by Ziauddin Sardar - £9.99 Granta Books (2009)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781847080820 | ISBN 10: 1847080820
Ziauddin Sardar, whose acclaimed Desperately Seeking Paradise demystified Islam, gives his humane, sharp and witty perspective on the experience of being a British Asian.
Sardar travels to the main Asian communities in the UK, to Leicester and Birmingham, Glasgow and Bradford, Tower Hamlets and Oldham, to tell the history of Asians in Britain - from the arrival of the first Indian in Britain in 1614, through the entagled days of colonialism, to the young extremists in Walthamstow mosque in 2006. He interweaves throughout an illuminating account of his own life, describing his carefree childhood in Pakistan, his family's emigration to racist 1950s Britain, and his adulthood straddling two cultures.
Along the way he questions: are arranged marriages a good thing? Does the term 'Asian' obscure more than it conveys? Do Vindaloo and Balti actually exist? How far does 'the disease that is in us is of us and within us' describe Islamic terrorism? And is multiculturalism an impossible dream?
Funny, surprising, touching and controversial, Balti Britain is a fascinating blend of history, reportage and memoir, which will make all Britons, Asian or otherwise, see their country through fresh eyes.
(Price & availability last checked: September 2018)
In booklists: Asian and Middle Eastern Britain, Black and Asian Biography and Autobiography, Black & Asian Writers & Literature, British History - 20th Century, In categories: Black, Asian & Other Diasporas, History & Biography, World - Asia, Poetry & Writing, Ireland, Scotland & Wales,