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To whom it may concern: Glimpse into Canadian diaspora In this essay, I would like to examine, briefly, the diasporic

novel To whom it may concern by Canadian poet and fiction writer Priscila Uppal and the Canadian diaspora depicted in it. Although the novel is about the impending foreclosing of Hardev Danges house, the novel codifies the chequered nature of life in diaspora in general and in Canadian diaspora in particular. With an eye for fine details, Uppal depicts the generation of migrants lives and the virtual reconfiguration of ethos and emergence of an intensely hybrid culture where the issues of inheritance and belonging play a vital role particularly in the lives of the second generation of migrants. The widening generation gap between the first generation migrants and the second generation is vividly realised through the marriages which is an important sociological site. Naturally, he assumed that one day the children will marry, but in his head he spends time with these suitors first, gets to know them, the child asks his permission, for his opinion and blessing-in the case of the boy, asks if his father approves his choicebefore anything moves further, certainly before a date is set.. However, contrary to Hardevs expectations, all of a sudden, his daughter Birendra announces her marriage to a young man Victor. Now this Victor is his daughters fianc? This intruder? Did she say he specialised in political science When he was at Ottawa U? That he works for the government, but what branch... Cultural Hybridity In essence, hybridity is an every-day reality that we encounter in an increasingly multiethnic and pluralistic society. Common heritage of most of the Asian and African nations is that the heritage of colonialism. Colonialism, without doubt, is an encounter between cultures, languages, people and system of thought within the ambit in which the power is vested with the white colonial masters. Colonial administration in Asian, African and South American regions infused European form of thinking, European languages, culture, education and way of life from food to sports into a native context. Through the character of Hardev Dange, Pricila deals with the issue of identity in the context of diasporic existence; I knew that sometimes looked at me, at my skin colour, and wondered how I was so lucky , giving orders instead of taking them, but these kinds of feelings are natural, and I had learnt through experience not to take them personally. Diasporic writings One of the prominent areas where the hybridity is captured is the diasporic writings. Although many assume that the diapora is a novel concept, it was in the latter half of the 20th century, that in the writings of diasporic translated authors such as Bharati Mukherjee, Buchi Emecheta, David Dabydeen, Caryl Philips, and Hanif Kureishi have captured the diasporic, hybridised state of migrant communities. Commenting on

diasporic writings, Nayar states, Diaspora is simply the displacement of a community/culture into another geographical and cultural region. Such movements were common during colonialism. As communities settled down, they acquired certain traditions and belief-systems. However, it is important to distinguish between kind of migration and diasporarefugees, asylum-seekers, illegal migrants, voluntary migrants and job-seekers constitute different forms of diasporic existence. Europeans moved all over the world, leading to colonial settlements (Canada, Australia, the Americas). They also transported Africans to colonies for slave labour, leading to yet another diaspora. Curiously, diasporic writing today has come to signify the recent phenomenon of Third world writers in Western metropolises. According to Roger Bromley that every narrative in diasporic writing is both an individual story and, explicitly, a cultural narrative. The statement is closed to Jamesons claim/prescription that all Third world literature functions as national allegory. To a greater extent, it is true that diasporic writing is autobiographical, individual, communal and cultural. It is a fact that most of the writers who codify diasporic experiences are themselves diasporic in their real life. Citing Maxine Hong Kingstons The Woman Warrior (1975), Nayar observes the undecidable nature of diasporic writings. Hong Kingstons book can be considered as ethnic biography, fiction and documentary. The experiences of unsettlement, adaptation, language and longing depicted in diasporic literature may be drawn from the authors own experience of dislocation. Though individualistic in character, diasporic writing at the same time, maps out an experience which is shared by many if they have a voice. Therefore, one may argue that diasporic author can be seen as metonym, one who stands for the entire community. Nayar suggest that diasporic literature deals more with a problematic collective situation than with a problematic hero/ine. Experiences Primarily diasporic writings deal with experiences of exile and homeland. Nayar observes these polarities as : All diasporic literature is an attempt to negotiate between these two polarities. The writings of exiled/ immigrant writers undertakes two moves, one temporal, and other special. It is, as Meena Alexander puts it, writing in search of homeland. However, this movement is not merely physical displacement on the part of new migrants. It amounts to reconfiguration of the new reality in the diaspora. Nayar describes this phenomenon as: The temporary move is a looking back at the past (analepsis) and looking forward at the future (Prolepsis). Analepsis involves a negotiations with a retreating history, past, traditions and customs. It produces nostalgia, memory, and reclamation as literary themes. Prolepsis involves a different treatment of time, where the writer looks forward at the future, seeking new vistas, new chances. This produces themes of ethic of work, survival and cultural assimilation. The

proleptic narrative is agenda-driven as the characters seek to survive hostility, adapt new circumstances and gaze upon the future. One of the significant features of the spatial move is the process of a deterritorialisation and a re-territorialisation. The loss of territory (De-territorialisation) involves not only the loss of geographical territory, the homeland but also cultural territory. As pointed out by Nayar, what is significant is that the loss of territory is almost accompanied by gain of new one. Dislocation from is followed by re-location to. . In this manner, diasporic literature deals with space between home and foreign country. An important aspect of To whom it may concern is that it is a diasporic novel of the second generation and the authors life, more or less, is depicted in the novel.

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