Straddling Cultures, Authenticating Identity: Raja Rao's Fictions in Perspective

full name / name of organization: 
Sarbojit Biswas, A/Prof in English, Barjora College, The University of Burdwan, West Bengal, India
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By recognizing the other, by remaining between cultures, in the in-between of cultures, one touches a limit of recognition; motivated and driven by the tensions in the struggle for recognition, one circulates between cultures, in the in-between of cultures, while at the same time entering the in-between itself, the in-between itself, the in-between without presupposition, the in-between as an in-between.—Alexander G. Duttmann
If the Indian English Writing in itself with its hyphenated status is a cultural tension in the struggle for recognition of identity, and thereby rather being an end-produce is but more of a constant negotiation, then the writings of the two maestros—Rao and Anand— is a peerless rendition of this (r)evolutionary unease. Such straddling of the two worlds in the textural and structural levels does not trivialize or make an unreasonable toleration of any of the cultural ambit but the apparent indifference is more of a celebratory "in-difference". Whether this in-betweenness is an outcome of the author's being able to encompass varied languages, stylistics, genres, psychology, philosophy, ideology, political beliefs, cultural practice, religious/traditional observance, socio-economic hierarchies etc. within his gamut of novels; what remains unmistakable is an attempt to continually and persistently formulate and negotiate an identity—a demand for recognition within and without. Thus such novels evolve as a tool of negation and is neither "not-at-one" nor "not-one" with the extant systems. Thereby such works consists of the possibilities of being something which is at once strange and familiar, belonging to a tradition and yet in the process of transmission.
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Arindam Das
A/Prof. HIT, Kolkata (W.B.), India.
"Ishan" Radhanagar Road
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Sarbojit Biswas
A/Prof. Barjora College, Barjora (W.B.), India
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Durgapur, West Bengal, India. PIN 713212
Cell: +919434006177