Framing Selves: Home, Gender and Politics in Imtiaz Dharker



Imtiaz Dharker, South Asian poetry, home, belonging, surveillance, State, women


Imtiaz Dharker is an important voice for South Asian diasporic poetry. Her poetry enunciates the challenges which various marginalized communities face in their quotidian dealings with society and the State. This article attempts to read her poems and drawings from two collections of poetry – I Speak for the Devil (2001) and The Terrorist at my Table (2006) – to highlight the internal and external conflictual negotiations involved for women in the formation of resistant selves that aim to critique gendered, societal and political impositions that are harshly imposed on women. Her poetry consciously enacts a politics of reframing and representing selves, and expresses the questions and possibilities that inhere in this process. The emergence of a productive instability in her poems charts avenues and modes for her poetic subjects to rediscover agency in their private and public lives. The article shows how Dharker’s poetry invests the future with potential for the emergence of political selves.

Author Biography

Vaibhav Parel, Delhi University, Delhi, India

Vaibhav Iype Parel teaches English and other literatures at Hansraj College, University of Delhi, India. He is interested in South Asian Anglophone crime fiction, postcolonial writing in English and diasporic fiction.