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Title: Queering postcolonial South Asian nationalisms : transgressive archetypes in narratives of the nation
Author: Meghani, Shamira Amirali
ISNI:       0000 0001 3391 7657
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2007
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In this thesis, I read transgressive archetypes from the Mahabharata and how these particular archetypes have been produced in novels and films, in relation to their his~orical contexts. Throughout my analysis and exploration I consider that identities are produced, not 'natural' , and that what is considered to be sexual dissidence differs in different contexts. I look at the relationship between narratives of sexual dissidences and the nationalist constructs of heteronorrnativity, ultimately seeking to find the ways in which non-heteronormative constructs can produce disruption to postcolonial, nationalist narratives. The first two chapters explore the re-writing of the Mahabharata character, Amba, a female, who later becomes Sikhandin(i), a female who becomes male. Chapter One explores a re-working of this transgressive archetype in Bankimchandra Chatterji's nationbuilding novel, Anandamath. Amba appears as Shanti, a female who cross-dresses to become Nabinananda and help free the motherland. I explore the disruptions to normative gender and query the foundations of the 'nation as mother.' Chapter Two explores the narrative functions of the same mythological archetype in Shashi Tharoor's The Great Indian Novel. It also articulates an 'idea ofIndia', but at a very different moment. Since the novel is re-written through the epic, there are, apart from Amba, many more characters from the Mahabharata within the text; I read these to explor~ the production of the 'idea ofIndia' through queered bodies. In Chapter Three I focus on yaari (romantic friendship between men), in popular Hindi cinema of the 1970s. The chapter explores the re-working of transgressive archetypes in Bollywood narratives from the era of Indira Gandhi's Emergency and reads them against recent films from India and the South Asian diaspora identified as 'gay' or 'lesbian'. I explore the articulation of romance between men against representations of sexual identity, both in relation to the narrative of the nation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available