Living out side India Cultural ramifications

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ricky
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Living out side India Cultural ramifications

Post by ricky » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:08 pm

This is a topic under discussion in the mother forum, but as the topics there are somewhat straight jacketed, i am cross posting other posters work here.
Primus wrote: I was quite pleasantly surprised to find a plethora of graphic novels on the Indian epics. I am a big fan of this genre (Watchmen, Wool etc) and was quite fascinated by the stuff now coming out of some publishing houses in India. Granted, there is some degree of discomfort when the stories of our faith are presented merely as tales of fantasy, but at least it is better than having nothing of comparable nature. They classify and section it with Greek and other mythology and it is disturbing that the story of Krishna while titled 'Defender of Dharma' is categorized as 'Young Adult Fantasy Fiction'.

They are not cheap, but IMHO definitely worth a look. I've bought several of these for the youngsters in the family here and they actually enjoyed it quite a bit. They are much cheaper to buy in India itself than from here.

The graphics, production and art work is very well done, on par with anything produced by Western publishers, the story is authentic and true to the 'original'.

Worth a look: http://www.campfiregraphicnovels.com/mythology.htm
Last edited by ricky on Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Living out side India Cultural ramifications

Post by ricky » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:09 pm

Pulikeshi wrote: You captured some of the complexities and connundrums - some suggestions that is still work in progress among several to share and feedback:

0. Start with the WHY: If you do not protect Dharma it will not protect you - this tautology is how it all began!
0.a Compare and contrast Dharma which is a relationship based system to social contract theory based on individuality.
0.b Leadership, solutions, happiness, comprehensive living and changing the world comes from being immersed in Dharma
0.c You belong to the oldest living civilization on the planet, you survived because of it, it is your job to protect it!

How?

1. Parents need to read up and be aware of Culture, Dharma and context themselves. Much of what I have learnt has been to disseminate.
I know several American Church going parents who inculcate their sense of Culture, Morality and Values very effectively. Hinduism in its current form is lacking on this front. There is a lot of effort needed on the part of any parent who cares... this can be fixed. Needs all of us to do more here...
2. There is no set time or day to tell stories - one can do it every night: This has been the traditional and indeed the modern way to weave the fabric of civilization into the yong one’s heart and soul. There are several not so great options - Amar Chitra Katha, Chandamama, etc. needs new work here... It never takes more than 15mins to tell a good story at bed time :-)
3. Find common value families and share festivals and functions - Temples in the US should learn to target ‘others’ - one that I go to, does Archana for example for western practitioners using “Shiva or Vishnu” gotra and their “star sign” for Nakshatra - this is an awesome evolution.
4. Teach the teachers - celebrate - Ugadi, Holi, Deepavali etc. in public and other schools. Educate the teachers - they have been very receptive.
5. Educate the community & work place - again these festivals can and have been celebrated in High Tech work places.
6. Mixed communities - Similar to Jews, there is an opportunity to create shared common space - simpler rituals (lighting the lamps - many Mayors/Governors/Presidents do it now), reading of particular passages from Veda, Upanishads or Gita, etc. Yoga camps and parties, Meditation retreats and Minute Mindful Meditation breaks in gatherings between swigs of Bourbon, so many ideas :mrgreen:

Perhaps, I need to write a book on this :-)
Last, but not least, important point - it is important to answer the “WHY” - there are many stories and experiences in our civilization that provide solutions & guidance in leadership. I’ve been able to use several Hindu and non CXO’s personal tales of their foundations, upbringing and stories/experiences rooted in India that gave them strength and ideas to overcome challenges and just get through the dark night...
Not under estimating the problem, but first step is simple actions! Enough rambling! Happy to share more if there’s a thread...

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Re: Living out side India Cultural ramifications

Post by ricky » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:11 pm

Primus wrote:
Rudradev wrote:More than 80% of Hindu American marriages are now Interracial or Interfaith (compare to 40% ten years ago, and only 15% 20 years ago).

Unless we replenish our stock from the homeland, we will go extinct.

http://indianewengland.com/2018/03/almo ... ter-faith/
Within my own extended family and friend circle, it is around 55% at present, looking at over 40 such marriages so far.

In contrast, within the large circle of Jewish friends and colleagues, almost 80% are married to Jews, especially the Orthodox ones. These are again kids who were born here and grew up in a mixed culture. My business partner is Observant and of his four kids, two are married. Both had 'arranged' marriages within the Orthodox community and he is now a grandfather four times already.

