Recently two of my articles in EMALAYALEE caught attention of a lot of people. The article Veruthe Vedanippikaruthe was shared by more than 1700 people and so many people gave me a positive feedback.
The second article, which was also shared by about 405 people and gave so many positive responses was ‘Nurses- the root cause of American Malayalee's progress’ (Nurses- American Malayalikalude Unnamanathinu Karanakkar.) I am deeply grateful to all those positive feedback and encouragement.
A lot of people asked me to translate both these articles to English so as our second and third generation can read it and have an idea of life in Kerala and how we achieved our present stature in the society.
Since this is the Nurses week, I will translate the second article first and publish it. I will translate the first one soon after.
Today, the American Malayalees are rich. When the annual income of a mainstream American Family of 4 people is $ 60,000, the average Malayalee Family of four earns an income of approximately $ 180,000, which is three times more than the main stream family.
Today, majority of the Malayalee families own their own houses. These houses are larger and d values a lot more than the houses of their mainstream counterparts.
Today, In America, Malayalees own more than one thousand
churches, temples and other places of worship. The total value of these places
of worship will exceed at least one billion dollars. There are also a lot of
Malayalee priests, bishops, pastors and other religious leaders in
Today, the young generation holds very high positions at a very high salary. Our children graduate from high school and colleges with excellent grades and enters into very covetable jobs.
These facts make us very proud. But can we think for a minute as to how all these happened.
Kerala in which I was born was a very poor state. Parents who had no choice sent their
daughters to far off places after their high school graduation. Girls who were
only 16 or 17 went to far off places about which they had no familiarity such
Just imagine the mind of these young girls who were only 16 or 17. At an age in which they were to receive love and affection from their parents, they were working and studying in far off cities where they had no relatives or friends. The Nursing Education was not like today's Nursing education in colleges. It was a type of Quarantine. They lived in the hostel which was in the hospital grounds. Their life routine was from hostel to classroom to the cafeteria to hospital wards and back to hostel. Out of 24 hours a day, they spent at least 16 hours in classroom and hospital wards. They were very seldom allowed to go out. They were subjected to ridicule, prejudice and often rebuked even for minor mistakes.
Food in the hostel was of limited quantity and of limited time and may not have been enough for these young girls There was nothing to eat in between. They received very meager stipend. Many of them sent the major part of that stipend to their parents to help their parents and siblings. In addition, many of them brought their siblings and relatives and got them admission for Nursing. After 4 years of studies, they became Staff Nurses. It is at that time the opportunities for Nurses opened in gulf countries and in many other foreign counties. They seized the opportunities and began working in foreign countries and sent money to their parents. This foreign exchange helped Kerala a lot in its economic development.
However, people from Asian Countries were not allowed to
work or immigrate to the
Obtaining a visa to the
For many, there was no one in the Airport to receive them. There were a few Malayalees who were here for Theological Education and they helped a number of Nurses in getting apartments etc. Many people lived together in one bedroom apartments. They had no cars and had to wait outside in extreme cold weather to get into buses. Having had no familiarity with places, they went uptown and downtown in trains in search of jobs. Somehow, they prevailed. Though they began working as Nursing Assistants and L PN, they later became RNs and Supervisors and some even achieved higher positions.
By this time, it was time for them to get married. They went
As Malayalee numbers increased, they thought about
worshipping together which resulted in the formation of churches, temples and
other worshipping places. They brought priests, pastors and other religious
In addition, they formed cultural, artistic and social organizations and many have become leaders of such organizations. Many entered in mainstream politics and other social activities and entered into leadership positions. Our children grew up, got married and became very successful in their jobs and lives.
Due to all such great achievements, American Malayalees are
celebrating their lives. Though Covid 19 spread some concerns amongst the
community, overall, the American Malayalee community remains successful. But
within this success story, there is a group of people who are tired and weary;
the pioneer Malayalee Nurses who are root reason for all these success stories.
Their strong decisions, hard work and helping mentalities enabled the community
to be successful. Had they been not there, there would have been no
As America celebrates Nurses week from May 6 to May 12 celebrating the birthday of Florence Nightingale and the world celebrates Nurses Day today, i.e. May 12, 2020, let us all pay respect to the Pioneer American Malayalee Nurses in the United States. Many of them still continue their dedicated services; some of them retired, some struggle due to their health conditions and a number of them went beyond the rainbow. Let us respect them and bow before all of them.
At this period of Covid Pandemic, a lot of Nurses, Doctors, Para Medical Professionals and other essential workers are working hard to save lives even at the risk of their own lives. Let us all remember their services with