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Preparing for Life: Gender, Religiosity and Education Amongst Second Generation Hindus in Canada

Author(s): Cathy Holtmann | Nancy Nason-Clark

Journal: Religion and Gender
ISSN 1878-5417

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 57;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: immigrant | second generation | Hindu | sociology | gender | Canada

A hallmark of Hinduism is its respect for religious diversity. Amidst religious pluralism in a multicultural Canadian society this strength poses challenges for the second generation. Drawing on qualitative interview data from 57 ‘1.5’ and second generation university students, this article examines the roles that Hinduism and gender play in the process of identity construction in visible minority groups. These young people were raised in families where traditional Hindu religious and cultural practices were valued by immigrants as they creatively adjusted to Canadian society. Parents tried to actively involve their children in their way of life but were largely unable to assist them in articulating the meaning of Hindu rituals and beliefs. As a result, young men and women are caught between the values of their parent’s generation and those implicit in Canadian educational institutions. The secularism of this educational system, permeated by religious illiteracy, contributes to tensions and ambiguities in identity construction.
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