Dr Praveen Kumar Sharma
Department of English,
Lovely Professional University
Diaspora is an issue that gets embedded in an immigrant due to changes in his/her surroundings. The protagonist Subhash is a student pursuing a doctoral programme from a university in Rhode Island. He is a Bengali born and brought up in Calcutta, Bengal and goes to America for higher education. In a foreign country, everything is different from his motherland. All his life he had stayed in Bengal and the sudden movement to America made him feel like an alien there. Subhash finds himself caught in between two very different and diverse worlds.
“For some reason the church reminded him of the small mosque that stood at the corner of his family’s neighborhood in Tollygunge.” (Lahiri, 39)
The mind of the protagonist leaped back into the past when he saw the church that stood at the top of a hill. The mosque and the church are both places of worship. When he was in Calcutta, he and his little brother would roam the streets of Tollygunge and often sit on the steps of the mosque which stood at the corner. The brothers sat on the marble steps of the mosque as it was cool and nice and because the climate of Calcutta is hot and humid and unpleasant, they would relax on the cool of the steps. The guardian of the mosque did not mind them sitting.So, they sometimes spent their leisure time sitting there and occasionally would listen to a football game on someone’s radio while sitting on the steps. It was a memory Subhash had of Calcutta and his time with his brother, Udayan. Being far away from home, the new land served as a representation of things or places back at home in a most peculiar manner.
“Subhash was the only foreigner. No student from other parts of Asia was there. It was nothing like the demonstrations that erupted now in Calcutta. Disorganised mobs representing rival communist parties, running helter-skelter through the streets.Chanting, unrelenting. They were demonstrations that almost always turned violent.” (Lahiri, 36)
The feeling of being in a new country makes an immigrant stand out for all kinds of reason. It is most felt when immigrants know that they are surrounded by people belonging to a different culture and they are different from them. There is an instance in the novel when Subhash finds himself in the midst of a crowd. This crowd was led by his roommate protesting about a war that was taking place in Vietnam. It was a group of people comprising of both students and faculty members. Richard stood on top of the van and spoke through a megaphone. The crowd was controlled and organised unlike the ones back at home which were almost always turn out destructive, disturbing, noisy and sensitive never at harmony. They were usually violent. Subhash experience this kind of déjà vu situation and remember certain situations back in Calcutta.
“After listening to Richard for a few minutes, Subhash left. He knew how much Udayan would have mocked him at that moment, for his desire to protect himself.
He didn’t support the war in Vietnam, either. But like his father, he knew he had to be careful. . . . .
Here, each day, he remembered how he’d felt those evenings he and Udayan had snuck into the Tolly Club. This time he’d been admitted officially, and yet he remained vigilant, at the threshold.” (Lahiri, 36)
When we talk about a place of belonging, we refer to the place where there is mother’s love and warmth. An outsider in a state of dislocation may view his new surroundings to the ones he had been in before. Subhash, the careful and cautious young Indian immigrant, did not really participate in the excitement of the crowd. He is not a coward but is a quite person. He likes to be alone and stay safe in his own company. In addition to that he takes after his father in being careful. While being careful he remembers his brother who is a revolutionary would make fun of him had he known that Subhash was avoiding the crowd just to vindicate himself from the protests of the protesters.
In the new land, Subhash reminisces about the past. He remembers the Tolly Club where the elite people played golf and spent their leisure time.One evening Subhash and Udayan had snuck into the club when they were adolescent boys. The wall of the club was very high that the locals could not see what was behind that wall. In curiosity the Mitra brothers snuck into the club. They were unfortunately caught by the policeman. However they were released with the promise to never enter the club illicitly again. This was in the memory of Subhash. Staying in the foreign country did not cause him to be unattentive or unaware of the fact that he is living in a new land. Though this time he entered a foreign ground officially, he was careful and watchful of himself.
“He was proud to have come alone to America. To learn it as he once must have learned to stand and walk and speak. He’d wanted so much to leave Calcutta, not only for the sake of his education but also-he could admit this to himself now-to take a step Udayan never would.
