The Namesake - Second Generation Issues
- By Sam George
- Published 03/11/2007
Sam George is the Executive Director of PARIVAR International - a non-profit initiative to address the needs of youth and families of Asian Indian origin in North America and to the Asian Indian community worldwide. Parivar means family in many Indian languages. Sam George also serves as one of the founding directors of Urban India Ministries
www.UrbanIndia.org Sam George and his wife, Mary have spoken at premarital and family events in many countries. They are parents of two boys and make their home in the northern suburbs of Chicago. Sam is the author of the book “Understanding the Coconut Generation: Ministry to the Americanized Asian Indians." Check out this website www.CoconutGeneration.com Coconut (brown on the outside, white on the inside) is a metaphor for the Americanized Asian Indians. Sam George can be reached at email@example.com
It is a story of Bengali immigrant family from Calcutta (Gangulis) and their American born son (Gogol). It beautifully paints the struggles of second generation Indian Americans, their search of identity, being torn between two worlds, generational conflicts, difffering views, expectations and perceptions.
He rejects his name given by parents (linking him to the past) and dates a American girl symbolic of his rejection of everything Indian and embracing everything American. Yet his past (Bengali roots) and future (American life) seems to strangely intersect. He could not shrug off either. It is a story of a Coconut who is in search of his American identity without loosing his Indian heritage.
I have enjoyed the novel and looking forward to seeing the movie soon. Also possibly use it in my teaching on ministry to the Coconut Generation. I hope more youth leaders will critically review such writings/productions and appropirately use products of popular culture to broach into deeper realities of ministry to the children of immigrants.