London is preparing to celebrate Asian culture and showcase a combination of legends, international artists, national treasures, local talent, comedy, cabaret, Bollywood and a few other guilty pleasures.
Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the mela’s theme this year is ‘Love’, a celebration of the positive force that makes the world go round and brings all communities together.
Mela’s have become one big melting pot of a party celebrating through music, dance, food and culture, the traditions of the huge number of diverse communities who live in Britain.
This year’s main stage features special exclusive performances from India’s Queen of Hip Hop - Hard Kaur flying in from Mumbai especially and from the streets of Amritsar, the Bhangra pop maestros Desi Crew will make a special one-off appearance.
They are joined by the biggest selling female Bhangra artist in the world - Miss Pooja and India’s first SKA band, the funky eight piece, The Ska Vengers.
Mercury Music Prize winner Talvin Singh, OBE, has been commissioned to curate the Anokha stage creating the perfect club in a completely blacked out space 20-years after the release of the ground-breaking Anokha Soundz of the Asian Underground album.
In keeping with the Asian Underground retrospective, DJ Rekha is jetting in from New York following her Central Park 20th anniversary Basement Bhangra show.
She'll warm up for British Asian underground legends Asian Dub Foundation, who close the main stage, before a spectacular finale show involving a crane and nine crazy French clowns dangling from it, the Mobille Homme from Transe Express, collaborating with The Dhol Academy from East London.
And it's not just compelling music, taste buds can be tickled at The Taste of Asia too, with the biggest South Asian food market this side of New Delhi, and shopping galore at the Mela Bazaar with international market stalls, and a gigantic fun fair and a firework finale all thrown in.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “This wonderful family event showcases the fantastic diversity of Asian arts and culture in the capital, and invites Londoners from all backgrounds to come together and get involved.
“Over the last 15-years the Mela really has gone from strength to strength, with fantastic street theatre, dancing and delicious Asian cuisine. It’s events like this, taking place in all corners of the city that remind us that London is open, for all of our communities and to the world.”
Zee London Mela 2017
When: 03 September 2017
Where: Gunnersbury Park, London, W3 8LQ
Who: Hard Kaur, Desi Crew, Miss Pooja The Ska Vengers, Talvin Singh, DJ Rekha Asian Dub Foundation
What: Family-friendly festival, end of the summer hotspot for catching great music, great food,
How much: Free
How to get there
Acton Town Tube Station (Piccadilly and District lines) Turn left when you leave the station and walk for about 10 minutes, crossing the A406
CAMPAIGNER: Karma Nirvana founder and author, Jasvinder Sanghera CBE
National statistics show that South Asian women in Britain are up to three times more likely to commit suicide than their Caucasian counterparts.
Honour abuse often has multiple perpetrators (often women) from the immediate and extended family and sometimes the community at large which makes prosecutions extremely
Human Rights Charity Karma Nirvana hosted their third annual ‘Day of Memory Conference’ on July 14th to remember those lost to honour killings.
Delegates learnt how local and national partners are tackling honour-based abuse and what they are doing to prevent further honour killings in Britain.
Speakers included Karma Nirvana founder and author, Jasvinder Sanghera CBE, Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Sarah Newton MP and West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson amongst others.
Held in conjunction with West Yorkshire Police Crime Commissioner and Leeds City Council the conference presented a unique opportunity for 200 guests to honour the memories of those killed and hear from experts and survivors.
Male and female survivors shared their experiences and explaining how the emotional and physical abuse of honour crimes can quickly escalate to significant risks, disownment and ultimately murder
Delegates were given insight that victims of honour killings are not determined by age, gender, sexuality or religion as well as how to recognise extreme behaviour and best practice in tackling it.
There are an estimated 12 honour killings each year in the UK although the exact number is unknown. In 2016 over 7,000 calls (600 calls per month) were made to Karma Nirvana’s helpline from victims and professionals seeking guidance.
The Day of Memory was inspired by Bradford-born Shafilea Ahmed who was murdered by her parents in 2003 after suffering years of abuse for becoming ‘too westernised’. A commemorative birthday cake was presented during the conference to mark what would have been Shafilea’s 31st birthday.
Leeds City Council signed a city pledge and leading the way nationally to become a beacon of best practice developing a strategy and commitment to tackling these abuses across the city and will be the first to commit in this way. It is hoped other councils will follow suit.
Jasvinder Sanghera CBE said: “In almost 25 years of campaigning I have rarely heard from families or communities speaking out against the horror of honour killings, so who remembers the victims?
“Each year on July 14th we do. We celebrate victim’s lives and remember them as the most honourable of beings.”
The UN report that there are approximately 5,000 honour killings around the world each year, though theactual number is believed to be much higher.
Jasvinder Sanghera CBE has been a campaigner for 24 years and is the author of several books including The Sunday Times bestseller, ‘Shame’. She featured in the award-winning documentary ‘Honour Diaries’, and her TEDx talk on YouTube has over 62,000 views.
Reshmin Chowdhury recalls experiences and breaks down barriers in sport for the next generation
Several projects created to engage Asian women
Sports broadcaster, Muslim, and a mother of two, Reshmin Chowdhury has recalled her experiences and looked at the work these projects are doing to break down barriers and encourage the next generation to enjoy playing sport.
She spoke of how Muslim women come in many different cultures, communities and backgrounds and each with contrasting views.
Some wear hijabs, some don't. Some have families who are supportive, some who aren't and others that take a little more convincing.
Using her own personal experience there is a hint of irony being a sports broadcaster as she never actually played sport.
Growing up in a progressive Bengali Muslim family within a huge second-generation community where education, culture, religion and music were the cornerstones of her upbringing.
Despite watching so much sport playing it never seemed as important to Reshmin until she had her two children when her mindset started to change.
Her first attempt at sport participation by going to the gym which has now become an integral part of her life where she gains both mental and physical benefits from.
These projects that are looking introducing sport to a group of women who had never considered it in any form with the Muslim Women's Network applying to some women who had been victims of abuse.
When sports consultant Janie Frampton became a patron of the Birmingham-based charity, she and executive director Faeeza Vaid decided to introduce a sporting arm with the aim of using sport in the rehabilitation of victims.
Using the Women's Cricket World Cup as a springboard a showpiece match between Pakistan and India has been arranged alongside a targeted scheme specifically designed to encourage participation.
They are also building a solid partnership with the S&S Indoor Cricket Centre, which works at a grassroots level to specifically engage with a large number of Muslim women in the Birmingham area.
