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Iyers in US

cs19844

Member
I am here to share one important concern that is often overlooked by the iyer community in India.

We find that many iyer families move to US and settle there forever. Typically their child will be born and brought up over there, be successful, but will not have any idea of India, our origin or our roots. As an indian parent do you think that is a digestible feeling? Don't you think they are lost forever? Is it not that they will lead a life without an identity?
You might say the child will practice carnatic, go to temples etc.but do you really think that child will come to India looking for bride or bridegroom? I am not saying he/she should marry a person living in India but at least his/her mindset changes. Someone who gives heart and soul for a life in a foreign country (without any idea of iyer identity). As an iyer in India don't you think he/she is lost forever? Do you agree?
I am not here to debate whether that is right or wrong but at least is it not important to be aware of such a heavy loss to the community?
In the end, being in US, how much ever effort they take to stick to either brahmin culture or hindu culture it will not be effective for more than one generation later which the kids will be all american. The second generation will have more urge to mix with the american mainstream than the first generation, as a result, they will be more american in following terms
1. Very unlikely for them to lead a strict vegetarian life, actually survival as a vegetarian is difficult and not like the first generation with someone who cooks at home daily. They will not be even interested in leading a strict vegetarian life in the first place as compared to the first generation. Beef and pork are their favorite delicacies.
2. Drinking habit is as normal as drinking water. You will find wine bottles and other liquor bottles in refrigerators and shelves.
3. It is very unlikely for them to go for "arranged marriage" like we follow in india. Mostly dating or live-in relationships before marriage, at least they will choose their boyfriend or girlfriend. And it is also very unlikely that they will marry an iyer.
4. They are with different lifestyle, tastes and aspirations and it is simply impossible for them to survive in India although that was not needed, but it is a worst possibility for the current generation in India to imagine such a loss of future generation.
 
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prasad1

Well-known member
I am here to share one important concern that is often overlooked by the iyer community in India.
It is not only for Iyer community, it happens to all communities, due to migration.

We find that many iyer families move to US and settle there forever. Typically their child will be born and brought up over there, be successful, but will not have any idea of India, our origin or our roots. As an indian parent do you think that is a digestible feeling? Don't you think they are lost forever? Is it not that they will lead a life without an identity?

When my ancestors left the agrarian village life and moved to the city a part of village life was left behind. They left their ox-carts and moved on, my great grandfather used to miss his OX-Cart.

When my father moved to North India, we lost a lot of Tamil culture, even though in my family we followed chaste Tanjaoor habits. But we learned Hindi, so the importance of Tamil became less. Our friends were not speaking that, so we did not see Tamil Movies.


You might say the child will practice carnatic, go to temples etc.but do you really think that child will come to India looking for bride or bridegroom? I am not saying he/she should marry a person living in India but at least his/her mindset changes. Someone who gives heart and soul for a life in a foreign country (without any idea of iyer identity). As an iyer in India don't you think he/she is lost forever? Do you agree?
I am not here to debate whether that is right or wrong but at least is it not important to be aware of such a heavy loss to the community?
It is a loss if you think of it that way, or not if you accept that change is inevitable.
We were at a wedding and the parent of the bride said:
"I was crying that I was losing my daughter, but my daughter reminded that I was gaining a son." It is just a perspective.

All practices are local, there are many local variations, even among families there are different practices.


In the end, being in US, how much ever effort they take to stick to either brahmin culture or hindu culture it will not be effective for more than one generation later which the kids will be all american. The second generation will have more urge to mix with the american mainstream than the first generation, as a result, they will be more american in following terms

What is brahmin Culture or Hindu Culture? Can you define it? Show me one consistent practice among all Brahmins, that is universally accepted only by Brahmins and no one else.
I am not saying that we will not be nostalgic, but that too will pass.


1. Very unlikely for them to lead a strict vegetarian life, actually survival as a vegetarian is difficult and not like the first generation with someone who cooks at home daily. They will not be even interested in leading a strict vegetarian life in the first place as compared to the first generation. Beef and pork are their favorite delicacies.

My children are all strict vegetarian, some even became Vegan. Some of the grandchildren are vegetarian. But that is their choice. Some of the cultures are acquired from parents if they know and practice it.

