By Ghuman Paul A. Singh
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Additional info for Coping With Two Cultures: British Asian and Indo-Canadian Adolescents (Multilingual Matters)
A Sikh pedlar from Birmingham of early settlement (1949) related his experiences. We were only three Sikhs in Cardiffcame after the second war and stayed on. Our trade was in clothes. We used to buy from the wholesalers and take it to the countryside. Life was hard we used to get homesick, but it was so expensive to go back. We saved money for our families and lived on very little. We shared a house with other Indians. There was communal cooking and sharing of other facilities. At that time there were so few Indianswe had problems buying our food.
The major push factors may include massive upheavals of population through war, persecution and famine/or acute scarcity. The major pull factor is the commonsensical one of the improvement of the family's financial and social position. The other pull factor is the active encouragement given by the receiving society to the citizens of other countries through the prospect of better jobs, housing and recreational facilities. British emigration to Australia, Canada and New Zealand till the mid-1960s highlights this phenomenon.
The migrants were the middle classes of their country of origin. It took a lot of initiative, resources and drive to raise finances (sometimes well over £500 in the 1960s) and venture abroad with no English and no technical skills. Furthermore migration abroad invariably brought prosperity in visible terms, a 'pukka house' (brick built) was a big status symbol. The family's izzat (honour) was raised through migration (Jai Singh EnglandiaJai Singh from England or Bhag Canadia), and the next generation could expect better education and marriage proposals for the young from well-off and high status families.