A Diasporic Study of Cultural Identity in Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced and American Dervish
This research studies Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced and American Dervish to scrutinize PakMuslim-American hyphenated ambivalent assimilationist diaspora identity in the complicated sociopolitical institutionalized mechanism functioning behind the distorted version of global Pak-Muslim identity, which is struggling against scripted stereotypes in prejudiced American society, a place which gives no space to diaspora existence to hold on native cultural values and to retain ethno-religious profile. Western hegemonic politics of identity is not just limited to misrepresentation of Pak-Muslim identity. The present research also examines how it regulates a disfigured social profile of Pak-Muslim diaspora by managing a reflexive autonomy which entails a problematized social recognition of Pak-Muslim diaspora identity and a loathing expression of self-recognition and resultantly ensures denouncement of native identity and pushes diaspora towards the maintenance of an assimilationist Americanized identity to escape the tragedy specific to Pak-Muslim diaspora most specifically in post-9/11 scenario. But maintenance of an essentialist or monolithic identity cannot be simplified to apparent Americanized identity as the in-between state of diaspora existence by no means let it develop an essentialist Americanized identity and not even hardliner Pak-Muslim tendency works to retain its originality but it ends in a fractured and fragmented identity that keeps oscillating between two extremes to make sense of its essence or existence. Both texts hit deep into the core of the Pak-Muslim diaspora’s fragmented psyche to narrate the diasporic state of being struck between dual cultural affiliation and plurality of identity by depicting the inconsistencies it possesses. This study manages to approach the Pak-Muslim diaspora identity contextualized in the background of 9/11 and the pre-9/11 Western notion of Islamophobia in terms of fundamentalism and explores it on the dual grounds of self and social recognition. The analysis, far from any notion of fixity, manifests it, as a spectrum between extreme eastern and western divides.