Living in diaspora entails existing on at least two different planes. The diasporic person lives simultaneously in the past and the present. S/he is a member of the new/host community and at the same time hasn’t severed ties with the old/originating community. Salman Rushdie’s writing is an excellent example of this dual existence, this double vision. Rushdie’s Indian sub-continental past continues to haunt his British present. This imparts his texts with what he himself has called a periscopic vision, that comes from an insider-outsider location. This is not in itself a handicap and Rushdie has turned this into a strength that permeates his discourse at all levels. This chapter contextualises Rushdie’s novels within the general Indian diaspora and then examines how their location provides these texts with a unique voice.
For the Indian diaspora their new lives in the Imperial colonies became the present and the country left behind became memory. As the diasporics tried to recall the past, they dealt in what Toni Morrison has called the act of re-memory. Pheroze Nowrojee’s re-telling of the tale of his grandfather, who went from India to Kenya to run the trains on what was then called the Uganda Railways, is a case of re-memory, as the private memories of an earlier generation are etched into public and even national spaces of independent Kenya. There is also what Marianne Hirsch calls post-memory which can also be considered in the case of diasporic writing. While A Kenyan Journey (2014) tells the story of the author’s grandfather, it is much more than just a Parsi Zoroastrian family’s memoir. Intertwined in the grandfather’s story are the wider narratives of colonialism and old and new homelands.