Reshmin also met an Muslims who never saw their uniqueness as a barrier to achieving top-level success and didn’t need such encouragement as they had an inner driver.
But the overriding sense was that in order to reach that higher level they must adapt to their environment.
The challenges faced by individuals have varied but have been overcome through this work, Dana Abdulkarim was the first hijabi athlete to represent England in any sport and then went on to become Britain's first hijabi PE teacher.
Amna Rafiq, whose brother Azeem was the youngest player to captain Yorkshire, made it her mission to make the sport accessible to young Asian girls, when she became frustrated by a lack of infrastructure growing up who has won accolades for her efforts.
There is definitely a willingness from all sides to make sport more open to women across the board with the This Girl Can campaign and the Women's Soft Ball Festival are testament to that.
This and many other programmes are much needed however for Muslim women who want to take sport to the next level there are still obstacles.
PARTNERSHIP: Tony Shergill (left) and Jug Johal (right) committed to providing sporting benefits to minority ethnic communities
The Asian Sports Foundation (ASF) has begun an innovative new partnership to encourage and engage young people to adopt a more healthy and active lifestyle.
A UK based Charity campaigning for equality and inclusion for Asian communities in sport, ASF's vision is to promote and deliver tangible projects, breaking down cultural and religious barriers and provide sporting benefits to minority ethnic communities.
Partnering up with Birmingham based Asian youth channel BritAsia TV they are working together with experienced professionals and foundation ambassadors to promote sport, health and wellbeing amongst Asian communities in the UK.
The work of the Asian Sport Foundation will be scheduled in regular broadcasts to promote and educate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to its audience.
Jug Johal, Chair of the ASF says of the partnership: “We know that there are a lot of barriers for members of the Asian community to get involved in sports.
“This partnership provides us with a unique platform to showcase great work, educate audiences about health benefits and encourage debate and discussion to address perceived imbalances with regards to representation in the industry.”
BritAsia TV has since its inception focused on reaching out to younger British born Asian audiences with a mix of music and entertainment shows. This exciting new step forward in programming marks a change in direction for the channel following its recent buyout.
New MD, Tony Shergill says of the move:“We have a large and influential young audience that has a strong identity and pride in its roots. We want to tap into these audiences and start to educate, inform and engage them through positive and inspirational programming.
With its unprecedented access to marginalised communities, the Asian Sports Foundation will promote social cohesion, education and health. The foundation will campaign for sports, National Governing Bodies (NGB's) and NGO's, clubs and committees to recognise and deliver on their responsibilities for equality and inclusion for minority ethnic communities.
Johal concludes: "We are absolutely delighted and very excited about this new partnership with BritAsia TV. We will look to bring communities together and help them to become more active, more often through Sport and Physical Activity.”
ASF and BritAsia TV are currently developing programming concepts and broadcast of the new programmes are expected to commence in Summer 2017.
WINNERS: 12 outstanding women were awarded for their exceptional professional and social contributions to Great Britain
The Asian Women of Achievement Awards (AWA), in association with NatWest have announced the winners of the 2017 awards at a star-studded event in London.
The awards, now in their 18th year, celebrate the contributions made by Asian women both professionally and in their communities, cutting across a broad range of sectors from business and media to sport, medicine, culture and public service.
From the only female founder and managing partner of a private equity advisory business in Europe to a para-climber, this year’s list of winners features an incredibly diverse and exciting group of women. Despite their varied backgrounds, the winners are united by their shared ability to inspire, and their determination to drive positive change in their respective fields.
PAVING THE WAY: Rt. Hon. Amber Rudd MP with AWA founder Pinky Lilani CBE DL (Picture Credit WeShootLondon)
Some of the VIPs present on the night were Princess Badiya bint El Hassan of Jordan, the Rt. Hon. Amber Rudd MP, The Home Secretary; Datuk Jimmy Choo OBE, shoe designer; chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Sara Thornton CBE; The Rt. Hon. Diane Abbott MP, The Shadow Home Secretary; and Dato’ Soo Min Yeoh, Executive Director of YTL Corporation Berhad.
Founded by Pinky Lilani CBE DL in 1999, the AWA ceremony celebrates the multi-cultural Britain and the contribution of women from a diverse range of backgrounds.
Asian Women of Achievement Winners 2017
Jaspreet Sangha, Winner of the Arts and Culture Award (Picture Credit WeShootLondon)
This year’s winner in the Arts and Culture category is better known as ‘Behind the Netra’ for her poetry. She is a spoken word artist from East London, focused on sharing her thoughts on gender issues and taboo subjects both in the Asian community and wider society. Jaspreet’s passion, charisma, kindness and altruism shone through and the judges were immensely impressed by her poetry.
Raj Dohil, Winner of the Business Award (Picture Credit WeShootLondon)
The Business Award goes to an inspirational woman who oversees recruitment for almost 100 branches of Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Grounded, immensely talented and with a heart and passion despite the challenges she has faced, the judges were seriously impressed with the AWA 2017 business champion who is empowering women and breaking down stereotypes.
Sunaina Sinha, Winner of the Entrepreneur Award (Picture Credit WeShootLondon)
The only female founder and managing partner of a private equity advisory business in Europe (Cebile Capital) and one of less than 7% of women in private equity who hold a senior position, the Entrepreneur Award 2017 goes to Sunaina Sinha. The judges said she was a great example of a 21st century leader, demonstrating outstanding entrepreneurship and leadership in the financial services sector.
Shay Grewal, Winner of the Media Award (Picture Credit WeShootLondon)
Shay is the 2017 Media Award Winner and celebrated for her work as a TV and radio presenter for BBC West Midlands and Radio London. She was the first high profile Asian to join BBC WM and now presents seven days a week. Shay has carved a position whereby she is able communicate her passion for education, combating marginalisation and empowering women. A role model for all women in media.
Vidisha Joshi and Vandita Pant, Winners of the Professions Award (Picture Credit WeShootLondon)
The judges picked two stellar candidates in this category as the 2017 winners. Vidisha Joshi is one of the UK’s youngest law firm managing partners (Hodge Jones & Allen LLP). Under Vidisha’s leadership the firm has increased turnover by £1 million in the last three years. Vandita Pant is the Group Treasurer and Head of Europe at BHP Billiton, and is the most senior female Asian working in the world’s largest natural resources company. The judges praised both winners as exceptional role models who have already achieved outstanding goals. Both are exemplary leaders.
