Proceedings of The 5th International Conference on Research in Behavioral and Social Science
The Janissaries for Colonial Power: Mimicry and Ambivalence in the novels The English Patient and The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Rafique, R and Abas, N
This paper aspires to explore the concept of postcolonial identity as Janissaries which is a product of mimicry. Janissaries were the well-known troops of Ottoman Empire and were famous for their unsullied loyalties towards the Muslim empire despite the fact they were Christians, and they fought against Christian for the protection of Muslim empire. This kind of obligation from the oppressed colonized is the result of their quest for “acceptance” and “adoption”. This is comprehendedin the character of Kip from The English Patient and Chengez from The Reluctant Fundamentalist who copy the colonizer and act like the janissaries of the colonial power. The process of mimicry is central for Bhabha who claims that the process of mimicry doesn’t only “reproduce” and replicate the colonizer but it is also a “menace” for the colonizer (86). Therefore, in the quest of imitation, an “alterity or otherness” is also created because mimicry is “almost the same but not quite”(86). The study has explored the “ambivalent mimicry” in Chengez and Kip through textual analysis. It has shown that these ambivalent characters leave their countries and get recruited or work for the colonizer’s benefits against their own countries. The colonized is obliged due to his inferiority complex and adopts the process of mimicry to be accepted. Moreover, the study has also explored the “corruption of janissaries in Ottoman Empire” which resonates with the ambivalent identity of Kip and Chengez. Their rebellion is shown as a “menace” for the colonial power.
Keywords: Postcolonial identity; Ottoman Empire; colonized.