Tabish Khair is a versatile genius of Indian origin who later settled in Denmark, where he is working as an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Aarhus University Denmark. He is enjoying immense popularity in English studies on account of his critical works like Babu Fictions: Alienation in the Contemporary Indian English Novels, and The Gothic, Postcolonialism and Otherness: Ghosts from Elsewhere, creative novels such as TheBus Stopped and The Thing About Thugs, How to Fight Islamist Terror from Missionary Position and Filming: A Love Story, poetic collection such as Where Parallel Lines Meet as well. His first poetic collection is My World published in 1994, which has been reviewed by eminent poets of Indian English Literature like Shiv K. Kumar, Keki N. Daruwalla, Adil Jassawalla, and Vilas Sarang.
His first novel An Angel in Pyjamas was published in 1995. Later on he got published his research work entitled Babu Fictions: Alienation in the Contemporary Indian English Novels in 2001, which was followed by his second novel The Bus Stopped (2004).This novel is written in the form of a travelogue. His third novel The Thing About Thugs focused upon the stereotypes and the racist attitude of the British towards the orients. Further we found his second collection of poems Where Parallel Line Meet published in the year 2000. His poetic collection Man of Glass: Poems published in 2010.
Tabish Khair won immense popularity on the basis of his two major works TheGothic, Postcolonialism and Otherness: Ghosts from Elsewhere and How to Fight Islamist Terror from Missionary Position. In the first book Khair evaluated and referred great writers like Rudyard Kipling, Emily Bronte, Joseph Conrad, Erna Brodber Mcville and Jean Rhys etc. All these works were based upon the observations and experiences of the writer. His next novel Filming: A Love Story was marked by Khushwant Singh as one of the best twenty English novels by Indians or writers from Indian origin. The novel was a portrayal of the early lost world of Indian cinema. However his last and the most powerful work How to Fight Islamist Terror from Missionary Position is the story of love, friendship, betrayal and pain.
Being an Indian by birth and Denmarkian by profession, we find Anti-Colonial Discourse in the writings of Tabish Khair. This chapter also highlights diversifying changes from Colonial to Postcolonial and from Postcolonial to Anti-Colonial Discourse.
In his works we find the element of anti-colonial discourse in the respect as he carries the cultural baggage of India and in his works he also tries to assimilate the cultural conflicts prevailing in between his root nation and adopted nation. Certain features of anti-colonial discourse such as identity, quest for identity, search for roots, nostalgia, sense of loss, homelessness, alienation, became the reasons behind his leaving India and deflations of colonial mind-set which still exists in post-independence Indian scenario can also be observed in his works. When we go through the concept of anti- colonial discourse we have to study and understand the colonial and postcolonial literature.
According to Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the word colonialism comes from the Roman ‘colonia’ which means ‘farm’ or ‘settlement’, and it refers to the Romans who settled other lands but still retain their citizenship. It is defined by Ania Loomba in her book Colonialism/ Postcolonialism as:
“A settlement in a new country a body of people who settle in a new locality, forming a community subject to or connected with their parent state; the community so formed, consisting of the original settlers and their descendants and successors, as long as the connection with the parent state it kept up” (2005, 7).
Colonialism is not an identical process in different parts of world. The process may be defined as the control and conquest of the land and goods of other people. It is not only an expansion of European powers into Asia, America and Africa from the sixteen century onwards but also it is a widespread and recurrent feature of world human history. Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, accomplishment and expansion of colonies by people from one territory to another territory. Krishnaswami Nagarajan in Contemporary Literary Theory further defines, “According to etymological dictionaries the word ‘colony’ in English was borrowed from Latin and used in the 16th century to mean ‘Farm settlement, landed estate, etc.’ (2012, 90).
It is a process through which the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony, the social structure, the government, and the economy. The colonialism where the sovereignty of the coloniser is based upon the colonised in different forms specially in order to attack upon the colonised’s culture in order to ascertain their grandeur. Depankar Roy in his “Representation of the ‘National Self—Novelistic portrayal of a New Cultural identity in Gora” has written about the perception of colonial attitude in a general sense. To quote:
“Any colonial rule involves a systematic and ruthless attack on the culture and heritage of the colonized race. This often results in a total loss or at least maiming of the sense of 'self' for the colonized people. The masculinist self of the colonizer labels the self of the colonized as 'effeminate'. In reaction to this, the nationalist consciousness of the colonized people often tries to replicate the macho virility of the colonial masters in an act of fashioning a nationalist self” (2010, 385).
Generally the Colonial period has been referred to the late fifteenth century to twentieth century. Colonialism began in the fifteenth century and reached its climax in the late nineteenth century, when European states established colonies in other continents. At the height of European colonialism, more than three quarters of the earth belonged to the European nations of Britain, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy and Germany. During this period, the justifications for colonialism included various factors such as the emplacement Christian missionary work, in their own interests, for the expansion of the power of the British Government.
However the renaissance period played vital role in English literature and has been called as the golden period of English literature on account of certain traits like centrality of man, thirst for knowledge, love for beauty and revival of the classical art and literature. In the period we also find wide range of dispersal, displacement and dislocation of academicians, philosophers, and scholars who went abroad on account of atrocities and the political authorities. In this way they brought new genres and perspective to the English literature. Subsequently colonies were established by the British government all over the world and the words like colony, colonial, coloniser, colonisation, colonialist, colonised, postcolonial, and anti-colonialism got immense popularity and became matter of discussion and research work in the post second world war English literature. Postcolonialism indicates resistance of the third world countries against the British who had projected them as only civilised and powerful.
Colonialism is also referred as the expansion of a nation’s sovereignty from one territory to other territory through forcible occupation. The colonial countries were interested in increasing their own political power and they explored the wealth, power and resources of native country. The primary aim of the colonial countries was to use their resources for their own interests. Most of the native people of colonial territory were oppressed and enslaved by the colonising power. At the same time the native people were forced to give up their cultural heritage and to assimilate to the coloniser’s culture. This type of working strategy is also known as ‘cultural colonisation,’ and this type of colonisation was supposed to manipulate the colonised people’s mind. According to George J. Sefa Dei colonialism can also be seen as, “a signifying territorial ownership’ of a place/space by an imperial power while imperialism on other hand is the governing ideology of such occupation” (2006, 3).
The colonial power believes that a colonised nation which adopted and admired western culture would no longer resist the coloniser’s occupation. For example, in the British colonies, the colonised population had to convert to Christianity. The colonial power always argued that ‘third world countries’ were inferior and needed western help and assistance in order to gain moral integrity and economic wealth. Albert Memmi points out that, “the privilege of the coloniser is always at the expense of the colonised, putting to the rest the notion of merit where there are the relations of domination” (1969, 8-9).
The key point of the process of colonialism was that the European colonialism involved a variety of techniques, patterns and tools to dominate the colonised country. All of them produced the economic imbalance that was necessary for the growth of European industry and capitalism. In the sixteenth century, when European powers began to occupy small parts of Indian coast line, like Portugal, the Netherlands and France ruled different regions in before the British East India Company was founded in 1756 in India. Some parts were ruled by British colonialist and the key cities were Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras. However some regions were left like Kashmir, whose ruler was loyal to British Empire. In the Year 1857, the big rebellion took place in the north region of India, which is known as ‘First war of Indian Independence’. But the rebellion failed and British colonialist continued to rule in India.
The foundation of Indian National Congress made a new way so that the rebellions moved in a new direction. British colonies were divided into two nations: The secular Indian Union and the smaller Muslim state of Pakistan. The non-violent movement against colonial rule, mainly initiated and organised by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, finally lead to independence in 1947.
During the late nineteenth century, when Indians were already in a full scale debate about their relationship with Great Britain, and at that time some countries were demanding independence for the first time. Nationalism swept through the Indian population, and despite their many differences in religion, education, and caste states, millions of Indians came to agree that Great Britain should ‘quit India’ and allow India self- rule. The British responded with minor concessions but mostly delaying tactics and armed repression. India became a member of the British Commonwealth after 1947.
The reasons for the broad upsurge of Anti- European sentiment included religious revivals of Hinduism in India, Buddhism in Burma, and Islam in South East Asia, all of which heightened people’s awareness of differences from the west. Second World War was the catalyst for the nations throughout the region in the late 1940s and 1950s. But events and leaders provided the foundation for the achievement of independence.
