and Americans everywhere who love all things Indian:)
Generation Ginger is inspired by one woman’s experience as a second-generation Indian American mom in an interracial marriage with multi-ethnic children trying to create a world for her family that makes sense. Owner and Founder Ritu Nanos takes us into a journey into her thoughts and goals behind GG.
Thaakat:Why did you choose to call this platform “generation ginger?”
Ritu: Ginger is a root used in just about all of Indian cooking, regardless of region. What resonates with me most is the implication of the word “root”: it is the source from which something grows. As Indian Americans, India is our root, and from it we have grown and stretched infinitely in all directions. The name, Generation Ginger, refers to a generation of Indian Americans growing out from its roots. It is a term that does not measure how “Indian” you are, but how far you have grown from your roots.
If we, the kids born from our pioneer Indian parents, are termed “First Generation Ginger,” we are not bound by the constraints of our traditions, but measured by the process of our change. Our children then, no matter what percentage of “Indian” they are, do not have to figure out which culture they fit into or identify with. They, “Second Generation Ginger”, can instead celebrate their cultural identity as it is by appreciating the roots from which they grew.
Thaakat: In a few sentences, what are your hopes/goals for generation ginger?
Ritu: Generation Ginger is a web platform that offers contemporary resources for Indian Americans and Indians on living (food and customs), relationships (interracial parents, kids and the in-law factor) education and the development of cultural identity with a fresh and modern perspective that is relevant in today’s world. It provides a framework for communicating about culture in a way that is educational, humorous and meaningful. The current phase of Generation Ginger is focused on education through articles, workshops, events and building resources. Our next phase will focus on e-commerce- to create a community of South Asian entrepreneurs, small businesses and artists that are available through one source. Eventually, I would like to use the e-commerce portion to promote micro-lending for less fortunate women in Indian. I hope to help them create their own store front through Generation Ginger so that they have a chance to build businesses of their own and become self-sufficient, educated and powerful members in their own communities.
Thaakat: What do you feel it means to be an Indian American?
Ritu: This is a difficult question to answer, because it is so unique to each individual. For myself, I think I am still discovering what it means to be Indian American. Up to this point, our cultural identity has been blurry in our efforts to balance the cultural and traditional undertones of our heritage with the culture and lifestyle of the country we live in. We have our feet in two worlds, so to speak. It is this happenstance of being in such a position that makes us more powerful than we can imagine, because it gives us experiential insight into what is needed to connect these aspects of our identity. We have the opportunity to be the bridge between what our parents have taken care to preserve from India and how this knowledge is carried into the future. Generation Ginger is the result of building such a bridge; it is my method of exploring the vastness of Indian American identity and what that means to myself and others.
Thaakat: Do you feel we have a responsibility as Indian American’s to uphold a healthy India and sustainability of its people?
Ritu: As far as we have and may grow from our roots, we are still bound and connected to them. Nurturing its root is how a plant blossoms and grows. With that in mind, I do think we have a responsibility to uphold a healthy India. If we do not help sustain our roots, our land and our heritage, the beauty of our own lives and identity diminishes. For me, nurturing our roots is not about upholding dogma or outdated ideas and traditions, it’s about reflecting on who we are and using that to offer compassion and support through our words and actions.
Thaakat: How can we do a better job as Indian American’s to ensure our coming generations are proud of their culture and continue to embellish their colorful traditions here?
Ritu: I think it is as simple as connecting with your culture. When we connect with something, it becomes meaningful to us and we naturally envelop it into our lives. People shy away from this because they feel that connecting with their culture means they have to attend all the Indian functions or go to temple every week or follow old traditional values, but that simply is not the case. There is no “right way” to connect with your culture, only a way that it right for you- it could be something as simple as reading a book about your heritage, learning to cook your favorite meal, or volunteering with an organization such as Thaakat. Generation Ginger is a resource that helps people connect to their heritage through thoughtful articles and ideas of how to integrate the beauty of Indian culture with our American outlook and lifestyles. If we can take the time to appreciate how we are connected to our roots, our culture will continue to grow and blossom.
By: Sadaf Syed | Global Projects Lead | Rutgers New Brunswick Thaakat
In typical Thaakat fashion, the biggest events of the year are already underway – and the semester has yet to begin.
This Thursday, August 25, our Rutgers’ chapters will be teaming up to sponsor a benefit dinner during which our guests can simultaneously enjoy a delicious meal with family and friends and help those who are not nearly as fortunate to be doing the same.
I’m nearly drooling at the thought of this dinner already – and this brings me to my next point. For all the Muslims out there the blessed month of Ramadan is currently in full swing, meaning the dinner will also in part be an Iftaar. Ramadan is a month about many things, one of which is the spirit of giving as much as you’re eating – because although we’re not eating during the day, let’s face it folks, we more than make up for it post-sunset.
