Arnab Dasgupta1 & Rupayan Mukherjee2
1Salesian College, Siliguri.
2Department of English, University of North Bengal. Email: email@example.com
Received October 31, 2017; Revised February 10, 2018; Accepted February 14, 2018; Published February 20, 2018.
Nation States are constructed, imagined, represented and authenticated through the principle of inclusion and exclusion, where the idioms of culture, race, history, politics and ideology conjure what Anderson calls an “elastic space” beyond which lies the abyss of the other. The ‘other’ then becomes an essential component in discourses of Nation formation, as it is through a response to the other that the nation fashions its ontological identity, a “phenomenology of alterity”. As Levinas points out in his essay “The Trace of the Other” : “ the outside of me solicits it in need: the outside of me is for me.” The other is thus an intimate enemy for the nation. The nation is then latently reliant on the fixated identity of the other and is thus deeply apprehensive of this other and seeks an epistemic consummation of it in its totality. The nation state constantly interrogates the other : “ what do you want from me?” which Zizek terms as “Che voi(?)” a constant interrogation which is the genesis of all forms of xenophobia. This in turn has the possibility to induce sporadic spectacles of active or passive violence through which the other responds to the nation. Such acts of violence then become an integral component of the performative of the other. In Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Chengiz Khan, a man who migrates to America, embracing the American dream, faces constant interrogation in a post 9/11 world from the host nation state to which he in turn responds through a form of passive violence, accomplishing the cult of the other. This paper interrogates into the performative of the other and the economy of violence which is inseparable from it and through a close analysis of the novel, explore the problematic relationship between the nation state and the other.
Keywords: Nation-State, Other, Ethics of Hospitality, Che vuoi, Big Other, Empirical Other, Ethnos, quilting, performative.