Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Family Erosion in Latin America April 30, 2007

Filed under: church,Culture,Family,Youth — Sam George @ 8:20 pm

I do not follow much of Latin American world or catholic church news on a regular basis. But this one I could not avoid. I have always had lots of regard for the strong pro-life and pro-family vision of the Roman Catholic church. Not necesarrily how everything was advocated or practised within the church. In this Catholic News report, Pope Benedict XVI warned that the family in Latin America is showing signs of erosion, as evidenced by increasing divorce, cohabitation and adultery. I thought not just in Latin America, but erosion can be seen everywhere in the world. America has successfully exported its problems worldwide.

I consider current Pope to be scholarly and visionary leader. He is a man of conviction and does not always tries to be politically correct, but speaks his mind. He is very insightful on his observations on contemporary affairs of the world and gets to the heart of the issue. This is one of them.

Family is at the heart of every society and civilization. When this basic unit of the society shows weakness, sooner or later the entire society will crumble. When homes are fractured, future generations are at risk. Weaker the marriage bond, every relationship is bound to be deteriorate. Modernity, new morality, liberalism etc. has fundamentally eroded the time-tested institution of the family. Is it possible to embrace modernity and technological advances without having to accept liberal morality? Do we have to go back to age-old extended family and communal living?

 

Forced Marriages, Challenge of finding life partner April 26, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,India,Ministries,Youth — Sam George @ 2:52 pm

Recently I read a story from Andhra Pradesh (India) about a 21-year-old bride who protested against her parents on eve of her wedding. As a result she was subjected to violent abuse in public view by her parents trying to force her into submission. Sadly, the incident happened in front of  the groom and her aunt’s son!

Under the domestic violence act marrying off a major without her consent is a violation in India. But everyday there are scores of children (especially women) who are married off without their consent. Marriageable girls are seen as a liability to the parents in India. The societal expecations, dowry, communal pressure, gender inequality, arranged marriage systems etc have worked against marriageble young people.

In Indian culture, it is parents responsibility to find a match for their children when they come of age. No matter how you have raised your children or how much educated them, if you fail to get them married at the “right” time, you are considered as a failure. Getting children married (so that you will have grandchildren) is often considered as the highest parental duty.

Often brides and grooms who are expected to live together for life, have no choice in this matter to express their desire or opinion about choice of their mate. This is tragic. Many parents do not have any clue of the children’s outlook or aspirations. Finding a match within a caste/religion, economic assets, social status etc are driving force behind parents choice, while young people looks for emotional compatbility, personal aspirations, like and dislikes etc.

It should not be be one way or other. I wish both parents and marriageable young people are able to see why they need to take both views into account. With steady rise in broken marriages in the Indian society, which once prided in strong family culture, we need to develop a more comprehensive approach to help future generations to find right mates and help them build strong marriages.

 

Booming Business in India April 23, 2007

Filed under: Events,India,Leadership,Youth — Sam George @ 2:18 pm

The prestigious magazine Fortune has named Sunil Mittal as Asia’s Businessman of the Year. He heads Bharti Airtel – India’s leader in mobile phone services and the fastest growing wireless market in the world.

In the lead article in its latest issue, Fortune said after succeeding in the cell phone market, Mittal is now forging his “most audacious” foreign partnership yet. A partnership with global giant Wal Mart to develop retail market all over India.

India has the unique distinction for the highest pay hike in the world. No wonder people are heading to India by planeloads. Money seems to be trickling down to the middle class finally and enterpreuner middle class is turning inot millionaires. But will it change the poor masses of India? In spite of unprecendented business boom, millions of Indians are yet to see a computer or own a cell phone or send an email.

Are the business focused on the lowest rung of the pyramid or preoccupied with the middle class? Who will stand in the gap, speak for the voiceless millions in India? Will business be just or exploit growing aspirations or drive further wedge between classes?

 

House Church Movement April 18, 2007

Filed under: church,Family,Leadership,Youth — Sam George @ 3:59 pm

In a recent study of house church movement in the US by George Barna, shows that home church experience has been more satisfying more than those who attend conventional churches.

Church as a family is a common idea among Christians. Especially in the West, where radical individualism and consumeristic tendency has affected our church culture. They are desperately trying to create a sense of community for church goers. To create a sense of family and belongingness and trying to make church as family of families.

But lately many are migrating to a newer idea that ‘family is the church’. This is nothing new. First century Christianity was in homes of Christ followers. Romanization of the church is what created the institutional church and we all know the corruption of life, belief and practise caused by power, wealth and structures.

