Book Launch: Rebels, Traitors, Peacemakers
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), 6th February, 4-6 PM, Delhi
Rebels, Traitors, Peacemakers:
True Stories of Love and Conflict in Indian-Chinese Relationships
- Penguin Random House, January 2024
‘You shouldn’t be with a Chinese girl…that should be my girl,’ a man in Singapore allegedly said this to a Chinese-Indian couple as he spat towards them. In a world brimming with such prejudice and cultural tensions, a remarkable phenomenon emerges: nearly one in five marriages in the USA and Singapore are now interracial. “Rebels, Traitors, Peacemakers,” explores this phenomenon through real stories of Indian-Chinese relationships, delving into the love and turmoil in such lives, where cultural boundaries are shattered and hearts are forged against all odds.
Spanning across Asia, Europe, and the Americas, these heartfelt accounts transcend borders, age, and sexual orientation to illuminate the unfiltered reality of cross-cultural unions. Families disown their own flesh and blood, individuals get locked and beaten up, and online trolls attack relentlessly. Married life offers no respite – cultural expectations breed misunderstandings, life seems hopeless in front of the unfamiliar letters on the washing machine, and differing parenting styles fuel frequent arguments over raising kids. The couples often ask themselves – why did I make my life so complicated?
And yet, the featured stories reveal the couple’s deep admiration for each other and a steely commitment to sustain their syncretic relationship. The Chinese father-in-law now dances Indian style. Strict vegetarians start cooking meat. While their love first appeared as treacherous rebellion, its endurance transforms lives and communities, forging a path towards unity in our fragmented world.
Journey alongside these bold protagonists, who through their triumphs and struggles, illuminate the intricacies of human nature and our universal yearning for connection.
This book spotlighted the dynamics of Indian–Chinese mixed marriages, mostly between Indian men and Chinese women. Of necessary microscopic detail, it opens a significant window into such marriages from the inside out, as partners speak out about their experiences and challenges not just between themselves but between their families and society at large. An important resource for scholars, and a highly readable book for the curious in the increasingly multiracial, multicultural societies we live in.
-Saras Manickam ― Winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Asia)