Our problem I believe stems from relative apathy, lack of rigid religious programming (even the reform Jewish children I know have gone to attend Hebrew school at some time in their lives) and absolute freedom of choice that we give our children. But IMHO that is the beauty of Hinduism, even if we lose it as a faith, it is difficult to become like the muslims.

In the homeland too, Hinduism is often just lip-service, else we would not be seeing the political fissures in society we do. So I don't know if bringing people from India would help. In more than 40 marriages here among the Indian community I know of, only two have been where the girl was from India. It is much harder for kids brought up here to accept somebody 'FOB'.

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Re: Living out side India Cultural ramifications

Post by ricky » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:13 pm

ShauryaT wrote:
Supratik wrote:From personal observations. Three things gets Hinduism going in general. Personal habits, personal observation and community observation. Many Hindus who come over start eating beef, stop observing religion in personal space (usually women in India will have some kind of religious activity at home) or stop visiting temples and stop observing community festivals e.g. Diwali and Holi (but they will have a Christmas tree). So the kids grow up in a vaccum. Sometimes even religious parents fail to pass it on e.g. the parents of Bobby Jindal who were observing Hindus. The idea that people can convert to Hinduism is alien to most Hindus which is not the case with religious Christians, Muslims or Jews. You will find mostly elderly people and kids in temples. The young adults are missing. My personal observations. May differ with others. All this is having a cumulative effect. I am not sure if importing more people from India will help if the trend in USA stays. You need to go back to the 2 and 3 generation first.
Catch them young and give your time and knowledge to your own kids and the community. Some great things happening in the area we live in but critical mass is not a bad thing. One thing missing is a coherent theological view of Dharma principles and the ability to differ with known accepted current fads in US society and its social mores and be comfortable in one's own skin, literally and figuratively. Raise your kids with this confidence that SD's rewards are true and sweet, teach them about the "teachings" of our heritage and you will raise far more secure and hopefully a sustained model to pass on across multiple generations. I am directly involved at the grassroots, seen successes and failures and quite frankly limitations - largely self-inflicted and the results of a colonized society we have come from.

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Re: Living out side India Cultural ramifications

Post by ricky » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:14 pm

ShauryaT wrote:
UlanBatori wrote: Yes, there is a Cultural Assimilation described there, but that is mostly because "our" versions of children's books/serials, shall we say, are a bit thought/professionalism -challenged, isn't it?
New materials and modes are always welcome. Being involved on the ground my biggest competition for mind space is Nintendo and Harry Potter! Depending on the age group new material is welcome and needed!! I would not mind someone writing a new puraan with language suited to the mass ADD world we live in but with the design intent largely intact (like Tulsidas did with Valmikis Ramayan). Maybe someone can start a puraan on twitter (160 characters only!!). With some middle school kids, I have introduced them to the Shiva trilogy by Amish Tripathi - a new take. My biggest challenge is to create some new exciting stories to impart the das lakshanas. The Himalayan Academy folks have done a credible job here. So instead of focusing too much on the visuals and the extremely boring and slow way the itiahaas and puraans is depicted on TV, completely missing some of the main lessons, I focus on the key lessons. For eg: Rama describing the flora and fauna of the land and his emotions describing how badly he misses Sita. Makes me and my class cry. Also, use the Ramayan as a Geography book. Yudhishtara getting his ass whipped by a Yaksha and gets a lesson in Dharma, similar exploration by Narad before his Rajasuya yagnaya. Making a point of NOT being same-same and being comfortable with differences. E.g: Who is superior Vishnu or Shiva. Well, depends on the sources one reads - you will never get this from ACK. Is there one god or multiple. How about No god or no one knows and that it is OK to have these varied answers. Not a system of believers but a system for seekers, ok to have questions.

As these kids grow into teenagers, important to plug them into practical aspects of Pancha Maha yajnas (volunteering). Plugging into higher academia is also happening and have some great local resources in universities. What I do not have time for is to write my own stuff.

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Re: Living out side India Cultural ramifications

Post by Primus » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:30 pm

I am copying the relevant posts to this thread, makes more sense here. Mods, hope you don't mind.

Shandilya wrote:
Primus wrote:
Kabir wrote:
Until US plays cricket against India :D
Cricket is Cricket, after all :D

Seriously though, one needs to be loyal to the Karmabhumi first, that is a given for anybody who follows Dharma. Otherwise we are no different from the hordes of Jihadis who live in India or the UK and still indulge in terror against their own country. In that sense I fully support the likes of Karna from the Great Epic.

