Most ethnic and religious groups in America have taken great pains to research and explain their respective histories as American immigrants. They take great pride in sharing how their ancestors were pioneers and sacrificed a great deal to help build the USA.
Sadly, Indians have not done this. To open this line of inquiry and education, I am doing a mini-series on this important chapter of American history. This chapter concerns the history of people from India entering America since the 1700s.
This is a powerful, moving story that should not remain unknown.
In each episode of this mini-series, I interview Shefali Chandan, noted historian and educationist, to take advantage of many years of research on this subject.
The first episode describes the following:
1. The new arrivals from India are called “Hindus”, regardless of their faith.
2. Most of them are Sikhs.
3. They are considered exotic, strange, weird and interesting personalities. Their looks/clothes evoke many different reactions from White Americans.
4. They come by ship across the Pacific Ocean and arrive in California.
5. Surprising to many of us: Some of the Indians were brought to America by the officers of the East India Company as slaves or indentured laborers.
6. The Indian immigrants quickly adapt and become pioneers in the true American sense.
7. They live frugal lives, save a lot of money, and become very successful farmers.
8. Many Indians work as manual laborers to build railroads and other infrastructure.
9. Gradually, the White public and media become racist and Hinduphobic. They see Indians as an economic threat.
10. The inflow of Indians was numerically small compared to the influx of Whites from Europe, and yet this was often called the “Hindu invasion”.
11. Indians started becoming stereotyped by Whites as dirty, scantily clad, poor, hungry, infected with contagious diseases, etc. Newspaper articles started describing them as “undesirable people”, “public burdens”, “inferior laborers”, etc.
12. Indians were branded as caste-ridden, superstitious, and as a menace to “American civilization”.
13. By the early 1900s, media campaigns had started to ban the Indian from entering the USA.
The second episode will continue the fascinating story, one that every Indian child must be taught.
To help our movement, please donate by going to: http://infinityfoundation.com/donate-2/
For more information on Shefali’s work, please visit https://janoed.com and https://www.facebook.com/janohistory