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Reflecting on my Masters Research, a year since it began.

It's been over a year since I started the research for my Masters Dissertation, a 12,000 word piece of work which was to look at whether British Indian A Redundant Term. A topical piece of research, as Great Britain has been immersed in deep conversations on race and ethnicity which has intrigued many people - in terms of those who ever so graciously gave up some of their time to either take part in the research, those who subscribe to The Mallard and even people who I have conversations with about my findings. Oddly enough, this wasn’t just a piece of work I completed as part of my Masters degree and in a way it’s been a stepping stone and a form of personal reflection.

Identity, it's who you are and who you want the world to see you as. At times, it can be ever so slightly confusing - as you question “am I supposed to be more this?” or “am I supposed to be more that?” What I’m specifically referring to here, is people who may have grown up in one country but their family comes from another. And it’s these questions that prompted my boyfriend to ask me how I felt.

I remember back in 2019, being in a seminar for one of my modules - the Politics of Nationalism. We were asked how we identify ourselves? Answers ranged from the city or county people grew up in; an individual's place of birth; where they’ve grown up or even by generation. As I think back, are these answers people gave as that's what they’re most proud of? I know for myself, I always distinguish between where I was born; the place I grew and even the cities I’ve attended University in - up till now there’s been three cities.

But in terms of being British and Indian, or even Indian and British - there doesn’t exist a guidebook that tells you what’s considered ‘normal’ for the diaspora, nor does a guidebook exist to tell us where and how we fit - well, at least it didn't exist when I was growing up. But I will say this, it has been something that I’ve subconsciously given lots of thought to. There are times when it feels like one must be more ‘British’ in order to fit in more - or even to not draw as much attention to yourself, but this leaves a feeling of guilt. Why should I suppress some of myself to either make others feel better, or to be seen as just as worthy to be there (wherever there maybe).

Cover of What Would The Aunties Say?

In the matter of the term/label British-Indian, my own feelings towards it are conflicting. On the one hand, it encompasses my family (my past and present) and on the other, I wonder if its my present and future? But for how much longer can the two exist in harmony? Will there come a time when we’re forced to chose, one or the other? So many have shown there is a way to make it work, one only has to look at the sheer impact British Asian music has had - including BBC Asian Network, a growing acceptance in the media - and even last summer with the release of Anchal Seda’s book What Would the Aunties Say? A Brown Girl’s Guide to Being Yourself and Living Your Best Life, and yes, even politicians like Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel.

I suppose this is one of those things in which time will tell - for now however, Part 4 of my dissertation is due to be published in The Mallard later this month; which covers the relationship with race relations in this country.

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