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Changes in the South Indian Hindu Family Structure in West Malaysia

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The largest group of Indians in West Malaysia are the Tamil-speaking Hindus who originate from South India, particularly from Tamilnad. According to S. Arasaratnam, not only are 80% of Indians in Malaysia Tamil speakers but a vast majority of them are also Hindus.1 It is further established that the majority of this group are members of the working class, either in the plantation or in the urban sectors. The family structures of these Tamil working-class families originate basically from the traditional Indian family structure of India. This traditional Indian family structure was maintained in the "conducive" environment of ethnic isolation, found in the plantations. Since my purpose is to study changes in the family structure, Tamil working-class families in an urban environment were selected. It is expected that some changes in family values and structures have occurred among this group of Indians in West Malaysia.

Affiliations: 1: University of Malaya


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