I do hope I am never tested on this.
How do you intend to repay your reain (debt) to your pitrabhumi then? The soil which feed you and pal-pose kay bada kiya and made you capable enough to make your karmabhumi sat-samundar-par. Ideally, if you were born off this punya pitrabhumi you owe a (in your case a) son to it; you have the obligation to have him grow up here, if not more.
Good question, and one that I've faced many times. It's a common refrain among those that believe that the ones who left India do nothing afterwards for the mother country and they owe a debt to the nation of their birth that they are never going to be able to repay, even if they wish to do so.

I don't know what the debt one owes should be. Someone calculated it once in a meeting and came up with a number, for school and professional education (eg Medicine, engineering etc) in India which we know is subsidized. I have paid several times that already in educating the poor in India. I don't need to outline here what else I have done for the 'pitrabhumi'. Is that enough? I don't know. There are things that one can never repay one's parents for, money aside. One can love them and take good care of them in their hour of need. I hope I have done that for India. Whether I should have my son grow up there is beyond my capacity to answer. You cannot ever equalize things that way.

I've lived longer outside India than in the land I was born in. hard to now go back, certainly not for good.

Let me ask you (or others here who perhaps share your opinion) a question. Say you are from a small village in Punjab, grew up there, etc. Then you move to Kolkata for a job and spend the rest of your life there, raise your kids there, earn lots of money. What debt would you say you owe to your poor village back in Punjab? How would you repay it? Would you then send your son to live there, knowing he has a better future in Kolkata. You might think that the village does not equate to India and Kolkata is not the US. in any case, it is all in India, so there is no difference. Well, the analogy does work, IMHO, not exactly 100% but it does. What benefit does the old village get from your making it rich in another city far away even if it is in the same country?

Ever since I left India I've been having these discussions, it is the topic of conversation whenever somebody comes over from India. We used to talk about this all the time in the initial years of our life abroad, but then as time passed and we all became completely immersed in a new life here, the topic came up less frequently, now only on forums like this or when family/friends are visiting from India.

Another topic that is still being debated hotly is India vs USA - in all walks of life. That one has been bashed to death but it refuses to stay dead.

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Re: Living out side India Cultural ramifications

Post by Primus » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:32 pm

Shandilya wrote:

Well, I have walked the talk and done gharwapsi from massa myself. I think the debt we are talking about is not limited to material things like subsidized education, rations, etc. which are peanuts in comparison to the fact that you are privileged to be born from the soil, air, and water of this punya bhumi; and thusly least you can do to repay is return in kind - give birth to a son/daughter in desh. once your child reaches adulthood its their call.

As for your Punjab village/Calcutta analogy. My ancestors migrated from a former super city to a new age super city 4 generations before me (both cities in India). Mind it this is opposed to me or you taking the onus to migrate from a to b; as the decision was taken by someone born way before me whom neither I nor my grandfather have ever met. But even today I personally pay two kinds of "Dharmadan" from my earned income annually. One portion goes to the dharti our ancestors belong to, and the other goes to the super city which my great great grandfather migrated to, both in same state.
Well, clearly you are a better man than I am.

In my experience - and I know quite a few who've done 'ghar wapsi' - those who return to India after working and living abroad have a difficult time adjusting to the situation back home, or at least their children/spouse do. Very few remain long term, the majority I know have either returned to the US, some after 7 yrs or more, OR they are in jobs that allow frequent trips abroad. One person I know makes a trip to the US every month (on business) and fills up his bags with Kellogg's cornflakes and other sundries. Even though all those things are now available in India nothing beats getting it directly from the US - so I've heard him say.

The other thing I've noticed is that the majority of those who go back 'for good' are those who were not able to fulfill their 'dreams' in the US, i.e. get a well paying job, have a career they always wanted, live in an area that is highly desirable and finally be able to get permanent residency here. Of course there are always exceptions, but that is the general pattern I've seen. This applies even to those who come from very rich families where they know their lifestyle in India will be better than the average punter. If you've spent 10 yrs or more making it work in the US and have finally gotten there, it is very difficult then to go back. Very few have done so PURELY for the love of India and if you have, I salute you.

FWIW, both my kids were indeed born in India, it was my desire for a better life that brought them to the US. I cannot now make them go back to the land they do not know. AND, I too have been paying several different kinds of 'Dharmadan', the larger portion of which goes to the 'Pitrabhumi'. As I said, I do not need to or wish to certify myself here in any way as to how I am 'paying back'.

There are sadly, very few people like you who care enough about the land they were born in, to pay back. I know so many rich Indians here who have never sent any money to any good cause in India other than their own family. This is particularly true of us Hindus. Which is probably a reflection of the larger malady that afflicts Dharma in general.

