Impossible Desires
1. For an analysis of the racist ideology espoused by the British politician Enoch
Powell in the 1960s, see Anna Marie Smith, New Right Discourse on Race and Sexuality.
2. See Ian Iqbal Rashid, ‘‘Passage to England,’’ for a discussion of My Beautiful
Laundrette’s reception by the ‘‘cultural left’’ in the UK in the 1980s.
3. In its most general sense, the term ‘‘communal’’ is used here and throughout the
book to reference notions of community and collectivity; more specifically, my use of
‘‘communal’’ is meant to evoke the term ‘‘communalism,’’ which in the South Asian
context names a politics of religious nationalism and the persecution of religious minor-
ities, particularly on the part of the Hindu right.
4. The category of ‘‘South Asian’’ encompasses populations that originated from
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Annanya Bhattacharjee
provides a useful gloss on the term, which gained increasing currency in the 1980s and
1990s within progressive communities in the United States in order to signal a broad
politics of coalition that rejected the narrow nationalisms of mainstream South Asian
diasporic organizations. Bhattacharjee notes that despite its progressive valence, ‘‘South
Asian’’ as an identity marker remains a deeply problematic term, given its origins in area
studies and cold war rhetoric, as well as its capacity to evade questions of Indian regional
hegemony. See ‘‘The Public/Private Mirage,’’ 309–10. Despite these limitations, I find
the category ‘‘South Asian’’ invaluable in tracing the lines of commonality and di√er-
ence between various experiences of racialization of diasporic communities within
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