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Abstract

The Parsi community in India is currently threatened by extinction due to diverse factors including low birth rate, fecundity, strict laws against religious conversion, and extreme urbanization. This small ethno minority forms a well-defined community by following an inveterate way of living; they only breed among community members, which is an outcome of their long-established allegiance. This closed way of living directs the collateral emergence of ethnic anxiety in its members about the prospect of their survival in the next century. This dwindling community has survived through adapting to centuries of social and cultural cataclysms in pre- and post-partition India. Bapsi Sidhwa, one of the first authors to give a voice to the Parsis, epitomizes herself on behalf of her community and tries to surmount this anxiety in a creative comportment. Her desire to triumph over her authorial anxiety is clearly reflected in her efforts to transcend the limits of her physical disability as well as the collective struggle of the minority she belongs to. Her works are not confined to individual anxiety; rather they contextualize the community’s ceaseless quest for identity and survival. This paper closely scrutinizes various key aspects of the Parsi community and its sensibilities in the novels of Bapsi Sidhwa. The fear of assimilation, an undiminished appetite for the eternal perpetuation of their own identity in postcolonial India, and the author’s consequent emigration to the West are all manifestations of the community’s centuries-old anxieties, which too have been the focal point of Sidhwa’s works.

Note on the Author

Shraddha Dhal is a Faculty Associate at the School of Humanities, KIIT Deemed to be University, India.

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