Translation and Transnationality in the Himalaya: Writing Ghorka Language and Culture

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Focusing on migration, translation and diaspora-formation, my chapter explores how Gorkha writing both crystallizes and problematizes postcolonial identities. Gorkhaness hinges on a fulcrum of ambivalence as it seeks to articulate a separate cultural identity away from Nepal and relocate itself within the citizenry and national culture of India. The iconic Darjeeling writer Indra Bahadur Rai narrates Gorkha subjectivity as it attempts to recast itself within the Indian matrix, riddled as it is by ethno-nationalist demands, including the cry for a Gorkhaland. Questions of translation in a transnational context in the Himalayas, I argue, has become the central concern in the writers I discuss. These writings enact a process of ‘alienation and of secondariness in relation to itself”. Rai comes across as a Gorkha nationalist/ethnicist, but the necessary ambivalence of his text ends up imagining and rewriting a more inclusive community.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage, Culture and Identity : Signs of Life
EditorsVera da Silva Sinha, Ana Moreno-Núñez, Zhen Tian
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9789027205483
ISBN (Electronic)9789027261243
Publication statusPublished - 2020
SeriesCognitive Linguistic Studies in Cultural Contexts


  • translationality
  • transnationality
  • Himalayas
  • Gorkhas
  • postcolonial
  • identities
  • borders
  • ethnonationalism

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