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Race-Thinking and the Parsi Social Drama

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Part of the Transnational Theatre Histories book series (TTH)

Abstract

While Hindu revivalism disseminated through the transcontinental powerhouse of the Parsi theatre steadily eroded colonial power, tensions grew between the ethnic and religious communities that lived in uneasy propinquity in Bombay. This chapter studies the impact of racial-thinking on the Parsi theatre that increasingly gestated hostilities among Hindus, Muslims, and Parsis. The chapter shows how the colonial public was progressively fissured not merely along linguistic lines but also according to religion and ethnicity. A new genre, the Parsi social drama, performed in Parsi Gujarati for the Parsi community of Bombay, interrogated communal fidelity to the project of Hindu nationalism, thus registering a significant transition in Parsi discourse and its claims to truth and power. Culturally isolated from both English as well as Hindustani print and performative media—the Parsi social drama enunciated a competing understanding of indigenous communal culture and racial identity, thereby reflecting aspirations to a distinct self- and nationhood.

Keywords

  • Communalism
  • Race
  • Darwinism
  • Melodrama
  • Parsi theatre

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-65836-6_8
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Fig. 8.1

(Courtesy: Rusi Vaccha)

Fig. 8.2

(Source Paṭel, PNTT, 308. Courtesy: The Trustees, The K. R. Cama Oriental Institute, Mumbai)

Fig. 8.3

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Correspondence to Rashna Darius Nicholson .

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Nicholson, R.D. (2021). Race-Thinking and the Parsi Social Drama. In: The Colonial Public and the Parsi Stage. Transnational Theatre Histories. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-65836-6_8

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