Colonialism can also be understood as: Former colonies have experienced three types of evolution in relation to their former mother countries. Michel Cahen in his “Anti Colonialism and Nationalism: Deconstructing Synonymy, investigating historical Processes” defines the three different and related types of the process of colonisation. “(1) Independence without decolonisation (2) decolonisation without Independence (3) Independence with decolonisation” (2012, 6).
Colonial discourse represent the language in which the coloniser express their superiority over colonised. The natives were not civilized, and European wants to educate them to make them educated and civilised. The one more reason behind this practice was that they want to use their talent and resources for their own purposes or interests and they also can use the people as slaves. The coloniser were at the centre ‘Self’ and colonised were at the margins ‘Other’. This is a practice, which also known as ‘Othering’.
M S Nagarajan in his English Literary Criticism and Theory also writes the working or dominating attitude of western countries. It defines,
“This attitude of raising the European culture as the ultimate standard by which to measure the other culture, is designated Eurocentrism which employs what is called the philosophy of ‘Universalism’. European ideas and experiences were universal, the standard to follow. Eurocentric discourse is seen even in the division of the world: First World refers to Britain, Europe and USA; Second World to the white population of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Southern Africa, and the former Soviet Russia; Third World, the developing Countries, such as India, and countries in Africa, central and South America, and Southeast Asia; Fourth World, the native populations subjugated by white settlers, and governed by the majority culture that surrounds them”. (2012, 186)
Colonialism is a set of unequal relationships between the metro pole and the colony and between the colonists and the indigenous population. Colonialism can also be understood as a product of imperialism and it has engendered diverse effects around the world. Colonialism and Imperialism are different systems. Colonialism is only one form of practice which results from the ideology of imperialism. Therefore there are certain prominent thinking/definitions of colonialism such as Ellacke Boehmer has defined, colonialism as the settlement of one dominant territory, over less powerful country and the exploitation or development of the resources they also attempts to govern the indigenous inhabitants of colonised land.
Pramod Kumar Nayar in his book Contemporary Literary and Cultural Theory: From Structuralism to Ecocriticism defines colonialism as a violent process. He writes, “colonialism as a violent conjugation where the sense of self develops through a negotiation rather than a separation, a relation rather than a disjunction, with the other” (2010, 157).
Contemporary Literary Theory gives a common understanding of the process of colonialism. It defines
“In a simple way colonialism is generally mis (taken) as a political process, perhaps, because of its etymological association with the world ‘colony’. Colonisation is a very much part of power dynamics operating in any human situation. It is a process by which a powerful country controls a less powerful country and uses their resources in order to further its own interests, wealth and power. Language and literature has been used by colonisers as a powerful tool in the process of colonisation, be it political or cultural” (2001, 90).
Colonialism deprived the natives of their identity and the time has come when they revolt against coloniser. The indigenous people were always presented as uncivilized ‘barbarians’, who had to subdue, or as childlike and native savages, who had to be ‘domesticated’ and educated. These racist stereotypes of colonial discourses can still be found in science, historical writing, mass media and literature.
In his “The Representation of the ‘National Self’: Novelistic Portrayal of a New Cultural Identity in Gora” Depankar Roy has written about colonialism. To quote:
“Colonized can never be completely freed from the cultural persuasions of the metropolitan West. The ‘West’ permeates all the liberal actions of colonial subjects, albeit in a varying degree. In this respect Gora’s call for the low-birth Lachmia in the ‘Epilogue’ of the novel is perhaps the most famous fictitious account of a gesture made by an enlightened nationalist to show his universalist liberal self. This is due to the bilingual intellectual’s inescapable cultural bind; his irreversible gaze towards the metropolitan West” (2010, 402).
Homi K. Bhabha in his famous essay “Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse” writes about colonialism, that persons like T.B. Macaulay wanted, a class of interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern- a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect, and also, to form a corps of translators and be employed in different departments of labour.
Frantz Fanon has also given a simple and common understanding of colonialism. Fanon is of the opinion that violence should be used to end oppression. He gives three slogans of colonialism: (1) The colonised welcomes coloniser (2) Properly understands to the coloniser (3) He asserts. There are some critics who write under the influence of colonial ideas such as; R. K. Narayan, Arundhati Roy, Chinua Achebe, and Vikram Seth etc. The major critics of post-colonial era are Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravarti Spivak, and Homi K. Bhabha etc.
Colonialism, imperialism, and mercantilism are linked with each other. Colonialism is a kind of loot. Colonialism is a wholesale destruction, dependency, and systematic exploitation, socio-psychological disorientation, producing distorted economics, massive poverty and neo-colonial dependency. According to Boehmer,
“The distinction between pre- capitalist colonialisms is often made by referring to the latter as imperialism. This is somewhat misleading, because imperialism, like colonialism, stretchers back to a pre- capitalist past” (1995, 3).
While describing imperialism R. Williams in Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society claims,
“Like ‘colonialism’, imperialism too is best understood not by trying to pin it down to a single semantic meaning but by relating its shifting meanings to historical processes” (1976, 131).
Like colonialism imperialism also draws back to a past associated with the pre-capitalism. And direct colonial rule is not necessary for imperialism in this sense, because the social and economic relations of dependency and control ensure both captive labours as well as markets for European industry as well as goods. The Oxford English Dictionary defines imperialism as, “imperial’ as ‘pertaining to Empire’, and ‘imperialism as rule of an emperor, especially when despotic’ or arbitrary; the principal or spirit of empire advocacy of what are held to be imperial interests” (quoted in Loomba, 10).
The early twentieth century is marked by a new definition of imperialism given by Lenin and Kautsky (among other writers). They gave a new meaning to the word ‘imperialism’ by linking it to a particular stage of development of capitalism. While defining the understanding of postcolonialism with imperialism Ania Loomba mentions:
“That these different understandings of colonialism and imperialism complicate the meanings of the term ‘postcolonial’, a term that is the subject of an on-going debate. It might seem that because the age of colonialism is over, and because the descendants of once-colonised peoples live everywhere, the world is postcolonial” (2005, 12).
English Literary Criticism and Theory represents colonialism in a new way which marks a distinction and relation between the process of colonialism and imperialism. The book defines,
“Colonialism cannot be treated as a matter of past. More subtle form of control emerges in what may be termed neo-colonialism, where the big powers hold the purse strings, and control the fate of the developing nations. Imperial domination shapes the way which we think of ourselves. Most of these critics, educated in abroad, have nothing in common with the poor exploited beings of the countries they talk about. Indian critics such as Aijaz Ahmad, raise their voice of protest against such an attitude of parasitic intellectual dependence. (Nagarajan, 190).
Since 1950, post-colonialism has increasingly become an object of scientific examination as western intellectuals begin to get interested in the “Third World Countries”. In the 1970’s, post-colonialism was integrated in various study courses at American Universities. Nowadays this topic is of great interest at European Universities as well. The term post-colonialism is the ramification of certain important terms in the colonial encounter of western and eastern countries right from the sixteenth century. These terms are political, cultural and textual encounter etc.
The term post- colonial reflects a different understanding of the process of colonialism. It largely defines the conflicts and relations between coloniser and colonised. There is resistance prevailing in the post-colonial literary scenario. As The Empire Writes Back argued that the,
“Term post-colonial might provide a different way of understanding colonial relations: no longer a simple binary opposition, black colonized vs. white colonizer; Third world vs. the west, but an engagement with all the varied manifestations of colonial power, including those in settler colonies. The attempt to define the post-colonial colonies. The attempt to define the post-colonial by putting barriers between those who may be called ‘post-colonial’ and the rest, contradicts the capacity of post-colonial theories to demonstrate the complexity of the operation of imperial discourse”(Ashcroft, 200).
The book also claims that post-colonial theory was a “creation of literary study” (199). As The Empire Writes Back further claims, “By the late 1970s the term had been used by a few literary critics to characterise the various cultural effects of colonisation, although it was still not in general currency with this specific cultural studies focus” (Ashcroft et al. 197). The theoretical and critical concept of post colonialism is it is against colonialism, but about colonialism and above colonialism. It is about that the coloniser does with colonised. The fountain head of the post-colonialism was in anticolonial resistance while the British were ruling. Robert J. C. Young also claims that the Postcolonialism is a philosophy and politics of activism, which contests disparity. And therefore the anti-colonial struggle continues in a new different way.
