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The Gendered Nation

The Gendered Nation
Contemporary Writings from South Asia

First Edition

March 2004 | 260 pages | SAGE India
While postcolonial creative writing in English has come of age in South Asia, scholarly examination of this rich body of writing has remained largely confined to the narrow domain of literary criticism. This unusual and well-written book instead foregrounds issues relating to identity, nationalism and gender in contemporary literary writing. To do so, the author has analysed select works which are located within and grapple with four recent periods which have played a significant role in refashioning the nations in the region: the Emergency in India; the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka; the secession of Bangladesh; and Zia-ul-Haq`s regime in Pakistan.

In examining the literary representation of these critical junctures, Neluka Silva draws upon key aspects of postcolonial, nationalist and feminist theory, which have influenced both the understanding of the concerned episodes and the literary productions of the authors selected. By providing an implicit comparative frame of reference, the author succeeds in suggesting ways in which certain choices reinforce or subvert established power relations in the fraught arena of nationalist politics in the four South Asian countries.

Critical Moments: Nationalism and Gender in South Asia

`India Is Indira'
Fictionalising Indira Gandhi's Politics, the Emergence and Nationalism

`Gendering' the Nation
Literary Representations of Contemporary Sri Lankan Politics

The Politics of Liberation
Resistance and After in Literary Texts of Bangladesh

Islam, Politics and Marginal Groups
Representations of Zia-ul-Haq's Regime in Literature

Conclusion: Literary Texts as Empowering Sites for Change