Accepted paper:

Hotel Arcadia: a literary response to multiple forms of politicised violence in contemporary India


Sunny Singh (London Metropolitan University)

Paper short abstract:

Politically motivated violence has multiple forms in South Asia, as in the world. This paper explores the ways Hotel Arcadia constructs a literary response not only to instances of armed political violence but also to the entrenched structural, symbolic and psychosocial violence on multiple axes.

Paper long abstract:

The paper explores the notion of literary reactions to political violence from the author's standpoint. Although writing is often considered a private act, once published, literary texts are neither private nor intimate and are subject to complex public and personal reactions. Building on readings from the novel, the paper explores the complex forms of entrenched structural, symbolic and psychosocial violence contribute to individual identities, lived experiences, and political actions and reactions. It will analyse how the novel confronts issues of ongoing structural violence experienced by its main characters beyond the ostensibly plot framing of a terrorist incident. In doing so, the paper builds towards questioning the forms of violence that are assigned cultural, narrative, symbolic and political value, as well as interrrogating the political violence that is denied, silenced and erased. The paper lays the groundwork for a discussion on public and intimate literary reactions to political violence in contemporary India while also beginning to question how discreet and/or invisible exercises of power frames, controls and limits discourses on the topic.

panel P03
Arts of the political in contemporary South Asian literature and film