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Unity of NRI because of Religion

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prasad1

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NRI also feel the necessity of belonging to a community outside of their work. They generally come under Religious or cultural groups. Even in cultural groups some religious practices are carried on. I am familiar with Hindu organizations. We come together from various communities, regions, and states and perform hodge-podge of varies "traditions" in the name of Hinduism.

We expose the local population to our Indian (hindu) culture, food, and the country.
Great work has been done by Ramakshna math, Chinmaya mission, Arsha Vidya, BAAPS, ISKCON and others.
Similarly Gurudwara also help in this cause.

So religion that so many of the so called intellectuals despise is the basis of unity for Indian diaspora.

So was it true for Tamil sangams that was created in various part of India outside of Tamil Nadu.
Some of the independent persons may not feel the need to belong to a group, but generally human instinct is to belong to a group where you will not be ridiculed.
 
Dear Shri Prasad,

This is wrt your OP. I have not much of an idea about the NRI life except secondhand info from my sons. But from what little you have stated in your OP, it appears to me as though the unity or assembly of NRIs has more to do with the "I" of the NRI rather than to religion as such. If you are in US, perhaps the Indian Christians may not need this sort of a get-together because, I understand they have mixed better with the local Christians, intermarried and since there are many Indian Christians in most places, they prefer the regional associations like Malayali, Goan, East-Indian, etc. Muslims, post 9/11 have become somewhat isolated in US, I am told. Hence among migrants, it is the mother (father) land which seems to be a more potent unifying factor than religion.

As regards the temples in US, I believe, they act as centres of common assembly but they also reinforce stratification of the expatriates on the basis of length of citizenship status, length of GC status, visa category and then back to the regional origin (Tanjorean, Pattar, Kannadiga, etc.) and so on. My son who has been in US tells me it is always better to go to temple there on ordinary, uncrowded days because the experience will be unpleasant on crowded days. May be you can tell your experience of the Temples there.
 
I give here of what's happening in the Meenakshi Temple in Houston, where my wife, an Agno-Theist, goes occasionally....

The management is sharply divided: Rich doctors Vs Others, Tech People Vs Others, Cultural Vs Religious etc. Caste and regional feelings are very alive and active during "Election of Office Holders Yearly"...This Temple mostly caters to the needs of people of the four states of South India, and the management is mostly with the Tamils (in particular TBs mostly).

Some times people who consider Temple as a Cultural Center, not necessarily a Religious Center win Elections and invite people like Jayakanthan, P Chidambaram to come and give talks... I have met and talked to these people at the Temple a few years ago.

As I have written before, many of my TB friends here (Houston) force feed their children with all sorts of religious preaching, rituals and Sanskrit classes...

Alas... many of these force fed kids revolt once they go to College, as expected.. which gives enormous heart burns to the very obsessive parents!

More later...
 
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prasad1

prasad1

Active member
Great to see 2 posts.
I used to visit a temple in a northern part of England. There never was Tamilian there, on inquiring further I found a Tamilan, I called and was invited to their house. Most gracious host, his wife was a wonderful cook. After the dinner I inquired as to why I do not see them at the Temple. The gentleman told me that he does not believe in puja's and other things and he is very busy being a professor. His wife said that she is very lonely because of her husbands unsocial behavior. She told me that she is very outgoing person and needs lot of friends, and she goes away to India for months at a time.
 
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itsmesiva

Guest
My observation, more introspective obviously, has been that the feeling of belonging (be it to India, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Myalore, V P Koil St, etc) grows stronger when we are away from there. Its a feeling of wanting to associate and express your own identity, mentally tracing back to roots. So the brains may have drained but the Culture and the feeling of belonging havent IMHO.

Anbudan,

Siva
 
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nachi naga

Guest
very good thread.living in usa with indian roots has its positivity too.culturally usa is like a huge pot,wherein people melt into one american way of life ultimately.but the freedom to cherish and pursue ones belief system is available without any hindrance.true aggressive pro-religious ppl are there but if you can fit in with your indian origin belief system there are plenty of venues.internal power struggle goes on everywhere in the world,just not only for an NRI,its ppl nature when they donate either material wealth or spiritual wealth,they want to be recognised or acknowledged.i personally feel indian-americans who have been living here for more than 30 - 40 years have a sense of belonging and an experiance of know it all of whats going around here,which to large extent is true,but these folks had to endure lots of things unlike newer immigrants,who kinda fitted in with life relatively in a easier manner.i think cultural groups are good for folks as amity peace friendship is fostered and spread like fresh scent of perfume.
 
