Bangladeshi immigrant communities
By Md. Anwarul Kabir
Like most peoples of the world, Bangladeshis have joined the world trend of human mobility across continents and countries. Already Bangladeshi immigrant communities in the UK, the USA, Australia and New Zealand are well-established.
However, many Bangladeshi feel insecure in nurturing their offspring in an alien society. In fact, the children of any immigrant communities are in between two cultures. So they deserve special guidance from their parents to follow the right path with a view to being worthy citizen in a multicultural society. As a member of an immigrant community Bangladeshis should be aware of the very psychology of their offspring.
Unlike the mainstream, the children of immigrant community always suffer from a sort of identity crisis. Are they Bangladeshi? Or are they the member of the country of their residence? Which culture they should follow? Should they follow the culture of the mainstream society? Or they should merely preserve their ancestors’ culture? The children of Bangladeshi immigrant communities are not exception in this context. In fact they are also in this dilemma.
Bringing up the children living in an alien society is really a complex phenomenon. The process of globalization accelerates the high rate migration towards developed countries which in turn changes the societies in the developed countries into multicultural societies.
A multicultural society does not concentrate on assimilation rather it gives emphasis on integration. The term assimilation signifies the total cultural absorption of the smaller communities by the mainstream of the society. But the term integration provides the immigrant community with an option to keep its own identity by maintaining its cultural heritage.
The members of the Bangladeshi immigrant communities should aware of it. As an immigrant community in abroad, we should not be totally absorbed by the mainstream at the cost of our own identity. In fact, some of our own values, moralities and beliefs are far better than those of in other societies. For instance, family values and family ties, kinship, sexuality should be pointed out in this context. Besides our language, cultural inheritance, war for liberation etc. are also our assets. So, this is a prime responsibility of the Bangladeshi immigrant community to give proper exposure to the second generation about these.
While rearing up the children, Bangladeshi immigrant communities should be alert so that the children in question must not be simply ‘copy cats’ of the children of the mainstream of the society. For this, communication channel between parents and children must be improved by reducing the generation gap prudently. This is the responsibility of the parents to create a congenial environment at home. Socialization among the families of the Bangladeshi community will open a door for the children to know our culture and heritage.
Besides, by organizing different cultural programs the Bangladeshi community can impart the proper knowledge about our cultural heritage to their children. Moreover, frequent visit to Bangladesh will help the children living abroad in reducing their identity crisis.
So, if possible the members of the immigrant Bangladeshi community should visit Bangladesh at least once a year along with their children so that they (the children) can rediscover their family values and ties, sexuality, cultural heritage, and other positive aspects of their own society on hand.
(The author is an Assistant professor in CS, American International University-Bangladesh (AIUB) His article first appeared in the Bangladesh Journal)