There are six major slogans of post-colonial discourse which become the chief characteristics of the age. These slogans of post colonialism are: (1) Resist (2) Revolt (3) Assert (4) Re-write (5) De-colonised (6) Black is beautiful (concept of negritude).
Post-Colonialism is an emancipatory concept which gave birth to new humanities. Postcolonialmnsm claims the right of all people on the earth of the same material and cultural well-being. Postcolonialism means anti-colonial struggle. It stands for the right of the native that is colonised. The critical questioning and rejection of this notion of universalism marks the beginning of post-colonial literature. Post-colonial studies must aim at ‘seeing’ the postcolonial era by shedding the ‘amnesia’ that set in during the colonial period. The list of former European colonies is a rather long one. There are so called settler countries such as Australia and Canada, and the non-settler countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, Senegal, and Nigeria. South Africa and Zimbabwe were partly settled by colonial populations.
Edward Said’s Orientalism enlarges the scope of the post-colonial approach by exposing the Eurocentric universalism, which establishes western superiority over the east. And it also identifies as the ‘’ Post- Colonialism is a theory about marginal, who were marginalised, exploited, excluded, Natives, Blacks, Eunuchs, Indians, Dalits, Prostitutes, women, nat-girls etc. While defining Orientalism E. Said says that Orientalism is the discourse of the West about the East, a huge body of texts-literary, historical, topographical, sociological and anthropological that has been accumulating since the renaissance. It is a style of the west to dominate, restructure and having the authority over the native/orient. Orientalism may be considered as the result of overbearing and arrogant attitude of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century European imperialism.
Postcolonialism is a kind of theoretical creole related to the identity. Brett Bowden in “History and Philosophy of Science and Technology - Colonialism, postcolonialism and the idea of progress (2012)” describes the ways of progress, which plays important role in the development of colonial movements;
“The idea of progress and theories of evolution more generally have played a significant role in attempts to justify the colonisation of one people by another. Ideas about, progress, development and modernity have subsequently also played a prominent role as driver of anti-colonial movements” (http://www.eolss.net/Sample-Chapters/C05/E6-89-37.pdf).
The post-colonial direction was created as colonial countries became independent. As a result, though formal colonialism is mostly had gone from the world, anti-colonial thinkers and revolutionaries remain heroes and inspirations to many attempting to comfort today’s interventions. Gabriel Mares in “Anti-Colonial Revisions: Identity, Political Community, and Exclusion” writes,
“While figures like Frantz Fanon and M. K. Gandhi remain persons of considerable interests in the academic world it is, though, useful to think of anti-colonial theorists outside of their historical contexts- as somehow relevant today” (ptw.uchicago.edu/Mares11.pdf).
David Scott in “Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment” notes about the postcolonial theorists. He writes, “Postcolonial theorists have criticised their predecessors, the anti-colonial nationalists, for their essentialism, generally rejecting many of them as simply wrong” (2004, 2).
But Scott contents that these thinkers confuse the issue by assuming that the anti-colonialists were interested in the same questions post- colonialists were. While David Scott’s further state that “the motivation for shifting emplotment primarily in the broadly changed political structure” (Scott. 3).
The colonised nation embraces a set of religious beliefs incongruent and incompatible with those of the coloniser, and consequently, it is God’s given duty of coloniser to bring those stray people to the right path. The colonised people pose dangerous threat to themselves and to the civilised world it left alone; and thus it is in the interest of the civilized world to bring those people under control. As a result of this the white Europeans ventured adventurously into the so called under developed countries in in Africa and Asia and dominated a lot of geographical spaces there. The coloniser erodes the natives, cultures and languages, plundered the natives wealth and established there orders based on settlers; supremacy oppression is the basic ingredient of colonialism.
According to Ania Loomba,
“From the beginning of the colonial period till it end (and beyond), female bodies symbolise the conquest land. This metaphoric use of the female body varies in accordance with the exigencies and histories of particular colonial situation” (2005, 129).
The status of women as colonised subject has remained a significant issue. The figure of Sati is seen both as an example of Oriental barbarism and an awesome sign of wifely devotion, worthy of emulation by English women. In 1966, Richard Head has written,
“Could wish for the like custom (Sati) enjoined on all married English females (for the love I bear to my own country) which I am confident would prevent the destruction of thousands of well-meaning Christians, which receive a full stop in the full career of their lives, either by corrupting their bodies by venomous medicaments administered by some pretended Doctors hand (it may be here Stallion) unto which he is easily persuaded, by the good opinion he hath of his wives great care and affection for him: or else his body is poisoned by stucking or drawing contagious fumes which proceed from her contaminated body, occasion’s by using pluralities for her venereal satisfaction, and so dies of the new consumption” (Quoted in Loomba, 133).
When we talk about post-colonial India, we have to go through the historical aspects of post-colonialism in India when it was started. After the partition, India has become an independent republic with its own constitution in 1950. But apart from great progress in every field India is still facing many sets of problems like poverty, corruption, overpopulation, environment pollution, tension between Hindu and Muslims due to ethnic and religious conflict etc. Concerning literature in the post-colonial era Edward Said in his book ‘Orientalism’ is regarded as the beginning of post-colonial studies. The book was published in 1978.
Saadat Hasan Monto (1912-1955) is a post-colonial script-writer who wrote about the Indo-Pak conflict. He said that he was forced to leave Bombay and to live in Lahore. Monto published a collection of stories and sketches named “Mottled Dawn”. The collection deals with the dark age of Indian history and its great social consequences and untouchable stories. In the post-colonial era there are a number of novels and essays which deals with the ambiguous relationships between these two nations.
Salman Rushdie’s Midnight Children and Ruth Prawer Jhavala’s Head and Dust etc. have written under the influence of post-colonial discourse. In the recent years, Indian Cinema has become a great medium of representation of post-colonial issues as themes in the movies. Yash chopra has taken one of the issues dealing with changeful past of their country. The movie was Veer-Zaara, featuring Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta, based upon the theme of love between a Pakistani girl and Indian boy. Their love crosses the boundaries of two countries, two different religions and social classes. Postcolonialism is not merely a delineation of the effects of colonialism but it has given birth to the new ideas and new humanities. Hence Meenakshi Mukherjee rightly points out,
“Postcolonialism is not merely a chronological label referring to the period after the collapse of empires. It is ideology, an emancipatory concept particularly for the students of literature outside western world” because it makes us interrogate many concepts of the study of literature that we were made to take for granted, enabling us not only to read our own texts in our own terms, but also to re-interpret some of the old canonical texts from Europe from the perspective of our specific historical and geographical location” (quoted in Sawant. 2012.120-121).
Gayatri Chakravarti Spivak is one of the famous critics of postcolonialism who uses the term ‘subaltern’ (Which means of lower class people) for the colonised, blacks, women, and the working class. She is concerned with gendered Subaltern as a woman is forced to live in a system of prostitution, bonded labour, or eve in the family, in the era of globalisation, liberalisation, and privatization. Gayatri C. Spivak and Homi Bhabha represent the first phase of post-colonialism. In the words of the Charles E. Bressler Postcolonial theory may also be defined as an “approach to literary analysis that concerns itself particularly with literature written in English is formerly colonised countries” (1999, 265). Postcolonial theory applied to writer who are colonial and who are postcolonial. It normally includes the representation of foreign countries view- points such as Africa, South America, Australia, and New Zealand etc. It is also known as the literature of those territories or societies that were once dominated by European cultural, political, philosophical, traditions.
Postcolonialism is a theory which can- not be easily accepted neither rejected. As in the words of Makrand Papanjape,
“The best way to begin interrogating postcolonism is not by pretending that we are the masters of our own academic destinies but by admitting, how colonized we still are. What is more, we cannot continue to blame only the West for our sorry state of subjection; we must blame ourselves. The dignity of the brown-skinned scholarship depends more than even before on how we view ourselves, rather than how others view us” (1996, 43).
