Colonial paranoia and cultural narcissism as a writing trope
— Khagendra Acharya
Associated with the issue of ‘identity reconstruction’, ‘going back to root’ is one of the most common themes in postcolonial writings. Many writers from post-British Empire locations have produced works of great fame on the theme. The discourse on ‘identity’ in non-colonized locations like Nepal, however, is either overtly political, or kept aside under the aegis of ‘independent status of the nation’. Even the fiction writers, who are believed to present “three-dimensionality, which is linked with the multi-languaged consciousness” (Bakhtin 842), have pushed the potential of postcolonial experience to insignificance.
In this paper I argue that one of the dominant modes within going back to root – dialectics of colonial paranoia and cultural narcissism – deployed in many novels like R. K. Narayan’s The English Teacher, Mulk Raj Anand’s Untouchables, among others is an appropriate trope for Nepali writers, both to present social reality and to help marginalized groups reconstruct their identity. To demonstrate the potential, I shall first analyze the trope’s employment by R. K. Narayan in The English Teacher and then discuss identical utilization by Parashu Pradhan in The Telegram on the Table. Lastly, I shall explore some other circumstances that demand the appropriateness of the trope.
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