Connecting over 25 millions NRIs worldwide
Most trusted Name in the NRI media
NRI News: Surrey, BC, Canada


Indo-Canadian Community Meeting the Challenge

Surrey, Vancouver, Aug. 06, 2008
Balwant Sanghera
President, Punjabi Language Education Association

Recently, this writer was invited for an interview by a mainstream TV station. The host was a very well respected, knowledgeable and veteran broadcaster. The main topic of discussion was various issues affecting the Indo-Canadian community in Canada and what the community is doing about them. The line of questioning reinforced some of the perceptions about our community one hears from other sources.
There is no doubt that the Indo-Canadian community is a very hardworking, compassionate, law abiding and generous community. Unfortunately, some developments during the past few years have also given some negative connotations to this image. These were very well articulated by my interviewer. These included domestic violence, youth/drugs/gangs/violence, arranged marriages, internal divisions and the increase in criminal element in the community.
These are some of the issues that have been of great concern to our community as well. It must be recognized that the Indo-Canadian community has been making an earnest effort in addressing not only these but also many other problems affecting it. However, it is likely that the mainstream media or the mainstream community is not fully aware of these efforts. There may be a need for a concerted effort on our part in reaching out to the mainstream community in this regard.
Take for example the issue of domestic violence. To their credit, a large number of community organizations have been doing a commendable job in this area. One can notice the difference already.
Incidents of domestic violence in our community appear to have gone down considerably. Nevertheless, a lot more still needs to be done on this front. As a community, we need to collectively address the root causes of this malady. This can be best accomplished by educating the community about issues like alcoholism, dignity, mutual respect, conflict resolution and problem-solving etc.
Similarly, youth violence seems to have come down a bit too. In this regard, a number of organizations have been working tirelessly in creating more awareness and educating the youth and parents about the tragic consequences of involvement in this kind of lifestyle. As in the case of domestic violence, we need to continue to work hard with our youth and parents in order to keep them on the right track.
In the same way, as a community, we need to continue to work on other issues For example; our community seems to be moving fast from the concept of arranged marriages to those by mutual consent. Also, the inner divisions within the community seem to be healing.
There seems to be more mutual respect and appreciation of differing viewpoints and approaches to various issues in the community. To its credit, the Indo-Canadian media-print and electronic- has played a key and commendable role in this whole process. It deserves the community’s heartfelt appreciation.
We have come a long ways since the dark days of early twentieth century. All of us can be rightly proud of our community’s accomplishments during the past 110 or so years. Though our community has grown considerably during the past few years, yet in the overall context, it is still relatively small.
Everything we do –good or bad- often comes under a microscope. As such, each and every member of the community is like an ambassador for the community. If we do anything good, the whole community gets the credit .On the flip side, if any member of our community does something unacceptable or undesirable, the whole community gets tarnished. Thus the onus is entirely upon us.

Balwant Sanghera
(Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist)


Balwant Sanghera

Balwant Sanghera
President, Punjabi Language Education Association . He is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist in British Columbia ,Canada.