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Multiculturalism and Diaspora

Dr. Nagendra Kumar


Dept. of HSS, IIT Roorkee
What is Multiculturalism ?
 Describes societies which have many distinct cultural groups,
usually as a result of immigration.

 Is a view, or policy that immigrants, and others, should


preserve their cultures with the different cultures
interacting peacefully within one nation.

 Pluralistic multiculturalism views each culture or subculture in


a society as contributing unique and valuable cultural aspects
to the whole culture, is more concerned with preserving the
distinctions between cultures.
Characteristics

 The original community has spread from a homeland to


two or more countries; they are bound from their disparate
geographical locations by a common vision, memory or
myth about their homelands.

 They have a belief that they will never be accepted by their


host societies and ,therefore, develop their autonomous
cultural and social needs.
 They or their descendants
will return to the homeland
should the conditions prove
favorable.

 They should continue to


maintain support for
homeland. The communal
consciousness and solidarity
enables them to continue
these activities.
They Have
 Dual citizenship
 Government support for newspapers, television, and radio in
minority languages.
 Support for minority festivals, holidays, and
celebrations.
 Acceptance of traditional and religious dress
in schools ,the military, and society in general.
 Support for arts from cultures around the
world.
 Programs to encourage minority representation in politics,
education, and the work force.
To study a banyan tree, you not only must know its
own soil, but also must trace the growth of its
greatness in the future soil, for then you can know the
true nature of its vitality. The civilization of India, like
the banyan tree, has shed its beneficent shade away
from its own birthplace….India can live and grow by
spreading abroad—not the political India, but the ideal
India.
---------Rabindra Nath
Tagore
Diaspora Defined

 Derived from the Greek verb dia- and speirein (Infinitive),


literally meaning ‘to scatter’, ‘to spread’ or ‘to disperse’.

 Originally used to refer to the dispersion of Jews after the


Babylonian exile in 586 BC and to aggregate of Jews or
Jewish communities scattered in exile outside Palestine.
Indian Diaspora
 Migration and dispersion are natural phenomena, widely
familiar both in the world of plants and in the animal
kingdom

 Among humans, nomadism preceded their settlement.

 History is full of accounts of people of Indian subcontinent


migrating to other parts of the world since ancient times
for a variety of reasons.
Indian Diaspora: Facts and Figures
 Over 20 million people of Indian origin all over the world.

 Form the single largest ethnic community in Fiji (49%), Guyana


(53%), Mauritius (74%), Trinidad and Tobago (40%), and
Surinam (37%).

 Substantial minority in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri


Lanka, South and East Africas.

 Have a significant presence in Australia, Canada, United


Kingdom and The United States of America.
The Phases of Indian Migration

 Ancient Times: A colony of Indian merchants lived


permanently in Memphis, Egypt, from about 500 BC.

 During European Colonialism:


 i. Transportation of indentured labourers(1834-1920)
 ii. Kangani (Tamil—overseer) and maistry (Tamil—
supervisor) labourers
 iii. Passage or free emigration
Indian Diaspora in the Post colonial
Period
 Began after independence.

 A. Emigration of Anglo-Indians to Australia and England.

 B. Emigration of professionals and semi-professionals to USA,


England and Canada.

 C. Emigration of skilled and unskilled labourers to West Asia


Important Writers of Indian
Diaspora
 Anjana Appachana
 Salman Rushdie
(Listening Now),
 Bharati Mukherjee
 Kiran Desai (Hullabaloo
 Anita Desai in....),
 Vikram Seth  Bharti Kirchner
 Vikram Chandra (Sharmila's Book),
 Shashi Tharoor  Sujata Massey (The
 Amitav Ghosh Flower Master),
 Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni  Indira Ganesan
 Bapsi Sidhawa (Inheritance)
 Shauna Singh Baldwin.
 Jhumpa Lahiri
 In any big bookstore in a large American city, the number
of titles by writers from the Indian diaspora makes a vivid
impression. The writers include veterans Anita Desai,
Bharati Mukherjee and Bapsi Sidhwa, who have been
publishing for about two decades, and the ones who have
been around for less than about five years -- Chitra
Banerjee Divakaruni (Sister of My Heart), Anjana
Appachana (Listening Now), Kiran Desai (Hullabaloo
in....), Bharti Kirchner (Sharmila's Book), Sujata Massey
(The Flower Master), and Indira Ganesan (Inheritance)
and Shauna Singh Baldwin.
Adapting to Multicultural Environment
 Short term adaptation
- Students
- Business people
- Professionals
 Long term adaptation
- Refugees
- Immigrants
- Resettlers
Stages of Adaptations

 Enculturation (Socialization)

 Deculturation (Unlearning of old culture)

 Acculturation (Acquiring some new culture)

 Assimilation (Final result state)


Effects of Adaptation

 Short term
adaptation.
- Unfamiliar social and
business practices
- Culture shock
 Long term
adaptation
- Attitude
- Social motivation
- Beliefs
- References
Adaptation as Problem

 Cultural fatigue
 Irritability
 Insomnia
 Psychosomatic disorder
 Sense of uprootedness from familiar surrounding
 Rejection of member in new society
 Impotence due to new environment
Adaptation as a Learning Growth

 Related to individual social and professional effectiveness


with the new environment.

 Language knowledge.

 Anxiety gone and accustomed to new practices.


Solution..

 Assimilation ( Cultural convergence )

 Acceptance of Pluralism (Tolerance to multicultural)

 Individuals of Minority culture do undergo change


overtime and over generations.

 Mixing of cultures is a new trend and one has to accept it.


Thank You