A fish only discovers its need for water when it no longer is in it. Our own culture is like water to a fish, we live and breathe through it.
Culture is not static. It is ever changing and evolving. For most people there is a constant paranoia of losing their own cultural identity if they move to seek a new life abroad. Some of us can identify this from our own lives. This tethering on the brink of losing our own culture causes people to be vigilant about the threats to it. In some cultures, religion is intertwined with cultural beliefs that at times it is difficult to distinguish the difference between the two beliefs.
Migration is a disruptive process. It scoops up lives, traditions and histories, and deposits them somewhere else. But how cano you be ever severed from the place you call home? The wreckage of your former life is always somehow present, a vital element of personal and collective histories. The life before, the former lives in a distant land and place that has shaped you, remain a sensibility, a style , an influence on life begun again in a new place. Who are our forefathers? How did they live? What did they teach us? What was left behind in the Sub-Continent is just as part of the British Asian experience as how we live and who we are in Britain.
My own identity and belonging have been shaped with these differences and diverse assumptions. I am a product not just of my life here in Britain but also the life my parents left behind in their homeland. What the British did in the Sub-continent, where my family began, has a direct bearing on my existence here and now, where I live. What Britain thinks of me and out community is as important of what we think of Britain. Belonging is not just about where you end up. It’s a two way process. The British Asian experience is not solely about what people from the sub-continent brought with them. It is also what they found, what they made of themselves, as well as what Britain made of them. Are we comfortable with multiple identities? To belong you must be included; to feel included, you must be accepted with all your differences and identities. We 2nd and 3rd generation have struggled at times with identity and where we truly belong.