2. Drinking habit is as normal as drinking water. You will find wine bottles and other liquor bottles in refrigerators and shelves.

I agree, but that is common even in India.

3. It is very unlikely for them to go for "arranged marriage" like we follow in india. Mostly dating or live-in relationships before marriage, at least they will choose their boyfriend or girlfriend. And it is also very unlikely that they will marry an iyer.

I agree, but that practice is dying in India too.

4. They are with different lifestyle, tastes and aspirations and it is simply impossible for them to survive in India although that was not needed, but it is a worst possibility for the current generation in India to imagine such a loss of future generation.
I agree, but why be judgemental about it?
My response in purple.

it is a loss if you think it is.
I bought a share for $100 last month, the market price on the beginning of this month was $80, I thought I lost $20, but today that stock is priced at $125. So my loss was only perceived and not real.

Our goal as a Hindu is to merge Atma in Paramatma, compared to that loss of a particular practice (called culture) is minor. So just accept it and move on, otherwise, it is just misery.
 

cs19844

Member
This post is primarily for the people residing in India to create awareness among them and decide whether to send their kids to US or not. With growing job market and other opportunities in India it is possible for many parents to rethink.

My apologies. Your super-hifi ideas of "cultural adaptation", "embracing change", "migratory patterns" etc. may not be relevant to most of them in India.
 
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prasad1

Well-known member
This post is primarily for the people residing in India to create awareness among them and decide whether to send their kids to US or not. With growing job market and other opportunities in India it is possible for many parents to rethink.

My apologies. Your super-hifi ideas of "cultural adaptation", "embracing change", "migratory patterns" etc. may not be relevant to most of them in India.

Sir your post was an insult to thousands of people who left Tamil Nadu or their ancestral village and migrated and established a life elsewhere.

My post was necessary to give you an electric shock to make you aware of how it is perceived from another side. If you are super sensitive you should keep away from public posts. This site has wold wide following.
Sorry for the dose of reality.

By the way, can you define the Brahmin Culture in 25 words? And Will it be universally accepted?
 

cs19844

Member
Thank you sir. The idea is to maintain an identity of brahmins and may not be restricted to any practice with respect to time. 'Identity' is an important feeling and when you move to US you lose the identity after one or two generations, whereas someone else in US live with the strong identity forever. (American conservatives). A group of people with strong identity versus rest of the people without identity (mainstream vs non-mainstream).

You might be asking where are we giving importance to our identity in India. Examples like when you look for bride/bridegroom, when you socialize in your apartment premises, choosing brahmins as friends especially after marriage, find acquaintances in temples and other places etc. Typically you have the desire to spend most of your time with fellow community people. This is typically the case in TN. I think it is also the case in North India.
 

prasad1

Well-known member
Again, I am sorry to say this:
You are crying over something you never had it to begin with. How can you lose something that you never had in the first place?

Let us assume that in your dream you won $1M and lost it on the way so you can cry in the dream, but you wake up and realize your mistake.

Similarly what you call Brahmin culture is a myth, so losing it is your imagination only.

When I left India 50 years ago, yes I did feel homesick. I emptiness is always there. But that hometown has changed in the last 50 years, now when I visit that place I am a foreigner in that place. The friends are gone, the homes have become a multistory building, the kinara shop has become a badabazar. Nothing remains the same.
You can cry that your old town is gone or appreciate the new development, that is entirely up to you.
You can expand your friend's circle, participate in local activity may it be Temple, Chinmaya Mission, YMCA, or senior citizen groups. There are a lot of avenues to expand your horizon or mourn over your imaginary cultural loss, the choice is yours.
 