Post colonialism gives confidence to a writer to create wonderful literature. Post colonialism is very much related to social justice. Like Frantz Fanon, Mahatma Gandhi also represents a style of total resistance to the political and cultural offences of the colonial civilizing mission. Third world literature or post-colonial literature follows the transition of three phases termed as ‘adopt’, ‘adept’ and ‘adopt’ (as used by Helen Tiffin and others).In the first phase ‘adopt’ the European models were imitated. The second stage begins when the European form is modified to suit indigenous requirements. The phase three is begins when new literature breaks away from all the previous conventions and norms, and makes anew path by creating new literature that is one’s own. Salman Rushdie in his book ‘writing back to the centre’ describes this phenomenon. Helen Tiffin suggests,
“A re-reading, re-writing of historical and fictional record. She suggests the use of ‘colonial counter discourse’ in which a post-colonial writer takes up a character or characters or the basic assumptions of a British canonical text, and unveils its assumptions, subverting the text for post-colonial purpose. Jane Eyre, Robinson Crusoe, and The tempest are studied through this method” (Quoted in Nagarajan, 191).
This example from Shakespeare’s The Tempest very well defined the post -colonial attitude,
The Island’s mine, by Sycorax, my mother
Which thou tak’st from me. When thou com’st first
Thou strok’st me, and made much of me; wouldst give me
Water with berries isn’t; and teaches me how
To name the bigger light, and how the less,
That burn by day and night: and then I lov’d thee,
The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile:
Curs’d be I that did so! All the charms
Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you!
For I am all the subjects that you have,
Which first was mine own king: and here you sty me
In this hard rock, whiles you keep from me
The rest o’th’island. (Quoted in Loomba, 184)
The discussion of postcolonialism cannot be done without mention of some specific basic issues which becomes a huge matter of discussion in the post-independence Indian English Scenario. Such as M. S. Nagarajan defines, “the conception and representation of the empire, nationalisation and globalisation, its relation with postmodernism and feminism, the play and place of language, material practices, and control of production” (Nagarajan. 191).
Actually colonialism is a process done by one people to another certainly by dominant one upon weaker one. As Brett Bowden in his article “Colonialism, Anti-Colonialism and the Idea of Progress” defines
“The idea of progress and theories of human evolution more generally have played a significant role in attempt to justify the colonisation of the one people by another. Ideas about progress, development and modernity have subsequently also played a prominent role as driver of anti-colonial movement”.
As a result of present global migration and multiculturalism, there are many interactions between people from different ethnic backgrounds. However, the old stereotypes still exist. Aijaz Ahmad is one critic dissatisfied with history made by others or in this case with models of history constructed on others’ terms, and for him one of those problematic terms is post-colonialism,
“It is worth remarking, though, that in per idealising our history in the triadic terms of pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial, the conceptual apparatus of post-colonial criticism privileges as primary the role of colonialism as the structuration in that history, so that all that came before colonialism becomes its own prehistory and whatever comes after can only be lived as infinite aftermath” (1992, 6-7).
According to The Empire Writes Back:
“Post-Colonial analysis of globalization is extremely interested in ways in which the global is transformed at the local level –what Robertson calls ‘Globalization’. But it is also inevitably interested in this global circulation itself. Perhaps the ultimate and unavoidable future of post-colonial studies is its relation to globalization. We cannot understand globalization without understanding the structure of the sort of power relations which flourish in the twenty first century as an economic, cultural and political legacy of western imperialism” (Ashcroft, et al.216-218) .
Actually the fact is that the post-colonial studies provide clear understanding for local communities that how can they achieve agency under such process. The various theories of globalisation are moving, from the last half century, from expressions of the process as neo-imperialism or cultural imperialism to analyses of the diffusion, hybridization, interrelationship of global societies, and relativization, the compression of the world and the consciousness of the world as a whole.
Contemporary Literary and Cultural Theory: From Structuralism to Ecocriticism further defines the attitude and elements of post- colonial theory. “Post-colonial theory is a method of interpreting, reading and critiquing the cultural practices of colonialism, where it proposes that the exercise of colonial power is also the exercise of racially determined powers of representation” (Nayar, 154).
There are certain genealogies which work as a base for contemporary postcolonial studies. According to Elleke Boehmer the three main historical and cultural genealogies of contemporary post-colonial practice are:
(1) Shaping force of anti-colonial and non-western national liberation struggles championed by both radical and reformist nationalists and by Marxist revolutionaries (the two did not always coincide). Often associated with this tradition is the definitive work of Frantz Fanon, the Martigle for independence.
(2) There is the deconstructive or interrogative impact of, in particular, French post-structualist thinking (of J. Derrida, M. Foucault, and J. Lacan) which have shaped the influential post-colonial theories of critics like; Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, Stuart Hall, Ania Loomba, Gyan Prakash, Leela Gandhi and others.
(3) Thirdly, a strand which is regarded as possibly less dominant nowadays, yet continues to be subtly important, is the influence of form-giving concepts derived from so-called post-colonial or third world literature since the 1950s, and of the critical frameworks initially designated ‘commonwealth’ through which they have been read. In what follows these different strands will be examined in this order. (1995, 342-343.)
Nowadays aspects of post- colonialism can be found not only in history but also in culture, politics, identity and literature of both the countries that were colonised and former colonial powers. And it also deals with cultural identity matters of colonised societies and the dilemmas of developing a national identity after colonial rule.
Post-colonial era get great influence from these sources such as Homi K. Bhabha’s Nation and Narration (1980),Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978), Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth (1961), Helen Tiffin and Bill Ashcroft’s The Empire Writes Back (1989).
There are three major key concepts of three thinkers of post-colonialism, whose ideas are highly influenced with the postcolonial thoughts:
(1) Edward Said talks about ‘Orientalism’ .Said did not talk about marginals. On the other hand post-colonialism is a theory of marginalisation. He discusses about ‘Othering’, how west constructed immigration. He started a debate in which marginal can also accommodate. Said borrowed his idea from the concept of Micheal Foulcolt.
(2) Gayatri Chakravarti Spivak raises the question of “Subalternity”. Spivak claims that Subaltern cannot speak they ‘are spoken far’, for example in 1935 Mulk Raj Anand talks of for Bakha in Untouchable. Spivak has taken her concept from Jacques Derrida’s concept of Virginality.
(3) Homi K. Bhabha has given the theory of “Ambivalence” (love- hate relationship). Bhabha said that the coloniser gave colonised the ‘arsenal of complexes’ (complexes has something to do with psychoanalysis). He borrowed his concept from Jacques Lacan’s concept of psychoanalysis. Bhabha’s terms mimicry, ambivalence, liminality, and hybridity and ‘the other’ have revolutionised postcolonial discourse.
The postcolonial studies are dabbled with the themes advanced by postcolonial critics, in their works, readings and interpretations. Terms like disintegration of natives, colonial oppression, colonial encounter, mimicry, the journey of European with native guides, cultural identity, migration/exile, resistence, and alienation, becomes very interesting and burning issues in post-independence Indian English scenario. Ambivalence and Hybridity are the most controversial issues of the post-colonial studies. These concepts are at the centre of the post-colonial criticism which largely defines the definitions of resistance and resistance literature.
The Empire Writes Back argues about Bhabha’s theory of ambivalence and it also focuses attention upon the importance of racism in the post-colonial literature. To quote:
“Theorized extensively by Bhabha and demonstrated lavishly in the work of internationally feted writers such as Salman Rushdie, ambivalence and hybridity have sparked a continuous argument amongst critics because of their apparent failure to take into account the material status of the operation of power. Race continues to be relevant to post-colonial theory for two reasons: first, because it is so central to the growing power of imperial discourse during the nineteenth century, and second, because it remains a central and unavoidable ‘fact’ of modern society that race is used as the dominant category of daily discrimination and prejudice”( Ashcroft et al, 206-207).
