Categorized | Interviews

Anubha Mehta: Inspired by Gandhism

Posted on 15 June 2011 by admin

Anubha Mehta

You just have to look at the job boards to see that temporary, contract and precarious jobs have now replaced sustained employment as a norm.”

Questions like  “Do they embrace the new profile of their neighbourhood? Do they just tolerate it or do they think of moving out of it? There has been some research and case studies to report on these observances. For example in Brampton there are statistics in certain neighbourhoods which show ‘white flight’. And yet in the same city there are examples of other localities which are thriving because of their diversity” may take years to answer, Anubha tells us.

 

As more South Asians immigrate to Canada, it’s not only the better opportunities in Canada that attract them. It’s also the fact that some of them had spent a few years as youth in Canada. After travelling to several other countries, many South Asians decide on “a whim” to move to Canada. Anubha Mehta’s family is one such example.

To the amazement of her family and friends, Anubha left a wonderful life in India to come to Canada. She tells Generation Next “We moved to Canada to get away from the clutter of our Indian life where most of our days and evenings were wrapped in some social obligation or the other..We chose Toronto as we were happy to start a fresh in a place where we knew no one. Almost like the Survivor series!”

Social worker by trade, Anubha’s social work is inspired by “philosophy, ethics and values of Gandhism – my grandma had fought for the Swadeshi movement with Gandhi.” AS an acknowledgment to her services to the community, she was given an award by Punjabi Community Health Services (PCHS) on International Women’s Day.

As a Phd, she understands the difference between options Canada offers and the opportunities available here. “Options are not equal to opportunity. This is where the struggle comes in—as to how to convert options to opportunity,” she differentiates

Her first job in Canada was to work at a homeless shelter in Downtown Toronto. The job did not pay her bills, however, “did I get to see what I intended? Absolutely! And much more!” Since then she had worked for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the City of Toronto. Currently she works at the Region of Peel.

Through her work at the Region of Peel, Anubha has observed that 93 ethnic groups speaking 70 different languages make almost 50 per cent of the Peel Region. Of these “almost half of that [are immigrants and newcomers from] India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka,” she states.

As such it requires the Region to collaborate its services for the welfare of newcomers.

“However what I have observed is that with this work in the forefront the resistance to these initiatives has not been removed, rather it is now more hidden. Barriers, both systemic and attitudinal, have takes a more sophisticated, subtle and definite form..We Canadians are still uncomfortable talking about ‘racism’ operating from a mythology of minimalism and conceptually scare resources,” says Anubha.

She is one of those few people who believe that the there are no secure jobs even if they are government jobs protected at times by unions. “You just have to look at the job boards to see that temporary, contract and precarious jobs have now replaced sustained employment as a norm. The government too as an employer  reflects this trend by offering mostly only temporary or contract positions.”

To Anubha’s mind the debate about South Asian culture becoming more and more prominent needs deeper understanding in terms of its impact on the South Asian and non-South Asian community.

Questions like  “Do they embrace the new profile of their neighbourhood? Do they just tolerate it or do they think of moving out of it? There has been some research and case studies to report on these observances. For example in Brampton there are statistics in certain neighbourhoods which show ‘white flight’. And yet in the same city there are examples of other localities which are thriving because of their diversity” may take years to answer, Anubha tells us.

Talking about parenting in Canada, Anubha reflects that issues pertaining to parenting in Canada are mostly because “our next generation has a filter of what they learn and experience from their parents but don’t necessarily have the same filter as their parents. And it is this issue that most parents struggle with.”

She quotes Khalil Gibran from “The Prophet”

“….Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

 

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of to-morrow,

Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not

To make them like you………….”

 

As an Indo Canadian, Anubha still visits India. The reason for her visits on an individual level is “is to find myself, really…As for my children this journey back is an opportunity to know the existence of other life styles and people besides North Americans. Moving forward in their life, it is important for children to have a sound understanding and foundation of who they are and where they come from, to be able to include in their world a sense of diversity and tolerance of their roots and to be able to include in their concept of ‘home’ another place besides Canada,” she explains to Generation Next’s readers.

 

 

 

 

 

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