Advertisement

Home Truths pp 15-55 | Cite as

Points of Departure: Early Visions of ‘Home’ and ‘Abroad’

  • Susheila Nasta
Chapter
  • 20 Downloads

Abstract

The narrative of ‘modernity’ has never been a straightforward one; nor have its multiple origins ever been contained solely within the European body. In seeking to uncover some points of departure for this study of the fictions of the South Asian diaspora in Britain, it is important to recognize from the outset that diasporic histories are often by their very nature discontinuous and frequently involve a doubling of vision, a ‘form of accountability to more than one location’, more than one tradition.5 Furthermore, the spaces opened up by the dominant narrative of a Western modernity have always derived from a process of filtration built on a series of cross-cultural encounters and interconnections, whether staged at ‘home’ or ‘abroad’. For whilst the historic experience of Empire was clearly significant in creating a climate for cultural reconfigurations, the encounter with European philosophical and epistemological systems was only one of many other parallel and indigenous processes influencing the translation and genesis of new literary forms and genres. In the case of the Asian subcontinent, as Nayantara Sahgal implies in the epigraph above, it is difficult to define where ‘one culture begin[s] and another end[s] when they are housed in the same body’. For, if we view the ‘colonial’ as the ‘new Anno Domini from which events are to be everlastingly measured’, we will unfortunately, she says, limit the range of our vision and only ever see one side of the picture. As she goes on to say:

My own awareness as a writer reaches back to x-thousand B.C., at the very end of which measureless time the British came, and stayed, and left. And now they’re gone … their residue is simply one more layer added to the layer upon layer of Indian consciousness. Just one more.6

Keywords

Congress Party Western Modernity Break Column Cultural Derivation Contradictory Reality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    E. M. Forster, Howards End (London: Arnold, 1910).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Raja Rao, The Serpent and the Rope (London: Murray, 1960).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Aubrey Menen, Dead Man in the Silver Market (London: Chatto & Windus, 1954), p. 118; all further references are to this edition.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    R. Radhakrishnan, Diasporic Mediations: Between Home and Location (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), p. xiv.Google Scholar
  5. 15.
    Antoinette Burton, ‘Making a Spectacle of Empire: Indian Travellers in Finde-Siècle London’, History Workshop Journal, 42, 1996, p. 128.Google Scholar
  6. 29.
    Zulfikar Ghose, ‘Going Home’, Toronto South Asian Review, 9, 2, 1991, p. 15.Google Scholar
  7. 31.
    H. J. Booth and N. Rigby, eds, Modernism and Empire. (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000), p. 2.Google Scholar
  8. 42.
    C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins (London: Secker & Warburg, 1938).Google Scholar
  9. 53.
    Andrew Gurr, Writers in Exile: The Idenitity of Home in Modern Literature (Brighton: Harvester, 1981), pp. 18–19.Google Scholar
  10. 55.
    Rosemary Marangoly George, The Politics of Home: Postcolonial Relocations and Twentieth Century Fiction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 2–3.Google Scholar
  11. 70.
    Meenakshi Mukherjee, The Twice-Born Fiction (New Delhi: Heinemann, 1971).Google Scholar
  12. 73.
    Aubrey Menen, The Space Within The Heart (London: Hamilton, 1970), p. 88.Google Scholar
  13. 88.
    Aubrey Menen, The Prevalence of Witches (London: Chatto & Windus, 1947).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Susheila Nasta 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susheila Nasta

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations