Paper Essay

Diaspora stands for every immigrant who has migrated to several countries across the globe in search for better fortunes. It invokes the imagery of traumas of isolation and dislocation, and this is one of the significant aspects of the migratory experience. Unwilling acceptance by the host countries is an important component of diaspora. Uma Parameswaram defines diaspora “The first is one of nostalgia for the homeland left behind mingled with fear in a strange land. The second is a phase in which one is busy adjusting to the new environment.

The third phase is the shaping of diaspora existence by involving themselves ethno cultural issues” (165).

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Indian Diasporans maintain persist implicit and explicit contact with their homeland and other dispersed segments of the same group to get rid of their grief and cherish the memories of the past. They do not have dark and bitter encounters but also possess the bright experiences. Advantages and disadvantages are the two sides of the same coin which cannot be disparate.

Darkness is preceded by light. The diasporic people not only face assimilation issues but also face the bright things in the new land. Diaspora is also understands as a site of hope and of new beginning.

Human have been migrating since evolution, in search of luxurious living. The process of migration is a continuous one, whether it is across nations or within a nation. The migrants not only take their skill but also their modes of life, culture, and ideologies to their destination. They migrate as highly qualified specialists, entrepreneurs, manual workers, family members of previous migrants and so on.

Immigration is an integrated journey experience of oneself to another country. In the early nineteenth century many Indians wanted to migrate to USA and Canada was mainly a personal choice either for academic pursuit or for economic gain. The inhabitants of these countries have always behaved differently towards these immigrants. The experience of expatriation detaches the immigrants from their roots but does not dislocate entirely. The permanent shift between the two states of dislocation and relocation problematizes the sustainability of an individual in such a circumstance. Immigrant experiences are formed by the personal skills, economic positions, and political relationships between nation of origin and of adoption.

The first documented immigrants from the Indian subcontinent were of the Sikhs. In 1897 a large number of Indian Sikh soldiers engaged in the parade to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in London, England. On their successive journey home, they visited the western coast of Canada, primarily British Columbia. In 1903 some of Punjabi Sikhs landed in Canada after hearing the stories about extra wages paid for the British Indian soldiers. Many Sikh men began to immigrate themselves into Canada because they were all attracted by high wages. They were indulged as labourers mainly in industries such as logging, mining, and railroads. Many of sikhs who came without their families started to settled in the western part of Canada. They decided to make their fortunes in the cities they had settled. Most of them were capable to received work in the police force and few were employed as night watchmen by British firms. Some of them were all succeeded in their own business.

A few years arrival, Canadian authorities passed two laws that forcefully ended up immigration process from India for a few decades in order to sustain the white Canadians population on the west coast of Canada. The fact was that they did not want Indians to immigrate to Canada. The first law was that the new Indian immigrants had to hold $200 in cash but European immigrants needed just $25. The second law was that Indian immigrants were compulsory made continuous journey from the sub-continent that was unimaginable before the arrival of air facilities. The Canadian government stopped Indian men from bringing their families until 1919 and this was one of the significant factors for many Indians to leave Canada.

In the early 1960 national and racial restrictions were erased from immigration policies of Canada resulting in the rapid growth of non-European communities. As a direct result within a few years the Indian population in Canada increased more than twenty times. Many immigrants from all the parts of India, with a wide array of languages and religions were deciding to migrate to Canada. Because in the seventies Canada was just getting used to accepting immigrants from non-European countries.

During the early seventies India was undergoing the socio-political reform under the leadership of Indira Gandhi. The proclamation of emergency was very serious matters as it shacked the normal fabric of the constitution and adversely affects the rights of the people in 1970. National emergency was the biggest threat to democratic foundation of India. From 1970s there was a sharp decline in the economic situation, a combination of growing unemployment, rampant inflation, and scarcity of basic food and essential commodities created a serious crisis. This emergency rule faced immense criticism and was undoubtedly one of the most controversial periods of the political history of independent India.

In India many people in the seventies began moving towards developed countries like UK, USA, and Canada on their own agreement either to avoid economic or political difficulties of India, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak calls this as the part of ‘brain-drain’. In 1970, just 22,000 Indian immigrants lives in Canada, representing less than 0.6% of the 9.7 million overall immigrant population.

Canada becomes a port of entry for many Indians. Today Canada is an immigration friendly country for many non-European countries like India, Pakistan, China and Srilanka. Indo-Canadians are now one of Canada largest and most well-integrated immigrant communities. Stephen Gill, an Indo-Canadian poet and writer says,

In addition to refugees, Canada admits million of immigrants who seek better social and economic conditions. Today, Canada is in the same situation in which Alexandria and Byzantium stood. Canada is a cosmopolitan society full of vitality, alive, vibrant, and a half-way house between the east and the west. (283)

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