Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Book Reviews -- Hindu Children in Britain by Robert Jackson and Eleanor Nesbitt

Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Book Reviews -- Hindu Children in Britain by Robert Jackson and Eleanor Nesbitt

Article excerpt

JACKSON, Robert and Eleanor NESBITT, HINDU CHILDREN IN BRITAIN. Staffordshire, England. Trentham Books Ltd, 1993, 228 pp, L 15.95 hardcover.

This ethnography essentially traces the life experiences of a dozen Hindu children growing up in Coventry, England whose parents originally migrated from India. This monograph provides a microscopic glimpse into how cultural minorities adapt and indeed enjoy the fruits of their host societies without relinquishing the vestiges of their native cultures. The monograph is replete with vivid detail highlighting everything from food tastes to fashion modes and from religious practices to festivals. To the reader who is unfamiliar with Hindu culture an exotic tapestry is elegantly woven and the picture drawn is quite vibrant. The multicultural route now taken in many college courses may successfully incorporate this piece.

The first two chapters cover background issues and how the authors collected the data. Chapter 3 addresses the self-concept of Hindu children. For most children, the association with the mother country is somewhat remote. A few of the children reported some feeling of racism but most were coping well. The rest of the book outlines the children's roles in the family, food and fasting practices, festivals, religious activities, the arts, formal teaching and the authors' concluding remarks. An appendix on methods is also provided.

While the study should fascinate those with scholarly concerns about immigration or about children, there are some methodological shortcomings that deserve note. First, the authors focus attention on a very narrow slice of 8 to 13 year- old children selected from a pool of schools that provide training in the mother tongue. After all, there are over 360,000 Hindus in Britain. Consequently, one should be cautious in overinterpreting the results. For example, there is a suggestion that despite the concerns of Hindu parents, their children still cling to many traditional customs. …

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