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Threads of identity

Gairola, R.K.ORCID: 0000-0002-1826-6339 (2021) Threads of identity. In: Sethi, R. and Alterno, L., (eds.) Reading India in a Transnational Era. Routledge India, pp. 59-73.

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This chapter focuses on the ways in which clothing, garments, garb, and headwear mark national and local identity as yet-neglected foci in Rao’s acclaimed novel Kanthapura. I critically explore how clothing galvanises Rao’s narrative style and tone, inculcating throughout the text vestments of transnational thoughts on democracy and communality. Close readings of both men and women characters demonstrate that their gendered social identities in relation to one another must be unknotted and unravelled like the layered threads of an anti-colonial tapestry. My contribution focuses on these figures at the intersection of caste and community, represented through garments that enhance and even modify characters’ sensibilities. As such, Rao’s novel disavows a transnational trajectory in the interest of crafting a nationalist, anti-colonial narrative.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Social Sciences and Arts
Publisher: Routledge India
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