Salman Rushdie in an essay written in 1985 said “Exiles or emigrants or expatriates are haunted by some sense of loss, some urge to reclaim, to look back, even at the risk of being mutated into pillars of salt. But if we do look back, we must do so in the knowledge-which gives rise to profound uncertainties-that our physical alienation from India almost inevitably means that we will not be capable of reclaiming precisely that thing that was lost; that we will, in short, create fictions, not actual cities or villages, but invisible ones, imaginary homelands, India’s of the mind”. But in recent times, expatriate writers do not actually suffer from the onslaught of diasporic consciousness, which creates a divided or fragmented consciousness. Though expatriate writers do realize that they are products of two or more seemingly irreconcilable cultures, which gives them a sense of rootlessness and alienation, they have engineered ways and means to encounter, master and transcend the limitations imposed on them by the diasporic consciousness. Among such writers, Sujata Bhatt is preeminent.
A poet of the Indian diaspora, Sujata Bhatt transforms her personal experiences in the three continents-Asia, America and Europe-into an imaginative experience, which fructifies into a concrete, lived experience that changes her perception of differences among cultures. A study of her poems shows that her experience of diaspora initially unsettles her. But through an intense quest for a wholesome identity, Sujata Bhatt’s poetry records the process of self-recovery and self-preservation through an act of transformation.
This quest, ultimately, results in the recognition of the rich multiplicity of life and leads to a celebration of pluralism, which acknowledges and happily accommodates the existence of groups with different ethnic, religious, or political backgrounds within one society. Sujata Bhatt, through her poetry, advocates and encourages the integration of people of different countries, ethnic groups and religions. The proposed paper will study a few germane poems of Sujata Bhatt to foreground the fact that she has seen multiculturalism as a condition which leads her not to a mere passive toleration of diversity but to an active acceptance of it. The paper will trace the evolution from conflict through‘re-cognition’ to acceptance and celebration.