Concept of 'Home' in Mississippi Masala

Anna Kuruvilla
Post Colonial Studies
Dr. Abhaya N
The concept of Home in Mississippi Masala
‘Home’ is not easy to define. It is limited to its physicality, the geographical boundaries one draws around it. The ‘homeland’, then becomes an imaginative space; a space that encompasses very real ideas about race, ethnicity, culture and politics. The notion of ‘home’ underpins the general understanding of Diaspora. The notion of ‘home’ is much more complex. We cannot talk about one singular ‘home’ in diaspora; what mainly characterizes diaspora is the multiplicity of ‘homes’ and the ‘multiple belongings’. As Wendy Walters says, “The notion of diaspora can represent a multiple, plurilocal, constructed location of home, thus avoiding ideas of fixity, boundedness, and nostalgic exclusivity traditionally implied by the word home.”  
In the movie Mississipi Masala, by Mira Nair, one can observe the feeling of homelessness that two main protagonists feel. Jay and his daughter, Mina, feel lost and confused about their part in the society and home they have built for themselves in Mississippi. In the start of the movie, Jay has made his sense of belonging very clear as he tells Okelo, his childhood friend, “Okelo, this (Uganda) is my home!” Jay is being forcefully removed from the country where he was born and lived and felt home at. Before he boards the flight that departs from Campala, Jay can be seen turning towards his country with a wistful expression on his face. Jay, even though being an Indian, has always considered himself “Ugandan first, Indian second” until informed by his friend that “Africa is for Africans- Black Africans.” When his wife asks him about Okelo, he says with a sense of resignation, “Gone home I suppose.” This probably shows how he has already considered what Okelo said to be true- that Africa no longer belongs to him.
It is interesting to note that everytime Jay insists that Uganda is his home, he says it is because he was born there. In a...