Concern for the Community in Rohinton Mistry’s Family Matters: From Colonial Elitist to Decolonized Marginal
The idea of “Identity”, predominantly associated to the sense of belongingness, is a relatively new concern in Sociology. The idea is partly encouraged by postmodernist arguments about the changing nature of cultural/ personal identities in postmodern societies. The spotlight has been on two specific areas. First, there is a deep-seated attempt to understand the importance of personal forms of identity including what individuals feel about their own identity and the impact this idea of self-identity bears on lifestyles, consumption patterns and social relationships; second, the attempt to recognize and comprehend the impact on cultural life of changing forms of identity. Here the need is, to understand the idea of the fragmentation of various types of (modernist) identity- class and gender. The fragmentation of identities in the postmodern society whether personal or cultural is such that we can no longer talk in terms of specific identities. Because of the transgression of such categories and the way in which new and different forms of identity have evolved out of such transgressions, ‘identity’ has become a subject of vital interest and the sphere of serious contemplation. In postmodern society, under the influence of globalization, both social and personal identities become more fluid and less rigid than in the past. People are able to develop a greater range of choices relating to their identity. This in current forms is frequently expressed in terms of people embracing various cultural elements to create new, highly individualised, forms of identity. Creating new and individualized identities in a cosmopolitan world like ours is essential as this, too, is like the process of adaptation. To survive in a ‘new’ environment adaptation is must. Those who fail to adapt, fail to survive. This is not only true about individuals but also for races, communities, nation-states, etc. One of the prominent undercurrents of Rohinton Mistry’s fiction is his concern for his community, its people and their survival which shall be discussed in detail in the paper.
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