A Noble Mansion for All?: The Production of Difference in Selected Works By Mahesh Dattani and R. Raj Rao
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation reads selected works of two queer Indian writers, Mahesh Dattani and R. Raj Rao, as sites of the production of difference in contemporary, fin-de-millnaire India. The literary analysis in this project tracks the particular texture of the selected primary texts. It follows the particular weave of what stories are being told, and how they are being told, which creates unique patterns of difference, providing the means for critical readings of diversity and difference in contemporary India. Close readings of the primary texts reveal artful, significant interventions in two intersecting discursive fields: namely, nationalism and sexualities. Moreover, the art-work of the texts reveals how the idea of India as a model of unity-in-diversity is by no means politically or ideologically neutral; specifically, the texts show how it is conceptually inadequate for understanding, let alone accommodating, any radical approaches to difference, especially the kind manifested in queerness. While the ramifications of Indian national identity animate one line of enquiry, those of dissident sexualities and gender energize the other, drawing into both lines region-specific questions and enquiries into identity- and subject-formation at large. The queer India crystallizing in the works of Dattani and Rao comes to signal a heterogeneity, complicating stabilized notions of identity (the self-same) and difference (extraneous other/s), all the while interrogating the ground on which that same term rests. Both writers works defer stable assumptions of what it means to be queer and what it means to be Indian. This project examines these forms of deferral as productions of differences in which the irreducibility of, but also radical unsettled interconnections between, difference is theorized.