Cultural Sensibility towards Bengali in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake

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Dr. Prem Bahadur Khadka


Every conscious person feels the necessity of his native cultural consciousness to sustain the values of life. It becomes a psychological mechanism which adds many fold advantages by draping a cover of satisfaction over frustration. It is man‟s existential dilemma which compels to adopt dominant culture of the land where he migrates emotionally he fails to transfer him to alien culture. The Bengali Culture forms a considerable part of Indian culture remarkable for myths, legends, vedic beliefs, tolerance, unity in diversity and universality. The prominent Bengali female authors like Sarojini Naidu, Toru Dutt, Sunity Devi, Bharti Mukherjee, Mahasweta Devi, Jhumpa Lahiri and many more have thrown literary focus on Bengali cultural consciousness in their writings. For instance, Ancient Ballad and Legends of Hindustan of Toru Dutt offers the reader a medley tales from Puranas and Sanskrit epics as well as from folklore. Bengali Dacoits and Tigers of Sunity Devi presents the graphic descriptions of life in the villages of Bengal and customs and conventions prevalently at the time in Bengali Society. An attempt has been made in this paper to study Bengali cultural consciousness in Jhumpa Lahiri‟s The Namesake.Jhumpa Lahiri in her writings based on cross-cultural themes proves herself unable to forget her Bengali cultural origin. Through her considerable creative talent she tries hard to suggest that Bengali cultural significance is recognized for its ethical and spiritual value not only in India but in the western countries too. And it is the spiritual aspect of Indian culture which keeps the Indian out of fear in foreign lands. Lahiri‟s much debated novel „The Namesake‟ (2003) deals all about a Bengali Family attempting to the best they can by not transforming into American but at the same time retaining their Bengali custom and heritage. The protagonist Ashoke a Bostonian scholar in M.I.T. and his wife Ashima suffer nostalgia and very often desire to be back to Kolkata to enjoy Bengali life-style.

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