The Malaysian Indian Diaspora and its Transformation through K.S. Maniam’s: The Return (1981) and between Lives (2003)

By Kavitha Ganesan.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In capturing the essence of history through his works of literature, K.S. Maniam is a Malaysian writer of Indian origin who constantly gives reminiscence of the Indian immigrant for the later generations of Malaysian Indians. In doing so, he makes it possible for the ethnic Indian roots and routes to be traced namely in the context of Malaysia and its Indian diaspora. His novels The Return (1981), In a Far Country (1993) and Between Lives (2003), numerous volumes of short stories (e.g. Plot, the Aborting, Parablames and Other Stories, 1989; Haunting the Tiger: Contemporary Stories from Malaysia, 1996; Sensuous Horizons, 1996) as well as a range of plays (e.g. The Cord, 1983; The Sandpit: A Monologue, 1987) have given insights to the general Malaysian populace, the Malaysian Indian community itself and the global citizens about the local Indians different from their diasporic counterparts in varied parts of the world. As an attempt to study the Malaysian Indian diaspora through works of literature, in this paper I wish to
i) describe the portrayal of Malaysian Indians as presented in both novels;
ii) compare the two novels depiction of transformation (if any) as undergone by the Malaysian Indians; and
iii) examine the changes in the writer’s writing (thematic concerns, character portrayal, style etc.) through the two novels.

Keywords: Indian Diaspora, Transformation

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp.227-236. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 640.968KB).

Kavitha Ganesan

Lecturer, Centre for the Promotion of Knowledge and Language Learning, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Kavitha had completed her first degree in TESL and had pursued a Masters degree in English Literature, both of which were from Universiti Putra Malaysia in West Malaysia. Her interests include transcendentalism in contemporary writers’ works as well as feminism and queer cultures in Malaysian writers’ works. Since she has been teaching the international students, Kavitha’s interest also deals within the realms of teaching English to non English speakers that includes the issue of motivating the reluctant learner.


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