In the end this was what had motivated him. And yet the motivation had done nothing to prepare him. Each day, in spite of its growing routine, felt uncertain, improvisational. Here, in this place surrounded by sea, he was drifting far from his point of origin. Here, detached from Udayan, he was ignorant of so many things.” (Lahiri, 40)
From the above extract, we feel the process of acculturation of the protagonist. He has come to America alone and did something his daring brother would never do. He was proud of himself for coming to a foreign country. Ever since his arrival, he has been adapting himself to the host culture and repeatedly performing the same. But despite carrying out the daily accepted values, he could not really form a solid stand on the host culture. There was always an uncertainty, doubt, or qualm that goes in the mind of the protagonist. Though he was glad to be in America, he knew that he has drifted far from his homeland.
The geographical area, the physical as well as the psychological movement all added to his conscience as an outsider living in an unknown land, following new norms and values, trying to blend into the existing culture to feel at home but the place called home is somewhere far away. In such a situation, the immigrant senses the loss of identity. To further this confusion, Subhash is very far away from his brother, Udayan. The brothers were often confused with each other when they were young. They were always together. They study together, play together, and roam together. They were extremely close. They shared a strong relationship and this bond became a kind of identity for both of them though they were two individuals with different personalities. Being away from his brother, he was unaware of things back at home. Subhash did not have regular contact with his loved ones. He hardly had any clue of what was going on in his native land. In America, he found a place to live butthe system of fitting in directly or indirectly caused his to lose his original identity.
“The letter consoled Subhash, also confused him. Invoking codes and signals, games of the past, the singular bond he and Subhash had shared. Invoking Castro, but describing quiet evenings at home with his wife. He wondered if Udayan had traded one passion for another, and his commitment was to Gauri now.” (Lahiri, 80)
Subhash was reading a letter that came from Udayan. He was going through a rough patch during this time as his girlfriend had just broken up with him. Reading the letter consoled and comforted him. The letter contained past memories, an incident about a bird that flew in their house and the ruckus it created which would have thrilled Subhash had he been there, a Cuban revolutionary, an engineer, the daily lives at home, and the strong and unbreakable bond that brothers share. The bond holds Subhash close to his brother in particular as well as his motherland in general. A first generation immigrant like Subhash cannot stay away or refuse to be a part of something that he love and cherish particularly a connection that he felt with his homeland. He cannot forget the relationships and other things that hold a very close place in his heart. In the host country, though he has been coping up with the prevailing values and norms, it is difficult for him to completely commit himself to the acquired land because one half of him wants to stick to the ways of the acquired land whereas the other half struggles to break away from the former values.
It also confused and puzzled him as Udayan mentioned about Castro who was a revolutionary and the fact that he was imprisoned at the age of twenty-six while also stating quite evenings at home with his wife where they spend time reading together or listening to the radio. It was a kind of a mixture of sour and sweet, and severe and soft. The letter comprised very less information regarding the political situation back at home and more of family matters which seem a little different coming from his passionate brother Udayan. Therefore, the protagonist wonders if Udayan has exchanged his interest for another i.e. his wife. Subhash cannot help but draw conclusions about his brother because they are not physically together in the same geographical area and the change in his brother’s writing rise suspicion.
“Once more the leaves of the trees lost their chlorophyll, replaced by the shades he had left behind: vivid hues of cayenne and turmeric and ginger pounded fresh every morning in the kitchen, to season the food his mother prepared.
Once more these colors seemed to have been transported across the world, appearing in the treetops that lined his path. The colors intensified over a period of weeks until the leaves began to dwindle, foliage clustered here and there among the branches, like butterflies feeding at the same source, before falling to the ground.
He thought of Durga Pujo coming again to Calcutta. As he was first getting to know America, the absence of the holiday hadn’t mattered to him, but now he wanted to go home. The past two years, around this time, he’d received a battered parcel from his parents, containing gifts for him. Kurtas too thin to wear most of the time in Rhode Island, bars of sandalwood, some Darjeeling tea.
He thought of the Mahalaya playing on All India Radio. Throughout Tollygunge, across Calcutta and the whole of West Bengal, people were waking up in darkness to listen to the oratorio as light crept into the sky, invoking Durga as she descended to earth with her four children.” (Lahiri, 82, 83)
It was Subhash’s third autumn in Rhode Island. The green leaves turned brown and dry. It looked like the colour of the spices his mother used to add taste to the food she prepares every morning. The colour reminded him of his home where his mother would grind different spices for the flavour of the food. During autumn, the shade of the leaves deepened until it fell from the trees.
