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British Asians more optimistic than UK population

British Asians more optimistic than UK population
August 14
16:24 2018

LONDON: British Asians are more socially conservative and more optimistic than the wider UK population, according to a new survey which reflects the mindsets and attitudes of Britons with their roots in the Indian sub-continent. The BBC has launched a Big British Asian Summer series with the release of the survey. The survey was conducted by ComRes for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Of the 2,026 respondents to the British Asian survey, 1,197 were born in the UK with countries of origin being predominantly India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. A similar number of UK citizens responded to the same questions to generate a reflection of the views of the wider population. “More than half of respondents say that they’ve toned down their Asian identity in order to better fit into British society. This could mean people using Western-sounding names or altering their accents,” said BBC Asian Network representative Nomia Iqbal, who will be leading a discussion around the findings on air.
“It seems that British Asians are, as a whole, more optimistic than the general population indicating that despite the internal and external challenges, people are confidently navigating society. Living with contradiction becomes second nature,” she said. According to the survey, British Asians held on to conservative views with more than a third (34 per cent) offended over sex before marriage, compared to just 5 per cent of UK-wide respondents. On same-sex and gay relationships, 15 per cent of UK-wide respondents said they were not acceptable, which rose to 36 per cent among British Asians.

On religion, 46 per cent of British Asians said it was “very important” to them, compared to just 12 per cent of the general population. “When they ended up staying [in the UK] so did those values which many passed to their British-born children. This is perhaps why the survey suggests that the British Asian community has more socially conservative views on gay relationships and sex before marriage, even amongst the younger generation,” explains Iqbal.
The BBCs Big British Asian Summer series will be held across various platforms of the corporation, to reflect the lives and views of the UKs 3-million strong South Asian community. “The Big British Asian Summer is a wonderfully rich season of programs from across the BBC exploring the cultural, social and familial impact of these two regions of the world coming together,” said Alison Kirkham, Controller, and Factual Commissioning, at the BBC. “From Bollywood to Sharwoods [British Asian food company], the season will encompass a huge range of shows sometimes celebratory, sometimes challenging, always inspiring,” she said.

The series is set to celebrate the cultural and artistic contribution of Asian Britons, and also explore the fault lines between white and non-white Britain as this unique fusion of cultures hasn’t happened without tensions, the BBC said. Programs include a three-part series ‘Passengers’, which uses archive to piece together the lives of arrivals to Britain from the Indian subcontinent in the 1930s and 1960s. A two-part series with Indian-origin presenter Anita Rani will explore Bollywood as a world that has captured the imaginations of some British Asians so wholeheartedly that they are traveling east to seek fame and fortune.
In ‘A Taste of Home’, cook Nisha Katona will reveal the secrets of homemade curries. There will also be specially commissioned episodes of regular shows such as ‘Inside The Factory’, which will shine a spotlight on curry, as Indian food is referred to in the UK, and ‘Gardeners’ World’, which will celebrate South Asian influences on British Gardens. The BBC Four will broadcast a documentary on the last Maharajah of the Punjab, Duleep Singh, who was taken from his mother’s arms as a child and put into the care of an official of the British Empire. PTI

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