The Truth About…. Culture


Culture is a wonderful thing, it gives you a chance to be different and unique. It has given us the gift of music, food and language but not all is sunshine and rainbows as they say. Being a British Asian, I have had the experience, like many others, of growing up with two different versions of culture,British and South Asian. Britain is known for its multiculturalism and there are people from all different nationalities living in the UK today. As people came, leaving behind their homeland they brought with them their culture.

My family came from the norther region of Pakistan. Majority of the people in this region are Muslims and live in a village setting. The culture here is not what you see in a typical Bollywood movie nor is it the scene for a HUM TV hit show. It is more a culture, passed down through generations, a process of doing things in your way . The displacement of housing within my region and the low level of income attracted many families to the British shores. Arriving in the early 70’s, life was very different for the small village folk.

Traditional Pakistani women collecting water from the well

Today many British Asian families have a mix of children born in the UK with modern British values living amongst the older generation who immigrated to the UK with traditional values. The culture clash can be a lot strong for others. You obviously get the best parts of it like getting to eat amazing food every day and having an extended family who are like your best friends. Having wedding parties lasting weeks on end and getting to wear amazing clothes and no to forget being bilingual. But along with comes the trials and tribulation of being from minority back ground. The trivial not being able to wear your nice clothes when your mums cooking in the kitchen because the smell clings or not realising you pronounce film as ‘filam’ until you reach high school. But some of the deeper problems rooted with culture touch on some taboo subjects such a role of women and expectations of inter race marriages.

Traditional Pakistani bride and groom

There is a saying that you can take the boy out of the village but you can’t take the village out of the boy. Our parents have moved to the UK but they have bought their ideas of what makes a good life with them. Getting married has been a recent hot topic in my family, with the average age of 24, most of my cousin are getting married and having children and the pressure turns to me. I believe this idea that there is a set age where you marriage suitability clock start ticking is ridiculous. You should get married when you want not when you think its convenient because if you’re hearts not really in it, it will fail.

I have seen our family become increasingly progressive over the years, our parents have been almost forced to accept the changes we have brought to the way they used to do things. There is still a long way to go yet and there is many more battles to be fought. Until then I will carry on eating my lovely samosa and watching my hum TV show and refusing to get married because simply, it’s not what I want and that’s okay.


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