On observing the arrival of the lifeless season, Subhash thought of Durga Pujo that will come again in Calcutta. When he first arrived in America and was familiarising himself with the accepted existing culture, the absence of the holiday of Durga Pujo did not matter much to him. He did not mind that there wasn’t a day off for this festival. However, this time he wanted to go back to India. He wanted to go home. The protagonist feels like he is alone in some unknown place as he hardly have any friends or companion that will be of assurance to him that he is not alone in the host country. Subhash feels home sick. Here, Subhash remember the times when he would be gifted with clothes and other goodies for the festival. He would receive a parcel containing special gifts from his parents. There will be thin Kurtas that would not be able to keep him warm from the cold of Rhode Island. He also thought of the main reason behind the celebration of DurgaPoja. The crowded mass of people will be walking through the streets of Tollygunge and the whole of Calcutta will listen to the music when morning breaks in invoking Durga as she comes down to earth. Subhash thought of all these when he saw the dry and lifeless leaves.
The faded green leaves reminded him of a place where the protagonist once lived in. In this place, he grew up into a boy then an adolescent and entered adulthood. Subhash had spent his early life at this very place and had his past here. He could remember the things that happened and more precisely his mother’s home made meals. The sight of withered falling leaves takes the main character into a familiar place and makes him want to go back to that known place.
“He had forgotten the possibility of so many human beings in one space. The concentrated stench of so much life. He welcomed the sun on his skin, the absence of bitter cold. But it was winter in Calcutta. The people filling the platform, passengers and coolies, and vigrants for whom the station was merely a shelter, were bundled in woollen caps and shawls.” (Lahiri, 88)
Being away from home for more than two years, Subhash had forgotten the large population of Calcutta. Living in a small town where less number of people reside, where the weather was cool and pleasant and where it was just him, Subhash got used to that kind of environment and coming back to Calcutta, to a very crowded place, he felt different. As he reached his native place, he enjoyed the warm sun on his face and the cold of Rhode Island disappeared. Staying abroad for a long period of time, Subhash got used to the chilly and cold weather and the warm winter sun of Bengal was nice and lovely. This episode in the text display the physical movement from one place to another embracing the changes within two geographical areas.
“Through one of the grilles he saw his parents, sitting on the top floor. He strained to see their expressions but could make out nothing. Now that he was so close, part of him wanted to return to the taxi, which was backing out slowly. He wanted to tell the driver to take him somewhere else.” (90)
Prior to meeting his parents, Subhash looked at them through the grilles so that he could try to read their faces but failed. Mr and Mrs Mitra were sitting on the terrace. It was going to be the first time he would see his parents after the death of their dear son and his younger brother, Udayan. He returned home because his brother had passed away. All their lives, the Mitra brothers were very close and maintained a strong relationship with each other. Udayan’s death came as blow to his parents, his wife, loved ones and especially Subhash. Subhash wasn’t ready to face such a situation-the absence of Udayan and his heartbroken parents. He wanted to run away from reality. Though he was at the door step of his house, he felt like returning to the taxi and asking the cabbie to take him somewhere else. He could not connect with the place he had left a couple of years ago. In addition, his brother expired. This increased the gravity of the situation. Though he was home, he could not feel at home with his brother gone. A part of him was gone with his brother and he wanted to leave that place called home.
“He saw foreigners on the streets, Europeans wearing kurtas, beads. Exploring Calcutta, passing through. Though he looked like any other Bengali he felt an allegiance with the foreigners now. He shared with them a knowledge of elsewhere. Another life to go back to.The ability to leave.” (Lahiri, 112)
The above quote exhibit the double identity of the protagonist. One day, Subhash went out into the city of Calcutta for some works. He passed by the streets of the city and saw foreigners wearing Indian clothes and walking through the city. These people were walking the streets of Calcutta and exploring the city. Subhash is an Indian but he is familiar with the foreigners. He could feel a connection between himself and the foreigners.The protagonist felt like he had made a commitment with them at one point in his life. They were different from each other in many respects but at the same time more similar than different.He knew he have a common knowledge with them. Subhash was aware of the fact that he could always go back to Rhode Island or any other place were he to leave India. This is an instance of a person with two identities which causes dilemma and triggers diaspora. Being involved in a certain culture,even if not for a very long period of time makes us apart of that circle. Subhash has been living in a foreign country for more than two years and his stay out there made him a part of that region.Therefore, he now had two identities. One, the birth identity i.e. Indian and the other is the acquired identity. Subhash can always escape to his second identity if need be. In exchange for his double identity, he suffers from lack of identity which is an element of diaspora.
