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South Asian Heritage Month 2023

Authored by Nishah Malik
Published on 19th July, 2023 5 min read

South Asian Heritage Month 2023

This month marks the annual South Asian Heritage Month in the United Kingdom. The month, running from 18th July to 17th August, celebrates the heritage and history of South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives. 

Launched in 2019, the month aims to “Celebrate, Commemorate and Educate” people about South Asian history and culture. It also seeks to create awareness on the continued intertwined relationship between Britain and South Asian communities. 

Unlike other commemorative months, South Asian Heritage Month takes place over two months, this is because July and August contain some significant dates for South Asia. In particular, on the 18th July the Indian Independence Act of 1947 gained royal assent, 26th July marks Maldives Independence Day, 8th August marks Bhutan’s Independence Day, 14th August marks Pakistani Independence Day, and 15th August marks Indian Independence Day. Also, the 17th August marks the date the Radcliffe line, which set out where the boundaries of India, West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), was decided in 1947. 

The 2023 theme for South Asian Heritage month is “Stories to Tell”, which will aim to celebrate the unique stories and experiences of individuals. South Asian Heritage Month mentioned how: 

"We want to explore a range of themes, from identity and community to gender, faith, and family. These themes are not meant to be restrictive or exclusive, but rather to provide a framework for you to share your story and connect with others who may have similar experiences."

Alongside educating people about South Asian history, this month's theme allows individuals of South Asian heritage to share their own stories and subsequently reclaim their history. Throughout the month many events and exhibitions will be held in order to uphold their ethos of “Celebrate, Commemorate and Educate”. You can take a look at this years events here

Here at British Online Archives we have some material in our collections relating to South Asian history, as well as a range of articles about South Asian history and the South Asian diaspora. Some of the articles our team have written include: 

  • From the Archive: The Indian Diaspora in British Colonial Africa  - This article, utilising material from our "Governing Africa" collections, explores Indian migration to Africa. It contains the story of one particular family's migration from India to Zimbabwe in the beginning of the twentieth century. Read the full article here
  • From the Archive: Britain’s Civilisation of India and The Legacy of Colonial Mentality - This article, utilising material from our Sphere collection, explores the ways in which the Indian subcontinent was westerniesd under colonial rule. The article also sheds light on the negative legacy of this. Read the full article here
  • The Deterioration of Women’s Rights in Afghanistan -  This article explores the deterioration of women's rights in Afghanistan after the USSR-backed Saur revolution in the 1970s. Read the full article here.
  • From the Archive: Immigration and Political Discourse from the 1960s to Brexit - This article, using material from our CPGB collections. explores immigration to Britain and the attitudes of immigration over the last sixty years. Read the full article here. 
  • “Going for an Indian”: Food, Immigration and Multiculturalism in Britain - This article, using material from our London Life collection, explores how South Asian food was implemented into British society and the meanings of the cuisine. As well as the ways in which the cuisine has become racialised. Read the full article here
  • Princess Sophia Duleep Singh and The Important Role of Indian Women in the Suffragette Movement - This article explores the story of  Princess Sophia Duleep Singh’s role in the women’s suffragette movement, as well as looking at the wider significance of her involvement. Read the full article here

Authored by Nishah Malik

Nishah Malik

Nishah Malik is Collections Editor at British Online Archives. Nishah gained a Masters in History from the University of Derby in 2020. Her research interests centre around South Asian culture and heritage, as well as the history and experiences of the South Asian diaspora. She also has a keen interest in women's history.

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The British Online Archives Notable Days diary is a platform intended to mark key dates and events throughout the year. The posts draw attention to historical events and figures, as well as recurring cultural traditions and international awareness days, in both religious and secular contexts.

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