Indian governmental intervention of this nature seems like an omninous development. This simply slows down assimilation of Indian immigrants into Canadian culture. And keeps them more informed of old fueds to being them here. Old fueds that are often religious based and have no end, and India has plenty of that.
Another reason to dump the monarchy and get out of the Commonwealth.
Premature to party over Indian diaspora
By Prem Kumar, Edmonton Journal July 28, 2011
The Indian High Commission in Canada experienced a spasm of excitement last month.
A large contingent of government officials arrived from New Delhi for the twin purposes of connecting afresh with the Indian diaspora and negotiating bilateral trade and immigration agreements with Canada.
Evidently, the government of India feels the one-million strong diaspora here has gathered the "critical mass" necessary to help influence Canadian policy toward India.
The diaspora also generates sizable foreign exchange and tourism as Indians visit the motherland in increasing numbers to acquaint their Canadian-born children with their culture, and for shopping and investment. A fabulous exchange rate (one Canadian dollar equals almost 40 rupees) and fairly decent travel facilities allow a visitor to indulge in luxury: servants, daylong taxi service, tony restaurants and fancy hotels. Indo-Canadian seniors also visit India to pay their last obeisance in holy places, which supposedly absolves one of sins and ensures salvation.
So the High Commission held festivities and information sessions with the cream of Indo-Canadians in Toronto, where North America's first Indian cultural centre will be built. The centre will disseminate information about India, especially among second-generation, Canadian-born Indians, and facilitate cultural interaction with India.
The event was meant to ignite a sense of celebration and pride among Indo-Canadians, whose history extends over 100 years in Canada. The Indian delegation also wished to update agreements on bilateral trade between India and Canada, and emigration from India, which has steadily increased. Issues like double taxation and sponsorship of older dependents were discussed. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government had been chided by opponents in the federal election campaign for ignoring India, the so-called economic tiger, a superpower in the making, and a source of a large number of immigrants.
Indo-Canadians have progressed in the past two decades. They have crossed the invisible glass barrier and don't predominate at the foot of the vertical mosaic. They hold high positions in professions and civil service. There are scores of Indo-Canadian millionaires who have made a mark in trucking, real estate, furniture manufacturing and farming. The recurring election of Indo-Canadians as MPs, MLAs and city councillors is a fact of Canadian political life. Even an Indian immigrant who works as a taxi driver, nursing aide, petty shopkeeper and at the service counter enjoys a higher living standard here than his or her counterpart in India. For all this, Canada deserves gratitude and appreciation from the Indian diaspora.
But the talk of celebrating and preening over the arrival of the India diaspora in Canada is premature. It smacks of a hollow hubris. The Indo-Canadian community has an unsavoury underside. It is riddled with bickering and ill will. Because of the lenient Canadian family reunification rules, many a chain sponsorship has occurred, leading to widespread family disputes, and lies and remorse. As the Supreme Court of Canada recently noted, an immigrant's responsibility for importing a relative can't be disowned at will.
As well, young Indo-Canadian females are often forced to follow the Indian tradition of chastity and arranged marriage, which hampers personal freedom and career choices. Divorce among Indo-Canadians is quite rare, resulting in many an unhappy marriage. Finally, numerous Indian places of worship dotting the Canadian landscape now reek with fractious intrigue and abuse; and the RCMP is routinely summoned during annual elections.
Gian Kaushal, a respected Indo-Canadian educator in Winnipeg, noted that Indo-Canadians eagerly take to Canadian services, but not Canadian values. Time magazine's Fareed Zakaria recently urged the Indian diaspora of North America to be more receptive to the mores of their adopted land. It would be wise, therefore, for Indo-Canadians to put their houses in order and repair their tainted reputation, so that the mainstream Canadians deem us a welcome addition to Canada.
Prem Kumar is an Indo-Canadian who has lived in Canada for more than 35 years. He is a graduate from the universities of Guelph, Toronto and Alberta and has worked as a college instructor, researcher and government officer.
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