By Brig Nawab Heer
Since 1976, I have been visiting regularly some of our family members settled in North America.
During my initial visits, what I liked most was that they would very proudly compare life and values back in India with the values being followed in North America. I do remember many positive comments about values being followed in North America and that time we really used to cherish those observations.
Some of these comments were: in the US and Canada there is a dignity of labor and no one cares what work you do and in the evening even garbage collecting person can afford to go to the same restaurant. So there is a dignity of labor here as compared to India, where we discriminate on the basis of what job you do.
Second, they would say that no one cares what car you drive in so long as you have a car to reach your work. Third, they would comment that no one cares what home you live in so long as you have a house. Four, political leaders here drive their own cars, and anyone can meet them at any time. Five, most white people are truthful. Lastly, churches stay aloof from Politics and their preaching is limited to Sunday for a few hours.
Each time my brothers visited me in India they would point out how foolishly Indian people were conscious of what their social status – house, car, etc – and how they ran after politicians.
Finally, when we also migrated to North America in 2011, the composition of the Indian diaspora had undergone a major change. Many places – NY, NJ, California, Washington , Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Abbotsford, Surrey and other cities – had established big pockets of Indians.
Here I got a chance to live in these cities. I will quote my friend and famous TV and radio anchor Satpaul Johal: `Brampton nu Brampton hee rahen devo, Punjab naa bana devo”. But, Johal Sahib it is too late to reverse it.
My point is that when I came to NY and Toronto, I found the Punjabi Diaspora had changed. The same persons who used to say that it does not matter what car one drives, were now busy showing off their brand new Mercedes. Buying a bigger and bigger house became a joke ,even one playgroup played as drama on the theme,’Whadda Ghar’,so much so one transporter even constructed, a house with 25 bedrooms for the family of four; possibly not for living comfortably but, for showing off and showing others that they were inferior. Newly elected Politicians also adapted mirror image of politicians back in Punjab, with many followers moving with them like Dons, not available for common man to meet them, moving from one function to other like demi God’s posing for photo shoots and given a chance exploited their positions for personal gains. You try and call any politicians office to fix an appointment, you will be surprised that system will take you to on the garden path.
Marriages have become PR exercises, big fat weddings leaving no chance to tell others in a community that so and so family held their marriage party in filthy rich style has become a brand name of the community. Less we talk about our places of religion in changing scenarios, all of these including Mandir, Masjids, and Gurudwaras if we compare with churches we will realize where are were heading to.
Our places of worship are becoming more loud, vocal, showing off, with management having posh offices, corporate chairs, conference halls, big cars, separate parking and maybe after sometimes they will demand red beacons for their cars of Presidents of places of religion. As such since most places of religions are registered as Corporations, most Management is running these as profit-making corporations already less of a non-profit place of religion. We have commenced mixing church with politics. Our Media lords have become another power brokering centers for both politics of India and politics of Canada.
Most of the so-called social, charity organizations and non-profits are keeping their work limited to photo-shoots and write-up in local papers and submitting all exaggerated reports to government offices for gaining more funds under the name of social work. Sometimes, I feel that we have not left any stone unturned to see that we create a real mirror image of unwanted culture which we left behind a few decades back in India.
The point I am making is that we the Indian Diaspora has become so hypocrites that the white man’s culture of truth, simplicity and no showmanship which we used to admire when we initially migrated, we now floating all those values and indulge in unwarranted showmanship. We are even confusing our second and third generation children about what is right and what is wrong.
The positive thing is that most of the second and third generations are shunning this neo-culture. Sometimes I feel that having worked hard, earned dollars, having made successes and now we are looking forward to recognition only amongst own community.
There is nothing against this thought, but rather than getting into gaudy materialistic show-off, we can get to true charity work to get real recognition.I wonder if anyone is listening. With the trend of showmanship, a stage has come that if someone from the community does not conform to your thinking we try to impose our thinking on him/her. Imagine if someone wants to take a just a walk to the store instead of taking his car, he will be asked, Where is your car? Unfortunately, it does not end there.
It means that your self-image is being determined by somebody else for you.
The aim of this write-up is that we must become conscious of this unwarranted trend and rather do something with a pure heart for the deprived in society. This will earn us the kind of respect we have gained in the fields of politics from white people.
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