Theologian Jonathan Edward said, “Every Christian family ought to be, as if it were, a little church.” No programs or curriculums can bind people together into a family. Family feelings can not be created by meeting weekly at a common location or splendid teaching on being a family. There is something supernatural and within our genes that bind us together, like nothing else can.

There is no doubt that when a church meets at home, it unleashes its evangelistic and discipling making potential. Stewardship and involvement will be higher. Transformation will be lasting. No wonder many are rediscovering the House Church movement again. Back to the future!

 

Rise of Indian Stars on American TV April 13, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,Leadership,News — Sam George @ 3:47 am

A regular reader of this blog send me a brief email asking why I haven’t yet commented on Sanjaya Malakar on the American Idol show. Of course, there is much coverage on this phenomena in the newsmedia. See USA Today, Delware Online and India Tribune (BTW, I write a regular column for Chicago based IT on youth & family issues in the Indian American community).

Of course, the recent craze of Sanjaya on American Idol has taken the Indian American community by storm. It has become a major point of discussion at dorm hangouts, office water coolers, weekend parties, temples/churches etc. Even part of the regular calls to folks back in India, “Did you know, one Indian kids is going to become an American Idol….. his hair, his style and support from American viewers.”

It is not just Sanjaya on the prime time television. There is also Naveen Andrews in LOST, Sendhil Ramamurthy in Heros and others. I heard after the release of movie Namesake, Kal Penn has many tv contracts. You can see Indian faces in ER, Office and other prime time shows as well. Not to mention many news readers, anchor persons and reporters are of Indian origin are a regular feature now.

Indian are competing in acting, film directions and productions as well. They are getting in the tv & movie game big time. Just like other Indians in America, whatever field they have entered, they excelled and rised to the top. And the latest is prime time TV.

Now parents are realizing to be successful in life, you options are not limited to doctors, engineers or lawyers. Spell bees, science fairs or math olympiad may not be the only thing Indian parents encourage their American born kids to pursue anymore. As result of this, even writing, acting, music, painting, performing arts etc will be encouraged in Indian American homes. That’s a good trend, I guess.

But I do have problems with our community obsession with celebrating success. It creates enormous pressure for others to succeed. Excessive parental pressure and unhealthy expectations create lots of problems for all.

What about atheletics and sports? When will Indian Americans sports star be born?

 

Visiting Seattle April 10, 2007

Filed under: church,Leadership,Youth — Sam George @ 2:06 pm

Hey,

Next week, I will be in Seattle, WA. I am attending and doing a seminar at the Ethnic America Summit.

This is an amazing gathering of ethnic workers from all over North America. I have attended three summits in the past. It had been a great time to learn from others issues relevant to children of immigrants. And also to meet with some great leaders from various ethnic communities.

I firmly believe that we can learn a great deal from other ethnic communities, especially other Asians. Indians in America is a post-1965 immigrant community and we must interface with others who came before us to avoid the mistakes they made. Also the second generation phenomena has many similarities across various ethnic lines.

If you are from the area, let me know. I would love to connect up.

 

Indian Railway – A Biz Case Study

Filed under: church,India,Leadership,News,Youth — Sam George @ 3:27 am

Harvard Business School,  HEC Management School (France) and Indian Institutes of Management will soon be having a case study on Indian Railways for aspiring biz graduates. The Indian Railways is the largest employer and has most extensive rail network in the world.

Since last year when the railway minister, Lalu Prasad Yadav (often presented as a comical character in the Indian media, with no formal education and many corruption cases pending in his home state Bihar), presented some Rs 11 thousand crores as profit , it caught the attention of politicians and business leaders everywhere.

A legacy of British rule to knit widespread communities of India together and trasport grains to farflung villages, has become a key infrastructure for its economic growth. If the somewhat archiac system like that of Indian rails can adapt, be in touch with global trends and turnaround to show mammoth profits, I believe Indian Church can be even more relevant for these changing times and needs of people.

Sometime we see the ancient nature of Indian church with long history of missions and remanant of western church orders, are too rooted in traditions and its own culture. We tend to think that it can never be changed to address comteporary challenges of our times. But then comes Lalus who challenge our bias and presumptions. This is nothing new in the history of the church… remember Luther, Calvin and other reformers.

I hope and pray that God will raise Lalus in the many denominations of the Indian church! Maybe Indian Church can showcase to the world, what God is doing in our times for the glory of his name and extension of his kingdom around the world.