cs19844

Member
You have misunderstood. I am all for society's growth and change as much as possible to keep up with time. I am not talking about the even the conventional idea of culture. I am talking about the identity. (Identity definition - It is a sense of belonging to a particular community where every one in that community will have inherent attachment among themselves). Identity is a survival thing for any human being, no one in this world live without an identity. I repeat no one really leads an identity-less life ANYWHERE in the world. The sense of brahmin identity is very strong even today and it will stay strong forever. You must have been misled from the fact that many don't even remember Gayathri Japam, and from some of the cases of brahmin men who are regular smokers/drinkers and brahmin women who are also regular drinkers in India. It is not required for everyone to do sandhyavandhanam everyday and in fact it is not even necessary to follow hindu religion. Despite of all this, brahmin identity will sustain. The idea of identity is an important ingredient for every human being. No one can survive without that. Usually the sense if identity is so strong in India that most of us take it for granted and focus only on self growth without any awareness about the brahmin identity. As long as you are in India you are safe without much consideration for the same. But once you leave to US, the second generation move away from brahmin identity and third generation will not know of their identity at all. But as every human has a need for identity the third generation will assume the identity of 'Blacks'. In reality, 'Blacks' are not really an identity in US. They are a general group who can be termed as people of African descent. But there are millions of groups among themselves and you can not expect a strong attachment among themselves but still they assume a superficial identity for the sake of survival. If you are very focused on culture, rituals and practices then I can give you a simple analogy with american conservatives. They have a strong sense of identity without any clear set of common practices, unlike brahmins who are even now share some common aspects (Which is not required). American conservatives, on one side you will find women who bare it all and the other side with places of strict dress codes, maintain a strong identity with diverse lifestyles.
 

prasad1

Well-known member
This identity crisis is self-inflicted.
I will narrate an incident.
I had just migrated to Manchester in England. Knew no one.
I had a total of 8 pounds in my hand (that was the amount allowed by RBI).
After the first paycheck, I bought a used bycycle. I looked up in the telephone book and found that there was a Gandhi Center, I called up and was told that they have Puja on Sunday and free food. I was there every Sunday and made many friends.

After a couple of weeks, I asked around to find if there was any Tamilian. I was told that a Tamil family lives right next to the Gandhi center, and I was given the Name of the Gentleman. I called him up he was very warm and immediately got invited.
Tamil food after 2 months, I was at their house in a flash. Got treated to great food. After food and some more chitchat, I enquired as to why they do not come to the Temple.
He said that he does not go to the temple but his wife visits the temple on occasion. I kept on asking as to why he does not participate.
I am paraphrasing his words:
"I went there one time, they were all Hindi Kara, they spoke to me in Hindi, so spoke back in Tamil."
and then I stopped going.

I was astounded, having been born and brought in North India, I had never encountered that situation, and could not even understand the extent of the problem.

Now his isolation was self-inflicted, but in the process, he is denying his wife of socializing with others.
She was a housewife but knew Hindi, and she told me that because of him being so anti-social she goes away to India often. What a sad state of affairs.
For friendship, you have to invest your time and effort. You can not have comradery if you isolate yourself.
If you are biased and look down on others there will be a price to pay.
If you have a false sense of Identity, it might be your ego and nothing more.

Maybe I do not understand the point you are making.
 

Mur61

Member
I am here to share one important concern that is often overlooked by the iyer community in India.

We find that many iyer families move to US and settle there forever. Typically their child will be born and brought up over there, be successful, but will not have any idea of India, our origin or our roots. As an indian parent do you think that is a digestible feeling? Don't you think they are lost forever? Is it not that they will lead a life without an identity?
You might say the child will practice carnatic, go to temples etc.but do you really think that child will come to India looking for bride or bridegroom? I am not saying he/she should marry a person living in India but at least his/her mindset changes. Someone who gives heart and soul for a life in a foreign country (without any idea of iyer identity). As an iyer in India don't you think he/she is lost forever? Do you agree?
I am not here to debate whether that is right or wrong but at least is it not important to be aware of such a heavy loss to the community?
In the end, being in US, how much ever effort they take to stick to either brahmin culture or hindu culture it will not be effective for more than one generation later which the kids will be all american. The second generation will have more urge to mix with the american mainstream than the first generation, as a result, they will be more american in following terms
1. Very unlikely for them to lead a strict vegetarian life, actually survival as a vegetarian is difficult and not like the first generation with someone who cooks at home daily. They will not be even interested in leading a strict vegetarian life in the first place as compared to the first generation. Beef and pork are their favorite delicacies.
2. Drinking habit is as normal as drinking water. You will find wine bottles and other liquor bottles in refrigerators and shelves.
3. It is very unlikely for them to go for "arranged marriage" like we follow in india. Mostly dating or live-in relationships before marriage, at least they will choose their boyfriend or girlfriend. And it is also very unlikely that they will marry an iyer.
4. They are with different lifestyle, tastes and aspirations and it is simply impossible for them to survive in India although that was not needed, but it is a worst possibility for the current generation in India to imagine such a loss of future generation.
 

