Bindu helps keep Ireland’s Indians in touch with their cultural roots
2017-10-15 11:25:03 -

By Nadia Marie Alhassan

Holding onto your culture in a new country can be a challenge for many. But Bindu Nair feels strongly about helping Indians in Ireland remain connected to their roots.


In 2003, after getting married, Bindu made the move from Mumbai to Ireland. Despite the vast distance, the transition was not a difficult one for her as she had always been exposed to different cultures in Mumbai.


“Mumbai has always been a very multicultural place, it has never been limited to just one or two cultures. We have always had different people with different cultures,” says the mother of two.


“It made it very easy for me to gel with the Irish culture and I have to say, Irish people are very friendly and have always welcomed me into their culture.”


Bindu feels India and Ireland have a lot of similarities, such as the culture and family values. “Being welcomed by friendly people is a big thing for a person who has moved countries,” says the senior product manager at a multinational pharmaceutical company in Ireland.


While making the adjustment to Irish culture did not prove difficult, Bindu does get homesick – especially when Indian festivities and celebrations take place. She travels to India every year with her family so that her children can learn about Mumbai and their cultural heritage.


“If you ask me about one thing that I really miss in Mumbai, it is the food,” says Bindu. “The taste. The spices. Everything about the food there is good. If I could bring back the food from Mumbai to India, I would. Of course, I do miss my family, but I definitely miss the food, too.”


Maintaining her Indian cultural connection is so important to Bindu and her family, she explains. But embracing other cultures is just as crucial.


“My kids are very lucky, they get to experience both worlds and my daughter speaks the Indian language while also learning Irish in school. 


“It is great for children to be exposed to different cultures. It does not matter where the person is from, it is a person’s personality that matters and I always teach my children the importance of that.”


When it comes to Indian culture, Bindu has been part of a number of committees in Ireland hosting cultural events.


“I was always hosting events in my teenage years when I was in India and because I always loved hosting, I continued to do so when I moved to Ireland,” she says. “I love to be the emcee of the programmes where we have done numerous events in the form of Indian festivals like music, dance and competitions.”


Having a platform for Indians in Ireland is something Bindu strives for. She describes it as a way of bringing people together – a stage not just for Indians but for all nationalities to come together to learn about India’s rich culture.


“I feel like it is very important for Indian people to have that platform,” she says. “It helps connect people, you make new friends and it helps with preventing people from getting lonely.


“My daughter is involved in learning Indian dance and classical dance and there [are so many other] children that have great talent, too; having these festivals is a great way of showing talent that is not visible to the Irish population.”


Bringing a little bit of India to Ireland helps Indians to feel connected to home and can help tackle homesickness, she explains.


“I have done RTÉ voiceovers to promote Indian culture, such as on kids’ shows that talked about the Indian culture. My motive behind doing all of this is to integrate and give people a good forum and network.”


Indians in Ireland celebrated Diwali, one of the biggest cultural festivals back home, on 14 October at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght — an event hosted by Unitas, a voluntary organisation that strives to promote integration through sports, arts and culture.


“I am absolutely delighted to be part of this organisation,” says Bindu. “Through this festival we would like to give the wider Irish community a feel for the Indian culture through food, cultural performances, holistic areas, traditional rangoli [design] and many more.”

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