Dr Harjinder Kaur, Winner of the Public Service Award (Picture Credit WeShootLondon)
As a social researcher and development consultant specialising in child and women’s rights and gender equality, the judges said that the importance of Dr Harjinder Kaur’s work over many years in understanding issues of gender equality cannot be underestimated. She has worked for international governments and NGOs and it is hoped that this award helps highlight the importance of Harjinder’s work.
Professor Sadaf Farooqi, Winner of the Science & Technology Award (Picture Credit WeShootLondon)
As the Professor of Metabolism and Medicine at the University of Cambridge and a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, Professor Sadaf Farooqi has used her research to pave the way to treating a
condition that is often fatal. The judges praised her for the huge impact that her focus on obesity has had on society and for her ongoing mentorship of young doctors.
Sofia Buncy, Winner of the Social and Humanitarian Award (Picture Credit WeShootLondon)
As the Prisoner Rehabilitation and Community Development Coordinator for Muslim Hands UK, Sofia highlights the plight of Muslim women in British prisons. The judges praised her for working to mobilise
deep social change within the Muslim community of Britain, creating a positive community-driven approach to dealing with Islamophobia and for working tirelessly to provide voice and visibility for Muslim women in prison who are otherwise excluded from dialogue.
Anoushé Husain, Winner of the Sport Award (Picture Credit WeShootLondon)
Energetic, charismatic and overflowing with enthusiasm, the judges believe that Anoushé is a force for good! As a civil servant, para-climber and cancer survivor, her personal accomplishments are astonishing. She has overcome immense challenges of her own and yet she’s determined to have a positive impact on others, through her mentoring and charity work.
Anoushka Babbar, Winner of the Young Achiever of the Year Award (Picture Credit WeShootLondon)
The judges were blown away by Anoushka’s career success to date. As Head of Regulatory Policy and Government Relations at London Stock Exchange Group, she is on a career trajectory to become one of the youngest CEOs in her chosen field. She’s regularly consulted by governments globally and is also a keen mentor and role model.
Fatima Zaman, Winner of the Chairman’s Award (Picture Credit WeShootLondon)
The Chairman’s Award goes to one outstanding candidate across all of the categories and for the first time since the awards began 18 years ago, the Chairman’s Award is drawn from the Young Achiever category. The outstanding candidate is Fatima Zaman. The judges believe she could change the world. Her work with the Kofi Annan Foundation, Home Office and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to guide local and national responses to violent extremism and radicalisation is internationally ground-breaking. Demonstrating enormous resilience and pursuing the cause despite threats, the judges believe Fatima could be a future nobel prize winner.
The Onna Bike ride this Sunday 30th April will have 200 people mainly Asian women and girls cycling from Lister Park to Saltaire. The pic above is Mumtaz's recent trip abroad cycling 600km with the Bradford Cycle Club.
She’s “Onna” biking mission
An inspiring woman has been drumming up interest from across the region to get Asian women involved in biking.
Mumtaz Khan from "Onna Bike" cycling club has been busy organising a community ride on closed roads as part of the Tour de Yorkshire Stage Three event on Sunday 30th April.
The ride will go about 2.5miles from Lister Park to Roberts Park in Saltaire and will feature 200 riders- mainly women.
With Asian women usually ones to shy away from bicycling, Mumatz tells that she only learnt how to ride a bike following the Grand Depart 2014 - Tour de France.
Mumtaz, a Level 4 Black Belt Ju-Jitsu coach booked herself onto some beginners training and, with the support of a female cycle instructor, she was soon cycling regularly. In fact, Mumtaz was learning so much about safe cycling practice that she started to pass on tips and advice to friends.
Now Mumtaz is a qualified cycling instructor and is committed encouraging more Asian women to take up cycling. Through her club she’s organising for over 200 women to make a statement by embracing Tour de Yorkshire.
“We’ve almost hit our target of 200 female riders to take part in Sunday’s event, and we’ve got room for just a few more,” says Mumtaz.
“The ride includes novices and is family orientated - no one has been turned away.
"This is a great chance to get everyone together in Bradford’s broad cycling community so I hope you will join us on the day, in whichever capacity you decide!”
If you’ve got your own bike, helmet and lots of energy get in touch with Mumtaz on email@example.com
Women are more likely than men to be remanded and then not receive a custodial sentence
Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women face a “double disadvantage” in the criminal justice system, according to a new report.
BAME women told researchers from Agenda and Women in Prison that they felt discriminated against through the courts and in prison.
The report, based on focus group interviews with women in prison and in the community was undertaken to help inform the Lammy Review into racial bias in the criminal justice system.
The report found that BAME women felt:
They were not treated fairly in court and were unjustly penalised by judges and juries, who they felt were often made up of white men.
They were not listened to or informed about court proceedings, e.g. only one woman out of 20 knew whether she had had a pre-sentence report or not.
They were discriminated against and experienced racism in prison from both staff and other prisoners.
The impact on families was far-reaching, with children often separated from their mothers.
Some women were ostracised by their communities after being sent to prison.
Women are more likely than men to be remanded and then not receive a custodial sentence.
Evidence suggests BAME women face further discrimination, with black women much more likely than white women to be given custodial sentences for the same offences.
Katharine Sacks-Jones, Director of Agenda, said: “BAME women face a double disadvantage; discriminated against because of both their gender and ethnicity.
“Sexism, racism or unconscious bias should have no part in the criminal justice system.
“That is why it is imperative that steps are taken to ensure fairness throughout the process.”
Agenda and Women in Prison are calling for a focus on the distinct experiences of BAME women across the criminal justice system; with a reduction in the use of remand and custodial sentences and a greater emphasis on community based support for BAME women instead.
They want racism stamped out in prisons, with efforts made to recruit staff who reflect the gender and ethnicity of those they work with.
Steps should also be taken to ensure contact is maintained between BAME women and their families, especially children, while they are in prison.
Dr Kate Paradine, CEO of Women in Prison, said: “The troubling accounts of discrimination and injustice of the women who spoke out as part of this research are more evidence of a completely broken system.
“The answer to the crisis in women's prisons lies not in building more prisons, but in making sure effective community alternatives like women's centres are in place.
“This is how women can address the multiple disadvantages that often bring them to the criminal justice system, cutting reoffending rates and helping to bring the women's prison population down.”
Today (APRIL 21st) David Lammy MP, Chair of the Lammy Review, is holding a discussion with a panel of experts to look at the issues raised in the report.
He said: “I have been to prisons, courts and communities up and down the country to gather evidence to inform my Review.
