Author: Parama Roy
Publisher: Sage Publications
ISBN/UPC (if available): 817036776X
The continual, unpredictable, and often violent 'traffic' between identities in colonial and postcolonial India is the focus of this stimulating and original book.
Mimicry has been commonly recognized as an important colonial model of bourgeois / elite subject formation, and Roy examines its place in the exchanges between South Asian and British, Hindu and Muslim, female and male, and subaltern and elite actors.
Roy draws on a variety of sources-religious texts, novels, travelogues, colonial archival documents, and films-making her book genuinely interdisciplinary. She explores the ways in which questions of originality and impersonation function, not just for western or westnized subjects, but across a range of identities. For example, Roy considers the Englishman’s fascination with going native, an Irishwoman’s assumption of Hindu feminine celibacy, Gandhi’s impersonation of femininity, and a Muslim actress’s emulation of a Hindu /Indian mother goddess. In the process Roy demonstrates that questions of originality and impersonation are at the forefront of both the colonial and the nationalist discourses of South Asia and are central to the conceptual identity of South Asian postcolonial theory itself.
While Indian traffic examines well-known works by Burton and Kipling, for example, in fresh and insightful ways, such revising of the colonial and postcolonial canon is not its only accomplishment. The book also introduces readers and literary critics to nonliterary examples including religious mentoring and discipleship, public figures, and Bombay movie stats and their films. This is the most exciting and interesting book I have read in the field for some time.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Identities and Negotiations in Colonial and Postcolonial India
Oriental Exhibits: The Englishman as Native
Discovering India, Imagining Thuggee
Anglo / Indians and Others: The Ins and Outs of the Nation
As the Master Saw Her: Western Women and Hindu Nationalism
Becoming Women : The Genders of Nationalism
Figuring Mother India: The Case of Nargis