Comparative constructions of Malaysian Indian Class Dynamics: K.S. Maniam's the return and Preeta Samarasan's Evening is the whole day

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

This article presents a glimpse into the literary writings emanating from a community that has, at best, remained at the margins of global South Asian diasporic literary scholarship: that of the Indian diaspora in Malaysia. It begins with a brief historical overview of the Malaysian Indian community together with an overview and cartography of Malaysian Indian writings. It then develops a comparative analysis of the representation of an issue quite central to Malaysian Indian identity politics, that of caste and class, in two novels: The Return by K.S. Maniam, an established Malaysian writer, and Evening Is the Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan, the newest writer to emerge from this community. The ultimate aim of this article is to show that if one steps closer to the canvas and look deeper at the representations of the community in literary texts that contextualize and individualize the Malaysian Indian experience, then intra-ethnic heterogeneity and conflicts within the diasporic community, as well as the forms of subaltern positioning, become visible, and they insistently reveal that such a community is as heterogeneous as its global counterparts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-328
Number of pages17
JournalDiaspora
Volume19
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2010

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community
writer
caste
cartography
diaspora
Malaysia
politics
experience
Writer
Identity Politics
Literary Text
Comparative Analysis
Visible
Caste
Cartography
Positioning
Canvas
Asia
Global South
Historical Overview

Keywords

  • Diasporic memory
  • K.S. Maniam
  • Malaysian Indian literature
  • Preeta Samarasan
  • South Asian diaspora
  • Subalternity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Comparative constructions of Malaysian Indian Class Dynamics : K.S. Maniam's the return and Preeta Samarasan's Evening is the whole day. / Joseph Sandra, Shanthini Pillai; Shangeetha, R. K.

In: Diaspora, Vol. 19, No. 2-3, 01.06.2010, p. 312-328.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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