“As part of this I have frequently heard accounts of disproportionate sentencing for minority ethnic groups, who receive longer prison terms than white offenders.
“The findings of the Double Disadvantage research published today again highlight this as a worrying trend, and one which includes BAME women.
“I will be exploring these repeated patterns further before making my final report and recommendations to the Prime Minister this summer.”
Residents at a local Bradford Extra Care estate were treated to an Indian musical master class when the QED Foundation visited the Dove Court development as part of its musical memories initiative.
The young-at-heart occupants of the Hanover Housing Association property couldn’t not believe their eyes and ears on Wednesday 10th April, when they were greeted by the delightfully infectious sights and sounds of percussion instruments from the subcontinent.
Joined at the music feast by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Geoff Reid, and the Lady Mayoress, Chris Reid, everyone couldn’t help but limber-up with some Indian style tunes.
Along with help from trained volunteers, participants were encouraged to interact with the music by learning how to play instruments.
The musical treat from QED was thanks to funding received from the Postcode Community Trust to provide sessions for older people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the Bradford area.
The QED program was established to help improve the health and wellbeing of older people in the Bradford area by increasing self-confidence and helping reduce isolation through music therapy.
Also attending the jam session was Hanover’s Chairman Dr Stuart Burgess, who said: “This has been a hugely successful and entertaining gathering.
“It is testament to our ongoing commitment to engage with the many vibrant cultures in Bradford and we look forward to working with QED to host further interactive events like this in the future.”
Ambassador Mohammed Bhana: “My 8 year-old son kept on nagging me, asking me to take him to a Town game. I said I’d take him if he learned his times tables, which he did – all the way to 12!”
Huddersfield Town Football Club (HTAFC) has appointed Bradford man Mohammed Bhana as an Ambassador of the Club, to help its presence grow in the Asian community.
The Asian football fan market has been one, which Bhana says, most football clubs have "not paid much attention to".
However, Huddersfield Town Commercial Director Sean Jarvis has made it clear that Huddersfield Town is committed to enticing more Asians living in West Yorkshire to come to matches as part of the long-term strategy to grow the Club.
The club says that they don’t care what background their footy-lovers come from, the Club says it will listen to fans, regardless of their background; everyone is welcome here.
Bhana, first came into contact with the Terriers through Huddersfield Town’s Schools Focus initiative, which provides cheap match-day tickets to youngsters across Kirklees and beyond.
Mo admitted that if it weren't for his son’s persistence, then he wouldn’t have been offered the role or even have come to the John Smith’s Stadium.
“My 8-year-old son kept on nagging me, asking me to take him to a Town game,” explained Bhana.
“I said I’d take him if he learned his times tables, which he did – all the way to 12. That’s how much he wanted to go and experience a match!
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, and my wife was also a bit apprehensive about going; we had a few misconceptions because we had never been before.
“For a start, we didn’t realise how passionate and loud the fans would be, and the high quality of the football was also something we didn’t expect. We thought that Huddersfield was a small club, but we now know that’s not the case!”
Since being offered the role as an Ambassador for the Club, Bhana has been working with the advertising team at Huddersfield Town to create match day posters and adverts in both Hindu and Urdu to attract a more diverse group of fans.
“I don’t know any other Club that has actively reached out to the Asian community in such a way; most teams do nothing at all from what I can see.
“Even though it’s only been a few months, I think the town-posters don’t need to be translated into Hindi or Urdu anymore – just in English because people have now seen that Huddersfield has made an effort to reach out to them.”
Bhana adds that some initiatives that have been set up recently, with the aim of engaging Asian community, have been very well attended.
“Huddersfield Town has made it clear that it doesn’t matter what ethnicity you are, the only colours that matter are the ones on the Club’s shirt,” explains Bhana.
“I think this is good, not just for the football club, but for Kirklees as a whole because it helps to bring people together.”
Huddersfield Town currently sits fifth in the Sky Bet Championship table and Mohammed believes now the Club has reached out to the Asian community it is beginning to attract a larger following; especially due to the team's exciting brand of football.
“More people are starting to realise that they don’t have to travel to Liverpool or Manchester to watch first class football; they could just go a few miles down the road and watch football just as good, if not better, at Town for much less. “There’s no need to support a club from another part of the country when you have one on your doorstep that you can get involved with.”
MISREPRESENTED: Despite excelling in school, statistics from the Social Mobility Commission highlight the lack of workplace success for members of the BME community
New research highlights a ‘broken social mobility promise’ for BME communities
Young people from black and Asian Muslim communities are more likely to be unemployed and face social immobility later in life than working class white boys despite doing better at school, according to new research by the Social Mobility Commission.
The report, which uncovers stark differences in the educational and labour market outcomes of different groups in society by ethnicity and gender, prompted the commission to call for renewed efforts to uphold the British social mobility promise that working hard should be rewarded.
The ‘Ethnicity, Gender and Social Mobility’ report was commissioned by the Social Mobility Commission with research carried out by academics from LKMco and Education Datalab.
It examines student’s trajectories as they progress through the early years, primary and secondary, through to sixth form and university. Finally, it looks at how attainment at school translates into the labour market.
The report supports recent findings that poor white boys perform badly throughout the education system and are the worst performers at primary and secondary school.
It also finds that black children, despite starting school on par with peers in other ethnic groups, are most likely to fail maths GCSE, have the lowest outcomes in science, maths and technology A levels, and are the least likely ethnic group to achieve a good degree at university.
Black boys face extremely high levels of school exclusion and overall do substantially worse than their female peers.
However, the report also found that it is disadvantaged young people from white British backgrounds who are the least likely to access higher education, with only one in 10 of the poorest attending university, compared to three in 10 for black Caribbean children, five in 10 for Bangladeshis and nearly seven in 10 amongst lowest income Chinese students.
Despite this, ethnic minority groups experience higher unemployment rates compared to White British groups.
The research uncovers a broken social mobility promise for Asian Muslims, particularly women. Young people from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds are more likely to succeed in education and go to university. But they are less likely to go on to find employment or secure jobs in managerial or professional occupations. Pakistani and Bangladeshi women earn less than their counterparts from other ethnic minority groups.
The report finds that parental expectations and engagement - such as involvement with schools, support with homework and investment in private tuition - play an important role in explaining the high attainment of some ethnic groups.
Poor white British families tend to be less engaged in their children’s education than other ethnic groups, and this may play a role in explaining attainment gaps at school.
