Diaspora Literature - A Testimony of Realism
By Shaleen Singh
Diaspora Literature involves an idea of a homeland, a place from where the displacement occurs and narratives of harsh journeys undertaken on account of economic compulsions. Basically Diaspora is a minority community living in exile. The Oxford English Dictionary 1989 Edition (second) traces the etymology of the word 'Diaspora' back to its Greek root and to its appearance in the Old Testament (Deut: 28:25) as such it references. God's intentions for the people of Israel to be dispersed across the world. The Oxford English Dictionary here commences with the Judic History, mentioning only two types of dispersal: The "Jews living dispersed among the gentiles after the captivity" and The Jewish Christians residing outside the Palestine. The dispersal (initially) signifies the location of a fluid human autonomous space involving a complex set of negotiation and exchange between the nostalgia and desire for the Homeland and the making of a new home, adapting to the power, relationships between the minority and majority, being spokes persons for minority rights and their people back home and significantly transacting the Contact Zone - a space changed with the possibility of multiple challenges. People migrating to another country in exile home
Living peacefully immaterially but losing home
Birth of Diaspora Literature
However, the 1993 Edition of Shorter Oxford's definition of Diaspora can be found. While still insisting on capitalization of the first letter, 'Diaspora' now also refers to 'anybody of people living outside their traditional homeland. In the tradition of indo-Christian the fall of Satan from the heaven and humankind's separation from the Garden of Eden, metaphorically the separation from God constitute diasporic situations. Etymologically, 'Diaspora' with its connotative political weight is drawn from Greek meaning to disperse and signifies a voluntary or forcible movement of the people from the homeland into new regions." (Pp.68-69) Under Colonialism, 'Diaspora' is a multifarious movement which involves- oThe temporary of permanent movement of Europeans all over the world, leading to Colonial settlement. Consequen's, consequently the ensuing economic exploitation of the settled areas necessitated large amount of labor that could not be fulfilled by local populace. This leads to: oThe Diaspora resulting from the enslavement of Africans and their relocation to places like the British colonies. After slavery was out lawed the continued demand for workers created indenturement labor. This produces: oLarge bodies of the people from poor areas of India, China and other to the West Indies, Malaya Fiji. Eastern and Southern Africa, etc. (see-http://www.postcolonialweb.com) William Sarfan points out that the term Diaspora can be applied to expatriate minority communities whose members share some of the common characteristics given hereunder: 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 alienated and insulted from it; 4.They regard their ancestral homeland as their, true, ideal home and as the place to which they or their descendents 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 its safety 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 ;( Safren Willam cited in Satendra Nandan: 'Diasporic Consciousness'...
References: 1.(Cohen Robin, Global Diasporas- An Introduction. London: UC L Press, 1997)
2.Rushdie: Picador, Rupa, 1983
5.(Rushdie: Shame Picader, Rupa, 1983, p.283).
6.(An Area of Darkness London: Andse Dentseh, 1964,p
11.(Mehta, Suketu, Maximum City Viking, Penguin, 2004, p. 13)
12.(Amitava Ghosh, The Ghost of Mrs
13.(Bhabha, Homi, The Location of Culture, Lodon, 1994,)
14.(Ghosh, Amitav,The Hungry Tide Delhi:Ravi Dayal Pub.2004)
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