It is better to stay here, because, as a woman, I have more rights.: Becoming Minnesotan

Deep Shikha Gupta, c.2006.
  • Name - Deep Shikha Gupta
  • Age at interview - 50
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 06.23.2005
  • Indian American man spending time with his 90 year old aunt, India, 2010.

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    Essential Question

    Becoming Americans: What does it mean to be an American?

    Opportunities in America: What kind of opportunities does this person see in America that he/she did not have in the homeland?

    Words to look for

    extended family

    Background Information

    In India, extended families are normally very close.  In fact, it is common for grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, and cousins to all live together in the same house.  The children all grow up together more like brothers and sisters than cousins, and all of the adults work together to take care of all of the kids.  Family members support one another, and have a lot of respect for what it means to be part of the family.  Because of these tight-knit families, it is a very difficult decision to move away from important family support systems to come to the U.S.  Many Indians who have moved to the U.S. continue to be very connected to their extended family back in India and make frequent trips home to visit.

    To learn more about Asian Indian history and culture, visit our Asian Indian Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Deep Shikha Gupta 1
    1:53 Minutes | 1.81Mb

    Transcription

    Narrator: Deep Shikha Gupta (DG)

    Interviewer: Polly Sonifer (PS)

    PS:  So, why did you not go back to India at that time?  Primarily because of his job?

    DG:  Because he didn’t have a job to go back to, and in Delhi, university jobs are really hard to come by.  He could have gotten another job, but…by that time, I knew…I would have gone back without doubt.  I would have gone back if, at that time, he had said that his job was there and he had said, “Let’s go back.”  I knew for my family - and by my family, I don’t mean my nuclear family; I mean my extended family - it’s not good if I stay here, but for me, as a woman, it is better to stay here, because, as a woman, I have more rights.

    PS:  And more opportunity?

    DG:  And more opportunities.  But as a member of extended family, I can do more for them there than I can do here. 

    PS:  How hard was that choice for you?

    DG:  It has been very hard choice, even now.  I think that is what you’ll find with most of the immigrants; we have that guilt always.  Always, we feel guilty because I know I made a promise to my mother-in-law that I’ll come back.  Her plan always was that you people are going to come back after two, three years, and we’ll stay together.  She was going to live with me and my husband.  Like I said, we had good relationship.  When we both went to work, she took care of our kids, she and my father-in-law, and it was just great.  So, to some extent, I know I hurt her feelings by not going back. My mother depended on me a whole lot emotionally.  So, that guilt is there, and that guilt would stay there.  I don’t think we ever resolved that.


    Related Glossary Terms

    extended family

    Noun:  A family consisting of parents and children, along with either grandparents, grandchildren, aunts or uncles, etc.

    extent

    Noun:  The space, area, volume, etc., to which something moves to, stretches, or encompasses.

    immigrant

    Noun:  A person who comes to a country to permanently settle from another country.

    opportunity

    Noun:  A chance for advancement, progress, or profit.

    right

    Noun:  A legal or moral entitlement.

    Citation

    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
    nid: 618