In the workplace, the researchers find that factors such as geography, discrimination and cultural expectations may explain why some ethnic groups - particularly Asian Muslim women - do not do well in the labour market despite performing highly at school and university.
The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Commission, said achievements at school not being translated into labour market success represents a ‘broken social mobility promise’.
“The British social mobility promise is that hard work will be rewarded,” he said. “This research suggests that promise is being broken for too many people in our society.
“It is striking that many of the groups that are doing best at school or improving their results the most are losing out when it comes to jobs and opportunities later in life.
“It is deeply concerning that poor white British boys are doing so badly in education, from the early years through to university. Yet they are less likely to be unemployed and face social immobility than young people from black and Asian communities, Asian women especially.
“Britain is a long way from having a level playing field of opportunity for all, regardless of gender, ethnicity or background.
“Action is needed across the education system and labour market to better understand barriers to success. Renewed action is needed by government, educators and employers to dismantle them.”
Documenting the love affair of Asian cricket in Yorkshire
A photography exhibition, illustrating the grass roots beginnings of Asian cricket in Yorkshire, has been launched at the Yorkshire Cricket Museum at Headingley to coincide with the Pakistan tour.
The exhibition contains over 30 photographs, taken by cricket enthusiast Mohanlal Mistry, of back-street cricket being played in West Yorkshire in the early 1990s.
It is part of the ‘From Parks to Pavilions’ project which is documenting the history of Asian cricket in Yorkshire.
The project was developed by the AYA Foundation, with support of the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, the England and Wales Cricket Boards (ECB), and Bradford Local Studies Libraries, and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Mobeen Butt, the curator of the exhibition and Project Lead of the ‘From Parks to Pavilions’ project said: “The photographs perfectly capture how young Asians played cricket in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s.
“They didn’t play on cricket grounds, in practice nets or even in parks - they played wherever they could, and that meant playing in alleyways, car parks and waste grounds.
“They played with milk crates, traffic cones and crisp boxes for wickets and would carve out a bat from pieces of broken floor board or fence”.
Maria Hussain is one of the young people who has been helping with the project.
Growing up watching her father play cricket from before she ‘can even remember’, she said the images help to document the change in the relationship between the sport and the Asian community.
“My dad plays cricket... he plays for a club,” she said.
“The ground he plays on is really nice and green, and well kept. These young people in the photos played in very dirty and sometimes dangerous conditions. They played in the streets”.
She continued: “This exhibition is only a small part of our project. We’ve been to visit archives and museums. We’ve been to Lords, and we’ve been taught how to conduct oral history interviews and been on photography workshops.
“We will be producing a radio and video documentary and putting everything on YouTube for everyone to see.”
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: The exhibition was officially opened by Yorkshire CCC CEO, Mark Arthur, and Bradford’s Lord Patel
Mark Arthur, CEO of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Lord Patel of Bradford, Director of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) were at the launch of the exhibition last weekend.
Speaking of the project, Mr Arthur said: “With the Quaid-e Azam League continuing to go from strength to strength, and players such as Adil Rashid and Azeem Rafiq both playing in the First XI, Asian cricket has and will continue to play a major part in the rich history and heritage of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
“An exhibition celebrating the history of Asian cricket in Yorkshire is long overdue and we were delighted to help launch it here at Headingley Cricket Ground.
“There is a real appetite for cricket in local Asian communities, as was demonstrated at the Fourth One-Day International when Pakistan supporters came in their droves and created such a vibrant atmosphere.”
Lord Patel added: “We often hear people say that for Asians cricket is a religion, and playing the game is in our blood – an inherent part of who we are. I believe that this exhibition captures that sentiment perfectly.
“For me personally, it brought back many memories of my childhood experiences of playing this great game – it is so important that we do not forget this rich history, learn from it, understand it, build on it and all move forward – not just in Yorkshire but around the country.”
The exhibition is planning to tour numerous indoor as well as outdoor venues around West Yorkshire.
FROM PARKS TO PAVILIONS: The history of Asian cricket started with small beginnings and quickly grew into the phenomenon it is today (Pic cred: John Bolloten)
History of Asian cricket in Yorkshire to be celebrated
England cricketers Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid owe part of their success to early Asian migrants who played in local parks and set up teams and leagues over four decades ago.
Now, a new project, ‘From Parks to Pavilions’ has been awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to document the history of Asian cricket in Yorkshire.
The AYA Foundation, a community organisation specialising in promoting minority heritage, arts and culture, has been awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to work with young people from across West Yorkshire to record interviews and collect memorabilia from the founders of one of the oldest Asian led cricket leagues in Britain - the Bradford based Quaid-e Azam Sunday Cricket League.
Mobeen Butt, Projects Director at the AYA Foundation said: “The Quaid-e Azam League has been running for nearly four decades. Players from these Asian cricket leagues are now being scouted by county cricket clubs and have even gone on to play for England.
LEGENDARY: In 2006, bowling coach David Parsons considered Adil Rashid the most talented young leg-spinner in the country
“I believe the way Black and mixed-race players and audiences have changed the face of football, Asian players and supporters could go on to change the face of cricket – and when this happens the material that a project like this collects will be vital to help tell a wider story of cricket in Britain.”
The project will work with over 20 young people and include trips to museums and archives, as well as visits to Headingley and Lords.
A documentary will be produced which will exhibit at this summer’s England versus Pakistan one day international at Headingley.
Mr Butt added: “It’s very important that minority ethnic communities start writing their own history. Recording first-hand the voices of the pioneers and collecting primary source material is invaluable.
“We have already started losing some of our ‘founding-fathers’ - those that arrived in the 1960s and 1970s. It is imperative that we empower the second, third and now fourth generations by giving them the resources and skills necessary to capture their own histories; before they are lost forever.”
He went on the say: “This project is important on so many levels. Young people will be taught how to conduct oral history interviews; how archives and museums work; how to produce documentaries; how to develop exhibitions; how to conserve fragile objects; and hopefully one day in the not too distance future they will start to develop their own heritage projects.”
Nasser Hanif, a BBC Radio journalist and Project Manager of the From Parks to Pavilions project, commented: “This project has been developed to coincide with this summer’s Pakistan tour of England.
“Older members of the Quaid-e Azam League say that it was when Pakistan toured England in the 70s that their passion for cricket was ignited and they would grab a bat and ball and start playing in the streets, alley ways and parks.
“Asian men came to England to work in the 60s and 70s. They worked unsociable hours, did the night shifts and many worked six days a week.
“The only day they had off was Sunday, and as cricket was traditionally played during the week and Saturdays, the Asian cricketers didn’t get a chance to play with the established teams.