Mur61

Member
I have gone through the whole lot message but before answering your questions, what is your feel about iyers living in india that too in tamilnadu.. Pathetic to be honest... Are they honored in their native state.. Leave alone that, of what use to them to stick to the traditions and beliefs if sustainability of living itself becomes a qreat question mark here? Atleast I find that American Indians though they are citizens of that country, they may not forget their roots... At the root of their heart they are indian… Infact I find many brahmins are more brahminical in alien land than india… By the by I am not an American citizen and only an Indian by birth, heart and soul.
 

GNANA SUNYAM

Active member
Dear cs19844,

I request you to clarify your concept of 'Iyer Identity'.

Your statement, 'we must not lose our identity regardless of our domicility, environment etc' is acceptable to me.

Yet it is not clear what you mean by losing 'iyer identity'.

Could you please be more specific.

For example do you mean to say, although I may have been born and raised in USA, I must marry only an Iyer girl or boy, born of Iyer parents, both mother and father born of Iyer parents in return and who descends from a long line of Iyers only on both sides?

You say it is alright even if I cease to do sandhyavandhanam and gayatri japam, I still don't lose my iyer identity. then what makes my iyer identity? Please clarify.

I was born in an iyer family, a very orthodox one in that and I am descended from a long line of priests. My grandfather, Sankara Iyer, was the chief priest in one of the most popular hill temple in tamil nadu.

I also performed sandhyavandhanam and gayatri for some years after my brahmopadhesam. I dont observe them now. I speak brahmin iyer tamil not only with brahmins but with also non-brahmins. I am a vegetarian. Iyer Tamil and Vegetarian are the only 2 things I carry now of all that identified me as iyer. I had performed angapradhakshanam in tirupati and gomathi amman sannidhi of sankaranayanar koil. But I don't worship in temples nowadays. I am true to my conviction. Have I lost my iyer identity?
 

cs19844

Member
Dear cs19844,

I request you to clarify your concept of 'Iyer Identity'.

Your statement, 'we must not lose our identity regardless of our domicility, environment etc' is acceptable to me.

Yet it is not clear what you mean by losing 'iyer identity'.

Could you please be more specific.

For example do you mean to say, although I may have been born and raised in USA, I must marry only an Iyer girl or boy, born of Iyer parents, both mother and father born of Iyer parents in return and who descends from a long line of Iyers only on both sides?

You say it is alright even if I cease to do sandhyavandhanam and gayatri japam, I still don't lose my iyer identity. then what makes my iyer identity? Please clarify.

I was born in an iyer family, a very orthodox one in that and I am descended from a long line of priests. My grandfather, Sankara Iyer, was the chief priest in one of the most popular hill temple in tamil nadu.

I also performed sandhyavandhanam and gayatri for some years after my brahmopadhesam. I dont observe them now. I speak brahmin iyer tamil not only with brahmins but with also non-brahmins. I am a vegetarian. Iyer Tamil and Vegetarian are the only 2 things I carry now of all that identified me as iyer. I had performed angapradhakshanam in tirupati and gomathi amman sannidhi of sankaranayanar koil. But I don't worship in temples nowadays. I am true to my conviction. Have I lost my iyer identity?

