Coping With Two Cultures: British Asian and Indo-Canadian by Ghuman Paul A. Singh

By Ghuman Paul A. Singh

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Shaw (1988: 85) also found that caste distinctions are widely used as a basis for invitation to marriages, 'Khatimini Quran' (recitations of the Koran) and other social events, by the Muslim community in Oxford, though Muslims are forbidden to practice a caste system. A Chamar (Harijan) related his experience: I was thrown out of a Gurudwara because of my caste. They were alright till they found out I was a Chamar. I used to go out with a Jat girl. Her parents found out and put a stop to it. So when I talk to my white mates about racism they throw this back at my face.

Eventually I got a teaching job in Birmingham in 1975. It was not always easy to find a job even for unskilled persons. The lucky ones had relatives and friends who fixed everything for them. There were others who took a chance. Here is an account by a Hindu who is a skilled machinist who came to England in 1964 as reported by Sharma: He was a son of my village. But he was most unwilling to put me up so I said to him 'I have only three pounds and no job'. I know now that I made a great mistake in leaving a job where I earned plenty and had a house which only cost me four rupees a month.

At that time there were so few Indianswe had problems buying our food. We knew a little 'bat' (English) to do business, but mostly we lived within the house and never ventured to go out. We wanted to save as much as we could to return home. Likewise in Canada there were only a few thousand persons of South Asian origin before the onset of the 1950s. For instance in Vancouver there were only 555 labourers and 335 small business men in 1951. , 1985: 14). My brother Kapur Singh was one of the first Sikhs to go to Canada.

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