Conflict of Values
Every society has peculiar norms and values. The rules and regulations, and the code of conduct of one society may differ from another society because of various reasons and basically due to the differences in the economic, political, social and cultural values. To settle overseas, an expatriate is expected to adjust and adapt himself to the present cultural values. While doing so, the need to imitate the lifestyle of the host country becomes imperative. On the process, there will be clashes between values in the mind of the immigrant as he/she will be caught in the middle. Certain things which seem so normal in one part of the globe will be totally perceived as weird in another part of the globe. It doesn’t mean that one is wrong and the other, right. It only means that the world views things differently because of the diverse human nature.
The psyche of an immigrant will be a disturbing one loaded with the familiar and the unfamiliar. The co-existence of two diverse yet similar lifestyles is deeply rooted in the mind of immigrants. A person with the knowledge of two societal values and living in one part of the world and following the current values but still aware of the other, the other being his/her inherited values, his past, is in a fix. The person suffers from dilemma because of the conflict of values.
In the text are ample instances highlighting the conflict between the Indian and the American culture. The conscious immigrant feels these conflicts because he knows that though his physical being is in one area, he belongs to someplace else. He has a memory of a place, a past that made him to be who he is today. The manner in which he was brought up, the life he had in his motherland, the norms and customs and the important values which are considered to be preserved, the political values of his motherland differ greatly when compared with the lifestyle he is living at present.
The Lowland(2013) written by Jhumpa Lahiri is a wonderful novel portraying diverse cultures, close family bonds, ample description of political movements and the duality of migrants. This section of my study will be about the differences and conflicts in the value system in America and India.
“As they drove back to the village Richard asked Subhash about India, about its caste system, its poverty. Who was to blame?
I don’t know. These days everyone just blames just everyone else.
But is there a solution? Where does the government stand?
Subhash didn’t know how to describe India’s fractious politics, its complicated society, to an American. He said it was an ancient place that was also young, still struggling to know itself.” (41)
One evening, Subhash and his roommate Richard went for a ride. Richard was actually teaching Subhash how to drive. There they were on the road, inside Richard’s car discussing about India. India is an old country that is still tied to its roots, not breaking away from its traditional practices like the caste system though a lot of reforms have been put into effect. Richard further asks about the poverty of India and who was responsible for it. To this Subhash simply replied that everybody blames each other for the unpleasant things in the society. Nobody wants to take the blame. The population of India is growing at a very high rate and with it, dawn poverty. The government cannot come up with a solution because of the complex society. When asked about the government’s stand, Subhash could not describe the polity of India. It is, to an extent, unruly owing to quite a lot of struggle that causes instability. It can also be considered that India is an ancient place that was also young and still struggling to know itself.
The condition of India would appear puzzling to an American. Americans believe in being the change. India is a country which is diverse and inhabited by various ethnic groups. All these ethnic groups have its own traditions and values. America is also a home to varied groups of people but they all have a common goal i.e., the American Dream. It will hardly make sense to an American that there exists such a complicated country as India who is neither old nor young but the combination of the two. The amalgamation of the new with the old calls for a complex society.
“Where do your brother and his wife live, now that they are married?
With my parents.
He explained that daughters joined their in-laws after they married, and sons stayed at home. That generations didn’t separate as they did here.
He knew it was impossible for Holly, probably for any American woman, to imagine that life. But she considered what he’d describe.”(67)
One cloudy afternoon Subhash went down to the beach that stood at the foot of his campus. Here he met an American woman named Holly and her son Joshua. Subhash and Holly became acquaintances and started getting to know more about each other. Holly learnt a great deal about Indian marriages which were contrary to the American marriages. Subhash explained to her that in India, married woman are to live in her husband’s home with his parents. This is the system that Indians followed. The younger generations maintained very close familial bonds with their elders out of respect and this is the custom of Indians. For Holly or for that matter, any American woman, this would seem like a new thing. It would be very hard for an American woman to imagine a situation where she picture herself living with her in-laws. Americans believe in being independent and living a carefree life. “Indians respect family values. On the other hand, in American culture the individual gets prominence than the family values. Indian are more committed to the family where as the Americans are more committed to themselves only.”