“Asian cricketers ended up playing in the streets, in carparks and play grounds. They started their own teams and competitions, and eventually their own Sunday leagues. The investment the Asian cricketing pioneers put in nearly four decades ago is now reaping rewards as theirs sons, nephews and grandchildren are now starting to break into the highest levels of English cricket.”
Mr Hanif added: ‘We are looking for enthusiastic and energetic young people from across West Yorkshire, aged14 to 24, to help with the project. So please do come forward if you are a young person or know a young person that would benefit from taking part.”
Manchester’s retail landscape has received a welcome facelift this month following the official opening of the largest Asian department store outside of London.
With over 20,000sqft of shopping space over two expansive floors, Manchester Plaza is the only place you need to visit for all your retail needs.
Up to 40 retailers operate from inside the modern establishment, whilst a huge couture bridal suite will soon occupy space upstairs.
After a busy day’s shopping and browsing the extensive collections of goods on offer, shoppers can then relax at the 200-capacity dining hall, which will serve up scrumptious meals and bites – set to open after Ramadan.
Tariq Mohammed is one of the directors of Manchester Plaza and has overseen the development of the centre.
“We have seen the success of places like East Shopping Centre in London recently, and it just goes to show that there is a real desire for Asian shopping centres of real high quality,” he said.
“Our aim here is to bring the same, high-end concept to the North, with Cheetham Hill in Manchester, chosen as the site for a piece of retail luxury.
“A massive range of designer labels are available in-store, making the Plaza a one-stop destination for fashion fans across the country.”
Retailers from across the North of England have signed up to be part of the Plaza revolution with units almost full to capacity.
“We have been inundated with enquires from both retailers and customers alike since our opening and there is still room for a handful of clients for remaining stores,” Tariq added.
“Shops are stocked-up as and ready for the visitors who will be in for a host of surprises inside this amazing complex.”
Next month, shoppers and members of the public alike are invited to call down to the Plaza for special Chand Raat celebrations.
Running from 7pm until 2am on Tuesday 5th July, it is bound to be an event no family will want to miss.
“Everyone is welcome to call down on the day and celebrate the last day of Ramadan,” Tariq added.
“We have a number of surprises in store for guests and I look forward to seeing a host of old and new faces.”
Some of the retailers and brands customers can visit at Manchester Plaza include: Kamar Ilyas, Limelight Designer, Image Boutique, Glamour, Stylo Shoes UK, SweetieMe, Rahman Jewellers, Soni Collection, Jai Simran Boutique, Babu’s, Floral Clothing, Asim Jofa, Gul Ahmed Collection, Charizma, Maryams Clothing, Ramsha Clothing, Plus many more...
Limited spaces are still available for prospective tenants, with all enquires to be made to 0161 740 3116.
Leeds’ favourite Asian supermarket has a new home and this one is bigger and better than ever before.
CC Continental has become the name customers can trust over recent decades, bringing produce from around the world to the public’s doorstep right here in West Yorkshire.
With successful stores already operating on Chapeltown Road and Roundhay Road, a third establishment, located in the heart of Hyde Park has now opened its doors to the public.
Officially launched earlier this month, hundreds turned out on the day to get their hands on some classic CC Continental deals and have a look around the new premises.
Owner, Mr. Rashid, said he couldn’t have predicted such a rush with many shelves - stocked to the rafters in the morning - left near-empty at the close of trading.
“To have this latest site up and running is a real special moment for all involved with the CC Continental family and it ensures our presence in Leeds continues to go from strength-to-strength,” he said.
“For a long time, customers have travelled from central Leeds and across the city to shop at our stores so we thought ‘why not bring the store to them?’
“This new supermarket will live up to our high standards and bring even more savings to even more people.”
Guests and local residents gathered for the launch on Sunday 5th June where a prayer was said and food shared.
Amongst those in attendance were family and friends of the business, local councillors, Imam Qari Asim from the Makkah Masjid, and Asian Express senior managing partner, Nadim Hanif.
They were joined by new and old customers, all wanting to get a glimpse inside the renowned red shop front.
“CC Continental is known for quality goods at competitive prices,” Mr Rashid added. “Our prices are amongst the lowest in the North of England and we have new offers in-store every day for customers to take advantage of.
“Call in to any one of our three establishments and I guarantee you will not be leaving empty handed.”
From fresh fruit and veg stocked every day, to an in-house halal butchers, everything you could expect from a high-street retailer is available at CC Continental Supermarket.
Call in today and see for yourself why shopping in Hyde Park has never been better value for money.
Kickboxer-turned-singer releases Father’s Day track loaded with emotion
“I wanted to create an emotional father daughter story. I star opposite my two actual daughters in it. I think everyone will find the video very heart warming.”
After surprising everyone with his debut single ‘Give My Love A Brand New Name’, former kickboxing world champion and father-of-three Ali Jacko is ready to deliver another knockout blow with his brand new track.
Ali’s list of wins in his kickboxing career are seemingly endless, but the major milestones were when he became the first Asian to win British, European, Inter-Continental and World Full-Contact kickboxing championships.
The latest song titled ‘You Are The Reason’ is a beautifully crafted rock ballad, will be released in the lead up to Father’s Day on 19th June. Dedicated dad Ali says his children inspired him to write the track, which revolves around loving someone unconditionally.
“This song is very pure in its sentiments so can be about anyone who brings out feelings of unconditional love,” says Ali.
“My two daughters inspired me to write this song. They might say that “daddy is our hero”, but actually they are the ones who are my heroes – simply because they inspire me everyday to work harder, reach greater heights for them and be the best I can be,” he adds.
“I feel energised and inspired when I am around them. (Laughs) Like all parents there are days it can get stressful, but I feel that is all a part of the joy. I am really proud of my children and love them all unconditionally.”
The London based singer/songwriter who has just finished shooting a big budget music video for the song directed by Andrew Martin – an acclaimed filmmaker, sees Ali starring alongside his daughters.
Affectionately known as Jacko by his legion of devoted fans around the world, he hopes the emotion of the song will form a lasting connection with all those who listen to it. He is also hoping to celebrate the achievement of hard-working fathers with the track, which releases worldwide early June and will be available to download from iTunes.
“There are so many hardworking fathers around the world who would give their life for their children and I am one of them.
“I could give you a hundred reasons to legally download the track, but ultimately I hope it forms a connection to people’s hearts and I’m confident this song will touch people’s hearts too.”
