Indians Immigrating to America



Their homeland has the second largest population in the world, yet in America they form one of our smallest minorities. Americans were influenced by their beliefs long before the first immigrants arrived, and an important interchange of ideas has continued to the present day. Although many came to America as early as the turn of the century, they were denied citizenship until a congressional act granted it in 1946. Now they are students and teachers in our universities; they are artists and writers, musicians and scientists. Their contributions to industry, commerce, and agriculture have been valuable to America and to the world. Who are these people? They are the East Indians in America. Asian Indians have supplied innumerable contributions to the culture and well being of the United States; the majority of these contributions are geared notably to engineering and the sciences. The reason for immigration in the period from 1830-1890 is quite clear. India was in a great shape. However when the British took over India, they depleted the country of all her wealth and gave her poor citizens no choice but to leave. The main reason why everybody wants to go to the United States is because if they would go somewhere else, like France or Japan although they would get higher wages, there is much greater chance of getting harassed, arrested or deported in those countries as opposed to the United States (Takai 32). Here in the United States land remained plentiful and cheap. Jobs were abundant and labor was scarce. The United States, in the nineteenth century, remained a strong magnet to immigrants, with offers of jobs and land for farms (Hess 12). The Jews came for religious freedom, Italians and Asians came for work, and the Russians came to escape persecution. America had jobs and religious freedom. Consequently, America was referred to in many countries as the "Land of Opportunity". This is land is also often called the "melting Pot of the World". This is because it is believed that people from all over the world come to the United States and loose their cultural identity and \'melt\' into or assimilate into the American culture. However, nowadays, the above is an unfair statement to make. Nowadays with the growing Chinese restaurants, Indian grocery stores, and European languages is school, etc., one can say that individual cultures are trying hard to voice their distinction amongst the overall "American culture". One can therefore refer to the United States as the "Salad Bowl of the World" where every culture has its own flavor, just like in a salad, where every vegetable has its own taste even though it has a common dressing, the American culture. Amongst the Chinese, Japanese, Europeans, etc. and other immigrants, the East Indians represented a big group of those people who wanted to be part of the "American culture". The East Indians, who came to America, were mostly spread out in little groups up and down the West Coast (Pavri 56). Their story is an especially important part of the history of Asian Americans, for they were a new kind of immigrant. The large majorities of the first immigrants from India were Punjabis, from a region called the Punjab. Most of these immigrants were young men, between 16 and 35 years old (Daniels 33). Many of them were married; however, they did not bring their wives across the sea with them. Their family and community ties remained strong after they left home; they came to America in small groups of cousins and village neighbors, and these relationships formed a network of interconnections among them in the new country as they lived and worked together. They had many reasons for leaving their homeland. They were being repressed by the British rule and had no land to farm on. To make matters worse, famine devastated India from 1899 to 1902. Thus, large-scale immigration began in 1906, when six hundred Asians applied to enter the United States (Millis 32). These families became the basis for the new East Indian communities. They had come to the United States with high hopes, expecting to make their fortunes, but they discovered that life in America was unexpectedly challenging. Some found it hard to get