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NO NEW LAND: A STUDY

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No New Land is Vassanji’s second novel. It is a poignant story of the immigrant experience. It creates a rich portrait of a transplanted community. Here Vassanji appears as a keen observer of lives caught between one world and another.
What distinguishes Vassanji’s work from that of other diasporic writers is its vibrant, affectionate depiction of the double migration of his South Asian characters? At the centre of Vassanji’s fiction is the Indian Shamsi community. The members of this community make their first voyage to East Africa in the late 19th century as part of the labour mobility within the British Empire, working as semi skilled labourers, small traders, and junior colonial functionaries. Starting out as shopkeepers and businessmen settling on the coast of British East Africa and German East Africa, they possessed the necessary linguistic and political inside knowledge to assist the colonial administration in ruling an inaccessible and unruly hinterland. Their role as marginal…

THE GUNNY SACK : A STUDY

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Diasporic writings are invariably concerned with exile, memory, diasporic consciousness, longing for return, alienation and search for identity. All these characteristics find unique articulation in the novels of M.G. Vassanji. Vassanji has produced five novels tracing the migration of people from South Asia in the late 19th century to East Africa, and then from Africa to North America in the 1960s and 1970s. The Gunny Sack is one of them. It deals with the story of four generations of Asians in Tanzania. Here the author has examined the theme of identity, displacement and race-relations. He also has endeavoured to retain and re-create oral histories and mythologies that have long been silenced.
The Gunny Sack celebrates the spirit of Asian pioneers who moved to East Africa in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The novelist provides an insightful look also into the culture of one particular group of Indians who were born and grew up in East Africa during the mid 20th century. Living unde…