Through the coils of memory and ethnicity

The Malaysian Indian journey to nationhood

Shanthini Pillai Joseph Sandra, Ganakumaran Subramaniam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article investigates the role that memory and ethnicity plays in the shaping of the Malaysian Indian identity. It attempts this through an inquiry into a terrain that bridges the realms of sociology, history and language, with the common base being what can be termed as a sociohistorical work of fiction written by a Malaysian Indian author. The work of fiction in question is the novel In a Far Country and the writer , KS Maniam. The discussion will demonstrate how the novel is a powerful factor in liberating the identity of the early Indian immigrants to Malaya from the iron grip of imperialism's repressive portrayals, arguing that the muted subaltern voice of the past has a chance of being articulated in the present. This will be achieved through an exposition of the emergence of the subaltern into textual space as he is re-collected in the present through the memories of his descendant. It will then move on to discuss the ways in which these very descendants of the early Indian immigrants dismantle the propositions on cultural continuity and parochialism. The latter will centre on the linguistic domains of textual ideology presented in the narration. The principal objective of the argument is that folk memory that is often the subject of works of fiction can be a significant tool in understanding the issues of ethnicity and ethnic identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-148
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Sciences
Volume7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

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ethnicity
immigrant
present
narration
imperialism
sociolinguistics
ethnic identity
continuity
ideology
writer
linguistics

Keywords

  • Ethnicity
  • Ideology
  • Malaysian Indian
  • Subaltern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Through the coils of memory and ethnicity : The Malaysian Indian journey to nationhood. / Joseph Sandra, Shanthini Pillai; Subramaniam, Ganakumaran.

In: European Journal of Social Sciences, Vol. 7, No. 3, 01.2009, p. 133-148.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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