“It may be that writers in my position, exiles… are haunted by some sense of loss, some urge to reclaim, to look back, even at the risk of being mutated into pillars of salt”1 said Salman Rushdie. The loss and love of home is not what constitutes an exilic existence; what actually and in true sense constitutes it is the chasm between carrying forth and leaving behind and straddling the two different cultures from two different positions. In my paper, I propose to look at the two sides of an exilic existence- the negative that which has the horrors and trauma with reference to Adorno and Said; and the positive, that which provides the intellectuals and writers a critical and reflective insight, and here I would refer to JanMohamed and Salman Rushdie with special reference to Said’s “contrapuntal” effect. I would then proceed to the ‘enabling’ aspect of exile which involves the agential process of hybridity where I will bring in Homi K. Bhabha’s take on it and his concept of “third space”.
“Exile originated in the age old practice of banishment. Once banished, the exile lives an anomalous and miserable life, with the stigma of an outsider”2 said Edward Said. Adorno in the 13th terse “Protection, Help and Counsel” of Minima Moralia asserts that, “every intellectual in emigration is without exception, damaged and does well to acknowledge it to himself… He lives in an environment that must remain incomprehensible to him… Relation between outcasts are even more poisoned than between long standing residents.”3 Adorno’s reflection epitomizes the common understanding of exilic experience as one of trauma, estrangement and paranoia. Numerous autobiographical accounts confirm this devastating assessment a...
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... “Introduction” The Oxford Book of Exile, Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1995. Print.
6. Said, Edward. Reflections on Exile, Interview by Nikhil Padgaonkar. Doordarshan
7. JanMohamed, Abdul R. “Worldliness-Without-World, Homelessness-Without-Home: Toward a Definition of the Specular Border Intellectual.” Intellectuals and Critics: Positions and Polemics Volume 1 of Edward Said / ed. by Patrick Williams. Sage Publications.2001. P.219. Print.
8. Rushdie, Salman. “Gunter Grass” Imaginary Homelands. P.279.
9. Bhabha, Homi K. "How Newness Enters the World," The Location of Culture, London: Routledge, 1994. P.224. Print
10. Bhabha, Homi K. Interview by J. Rutherford. Identity, Community, Culture, Difference. 1990. J. Rutherford. London, Lawrence and Wishart: 207-221
11. Bhabha, Homi K. “Introduction”, Nation and Narration, London: Routledge, 1990. P.6. Print.
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