Interrogating Muslim Identity: Distinctiveness and Voluntary Adjustments in Adib Khan’s <I>Solitude of Illusions</I>
This paper aims at a critical reading of Adib Khan’s second novel, Solitude of Illusions (1996), in order to examine how an Indian Muslim makes voluntary adjustments of his historical identity crisis that transcends rigid cultural tags. With a view to maintaining an unchallenged control over the Indians, the British had purposely inflamed religious antagonism in colonial India, causing disunity and rivalry among the Hindus and Muslims. Being victims of the coloniser’s “divide and rule” policy, these two communities experienced a feeling of insecurity about their respective distinct identity. After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Muslims in particular experienced a setback concerning their discrete politics, education, language and culture. The reputed Bangladeshi-Australian diaspora writer, Adib Khan (1949-), has reflected these issues in his novel, Solitude of Illusions. This paper analyses Khan’s attempt at reconfiguring the history of the Indian subcontinent to scrutinise the lifestyle, struggles and changing attitudes of Indian Muslims of Bengali heritage from the colonial to the postcolonial era. It is noted that while focusing on the life and identity crisis of these Bengali Muslims, Khan also favours a compassionate and positive approach to overcome cultural anxieties. This paper investigates how the culturally dislocated Muslims make themselves adaptable to the changing postcolonial world.
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