I had the opportunity to attend a wedding in a Gurudwara constructed on the top of a small hill in SAN JOSE,CA. Three marriage parties were having their celebrations in
specially put up shamianas in the open space.We went inside the Gurudwara where the marriage ceremony and religious prayer was being conducted(to which marriage we were invited).It was a very brief ceremony.All the participants went to Langar where
good food was served by the volunteers.I like Sikh religion because that is the only religion where you do not come across any beggars.
I had also visited Hindu temple in Fremont,Siva vishnu temple in Livermore and
Shirdi Sai Baba mandir in Milipitus city thanks courtesy of one aged couple Shri.Krishnan and his wife Smt.Revathi Krishnan residing in our area.In all the temples that I visited,we had regular free food .Apart from worship,visits to temples
is also utilised as a social gatherings of known people and to develop friendship with new persons.On the whole I found that the environment in the temple was an enjoyable one.The Indian community ,especially persons who took the initiative in
developing such healthy environments like temples,Gurudwaras and other Community
welfare centres deserve praise and appreciation.
 
Non-Resident Indians and the Persons of Indian Origin in the US - An Observation

By NRI, I mean people holding Indian passport, and are here in the US on some type of VISA including the so-called Green Card... By PIO I mean people with US Passport.

I see some of my Indian friends with Green Card remaining as such without opting for US citizenship even after 20 years!.. the reason they give is "Somehow, India is our birth place.. we just can't accept US as our Country!"

Then I ask them, "Then, why can't you plan to go back when the kids are very young?"

They say, "That is the problem! Maybe, kids are better off growing up here!"

These people want both ways! Their heart is in India.. and their kids' future is in the US!

Then, many of these parents force-feed their kids with the "Culture & Religion of India" to live their life "like in India" in the US.... many of the PIOs also do this. They expect their kids to be raised like them!

The problem is, all the kids raised in the West (and those raised in large metropolitan cities like Chennai, B'lore, Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta) are really open minded and very well informed... they ask all sorts of questions about Culture & Religion... they are not like those raised in 1930s, 40s, 50s 60s, 70s, 80s....

If you force-feed them, they reject you and walk away!

You will face the most miserable life at the end...that's happening in many families here in Houston around me!

Watch out....

Cheers.

ps. Many times I have said, "I am a Card Carrying Member of the US Economy, Politics and Culture!" Now you know what I was talking about! Lol.
 
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prasad1

prasad1

Active member
Fortunately from I sit I see a great picture of NRI's I have meat people of Indian Origin from Jamaica, Mauritius, Fiji, Australia, Uganda, England, and USA. I have meat people of 2nd, 3rd, and 5th generation. Yes they all still have some contact with India. Most of them even participate in Indian celebrations (15th August etc). We all teach our children something we know and something we think will prepare them to face the world as best as we can. Generally the children are smart and pick and choose what they want, we accept and support them.

I am still a seeker.

Avvaiyar said "Katrathu Kai Mann Alavu, Kallathathu Ulagalavu" has been translated as "What you have learned is a mere handful; What you haven't learned is the size of the world" and exhibited at NASA.

Then like Jaggi Vasudev said:
"The greatest crime that you can do to humanity is to teach your children that suffering is a part of their life. You have taken away the possibility of them being joyous human beings."

"The sign of intelligence is that you are constantly wondering. Idiots are always dead sure about every damn thing they are doing in their life."
 
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Reference Post No.8 above.
There is another category of people of Indian origin in other countries known as "Overseas Citizens of India".AS soon as they acquire citizenship of the other country,they can apply to Indian Embassy for issue of "OCI"
A document similar to Passport is given which enable 'OCI' to come and stay in India for any length of time."OCI' document is only a permanent life time visa for stayingin India.They are treated as 'NRI' in India.
After introduction of 'OCI',I feel there is no point in continuing as a Green card Holder.I am not sure whether a person having acquired the citizenship of another country and having 'OCI' can renounce his foreign citizenship ans again become an Indian Citizen.Knowledgeable persons may clarify.
PS:- Even the Heart of Thiru.Yamaka (presumed to be a US Citizen) is in Tamilnadu which is a part of India.That is why he is interested in websites connected to Tamilnadu cinema, Politics,Social environment etc.
In my case I was not very keen to visit or stay in USA while my late wife was always eager to visit this beautiful country and stay with her son.God had different plans.She had to leave this world suddenly
without visiting this country.I am at peace whether I am in India or USA.I think more often Thiru.Yamaka is very much concerned about other indians and their welfare.This is really good.
 
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prasad1

prasad1

Active member
Dear Shri Prasad,

This is wrt your OP. I have not much of an idea about the NRI life except secondhand info from my sons. But from what little you have stated in your OP, it appears to me as though the unity or assembly of NRIs has more to do with the "I" of the NRI rather than to religion as such. If you are in US, perhaps the Indian Christians may not need this sort of a get-together because, I understand they have mixed better with the local Christians, intermarried and since there are many Indian Christians in most places, they prefer the regional associations like Malayali, Goan, East-Indian, etc. Muslims, post 9/11 have become somewhat isolated in US, I am told. Hence among migrants, it is the mother (father) land which seems to be a more potent unifying factor than religion.

