects the traits that have already been concretised in Indian traditions. He thus shows how there is a connecting link that exists over ages in the Indian literatures. One text creates a basis for another text, thus showcasing a unity that exists in a heterogeneous environment of Indian Literature. The influence of Western philosophy is thus very technical, in terms of form and mode. The experience is thus something that is completely Indian and indigenous.  The struggle within each piece to emerge as universal is backed an Indian experience which is brought in through the characters. These characters thus might be reliable and universal, but their psyche and identity is deeply rooted in India and its experience. This paper helps study the characters and the situations of the two primary texts, namely ‘The Room on the Roof’ by Ruskin Bond and ‘Lowlands’ by Jhumpa Lahiri. Both these characters are diasporic in nature, but their identities are rooted in India so much so that they are more Indian than their other contemporaries. The only limitation of this paper is the fact that the writer does not look at contemporary texts.

Exploring Emotional History – Shivangi Bhardwaj

Ray, Rajat Kanta. Exploring Emotional History: gender, mentality and literature in the Indian awakening. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

The book talks about the emotional history of the country that intersects with other fields like intellectual history and literature. The author looks at Indian literature post-Independence more specifically Bengali literature. Indian literature helps reveal the cultural consciousness of a country. The substance of Indian poetry recreates the emotions and verbalises the subconscious of the thinking mind. The collective identity of Indian literature does not denote a collective thinking, rather a distinct psyche of the Indian mind. This psyche, the writer says is formulated of symbols, sentiments and categories which has been inherited from a tradition that stands for its antiquity. So, while the Indians adopted several notions of the West, so there came a mix of the older erotic style with a newer approach, which reflects in the translation of Indian texts. In the contemporary Indian literatures there is still an influence of the older notions. The cultural identity of the country reflects in every piece of literature through the characters, their situations and their dialogues. The Indian literature universe is separate and is connected through the regional languages with the predominance of the idea of sentiments that rise out of the consciousness which is moulded by traditional images that have been derived from historical texts and epics. The book does not look beyond the ideal Bengal Renaissance which limits the field of study and leads to a slight danger of generalization which is the biggest problem that is faced by Indian Literatures in contemporary times.

Shivangi Bhardwaj – Abiding Values in Indian Literature

Bhyrappa, S.L. “Abiding Values in Indian Literature.” Indian Literature 43.2 (190) (1999): 180-85. Web.

The article ‘Abiding Values in Indian Literature’ by S L Bhyrappa talks about how Indian literature has changed over time and this change has made it more than the art form it was considered before the western influence. The author reflects on how art is more than just the rasa and bhava it was and has now become a political and socio-cultural act. The article reflects on how western ideologies and theories have taken over Indian literature pushing aside the history of the literature. The forms and ideas of the west have molded the way authors and their works are looked at. The authors are expected to have a leaning towards an ideology and thus their work is made a propaganda despite their individual beliefs. Bhyrappa talks about a spiritual and a neutral voice in Indian literature that exists in literature, but something that has been hidden behind the west imposed ideologies. he propagates an idea of going back to the roots to rasa which facilitates a sense of detachment, art for its own sake. Every writer and his/her writing is thus under scrutiny and related to something more than just its artistic form, but her clearly states that every writing and writer is thus more than movements and fatwas.