Author: Archana B Verma
Publisher: Sage Publications
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0761995994
A valuable contribution to the social and economic history of migrations between South Asia and North America during early twentieth century, this book will cater to the increasing demand for insightful inquiries in migration and Diaspora studies and on issues of identity among migrant communities.
Concern about identity and ethnicity is growing in a world that is fast transforming itself into a global village. This has fuelled the need for studies that explore and explain the historical factors and socio-cultural pressures that motivate international migration patterns. Archana Verma's powerful and vivid narrative focuses on a specific community in a particular time-frame, namely the Punjabi Diaspora in twentieth century Canada. Departing from the usual conceptions of Punjabi migrants as submissive participants in Canada's industrial progress, as well as the conventional wisdom that Punjabi immigration was an offshoot of colonial deprivation, this book investigates their role as dynamic settlers.
Concentrating on two localities — Paldi village in Punjab and the Punjabi settlement of Paldi in Vancouver Island, British Columbia, the author traces the historical links and ethnic roots of these two village communities situated on opposite sides of the world. The author demonstrates that the reason Punjabi immigrants remain bound to their homeland revolved around familial and kinship ties and consideration of status. Caste alliances also serve as a source of strength to face racist alienation in the receiving community and to strive for upward mobility in the sending community.
The sub-text of the book provides a revealing enquiry into the dynamics of caste, family and kinship networks and the resultant mutual relations between the two communities analyzed. The author's discussion on the family organization of land and of social status and how they are affected by overseas emigrants provides considerable evidence for the flexibility of caste contours.
Coherently organized with equal emphasis on the native context as well as the overseas enterprise, the book concludes with a discussion on social and economic impact of immigration on the two communities. The research methods made use of in this study break new ground by using primary sources extensively, combined with oral narratives, local archives, immigrant correspondence, and participant observation.
1 The Place of Mahton in the Caste Structure of Punjab
2 The Kinship System of the Mahton and Emigration
3 Developing the Canada Connection
4 The Establishment of Little Punjab in Canada
5 Change and Social Separation
About the Author