Indian Traffic: Identities in Question in Colonial and Postcolonial India
The continual, unpredictable, and often violent "traffic" between identities in colonial and postcolonial India is the focus of Parama Roy's 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 "westernized" 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. Familiar works by Richard Burton and Kipling are given fresh treatment, as are topics such as the "muscular Hinduism" of Swami Vivekananda.
Indian Traffic demonstrates that questions of originality and impersonation are in 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.
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actress ambivalence Anglo-Indian Arab Bengali Bhabha biography Bombay cinema Bombay film bourgeois British Burton Calcutta century Chatterjee claimed colonial discourse crime criminal critical cultural Dacoity Delhi despite disciples discipleship English erotic essay female femininity Feminism feminist figure film formation function Gandhi Gayatri Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak gendered goddess Gopal guru heterosexual Hindu Hindu nationalism Hinduism Ibid identity imagined imperial impersonation Indian nation Indian women instance Islam Kali Kim's Kipling Kipling's London male masculinity mimic mimicry modern Mother India Muslim Naren Nargis Nargis's narrative nationalist native Nivedita novel Partha Partha Chatterjee PersonalNarrative pilgrimage poet poetry political postcolonial produce questions Raj Kapoor Rama Ramakrishna religious representation Richard Francis Burton role Routledge Rudyard Kipling Sarojini Naidu sati seems sexual social speak spiritual Spivak star Strickland studies Subaltern subject position Sunil Dutt Swami Vivekananda thug thuggee Thuggee and Dacoity tion trope western woman York