The Iyer Plaque

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
The Iyer plaque outside my house
The Iyer plaque outside my house

This plaque with the word Iyer written on it represents my family and ancestors. Ten years ago, when my parents first bought a house, they got this in India. So, any visitors or people coming by our house could see that the house belonged to them and that they were proud to be Iyers. Many years ago in South India, there were two different groups of Brahmins (priests of important ceremonies) the Iyers and the Iyengars. Both groups were well looked upon and liked. But, in the last few centuries, there was a lot of discrimination directed toward the Iyers. Many of the Iyers, such as my ancestors, changed their last names so that they wouldn't get discriminated against. Later, when my dad became an adult and came to the United States, he decided to change his last name back to Iyer. After interviewing my dad he said he changed his last name back to Iyer because, he was “ very proud to be an Iyer, and wanted his ancestors and his culture to still be the same, even though there was discrimination in the past.” Unique religious celebrations that connect with the Iyers are Golu (a celebration honoring gods) and poonals (sacred necklaces). Now, as an Iyer, I think that this is important me because this is who I am and it has deep connections with my identity and culture and what happened to my ancestors in the past. 

Place(s): India
Year: 2000

– Vibha

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant