Just as is with most of the plays written by Stoppard, many questions can arise regarding what is Indian Ink is all about. The plays tackle a few themes as well as issues surrounding culture, which is a basis for identity…
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The novel teams up with ideas that are fascinating as well as characters that revolve around an English woman who was visiting the subcontinent during the years that were yearning in the British Empire dominance (Davis 33). British and Indian definition of Identity The British people define Indian identity in terms of the behavior and culture the Indians display. For instance, the nude picture is a representation of Indian culture as evidenced by Flora when she says, “this one is for yourself…I’m pleased” (Stoppard 74). The picture is nude to represent Nirad’s tradition as well as a revelation that he had stopped aping the English. However, Nirad meant to please Flora who had always told him to stick up for himself and stop doing everything the English do (Stoppard 43). This causes a cultural clash because Flora wants Nirad to be himself. Nirad wants to impress Flora using his knowledge of English culture and of England. Using oils in painting was English and not Indian; therefore, Nirad had to make the painting nude in order to be Indian. Thus, the British defined Indian culture based on following Indian roots and keeping away from English culture. Traditionally, Fosters which is a passage to Scotts and India the Raj quarter, the play examines experience in the colonial field by focusing on the relationship between given couples. Throughout the play, Flora’s and Nirad’s relationship changes from being a formal one to being an intimate one. Their relation brings in major points of culture clash and tension too. Identity as displayed by the Characters Identity is given much attention throughout the play, especially as can be traced in different levels but it is clear in the relationship between Flora and Nirad. Stoppard chose an original way of presenting the identity in their relationship because he represents them using the art. In this respect, his idea of “skill without imagination,” is craftsmanship and offers numerous helpful objects, e.g., wickerwork, picnic, and baskets. Imaginations devoid of skill yield modern art. This is interesting because it reveals his view on the art as well as power of the human imagination, which should interpret and perceive the arts as it was done by the main characters (Kelly 50). The British as well as Indian perceptions during the colonial past are depicted in close parallel with the perceptions of the refashioned post-colonial. The reflection of Stoppard on the Anglo-Indian hybrid identity as well as combined cultures, i.e, Anglo and Indian in nature are traceable in the vastly Anglicized contemporary nature of Anish who opposes Mrs. Swan concerning imperial history topics and articulates the dominance of Indian culture, although he states, “England is my home now…I have spent half my life here" (Stoppard 18). His spouse is an English lady who is a contemporary deconstructive style painter, not like his father. Among the most conflicting viewpoint regarding the Empire’s past start to arise when Anish states, "The first War of Independence" or "The Rising of 1857", which Mrs Swan calls "The Mutiny" ( Stoppard 17). The author offers a similar voice to the two viewpoints as a somewhat heated contest on imperial history follows. An exemplar regarding Mrs Swan’s opinions is, "We were your Romans, you know. ...We might have been your Normans" (Stoppard 17), after which Anish persuasively puts forth his viewpoint.
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