Diasporic and Migrant Identities in Kamala Markandaya’s novel The Nowhere Man (1972)

Author Name

Mr. Debabrata Hazra

Author Address

Research Fellow, Centre for Study of Diaspora, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar 382030, Gujarat State, India. Email: [email protected], [email protected], Phone: +919474672042


Identity, Diaspora, Migration, Nostalgia, Trauma, East-West Conflict, Homeland, Host Land, Displacement, Adaptation, Diasporic Writers, Indian immigrants, Kamala Markandaya, The Nowhere Man


Transformation of languages and cultures, due to contacts with the other communities in a foreign land, during or after migration have been framed by the diasporic writers. Nostalgia as a  significant tool; helps to recall the past even in a complete new geographical-location. In their writings the cultural elements of the homeland and at the same time the adaptation and negotiation in the host land comes again and again.


Kamala Markandaya’s The Nowhere Man (1972) deals with the theme of alienation and loneliness which comes out after East-West conflict. She highlights the contemporary attentiveness of inheritance in modern human life. The novel depicts the life of an Indian who settles in London, and ‘whose rootless-ness is at last brought home to him by the display of naked racialism in the English community that has shattered him for over fifty years.’ The story of the novel is a web of multifaceted incidents. It is built on the fabric of human relationship among characters belonging to two different cultures and races. The paper tries to find out the problems regarding identity in foreign lands.  It deals with the notion of identity and related issues like the psychological transformations due to displacement. It also focuses how migrants preserve their native culture and how nostalgia, trauma etc. help to be connected with their home countries. How politics in various forms  affect the diasporic life that also the study scrutinises. The prime objectives of the paper are as follow: 

A.  To conceptualize the migration and formation of diaspora to find out psychological imbalance and traumatic shocks of displacement.

B. To conceptualise the notion of identity and a study about various problems of identity faced by the Indian immigrants. 

C.  To explore the losses and changes towards the feeling of ‘Home’ in the relocated migrants and their views towards nation-state.



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