Negotiating Identity between India and Canada: A Reading of the Select Plays of Uma Parameswaran

Sangeeta Mahesh Mahesh


It is an axiomatic fact that the impact of early childhood and conditions/mores rampant during that formative period make an indelible impression on any human being’s psyche. But if that person goes to a land of entirely new cultural patterns, ways of life and unfavourable working environment, he/she every time looks at his/her past and gets the feeling of nostalgia for that salubrious land – a kind of ethnic consciousness. This principle of realizing the ‘lost land’ does not apply to their children born or brought up in an alien environment because they got themselves totally acclimatized to the cultural values of that country. So there exists a disparity between the perspective of parents and children. Besides the older generation tries to teach their children about the richness of their culture so that they may not feel culturally uprooted. These aspects were revealed by Uma Parameswaran in her plays namely Meera: A Dance Drama, Sita’s Promise: A Dance Drama, Dear Deedi, My Sister: Performance Piece for Voices and Rootless but Green are the Boulevard Trees. These plays can be thematically divided into two broad categories – the first two expatiate upon the celebration of Indian art traditions and acquainting its richness to the children born in Canada and other Canadians while the remaining two plays describe the life and hardships of immigrants in Canada through a variety of characters. There is a difference of perceptions between the young and old generations and this interferes in the formation of their personality. this paper makes the study of the select plays of Uma Parmeswaran and highlights the problems of not only Indians but of all the immigrants coming in to Canada.The first generation of immigrants does not feel at home in their adopted country while the second generation also struggles between two poles – acculturation and assimilation in the present dispensation and adjustment in their parents’ home land and getting the notion of marginalisation.

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