Reverse coconuts

Updated on Mar 02, 2005 07:34 PM IST

About 20 per cent of British Asian men and 10 per cent of women have white partners, writes Vijay Dutt.

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PTI | ByVijay Dutt, London

It's a strange phenomenon. Young Asians who were born here, grew up in a multiracial and multi-cultural society and befriended white boys and girls, become diehard traditionalists and family-oriented when it comes to getting married. Channel 4 showed last year a documentary " I Won't marry White", in which one young Gujarati said he did not have Asian friends and dated white women. But after turning 30 he desired to settle down, with an Asian woman.

The documentary showed two other singletons, both after leading westernised lives had undergone a sudden change. They said they would prefer to settle down with their own kind. The reasons given included the fear of all the time explaining foreign rituals and customs, like Diwali and puja rites to white brides. Also two of them did not want to dilute the Asian gene pool with white genes.

Such young men are being called reverse coconuts, white on the outside and brown on the inside. But statistics tells another story. Britain has the highest rates of interracial marriages. About 20 per cent of British Asian men and 10 per cent of women have white partners.

Nearly 46 per cent of white people would consider marrying some one of a different race and 46 per cent of Asian men would do the same. Then just under half of all parents would approve of their child marrying outside his or her race.

But Asian parents are more likely to view intermarriage as a cultural betrayal than white parents. The phenomenon of forced marriages and honour killings is a result of such psyche.

If Charles married someone else

It has snowed for over a week in London. This is quite unusual for the city and the people. But, then many other unusual things have been happening. The public outcry over Prince Charles's wedding is one of them. I do not think the Palace mandarins foresaw the hostile reaction to the proposed wedding, leading to the demand that he should give up his claim to the throne in favour of son William.

They had meticulously prepared the public to accept Camilla Parker Bowles as the constant companion of Charles's. Much publicity was given to the first meeting she had with Diana's sons William and Harry. Then photographs appeared of Charles and Camilla attending public events. Ultimately she met the Queen as well.

A few constitutional experts stated that a marriage between the two was possible but she could not become queen. Later many high ups in the Church publicly declared their consent to a possible marriage between the two. So why is there so much furore and objection now? Moreover, considering the liberal social mores, I fail to comprehend why people reacted with such hostility. Marriage between divorced people is common. So should there be a different yardstick for a Royal?

I have begun to believe that the animosity towards the wedding is due to the feeling that Camilla was responsible for the misery and break-up Diana's marriage. Remember Camilla almost went underground after Diana's death in the Paris car crash. It was only much later that she emerged. Plans were later carefully drafted to let Charles and she be seen together. The level of acceptance was monitored and they became more open about their closeness when it was believed that the public was coming round.

But it has all changed again as the import of the announcement of wedding plans sinks in. Everyone appears to remember how much Diana suffered because of Charles's affair with Camilla. Long articles have appeared about the view of the Queen about Camilla and comparisons are being made with Mrs Wallis Simpson because of whom Edward VIII had to abdicate.

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