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Landscapes of Writing

Collected Essays of Bapsi Sidhwa


Bapsi Sidhwa

Edited By Teresa Russo

This book is a collection of essays by international writer Bapsi Sidhwa gathered for the first time in one edition by Teresa Russo, with a foreword written by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Deepa Mehta. Landscapes of Writing: Collected Essays of Bapsi Sidhwa provides a writer’s perspective on issues of South Asian literature, linguistics, poetry, and views of political events and globalization. In the first part of the book, Bapsi Sidhwa discusses her childhood, family life, and how she became a writer. There is also a revised essay detailing how her book Cracking India became a film by Deepa Mehta. The second part of the book focuses on her thoughts concerning war, terrorism, and how to achieve peace. This collection includes two letters, demonstrating her local and nationalistic perspectives to a larger view of an interconnected world.

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Chapter 17. The Minorities and the Muse


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· 17 ·


June 18, 20151

If the purpose of this seminar is to address the anxieties of the minorities in India, the reasons for their insecurity are not hard to locate. As the letter I received from the sponsors of this conference puts it: “A sea-change has come about and there is anxiety and fear all around.”

Bluntly put, this anxiety is caused by the rise of Hindu fundamentalism, and its role in recent Indian politics. This not only menaces the secularism Indians justifiably vaunt, but it also threatens the livelihood—and often the lives—of non-Hindus. It gives me little comfort to say that the Parsees are not targeted; and this despite their hazardous habit of criticizing and meddling.

The problems encountered by the Indian minorities are not confined to its boundaries, and we find parallels in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma etc. In fact, no religious community falls short of its quota of zealots; not even the Parsees.

I have been a citizen of Pakistan, India and America. Like the other transplanted millions for whom national borders are becoming blurred and matters of citizenship alarmingly fluid, I feel I will always belong to these countries, ← 117 | 118 → and I can no more shrug off the claim each of these countries has on me than I can change the color of my skin.

Yet I have lived...

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