RAJARSHI TANDON GIRLS DEGREE COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF ALLAHABAD
The Toronto-based novelist, M.G. Vassanji’s latest novel, The Assassin’s Song (2007) strikes at the most sensitive note of a Diaspora writer, “Do we always end up where we really belong?”1(p. 311) In this paper I propose to study the causes and consequences of the alienation of the Diaspora writers that figures in their writing. The story takes the reader to a fictitious thirteenth-century village in what was to become the modern Indian state of Gujarat, then to Harvard Yard of the late 1960s, then British Columbia in the 1980s, and back again to the shrine of Pirbaag in a Gujarati town in 2002, when bloody communal riots put a brutal end to seven centuries of religious harmony. Yet even as he succeeds in his “ordinary” life—marrying and having a son (his own “child-god”), becoming a professor in suburban British Columbia—his heritage haunts him in unexpected ways. After tragedy strikes, both in Canada and in Pirbaag, he is drawn back across thirty years of separation and silence to discover what, if anything, is left for him in India. The reasons of his return back home are in the heart of all who are living in an alien land.
Key words: Diaspora, alienation, separation