{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

week 4 reading 5

week 4 reading 5 - Necessity I 0 longer an American 1y...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–11. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 2
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 4
Background image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 6
Background image of page 7

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 8
Background image of page 9

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 10
Background image of page 11
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: Necessity I 0 longer an American 1y children? We cannot ntry. Humility and in- or choose to live a life in a gilded cage? Ob- ridges burnt behind.”13 is passed the 1924 1m? :as to peoples ineligible provided the basis for Xsian-Indian men seek- lndownership to Asian California Alien Land rnia Attorney General ) revoke Asian-Indian hind decision, the Sac- . nent of the land law e brings Hindu holders ants of Hindus, within :i-alien land law. There such immigrants from lian in California sadly at out of the country.” 1s had begun a return t back permanently in tee in Hong Kong, he ;a and arrived in- San road near Sacramento, :d land in Petaluma to flock of 14,000 chick- s timely, for it became aerated enormous de- d a one-way ticket. for lsian Indians returned ship here underscored British rule. The inde- dents and expatriates, 1 the United States. In ersity of Washington, ,1 later, Asian-Indian in: “The Tide of Turbans'” _ I pl ' 301 tellectuals in San Francisco organized theGhadr (meaning “revolu- tion” or “mutiny”) party. They disseminated, their revolutionary message through their weekly newspaper, Ghadr, and visited Asian- Indian communities in Sacramento, Fresno, and Stockton, urging. their countrymen to support the nationalist cause. “Most of the In- dian students,” noted an immigration official in 1914, “are infected with seditious ideas. Even Sikhs of the laboring class have not escaped ' their influence.” The Ghadr movembnt inspired nationalism among Asian Indians in America. In their protest songs, they denounced British imperial domination of their “mother country.” Alas, dear country, to what condition hast thou been reduced! Your whole shape has become deformed, your downfall is near. Your whole house has been destroyed and the Goddess of Wealth looted. Dear Mother, you are continuOusly, robbed by the British. The message of Ghadr had a particular appeal to Asian Indians in the United States, for they saw a relationship between the degradation of their homeland and their ill treatment here. In another protest song, the nationalists asked. Some “push us around, some curse us. Where is your splendor and prestige today? . The whole world calls us black thieves, The whole world calls us “coolie.” Why doesn’t our flag fly anywhere? Why do we feel low and humiliated? Why is there no respect for us in the whole world? ‘ But an independent and great India would bring respect for them as 'Asian Indians in America. In the fall of 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, some four hundred Asian Indians left America to par- ticipate in Ghadr activities in India. The uprising failed, and the. movement quickly collapsed. The Ghadr base in the United States was effectively destroyed in 1917 when the federal government, under British pressure, prosecuted and imprisoned several Asian Indians for conspiracy to violate the neutrality laws. 16 A Community of “Uncles” While Asian-Indian immigrants were interested in political devel- opments in their homeland, most of them were'mainly concerned about their condition in America. They had come with high hopes. 3 oz - _ I ' Necessity ' “The Indian journals have been full of stories of the splendid op- portunities to make money by ordinary work,” reported the Reverend E. M. Wherry., “Men, receiving from 5 to 8 cents a day in India, were told that by emigrating to America they might become suddenly rich. . . . There are now thousands of these Hindu peasants who have ' pushed their way into America.” They had hoped they would soon make their fortunes by working in the fruit=orchards and sawmills at from seventy—five cents to two dollars a day.” Most of the Asian-Indian immigrants had been farmers or farm laborers in the Punjab. Eighty percent came from the fat, or farmer caste. Shortly after their arrival, however, many Asian Indians were first employed as railroad workers. Seven hundred were reportedly involved in the construction of the Three-Mile Spring Garden Tunnel of the Western Pacic Railroad. In Tacoma, Washington, Asian In- dians were used as replacements for Italian railroad strikers. “For miles their'turbaned figures may be seen wielding crow-bar or shovel along the tracks,” the Forum reported in 1910. “Hundreds of them are encountered" in the mighty lumber-mills buried 1n the thick fir forests along the Columbia River. ”13 ' Increasingly Asian Indians found themselves driven from em- ployment in the railroad and lumber industries by violent white work- ers, and they moved south, riding the Southern Pacific