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Re: Living out side India Cultural ramifications

Post by Primus » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:40 pm

Shandilya wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:08 am
Primus wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:01 pm
...Well, clearly you are a better man than I am....
Aaray nahi yaar, I am just a mamulee mango man; who enjoys deshi environment be it whatever good or bad, its mine. I am happy here. (doesn't mean I was unhappy in videsh)

When I left, I was an average munna (not a scientist or engineer) so not a loss to pitrabhumi in any way; but I felt like a betrayer when I relinquished Indian citizenship while taking up foreign citizenship.

We each have unique constrains, and maybe circumstances for gharwapsi were fertile in my case. I had wanted to comeback even before I left more than couple of decades ago. It's a given that most on this forum are deshbhakts a shade stronger than others, and indeed do the needful for pitrabhumi in whatever ways we can.
Replying here:

I think you clearly understand the angst that most of us who left the Pitrabhumi suffer. It has not been an easy journey by any means, I have seen truly dark days, facing a mountain of debt, grown family, no money in the bank, no job. Have then managed to grow out of it with hard work, luck, blessings from elders and the benevolence of the Gods, in whatever order it may have been.

The hardest decision, believe me, was giving up the Indian passport. We took up US citizenship long after we became eligible, when we realized that in a post-9/11 world, these things mattered. Especially when traveling to any country other than India. It seemed like the final cut, when we sever the umbilical with the mother nation.

But as the saying goes, you can take an Indian out of India........

Agree, most of us here are well-wishers of the Pitrabhumi.

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Re: Living out side India Cultural ramifications

Post by Supratik » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:45 pm

Primus, plenty of people have returned to India after doing well abroad and most of our tech, start-up, R&D are being run by them. So it is not that only failures return to India. Secondly, most of the people migrating to the West are skilled labor not Albert Einstein's and Bill Gates although
NRIs tend to think themselves as superior to Indians who staid back and think going to the West is an achievement. They are just living a superior lifestyle becoz they are in a developed country. NRIs with children over a certain age shouldn't go back as their children cannot adjust to a foreign, under-developed country. Finally, you should return only when you are happy about it. If you are unhappy about going back you will never be able to settle in India.

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Re: Living out side India Cultural ramifications

Post by Primus » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:44 pm

Supratik wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:45 pm
Primus, plenty of people have returned to India after doing well abroad and most of our tech, start-up, R&D are being run by them. So it is not that only failures return to India. Secondly, most of the people migrating to the West are skilled labor not Albert Einstein's and Bill Gates although
NRIs tend to think themselves as superior to Indians who staid back and think going to the West is an achievement.
They are just living a superior lifestyle becoz they are in a developed country. NRIs with children over a certain age shouldn't go back as their children cannot adjust to a foreign, under-developed country. Finally, you should return only when you are happy about it. If you are unhappy about going back you will never be able to settle in India.
I am sure you are correct. My lens is colored by the number of people I know who went back and then returned to the US when their kids became teenagers - some after as long as 7 yrs. Most of these people are highly placed in the tech industry and when in India lived in very high-end 'gated community' homes in Begaluru and similar cities. There must however be plenty who did return to India and have settled down quite happily.

My point was a little different. We as human beings tend to look for improvement in our own lifestyles, our future and that of our children. Misguided it may be but economic betterment is one of the key factors in this decision making. If I felt I would have a better job in the US, that's where I would want to be. If it then turns out that because of the skills I acquired there I can have an equally rosy life in India then I would happily relocate there and continue to live a good life.

Then there are others like in my parents' generation who returned to India due to family pressures, something that probably does not work so well in today's largely nuclear families but may still be a factor in some cases.

However, there are very very few who go back to India simply for the love of the country and because of nationalistic pride. It is almost always about economic stability and job satisfaction, family needs are a small, but usually secondary consideration.

As I've said earlier, if you are someone who went back simply for your love for India, giving up a lucrative job and career abroad, I salute you. Not being sarcastic, I am sure there must a few such people who returned to less glamorous, less well paying jobs with a darker economic future for them in India, and did so ONLY because they wanted to make a difference to the lives of others back home. They have my respect and admiration. I would certainly not have been able to do so myself.

I agree with the bolded part in your post, although not completely. Emigration to the US has changed during the past several decades. I can tell you that at least from my experience, those going abroad from the 60s to the 80s were indeed professionals, skilled labor was not allowed. Of the professionals, many if not the majority were at the upper end of the spectrum (IITs, top medical schools etc). Within my own family almost every engineer who moved to the US was from one of the IITs. The leadership of many companies in the US consists of these Indians who emigrated during that era. When the numbers associated with family based migration started to swell up, or when the floodgates opened for technical workers after 'Y2K" then yes, there was more of the skilled labor kind of worker who moved to the US. Yet, even today, so many of my family who are arriving in the US (and yes, they continue to do so) are from top institutions in India. The difference is that they are able to come as employees of MNCs so do not have to go through the lengthy and painful process the rest of us did way back when.

