Balti Britain: A Journey Through the British Asian Experience
In this funny, surprising, touching, and controversial study, Ziauddin Sardar travels to the main Asian communities in the U.K.—among them 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 1614 through the entangled 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 asks a bevy of probing questions, among them 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?