Diasporic Dilemma and Fluid Identities in Benyamin’s Novel Jasmine Days

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Dr. Jagdish Batra


The JCB award winning novel Jasmine Days written in Malayalam by Benyamin (translated into English by Shahnaz Habib) is the writer’s second novel which takes up the life of a diasporic Pakistani family in an unnamed West Asian country – a locale that hardly finds favour with established writers. The crisis comes in the form of the political upheaval known in recent history as the Arab Spring, and the whole world is upturned.  The novel is remarkable for the presentation of a woman’s point of view by a male author. The love angle, made conspicuous by its absence, makes the narrative poignant. My paper studies the impact due to the failed revolution on the diasporic life of various nationalities from the Indian subcontinent and the consequent problematization of various constructs, most of all, identity in its various manifestations: diasporic, national, religious, etc. Besides, it foregrounds the interrogation of the systems of governance, patriarchal family set-up, justice and societal attitude to religion and morality.

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