The term racism is derived from colonial period which affected the life of orients in many aspects. Hence Ania Loomba further defines the issue of racism and its impact while describing about Jane Eyre, one of the finest novel by Charlotte Bronte. It is a story of a young orphan who sent away from her house and family as she was a burden for their rich relatives. She chooses to go to a boarding house besides to her poorer relations, she said that, “I was not heroic enough to purchase liberty at the price of caste” (2005. 107). Caste and Class are interrelated terms. As Loomba defines,
“Concept that became familiar in England from colonial experiences in India, and it marked a social, economic, and religious hierarchy overlaid with connotations of purity and pollution, similar to those that shape the idea of race” (2005, 107).
Hence, it may be said that postcolonialism is a literature written by colonised people under colonial influences, or literature written by the white oppressors. The colonised people delineated their ways in which they negotiated their identities in context to colonial domination. The white colonisers wrote their ways in which stereotype was constructed. There are some major themes or discussions concerning the post-colonial era like ethnicity, diversity, multiculturalism, hybridity, heterogeneity and difference etc., which played an important role in the discussion and delineation of postcolonial literature.
There are three main types of linguistic groups within post-colonial discourse: monoglossic, diglossic and polyglossic. Monoglossic groups are those single- language societies who use English as a native tongue, and they correspond generally to settled colonies, although, despite the term they are by no means uniform or standard in speech. Diglossic societies refer to those people who speak two or more languages, for example, the South Pacific, in India and Africa, for the indigenous populations of settled colonies. The polyglossic or poly-dialectic communities mainly found in the Caribbean, and they speak multiple languages.
The resulting versatility of English has often been regarded as an inherent quality of English itself. In The Swan and the Eagle C.D. Narasimahaiah claims that the variability of the contributing sources of English make it deal for the complexity of the Indian culture. To quote:
“That is not the language of any region is precisely its strength, and its extraordinarily cosmopolitan characteristics of Celtic imaginativeness, the Scottish vigour, the Saxon concreteness, the Welsh music and the American brazenness-suits the intellectual temper of modern India and a composite culture like ours, English is not a pure language but a fascinating combination of tongues welded into a fresh unity” (Narasimahaiah, 8).
Post-colonial concept becomes a more than a part of literature which fascinated the eastern countries in the twentieth century. However while commenting about rethinking of the concept of post colonialism The Empire Writes Back claims,
“During the last decade of 20th century the term ‘post-colonial’ has experienced one of the steepest trajectories of any theoretical concept. More than any concept, the post-colonial has facilitated the gradual disturbance of the Eurocentric dominance of academic debate, and has empowered post-colonial intellectuals to redirect discussion towards issues of direct political relevance to the non-western world” (Ashcroft et al, 219).
The developing age of the colonial discourse theory in the works of Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak and Edward Said have given a more theoretical stringent and conceptually original intervention into the debate on these issues like identity, race, ethnicity, hybridity, multiculturalism and colonial encounters etc. Hence Selmon claims; “post-colonialism’ has come to embrace a dizzying array of critical practices” (1994, 16-17). Therefore much different post-colonialism, with different and sometimes contesting interests, have featured themselves as postcolonial studies.
Earlier novels of colonial period were projected India’s heritage, tradition, cultural past and moral values, but a remarkable change can be noticed in the novels published after First World War, which is called, modernism or colonial. The novels written in the late 20th century, especially after Second World War, are considered as post-modern/post-colonial novels. Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Sashi Tharoor, Upamanyu chatterjee and Amitav Ghosh etc. are the makers of new patterns in writing novels with post-modern thoughts and emotions. Tabish Khair is also a writer of this tradition. Khair is an excellent example of expatriate writing of post-colonial discourse. As he is presently residing in Denmark but still writing about India (his native land). Therefore his writing comes under the category of Anti-Colonial Discourse in which the author portrays his own lived experiences. Khair’s migration gives him a new identity and he becomes one of the most notable diasporic writers of post-independence Indian English literature.
Postcolonial literature is preoccupied with certain issues such as mobility, hybridity, creaolisation, Cultural belongingness, nostalgia, dislocation, displacement in-betweenness, diaspora literature and liminality etc., Arun P. Mukherjee in his Post-Colonialism: Some Uneasy Conjunctures has commented about the Indian literature with reference to postcolonial literature. Highlighting the same he mentioned:
“Indian literatures, I believe, are too multifarious and too heterogenous to be containable in the net of a single theory. Anyway, the questions Indian readers must ask Indian literary texts particularly in the context of struggle against fundamentalism, casteism and patriarchy cannot be answered within the framing grid provided by postcolonial theory where readers are instructed solely how to decode the subtle ironies and parodies directed against the departed colonizer. I think I need another theory” (1996, 20).
To sum up, the postcolonial literature deals with ambiguity, cultural contradiction and sometimes, ambivalence. It renounces the anti-colonial nationalist theory and implies a movement beyond a specific point in history. This is certainly known as the process of colonialism. Therefore postcolonial theory is multicultural in approach, transnational in dimension, and it is a movement beyond the binary opposition of the power relations between the coloniser and the colonised or between centre and periphery. Diaspora literature is an emerging area of post-colonial literature. The writings of Tabish Khair come under the literature of diasporic writings.
A generation of exiled or migrated sprang from Indian Diaspora like Sujatha Bhatt, Agha Shahid Ali, Vikram Seth and the present generation of Indian poetsor writers writing in English like Tabish Khair, Monza Alvi, Arundathi Subramaniam, Imtiaz Dharkar, Anjum Hassan, Ranjit Hoskote, Vijay Nambisan, C. P. Surendaran, H. Masud Taj, Rukmani Bhaya Nair, Reetika Vazirani Smitha Agarwal Vivek Narayan, Gavin Baretta, Jerry Pinto, Anand Thakore, Meena Alexander, and Mary Anne Mohanraj, have expressed their feelings by narrating the priority of issues related to immigrant sensibility.
Chetna Pokhriyal in her paper entitled “The theme of Alienation and Assimilation in the novels of Bharti Mukherjee: A Socio-literary Perspective” describes the importance and difference between the home of origin and home of adoption in the life of a diaspora. She writes,
“The words like ‘Diaspora’ and ‘Expatriate’ need no introduction in postcolonial literary world. Indian Diaspora, today has emerged with the multiplicity of histories, variety of culture, tradition and a deep instinct for survival; Indian Diaspora, though counting more than 20 million members world-wide, survives in between ‘home of origin’ and ‘world of adoption’. The process of survival of the diasporic individual/ community in between the ‘home of origin’ and ‘World of adoption’ in the voyage undertaken in the whole process from ‘alienation’ to final ‘assimilation’” (2009, 1).
Basically Diaspora literature involves an idea of homeland, a place from where the displacement occurs and narratives of harsh journeys undertaken on account of economic compulsions. Actually it is a minority community living in exile. The diasporic writings, being born and bred out of an overpowering sense of isolation and alienation, usually carry with them an imprint of immigration and expatriation.
It has been considered that the words like ‘exile’, ‘immigrant’ and ‘refugee’ are commonly used to describe the diaspora. Oxford English dictionary defines ‘diaspora’ as, “anybody of people living outside their traditional homelands” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shorter_Oxford_English_Dictionary).
Diaspora may be considered of two types: One is people migrating to another country in exile home; another one is living peacefully immaterially but loosing home, both of diaspora literature. Tabish Khair is one of the young, famous and enthusiastic writers of this tradition. He was born in Gaya, Bihar (India) into a Muslim family, later he migrated to Denmark. Salman Rushdie in his book Imaginary Homelands raises the existential question: “What does it mean to be an Indian’ outside India? And adds, ‘to forget that there is a world beyond the community to which we belong, to confine ourselves within a narrowly defined cultural frontier would be to go voluntarily into that form of internal exile which in South Africa is called the ‘Homeland’ ” (1971, 15-17).
Diaspora theory applies a theoretical framework based on trauma, spectres, mourning, identity, travel, translation literature, and recognition. This literature uses the term ‘migrant identity’ to refer to any ethnic enclave in a nation-state that defines itself. Consciously or unconsciously it is a group in displaced peoples. Diaspora literature involves the works of key writers settled in different places of various countries such as Canada, Denmark, America and the UK. Writers like Salman Rushdie, V.S. Naipaul, Balachandra Rajan, M.G. Vassanji, Jhumpa Lahiri, Gautam Malkani, Bharti Mukherjee, Shiva Naipaul, Tabish Khair and Shauna Singh Baldwin exemplified the respective traumas of Indian Diasporas and the diasporic imaginary.
