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“Who am I?” : : On the narrativity of identity andviolence in Sheila Rohekar’s novel Tāvīz
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology.
2012 (English)In: Orientalia Suecana, ISSN 0078-6578, Vol. 60, 49-59 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

“Communal violence” and “communalism” have long been central tropes of progressivist Hindi prose writing. Tāvīz (The Amulet), a contemporary Hindi novel by Sheila Rohekar, is a recent and outstanding example within this literary tradition. The plot revolves around a mixed Hindu-Muslim love marriage and the complications this socially disrespected alliance leads to, culminating in the consecutive murder of both husband and wife, and their son. The focal point of the novel is the reconstruction of the identity crisis of the son, who – having a Hindu mother and a Muslim father – becomes a militant Hindutva activist and is killed during an agitation for the construction of the Rama-birth temple in Ayodhya. Throughout the novel, the recovered diary of the boy’s great-grandfather plays an important role as a historical narrative linking up the present with the past. The diary is used to provide constant flashbacks to generations earlier, when identities were still more “fuzzy” and open to inter-communal relationships compared with the present. The present is perceived as a catastrophic decline. Nevertheless, even then the writer of the diary expresses his frustration about independent India’s inability to put an end to the evils in society, and particularly to communalism. Sheila Rohekar is probably the sole living Indian-Jewish author in the world of contemporary Hindi writing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala universitet, 2012. Vol. 60, 49-59 p.
Keyword [en]
Hindi literature, Indian Jewish literature, communalism, secularism, contemporary Indian religion
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Indology with Classical Sanscrit
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-177286OAI: diva2:540015
Available from: 2012-07-06 Created: 2012-07-06 Last updated: 2012-07-06Bibliographically approved

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