Khem Guragain is a doctoral candidate in English at York University. He received his first MA in English from Tribhuvan University, and second MA in Literatures of Modernity from Ryerson University. He taught graduate courses on Non-Western literatures and Postcolonial literatures, and undergraduate courses on creative writing, communications and non-fiction at Tribhuvan University. He seeks to investigate the complexities of Hinduism, caste/class and subaltern, and examine how they are intertwined and convoluted in South Asian literature, broadly speaking.
His dissertation “The End of Postcolonialism: Dalits, Adivasis and the Rhetoric of “Antinationalism in South Asian Literature” looks at the emergence of Dalit and Adivasi literatures, and analyses how they interrogate the nationalist discourses and expose the inner contradictions of the nation-states. Khem argues that the texts coming from the Dalit/Adivasi and tribal writers in the contemporary South Asian literature mark the break, not only from the dominant discourse that perpetuates the Brahminic undertones in every aspect of life, but also from the postcolonialist literary domain which fails to sufficiently address the nuances of heterogeneity, particularly, the complexities of caste and its various projections in nationalist imaginary. He argues that the Dalit/Adivasi voice dismantles the colonizer-colonized binary and shows that the nature and shape of Dalit/Adivasi/tribal subalternity are quite different from those produced by colonial relations. He proposes to go beyond the theoretical paradigm of postcolonialism and its limitations dissecting the exclusionary singularity of Hinduism and its strategy of building a homogeneous nation-state. His work interrogates the mainstream elite upper caste narratives that negate the possibilities of social/political solidarity across caste/class lines and suggests that the emergence of Dalit/Adivasi/tribal literature destabilizes the hegemony of the elitist discourse and transcends the complacency of postcolonial theorists and subaltern historians who seem to ignore the centrality of caste and its contradictions, inconsistencies and injustices inflicted upon the Other. Khem has presented various papers at SALA, CACLALS, ACGS, South Asia Conference, and MLA.
- “Adivasis at the Crossroads: Rhetoric of ‘Anti-Nationalism’ and the Narrative of Subaltern Subjectivity.” Subcontinental Drift: Nation, Narration, and Innovation, MLA Conference (Chicago 2019).
- “Home, Belonging and Diaspora: Manjushree Thapa’s Seasons of Flight and Nepali Identity Conflated with Indianness.” Women Writers of the South Asian Diaspora: Interpreting Gender, Texts and Contexts, edited by Ajay Kumar Chaubey and Shilpa Daithota Bhat, Rawat Publications, 2019. In Press.
- “Belonging or Unbelonging: The Gurkha’s Daughter and the Contradictions of Nationalism.” Politics and Protest in Literatures of Nepal, South Asia Conference, (Madison 2018).
- “Dalit Victimisation: Recasting the Nation and Re-Claiming the Pariah Identity in Bama’s Sangati.” South Asian Literary Association (SALA), Conference (New York 2018).
- “Decolonising Nationalism: Mahasweta Devi’s “Doulati the Bountiful” and the Tribal Subjectivity.” Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Study, Conference (Amsterdam 2018).
- “Indian Ocean and the Reimagination of History in Amitav Ghosh’s In an Antique Land.” Indian Ocean Encounters: Colonial and Postcolonial Imaginaries, CACLALS, Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Conference (Toronto 2017).
- “Stateless Citizens: Rupa Bajwa’s The Sari Shop and the Failure of the National Subject.” Beyond the Postcolonial?: Meaning-Making and South Asian Studies in the 21st Century, South Asian Literary Association (SALA) Conference, (Philadelphia 2017).
- “The ‘Third Space’ and the Questions of Identity in Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea.” Localities, vol. 5, Nov. 2015, pp. 65-88.
Keywords: Postcolonial; caste; Dalit; Adivasi; tribal; indigenous; subaltern; South Asia; nation-state