The lamentable plight of South Asian seniors

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By Jagpal Singh Dara

Mississauga, January 22 (CINEWS): People the world over are keen on migrating to Canada. The government also encourages (or provides a window of opportunity) immigrants to invite their parents to live with them. The goal is to ensure that the working population concentrates more on their work while ensuring family re-unification. It is possible when their families are united. Otherwise, the immigrants would be having divided attention The government policy is that the immigration of the parents is beneficial to the economy and production as they are able to tend to their grand-children sparing time and saving money to the immigrants on day care centres, to concentrate on their work whole-heartedly.
Some immigrants sincerely want their parents to be with them so that they can look after them properly in their old age. They realise that parents raised them, educated them and also inculcated values and culture in them. They want the same values to be infused in their children so that they remain attached to their roots. As both the parents are out of their homes due to the work, the children spend their quality time with the grand-parents. In this way, the children get attached to the grand-parents and remain in touch with their native languages, cultures and milieu of their native countries.
On the other hand, there are some immigrants, who treat their parents with contempt. They’ve sponsored their parents with the intention they function as nannies to look after their children as they go out for work. In such a manner, they save money which they would have to pay to the nannies or day care centres. So far so good. But the woes of such parents begin when their passports are confiscated and in some cases destroyed by their children so they have no way to return home. They are treated with indifference and contempt and are subjected to humiliation and insults. Pension, which the parents get from the government after being here for a stipulated period, is snatched by the immigrants on the excuse that they have been getting pension only because of them. They give an excuse that the pension is not needed by them as they are being provided boarding and lodging. Majority of the parents are illiterate and are ignorant of their rights and cannot communicate with people outside of their community or family. This drawback enhances their hardship. The irony is that most of them come to Canada having disposed of their homes and agricultural lands under the notion that their children would look after them decently and with respect. They have nothing to bank upon back home even.
I recently came across a South Asian senior, who has landed property and a running business back home. He and his wife had been sponsored as permanent resident by their son. Their were drawn by the grand-children, but were soon disillusioned by the rude behaviour of their son and daughter-in-law. Even the grand-children snubbed them. He quipped that he was lucky to have retained his business and house back home to maintain himself and they made the decision to return as soon as possible.
There are a large number of such disenchanted parents who have had a plethora of such bitter experience. One senior has three sons here but none is ready to keep the parents with them. Another’s daughter-in-law has turned him out, his son stealthily visits him and provides him food and some money.
One dilemma which the parents face is that they feel awkward making demands for their necessities even from the children. It is amazing that the parents who always fulfilled the wishes of their children whenever demanded or even without their asking, hesitate to ask for their requirements. The children may not have even thought of such a problem, but the parents remain silent on this issue.
Some residents, while away from home being at work, send the parents along with their children to the malls, parks or temples to save electricity consumption on the air-conditioning in the homes in the summers.
Most of the parents are not aware that they can have access to the police in case of mental and physical torture. Even if they were aware, they would never want their immigrant children to be in trouble. So, this vicious circle will go on unless some concrete steps are taken to protect such hapless parents.

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