Understanding Identity Among Third-Generation Palakkad Iyers in Mumbai

Srishti Vaidyeshwaran
Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

Abstract

This paper outlines the construction of a new-age identity of the third generation of Palakkad Iyer community in Mumbai. It also examines how living in an urban and globalized world can affect the community and individual identity. Using semi-structured interviews and conversations with elder community members, the study found that acculturation, culture shedding, and access to a globalized world has created a dissonance with this community identity. This has changed the way the third generation view themselves in a globalized space. The paradoxical nature of globalization has created an awareness amongst this generation to learn more about their community culture and history. Using social media platforms, they are trying to collate their community history with personal anecdotes, experiences, testimonies and knowledge passed on from previous generations. Thus, this generation has artfully been able to pick aspects of their community and global culture to create a harmonious niche to exist within.

Keywords: Globalization, Identity, Culture, Community, Acculturation, Palakkad Iyers