Utopian Envisioning: Politics of Belonging and the Emergence of the first Indian South African and East African Novels
The article examines the deployment utopianism in Ansuyah Singh's Behold the Earth Mourns [Singh, Ansuyah R. 1960. Behold the Earth Mourns. Durban: Purfleet.] and Bahadur Tejani' Day After Tomorrow [Tejani, Bahadur. 1971. Day After Tomorrow. Nairobi: East African Literature Bureau.] as an anticipatory consciousness, which, in projecting visions of a better world, indicts contemporary realities and structures of domination against which the two narratives situate themselves. Written from national margins, utopianism emerges in the two works as an intercultural site for richer cultural significations and engagements between Africans and Indians, and for projecting visions of racial harmony and national formations that embrace Indians as free citizens of the emerging nation-states. Proceeding from the assumption that the fictive worlds that the two novels project are contiguous with - or even produced by - the horrors of the 'real' worlds against which they project themselves, I contend that the novels can be most productively read as products of their time of emergence and their meanings located in the interstice between two distinct sets of tropes - the historical and the utopian.