Rohinton Mistry: The Anxiety Of Indianness In India

2461 Words10 Pages
This paper aims to study one of the many Indian authors who write in English and write on Indian society but from a satellite eye of the West. Rohinton Mistry is one such seminal writer of the post modern era, under consideration, whose fiction has won various accolades across the world. This paper shall dive into a deep study of two of his major works – “Family Matters” and “A Fine Balance”, to study the nuances of Indianness and also its anxieties as put forward by Meenakshi Mukherjee in her essay, ‘The Anxiety of Indianness’. In these two texts of Mistry, this paper shall seek to decode questions of identity, place, language, culture and nation. While “A Fine Balance” is set amidst the times of Emergency in India, “Family Matters” is embedded…show more content…
Meena Pillai and Anjali Roy have termed it the ‘Migrant Sublime’ in reference to Edmund Burke who said that pain was the strongest emotion which our mind was capable of feeling. According to them, there is a profound sense of the ‘Migrant Sublime’ found in the writings of Rohinton Mistry because of his acquisition of double vision – partly through his Canadian sojourn and partly from his location in India. This outsider status works both ways in an advantageous manner and which is evident in the vivid sense of place in his writings. Another dialect that comes into question while dealing with the writings of Rohinton Mistry is regarding the status of the Parsi community in India. They seem to have always been outsider in India even when they have lived peacefully with other Indian ethnicities for centuries. In an interview with Nermeen Shaikh of Asia Society, he articulates the gap between the real and the…show more content…
The idea is to construct the image of the ‘Oriental Other’. The deconstruction of the society which the writer inhabits is way beyond his powers and all that is left to write about is what they leave behind. Be it Bharathi Mukherjee or Jhumpa Lahiri or even the writer under consideration – Rohinton Mistry, they all write about darker continents and when they do write about their place of immigration, it is always from the perspective of the ‘Other’. Like for instance in Family Matters the victim at the end of the novel is Hussain, a Muslim who loses his family at the time of the Babri Mosque incident when fanatical Hindus torch his family. Still the Shiv Sena group turns out to be less evil than they are thought to be. The fact that these flaws have not been looked upon, prove that Mistry’s readership was widely Western, substantially in North America and he continues to serve their interests even without actually writing about them or their culture. The idea is that the West approves of a particular image of the East, an exotic India and a construction of the ‘Other’ and that is what Mistry offers in his

    More about Rohinton Mistry: The Anxiety Of Indianness In India

      Open Document