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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Diasporic Sikh masculinities in Ranj Dhaliwal’s "Daaku" and Gautam Malkani’s "Londonstani" Sunar, Kiran Kaur


This thesis will examine Sikh diasporic masculine identities in Gautam Malkani’s "Londonstani" and Ranj Dhaliwal’s "Daaku" and their operations as sites of critical investigation for the resignification of contemporary Sikh masculinities. In these two recent novels, Sikh diasporic masculinities are produced as young urban subcultural performances that are self-identified as rudeboy and gangster respectively. The naming and performance of subcultural youth identities in "Daaku" and "Londonstani" are important in that they convey the desires of young Sikh men to respond to hysteria surrounding racialized bodies in a post-911 moment where traditional amritdhari identification is no longer a viable option for survival. The first section, entitled, "Performing Violence" discusses the operation of violence as a performative aspect of Sikh youth identity. In "Daaku" and "Londonstani," intimacy is impossible except in the form of violence, and violence itself becomes an intimate act for young Sikh rudeboy and gangster masculinities. The second section of this project, entitled, "Women/Space/Surveillance" examines how intimacy functions for young Sikh men in "Londonstani" and "Daaku." The private comes to operate not as a space of intimacy, but as a site of state surveillance and heteronormative regulation. As such, this section examines how contemporary Sikh men construct themselves through representations of group identity that engage with homosociality because heteronormative forms of allegiance with British and Canadian nation-states are no longer viable options. I conclude that the only intimacies that young, diasporic Sikh men can have are with each other and ultimately, they mandate betrayal in that they exceed the boundaries of both gangster masculinities and contemporary normative heterosexualities.

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