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Alternative Literary Modernities: A Voice from Colonial Punjab

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This paper looks at the formation of colonial print publics in Punjab, the gendered subjectivities that emerged in this new discursive space, and middle-class women’s deployment of print to articulate the self. This will be done through a close reading of one of the first novels in English, Cosmopolitan Hinduani, which was published in Lahore, Punjab, by a woman in 1902. The essay examines the narrator’s notion of a gendered cosmopolitanism and the subject position that it affords, her attempt at going beyond the fault lines of religion to articulate a liberal and modern political subject, while reworking the cosmopolitan/local binary. How does her insertion of herself as a gendered subject in the provincial, national, cosmopolitan imaginary reflect in the author’s choice of language and genre? My attempt will be to see the novel and its author as part of a literary culture in which she made certain choices about the form, language, content, and audience.

Corresponding author: Arti Minocha, Associate Professor, Department of English, Lady Shri Ram College (University of Delhi), Lajpat Nagar IV, New Delhi 110024, India

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Published Online: 2018-3-10
Published in Print: 2018-3-28

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