Bharati Mukherjee

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Bharati Mukherjee (July 27, 1940 – January 28, 2017) was an Indian American writer and English professor emerita at the University of California, Berkeley.


  • It meant that anyone with a brown face in cities like Toronto, Vancouver was fair game for physical harassment as well as verbal harassment on the street. And so, you know, there were incidents every day. And I was a victim of many such incidents of not being served in stores or being roughed up by teenagers in blue jeans overalls in subway - on subway platforms or being, you know, thrown out of lobbies of fancy hotels if my white husband wasn't near me or being given secondary examination in airports or - racial profiling…
  • I totally consider myself an American writer, and that has been my big battle: to get to realize that my roots as a writer are no longer, if they ever were, among Indian writers, but that I am writing about the territory about the feelings, of a new kind of pioneer here in America. I’m the first among Asian immigrants to be making this distinction between immigrant writing and expatriate writing. Most Indian writers prior to this, have still thought of themselves as Indians, and their literary inspiration, has come from India. India has been the source, and home. Whereas I’m saying, those are wonderful roots, but now my roots are here and my emotions are here in North America…
  • I have tried very hard as a novelist to say, "Novels are about individuals and especially larger than life individuals." My protagonists are very feisty characters. And, you know, that there is no one unified story about the immigrant experience or the immigrant passage and what I hope I've done in DESIRABLE DAUGHTERS is show how fractured the responses to that whole odyssey of moving, pulling up your roots from your original country and re-rooting yourself in an adopted country is.
  • I have been murdered and reborn at least three times; the very correct young woman I was trained to be, and was very happy being, is very different from the politicized, shrill, civil rights activist I was in Canada, and from the urgent writer that I have become in the last few years in the United States. I can't stop. It's a compulsive act for me. It's a kind of salvation, and the only thing that prevents me from being a Joyce Carol Oates, and I'm not talking about quality, but just that need to create, is schedule.

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