The home becomes a symbol of identity for a migrant/ exiled person. Therefore the Diaspora theorists such as Avtar Brah (1997) and Robin Cohen (2001) propose that “the idea of ‘home’is a mythic one, a place of desire and longing that sits oddly with the present, chosen location of the immigrant. ‘Home’ is a mythic place of desire in the diasporic immigrant. In this sense it is a place is a no-return, even if it is possible to visit the geographical territory that is seen as the place of origin” (1997, 192).
The diasporic writing does not merely seem at the first to be the postcolonial literature until we examine the impact of colonialism upon this particular study. The radical displacement of people through slavery, indenture and settlement is because of the deep consequences of imperialism. And the dispersal of prominent numbers of people in all over the world can be seen to be a consequence of the disparity of wealth between the whites and the orients. This phenomenon extends by the economic imperatives of imperialism which rapidly opens a gap between the coloniser and the colonised. The refugee movement has often re-ignited racism and Orientalism in many communities of the globe.
Diaspora does not merely refer to the geographical dispersal but it also raises the controversial questions of identity, memory, nostalgia and home/homeland. The Empire Writes Back suggest
“The crucial concern of diasporic identity is not subjectivity but subject position, and then the diasporic writer provides the prospect of fluidity of identity, a constantly changing subject position, both geographically and ontologically. More importantly perhaps, diasporic writing, in its crossing of borders, opens up the horizon of place. Since diaspora is also often the pre-condition for a particular class of ex- colonized people and often involves access to greater educational and economic opportunities, ‘class’ becomes an important issue in diaspora studies”(Ashcroft et al, 218-219).
Normally people migrated to abroad for some better educational or economic opportunities; therefore diaspora community became a symbol of ‘class’. And the class becomes an important issue in diaspora literature.
William Safran, in his short article “Diasporas in Modern Societies: Myths of Homeland and Return” has established a classical theory which describes some common characteristics share by the members of the expatriate minority community. Such as
(1) They or their ancestor have been dispersed from a special original ‘centre’ or two or more ‘peripheral’ of foreign regions;
(2) They retain a collective memory, vision or myth about their original homeland-its physical location, history and achievements;
(3) They believe they are not- and perhaps cannot be fully accepted by their lost society and therefore feel partly aliened and insulted from it;
(4) They regard their ancestral homeland as their, true, ideal home and as the place to which they or their descends would (or should) eventually return- when conditions are appropriate;
(5) They believe they should collectively, be committed to the maintenance or restoration of their homeland and it’s safely and prosperity; and
(6) They continue to relate, personally and vicariously, to that homeland in one way or another, and their ethno- communal consciousness and solidarity are importantly defined by the existence of such a relationship (1991, 83-84).
Diaspora survives apart from his root nation for some better opportunities in life but they have to strive for their identity yet they regard their native homeland. They suffer from nostalgia toward their home and homeland and they return to their homeland through the narration of their memories and experiences.
Some of the critics classified Diaspora as of six types: (1) Trade Diaspora (2) Labour Diaspora (3) Victim Diaspora (4) Homeland Diaspora (5) Imperial Diaspora (6) Cultural Diaspora. But there are some common features found in all types of diaspora like: they live outside their native homelands, and they recognise that their native homelands are reflected in their languages they speak, in their religion which they adopt, and the culture they produce. All these types of Diasporas due to a particular cause of migration usually associated with particular groups of people. Actually the Indian Diaspora is one of the most important and fascinating demographic dislocation of recent times.
But Indian Diaspora can also be classified into two prominent groups: (1) Forced migration (2) Voluntary migration. Forced migration is mainly related to Africa, Caribbean and Fiji on account of indentured labour or slavery in the 18th or 19th century. And Voluntary migration to U.K., Germany, U.S.A., France and other European countries for the sake of academic and professional purposes. In many western societies, immigrant minorities are still regarded as less civilized and less capable than the white “native” population. This practice of regarding Western culture as more valuable than other cultures is called ‘Eurocentricism’. Tabish Khair is one of the Indian Diaspora writer come under the category of Voluntary migration. He migrated to Denmark for the better opportunities in education, later he setteled in there for the betterment in his carrier.
Elleke Boehmer in her book Colonial and Postcolonial Literature: Migrant Metaphor describes,
“the immigrant and diasporic people/authors thus: ‘ex-colonial by birth,” Third World” in cultural interest, cosmopolitan in almost every other way’, these writers work within the precincts of the western metropolis while at the same time retaining thematic and/ or political connections with a national background”(1995, 233).
Tabish Khair is residing in Denmark but still writing about his native land. Therefore we find certain specific elements of Anti-Colonial Discourse in his famous works. His Babu Fictions deals with the issues like alienation and class division, his novel The Bus Stopped deals with the regionalism and diasporic dynamism, The Thing About Thugs deals with racism, east-west encounter and self, His critical book The Gothic, Postcolonialism and Otherness: Ghosts from Elsewhere focuses upon the colonial and racial otherness and last but not the least his Poetic collection Where Parallel Lines Meet highlights the quest for identity and cultural roots.
Basically anti-coloniality refers to highlight and focus attention on the regional spirit and cultural hybridity. There is a long list of writers who has written on the issues related to the concept of anti-colonial discourse such as like Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Bharti Mukherjee, Raja Rao, V. S. Naipaul, R. K. Narayan, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth, Sashi Throor and Tabish Khair. Khair is also a predecessor of this tradition. Many writers deal with anti- coloniality while highlights the regional spirit of their native place. Tabish Khair in his novels highlights the regional spirit of Bihar, as he was born in Bihar (Gaya). Khair in his critical book Babu Fictions: Alienation in the Contemporary Indian English Novels has written about these writers. Actually we cannot separate post-colonialism in our insistence from anti-colonialism when we visit anti- colonialism as a counter discourse. There has always a fusion/borrowing of ideas/elements between the both. The anti-colonial struggle in India was of a very different nature from that in the other colonised nations.
Abdelkader Nebbou in his article “The Colonial Discourses verses Anti-Colonial Discourses in West African Post-colonial Literature” defined anti-colonial discourse as;
“As opposed to ‘colonial discourse’ which aimed at hiding the Europeans’ intention in their colonies reflecting the effect of that event on their societies. In their struggle against colonialism the work of the postcolonial writers involved the ‘claiming back’ of their own history. They stressed on the vital importance of the culture and representation of their past as being central and necessary in nation building in the independent, postcolonial era” (2013, 2).
Actually anti-colonial discourse is a politics of action; it also may regard as a way or method of understanding the lived experiences of own. It is an alternative body of knowledge, overflows with local knowledge. The thinking of anti-coloniality is different from imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism, but there is also a different relation in between these. Hence George J. Sefa Dei rightly points out in context to the above statement. To Quote:
“The structure of anti-colonial theory is based upon the mechanics and operations of colonial and re-colonial relations and the implications of imperial projects on some basic and important issues such as the pursuit of agency, the understanding of Indignity subjective politics, and local Indigenousness and process of knowledge production, and resistance” (2012, 73-76).
Anti-Colonial theory moves around certain prominent figures like Mohandas K. Gandhi, Frantz Fanon, Rora Parks, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mao-Tse-Tung, Sojourner, Claudia Jones, Albert Memmi, Kwame Nkrumah, Che Guevara, Clara Fraser, Leopold Senghor, Henry Syvester, Marcus Garvey, George Padmore, Amilcar Cabral, Amilcar Cabral, W. E. B. Du Bois, Angela Davies and Stokely Carichael etc. The anti-colonial movements proposed the political and cultural reforms in such countries such as Kenya, Algeria, India, Egypt, Ghana, and in the Caribbean.
In the recent years, fanon has been treated (often to the exclusion of other important figures) as the most important anti-colonial writer- activist; he has become, in the words of his comrade and critic Albert Memmi, “a prophet of the third world, a romantic hero of colonisation”( Quoted in Loomba, 123).