The difference between these two rich cultures is vast. Unlike the freedom to live where the married American couple wish to, the Indian couples are expected to live at the husband’s home in a joint family. Indians, though they are given freedom, do not enjoy the free spirit like the Americans. The system of marriage and the life after marriage is undoubtedly dissimilar.
“Once or twice they did certain ordinary things, as if they were already husband and wife. Going together to the supermarket, filling the cart with food, putting the bags in the trunk of her car. Things he would not have done with a woman, in Calcutta, before getting married. …….
………she never tired of asking him about his upbringing. The most ordinary details of his life, which would have made no impression on a girl from Calcutta, were what made him distinctive to her.” (75,76)
Subhash is in a relationship with an American woman. In America, he is independent and he could do what he wanted to without feeling like he was doing something he wasn’t supposed to as per the societal rules. In this new land, he could do things with a woman without feeling a sense of guilt which he normally would had he been living in Calcutta. Subhash and Holly went to the supermarket to buy groceries just like a married couple. In Calcutta one could do such things with only his wife or a family member. The youth were not open to such relationships. Moreover, Subhash was the shy type. He could not approach the women he liked in Calcutta. But in America, he was bold and confident perhaps due to the influence of the existing free spirit.
To court a woman in Calcutta was difficult though this was easy and common in America. In India if a man courts a woman, that woman almost always became his wife. Though Subhash is courting Holly, both of them are clear that marriage to each other is not in their minds. They were not looking for more than an affair. There were solely comforters of each other’s needs, they were good companions. This is something ridiculous in India. India is a place where when a woman and man are in a relationship, they usually get married though the normal trend is arranged marriage. The parents of the couples arrange their marriage so that it becomes love cum arranged marriage. But in America, it is usually not so. It is not very necessary to marry the person you are in a relationship with. An individual is allowed to do what he wants provided he acts according to the prescribed laws. Till the time he lives in accordance to the laws, he is free to get married or settle down with a girl of his choice in his own time rather than just settling down with a girlfriend or a long term partner.
The orient is a place of mystery and fascination and this distinctive feature attract the occident. Holly never grew tired of asking Subhash about his childhood, his family and upbringing. The lifestyle of Subhash in Calcutta seem to intrigue Holly. Even the most common and typical things he used to do in India impressed Holly. Due to cultural differences and way of life between the two worlds, the value system sometimes clash and sometimes catch each other’s fancy.
“Sometimes he imagined what it would be like to lead a similar life with Holly. To live the rest of his life in America, to disregard his parents, to make a family with her.
…… all of it would be unthinkable to his parents, unacceptable. They would judge her for those things.” (77)
Holly is the woman Subhash has been seeing. She lives with her son, dog in a small cottage, and in a deserted street. Her husband and she separated and she is, in some sense, alone and in need of adult companionship. Subhash could relate her isolation to his. He is a lone person living in America. As he was getting close to her, he wonder what would it be like to live a life together with Holly in America. Subhash thought of the chance to have a family with her. His conservative parents will surely despise it. For Indian parents, it is their job to fix their children’s marriage. They feel it important on their part to search the right life partner for their children. However, the American parents give the freedom to children to marry someone of their choice. In the case of Subhash and Holly, the problem is that not only is Holly an American but she is also a woman older than Subhash, a mother of a boy, and technically another man’s wife. The situation of Holly would infuriate his parents if he were to introduce her to them. This may be somehow acceptable in America as an individual isn’t bound with such restrictions as who to marry and whom not to. To add to this, Subhash had already promised his parents that he would only marry a girl of their choosing. Here, we get a picture of the sense of duty of the Indian parents in choosing their children’s spouse as contrast to the American parents.
“The news that there was nowhere to have clothes tailored in Rhode Island, that American clothing was all ready-made, had come to his parents as a surprise. It was the first detail of his life they’d openly reacted to.”(112)
The difference between America and India is huge. In America, all clothing was ready-made. Moreover, the American market is flooded with imports unlike India where clothes were hand-made. When Subhash told them that there isn’t one tailoring shop in America, came to a surprise to his parents. Clothes in India were usually tailored or stitched. This is the first time Subhash’s parents responded openly to his life in Rhode Island.
