Essay on Immigrants' Feelings of Outcasts: Padel's You Shiva and My Mum

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1203 Words
Date:  2023-01-02


Both poems explore the feelings of immigrants as they are written to express how people in a new land feel about the new place they are in. Immigrants often feel like outcasts in a new area as they feel like they do not fit in. Immigrants also feel like they have no specific culture, identity, society, or even religion as they find unfamiliar and different things in the new country. In Padel's poem, You Shiva and my mum, she talks about her visit to India together with her mother for her brother's wedding whereas Daljit Nagra's poem, Look what we have coming to Dover talks about immigration to the United Kingdom by Asians.

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First and foremost, immigrants are faced with the issue of a different culture. In Padel's poem, they have to take part in the different traditional culture of weddings that take part in India. The culture of bowing before Lord Shiva who is depicted in light blue or white color. The fact that they are visiting a new country shows that culture is different from what they are used to. The writer's family want to integrate with the bride's religion.

On the other hand, Nagra's poem considers immigration with a mixture of different cultures, especially for Asians. It explores that immigrants face unfamiliarity with the new culture in the sense of societal ideas and fears. The Asians born in the United Kingdom merge cultures by use of their language; for instance, they speak Punjab in India and English in the United kingdoms. They merge these two cultures and form the language 'Punglish' spoken by those whose origin is India but born in the United Kingdom.

Immigrants a challenge of an identity crisis when they are in foreign countries. They overlook their identity by engaging in different activities practiced in that country so that they can feel like they belong. They take part in another identity. Padel's poem shows the writer's mother having an issue with her identity especially in her faith. The poet lists a variety of faiths, i.e., Tribal, Hindu, Christian, atheist, in whom her mother bowed to. In the Nagra's poem identity in Britain is seen through the different iconic images and the referencing. Identity can be removed and stereotyped easily. The words 'swarms of us' in the poem shows that individuality can be taken from people especially those coming to the country as it likens them to insects.

Societies in every country are different. Immigrants meet different societies that have different ways of doing things. On the contrary, some find ways to integrate and mingle into these societies successfully. Even though some immigrants are seen to require a miracle for them to be fully accepted as part of the society, the change is visible on either they will be accepted or not by the citizens.

Both poems elaborate on how these immigrants are fully accepted in society, despite being in new countries. They were able to integrate into these societies that were different and unfamiliar. 'Banking on the miracle sun' a line in the poem 'Look what we have coming to Dover' highlights that the people are coming into the U.K. can integrate successfully and in a quick manner into the society. In the poem, You Shiva and my mum, the mother are seen to be bowing down to Lord Shiva barefooted, riding on a motorcycle, getting off to shove away, etc. These are some of the ways that show that she integrated with the society successfully.

Both poems have a sense of family as immigrants desire to be part of the family or the society in the new countries. Family is important for immigrants and many at times, they move as a family. In Padel's poem, the idea of family is what brings them to India as they go to attend the wedding of the poet's brother. Moreover, the sense of family relations is greatly seen in the way the whole community and the different mixture of faiths come together for the wedding, together with being respectful to the traditional customs practiced in the wedding. In Nagra's poem, the immigrants who are mainly Asians have merged their language with English to form Punglish. This shows that they have become one as the poem consists of a mixture of multiple languages as expressed by the phrase, 'babbling our lingoes.' The poem also uses non-English words which symbolizes that anti-immigration ideas and sentiments are quite critical to the poet - words like, 'alfresco' which is Italian, 'camouflage' which is French.

Both the poems also illustrate the diversity within the society. This diversity brings about change within the members of the society. Immigrants feel a sense of diversity when they are in a new country and when they also meet other immigrants. Diversity occurs naturally, and it is expected in our society as far as immigration is concerned. The five stanzas in Nagra's poem each consists of five lines which symbolizes the five oceans of the world which are important traditional movement routes of traveling over the years. It can also be viewed as cycles of changes in immigration that are naturally occurring. Diversity in Padel's poem is seen by the use of different faiths that come together to attend the wedding; Hindu, Atheist, Christians and Tribal members. Also, Shiva is a reference to explain that the poem is diverse in both spiritual and religious ways even though being unfamiliar especially to the mother of the poet. They both have a mixture of different cultures within the poems.

Immigrants mainly hide so that they cannot be deported back to their countries. In the poem, Look what we have coming to Dover', the line, 'stowed in the sea to invade' shows the idea of immigrants being hidden and come in in an unnoticed manner. It is compared to an invasion especially during the times of war where the enemy invaded in a stowed and hidden manner. However, in the poem, 'You Shiva and my Mum' the poets mum is seen to be an outgoing person. Despite being her first time to visit India, she goes to bow to Lord Shiva barefooted, rides a motorcycle, and gets off to shove away yet she is eighty years old.


In conclusion, both poems give vivid descriptions of how immigrants feel when they are in new and unfamiliar countries. This is seen through the difference in culture when they compare their own with that which is being practiced in a foreign country. Immigrants feel like they lack an identity when they are in a foreign country. This is seen as they imitate activities that they see the natives of the land doing, thereby, overlooking their identity. Moreover, immigrants wish to integrate with the natives and live together as one family despite their origin and to the extent of becoming a society. They aspire to integrate and be part of the natives without being secluded as immigrants. Also, immigrants want to live in diverse areas where their presence is appreciated and acknowledged. Therefore, these poems illustrate the feelings of immigrants, an issue that can be seen in both at different levels but comparable in many ways as discussed within the body.

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Essay on Immigrants' Feelings of Outcasts: Padel's You Shiva and My Mum. (2023, Jan 02). Retrieved from

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