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Bharati Mukherjee – Immigrant writer in the United States

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In the 1990s, I had interviewed Bharati Mukherjee for In-dia Abroad. It must have been around 7 O’clock in San Francisco. She was watching a basketball game featuring her “champion” in those days, the Nigerian player, Akeem Olajuwon, then of the Huston Astros. She was expecting my call. We were going to talk about her latest novel, The Holder of the World. This novel was a departure from her other nov-els because she was known primarily as an immigrant writer writing about immigrants in North America. But here was a story addressing not only the centuries-long encounter of colonizer and colonized between Britain and India but also adding to Mukherjee’s ongoing examination of America. The book is about a certain Beigh Masters telling the story of an American woman of the seventeenth century. She is Han-nah Easton, who, escaping from the puritanical tyranny of her family, travels to distant India and becomes the mistress of a Hindu Raja in South India. He bequeaths to her a blue diamond known as the “Emperor’s Tear.”

 

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