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Writing Dubai. Indian Labour Migrants and Taxi Topographies


Schlote, Christiane (2014). Writing Dubai. Indian Labour Migrants and Taxi Topographies. South Asian Diaspora, 6(1):33-46.

Abstract

Since the discovery of oil, the Gulf states have become the most sought after destinations, especially for job seekers from South Asia which, in turn, has resulted in a rapidly growing population in the Gulf states mainly due to the large expatriate work force [Kapiszewski, A. 2006. “Arab versus Asian Migrant Workers in the GCC Countries.” Accessed November 5, 2012. http://www.un.org/esa/population/meetings/EGM_Ittmig_Arab/P02_Kapiszewski.pdf]. Proceeding from Amitav Ghosh's pioneering essay, ‘Petrofiction: The Oil Encounter and the Novel’, where Ghosh maintains that despite its dramatic nature any literary engagement with the oil encounter and its main protagonists has remained ‘imaginatively sterile’, this paper examines the literary representation of Indian labour migrants in Dubai. With a particular focus on Shamlal Puri's novel Dubai Dreams: The Rough Road to Riches (2010), which centres around the lives of a group of Indian taxi drivers in Dubai and Ali F. Mostafa's film City of Life, it explores the forms and conventions of literary and filmic responses to petro-migrants within an urban context. As such, the novel and the film provide alternative narratives to the ‘muteness of the Oil Encounter’, as identified by Ghosh.

Abstract

Since the discovery of oil, the Gulf states have become the most sought after destinations, especially for job seekers from South Asia which, in turn, has resulted in a rapidly growing population in the Gulf states mainly due to the large expatriate work force [Kapiszewski, A. 2006. “Arab versus Asian Migrant Workers in the GCC Countries.” Accessed November 5, 2012. http://www.un.org/esa/population/meetings/EGM_Ittmig_Arab/P02_Kapiszewski.pdf]. Proceeding from Amitav Ghosh's pioneering essay, ‘Petrofiction: The Oil Encounter and the Novel’, where Ghosh maintains that despite its dramatic nature any literary engagement with the oil encounter and its main protagonists has remained ‘imaginatively sterile’, this paper examines the literary representation of Indian labour migrants in Dubai. With a particular focus on Shamlal Puri's novel Dubai Dreams: The Rough Road to Riches (2010), which centres around the lives of a group of Indian taxi drivers in Dubai and Ali F. Mostafa's film City of Life, it explores the forms and conventions of literary and filmic responses to petro-migrants within an urban context. As such, the novel and the film provide alternative narratives to the ‘muteness of the Oil Encounter’, as identified by Ghosh.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:17 Dec 2013 10:21
Last Modified:21 May 2016 07:42
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1943-8184
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/19438192.2013.828500

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