There are certain features which are commonly shared by the writers of Anti-Colonial Discourse especially in the diasporic context. Marlon Simmons and George J. Sefa Dei in “Reframing Anti-Colonial Theory for The Diasporic Context” have given the certain central principles of Anti-Colonial theory as follows:
The structure of anti-colonial theory is based upon the mechanics and operations of colonial and re-colonial relations and the implications of imperial projects on some basic and important issues such as the pursuit of agency, the understanding of Indignity subjective politics, and local indigenousness and process of knowledge production, and resistance.
The term ‘Colonial’ is often understood in the sense of not simply foreign or alien but more profoundly it is affiliated to the ‘imposed and domination.
The rethinking of the notion of colonial helps to bring an expanded understanding to colonial relations and oppressions, moving and shifting the focus of knowledge on the variegated forms of territorial imperialism, or of state/cultural control of resources (including subjects) to other direct and indirect mechanisms and processes. The thinking is that colonialism as read as imposition and domination never ended with the return of political sovereignty to colonised peoples or nation states. Indeed today colonialism and re-colonizing projects manifest themselves in variegated ways which knowledge get produced and revived validation, and the particular experiences of students that get counted as (in) valid, and the identities that receive recognition and response from school authorities.
The framework of anti-colonial theory always reflects a notion that there must be some challenge and resistance against colonial paradigm. And it exposes the nature and extent of social domination. Because these dominating powers work together to make a dominant subordinate connection.
The place of the dominant or colonizer is very specific in the anti-colonial struggle. To make changes in their condition the dominant must be prepared to invoke and on their complicities and responsibilities through a politics of accountability. Dominant bodies must work primarily against the oppression by which they are privileged and in which they participate. For the process of domination it is necessary to work with the power of “colonial privilege” should be an important entry point to theorize anti-colonial politics.
Working with the anti-colonial framework means engaging such concepts as colonialism, oppression, colonial encounter, decolonisation, power, agency and resistance, as well as claiming the authenticity of local voice and intellectual agency of peoples.
An integrated and intersectional analysis of colonialism, imperialism and decolonization offers a deeper understanding of anti-colonialism.in challenging all relations of domination it is understood that the procedures and mechanisms for the everyday operations of these relations may differ.
Anti-colonial theory also recognizes the central place of spirituality and the spiritual knowing-embodiment of knowledge.
The saliency indignity (as identity) and the indigene (in terms of the authenticity of voice). That is, anti-colonial is an epistemology of the colonized, anchored in the indigenous sense collective and common colonial consciousness. In other words, anti-colonial framework is primarily an epistemology of the oppressed. It is theory that emerges from the “ground-up” in terms of local peoples understanding their experiences in the context of colonialism, colonial and re-colonial relations and other associated oppressions.
As a theory, articulating the connections between colonialism, oppression, and change, anti-colonialism posits a ‘literary of resistance’ to bring about social change.
It is also significant to bring a Trans- historical analysis to the understanding of colonial privilege. The trans-historical analysis challenges and subverts the implication of the ‘post’ in post-colonialism (as an aftermath) and asserts that the colonial encounter is trans historical rather than historical, in that it persist across time in the colonizing of nations and peoples (2012, 73-76).
Marlon Simmons and George J. Sefa Dei further write about anti-coloniality,
“The challenge for anti-colonial framework is with extricating these deeply embedded reservoirs of knowledge as embodied historically through a particular time and space by the colonial engendered body. In this discussion we posit an integrative anti-colonial discursive framework to help with rupturing the augured historic specific tropes of colonialism. This notion borrows from revises both anti-colonial and anti-racist theories and practices (2012, 71).
This theory articulates that how these diasporic writers frame the elements of Anti-Colonial Discourse in their writings. Such as Tabish Khair in his writings portray his own lived experiences related to his root nation and he also tries to assimilate the cultural conflicts of his root nation and adopted nation.
The anti-colonial struggle in India was of a very different nature from that in the other colonised nations. We believe that there is something that must be lost in reclaiming past powerful notions regarding particularly the marginalised understandings of their identities for the present. Thus we revive Anti-Colonial Discourse, building an early anti-colonial thinking and practice. The anti-colonial education produces the historical and present knowledge about difference which raises the questions of identity, social justice, and politics of representation, political action, cultural roots, nostalgia, racism and identifications.
The research work has also analysed anti-coloniality, in the chapters of the thesis, the above mentioned elements of Anti-Colonial discourse in the works of the diasporic writer Tabish Khair. The thesis has specifically focused upon the very emerging and prominent feature of anti-colonial discourse which is “the authenticity of local voice or the portrayal of own lived experiences”. Marlon Simmons and George J. Sefa Dei in their “Reframing anti-colonial theory for the Diasporic context” mark upon this above mentioned specific feature of anti-colonial discourse. They claims,
“Working with the anti-colonial framework means engaging such concepts as colonialism, oppression, colonial encounter, decolonisation, power, agency and resistance, as well as claiming the authenticity of local voice or the portrayal of own lived experiences and intellectual agency of peoples”(2012, 73-76).
Tabish Khair exposes the racist attitude of British mind-set. His novel The Thing AboutThugs is the best example of racism and self. In this novel he argues that the gap between colonization and civilization is very wide. He argues and interrogates the dominant colonial Paradigm and he levels and balances the charge of barbarian against the colonizer and the definers. Khair’s each work deals with different and specific issues. The elements like East-West Encounter, Alienation, Cultural hybridity, Regional spirit, Nostalgia, Racism, Self and Class Division etc. certainly find in his writing.
Khair has inspired with the certain contemporary Indian English writers such as, R.K. Narayan, Raja Rao, Anita Desai, Salman Rushdie, V. S. Naipaul, Sashi Tharoor, and Amitav Ghosh, etc. He discusses in his book Babu Fictions: Alienation in the Contemporary Indian English Novels, about the writing skills, areas of interest, and the themes /issues of these writers. Khair is the predecessor of this tradition.
He is a writer who belongs to India, presently settled in Denmark. The separation from his native village Gaya (Bihar) and memories related to his spent days in their root nation reflect in his writings. He highlights the regional sprit of Bihar and cultural hybridity. Many of his writings deal with this prospect of Anti-Colonial Discourse.
Tabish Khair is an Indian English author. He was born in 1966 in a small town Gaya, Bihar (India). Gaya is a historically significant town of India. He belongs to a middle class Muslim family. His father was a doctor and his mother had a college degree in political science.
Khair was born into a minority community; as Muslims are the biggest religious minority in India. Therefore it may be said that it is a blessing and curses both for the members of the community. Khair himself acclaimed in an article “A Blessing for My Children”,
“Within the community of Indian Muslims, my family again belonged to a large minority: that of middle class professional Muslims. When you are born into a minority that is a minority within a minority, you learn to belong in different ways. ‘I grew up as Indian and as a Muslim ’.I grew up speaking three languages and two scripts. I was told or I read stories and poems from west (especially Russian and British) as well as East (especially Hindi/Urdu). I was bought up on a concept of civilization and modernity that was not spelled E-U-R-O-P-E or W-E-S-T, for while my family member spoke English, while they had imbibed western education, they often also had a sense of other sources of rational thinking and possible maternities. It is this that often makes me frustrated even with much of acclaimed post-colonial literature. For very often this literature is only concerned about the bridge of West and the Rest. In my family, over centuries, we had crossed many other bridges. It is also this that made me feel –when I grew older-that the India had grown up in was a fragile entity: it was threatened by various kinds of fundamentalisms Muslim, Hindu and Western; it was always in the minority” (Alam. The Hindu1st January 2006).
At present he is working as an Associate Professor in the Department of English, University of Aarhus in Denmark. Khair is a versatile writer and academician of expatiate writing. He is a poet, journalist, critic and novelist, who have been listed for various prizes. His prizes and honours include the All India poetry prize (Poetry Society and British Council), an honorary academic fellowship for creative writing, and scholarships at various Universities, including Copenhagen University, Delhi University, Jamia Milia Islamia University, and University of Cambridge.
In the year 2008 his novel Filming: A love Story was short-listed for the Vodaphone Crossword Book award in India. Khair’s novel The Thing About Thugs published by Harper Collins in 2009, short-listed for The Hindu Best Fiction Award, short-listed for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2012, and short-listed for the Man Asian Literary prize. His novel The Bus Stopped was short-listed for a Major French translation prize. Khair is regular for writing reviews for publication in India, Denmark and UK etc. He is very particular in writing for The Hindu (India).
