Postgraduate students research a broad range of topics across the School disciplines.
Tales of Oppression and Liberation from the Indian Subcontinent: Case Study of the Works of Arundhati Roy, Bapsi Sidhwa and Deepa Mehta’s Elements Trilogy
My research proposes to present a comparative analysis of the works of two representative post-colonial writers Arundhati Roy and Bapsi Sidhwa from India and Pakistan respectively, and the films of Indian-born Canadian director and screenwriter Deepa Mehta’s famous Elements trilogy. Its scope is limited to discussion about Arundhati Roy’s fictional and non-fictional works, Bapsi Sidhwa’s five novels and Deepa Mehta’s Elements trilogy of films. Bapsi Sidhwa’s five novels are The Crow Eaters (1978), The Bride (1982), Cracking India (first published as Ice Candy Man, in 1988), An American Brat (1993) and Water: A Novel (2006) and Deepa Mehta’s Elements trilogy of films includes movies Earth, Fire and Water. Studying the differing approaches of Mehta, Sidhwa and Roy towards history and historiography, my research intends to highlight how these artists have approached the Indian society and its history from the victims’ perspective and how they engage with the sensitivities of diverse communities in the cultures of the Indian subcontinent to highlight certain gaps and silences that remain un-sayable or unsaid and ravage the lives of their protagonists by harbouring tragedies in the shared space of mixed cultural influences.
There is a substantial need to critically evaluate and recognize the contribution of the Indo-Pakistani writers both on the national and the international level. Writers from South Asia have been the subject of many critical studies. Many an Indian writer of unusual calibre has helped justify the independent position of Indian English writing and the bulk of criticism on Indian English literature is a proof positive of this fact. Arundhti Roy can deservedly be considered among such writers. Being a social activist, Roy is frequently quoted in the media and The God of Small Things has also received due critical acclaim, but her non-fiction works need to be elaborately discussed as there is still a lack of authentic extensive criticism on them. However, Pakistani writers, unfortunately, have never been in the critical limelight. The situation regarding critical studies about Pakistani fiction is quite bleak, that is, there is a frustrating lack or total absence of such studies. Except for some newspaper reviews and brief commentaries scattered in some journals, there is no systematic study available as yet. Criticism on Bapsi Sidhwa’s works is a case in point. Deepa Mehta has also invited much negative criticism because of indulging too deeply with the sensitive issues of religion and culture in India and there is clear lack of criticism to positively project the message of her films.