Kiran Desai, a unique and efficient novelist grabs the attention of whole universe by standing ahead of other writers in her ability not to get involved in her themes. The latest burning issues in India like the increasing cultural differences, terrorism, loss of identity, ethics are the major studies in Kiran Desais novels, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard and The Inheritance of Loss. This paper aims to study the pain of exilement in Kiran Desais The Inheritance of Loss through post colonial studies.
The Man Booker Prize winning novel, The Inheritance of Loss is an authentic study of human relationships tormented by exile and cultural encounters. Kiran Desai shows the horrifying effects of nationalism through the terrorist movements of Indo-Nepalese people. In this novel, one can get a dramatic account of Bijus struggles as an illegal immigrant, the squalid circumstances in which he was forced to live, exploited by his employers. It was not Biju alone who comes under Kiran Desais satirical gaze, but she talks about other Indian immigrants too.
In this novel, Kiran Desai portrays the eccentricity of nationalism, how the individual life suffers in a state full of riots, racism and the ineptness of law and order in India. She has knitted all these factors in a fine fabric to expose, how morality and justice have lost their roots. She has portrayed both the insurgence and the victims of nationalism in a phenomenal manner.
Kiran Desai talks about the minute issues concerned with immigration and which swings between the East and the West. The query of globalization, multiculturalism, exile stories, nostalgic feelings, influence of the western culture and other recurring issues have been the pre-occupations in her novels. This novel presents the lives of immigrant in a very perceptive manner. But the concept of immigration is old and common in human history. The parallel experiences of the immigrants and their squalor stories lead to nostalgia coupled with physical and psychological exile. This has become a universal occurrence and affects many nations and communities. Because of the effects of the post-colonialism, when migration takes place largely for economic reasons to make their employment and utilization of talents better, it is some sort of experiencing exile as their homeland sends them out neglecting to feed its citizens. As India was in the clutches of the colonial rule over centuries, people were not interested which ultimately brings the term exile. When Sais parents were dead in an accident, the innocent orphan child was in a state of exile. She was accompanied by a nun of St.Augustine to her grandfathers house at that time the nun added fuel to the fire by saying that, God sulked her. Though Sai expects no words of consolation, the nun might have avoided hurting her. Later Sai went for a convent to get her education where she learned variety of new things in her life that Cake was better than laddoos, fork spoon knife better than hands and that English was better than Hindi (30)
The Inheritance of Loss explores the post colonial chaos and shows despair, class disparity and violence. During this period, migration was raised due to the notion that the foreign nations would pay more. So the people commenced to threaten each other and the ethical values were beaten down. Though people understand the culture of each other, they deeply underestimated the culture of other nations. This is because for every individual citizen, culture and pride seems to be important and they fail to understand the concept of universal brotherhood and the respect for other culture. When the Gorkha boys come to plunder the house of Jemubhai Patel, they had threatened the judge and the cook to say, Jai Gorkha and I am a fool.
In one sense, Post-Colonialism in India was corrupt. It is a common fact that an excessive amount of something is good for nothing. When people were set free, they started to impose their clutches over the fragile. This novel was written during a time when people of colour were not particularly liked in Britain. Kiran Desai portrays this discrimination through the characters of the policemen who behaves wild to the poor cook. They dont have a least respect towards him. Power in the hands of wrong one not only corrupts him also others and it makes them go mad. They overturned all the cooks belongings and left them in a heap which the cook kept as his treasures. When the judges father sent him to Cambridge to study law, he was ridiculed because of his accent. Young girls held their noses as he passed insisting that he did stink like curry. This rejection by foreigners instilled in his soul a feeling of shame, inferiority complex and the colour of his skin.
This novel is about the difficult part of India and the consequent difficult future. The colonial rule of two hundred years is enough to hurt any nation deeply and irretrievably and the scars of colonization still exist even during the post-colonialism. We are living in an uneasy juxtaposition world, where lives are being pooled and pushed into various unexpected twists. The author herself said about the novel that it concerns with the enormous anxiety of being a foreigner. The most besetting problem that the man faces today is the problem of meaningless and loneliness similar to that of Jemubhai Patel faced in Britain. Only after visiting twenty two homes, he managed to find a home to rest himself. He retreated into a solitude that grew in weight day by day, the actual line goes, The solitude became a habit, the habit became a man, and it crushed him into a shadow.
Jemubhai Patel state of exilement was pathetic. Like the prodigal son, Patel started to think about the hot dinner as the queen of England provided by his family in Piphit, who thought him as worthy as ever. The love of his parents seemed to be precious to him now about which he had thought as undignified, Indian, stinking love earlier. The loneliness of Jemubhai was so cruel that his throat got jammed with words unuttered, his heart and mind turned into blunt aching things. All these previous experiences have changed the judge into a different man as he was living at present in Cho Ogu.
Another character worthy of mentioning in the novel is Biju, son of cook. He is regarded in the novel as a Shadow Class because he remains an illegal immigrant. He was treated like an intruder in America and was given little respect. He has no constant jobs and was in a situation to change frequently from one menial job to other. So he could not settle anywhere permanently. He runs away from authority and detests the sound of police van. He worked in numerous hotels and restaurants in various countries like French, Mexican, Italian and so on. He had to lead an underground life where he lived with many men from different nations including a Pakistani with whom he had occasional quarrels. When the cook wrote letter to his son, he says, Beware Beware, keep away, Distrust regarding Pakistanis. But Biju was already ahead of his father in the next step and says that every molecule of him felt fake and every hair on him went an alert. The inability to perform things in an alien nation changes into anger. Here, Biju and the Pakistani were throwing cannonballs of cabbages at each other rather than shouting.
The novel has a careful portrayal of trembling hopes of a people, who undergo the western notion of rationality and the superiority of white race during the period of British rule in India makes the reading of the novel engrossing. The title, The Inheritance of Loss is significant since the novel deals with the losses of different sorts undergone by different characters. More than the hope and the longing, it is the inheritance of the loss of hope, innocence and happiness that the novel has portrayed. Every human being had deprivations in their life in one or the other way. But, if one is indeterminate, different and desperate it would take its root and it would make his life gloomy.
The issue of exile and frustration brings escapism and they move according to time and space in this novel. As of now, many Jemubhai Patels are living in this present world limiting their heart and mind to other fellow human being. People who imprison themselves inside their separate forts should survive no longer. Human bond is indispensable for Utopian world. Thus, a vivid picture about the affliction of relegation in Kiran Desais characterization and the scars left behind by post-colonialism were discussed in this paper.