Indian Music Gives Indian-American Kids A Taste Of Their Native Culture And Language
Moving to another country can be difficult, but raising children in another country can be even more difficult. In the U.S., where Indian-American children are a minority, Indian parents are constantly fighting the battle of assimilation.
Of course, they want their children to be comfortable and well adjusted in society, but not at the cost of their culture and native language. For parents, raising children that don’t speak their language or know very little about their culture is a loss—a loss of identity.
In an article, Shruti Poulsen writes, “Immigration is a process fraught with both challenges and opportunities for families.
In particular, East Indian families with U.S.-born adolescents experience the challenges of bridging cultures across generational divides; they are perceived by others as confused, identity less, and conflicted or as American-Born, Confused Desis (ABCDs).”
Growing up as an Indian-American in the U.S., I know from experience that it wasn’t easy. I am the only child on my mom’s side of the family who speaks Hindi fluently.
So how did I learn it? Well, it didn’t hurt that my grandmother lived with me for 16 years. She could speak very little English and I was forced to speak with her in Hindi.
But I also attribute a lot of my exposure to Hindi and Indian culture to Bollywood. Yes, the film industry famous for its three-hour-long, overly dramatic musicals actually taught me something.
While listening to Hindi songs, I’d constantly ask about what they were saying, and I quickly picked up on the more complicated words. And now, with Indian music streaming sites like Dhingana, the availability of Indian music has increased significantly.
Dhingana has children songs, devotional songs and film songs in several different Indian languages, giving children the opportunity to explore a variety of aspects of the Indian culture through music.
While browsing through the children’s section, I found several of my childhood favorites on a playlist including “Nani Teri Morni,” “Dadi Amma Dadi Amma Maan Jao,” and “Ichak Dana Beechak Dana.”
Although it may not teach children to be fluent in their native language, it will definitely give them some much-needed exposure.
Mishri Bhatia is an Indian-American who currently lives in San Francisco, CA. She has a strong passion for Indian culture and enjoys writing about it. She has written for several publications in Florida including HOME Magazine and Alachua County Today. She currently works for a PR & marketing agency called PulpPR, which is based in Los Angeles, California. You can contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org