Coconut Generation

The Next Generation of Asian Indians

Post from India … shooting for the sky (actually Moon) October 23, 2008

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 5:10 am
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Hello friends,

I reached India yesterday. I am now in God’s own country, as Kerala is often called. Beautiful greenery and monsoon here keeping things calm and quite. It is wonderful to be in quite serene surrounding and away from maddening craze that often drives our lives everyday everywhere.

As I got here, India blasted off it Moon rocket and is planning to send manned moon mission in 2012. It has fueled the aspiration of the entire nation. With booming economy (not much affected by the global downturn) and all high self confidence, this nation is going places. It is much like what US President John Kennedy soon after taking presidency to revamp NASA ambitious plan for space dominance. See NDTV, Timesof India reports here.

The space lauch vehicle is called Chandrayaan-1, meaning journey to moon.  It already has plans for follow up trips 2 & 3. The control station is not far from where I am right now. Indian scientists continue to dazzle the world with their scientific acumen and project management capabilities in handling such complex mission. 

Not only that Indian accomplished this mission successfully, they did it in record time and cost. Most of the nations who have tried such launches in the past have spend many times this cost ($80 million). WIll other nations start outsourcing space research to India now?

What’s next? WIll it be Mars? Way to go India. Keep it up.

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Murder capital of the world June 13, 2008

Filed under: Youth — Sam George @ 10:20 pm
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Ever wondered which nation in the world would be called Murder capital of the world. This might come shocking to you. This dubious distinction goes to India, according to recent report. See BBC, Time of India, Gulf Times etc.

According to data put together by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there are more than 32000 incident of murder recorded in India during 2007.  Twice as that of US or three times that of neighboring Pakistan. India was closely followed by South Africa with nearly 31000 incidents of murders.

The rate of murder in India is three per 100,000 people while that of rape is four in 100,000, according to the government report. But murder rate per capita may be less than many countries due to the large population of India. Of course, these are official figures and there would be thosands of unreported cases in India and other countries as well.

As India tries to portray an image of herself as a bouyant economy, nuclear power and vibrant culture, this comes as a big blow. There exist a deeply divided and deep seated animosity within the society. Communal clashes, religious persecution, expoitation of weak and poor goes on everyday in every city, town and village. The widespread disparity in wealth distribution, lack of diginity for life, fatalistic worldview etc is going to cost India a great deal in containing its aspirations!

 

Anti-Dowry Laws May 13, 2008

Filed under: Family,India,Leadership,Youth — Sam George @ 3:20 pm
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The Indian government is working on an amendment to dowry laws.

Dowry is an age old social evil in India. Everyday dowry related abuse and deaths go unnoticed in India. Battered women, domestic abuse and violence continues across all socio-economic sections of Indian society. A practise that prevails even in educated, well to do communities including Christians. Gender inequality and expolitative socio-economic forces lies at the heart of this evil practise.

Will a new set of law help reclaim diginity of women in India? Legislation banning dowry was passed in 1961 but is still flouted. According to police records, a woman is killed every 77 minutes due to dowry-related issues.  According to a study by the United Nations Population Fund, 60 per cent of married women are victims of physical torture or forced sex by their husbands.

So what we need to law enforcement and more accurately a change in mindset in the Indian society. We got to change how woman are viewed in the society, eliminate social stigma and empower women. We need a new worldview on genders.

But the popular feminist approach to dealing with this issues undermines and distorts our understanding of masculinity. I think that might do more harm than good in the long run. We need to develop a healthy and balanced view on genders.

 

Missing girls in India March 7, 2008

Filed under: Bible,Culture,Family,India,Leadership — Sam George @ 3:36 pm
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India is facing a new problem – girl deficit! Economy is booming and so is confidence level among the young generation for their palce in the world. Surplus can be seen in almost all facets, except for girl babies. Another progress paradox. Problem is more acute in North India and even in developed states like Punjab.

UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children report found that India’s already abysmal sex ratio is getting worse, with 80% of its districts recording declining child sex ratios (more male births than female) since 1991. Kerala, Pondicherry and the Lakshadweep islands were notable exceptions.

For those girls who do make it out of the womb, survival isn’t a guarantee, say child rights activists. Many die in their infancy because they are given less food and medical care than their brothers. Those who do survive will generally get less of an education — in both quality and quantity — than the boys in the family. Life isn’t always fair to the fairer sex.

Stricter laws against abortion, feticides, infanticides may be easier to pass, but harder to implement. The abhorrent practice of pre-natal sex determination and the many bogus doctors waiting exploit pregnant women cannot be easily contained. The cultural view of a girl child as burden got to be changed. Gender equality need to upheld. THey are not a liability or an investment without return.

Only a worldview that values and nurtures life in every forms can release us from the bondages of the traditions and form a life-affirming culture. We become so self-absorbed that we stake our future with our own. A soceity or nation that does not defend its most vulnerable is destined for doom.

