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JLF 2017: On desi diaspora, and juggling multiple cultural, ethnic identities

A session on Global Hindi on the opening day of the Jaipur Literature Festival concluded that the younger generation of immigrants are now able to move seamlessly between multiple languages and cultures.

Jaipur Literature Festival 2017 Updated: Jan 19, 2017 20:00 IST
Mariyam Alavi
L to R) Philip A. Lutgendorf, Nand Kishore Pandey, Divya Mathur and Anu Singh Choudhary during a session at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2017 on Thursday.
L to R) Philip A. Lutgendorf, Nand Kishore Pandey, Divya Mathur and Anu Singh Choudhary during a session at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2017 on Thursday. (Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo)

Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) 2017 saw Hindi writers, poets and professors assemble to discuss “Global Hindi: The Desi Diaspora,” among other things. One of the major (and probably only) takeaways from the session was how language plays a huge role in cultural and ethnic identities.

Anu Singh Choudhary, an award winning journalist, filmmaker, and writer, speaks of how language is sometimes the only connection that a diasporic community has that ties them to their roots, cultures and traditions. “More than people who live in India, it is people living away from ‘home’ who hold onto their language, cultures and traditions dearly. It is part of their identity,” she said.

Anu Singh Choudhary at the Jaipur Literature Fest 2017 on Thursday. (Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo)

People living away from their home countries, many a times are caught in a limbo. They are bound to a country that they left long ago and are fighting to keep that connection intact; but at the same time many still stick out like sore thumbs as they don’t really fit in at ‘home’ either.

The identity crisis, borne out of this dissonance, can be very confusing to many.

“This is more of a problem for older generations. Younger generations have better tools and resources to deal with it, with the amount of technology and information available. With the internet and social media, many can seamlessly move between their multiple languages and identities,” said Choudhary.

Choudhary was part of a panel that was moderated by Philip A Lutgendorf, a professor of Hindi at the University of Iowa and included speakers like Nand Kishore Pandey, director of Central Hindi Institue and Divya Mathur, an award winning author and poet.

Click here for our full coverage of the Jaipur Literature Festival 2017.

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