As regards the temples in US, I believe, they act as centres of common assembly but they also reinforce stratification of the expatriates on the basis of length of citizenship status, length of GC status, visa category and then back to the regional origin (Tanjorean, Pattar, Kannadiga, etc.) and so on. My son who has been in US tells me it is always better to go to temple there on ordinary, uncrowded days because the experience will be unpleasant on crowded days. May be you can tell your experience of the Temples there.


You asked for my experiences, this is my story,I have great had experience in Temples from England, Australia, and USA. I try to make it a point to go to Temples in each city I visit. We have been deeply involved in financing,building, maintaining, and operation of temples multiple times.
Generally people are generous and give their time and money. It is gathering, worshiping, social, comforting, and very welcoming place.
Of course there are some people who are like Amarbel (parasite) have no roots or responsibility, and just sponge off the system. Like Nachi Naga said the immigrants who came 40-50 years ago have made it easier for the later entrants.
 
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nachi naga

Guest
somebody the other day joked to me about NRI being Non Reliable Indian :) i was so amused and even pondered upon it.When i left India it was my intention and my spouses to become citizen of USA.But memories being what they are you get triggerred visuals of India and Indian life that one has lived.I guess its natural,becoz i see most Americans do value their roots especially from Europe & Middle_East.Indian Americans are indeed a force to reckon with in every strata of american life,though i wish more ppl become active participants either in democratic or republican party.Very negligible Indians opt for a full ime political career barring governor jindal of course .
 
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prasad1

prasad1

Active member
somebody the other day joked to me about NRI being Non Reliable Indian :) i was so amused and even pondered upon it.When i left India it was my intention and my spouses to become citizen of USA.But memories being what they are you get triggerred visuals of India and Indian life that one has lived.I guess its natural,becoz i see most Americans do value their roots especially from Europe & Middle_East.Indian Americans are indeed a force to reckon with in every strata of american life,though i wish more ppl become active participants either in democratic or republican party.Very negligible Indians opt for a full ime political career barring governor jindal of course .

The next generation is much more active, may not be in elected offices, but in policy and executive positions there is a large number of them.
 

drb

0
I am not sure if I should call the 'get together' as 'unity' by NRI. By Indian standards, if it is the gathering in temples during festivals and such, then we can say unity.

To me, 'unity' exists in various tiers:
based on wealth -
rich & rich
rich & priests (who expect perks from rich)
middle class & priests (priests analyze this and make the connection)
middle & middle
......
based on caste-

and so on.

Rich occupy temple board committees, community boards etc and get to decide on every matter because they shell out more. Although, I hate to generalize, feel it is a way to pay less taxes (have seen few clear examples). Strangely, rich are after Bhagavad gita and stuff but never seem to practice its principle. As in India - money plays a major role.

I would prefer to call 'unity' as bonding beyond any measures such as wealth, caste etc - but yet to see such 'unity'.

 
Reference Post No.8 above.
There is another category of people of Indian origin in other countries known as "Overseas Citizens of India".AS soon as they acquire citizenship of the other country,they can apply to Indian Embassy for issue of "OCI"
A document similar to Passport is given which enable 'OCI' to come and stay in India for any length of time."OCI' document is only a permanent life time visa for stayingin India.They are treated as 'NRI' in India.
After introduction of 'OCI',I feel there is no point in continuing as a Green card Holder.I am not sure whether a person having acquired the citizenship of another country and having 'OCI' can renounce his foreign citizenship ans again become an Indian Citizen.Knowledgeable persons may clarify.
PS:- Even the Heart of Thiru.Yamaka (presumed to be a US Citizen) is in Tamilnadu which is a part of India.That is why he is interested in websites connected to Tamilnadu cinema, Politics,Social environment etc.
In my case I was not very keen to visit or stay in USA while my late wife was always eager to visit this beautiful country and stay with her son.God had different plans.She had to leave this world suddenly
without visiting this country.I am at peace whether I am in India or USA.I think more often Thiru.Yamaka is very much concerned about other indians and their welfare.This is really good.

Dear Krish Sir:

Yes.

In fact, I visit Tamilo.com and tb.com almost everyday... Yes, I am very much interested in what's happening in TN, and also in India in general.

I don't visit India that often; my wife goes to Chennai once in two-three years. She somehow does not like many things in India: too many people, too dangerous traffic, too much noise etc. etc.

My interest is to compare and contrast what's happening in India & China - the fastest growing economies in the world. I go to English language sites in China, and talk to my Chinese friends here.

Of course, my wife and kids don't like me doing all this! They are saying "It's all waste of time!"....

I say, "I don't go to India, but via broadband I want to know what's happening there on a daily basis"

Cheers.
 
