Sociology of Indian-Australians and the Diwali Festival

I’ve been away for work for awhile now, and hope to bring you more on this soon. For now, I thought I’d share with you a post I had planned to  publish weeks ago, but haven’t been able to finish until now. Let’s talk about the sociology of Indian people in Australia, with a case study of the Hindu festival of Diwali in Melbourne.

Indian migration to Australia has a long history, dating back to the 19th Century,  with early records showing the British brought Indian servants (noting this may have included forced servitude). At the time of colonial Australia’s first Census, there were 1,800 Indian people in Australia. Today, Indian-Australians represent our fourth largest migrant group and they are also the biggest growing migrant group next to China, with their population doubling in the past decade, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In the most recent Census of 2016, over 455,000 Australians were born in India, corresponding to 1.9% of our population, though this does not include the second-generation (their children born in Australia).  Together with Nepalese-Australians, Indian people make up 76% of the Hindu population in Australia (noting that Hindu people make up only 1.9% of our national population).

Indian families gather at Diwali: Indian Festival of Light Oct 2014. Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia
Diwali: Indian Festival of Light, Federation Square

Continue reading Sociology of Indian-Australians and the Diwali Festival

Feticide Law in USA Punishes Migrant Women of Colour

Feticide Law in USA Punishes Migrant Women of Colour

Purvi Patel is the first woman in the USA to be convicted of feticide (describing an act that leads to the death of a foetus). She suffered a miscarriage, and with no support, she tried to conceal the stillborn, but admitted her condition in hospital when seeking treatment for bleeding. She is from a Hindu background, where sex outside of marriage is condemned. She is sentenced to spend two decades behind bars – a travesty of justice that serves patriarchal ideals. The American law of feticide is not really about protecting women or babies, but rather it’s about punishing vulnerable, desperate women and ultimately discourages others from seeking help when they are trying to deal with an unplanned pregnancy.

While hers is the first conviction, this is not the first arrest under feticide law. Another woman of migrant background was arrested and held for two years under similar harrowing conditions. “Women of colour, especially those who are immigrants or come from immigrant families, are especially vulnerable when it comes to navigating our country’s legal system and often don’t have the same protections and resources other women do.”

If you’re in the USA, sign this petition to the White House to release Patel: http://buff.ly/1C1AdrF

Story: http://buff.ly/1xNNEyS Photo: http://buff.ly/1IyuoWG #sociology #feminism #migrants #women #indian

Otherness, Racism and Police Violence

In early February in Alabama, USA, police were called to investigate an elderly Indian man simply because he was walking suburban streets. The caller identified Sureshbhai Patel as as a “skinny Black man,” and therefore suspicious. Patel had only recently arrived in the USA to help his son with his newborn baby. He did not speak English, but he complied with the officers as best he could, but he was still thrown violently to the ground. Continue reading Otherness, Racism and Police Violence

Importance of Intercultural Education for International Students

Importance of Intercultural Education for International Students in Australia. (Repost)

International students represent a large economic and international relations investment for Australia. Australian universities are increasingly relying upon overseas students for their revenue, but these institutions are not adequately addressing the special learning, linguistic, cultural and religious needs of these students. Despite their Australian education, international students experience various difficulties in finding work in their field of study after they graduate. Poor English-language, communication and problem-solving skills are the biggest obstacles to securing ongoing and satisfying jobs. Employer biases regarding international students are equally a problem. Below, I provide a demographic overview of the international student population in Australia. I argue that a stronger focus on the socialisation of international students is likely to increase their educational and career satisfaction.  Continue reading Importance of Intercultural Education for International Students