Week 2 – “The Axiom Of Kinship Amity”
Family and kin stick together. With Indian immigration, more fortunate relatives would always help their families and others get back on their feet.
This is the essence of the “axiom of kinship amity1” as described by Veena Das in her book Life and Words: Violence and the Descent Into the Ordinary.
However, all of my readings have led me to believe otherwise, that in fact, racial, religious, and regional divisions that have existed in India have also migrated to America. But how? And why?
Hey everyone! Thank you so much again for your interest in my project.
This week, I spent a lot of my time reading and better understanding the kind of research I was about to dive into, and I found myself deeply invested in people’s life stories. One person whose narrative I was deeply touched by is Manjit, who was orphaned and abducted during the Partition. (The Partition of India 1947 is the political change in borders following British colonization that led to the religious division of the territory into India and Pakistan1.) Once she was returned to her relatives, her uncle couldn’t financially support her, leading to her premature marriage and separation from her family. Eventually, Manjit needed to accept the violence, from the Partition and her marriage, and her lack of agency in life that was the result of the events in her life. Although this is only one anecdote, numerous Indian women, especially at that time, have faced similar circumstances, and if not, share a fundamental cultural connection.
Manjit’s story is one example of family not sticking together. And how could they? The Partition had led to so much division already, and to survive, people needed to make hard decisions, ones that often times further separated them from their families. These divisions continue through generations and continents to inhabit American-Indian youth today.
Through my readings, I’ve also discovered a division between the regions of North and South India, and while some reasons for this split are from economics, race, and culture2, I hope to dive into this further, to see its impact on Indian Americans right now through interviews but also explore its historic origins and potential connections to British colonization. Understanding the lives of people like Manjit is essential to understand the nuances of these divisions in everyday life, and I hope to emulate at least a fraction of this in my project as well.
Thank you for reading my blog, and see you next week!
- Das, V. (2007). Life And Words: Violence And The Descent Into The Ordinary. Univ Of California Press.
- Team, C. (2018, July 24). North India-South India Divide – Is There A Growing Regional Divide In India? ClearIAS. Https://Www.Clearias.Com/North-India-South-India-Divide/#:~:Text=Political%20parties%20of%20both%20North,Been%20activated%20at%20various%20times.