This book is an analysis of representations of diasporic women from the Indian subcontinent, specifically the first, 1.5 and second-generation diasporic women who live in a South Asian diaspora, in the U.K. or the U.S.A. These groups consist of women who have migrated without a particular purpose in mind, some of them being usually forced by family circumstances in order to accompany husbands, some who were born in the host countries and one double diasporic girl (who migrated with her family twice). Certain characters are teased out from the select novels and films written with the defining intent being to study the ways in which they indwell in their ‘homes’ and how their identities are formed within the context of such ‘homes’ which is intrinsically inter-linked with ‘transnational networks’ they create or get created. ‘Transnational networks’ of women refer moreover to relations and female bonding developed across borders than to women’s organisations and associations, Though there is no direct focus on the writer/filmmaker but only on the female characters, it is reasonable to believe that the experiences being shared will also enable a better understanding of them, giving us a chance to intuit the fictions and frontiers which govern the mindsets of a creative mind in diaspora.
The various examples in novels and films in which diasporic South Asian women have to confront that which is stereotypically deemed traditional and that which is tagged modern, many times in correlation with family values, open up the terrain for discussion on feminist issues related to ‘Third World’ women, their subordination and assumed lack of voice.
The novels under scrutiny are as follows:
Brick Lane (2003), by Monica Ali (U.K.)
Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee (1999), by Meera Sya (U.K.)
The Namesake (2003), by Jhumpa Lahiri (U.S.A.)
The films are as follows:
Brick Lane (2007), director Sarah Gavron
The Namesake (2006), director Mira Nair