ASAM20--lec9--fix - Lecture 9 THE ASIAN INDIAN MIGRATION...

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Lecture 9 THE ASIAN INDIAN MIGRATION EXPERIENCE Before we talk about the Asian Indian migration to the US, it is important to qualify certain important points. One is that the majority of American society tend to see South Asians as one monolithic group as Indians, However India did not become a political state until independence in 1947. Rather, South Asians see themselves fragmented and differentiated by nationality as Indians or Hindustanis, as Pakistanis, as Bangladeshis and further differentiated by regional domicile and ancestry as Punjabis, Gujaratis, Bengalis, as Tamils, and even further differentiated by religion as Muslims, Hindus, Christian, Sikhs, and Buddhists, and even differentiated by the caste system in India. Since most of South Asians are rural and farmers, there's even the distinction between the urbanized, western educated South Asian and their rural less educated counterparts. So when we think of Indian taxi drivers in Berkeley driving the taxi cabs called Khalsa taxi company as Indians, the drivers actually see themselves as Punjabi Sikhs different from other South Asians. When we think of the Indians owning most of the Motels in California or along University Avenue, the Indians actually consider themselves as Gujaratis from the Kaira district in Gujarats, the same Gujarats who went to East and South Africa. These Gujaratis were the Patidars who were farmers and were very industrious and from farming they went on to other occupations like trade and manufacture. Among the Patidars, the preeminent family was the Patel clan where the Patels became the middle class in the diaspora entering businesses, law and other professions. Hence the motel industry is mostly run by the Patel family originally from the Gujarat. Finally when we visit New York City and hail a cab, the driver is actually not Indian, but Pakistani speaking either Punjabi, but mostly Urdu. In sum our perception of the Indian or South Asian, is not the perception of the people themselves. They see themselves as a very diverse group where social groupings are organized by region, language, religion, and caste. Second, the overseas Indian is often look at on the basis of certain stereotypes. In America, the dominant image is that of the entrepreneur: that Indian liquor store owner as seen in the movie "Booty Call" as two Punjabis give advice to two young sex-starved brothers on which condom to buy, the Indian entrepreneur in The Simpsons, the singing taxi driver in the Woody Allen musical, and our own perceptions in Berkeley of Indians as "taxi-drivers, copy store owners, and motel operators." However, the Indian self image is that of a middle class individual or as a professional who are doctors, engineers, scientists, and lawyers. According to the 1990 census, over 60% of Indian males in the US have college degree. Many are doctors, scientists, and engineers. Many are working in the Silicon valley like the man who started Hotmail who is Bengali. The real image of the Indian is somewhere between the two.images. Finally, the
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ASAM20--lec9--fix - Lecture 9 THE ASIAN INDIAN MIGRATION...

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