This volume studies the representation of religion in South Asian Anglophone literature of the twentieth and twenty-first century. It traces the contours of South Asian writing through the consequences of the complex contesting forces of blasphemy and secularization. Employing a cross-disciplinary approach, it discusses various key issues such as religious fundamentalism, Islamophobia, religious majoritarianism, nationalism, and secularism. It also provides an account of the reception of this writing within the changing conceptions of racial "Others" and cultural difference, particularly with respect to minority writers, in terms of ethnic background and lack of access to social mobility. The volume features chapters on key texts, including The Hungry Tide, The Enchantress of Florence, In Times of Seige, One Part Woman, Anil’s Ghost, The Book of Gold Leaves, Red Earth and Pouring Rain, The Black Coat and Swarnalata, among others.
An important contribution to the study of South Asian literature, the book will be indispensable for students and researchers of literary studies, religious studies, cultural studies, literary criticism, and South Asian studies.
Religion, Agency and Cultural Memory
1. Fear of the Other: Narrator and Narratives in Tabish Khair’s Night of Happiness and Jihadi Jane.
2. Kurukshetra and Karbala: Mahabharata in Intizar Hussain’s Fiction.
3. The Return of the Goddess: Amitav Ghosh’s Gun Island and the Manasamangal.
4. “All true believers have good reasons for disbelieving in every god except their own” : Faith, doubt and poetics of secularism in The Enchantress of Florence.
Sk. Sagir Ali
Ethnicity, Myth, Caste and Censorship
5. The Poetics and the Politics of Kashmiriyat: A Study of Mirza Waheed’s The Collaborator and The Book of Gold Leaves.
6. Thinking the Body, Figuring (the) Woman Religion, Caste, Gender and Identity in Literary Representations.
7. Death of an author: Dissecting the notion of religious hurt sentiment vis-à-vis literary-political censorship in India through One Part Woman.
8. Religious Hegemony and Literature: Appropriation of Subaltern’s Parables in Amitav Ghosh’ The Hungry Tide.
War, Trauma and History
9. The “Long Shadow” of Bangladeshi Liberation War: Religion and Nationalism in Tahmima Anam’s Bengal Trilogy.
10. Situating Religiosity in 19th Century Assam: Reading Tilottama Mishra’s Swarnalata.
11. A Historian under Siege: Rethinking Secular Historiography.
12. “First a Friend and Then an Enemy”: Trauma, Fetish, and Binary Politics in The Black Coat.
13. Religion as the Messianic “Other” of Secular Modernity: Locating Habermas’ Post-Secular Society in Michael Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost.