Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Homelands

From our studies so far, we have observed The Homeland as being an integral part of a personality while, at the same time, existing somehow separate from the individual and his world. The Homeland is an entity that lives in antiquity, finding its roots in the ancestral past and proving increasingly more difficult to maintain as time progresses and the distance between here and there grows by miles and minutes. Ultimately, though, The Homeland is defined by individual interpretation. Even in instances when a Homeland is shared between two or more people, each person's personal Homeland will manifest in such a way wholly unique to the individual in question––perhaps only sharing a few symbols and motifs between the different interpretations.

 Vikram Chandra offers several fresh renditions of The Homeland in his collection of short fiction Love and Longing in Bombay. The first story is titled Dharma and tells the story of Jago Anita, a man plagued by phantoms and phantom pains. For Jago, his Homeland is defined by his past experiences as a soldier and it is these experiences that seep into his present life. He experiences apparitions in the house in which he is staying, coupled with the pain of his phantom limbs. It is in this story that we may observe the chaotic dissonance that may occur when the past collides with the present. The Homeland, in this instance, proves to be a poisonous element in Jago's present reality.
Like in Achebe's Things Fall Apart there becomes a central conflict between the now and the then that can only be reconciled once the past is reconciled into the present. For Jago, the inability to do so results in his phantoms and for me––as someone who has battled his own ancestral ghosts––this resonates in such a way that proves, once more, that the Homeland is somewhere very far away and it is in our best interests to be cautious of that fact.

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