Becoming American, Being Indian
An Immigrant Community in New York City
Since the 1960s the number of Indian immigrants and their descendants living in the United States has grown dramatically. During the same period, the make-up of this community has also changed—the highly educated professional elite who came to this country from the subcontinent in the 1960s has given way to a population encompassing many from the working and middle classes. In her fascinating account of Indian immigrants in New York City, Madhulika S. Khandelwal explores the ways in which their world has evolved over four decades.
How did this highly diverse ethnic group form an identity and community? Drawing on her extensive interviews with immigrants, Khandelwal examines the transplanting of Indian culture onto the Manhattan and Queens landscapes. She considers festivals and media, food and dress, religious activities of followers of different faiths, work and class, gender and generational differences, and the emergence of a variety of associations.
Khandelwal analyzes how this growing ethnic community has gradually become "more Indian," with a stronger religious focus, larger family networks, and increasingly traditional marriage patterns. She discusses as well the ways in which the American experience has altered the lives of her subjects.