Since Ali’s debut, he’s been globe-trotting working with some big names in the music industry in UK, India and USA. Now the artist is working on an album, which Ali says is a compilation of songs composed by top music producers from around the world.
Ali has also built a state of the art music studio in the heart of London, as a creative space to encourage other new musical talent, and one which he uses himself too.
“I didn’t go looking for music, but instead music found me. The past eight months have been life changing and I am now creating music that will make a real difference and connect with audiences around the world,” explains Ali.
INCLUSIVE ATTITUDES: Dr Dan Kilvington has been studying the reasons why British Asians are being sidelined in the football industry
Asians excluded from football?
A new book which explores the exclusion of British Asians from football and makes recommendations for achieving equality in the industry has been published by a Leeds Beckett University academic.
In his book, ‘British Asians, Exclusion and the Football Industry’, Dr Dan Kilvington, a Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Leeds Beckett, presents his extensive new research collected from interviews with players, coaches, scouts, managers, fans, and anti-racist organisations and highlights both historical and current reasons for the exclusion of British Asians from football.
Dr Kilvington said: “I've been researching into this area for almost a decade now but it all started following a conversation with one of my university lecturers in 2007.
“Dr Amir Saeed, a passionate and enthusiastic figure, asked me: 'where are the British Asian footballers'?
“I couldn't provide an answer and neither could he. It was like I found my calling. The more I investigated, the more I began to understand the complexity behind this exclusion.
“It was clear that barriers were in place and investigating them, talking about them, writing about them and attempting to challenge them became my work.”
Dr Kilvington then went on to conduct almost 100 interviews with individuals and groups from all spheres of the game over an eight year period.
He said: “The book explores overt and covert racism, highlights both male and female experiences and discusses the similarities and differences between Asian heritage communities, such as Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi, from across England.
“It provides a critical overview of equality and inclusion initiatives which aim to increase the numbers of British Asians in the game, in all areas.
“I also make recommendations for reform pitched at football's key stakeholders which are believed to help achieve greater equality and inclusion.”
The book, published by Routledge, draws on case studies, one of which centres around Bradford.
Dr Kilvington said: “Despite Bradfordian Asians' passion, enthusiasm and love for football, no one from the South Asian community has managed to maintain a career in the professional game. I carried out in-depth research within Bradford, consulting ex-professionals, former academy players, coaches, scouts, managers and PE teachers.
“What I found was that there is a lack of grass roots opportunities within locales which are densely populated by Asian heritage communities; while the local and national scouting networks tend to overlook such communities and environment, for many reasons.
“The future looks promising for the next generation of male and female British Asian youngsters. Following the move from the subcontinent, the priority for the first generation was work and home.
“For the second generation, leisure became more important and the football seeds were sown.
“For the third generation, these seeds are bearing fruit as opportunities are now more readily available while links with the professional game have been established and maintained.
“Encouragingly, there are now more British Asian players with professional contracts in English football than ever before. Some of these players have fantastic potential and could hold down regular spots at top clubs, showcasing to the wider world that 'Asians can play football'.
“However, we shouldn't get too carried away just yet as a considerable amount of work is to be done if we are to see British Asians not only playing the game, at all levels, but taking up coaching, scouting, refereeing positions, and so forth.”
Dr Kilvington believes that football's key stakeholders have been slow to react to the British Asian football exclusion.
“Yet, positive steps have been taken in recent times. In 2015, the FA launched the 'bringing opportunities to communities' four year plan.
“Creating more grassroots opportunities is essential. Therefore, we need more volunteers and coaches stepping forward to help create new clubs and teams. Institutional bodies can play a key role in supporting this through providing access to funding.
“These clubs must be networked with professional and semi-professional clubs in the locale so they can signpost their more gifted players to better clubs so they can further their football development. I also suggest that the Chelsea Search for an Asian Star should be rolled out countrywide so that recruiters have the chance to watch young British Asian players in action because traditionally, scouting networks have overlooked British Asian players.
“Coach education is also important as some coaches still embrace archaic stereotypes and believe that British Asians cannot succeed in football due to physical and cultural differences. With more British Asians in the game, and therefore more role models, these stereotypes will be challenged.”
EXPERT’S VIEW: Dr Jhumur Pati, Consultant Urological Surgeon, Barts Health NHS Trust says that cancers can be more treatable if caught early
Film highlights key cancer symptoms
As part of Public Health England’s latest ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign, Black and Asian cancer survivors, alongside doctors, feature in a new film which aims to increase awareness of the key symptom for both bladder and kidney cancers – blood in urine.
Around 17,450 people in England are diagnosed with either bladder or kidney cancer every year, and around 7,600 people die annually
Consultant urologists from Barts Health NHS Trust, Jhumur Pati and Professor Frank Chinegwundoh OBE highlight the importance of an early diagnosis and discuss the cultural issues that can delay Black and South Asian people from seeing their doctor early.
Jhumur Pati, Consultant Urological Surgeon, Barts Health NHS Trust said: “There is often a strong fear of cancer, and a perception that cancer is an incurable disease that quickly leads to death.
“[However], we know that bladder and kidney cancers are more treatable if they are found early.
“Some prefer to see a spiritualist rather than going to see their doctor or self-treat symptoms with herbal remedies.
“There is nothing wrong with seeing a spiritualist [but] I would encourage those who notice blood in their urine, even if it’s just the once, to visit their doctor straight away.”
Professor Frank Chinegwundoh OBE, Barts Health NHS Trust said: “Blood in the urine can be caused by a variety of bladder or kidney problems.
BEATING CANCER: Mrs Jyoti Howe, a bladder cancer survivor, who featured in the film
“Most of them are not serious but it can be an early sign of bladder or kidney cancer so should not be ignored.
“Blood in urine is a symptom in most bladder cancers and almost a fifth of kidney cancers. Early diagnosis and treatment of bladder and kidney cancer is crucial, so being aware of the symptoms and knowing to go to your doctor straight away could save you or your loved one’s life.”
For those diagnosed at the earliest stage - stage 1- the likelihood of surviving five years or more can be as high as 84 per cent for kidney cancer and 77 per cent for bladder cancer.
However, for those diagnosed at a late stage - stage 4 - survival is as low as only 10 per cent for kidney cancer and 9 per cent for bladder cancer.
Mrs Jyoti Howe, bladder cancer survivor featured in the film said: “I was fit with a healthy lifestyle, going to the gym and doing yoga when I noticed blood in my urine.
