ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Rukmini Bhaya NairSubscribe to Rukmini Bhaya Nair

The Gracious Sovereign – Queen-Anon?

History’s movements are unevenly paced, sometimes slow like a funeral march and sometimes frisky like the current rates of inflation. They are, however, always recursively ironic. It seems like a lifetime but it was only two months ago on September 8, 2022, that the reign of Queen Elizabeth II of England ended. It was of course, in the nature of things, her first and only death. Now we have another first that has taken over the news: the appointment of a ‘person of Indian origin’ as the British Prime Minister. But before it is lost to public memory, this article seeks to present a contemporaneous account of the elaborate ceremonies that marked the passing of Britain’s first postcolonial monarch - and their possible import. It analyzes the imagery of a ‘Gracious Sovereign’, as opposed to Foucault’s putative idea of a ‘Grotesque Sovereign’, that recently animated our fast-paced, visually dominated, conspiracy theory-laden world in an age of grave political turbulence and psychological ambivalence.

Text and Pre-Text History as Gossip in rushdies novels

Rushdie's Novels Rukmini Bhaya Nair This paper argues that Rushdie's three main novels constitute a single coherent text, which creatively reorganises the received narratives of subcontinental history and Islamic religion. An explanation is offered for the furious reactions to Rushdie's novels, most especially to The Satanic Verses, in terms of the several discourse features of gossip that always attach to the fractious public themes in his text. Gossip, an underrated, conversational medium for private criticism is used anew by Rushdie as a devastating literary weapon against the claims of historical 'truth' and religious 'morality'. Like all satire, this text paradoxically works best when it wounds most.

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