Finally, yes, many NRI's are indeed full of themselves, sadly. Not everyone is afflicted by this malady but plenty are. I know many, they rename themselves or their kids the moment they land here, become total MUTUs in an incredibly short time. I guess it takes all sorts.......

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Re: Living out side India Cultural ramifications

Post by Supratik » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:50 pm

Most of India's scientific establishment is trained abroad and many among them would have gotten a good job if they decided to stay back. The overwhelming majority of Indians abroad are doing the same job that they would otherwise do in India - nothing earth shattering. Just that they are better paid. In fact those doing 9 to 5 jobs are the least likely to return to India. Also it is not a good idea to return if your kid is over 4 or 5 yrs. In overwhelming number of cases they are unable to adjust even if you live in a gated NRI community. Those returning should be aware of the conditions in India and be happy to live there. Returning for sentimental or unrealistic reasons is likely to fail.

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Re: Living out side India Cultural ramifications

Post by Mort Walker » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:55 pm

Supratik wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:50 pm
Most of India's scientific establishment is trained abroad and many among them would have gotten a good job if they decided to stay back. The overwhelming majority of Indians abroad are doing the same job that they would otherwise do in India - nothing earth shattering. Just that they are better paid. In fact those doing 9 to 5 jobs are the least likely to return to India. Also it is not a good idea to return if your kid is over 4 or 5 yrs. In overwhelming number of cases they are unable to adjust even if you live in a gated NRI community. Those returning should be aware of the conditions in India and be happy to live there. Returning for sentimental or unrealistic reasons is likely to fail.
Some of us who are a decade or so from retirement want to go back to 2nd tier towns with our 401Ks and retirement, but can’t since we have grown children in the US. Time waits for no one and we will die outside of India. I’ve told my SHQ that I want to retire east of Nagpur where it is not so crowded, but I doubt that happens and ultimately it will be my ashes that make the final RTI if I’m lucky.

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Re: Living out side India Cultural ramifications

Post by sbajwa » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:58 pm

I have been living in US since 1986 (Was a teenager then). I plan to go back when I retire to the house that my parents built. I do go back to India once a year for 3-4 weeks.

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Re: Living out side India Cultural ramifications

Post by Supratik » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:51 pm

Mort, even post retirement it is hard if you are not realistic. My uncle, US citizen, both kids well settled, retired and returned to India. Did not last long. Couldn't handle the heat, dust, grime, crowd, chaos. Returned to the US. So your imagination of India cannot be sentimental. India is a good hundred years away from what you are used to in the West (if it runs on testosterone then at least 50 years behind).

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Re: Living out side India Cultural ramifications

Post by Mort Walker » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:35 am

Supratik wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:51 pm
Mort, even post retirement it is hard if you are not realistic. My uncle, US citizen, both kids well settled, retired and returned to India. Did not last long. Couldn't handle the heat, dust, grime, crowd, chaos. Returned to the US. So your imagination of India cannot be sentimental. India is a good hundred years away from what you are used to in the West (if it runs on testosterone then at least 50 years behind).
You are correct that one can't retire based on sentimental reasons. The heat and dust is there, but for those of us who have lived in the US between west Texas and Arizona, we can probably manage that, and India wouldn't have the harsh winters. The 2nd and 3rd tier cities are actually quite pleasant as population density is less, but the problem is getting medical attention when we need it in old age. More complicated medical treatment may not be available. There are some posh societies around the major metros where a retiree could go, but then we're dealing with lots of crowds again. I'm a little bit familiar with the area between MP and MH, so that is where I have the most interest. If my relatives retire nearby, I may be tempted to move near them, but as we know relations with relatives who are not immediate blood relatives can deteriorate based on perceived slight by either party. There's a lot to think about, but for now I'm keeping the options open. Maybe stay in India from October-March, then return to the US April-September. The key to longevity is mobility. A lot of us who are sedentary will face lots of health problems in old age even if we're not fat. You could possibly divide your time between the US and India while one is mobile into their 80s.

Saying India is 100 years away from development from the west (US) is a stretch, because it is more like 50 years behind in development. The US of 50 years ago is not the same today and changes in India are leap-frogging. Power supply, communications and roads are improving, but environmental degradation and water are becoming a big issue.

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