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Indian English Women Writers: Formation of Culture in Different Spaces


This research paper will examine, with special reference to the diasporic writings of Indian English Women writers, the uniqueness that recognizes Indian cultural attributes with aesthetic significance in different spaces, among the multicultural societies, which create identical signs for the Indians.

Cultural representation and its interpretation primarily observed in the Indian diasporic literature which supports social and cultural formulations of displaced expatirate in different geographical spaces. Cultural and historical heritage proves the bond thread which unite the natives and arouse the sense of oneness as well as belonging to their nation on same way.

Key Words: Culture, Diaspora, Dispalced, Expatirate, Women

Indian cultural attributes with aesthetic significance are woven in different spaces, among multicultural society which create identical signs for the Indians, with special reference to cultural and traditional frames, which are presented in their literary expression by Indian English diasporic writers like Jhumpa Laheri, Chitra Banerjee, V. S. Naipaul, Salaman Rashdie, Manju Kapur, Kiran Desai, Anita Desai and many among the others. Bhikhu Parekh lights on culture:
Culture is a historical system created for its meaning, significance or what comes to the same things a system of beliefs and practices, in terms of which a group of human beings understand, regulate and structure their individual and collective lives. It is the way of both understanding and organizing human life. (Parekh 143)

Cultural formation and its interpretation primarily are observed in the Indian diasporic literature which supports social and cultural formulations of traditions of natives in different spaces and time. Cultural and traditional heritage of displaced proves the bond thread which unites the expatriate with their land of ancestor and arouse the sense of oneness and belonging to their nation.

Far from their homeland, this community is connected with their ancestor in their different layers of life. Sankaran Ravindran lights on the issue in the following words:
“Indians abroad are not just people abroad. They are bundles of attitudes, convictions, anxieties, shared nations, fears and anticipations, all of which are Indian in their very texture“(Ravindran).

India has the history of more than five thousand years and treasures of literature in more than ten languages in the oral as well as in the manuscripts. Indian civilization is one of the most ancient civilizations in the history of the world.

There are so many festivals and celebration is enjoyed by the people of India whether they are living in India or Outside the India. If they are living outside the India, at that particular time this community together celebrates the festivals on the alien land far from their homeland. In Manju Kapur’s Immigrant we are introduced of the celebration of the festivel in Canada.

 "Diwali and Holi. Every year their dates change, but around the beginning and end of winter come the festivals that make Indians think with longing of celebrations in the mother country. Halifax was no exception. Home to four hundred Indian families, Home to India Club whose main aim was to ensure that expatriates did not feel deprived during festive occasions and to expose the next generation to Indian traditions." (Kapur- 27)

Nina, the protagonist of the novel Immigrant, like all women in abroad, represents the India at home, by food, by clothes, by traditions, and by Indian rituals and cultural traditions. Her attachment towards her culture is justified by her collection of the Sarees in the following narration.

“Benarasi, Kanjeevaram, Orrissa patola, Gujarati patola, bandhani; she had fancied carrying all parts of India to Canada in her clothes.” (Kapur-112)

We find extreme cultural deepness in Jhumpa Laheri’s story “A Temporary Matters”, Shobha and Shukumar recollecting their Indian experiences and they are imagining as they are in the India so they compare all the conditions with India. Indian way of living and behaving is in the centre in their conversations and they discuss and judge everything with this point of view of being Indian. Even in the story one of the Indian cultural tradition is narrated in the following words:
“Their baby would never have a rice ceremony, even though Shoba had already made the guest list, and decided on which of her three brothers she was going to ask to feed the child its first taste of solid food, at six months if it was a boy, seven if it was a girl.”(Laheri- 11)

Other story of Laheri, "Mrs. Sen’s” deals with immigrant experiences and cultural alienation of professor's wife at coastal area at America. She fully discloses her Indian way of life to the Eliot, an American boy, who lives with her whole the day when his mother goes to job at far place.

Mrs. Sen talks with this little boy every now and then about her experiences at India and about Indian culture. By remembering her family and neighborhood of Calcutta she says:
"Whenever there is wedding in the family or a large celebration of any kind, my mother sends out word in the evening for all the neighborhood women to bring blades just like this one, and then they sit in an enormous circle on the some of our building, laughing and gossiping and slicing fifty kilos of vegetables through the night......Here in this place where Mr. Sen has brought me, I cannot sometimes sleep in so much silence." (Laheri -115)

However such attitudes of expatriate not only provide them the sense of belonging but it also helps to the next generation to understand their originality and the culture of their ancestor. In Indian culture there are so many different rituals in different places. Major writers use the cultural aspects to depict social uniqueness among the Indians outside the India. As Bhikhu Parekh rightly comments:
The diasporic Indian is like the banyan tree, the traditional symbol of the way of life, he spreads out his roots in several soils drawing nourishment from one when the rest dry up. Far from being homeless, he has several homes and that is the only way he has increasingly come to feel at home in the world. (Parekh 106)

Traditional culture of their ancestor act as a bond thread which bound them with their original root and give them specific identity among the multi cultural community. This identity is unique for them as it formats particular class or group of people which unite them to gather with each other in one thread, the thread of same cultural back ground, the same historical roots and the felling of oneness in alien land support immirants against the feeling of nostalgia, sense of exile, expatriate mind set and displacement.

Indians depicted in Indian Diasporic literature are perhaps more Indian than the people are living in the country. Festivals and their celebrations, clothes, food, language, Indianity shines in their way of life. They are fully conscious what they are, historical traditional culture remind them each and every moment. Cultural. values make them conscious about their existence, about who they are and who they are not. This cycle runs to generation to generations. Some time the outsiders identify such community by their unique formulation of culture and tradition.


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Yatinkumar. J Teraiya, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Kamani Science College & Pratapray Arts College, Amreli. Gujarat(India) Email: