The article attempts to grapple with the different facets of marginalisation produced by a specific type of Diasporic activity - as women, as Sri Lankan Tamils, and as participations that must negotiate a process that is at once transnational and postcolonial. Through the examination of different cultural modes of expression, novels, stories, and pamphlets, it attempts to answer as to how the Sri Lankan Tamil woman, away-from-home, makes sense of her world and how she sees it vis-a-vis her 'homeland.' Though displaccement itself contains the libertatory potential, is this 'truth' of a better world often distorted by the indirect and direct controls imposed by a hegemonic West? Through the metaphor of the woman's body, the author attempts to map the contours of identity=politics that are at aplay on trans-border women. By marking the different phases in the process of Tamil migration, she notes the change that has come about in the constitution of 'nationalist' identities, the role of transnational locations, and in the final phase, the reformulation of identity with changes in class. Of particular interest here is the continuation of the Tamil nation, and the role it plays in the re-production of the marginalisation of women. What way out is there then? For the author, there is a 'middle passage,' one that re-negotiates the contours of her own body, and thus her nation, through her own modes of expression, not radically or transgressively, but less violently.

Custom Citation

Sivamohan Sumathi, 'The Middle Passage: Migration and Displacement of Sri Lankan Tamil Women of the Diaspora' (2005) 1(1) Socio-Legal Review 11

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