Diaspora : An Overview

Etymological Meaning:

The word "diaspora," was originally coined from Greek term, ‘diaspora’ which means dispersion or scattering.

History of the term “Diaspora”:

Jewish people after the Babylonian captivity of 586 B.C returned from exile to
V. S. Naipaul
Jerusalem, Jewish communities continued to exist throughout much of the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern world, including Babylon, Egypt, Syria, Greece, and Rome. "Diaspora' referred to the people of that dispersion. The term was eventually extended in this century to refer to other peoples who are dispersed to regions outside their original homeland.

Modern Meaning:

Diaspora people find themselves restricting, expanding, mixing and matching their new and old homes, their new and old lives and identities. It is study of what is taken with one, of what is left behind and of what is transformed.

Salman Rushdie
Characteristics of Diasporic Literature:

Diasporic literature could be examined using several key features:

1) It is based on the idea of a homeland.

2) Diasporic literature provides narratives of harsh journeys undertaken for various reasons.

3) Diaspora provides accounts of another “sense of place” away from home land.

4) One could read how “homeland-made” protagonists behave in a far of land either adopting or rejecting new cultural codes of their new “sense of place”.

Therefore, when reading diasporic literature, we can learn why and how some people choose to migrate to another country either voluntarily or due to other reasons, and how they get used to living condition.

Diasporic Writers:

V.S. Naipaul, Salman Rushdie, M.G. Vassanji, Shani Mootoo, Bharati Mukherjee, David
Bharati Mukherjee
Dabydeen, Rohinton Mistry , Hanif Kureishi, Jhumpa Lahiri etc.

Diasporic Writings:

Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses (1988) ,The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999), Grimus (1974), Midnight‘s Children (1981),

Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Interpreter of Maladies.


Diaspora, is therefore, a scattering of the seed in the wind, the fruits of which are a new creation and a fight to survive. Diaspora is a journey towards self-realization, self-recognition, self-knowledge and self-definition.

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