Chapter 2Translation and transnationality in the Himalaya
Writing Gorkha language and culture
Focusing on migration, translation and diaspora-formation, my chapter explores how Gorkha writing both crystallizes and problematizes postcolonial identities. Gorkhaness hinges on a fulcrum of ambivalence as it seeks to articulate a separate cultural identity away from Nepal and relocate itself within the citizenry and national culture of India. The iconic Darjeeling writer Indra Bahadur Rai narrates Gorkha subjectivity as it attempts to recast itself within the Indian matrix, riddled as it is by ethno-nationalist demands, including the cry for a Gorkhaland. Questions of translation in a transnational context in the Himalayas, I argue, has become the central concern in the writers I discuss. These writings enact a process of ‘alienation and of secondariness in relation to itself”. Rai comes across as a Gorkha nationalist/ethnicist, but the necessary ambivalence of his text ends up imagining and rewriting a more inclusive community.
- Colonial and national Darjeeling
- Postcoloniality and translation
- Short story and subalternity
- Marginality and linguistic minority
- Awakening historical memory: Diaspora and danger