Origin of the research problem:

The research problem concerns an understanding and critical evaluation of Implications of Ethnicity in literature worldwide through various theories. Ethnic studies are an interdisciplinary study of difference not only of race, ethnicity, and nation, but also of sexuality, gender, and power which can be political, societal and individual. Oppositions and deadly conflicts among ethnic collectivities are ubiquitous around the world. The present study offers essential perspectives on various under-represented groups with special reference to Parasi ethnicity in the works of Rohinton Mistry and Bapsi Sidhwa. Ethnic studies are connected to Diasporic literature too.

The study helps to produce culturally competent global citizens and creates an understanding of the worlds different from their own. It further engages them with other communities for partnerships and integrates social justice in all activities. It also teaches valuing their own cultural identity and appreciating the differences around them. It encourages them to avoid cultural stereotyping. The Parsis are an ethno-religious minority in India, living mostly on the west coast of the subcontinent, especially in Mumbai. In Pakistan, most Parsis reside in Karachi and Lahore. The current study explores the motivating factors which make this smallest religious minority in the world strive for excellence, instead of being crushed in the battle of survival. The answers may be found in the social code and value systems of the religion or the socio-economic conditions in their residing country or the status of a limited minority being strictly loyal to every ruling authority or a mixture of all these factors.

? Interdisciplinary relevance:

Ethnicity exists in a variety of related fields, disciplines and schools. The presence of the implications of ethnicity is bound to be of serious interest to both the student as well as scholar of various branches of study viz. Modern Day Literature, Psychology, Social Studies, Gender Studies, Religious Studies, Comparative Studies, Diasporic literature, Political Science, History, Anthropology, Law and Cultural Research.

? Review of Research and Development in the Subject:

International status:


 A lot of work is done in the ethnic studies worldwide as there are various national and international Associations for the same. The oldest ethnic studies association in the United States “National Association for Ethnic Studies” was founded in 1972 by several scholars who wanted to study race through an interdisciplinary approach. It was initially named the National Association of Interdisciplinary Studies for Native-American, Black, Chicano, Puerto Rican, and Asian Americans. Many noted Universities of the world run undergraduate, post-graduate and Ph.D. programs in Ethnic Studies. Northern Arizona University, Yale University, University of San Diego, American University, University of Southern California to name a few. Internationally acclaimed scholars like Tony Morris, George Lipsitz, Philip J. Deloria, Michael Omi, Kimberlé , Williams Crenshaw etc. have contributed to the research in the said area.


National status:

Ethnic groups are divided in terms of religion, language, strength, ideology and separated geographically in distant places. The role of ethnic groups in social and economical development of the nation also makes a mark in the significant existence of the same which can be an identifying feature of the Parasi ethnicity in India. In The Location of Culture, Bhabha uses concepts such as mimicry, interstice, hybridity, and liminality to argue that cultural production is always most productive where it is most ambivalent. Various scholars like Dr. Nilufer Bharucha, (University of Mumbai), Dr. Alex Akhup (TISS), Dr. Dodiya, Jaydipsinh and many more scholars countrywide have done extensive research in the area.

Significance of the study:


The postcolonial condition requires novel concepts and formulations to capture the increasingly complex postcolonial world we live in. In reviewing the literature for this section I looked first at theoretical understandings of ethnicity and national identity by missiologists, and then briefly surveyed three missiological approaches that take seriously the issue of ethnicity and national identity.


To reflect the growing diversity in our schools, we must offer diverse curricula for our students. Students should be presented with a full picture of this great nation’s history, and they should also be provided with options for classes that interest them. Doing so will help to retain students in schools and prepare them for life outside of the four walls of the school. Introducing students to their privilege by educating them about other cultures will help combat racism and race-related violence.

I also stumbled upon a list of books that were related to the curriculum and were banned from schools. The list is huge, and includes works by many famous and wonderful authors of color that students should have access to whether the curriculum is in place or not. Banned books are not only often the best that literature has to offer, but also historically pique students’ interest in reading and history.

It is important to have courses that speak to students who may feel invisible and marginalized, to inspire and motivate them in their education, so that they learn their own history, engage actively in their own learning, and connect in meaningful ways to the larger community. Before you become a teacher, before you become a doctor, before you become a scientist, you need to become human.



The present study aims to find out the nature as well as the forces that generate and sustain ethnicity. It would try to seek answers to the questions such as: Is ethnicity natural or constructed and what are the factors to determine the ethnic affiliation? It also focuses on how is ethnicity related to culture, nationalism, social forces and power relation? The current study further recognizes the ethnic studies for its emphasis on hybrid identities, diasporas, migrancy and border-crossings taking into consideration the works of Rohinton Mistry and Bapsi Sidhwa.



