Acculturation in the Novels of V.S. Naipaul

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Emigration from South Asia has been a dominant behavioural pattern on the subcontinent for centuries. Emigration has its origins in the Indus valley civilization whose merchants frequented other lands. Prominent movements began after the death of Buddha (563-483 B.C.), when his disciples travelled to Eastern and Central Asia to propagate his teachings. The nineteenth century brought a radical change to the character of India’s diaspora: small scale emigration became a mass movement to provide cheap labour for Britain’s colonies. Conditions of abject poverty in certain sections of India or the prospect of gaining wealth overseas motivated people to sell themselves into servitude. Since India gained her independence in 1947, emigration has continued; it has not been limited to England and the new Commonwealth, but has spread to the United States, Australia and the Middle East. When India obtained independence in 1947, many Westerners greeted the event with scepticism. The departing British were certain that Indians would be begging them to come back and rule their country within a year. But India is one of the few countries which, having achieved independence, has maintained a relatively stable government. India is a country with diverse cultures: three major racial groups, four prominent religious communities, and many language categories. An important fact about the country’s development is that beginning with Jawaharlal Nehru and continuing under Dr. Manmohan Singh, India has embarked on an ambitious programme of industrialization. As the country has developed industrially and technology, emphasis on education has enabled India to produce highly educated and technically qualified people. However, India cannot employ them, thus m... ... middle of paper ... ...he pressures of the dominant culture; once they leave their homeland to settle in foreign lands, they begin to adopt the beliefs and behaviour of the dominant group. Assimilation of one cultural group into another may be evidenced by changes in language preference, adoption of common attitudes and values. Works Cited 1. Naipaul, V.S., In a Free State (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971) 52. 2. Naipaul, V.S., “One Out of Many” In a Free State (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1973) 34. 3. Ibid., 34-35. 4. Ibid., 38. 5. Quoted in Kinsley, David R. The Sword and the Flute: Kali and Querns Dark Visions of the Terrible and the Sublime on Hindu Mythology, (Berkley: UP of California 1975), 155. 6. Naipaul, V.S., The Middle Passage (Picador, 2011), 84. 7. Naipaul, V.S., The Mystic Masseur (Picador, 2001), 10-11 8. Naipaul, V.S., The Middle Passage (Picador, 2011), 87.

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