Hello Sir, Please read my following post more on 'identity'

 

GNANA SUNYAM

Active member
Dear cs19844,

In my humble opinion, it is a man's character, conduct, the virtues and values he eschews or embraces makes for one's identity rather than caste, creed, religion, color etc which are mere labels put on us by external agents, including our parents, our society, our so-called-community etc which are but mere illusion, false, untrue, unreal, relative etc. please correct me if I am wrong.
 

cs19844

Member
Dear cs19844,

In my humble opinion, it is a man's character, conduct, the virtues and values he eschews or embraces makes for one's identity rather than caste, creed, religion, color etc which are mere labels put on us by external agents, including our parents, our society, our so-called-community etc which are but mere illusion, false, untrue, unreal, relative etc. please correct me if I am wrong.
Hello Sir,

Please read my following post on 'identity' for more details

 

tbs

Well-known member
hi sir,

im an USA IYER......i studied in veda patashala.....i did my ph.d in vedanta in sanskrit....i still follow IYER

activities in home/outside....i dont see any problem as IYER in USA....IM AN US CITIZEN TOO...these are

hypes/hypocracy.......my opinion....even my son name BHARADWAJ....we belong to bharadwaja gothram..
 

prasad1

Well-known member
Dear cs19844,
You wrote:

I am talking about the identity. (Identity definition - It is a sense of belonging to a particular community where every one in that community will have inherent attachment among themselves).
The community you left behind does not exist anymore as they have moved on. If you stayed with them you too would have progressed (or regressed) with them.
But the change of time and space has left A longing in you for the nostalgia. Nothing more and nothing less.
Secondly, you are not willing to accept the new time and space, nor the new surrounding as your own.
Some of us are happily accepted our new surrounding and made it our identity (whatever that word means).

There is beautiful song by Mr. Jagjit Singh but that is nothing to cry about.


 

tbs

Well-known member
Dear cs19844,
You wrote:



The community you left behind does not exist anymore as they have moved on. If you stayed with them you too would have progressed (or regressed) with them.
But the change of time and space has left A longing in you for the nostalgia. Nothing more and nothing less.
Secondly, you are not willing to accept the new time and space, nor the new surrounding as your own.
Some of us are happily accepted our new surrounding and made it our identity (whatever that word means).

There is beautiful song by Mr. Jagjit Singh but that is nothing to cry about.


hi

thanks....i have a collection of Mr jagjit singh gazals......
 

Brahmanyan

Well-known member
I am here to share one important concern that is often overlooked by the iyer community in India.

We find that many iyer families move to US and settle there forever. Typically their child will be born and brought up over there, be successful, but will not have any idea of India, our origin or our roots. As an indian parent do you think that is a digestible feeling? Don't you think they are lost forever? Is it not that they will lead a life without an identity?
You might say the child will practice carnatic, go to temples etc.but do you really think that child will come to India looking for bride or bridegroom? I am not saying he/she should marry a person living in India but at least his/her mindset changes. Someone who gives heart and soul for a life in a foreign country (without any idea of iyer identity). As an iyer in India don't you think he/she is lost forever? Do you agree?
I am not here to debate whether that is right or wrong but at least is it not important to be aware of such a heavy loss to the community?
In the end, being in US, how much ever effort they take to stick to either brahmin culture or hindu culture it will not be effective for more than one generation later which the kids will be all american. The second generation will have more urge to mix with the american mainstream than the first generation, as a result, they will be more american in following terms
1. Very unlikely for them to lead a strict vegetarian life, actually survival as a vegetarian is difficult and not like the first generation with someone who cooks at home daily. They will not be even interested in leading a strict vegetarian life in the first place as compared to the first generation. Beef and pork are their favorite delicacies.
2. Drinking habit is as normal as drinking water. You will find wine bottles and other liquor bottles in refrigerators and shelves.
3. It is very unlikely for them to go for "arranged marriage" like we follow in india. Mostly dating or live-in relationships before marriage, at least they will choose their boyfriend or girlfriend. And it is also very unlikely that they will marry an iyer.
4. They are with different lifestyle, tastes and aspirations and it is simply impossible for them to survive in India although that was not needed, but it is a worst possibility for the current generation in India to imagine such a loss of future generation.
I appreciate your views on identity crisis the migrant Brahmins may have to face when they prefer to be citizens of a foreign country. This is on the expected lines only.
All the facets of life will change. Parameters of morality also will change radically. This has been happening to all migrants.
Changes cannot be stopped. Let us accept and proceed further.
Brahmanyan,
Bangalore.
 

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