The dinner is open to everyone, from all religions and cultures, so that we can, together, look at the broader spectrum of life and do something good for someone we may not even know, but have every reason to help.
100% of the profits from the dinner will go towards Thaakat’s two current global initiatives “Project Re-Born” and “Dreams for Kachra Kundi”.
“Project Re-Born” is focused towards building a maternity ward in the village of Blama Perri in Sierra Leone, Africa. Years of civil war in the region have devastated the families of this village, leaving mostly widows and children behind who are in desperate need for any assistance they can be given.
I doubt any of us could ever even imagine calling a garbage dumpsite where trash and sewage are deposited daily “home”, yet this is the sad truth for the 300 families living in Kachra Kundi, Pakistan. “Dreams for Kachra Kundi” (in collaboration with em[POWER]) is an attempt to bring some light to the inhabitants of this desolate village in Karachi.
To donate to our projects online visit: Thaakat on Crowdrise. We look forward to hosting you tomorrow night as we come together to bring hope to those in need!
A Note from Umer Zakaria, President, Lane Tech Muslim Club
Lane Tech Muslim Club would like to thank Dr. LoBosco and the rest of the administrative team for allowing our club to flourish. We are blessed to have such a great principal who allows us to practice our faith at school. Thank you for working with us to make Islam Awareness Week and the rest of the Muslim Club activities a success!
We would like to thank our sponsors, Ms. Paganelli and Mrs. Mikbel. They have been more than supportive of the Lane Tech Muslim Club for many years and for that we would like to express our appreciation. They have always been open to our ideas, and because of this reason we were able to have our first ever Islam Awareness Week this year. Without their cooperation and help, none of the events planned would have been possible. We hope that Ms. Paganelli and Mrs. Mikbel will continue to sponsor the Lane Tech Muslim Club and allow it to flourish even more. They have truly made Muslim Club the success it is today with their never-ending support and dedication. Thank you for a great year!
We would also like to give a big thank you to Takreem Basheeruddin, who has helped us make this event a success even after graduating! We are truly very appreciative of her help with this year’s Spring Dinner.
Last but not least, we would like to thank all of our guests, especially Thaakat Foundation for supporting and believing in Lane Tech Muslim Club! We would not have been able to reach our goals without your help, motivation, and prayers.
From Thaakat: All the best tonight with your event Lane Tech Muslim Club, we are so appreciative of your continued support. You have served as model students who care for the progress of our global communities.
I would like to welcome you all to our 3rd annual Thanksgiving event with the elderly at Hamdard Center. Before sharing any further information I would like to commend all who reached out to volunteer.
There are a few reasons why we have this event every year. The elderly at Hamdard visit the center a few times every week to spend some time in a social atmosphere which they unfortunately do not get enough of as they begin to reach older age.
They are so thankful that we visit, their faces light up in joy when we speak with them and share that we are there by choice. Often times you’ll catch them hug you as they leave or sing the group a song. I feel it’s important for us to remember where we came from, to be thankful for our culture and the wisdom past generations have shared. Our way of sharing thankfulness is by giving time to those who deserve it. Thank you to the Hamdard Staff for allowing us the opportunity and to our wonderful board and volunteers for being so kind and generous.
The events started with creative turkey crafting. Volunteers sat with the residents complete with tiny pom poms, glitter, leaves and construction paper and each crafted a turkey to match their personality. As time for a full turkey lunch arrived ( yum yum thanks to Italian Express, Devon Ave, Chicago IL) the residents rushed to finish their non-edible turkeys.
From perfect carvings, to the sweetest potatoes- the group enjoyed endless helpings of great food. Volunteers were more eager to serve than eat themselves and the elderly huddled around the tables to continue conversations before the hours were over.
As everyone neared full belly, the residents deemed it perfect opportunity to sing a few songs. In due time, we had our own Bollywood clatter in the room and the volunteers and residents shared some of their favorite tunes. There were a few Birthday’s in the room so the team even happily took to singing our very familiar happy birthday song and let that follow with a round of musical chairs!
Our volunteers were to the top of their limits with happiness, I mean the impact they had made came full circle almost immediately. Before the day was over, a few of the seniors even openly shared their thankfullness to the Thaakat Team.
Now my friends I ask you. If you knew that in a matter of 2 hours of your day, in your life, in your long year you were able to make such a difference in someone’s life, would you wait? We are hoping that word spreads over time and more youngsters realize their responsibilities to the community around us. Make it happen kids, there is no better gift than giving.
Again Thank you Hamdard Center Staff and Director Kiran Siddiqui, Italian Express and all of our volunteers and board for making this happen.
Show your thanks, by making a difference.
Posted in Uncategorized, Uzma Bawany
Tagged Culture, Events, Hamdard Center, Health, Holidays, Identity, Italian Express, Love, Thaakat Foundation, Unity