Flows Across Five Rivers

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Through tracing the journey of a Punjabi performance tradition Bhangra from the doab of Punjab’s five rivers across various continents, this paper examines one non-essentialist identity space by focusing on the self imaginings of Punjabi ethnicities group in pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial times. My contention is that the self-fashioning of this group crosses national boundaries to converge on a linguistic and cultural commonality. At the same time, they point to future elective identities where commonality of concerns and interests rather than birth is community producing. The examination of communities formed in relation to Bhangra demonstrates two counter trends in modern subject formation, one pointing to globalization, the other to ethnic specificity. I hope to raise certain fundamental issues relating to nation as an identity signifier by focusing on this specific example.

Keywords: Flows, Nation, Ethnicity, Identity
Stream: Identity and Belonging; the Politics of Diversity; Globalisation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof. Anjali Gera Roy

Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Instiute of Technology
Kharagpur, W Bengal, India

Anjali Gera Roy is Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur. She has published more than 50 essays on postcolonial literature and theory in scholarly journals. She has co-edited a special issue of The Literary Criterion on “New Directions in African Writing”. Her books include Three Great African Novelists(Delhi: 2001) and Wole Soyinka: An Anthology of Recent Criticism(Delhi: 2006), (With Meena T Pillai)Rohinton Mistry: An Anthology of Recent Criticism(Delhi: 2007) and (With Nandi Bhatia)Partitioned Lives: Narratives of Home, Displacement and Resettlement(Delhi: 2007).

Ref: D08P0294