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Identity Politics of South Asian Enclaves


to be. Secondly, in addition to the obvious fact that it is

subversively different from the standard language of English in

Britain, Malkani’s “futureproof, timeless” hybrid slang in the novel

is meant not only to serve as the rudeboys’ unique language of

communication, but, more importantly, it reflects how South Asian

youth subculture and ethnic enclave was, still is, and will always be

influenced by the transnational impact of information technology

and popular music and by the local residents’ transnational

connections with their country of origin. Although the desi enclave

in Hounslow may have originally been formed on the common

basis of ethnicity, through the use of hybrid patois, the novel

highlights the incredible diversity of a contemporary multicultural

society under the impact of globalization. That is, living at will in

the enclave, the desis are constantly crossing borders to interact

with others in the home country, the host country, and other

countries and cultures.

III. Conclusion: Hounslowstani or Londonstani

Even though Hounslow is where the desi enclave is located,

instead of entitling his novel “Hounslowstani,” Malkani has carefully

chosen “Londonstani” as the title. This choice is not without

controversy. Many reviewers believe that Hounslow is at best a part of

suburban London, and argue that the novel should not be read as an

urban fiction, as seen in the following review by Sophie Harrison:

“Londonstani” takes place way out west. West of Monica

Ali’s “Brick Lane,” farther west even than Brent, the

location for Zadie Smith’s “White Teeth.” To reach the

London borough of Hounslow, where this similarly hyped

first novel is set, you need to take a Piccadilly Line tube

train from central London and stay on three-quarters of an

hour. Some would argue that by now you’re barely in

London at all, but as a title “Hounslowtani” is a little lack

in bling. (2006: 11)