from Delaware Valley

Nasim Hassan - Hockessin, DE. USA
Feb. 2000


The Delaware valley area covers Eastern Pennsylvania, Northern Delaware, Central and southern New Jersey. This area is geographically very well situated. The major cities of eastern United States such as New York, Baltimore and Washington DC are within 50 to 100 miles. The weather pattern is very well defined. These days it is winter season. A major snowstorm hit this are on 25th January and snow never went away. A white sheet of snow still covers the ground after three weeks. The snowfall looks very beautiful and it seems as if heaven is purifying earth before the spring season.

The Delaware valley has at least fifteen Islamic centers. Major centers are located in Philadelphia area. The most active communities are from Pakistan and Egypt. The Muslims from Iran, Turkey and other parts of the World join the Islamic centers and do not build any independent centers. The Pakistanis in this area are very active. A Pakistani American Society (PAS) of Delaware Valley was formed in 1988. Since then PAS has been very active in bringing Pakistanis together for social and cultural activities. Every year PAS holds at least three major functions. Independence Day, Community picnic, Thanksgiving and Pakistan day functions are very well attended. In addition, PAS has also invited learned Pakistani Scholars such as Dr. Javed Iqbal, Dr. Aisha Jalal and others to educate Pakistani community about history of Pakistan and contemporary issues. PAS also keeps in touch with local US senators and congressmen to highlight community issues. A Pakistan Day celebration has been planned during the month of March 2000. A Senator from New Jersey ( Senator Bob Torricelli) will be attending this function.

Pakistani community in the Delaware Valley has been fairly successful. A number of them run small businesses such Gas Stations, Grocery Stores and Restaurants. A large segment of Pakistanis consist of professionals in health care, engineering and other technical fields. The running of small businesses is a challenge in the USA. The business owner work very hard as compared to other professions. A major concern for all Pakistanis in America is the preservation of family values in this great American society. So far, I believe first generation immigrants have been successful.

Living in Delaware Valley area has many advantages. This area is away from major cities but still close for a weekend visit. Pakistani groceries, restaurants, PTV plays and Indian films are easily available. Indian and Pakistani dresses are available in New Jersey , New York and Washington DC area. A casual look at women fashion indicates that whenever some changes occur back home, it is instantly followed here.

A second generation of Pakistani American has started to come out of teen years and majority of them is pursuing higher education. Most of them communicate only in English, although many can understand Urdu. Surprisingly, the young people who are born here like Pakistani music and Indian films. Almost none can read or write Urdu. This indicates a cultural break from Pakistan for the future generations. Perhaps this is path that has been followed by earlier immigrants to the USA

The author lives in Delaware, USA, e-mail: nhassa@