Monday, April 4, 2011

History & Background

Since the focus of my paper will be Indian-Americans I figure it might be important to give a little background on the colonial situation in India as well as on the immigration trend of Indians to America.

When we think of colonialism in India, we usually think of the British. But they certainly weren't the first. Throughout India's history there has been invader after invader come
down from greater Asia into the Indian subcontinent. When Vasco de Gama discovered a sea-route to India at the end of the 15th century, that whole area of the world was opened to Europeans for further exploitation, with which they wasted no time. Soon, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British had all set up shop in various port cities. The British, though, were the ones of seemed to exercise the most control, winning over the other European possessions in time. The British East India Company gradually gained control over trade in the entire Indian peninsula. After an unsuccessful rebellion of the Indian people in 1857 against British control, power was given over to the British crown, establishing the British Raj (king) in India. The Indian people suffered greatly under British rule. There were famines in which millions upon millions of people starved and Hindu-Muslim conflict was fierce. Beginning in the early and mid twentieth century the Indian people began to try to obtain independence in a variety of ways. Revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh used violent attacks on British forces while Mahatma Ghandi led the Indian people through nonviolent protest. India finally gained independence in 1947 after having been partitioned into Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan.

Indian immigration to the US began to increase after the passing of the Luce-Celler Act of 1946 which legalized the immigration and naturalization of Indians. The first few waves of immigrants consisted of men attending American universities to pursue engineering and medical degrees. Their families soon immigrated and now there is a more diverse group of Indians immigrating for various reasons. Indian immigrants account for 16.4% of the Asian-American community. The majority of Indian-Americans are highly educated. About 40% have a master's degree or higher. There still exists the trend of Indian-Americans working in the engineering, medical and technology fields.

This is just a brief background to the situation, but I at least tried to pinpoint the main ideas for you guys. :)


Blogger TaelorShirley said...

I think you did a great job of summarizing the history. I'm excited to read the rest of your blogs because honestly when I think of India, I only think of the richly cultural India and then the slums in contrast. So I'm excited to read about the history and modern life in India. Happy researching!

April 6, 2011 at 1:31 PM  
Blogger Mara said...

I second Taelor on this one. I feel like I have a very inaccurate picture of India in general and know very little about its history. It will be great for the class to see some effects of colonization outside of Africa. As for which topic to narrow in on, I think it'd be easier for you, and possibly most interesting to the reader, to look at the identity crisis side of it. I think it would be particularly relevant since it's a bit easier for the average reader to relate to. Obviously, there's no pressure to take my advice; it's your paper! :)

April 7, 2011 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Steven said...

I am very interested to hear more about the Muslim-Hindu conflicts, even though it will doubtfully be a big part of your final paper. Also I think it would be interesting if you explored the two types of rebellion that you talked about, one being peaceful and one being violent... I do not know much about that period in India, however, Ghandi always gets the fame for having helped India... but if you did a critical review of both types of resistance and debated which was more effective... I would be intrigued :)

April 18, 2011 at 6:09 PM  

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