Khair is the writer of various critically acclaimed books, poetry collections, novels and studies like The Bus Stopped(2004), Filming: A Love Story(2007), How to Fight Islamist Terror from Missionary Position (2012), TheGothic, Postcolonialism and Otherness: Ghosts from Elsewhere (2009), Man of Glass: Poems (2010), The Thing About Thugs (2010), Babu Fictions: Alienation in the contemporary Indian English Novels (2001), Other Routes:1500 0f African and Asian Travel Writing, Reading Literature Today(co-authored with Sebastian Dubinsky (2011), Where Parallel Lines Meet (2000) etc. About after four years working as a staff reporter, he left for Copenhagen, Denmark, to do a Ph.D. which was completed in the year 2000.
Khair publishes his Ph.D. thesis in 2001 through oxford university press entitled Babu Fictions: Alienation in the Contemporary Indian English Novels. The book got great popularity among academicians of India and Abroad. His each and every work is specific like His Babu Fictions deals with the reading of Contemporary Indian English novels with the use of the concept of ‘discourse’.
It becomes one of the important texts on Indian English fiction. Babu Fictions also includes the analysis of writings by such eminent authors such as R. K. Narayan, Raja Rao, Anita Desai, Salman Rushdie, V. S. Naipaul, and Amitav Ghosh, etc. The book presents readings of Contemporary Indian fiction in English using “Discourse” and it also formulates the class division in ‘Babu-Coolie’ terms. Khair dedicates this book to those certain people who could not read Indian English Fiction but often claims to have reading. The target audience of the book is the middle, less English speaking class.
Khair had his first collection of poems, My World (1994), which was published by a national publication house Rupa and Co., Delhi. The positive reviews of this poetic collection came out by some prominent poets of Indian English poetry, such as Keki N. Daruwalla, Adil Jussawalla, Shiv K. kumar and Vilas Sarang.
Man of Glass (2010) is the wonderful poetry collection of Tabish Khair published by Harper Collins. The book marks with a beautiful narration of past, portrayed by the writer. Khair emphatically engages with a number of issues and events, especially of vital concern to today’s reader: Afghanistan, love, death, terror, faith, prejudice, imagination, human duplicity, memory, experiences, and Iraq war etc.
An Angel in Pyjamas (1996) was Khair’s first novel which was later published by Harper Collins. The book is a call of the author which has the power to fascinate the reader.
The Bus Stopped (2004) was his second novel which was published in 2004 by Picador. The novel is written in the form of a travelogue. The stories are woven here to create a masterpiece. The novel was short-listed for Encore award (UK). Siddhartha Deb in his article “Memory on Wheels” has commented about the novel,
“The Bus Stopped is a novel that reflects deeply into the nature circumstances of human mobility in our modern, unforgiving world”. (http://www.outlookindia.com)
His novel The Thing About Thugs (2010) is an excellent example of ‘Anti-Colonial Discourse’. The novel unfolds an assortment of characters and their touching stories, spanning over two places Phansa in (Bihar) India and London in UK. The novel is a counter attack upon the stereotypes and the racist attitude of British towards east. It effectively deals with some specific issues such as, treatment of religion, caste, class, barbarism, culture, civilization and interracial relations. Gillian Wright in his article “A Thug Redeemed (2010)” commented about the novel
“A novel full of suspense where the various strands of mystery, human relationships and crime are expertly woven into one absorbing and fast-moving tale. This is a book that deserves to stand the test of time and join the other masterpieces of Victorian London”.
Khair’s poetry collection ‘Where Parallel Lines Meet’ published by Penguin in 2000. The collection is a portrayal of the beauty of past. The poems collected here are essentially the poems of the memories of poet’s childhood. There is a subtle narration of many things of his related to his native region (land). It also focuses attention to the rising star of a poet. And his talent goes beyond pretty lyricism.
The Gothic, Postcolonialism, and Otherness: Ghosts fromElsewhere (2009) is an excellent book. Tabish Khair in this book tries to define the efforts of the writers of the colonial and postcolonial period to write- back. The readings and descriptions of certain prominent texts of some major writers, such as, Rudyard Kipling, Emily Bronte, Joseph Conrad Erna Brodber Melville, and Jean rhys etc., offers Khair’s innovative and challenging descriptions on certain major issues discussed in the book like, otherness, sameness and differences and identity along with the role of emotions in the literature right from the nineties. Khair has also offered some suggestions which work as a productive ways of engaging with contemporary global and postcolonial issues. Gina Wisker has commented about the book,
“This is a fascinating, diverse and rich book which combines across the Gothic and the postcolonial in its concern with varieties colonial and imperial Gothic “Other”, at different times, introducing a focus on the “war on terror” as a topical “hook”. Khair places the foreign ‘Other’ as a central function in the Gothic in texts set both in Britain and the ex-colonies, particularly in the Caribbean, where British influence is revealed as frequently demonic. ((http://www.amazon.com. August 13, 2014).
Other Routes: 1500 Years of Africanand AsianTravel (2011) Writing is a wonderful book of Tabish khair which highlights the fifteen hundred years of travel writing with special reference to Asia and Africa. Garry Marvin has written about the book:
“The book opens the reader to a world of alternative traditions to European travel writing and the pieces it contains offer alternatives to the European gaze. The editors of this imaginative and broad anthology expand the concept of “travel writing” to include journeys that are written about in poetry ; extracts include the personal, ethnography, natural history, geography, cartography, navigation, politics, religion, diplomacy, pilgrimage and culture(s) in general.”
Philip Mike in his article “Migration, Modernity and English Writing: Reflections on Migrant Identity and Canon formation” also discusses about the book as follows:
“For far too long have we been trained to see the world through the eyes of a handful of western traveller. Other Routes: 1500 Years of Africanand AsianTravel Writing is a first step in establishing a new perspective, demonstrating, as it does, that the history of Eastern culture has also been marked by the intellectual curiosity and passion for discovery which characterises the literature of travel. This is a long overdue anthology that will be of interest to students of history, postcolonialism and literature, as well as readers of travel writing and any Asian or African who wants to know his or her own history as it seldom been written” (Philips, Mike, 2007).
‘Muslim Modernities: A collection of Essays,’ is an excellent montage of essays. These essays are based upon the Contemporary topics and events.
His other excellent novel is Filming: A Love Story (2007). It is a wonderful novel by Tabish Khair. The novel was ranked by Khushwant Singh as one of best twenty novels in English by Indians or writers of Indian origin. Tabish khair’s Filming is a delightful short story series. The whole narrative is divided into reels instead of chapters like a complete movie. After three reel we have intermission. Filming also carries a subtitle “A Love Story”. All the stories seem to be intertwining and overlapping each other, they combine to create a novel because all stories moves around two main characters Harihar (a postal clerk) and Durga (a prostitute), therefore it may be considered as a novel collectively. But on the whole Filming is an excellent re-creation of the lost world of early cinema.
‘How to Fight Islamist Terror from missionary position’ is an unreliable first-person narrative addressed to an implied reader who is presumed to know the ending, which for the first-time reader is, of course, impossible. This novel is a really a story of friendship and love, misunderstanding, betrayal and pain. The tone of the novel is serious, as it deals with a serious subject. The message could be serious but there is an element of fun, which is wonderfully combined by the author.
These above mentioned books are some brilliant examples of Khair’s writing. His works have been translated into various languages. His writing emphatically focused on content and theme rather than the topic of the matter. He is mainly concern with certain issues like Anti-Coloniality, east- west encounter, theme of alienation, regionalism, South-Asian diaspora, subalterns, linguistic craftsmanship, expatiate writing etc.
These issues has used emphatically in various texts of Tabish Khair. These are the leading and burning elements of twenty first century English Literature. We find these elements in his writings as ‘east- west encounter’ in Babu verses Coolie, Anti-Colonial Discourse in The Thing About Thugs, Regional spirit of Bihar in The Bus Stopped, ‘South–Asian diaspora’ in Babu verses Coolie, ‘Cultural hybridity’ in The Gothic, Postcolonialism and Otherness, Islamophobia in How To Fight Islamist Terror From Missionary Position etc.