Home Truths pp 240-245 | Cite as

Epilogue: Some Notes Towards a Conclusion

  • Susheila Nasta


It has recently been suggested that the contemporary experience of the South Asian literary diaspora is an ‘epic without a text’, an ‘ancient odyssey’ replaying itself in ‘modern historical guise’, lived primarily within the imagination.1 Unlike many other diasporas, it is not necessarily linked to the ‘homeland’ by the transportation of familiar cultural, economic, or religious institutions, but primarily by a sensibility rooted in ‘systematic diversity’, an imaginative facility imbibed, as Amitav Ghosh has argued, from an ancient ‘subcontinental tradition’ of living alongside ‘complementary difference’. It is a tradition which has thrived, in spite of contemporary and ancient ethno-religious schisms, on a multicultural and multilingual heritage. Thus it is adept not only in daily transitions (between and across languages and cultures), but in the broader translations of a ‘linguistic process’ that has historically inscribed such heteroglossic transformations. Writers of the Asian diaspora thus carry an innate ability not only to adapt, to assimilate and appropriate, but also to hybridize, reshape and sometimes deliberately misappropriate. And if, as Ghosh suggests, the subcontinent has become an ‘infinitely reproducible space’, an ‘empty space, mapped purely by words’, its literary representations will inevitably take on a number of highly individualized and differently constructed aesthetic forms.2


Daily Transition Contemporary Experience Magic Realism Aesthetic Form Home Truth 
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  1. 6.
    Homi Bhabha, Nation and Narration (London: Routledge, 1990), p. 45.Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    Homi Bhabha, ‘The Vernacular Cosmopolitan’, in Voices of the Crossing, ed. Naseem Khan and Ferdinand Dennis (London: Serpent’s Tail, 2000), pp. 139–41.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    Romesh Gunesekera, The Sandglass (London: Granta, 1998), p. 87.Google Scholar
  4. 13.
    Phil Cohen, ed., new ethnicities, old racisms (London: Zed Books, 1999).Google Scholar

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© Susheila Nasta 2002

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  • Susheila Nasta

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