Deepika Bahri

What Happened to Race in South Asia? The Curious Case of Salman Rushdie

This paper explores the silence in postcolonial studies around the question of race in South Asia. Although visible both in the historical archive and in literature, race has nonetheless failed to gain traction as significant for postcolonial theory or criticism focused on South Asia. The reasons for this are manifold, as this paper will suggest, as are the potential benefits of pursuing an investigation of the problem of race. The paper then goes on to examine racially hybrid characters in the novels of Salman Rushdie to illuminate a historically uneasy relationship to the problem of race.

Deepika Bahri is Associate Professor in the English department at Emory University. Her research focuses on postcolonial literature, culture, and theory. She is the author of Native Intelligence: Aesthetics, Politics, and Postcolonial Literature (University of Minnesota Press, 2003) and coeditor of Between the Lines: South Asians and Postcoloniality and Realms of Rhetoric. She has written several articles on postcolonial issues in journals and book collections. She is currently working on the representation of Anglo-Indians, Eurasians, and racial hybrids in postcolonial literature.