Post-9/11 Indian English Diaspora Fiction: Contexts and Concerns

Angshuman Kar


Authenticity of the representations of the “real” problems of the Indian diasporans in Indian diaspora fiction has often been questioned by the critics as some ten or twelve years back, in the hands of most of the Indian diasporic writers, the problems of acculturation often got reduced only to the difficulty in mastering native manners and customs. Eminent Indian diaspora writers such as Jhumpa Lahiri and Kiran Desai, were, indeed, silent on religious, ethnic and racial problems that the Indian diasporic communities encounter in the host countries. Post 9/11 developments, mainly in the US, however, have compelled some of the Indian diaspora writers to respond to these issues. Marina Budhos’s Ask Me No Questions (2007), Kazim Ali’s The Disappearance of Seth (2009) and Hari Kunzru’s Transmission(2004) document post-9/11 hate crimes against the South Asians/Southeast Asians in general and the Muslims in particular in the US that expose the racialised fabric of the nation. It is interesting to observe that unlike Budhos, Ali and Kunzru, the big shots of Indian English diaspora fiction are still silent on issues that could be unpalatable, mainly, to the readers of the hostlands. This article, by focussing on the three novels mentioned above, will examine who are throwing light on the other side of the moon and why. In so doing, it will take up the novels not in terms of their chronological appearance, but in terms of the degree of their engagement with the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

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