Aspiring to Home: South Asians in America by Bakirathi Mani

By Bakirathi Mani

What does it suggest to belong? How are twenty-first-century diasporic topics fashioning identities and groups that bind them jointly? Aspiring to Home examines those questions with a spotlight on immigrants from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Advancing a concept of locality to give an explanation for the potential during which immigrants of various neighborhood, spiritual, and linguistic backgrounds event what it ability to belong, Bakirathi Mani indicates how ethnicity is produced in the course of the dating among household racial formations and worldwide routine of sophistication and capital.

Aspiring to Home specializes in well known cultural works created by means of first- and second-generation South Asians from 1999–2009, together with these by means of writer Jhumpa Lahiri and filmmaker Mira Nair, in addition to public occasions equivalent to the omit India U.S.A. festival and the Broadway musical Bombay Dreams. studying those different productions via an interdisciplinary framework, Mani weaves literary readings with ethnography to solve the restrictions of shape and style that form how we learn diasporic well known culture.

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S. citizenship made in Thind cannot be considered in isolation from simultaneous claims to British citizenship made by other South Asian immigrants to North America, in particular those Sikhs who migrated to Canada on the Komagata Maru in 1914. The Komagata Maru was a chartered ship that steamed from Punjab to Vancouver via Hong Kong and Japan, a voyage that directly challenged Canadian immigration policy, which required that immigrants make a “continuous journey” from their country of origin. The policy effectively barred migrants from the Indian subcontinent, even though Indians, like Canadians, were also British subjects.

Croft is also the antithesis of the modern and young America that the narrator has come to expect in a country whose progress is symbolized by the lunar landing. Although it is 1969, Mrs. Croft retains nineteenth-century notions of etiquette, forbidding “lady visitors” in the narrator’s room and admonishing her sixty-eight-year-old daughter for dressing inappropriately (186). The arrival of an Indian tenant in Mrs. Croft’s home does not faze her in the least. Yet she is consistently awed by news of men on the moon.

Instead, I ask a different set of questions about the relationship between postcolonial theory and Asian American studies. Taking seriously the difference posed by South Asians, I deploy Lahiri’s work as a means of rehistoricizing the conditions of postcoloniality. For first- and second-generation South Asians, how does postcoloniality operate as a phenomenology of belonging? In what ways does the history of British colonialism in South Asia come alive in the United States, as an act of memory and as a condition of everyday life?

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