This paper focuses upon the use of the language of terror in Hari Kunzru’s Transmission and Chetan Bhagat’s One Night @ the Call Center. It identifies how both these novels apply the language of terror to the actions of exploited Indian workers and considers how this use of the term terror works as a critique of the patterns of contemporary labour within a global economy. It suggests that the proliferating use of terrorism as a discourse of dissent functions to mask the structures of power and privilege. It goes on to propose that both these fictional texts present characters who appear to use terrorist acts as a means of resisting the certainty of such structures. However, by comparing the strategies that are designated as terrorism, this paper indicates a different relationship to such structures in these two texts. It argues that while Kunzru depicts terrorism as a radical rewriting of the implementation of contemporary technology, Bhagat’s novel conforms to contemporary Indian nationalism by representing terrorism as part of India’s national struggle against US economic dominance. In contrast to Transmission, Bhagat’s novel appears to propose a relocation of power within the structures of international capitalism rather than a revolution in the very structures themselves.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Postcolonial Writing 05/07/2010, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17449855.2010.482377
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