Losing Trust. Altaf Tyrewala’s <i>No God in Sight</i> and Githa Hariharan’s <i>In Times of Siege</i> as Threat Communication


  • Sandra Heinen


This article discusses two Indian English novels, Githa Hariharan’s In Times of Siege and Altaf Tyrewala’s No God in Sight, first published in 2003 and 2005, respectively, both of which deal with the rise of Hindu nationalism in India at the turn of the millennium. The novels can be described as ‘crisis narratives’ in the sense that they represent in narrative form what the authors perceive as a serious political crisis in which trust is lost. Since both texts deal with the crisis not in retrospect, but at a moment when it is still unfolding, the texts can be regarded more specifically as instances of ‘threat communication,’ a communicative act that identifies a threat to an existing order. Although both novels negotiate the same social crisis, they speak from different vantage points and foreground distinctive aspects and perspectives. Thus, trust, its absence, and its contraposition, distrust, are shown to play different roles in the two narratives.