Reversing the Gaze
Aparna Rayaprol
THE AMERICANS by Chitra Viraraghavan Fourth Estate /HarperCollins, New Delhi, 2015, 287 pp., 499.99
February 2015, volume 39, No 2

The title of ChitraViraraghavan’snovel,The Americans, indicates that the Indian diaspora in the United States of America has indeed come of age. It also affirms that Indians in the US are not quite the outsiders who are trying to assimilate into the melting pot or are the hyphenated diasporics oscillating between two nations and two cultures. It sends the message that Americans come in all colours, shapes and sizes—warts and all.For me, a sociologist interested in how the diaspora negotiates its identities, a book about the Indian diaspora with a title that neither has the word ‘Indian’ nor anything else that invokes Indianness, is speaking to the idea that those who live and work in America today are quite comfortable with their American identity.Viraraghavanholds a refreshingly new lens on the lives of people of Indian origin in the US, exploring the real challenges they face without necessarily resorting to categories that are ‘Indian’.

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