Exploring South Asian Heritage Month 

15th July 2022

Every year from the 18th of July to the 17th of August, it is South Asian Heritage Month. This year’s theme is ‘Journeys of Empire’ and will be celebrated through events online and in various communities. Within this blog, we will discuss this month’s history, some events that are happening to celebrate, and what can be done to be more inclusive of South Asian heritage. 

What is South Asian Heritage Month?

South Asian Heritage Month (SAHM) first took place in 2020 and seeks to mark and celebrate South Asian cultures, histories, and communities. The aim is to shed light on the diverse heritage and cultures that link the UK with South Asia. This month, the heritage will be celebrated through education, arts, culture and commemoration to help people better understand the diversity of present-day Britain and improve social cohesion across the country, according to the SAHM info booklet

The event begins on the 18th of July, commemorating Indian Independence day, which occurred in 1947 under King George VI. It ends on the 17th of August, marking the Radcliff Line publication, which details the border with India, West Pakistan, and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Through the decades, England has always had a strong influence over South Asia.

South Asia comprises eight countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, The Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. These regions have all been impacted by the influence and reign of the United Kingdom; as a result, the connection has given them a route into the UK, which means their influences can now be found in the UK. 

‘South Asian influences can be found everywhere in Britain, from our food and clothes to our music and even our words, and the streets of our towns and cities are rich with the colours, sights and sounds of proud South Asian identity. Its culture permeates all parts of British life and adds to the diversity of the nation,’ as Binita Kane and Jasvir Singh, co-founders of South Asian Heritage Month, say in the SAHM info booklet

This year the celebration will honour two significant anniversaries that are taking place: the 75th anniversary of the independence of India, the Partition and the creation of East and West Pakistan, and the 50thanniversary of the expulsion of Ugandan Asians by Idi Amin. 

Events happening to celebrate

To celebrate the month, there are several ethnic events planned with feature days that cover the different countries in South Asia. The events vary from literature, health, LGBTQ+ topics, music, and history. A complete list of scheduled events can be found on SAHM Instagram. Events focus on the migration history of South Asians to the UK, workshops on journeys of empire, the impact of migration on health etc. 

This will be one of the first times this event celebration can have face-to-face events. Most of the events will be able to be streamed live on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and the website. There will be the DESIblitz Bus from Haider Ali; the world-renowned professional truck artist from Pakistan will be touring the UK as a mobile art space. 

Local communities can get involved to celebrate the connection between South Asians and the UK. Going through @SAHM_UK on Twitter, you can see some of the upcoming and past events. There is an Indian Family history guide, a collection of books in Urdu at Sheffield Library, cooking classes that celebrate South Asian Heritage, educational programmes etc. 

Next steps

There is a strong connection between the UK and South Asian culture as 1 in every 20 people in the country have South Asian heritage. As a multicultural agency, finding a balance that celebrates their heritage and strong connection to the UK is essential. 

Through multicultural marketing, we can fuse these two cultures and reach those with this diverse heritage, rather than making them choose between the two. SAHM is a grassroots community movement and has grown over the years. This year there are two significant anniversaries to celebrate, and both have a powerful connection to the UK. 

At GottaBe! Marketing we specialise in ethnic marketing. We want to celebrate the different cultures, making us unique. Our creative team strives to ensure that the materials we produce for campaigns are bi-lingual. If you would like to learn more about how our services can assist your brand, click here

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