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Please differentiate us Asians

Either everyone in UK should be termed as British or according to their country of origin, writes Nabanita Sircar.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2005 19:59 IST
Nabanita Sircar
Nabanita Sircar

As I write, I am sure many Indians and Pakistanis are planning to send sudden sick-notes to their offices tomorrow - after all it's the final of the five one-day matches between the two countries.

Apart from ARY Digital, Sky Sports is televising the matches live and I was speaking to James Motley of Sky Sports and he confirmed there has definitely been a "huge interest" in this period, although by company regulations he did not reveal any viewership figures. Well, he does not need to.

I know for sure many Indians and Pakistanis have subscribed to the channels for the historic matches, and why not? The interest in cricket in the Indian subcontinent is well-known. Although an English game, the keen British Asian interest in cricket induced Enoch Powell's famous cricket loyalty test. I am sure most of us are looking forward to another nail-biting finish to the ODI series, and wondering about, as Pakistan's Shabbir Ahmed, after taking the three wickets in the third ODI, said he was helped by the "moisturiser" in the field. Never mind Shabbir's moisturiser, we'll have to see what role the moisture plays tomorrow.

Speaking about British Asians, I have to mention that most of us are fed up of being termed as 'Asians'. When will the media here develop the sensibility and sensitivity to term us as either Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis or Chinese?

Many have objected in the past to the generic use of the term Asian and still continue to do so, but complaints always seem to fall on deaf ears. I have never found an English being pleased if he is called a German, or more closer to home, a Scot or Welsh. So why club us as a group when we come from a continent that is larger than Europe.

I agree some official surveys are now realising the difference, and are attempting to publish figures distinguishing the Asians into categories of Indians, Pakistanis, Chinese, Sri Lankans etc. For instance, in the field of education it is clear now how well Indians and Chinese are doing when compared to other 'Asian' communities.

Similarly, in crime figures, Indians are at the lower end, but when clubbed into the tiring 'Asian' category, figures rise instantly. I am surprised that a country that tries so hard to be politically correct has not yet bothered to correct this blunder. If India, which has so long been denoted by a finger pointing to an imaginary spot on the forehead, be changed to being denoted by a triangle, for the deaf people, to maintain political correctness, then why not name us 'Asians' according to our countries?

I am no supporter of the BNP and am convinced that parties with such ideology can cause great harm to a multicultural society like Britain. I have to admit, that in the recent murder of schoolboy Kriss Donald in Glasgow by an Asian gang, the BNP leader Nick Griffin clearly said that the police need to tackle Pakistani youth gangs. I am sure his intention in saying so was only to stir up racial tension for his party's electoral advantage. What is important and needs to be taken seriously is that either everyone is termed as British or they are termed according to their country of origin.

Satya Paul Fashion Show

(Photo: Sohail Anjum)

A s an Indian, I learn we created a bit of history of our own in London, in the world of fashion. Oh yes, the Bollywood fascination has helped a great deal to raise India's image in many fields, including fashion. But it is the second time in the history of the famous Madame Tussaud's that a fashion show was held in its premises. The entire Satya Paul fashion evening was tasteful, not simply for its range of exquisite outfits, but the effort that the fashion house and its sponsor Citibank NRI Business made to make it a memorable evening.

Guests were ushered in for a cocktail reception by none other than Amitabh Bachchan. Don't worry it was not the Big B himself but his wax replica, although I found that did manage to take quite a few guests by surprise.

The only dampner that evening was the show's compere - Priya Kalidas, who jumped to fame after Bombay Dreams. That young lady needs to develop a dress sense. Her outfit was so jarring among the elegant Satya Paul creations that most sighed, 'what was she wearing?' I was curious too. Why did the fashion house not give her one of their outfits to wear? Well, I was told, they did. But the lady, refused. All I can say is that if Ms Priya Kalidas wants to cash in on her Indian lineage for fame, then she had better take a few lessons in Indian fashion and resist from the garish and kische.

Indian fashion has come a very long way from what is available in this country's Asian ghettos. Although basere se dur, our basera has a lot to teach!

First Published: Mar 23, 2004 19:20 IST