“I had no idea that blood in urine was a key symptom of bladder cancer but I realised that I needed to get medical help straightaway. When they told me I had bladder cancer I thought they must have got it wrong, it’s a mistake.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t a mistake but luckily it was caught early and I was successfully treated. Having cancer has changed my outlook on life, before I took life for granted, now I make the most of it.
“I know cancer is still seen as a taboo in the Asian community but I’m living proof that bladder cancer is more treatable if caught early. It’s so important to act quickly when you notice blood in your urine, don’t ignore it thinking it will go away. See your doctor without delay.”
The film can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1U6Xd4y and will be aired across Black and Asian TV channels during March. For further information about the signs and symptoms of bladder and kidney cancers, please visit nhs.uk/bloodinpee.
Taz of Stereo Nation, Apache Indian and Bally Sagoo make a “Pretty Baby”
'TAB' is the super-group that the world has been waiting for, combining the three biggest names in the Asian music industry for the past three decades.
Undoubtedly, legends in their own right, TAB brings together the powerful vocals of Taz, the man behind Stereo Nation, the reggae vibes of ‘raggamuffin king’ Apache Indian and the master-mixer Bally Sagoo.
'Pretty Baby', the first track to be released by the music icons under their new identity, is a Punjabi dancehall anthem that showcases the talents of the three musical maestros to the max.
With Taz's Punjabi vibes interspersed with Apache Indian’s signature ragga-stylings and the unmistakable magic touch of producer Bally Sagoo, ‘Pretty Baby’ is guaranteed to set the charts alight.
For decades the three icons of the industry have set their own musical agendas, and always been at the forefront of their respective musical genres. The combination of these three undisputed talents is sure to not only shake up the music scene, but also show that quality collaborations can be genius in their own right.
Taz, Apache and Bally have between them sold millions of albums globally. Taz has been described as the Pioneer of Pop Fusion and the “Prince of Crossover”. He was also the first British Asian to break down the doors of Bollywood as a music director and has enjoyed success in the British Top 40 charts with 'Laila' and 'Don't Break My Heart'. Having had multi-platinum selling albums including ‘Hit the Deck’, ‘Spirits of Rhythm’, ‘Jambo’, ‘Slave II Fusion’, ‘Oh Laila’, ‘Tazmania’ and ‘Jawani On The Rocks’ to name but a few. His music also featured in the Hollywood movie ‘New York Minute’.
Apache Indian probably best known globally for his mega hit ‘Boom Shak-A-Lak’, also has a huge amount of albums to his name including ‘No Reservations’, ‘Make Way For The Indian’, ‘Wild East’, ‘Karma’, ‘Time for Change’, ‘Sadhu – The Movement’, ‘Home Run’ and more recently ‘It Is What It Is’ amongst others. His music has featured in countless TV commercials and films including ‘Dumb and Dumber’ (both one and two).
Bally Sagoo created waves with his early albums ‘Wham Bam’ 1 and 2 as well as ‘Essential Ragga’, ‘Star Crazy’, ‘Bollywood Flashback’ 1 & 2, ‘Future Shock’ and so many others. He was instrumental in bringing the voice of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to the ears of the British Asian masses and also provided music for a number of films including ‘Bend It Like Beckham’, ‘Mistress of Spices’ and ‘Monsoon Wedding’.
Pretty Baby and TAB is truly a coming together of both talent and creativity and talking about the collaboration, Apache Indian commented: “This has been an amazing and truly exciting new path for all of us.
“The three of us grew up in parallel in the industry, and amazingly never had the opportunity to work together. But the truth is the time and the mojo has to be right – and I think that this is the time for TAB – we’ve taken all of our experiences and put them into a great creative pot to create this fantastic new sound that is fresh, dynamic and well worth the wait.”
Taz added: "I had thought about doing something like this some time ago but getting the three of us together in one place has been really difficult as we are always in different parts of the world. I finally managed it and we just jammed in a studio together and we knew the vibe was right and the rest is history."
Bally summed it up: "The funny thing was that a lot of people thought Apache and I were enemies and that we hated each other or something.
“That's so far from the truth. The reality is that we actually never even met till we got into the studio to record as TAB. So this new collaboration will come as a shock to many people.”
The track is supported by a superb video, shot in their home-town of Birmingham and directed by former actor-turned-director Ameet Chana (Eastenders, Bend It Like Beckham).
FITNESS: Owais Khan overcame a stutter in his youth before entering the luxurious world of modelling, and now, at 35, says he is ready to settle down when he finds ‘the one’
The good, the bad, and the not so ugly
Whether you’ve been watching the latest ‘real-life’ drama series to hit TV screens or not, the odds are you’ve heard of Sky Living’s newest show - ‘Desi Rascals’.
Airing every Friday night, the series follows the lives of a multi-generational cast, within the British-Asian community, who live in the affluent area of West London.
FUN: Mother-of-one, Amita Patel, describes herself as funny, loving, caring, and happy-go-lucky, whilst others say she’s sarcastic
Much like TOWIE and Made in Chelsea before it, the series tells the stories of a modern, dynamic and aspirational group of characters across a range of ages as they navigate their social, professional and family lives in a fast changing community.
From award-winning director, Gurinder Chadha, (Bend it Like Beckham) and creator of TOWIE, Tony Wood, the series was shot just days before transmission and is one of the most active shows on social media on a weekly basis.
However, as with any programme, it all depends on whether this reaction is positive or negative, and thankfully for this series, it seems the majority of critics approve.
Whether it is single-parent Amita who audiences relate to, the loveable Anita and Jay Vara, perhaps Owais Khan or Yasmin Karimi, whichever one it is, the formula seems to be working.
Of course, as with any programme there are also the ‘not-so keen’.
The real-life drama concept still fails to win many critics over with seemingly staged story lines, despite assurances from the creator’s that every scene is ‘absolutely real’.
Gurinder Chadha says he has loved making the show and explained why he was so passionate about releasing it to the British public.
He said: “Desi Rascals is a fantastic show about British-Asians living in West London. It’s unscripted, so different to what I normally do.
“I haven’t written these characters - in Desi Rascals we have real people who have brilliant spontaneous exchanges that I could never write.
“What Desi Rascals offers is a massive burst of energy, storytelling and characters that would take me years to put together if I was making a movie.
“The most important thing when we were casting was that it had to be authentic, real people who are going through real issues that affect our community, and I also wanted to show the fun elements of our community.”
With romance, gossip, laughs and a whole host of good looking folks, Desi Rascals could well be the real life Asian TOWIE.