They are known as the turbaned tide. Novelist Diya Das explores the journey made by Indian immigrants from the subcontinent to America’s shores in Evolution of an Identity. Weaving the narrative as historical fiction, the novel focuses on a young girl who uncovers the American roots of her Indian family tree.
The story unfolds in three venues. The protagonist discovers a Californian ancestor, a scholar-turned-farmworker who participated in the 1917-18 movement to gain Indian independence from Great Britain. She then follows the voyage of an educated aunt who immigrated to Chicago in the 1970s to work as a newspaper columnist. Finally, the narrator explores how to merge her Indian and American identities as she attends a Hindu festival in New York City.
The novel is filled with rich cultural details, solid historical references and fitting literary allusions. Das’ research ended up taking her on a personal journey. The narrator’s odyssey mirrored that of the author. Where facts and imagination did not create a coherent story, Das employed elements of her own life as a first generation Indian American immigrant.
About the author
Diya Das was born in India on 24th September,1991. She is currently a senior at Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School at Kingston in northeast Pennsylvania. She lives in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania with her parents.
A National AP Scholar and a member of Johns Hopkins University’s Study of Exceptional Talent program since 2004, Diya attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences in the summer of 2007. She is currently the co-editor-in-chief of her school newspaper, The Opinator, and a member of her school’s chorale and orchestra. In her free time, Diya figure skates and plays piano and violin.