A Postcolonial Native in Colonial Africa: An Exploration of the Travelogue Kappirikalude Nattil

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K.R. Shahab


I would like to understand the Indian Migrants’ experiences of African colonialism in the context of Kappirikalude Nattil (In the land of Kappiris); a Malayalam travelogue written by SK Pottekkatt in the 1950s. I also try to bring a comparative perspective of colonial experiences in the African and Indian contexts. Kappirikalude Nattil is a travelogue about Africa written from the perspective of an Indian writer in the post – independence period. The perception of concepts such as ‘state’ and ‘nationalism’ considerably vary for an Indian citizen who migrated to Africa which was still under British rule. Due to his Indian identity, his social position in the Africa and his approach to colonization are different from the Native Africans. Similarly, the tools of oppression used by the imperialist powers for colonization in Africa subtly differ from the hegemonic apparatuses they employed in India. Awareness of linguistic dominance, racial dominance and racial discrimination plays a pivotal role in imperial oppression. Also, the colonial modes of power employed over the Indian immigrants are different from those employed over the Africans. The main reason for this is the large class differences among immigrant Indians and as differences in the capacity for political transactions and economic inequality. The difference can be seen in the general life scenarios of Malayalees, Tamils and Gujaratis in Africa. According to Homi K. Bhaba's mimicry theory, the attitude of Indian immigrants towards African natives confuses British imperialism and results in a hybrid culture. This reading will give you a better idea of the defences adopted by the British government against Indian immigrants to strengthen their colonial power.


Published: Nov 14, 2022

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South Asian Visions of Africa and African/Diasporic Literatures