Parsi novel has developed as a sub-genre in recent years within English fictional tradition of the Indian sub-continent. Both being expatriate writers belong to different geographical localities- India and Pakistan respectively. They typically and enthusiastically represent the glory and vitality of their race, culture and ethnicity.  


There are quite a lot of differentiating factors observed in Rohinton Mistry and Bapsy Sidhwa. Firstly, their genders and secondly, the era in which they are born in the history of the Indian sub-continent (Sidhwa in the pre-partition period of India and Mistry in the independent India) make their perspectives largely different.


Both these novelists deal with history in their own way. Sidhwa links with Partition with malevolence and devastation.


Diasporic literature expresses two associations: one with the homeland which brings on nostalgia, memoirs and recollections, and the other, the new association with the migrated country and its people which leads to conflicts and split personalities. That is why such writers speak of alienation, loneliness, rootlessness, exile, cultural conflicts and at times of a sense of rejection by the host country. When their efforts at adaptation prove hard and different with their own cultural beliefs, their writings hold images of motherland which, might turn out to be romantic outpourings of nostalgia and longing.


The theme of dislocation or displacement is quite frequent with Mistry and Sidhwa as well. Parsis are historical emigrants from their own motherland centuries ago; both Mistry and Sidhwa are expatriates themselves and even their characters express strong desire of migrating to the West and a few do that actually.

Another crisis that emerges among the dislocated and displaced people is the sense of nostalgia.Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Mistry is all occupied in building and preserving the ethnic identity of his community. The way Mistry describes Parsi habits and customs is unique to him. Mistry always tries to deal with the assault of modernity and the problem of existence, vigour and heterogeneity within the Zoroastrian ethnic culture. The Parsis have turned into a declining community. Despite their benevolent mind-set and memorable past they are trying to endure against several odds. Rohinton Mistry is suggestive of this ethnic tension and finds a suitable way out by holding the essence of the miniscule Parsi community in his tales for the future. In Sidhwa’s novels, the several apects of fact and fiction, history and myth meet go hand in hand telling the story of an ethnic tiny community and people who have gone through various trials and tribulations and being victorious at the end.

Mistry has selected Mumbai as a background for all his novels and short stories. At the same time Mumbai is also depicted as a remarkable city and is being loved by his characters especially in Family Matters.  Sidhwa, too, has fond memories of Lahore.

        Both Mistry and Sidhwa are captivating and culturally noteworthy. Diverse political and social events of the history of India and Pakistan partially shape their thematic blueprints. They, as Parsi writers, bring out the drawbacks and foibles of their community as well as of the dominant community. Their novels can be noted as vocalizing the Parsi community that is marginalized and silenced in the Partition period as well as in the history of the two postcolonial nation states. In these novels, the detailed records of Parsi way of life, their hopes and aspirations, rituals, rites, customs, beliefs, superstitions, myths and legends. They authenticate the local flavor of their fiction, grant it a global touch; turning their ethnicity into a glocal milieu.




Mistry Rohinton, Interview with Nermeen Shaikh of Asia Source in2002,



Qtd in Dodiya Jaydipsinh, The Novels of Rohinton Mistry: Critical Studies,

Sarup & Sons, New Delhi, 2004, First Ed.pp.110, Print.


Lakhani, Ali, The Long Journey of Rohinton Mistry, Interview at the

Vancouver InternationalWriters'Festival.Canadian Fiction Magazine No.

65. 1989. www.rungh.org/issues/Rungh_v2_n1-2.pdf


Jagdish Batra, Rohinton Mistry: Identity, Values and Other Sociological

Concerns, Prestige Books, New Delhi, 2008, pp.7, Print.


Qtd in, Singh Randhir Pratap, The Parsi Ethos, Ivy Publishing House,New

Delhi, 2005, First Ed.  pp. 8, 9, Print.


Hashmi, Alamgir, The Crow Eaters: A Noteworthy Novel, The Novels of

Bapsi Sidhwa, Garland Publishing, New York:  1991,pp. 273, Print.


Walder, D., Postcolonial nostalgias: writing, representation and

Memory, Routledge, Abingdon, 2011, pp.1, Print.


Qtd. By Laila Kazmi, Bapsi Sidhwa, Jazbah Magazine,



Qtd. in Sinha Sunita, Post-colonial Women Writers: New Perspectives,

Atlantic Publishres and Distributers, New Delhi, 2008, pp.  244. Print.

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