The Inverted Orientalists: A Study of the Indian Diasporic Writings


  • Iti Roychowdhury Amity School of Languages AUMP Gwalior India


Orientalism, Subaltern, Diaspora


The Oriental went through myriad representations in the colonial writings. The British officers, the travel writers, the Orientalists, each saw the Oriental through a different lens and conjured images that varied from that of a  shrinking, lying, stooped  brown man to that of bejewelled, elephant writing Maharaja.

With the disintegration of the Empire, the formerly colonial people of India rose to claim their rightful place under the Sun. To answer Spivack, the Subaltern learnt to speak. In writing back, the Empire infact became garrulous through the voices of Naipaul, Rushdie, Anita and Kiran Desai, Jhumpa Lahiri, Vikram Seth to name a few of the well known diasporic writers of India.

But what is the subaltern speaking of? The common themes seem to be emigration, rootlessness, search for identity, otherness. However what is of pertinence here is that the Subaltern speaks of ‘otherness’ without defining the other- ie the West. The aim of the present paper is to explore this anomaly in the diasporic literature and to explore reasons for it.

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