East Indians in Winnipeg : a study in the consequences of immigration for an ethnic group in Canada

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Pereira, Cecil P.
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This study has undertaken basically to explore the consequences of the immigration experience for East Indian immigrants in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. As former studies of East Indians in Canada were narrow in scope dealing with segments of the East Indian population either from a specific region or from a specific profession, this pilot study was designed to explore the characteristics of a random sample of all immigrants from India, in Winnipeg, regardless of caste, creed or occupation. Numerically the sample consisted of seventy-two respondents representing twenty-five percent of the East Indian population in Winnipeg. Data were obtained through interviews and were recorded on an interview schedule, Further information was gathered through participant observation. The analysis showed that the East Indian respondents in the sample were predominantly male, married, with an average of two children per family. Their average age was thirty-three years and most were from urban areas in India. They represented all the major castes (except the untouchables) and all the major religions of India, except Jainism and Buddhism. Most claimed middle-class origins and most had at least one college degree. In Winnipeg most East Indians are professionals holding well-paid jobs. They are well-integrated economically and residentially into society but maintain structural separatism at the primary group level. Most have partially achieved the objectives for which they had emigrated. The aspects of the Canadian way of life which appealed to them are related to the secondary group characteristics of anonymity, individuality and independence. The factors from the East Indian mode of life which they cherish are those pertaining to the primary group level of family and friends, the strong parent-child relationships and care for the aged. Since these primary and secondary group values are at different levels of social interaction they do not clash. Hence, as a group, East Indians do not experience tension and conflict of values and appear to have the best of both worlds....