Railroad into California, where they found employment in agriculture. “Every train that comes from the North and passes this city,” commented the Red , Bluff News in 1907 in a report on the movement of Asian Indians into the State, “has from one to twenty and often more of this new pest.” Many California farmers, however, were eager to hire Asian Indians. The Chinese Exclusion Act had prohibited the entry of 'Chinese workers, and the Gentlemen’ 5 Agreement had cut off the supply of Japanese labor, so farmers turned to Asian Indians to reduce the labor shortage. “With the number of Japanese and Chinese la- borers diminishing as a resultof the restrictions placed upon the - immigration of these classes,”-observed Immigration Commission Superintendent H. A. Millis in 1912, “the East Indians with freer immigration might fall heir to the kinds of work which have been done in part by these other Asiatics; for employers are inclined to follow the line of least resistance in finding a supply of labor, and competition between races engaged in unskilled work apparently depends more upon the rate of wages than upon efficiency. ” Indeed, farmers paid Asian-Indian workers from twenty-five to fifty cents less per day than japanese laborers and used them to keep wages down.19 “The Tide of Turbans” In northern California; in the Newcastle fruit distrit hundred compatriots picked Indian farm laborers quickly Icy, working on fruit farms Willows, and Chico. They :11 they worked in the grape a lands for new fieids. Some 1 the Tulare citrus farms. Fr01 entered the Imperial Valley, ton. A grower told an inter for cleaning our ditches. Th gotten too old. You can’t get into any of this common w1 this work.”-0 _ Asian-Indian farm labc to fiftylaborers in each gro1 most fluent in English, receii also paid'a wage by the em. for the workers, negotiated shelter, and served as gener: Punjabi farm laborers crops; they also performed the year — pruning in Decei March through May, and. £1 The “turbaned” workers “ ' Annette Thackwell Johnson from the melon and cotton the fig orchards and vineyar ramento.” The Asian Indiar year because they contracte: ' grapes or fruit trees, plantin; fruit. “During the grape pic in Fresno County,” a Stoc} harvesting there will be ab during the cotter: season i1 weather 18 very hot), they 31 Traveling in gangs from from ten to fourteen hours type of crop. “We got up describing work in the asp: Necessity f the splendid op- orted the Reverend its a day in India, t become suddenly peasants who have ithey would soon ards and sawmills en farmers or farm the jar, or farmer \sian Indians were :d were reportedly ing Garden Tunnel .hington, Asian In~ 'oad strikers. “For crow-bar or shovel Hundreds of them led in the thick fir s driven from em— riolent white work- icific' Railroad into ilture. “Every train ommented the Red , it of Asian Indians 1 more of this new :ager to hire Asian hired the entry of ‘nt had cut off the LII Indians to reduce :se and Chinese la- .s placed upon the 'ation Commission Indians with freer k which have been rers are inclined to Lpply of labor, and i .work apparently efficiency.” Indeed, .ve to fifty cents less :eep wages down.19 “The Tide of Turbans” - 303 In northern California, five'hundred Puniabis initially worked in the Newcastle fruit district east of Sacramento in 1908, and three hundred compatriots picked fruit in the nearby Vaca Valley. Asian- Indian farm laborers quickly spread throughout the Sacramento Val- ley, working on fruit farms and rice farms near MarySVille, Tudor, Willows, and Chico. They moved into the San joaquin Valley, where they worked in the grape and celery fields and where they cleared lands for new fields. Some six hundred of them were employed on the Tulare citrus farms. From the San Joaquin Valley, Asian Indians entered the Imperial Valley, gathering cantaloupes and picking cot— ton. A grower told an interviewer in 1930:"‘We are using Hindus for cleaning our ditches. The Japs won’t do it and the Chinese have gotten too old. You can’t get the younger generations of these peoples into any of this common work. But the Hindus are very efficient at this work.”20 ‘ - Asian-Indian farm laborers were organized into gangs —- three to fifty laborers in each group. The gang leader, usually the member mo'st fluent in English, received a commission frOm the gang and was also paid. a wage by the employer; in return, he found employment for the workers, negotiated the terms of labor, arranged board and shelter, and served as general supervisor. ‘ Punjabi farm laborers followed the harvesting of the different ‘ crops; they also performed various tasks, depending on the time of the year — pruning in December and January, irrigation work from March through May, and. fruit picking from July throughOctober. The “turbaned” workers “were continually on the wing,” reported Annette Thac-kweil Johnson for the Independent in 1922, “coming from the melon and cotton fields in the Imperial Valley, en route to . the fig orchards and vineyards of Fresno, or the rice fields near Sac- ramento.” The Asian Indians moved around a great deal during the year because