South Asian Heritage Month was officially launched last year in 2020, and consists of celebrations, commemorations and raising awareness of the diversity of South Asian history and culture in the UK. It is an opportunity for British South Asians to share the stories, experiences and traditions that are important to their communities.
To find out more about South Asian Heritage Month in the UK, visit www.southasianheritage.org.uk
There are many events happening across Bradford to celebrate, which you can view a calendar of here: www.kalasangam.org/south-asian-heritage-month-2021/
South Asian Heritage in Bradford
Bradford is a city steeped in rich South Asian history, starting in the late 1940s when the first migrants from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh arrived to find work. Many workers helped keep Bradford’s mills open, and in the 1950s began opening businesses of their own. Nowadays over 26% of Bradford’s population is made up of people of South Asian heritage.
A timeline of ‘Firsts’
1941 The first unemployed Indian Muslim ex-seamen (lascars) were directed to find jobs by the British government in Bradford.
1950 Kashmir restaurant opens on Morley Street, thought to be the first curry house in Yorkshire.
1959 Bradford’s first mosque opened in Howard Street.
1972 Bradford’s first purpose-built Gurdwara opened in Malvern Street (Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara).
1974 Bradford’s first Hindu Temple was established, the Hindu Cultural Society of Bradford, on Leeds Road.
1985 Mohammed Ajeeb became Bradford’s (and Britain’s) first Asian Lord Mayor.
1999 The first purpose-built mosque in Bradford, Bradford Central Mosque (Jamiyat Tabligh-ul-Islam) was opened.
2011 Bradford (and Britain’s) first female Muslim Lord Mayor elected, Councillor Naveeda Ikram.
Through its various projects during the COVID-19 pandemic, Race Equality Network has worked with many grass roots organisations which support and represent South Asian communities across Bradford. Although the pandemic has prevented communities from being able to fully express their culture and traditions with events or celebrations, the efforts made to support education, food provision, mental health support and vaccine uptake during this difficult time has been testament to the solidarity and strength of these communities.
We encourage communities across Bradford to come together this month and celebrate what you love about South Asian culture and heritage – be that the art, music, film, food, fashion, or anything else! Share your celebrations with us on social media by tagging us @network_race on Twitter and Race Equality Network on Facebook. You can join in a wider celebration using the hashtag #SouthAsianHeritageMonth2021 and #SAHM2021.