Balti Britain | Granta

  • Published: 22/03/2012
  • ISBN: 9781847086846
  • Granta Books
  • 400 pages

Balti Britain

Ziauddin Sardar

Sardar travels to Asian communities throughout the UK to tell the history of Asians in Britain – from the arrival of the first Indian in 1614, 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: are arranged marriages a good thing? Does the term ‘Asian’ obscure more than it conveys? Do vindaloo and balti actually exist? And is multiculturalism an impossible dream?

Energetic and accessible, Balti Britain is a powerful evocation of both the profundity and the myopia of the relationship between South Asia and Albion


An erudite and entertaining book and it is its core contention that resonates profoundly: that Asians are not newcomers to Britain or foreigners to be accommodated and tolerated. Rather, the histories of Britain and the subcontinent are so intertwined through the experience of Empire and colonialism that British Asians are in fact direct products of this centuries-old encounter

The Times

Sardar's engrossing, provocative book takes him and his readers on a journey - sometimes personal, always political ... In the process, it reveals what he believes is the concealed history of the long relationship between Britain and India, Pakistan and Bangladesh


The Author

Ziauddin Sardar was born in Pakistan in 1951 and grew up in east London. He has worked as Muslim and Middle East correspondent for Nature, New Scientist and the Independent and has made programmes for Channel 4, London Weekend Television and the BBC. He has published over forty books, including Desperately Seeking Paradise, and contributes to the Observer, New Statesman, Independent, Evening Standard and Daily Mail. He is Visiting Professor of Postcolonial Studies at City University, London.

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