they contracted farm work for cultivating and pruning ' grapes or fruit trees, planting and harvesting rice, picking grapes and‘ fruit. “During the grape picking season great numbers of them are in Fresno County,” a Stockton lawyer said. “At-the time of rice harvesting there will be about a thousand of them near Willows; during the cottOn season in Imperial Valley (this being when the weather is very hot), they go to that place for work.”21 Traveling in gangs from farm to farm, Punjabi laborers worked from ten to fOurteen hours a day, depending on the season and the type of crop. “We got up at half past three,” said one of them describing work in the asparagus fields, “and before the first faint 304 I - ‘ . Necessity daylight was visible we were ready for work.” The Workers were given miles and miles of rows. Cutting asparagus was monotonous and repetitious. “As soon as I had knelt down with my knife and cut out one head and put it in the box, there would be another one sprouting before me. Then I would have to st00p again, and it was this continuous picking and stooping that made it a terrible form of exercise.” All day long it was F‘walk and bend, bend and walk,” from half past four in the morning until seven in the evening; Periodically the boss — “an American foreman” -— would come into the aspar-I agus fields andyell, “Hurry up! Hurry up!”22 But the workers initiated ways to set their own pace. “We had an extraordinary boss,” “an'Italian constantly swearing and spit- ting,” an Asian Indian reCalled. The boss thought that he could dis- cipline his workers by shouting at them, and so they devised “a very clever trick.” “ stopped shouting we relaxed our speed." After shouting continuously for a half hour or so, the boss would leave the fields; the workers _ would then slow down while vigilantly watching for his return. “We nearly always heard him before we saw him for he was noisily drunk half the day and the other half he fretted. because he was not drunk.” While picking fruit, workers would “disappear” into the trees and rest. “From our tree tops we would see the boss coming ’way off in the distance and when he reached us he found us working very hard.” Sometimes the Asian Indians worked in the fields alongside Japanese ' farm laborers. Tensions developed as the two groups were pitted against each other. The Japanese taunted the Sikhs as “English slaves,” remembered Tuly Singh Johl, and also called them “poles,” referring to their tailness. But, working side by side, Japanese and Asian Indians also came to realize their shared brotherhood as work- ers. On one occasion, a Punjabi saw the boss in the distance ap- proaching and said to the Japanese co-workers: “Boss is coming, hurry'up.” And one of the Japanese replied: “Hurry np-o, hurry up- 0 nogood, work too much, all work finished; our job gone. Work slow, and job last, savvy?” The Asian—Indian worker understood. So between the two of them “the work that should have taken a week lasted a fortnight?“ - ' ' . Another way to extract more Wages for their- work was to ma- nipulate the account books. The gang leader would list in his book the names of sixty men instead of the fifty that actually worked, and he Would ask the boss to pay for the work of sixty men. Or the Asian-Indian bookkeeper and gang leader would conspire to, alter Whenever he shouted we worked hard and as he _ if A Chinese opera in San Frani theater, sitting in a seg A Chinese lat Chinese laundryrn no laundries i' ung in Merced, California, . “In America, we don’t We raditional clothing . . . We wear ourtraditional clothing iecial days. and I will make -_ hiidren only one set of cloth, 0 by Chuong Chung. rlssei, forced to he “strangers heir adopted country. “The Tide of Turbans” the figures in the books. “Whenever the bookkeeper said thirty [men], _ the overseer translated thirty into forty,” a worker revealed. “The bookkeeper would then make a profound bow as if the overseer’s word were law, and there was no overseer on earthwho could resist that bow. This form of cheating we later on called ‘bonus’ and we gave the-name of ‘bonus monger’ to our bookkeeper.”24 Camping near the fields, Asian-Indian migrant "Workers often slept under the stars or in tents. They were also housed in bunkhouses, barns, and, sheds; twelve men could be found crowded into a single. room, sleeping on the floor with. blankets. Their religion determined their diet. The Muslims were not allowed to eat pork, and as a rule they would not purchase meat that had been prepared by other hands, which usually limited their meat to poultry and lamb butchered by themselves. The Hindus were vegetarians and usually had their own cooks in the camps. The Sikhs subsisted chiefly upon vegetables, fruit, - milk, and rotiltortilla-lik‘e cakes of bread). Individual workers some- times drank from one to two quarts of milk a day. Coming from a section of India where neither vegetable oil nor lard was commonly used, they consumed large quantities of butter, or gbi, amounting to at least fifteen pounds per person monthly. “Ghi bunanda salna,” “It’s the butter that makes the food,” they said. The daughter of a Korean