Flows Across Five Rivers
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
Prof. Anjali Gera Roy
Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Instiute of Technology