Jhumpa lahiri, A Pulitzer winning Indian diasporic writer, does need be mentioned when we talk of literature.
Diaspora’s are people who migrate from one land to the other in hope of finding a better living. And they face many challenges, like having to cope with the new community, deciding what cultural values to carry forward and which ones to pave away for imbibing the new tradition. This leads to a clash of identity, regression, repression or rebounding of emotions which decreases the physiological well being of a person. These far reaching emotional effects affect the second and the third generation as well who struggle to make themselves a place. Jhumpa lahiri is the second generation migrant whose parents ensure her summer visits to india, to make sure she learns ‘her cultural values’ and can carry them forward.
Lahiri writes of the plight of such diasporas, giving them voice, noticing their eccentricities through different perspectives. “ leaving my shoes at the door and walking barefooted on the carpet was one of the first things I learned at Mrs. Sen’s house” observes a little American kid in her book, interpreter of maladies. The book is a collection of short stories of first and second generation diasporas and the interpretation of their maladies. She has also included characters who living in their own homes are isolated by their people.
Other famous books by her are the ‘Namesake’, ‘unaccustomed earth’, ‘The lowlands’. The namesake follows the lives, perspectives and changing family ties of the Gangulis, an Indian couple in an arranged marriage who relocate to America. The novel has been converted into a motion film starring Irfan khan. Unaccustomed earth was No. 1 on New York Times best seller list and ‘The lowlands’, inspired from a true story was shortlisted for man booker prize.
Currently, she is a professor of creative writing at Princeton University. She had also been a member on the “president’s committee of arts and humanities’ appointed by Barack Obama.
“What drew me to my craft was the desire to force the two worlds I occupied to mingle on the page as I was not brave enough, or mature enough, to allow in life.” She says.