farmer in California remembered how much the Sikh laborers enjoyed their butter: “They would sit around a large pot of melted butter. and garlic, dipping tortillas'made with flour and water into it.” The Asian Indians liked their foods heavily spiced with curry (basar), coriander seed (dbania), cumin seed (zim), cayenne (Ia! mirth), and black pepper (kali mirch). In one of the camps, an Asian Indian told a visiting lady: “We eat no meat, that is, no beef - the cow is sacred.” “But you drink milk?” she snapped skeptically. “And your cow gives you the milk!” “Yes,” he countered, “we drink our mother’s milk also, but we do not eat her!”35 The gangs were, according to Bruce La Brack, “democratic bod— ies whose members shared a c'ommon religion, language, social back- ground, set of values,.and sense of purpose. Traditional patterns of leadership and cooperation as well as social distinctions found in the rural Punjab were frequently recreated within these work groups.” . In California the gangs became substitutes for families. Asian-Indian men, without wives and families, came to depend on the gangs for ' companionship and security. As members of a gang, they worked together, traveled together, lived and ate together, shared expenses and sorrows. They felt close bonds to one another. In the event one . of them died, they collectively paid for the funeral and cremation costs, sent photOgraphs of the body to India, and contributed money- to the widow of the deceased.26 By the 1920s, Asian-Indian farm workers were able to negotiate for wages equal to those paid JapaneSe and white workers. By then a few Asian Indians had also become tenant farmers and even farm owners. “My experience in the labor camp inspection,” reported a sanitary engineer for the State Commission of Immigration and I-Ious— ing, “shows that the Hindus 'are rapidly leaving the employed list . and are becoming employers.” But many were pushed as well as pulled into farming. Due to racial discrimination, explained farmer Dalip S. Saund of the Imperial Valley, “few opportunities existed for me or people of my nationality in the state at the time. I was not a citizen and could not become one. The only way Indiansin California could make a living . . . was to join with others who had settled in various parts of the state as farmers.”27 -Most of the Asian-Indian farmers probably had been gang bosses initially, and their education and ability to speak English as well’ as their higher income enabled them to enter agricultural en— terprise. Partnership farming was very popular among the Punjabis: two to eight men would advance an equal amount of money for investment in a farm, becoming equal shareholders, and one partner would manage the business. Harnam Singh' Sidhu, for example, formed a partnership with several other Sikhs to lease a thousand- acres in Sutter County for rice farming. Their expenses were high, for they had to buy a thrasher, tractor, and other rice-harvesting machinery. But their first year’s crOp was very successful, enabling them to pay off their debts. The Punjabis were “excellent farmers, very industrious, willing to 'work under trying conditions,” stated a white landlord. “In the heat of snmmer they got up at 4 o’clock, worked with their teams until about 10 A.M., then with the hoe until say 4 P.M. and then with their teams until 9 o’clock in the evening}? In 1919, Asian Indians leased 86,315 'acres and owned 2,077 acres in California. Their lands were located. in the Sacramento Valley and the Imperial Valley, two areas accounting for nearly 90 percent of the total acreage farmed by Asian Indians. Many Punjabi farmers grew crops familiar to them in India, especially cottonand rice. In the Sacramento Valley, they devoted 45,000 out of the 5 9,000 acres under their cultivation to rice production. Other Asian-Indian farm- ‘ ers raised nuts, fruits, and potatoes; Jawala and Bisaka Singh became _ known as the “Potato’Kings” of Holtville.28 3 05 ‘ j ' Necessity W “The Tide of Turbans’; After the enactn Thind decision, Asia] California. Some far “Since the Alien Lani owner Sucha Singh, ‘! Other Asian Indians- the names of their cl: American citizens. T held land for fellow acre. Most Asian Ind leasing land and wet] placed under the na When Munshi Singh ' in 1918, he took an the legal owner of t] Kalu Khan, and his ; - acres near Willows, ' the land in his own n. as the “front man.” Naimat Khan leased -of their attorney, Jeri chased forty-five acre he trusted, calling the of our American Erin recalled Bagga Singh carry on farming.” T lands for many Pun]: “Hindu Bank.” Punj arrangement that en: lands.29 Unlike Japanese on Anglos in their st] to the Japanese, few they could not as east of American-born ch not able to form larg thejapanese. .Conseq ages that enabled th their crops within an anese, Punjabis had a Anglos to conduct tl“. Necessity ieral- and cremation I contributed money- ere able to negotiate te workers. By then mers and even farm Section,” reported a nigration and Hous- g the employed list : pushedas well as in, explained farmer thunities existed for ...
View Full Document

{[ snackBarMessage ]}