The IUP Journal of English Studies
Traumatic Realism in Films About the Nepali Diaspora

Article Details
Pub. Date : June, 2021
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES80621
Author Name : Sireesha Telugu
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 12



The paper analyzes the depiction of Nepali Gulf migrants across several documentaries. Using Michael Rothberg's "traumatic realism" as a framework, the paper identifies three forms of Nepali trauma: Physical trauma that documents the migrant laborers' living conditions and its effect on their corporeal reality; Psychological and Emotional trauma proceeding from the above, and also their sense of failure and distance from their families back home; and Financial trauma of the poor economic status of the Nepalese. The paper serves as an introduction to a diaspora that is rarely studied in diaspora studies.


How do you feel like coming back to Nepal?

It feels like I am born again after death. . . . From my experience, I wish not only me, but others in the family and siblings would not go to Gulf countries. (Gefont 2014)

We cannot play in stadiums where people lost their lives. They built stadiums with blood. (Journeyman Pictures 2015a)

The above quotes from the documentary films encapsulate the troubled lives of the Nepali diaspora. The sentiment visible here is not that of the glorified diaspora but of one which is marked by pain, agony, trauma, and often, even death. As one of the wealthiest countries globally, Qatar is hiring labor to reconstruct their nation with dazzling stadiums, hotels, and opulent buildings. The burden of building these world-class structures is upon a migrant laborforce, especially the migrants from Nepal, producing a traumatized diaspora.

This paper introduces select documentary films about such a Nepali diaspora and offers a mode of reading them. Neglected in academic studies of the global diaspora, the lives of Nepali migrants have not also produced much material in terms of the stories of their lives. The paper hopes to fill the gap by not only introducing a niche genre-documentary films on Nepali migrants in Qatar-but also developing a framework for interpreting the films.


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