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nachi naga

Guest
drb very true analysis.yamaka you are being honest.my kids love the hindi songs and beat.both were so excited and thrilled when they visited two summers back.desi kids love their desi food too :) even though italian is the most preferred cuisine :)
 
On Unity among Tamils here in Houston: Is there Unity by Culture or by Religion, or Neither?


We have a "Bharathi Kalai Mandram" here.. they have lots of activities: arranging for music concerts, conducting "Patti Mandram" and running drama, teaching Tamil, Hindi and Sanskrit etc.

If you go deep into the Administration of this, you see the cold-war going on between various "Castes and Sub-Castes".

My wife says "We have deep rooted animosity between TBs and NBs.

In particular, in organizing Drama, there is an Iyar and Iyangar rivalry - they fight tooth and nail for dominance; so far, the domination is enjoyed by Iyars! Nothing different from what's happening back home, LOL".

What say you?
 
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prasad1

prasad1

Active member
There is discord, is it a surprise? But in general we do fine, it is the question of if you see glass half full or half empty. You can find discord in any human organization. Our ego does not fall away just because we left the shores of India. It is sad that people want power when others have built it. Power grabbing is NOT a good nature, the stake holder should have the say. I suppose it is mindset, in India Government is expected to rescue you, and we are always ready for hand outs. We NRI's have to raise our own funds, and generally run Temples as non-profit organizations. Even in India if Birlas build a temple poor people are not going to be in the board.
Mr. DRB Did you really think democracy at a corporate level will work? A corporation has to work efficiently you need hierarchical organization. A corporate board is responsible to shareholders. It is basis of any capitalist society.

Swami Chinmayananda used to say that "when you point finger, remember three fingers are pointing back at you"

You might see the thorn, I only see the rose.
 

drb

0
IMHO,
In a way, I think we all are prejudiced. Some are always seeing the rose, and disregarding the thorn (maybe they are immune to the thorn pricks) - couldn't this be prejudiced?.
Maybe it doesn't occur to them that thorn may hurt others.

I am not seeing the thorn alone, seeing both rose & thorn. Rose - is all cultural and spiritual activities and so on which I welcome. Thorn - is the distasteful hierarchical system based on wealth, caste, language etc. I am afraid you cannot compare this to other hierarchical structures such as corporates, academics where most of the times it is based on merit and qualifications.

Probably, we are miles apart in defining 'coming together' and 'unity'. Maybe I got misled by the post.


 
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prasad1

prasad1

Active member
IMHO,
In a way, I think we all are prejudiced. Some are always seeing the rose, and disregarding the thorn (maybe they are immune to the thorn pricks) - couldn't this be prejudiced?.
Maybe it doesn't occur to them that thorn may hurt others.

I am not seeing the thorn alone, seeing both rose & thorn. Rose - is all cultural and spiritual activities and so on which I welcome. Thorn - is the distasteful hierarchical system based on wealth, caste, language etc. I am afraid you cannot compare this to other hierarchical structures such as corporates, academics where most of the times it is based on merit and qualifications.

Probably, we are miles apart in defining 'coming together' and 'unity'. Maybe I got misled by the post.



Mr DRB,
I was saying that the community Temples are run like a corporation. I fully agree that social organization should be strictly on the basis of participation (time & money). There is generally no basis of caste. We are human and have our biases and use every trick to get what our ego demands at that time.
Looser cry that, winners method was unethical. Sorry for the looser, cheers for the winners.
 
Unity among Indians is not based on religion, it is just because we are all Indians.

when I was new to this country, over 32 years ago, we all craved to find indians, in a grocery store or in the park etc.. and the only temple was in New York the famous Ganapathi Temple.. we would go there perhaps once in three months or so, even Indian grocery and some Indian Vegetables were only available at a middle eastern store near 42nd street in NY.,

Then there was a group in New Jersey, where members were mostly south, wanting their own temple AND the controversy began, so they branched out so one Venkateswara and one Guruvayurappan temple was born.. so in some ways it was better, since they are in two different directions and also celebrate all the religious holidays with full fervor.. it is nice to be there, feel the India Mann vasanai, with all the sarees, but find only one of two dhothis :) but that was ok,

Someone had written, I did not check which post.. the people who migrated over 30 and 40 years ago, made it easy for the fresh immigrants, it is so true.. we had to struggle to get decent vegetarian food.. I could not even get french fries at McDonald's because it was fried in Lad..

These days, when a young Indian woman, recently migrated is stepping out in her jeans and Tshirt, and here I am with saree and my pottu, she clearly ignores me and just pretends not to even notice me.. and this after I smile at her..

It just was amusing to me that these kids (coming from India) today have not much respect for a fellow indian, (particularly for the older generation) we were of different make, still care very much for holding on to a lot of our ways, but with a modern twist.. :) To a lot of us People matter and nothing else..
 
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