“On the dressing table was a pair of scissors that he normally kept in the kitchen drawing, along with clumps of her hair. In one corner of the floor, all of her saris, and her petticoats and blouses, were lying in ribbons and scraps of various shapes and sizes, as if an animal had shredded the fabric with its teeth and claws. He opened her drawers and saw that they were empty. . . . . . . . .
……….Her hair hung bluntly along her jawbone, dramatically altering her face. She was wearing slacks and gray sweater. ………..
Why did you cut your hair?
I was tired of it.
And your clothes?
I was tired of those, too.
He watched as she went into the bedroom, not apologising for the spectacular mess she’d just made, just putting away the new clothes she’d bought, then throwing the old things into garbage bags….” (141)
Gauri is the woman Subhash is living with now. She is Subhash’s wife. They got married in Bengal and are living in Rhode Island. Both came to America for pursuing further studies. One day when Subhash came home from the university, he did not find Gauri. He panicked for a moment because she was with child. He went into the bedroom to find the floor messed up with clumps of her hair, her clothes torn and it looked like a wild animal has created the scene. When she returned home, Subhash asked her where she was, what has he done with herself and why. With her new hairdo, clothing and appearance, she now looked like an American woman. She has cut ties with her motherland by doing this. It is never expected of an Indian woman, especially one who is married, to disregard her origin or her husband’s origin.
The American women are more outgoing and bold and they enjoy more freedom in making choices as compared with Indian women. Subhash is a person who still values the customs of his motherland. When Gauri did not apologise for making a mess, he got angry with her for the first time. In every society, there are certain manners and norms to be followed. In this part of the novel, we as readers can read the protagonist’s mind. Though he is physically in one side of the globe, he still place importance to another side from where he inherited his values.
“She asked Subhash if they could hire somebody, to give her time to take a survey of German philosophy that met twice a week. Though Bela was five now, in Kindergarten, she still attended school for only half a day. Gauri said that this was a reasonable solution, given that Subhash was busy, given that they knew no one else who could help.
He told her no. ………..
It’s common here, she said.
You’re home with her, Gauri.”(162)
In this episode, Subhash and Gauri are having a conversation about who should take care of Bela. Though both of them do so, Gauri wanted a babysitter for Bela, her daughter. She approached Subhash to ask if she could hire somebody to look after Bela so that she could do some research in German philosophy. They have been living in Rhode Island for more than five years and this suggestion seems sensible in their situation as they are in a foreign country who employ strangers to stay with their children when the parents are busy. However, Subhash did not approve of this idea. He told Gauri that though this practise is common in Rhode Island, he cannot agree to the plan of having someone else watch over Bela when they are away. Money wasn’t the issue though he disliked the idea of paying a stranger to look after Bela. In India, the mothers usually look after their children so Subhash expected the same from Gauri, to look after little Bela. He further says that Gauri is home to Bela.
While Gauri adapts to the lifestyle of Americans, Subhash adhere to the customs and practices of his homeland. The values of these two countries when meet, clashes. One is more practical and the other believes in the old traditional manner of the past. Both differ from each other but both are equally right.
“Watching Bela try to pick up rice and lentils with her fingers, her grandmother told Deepa to fetch a spoon. When Deepa poured Bela some water from the urn…….
Not that water. Give her the boiled water…….”(194)
Bela and Subhash has come to India because Subhash’s father passed away. When Bela’s mother and Subhash left India, they were told never to set foot in their house as husband and wife because Subhash had married the widow of his brother. To prevent this from happening, his mother warned him that Gauri will never love him. Despite the warning, he married Gauri anyway. After a decade, Subhash was compelled to return to India since his father expired. He and Bela, his dead brother’s daughter, returns to Calcutta, to their original home.
One evening, they were having dinner and Bijoli watched her granddaughter struggle to eat the rice and lintels with her hand. Bela lives in Rhode Island and they were accustomed to using spoons and forks while eating. To use her hand to pick up the food that has been served to her seemed like a great task so her grandmother asked Deepa to get a spoon for Bela. This section of the text display the differences in the eating styles of the American and Indians. When one lives in any geographical area, one is likely to tag along with the prevailing customs. There arises a conflict as the immigrant has to follow the existing habits whether he/she like it or not and in the process forget about their original customs, traditions, habits etc.
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