Bible says, “God created human beings in his own image. God created them male and female” (Gen 1:27). After creating woman, God was very pleased and said “very good.” We are created beings and we bear a divine image. God values, affirms us and loves us dearly. That’s why God send Jesus to die in our place.

 

Child Laborers in India December 7, 2007

Filed under: Family,India,News,Youth — Sam George @ 4:14 pm
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There are reportedly 12 million child laborers in India who sweat it out everyday in shops and factories for meagre salary or paying up for their parent’s debt. I can’t imagine in the early 21st century with pervasive media and so much talk about human rights (not to mention the economic boom in India) we still have millions of young ones who are forced into bonded labor.

Many of Delhi’s lost children work in Shahpurjaat. In a recent raid by polic, fourteen children were rescued from the building making clothes for international retailer, the Gap. They work for more than 12 hours a day makinig clothes for other children! In Sivakasi, children are used to make Diwali fireworks and with construction boom in cities, we find little ones in stone quarries and carrying heavy loads on their heads under burning sun. What a modern predicament of modern India?

In 1996, the Supreme Court issued guidelines for how to deal with child labour. The suggestions included providing employment to an older member of a family whose child earns a living.  However, all the government has right now to tackle child labour, is an official penalty of a maximum of two years in prison, and the conviction rate is negligible. Read about unseesn and unheard lost children of Delhi.

Few years ago, I met with an NGO based in Mumbai, that rescued many street children and are raising them. Many of them show scars from growing in broken homes and living on the streets. Now they are back in school and some safe place to call home. They do not have to beg or be exploited by gangs. I was really moved when a little girl called out to the caregivers as Papa and Mummy. She went on to describe her life in the new home and what difference it has made. Wow!!

Who will care for the millions out there? What do children and youth ministry response to this growing crisis?

 

‘Unwanted’ girls aborted among Indians in the West December 3, 2007

Filed under: Culture,Family,India,News — Sam George @ 3:35 pm
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Coming to the West hasn’t changed all that much. The cultural baggages and gender stereotypes still exist among Indians who have settled in the West. A recent research publication proved it beyond a shadow of doubt, in a rather controversial issue – Female Foeticide or Infanticide (abortion of girls). Check out the entire report in Times and Telegraph. The same may be true of Indians in North America ( I don’t know of any similar studies done yet.)

Researchers at Oxford University have carried out a probe and found that a number of Indian-born women living in Britain are aborting ‘unwanted’ daughters in order to have more boys — only because of cultural pressure. According to their findings, nearly 1,500 girls have gone missing from the birth statistics in England and Wales since 1990 — that is, one in ten girls missing from the list for Indian-born women having their third or fourth child.

Sex selective abortion are illegal in India, but still a lot goes on everyday. But in the liberal West, sex determination and abortions (even in late stage of pregnancy) are allowed. So Indians in UK and North America, who preferboys over girls, think it is okay to terminate lives of girl childs. Some of our age-old beliefs continues to determine our steps today. Ideas do have consequences.

Some of these beleifs stem from the assumption that boys will grow up to provide labor (much needed in the agricultural economy) and take care of the parents in their old age (social security). Not to mention the burden of dowry that parents dread and subordinate role desginated to women in the Indian society. Also there is much peer and social pressure to bear sons. In partiarchal societies like India (most of India with an exception of few) power transfer dynamics forces young brides to desire boys over girls. As a result girls are often seen as a liability. But none of that is true in the modern world, but our old beliefs continue to shape our daily actions.

All major faith beliefs are against abortion. Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and Bhuddism speaks strongly against all forms of killing including unborns or just born children. Yet religious teachings have failed to overcome cultural and popularly held views of masses of Indians!

 

Indian Population in US – third highest November 30, 2007

Filed under: Family,India,News — Sam George @ 4:45 pm
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India is among the top three countries sending people to the US. Indian ranked below Mexico and China, with Philipines a close fourth. Chinese twice as much Indians and Mexicans almost 8 times as much. Read a new report from Center for Immigration Studies. Indians continue to be largest ethnic student population in American universities (repeated again for the fourth time in Fall 07).

The nearly 2 million strong Indian community in United States is one of the most educated and wealthiest group. Nearly 39 per cent being US citizens. Highest number of PhD are held by Indian, largest real estate asset among immigrants, most enterprising, most politically active etc. No wonder they are called Model Minority.

United States in the most favorite destinnation for human migration in the world. One in eight resident in US are foreign born. Out of a total immigrant population of 37.9 million, an estimated 11.3 million are illegals. Mexico is largest sending nation and also the largest illegals. Since 2000, 10.3 million immigrants have arrived – the highest seven-year period of immigration in US history. More than half of post-2000 arrivals (5.6 million) are estimated to be illegal aliens.

With increased migration, the Indian community will be preoccupied with immgrants needs and continue to overlook the needs of American born generation. Though some will still be involved with community institution, I feel there will be mass exodus of the Coconut generation to either the western establishment or create alternative systems. It will be interesting to see how things pan out. Watch what is happening with South Asian community in UK to see some trends.