Theme Of Mangoes On The Maple Tree

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Asserting the Diasporic Identity in Uma Parameswaran’s Oeuvre

Amrutha T V
Guest Faculty
Sreekrishna College, Guruvayur

ABSTRACT: Uma Parameswaran is a versatile writer-critic who has attempted to capture the trauma and dilemma of the diasporic self. Drawing on her first hand knowledge of the white collar, professional and academic diaspora in Canada, she attempts to voice their dilemmas and confusions, and above all, their feeling of rootlessness, their fear that having been uprooted once, they will never again be able to take root anywhere, despite their best efforts. The angst of the diaspora, striving to retain their identity even as they struggle to assimilate and become one of “them”, forms the core of Uma Parameswaran’s oeuvre. She
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The topic of diasporic identity is a favourite topic of discussion among the younger generation. Parameswaran uses the frequent get-togethers of the youngsters at the Bhave house to air different viewpoints of the immigrant experience as seen from the point of view of the younger generation. Some favour total integration, but others speak of retaining the old, while adapting to the new. Many feel that only by sticking together can they confront the threat of racism. When the newcomer Dilip says “You should make every effort to merge since you’re here to stay” (Sons 37-38), Vithal Moghe, who is something of a rebel and who into always speaks of militating for one’s rights, retorts…show more content…
In the novel Mangoes on the Maple Tree, the flooding of the Red and the Assiniboine that threatens the peaceful life of Winnipeg, brings the community together and removes barriers in an unprecedented way. Jayant is one of the young men who work tirelessly, shoulder to shoulder with the others, to sandbag the river and divert the floodwaters. The waters of the river that threatens brown and white alike, and endangers harmony, may perhaps be seen as a levelling and unifying force, and thus becomes as sacred to the immigrant consciousness as the Ganga. The play Dear Deedi My Sister concludes with the extract from Sapna’s letter to her Deedi in India, “We must build our temple here, where the Assiniboine flows into the Red. And we shall bring Ganga, as Bhagirata did of old, to our land, our Assiniboine, and here shall be groves where Uma shall dance with Parameswara” (Sons 73). Thus we have Parameswaran playing on the mythological overtones of her own name to reinforce her notion of a unique diasporic Canadian identity, forged by those who have crossed the oceans, carrying their own baggage of myths and beliefs, and confidently asserting their selfhood in a new land. Savitri’s response to

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