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Middle India as revealed by Chetan Bhagat

Leong, Susan (2011) Middle India as revealed by Chetan Bhagat. In Yue, Audrey, Chan, Dean, Khoo, Tseen, & Lo, Jacqueline (Eds.) Asian-Australian Identities Conference 2011, 10-11 November 2011, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The middle classes form the bulk of Indian migrants who head for Australian shores today. Yet, within Australia, general knowledge of the conditions that drive Indians’ determined search for opportunities overseas is limited to the few who have contact with international students and migrants from the sub-continent, and the skewed, melodramatic antics of Bollywood.

It is my suggestion that a broader understanding of the underlying reasons that push Indians to migrate to societies like Australia can be had through readings of Chetan’s Bhagat’s four hugely popular novels: Five Point Someone, One night @the Call Center, The 3 mistakes of My life and Two States.

Bhagat is a graduate of India’s famed Indian Institute of Technology and a former Non-Resident Indian investment banker who has since returned to live in Delhi. His experiences make him the perfect mouthpiece for middle India and his paperbacks depict that stratum of Indian society’s obsessions with social mobility, marriage, regional and religious divides with great sympathy and conviction.

Drawing on observations made during a recent visit to India, I illustrate what an exploration of Bhagat’s paperbacks reveals about everyday, contemporary India and what it adds to Australian understandings of Indians and India today.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 47604
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: India, Middle Class, Migrant, Chetan Bhagat, Hindlish, Ahmedabad, Three Idiots
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200) > Asian Cultural Studies (200202)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200) > Migrant Cultural Studies (200208)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Schools > Journalism, Media & Communication
Deposited On: 12 Dec 2011 08:48
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2011 08:48

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