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Revisiting Ethno-nationalism: A Study of Nihal De Silva’s The Road from Elephant Pass

Bibhuti Mary Kachhap1 & Aju Aravind2

1Research Scholar, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (ISM), Dhanbad 826004, Jharkhand, India. Email: vibhuti3119@gmail.com

2Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (ISM), Dhanbad 826004, Jharkhand, India. Email: aaravind13@gmail.com

 Volume 10, Number 1, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n1.05

Received September 27, 2017; Revised December 11, 2017; Accepted December 30, 2017; Published February 04, 2018.

Abstract

Sri Lanka in the last decade witnessed a catastrophe of incidents that blurred the lines of nationalism. The two ethnic communities of Sri Lanka the Sinhalese and the Tamils suffered differences that later transformed into a Civil War (1983-2009). The post-independence era brought out ‘nationalism’ within the country but turned ethnic in a short course of time. Therefore the theme of ethno-nationalism is prevalent in Sri Lankan English literature. Literature of the War also produced biased and chaotic pictures of the event. Ethno-nationalism possessed the island and left it bruised and dismantled to which we find evidences in texts. Sri Lanka had not imagined a twenty six year long War therefore its aftermath left the country to figure out the dilemma yet to be produced. This paper will focus on the subject of ethno-nationalism in selected Sri Lankan fictions. Its aim will be to objectify the ethno-nationalist war (Civil War) through the theories of nationalism and ethno-nationalism in the fictions. The term ‘revisiting’ here emphasizes the actions of people who had shown nationalistic fervor during the War and how the author has (re)presented it in fiction. As literature in particular fiction (here) has been gestated and created to enlighten how ethno-nationalism is perceived in Sri Lankan fictions and in particular Nihal De Silva’s novel The Road from Elephant Pass. It highlights the dual aspects of ethnicity through its protagonists who is a Tamil and Sinhalese respectively, their love story which compel them to dissolve the line of animosity.

Keywords: Ethno-nationalism, Tamil, Sinhalese, war and nationalism.