As part of SAHM 2020, Manchester Museum, in partnership with the British Council, created paid employment, training and engagement opportunities for young people aged 11-25. As a large-scale commemorative month, SAHM has great potential to mainstream young people’s stories and experience as a powerful, relevant and contemporary campaign. This activity was funded by the DCMS Youth Accelerator Fund via National Lottery Heritage Fund.
South Asian Heritage Month is an initiative launched in the UK in 2020. It aims to raise the profile of British-South Asian History in the UK through education, arts, culture and commemoration, with the goal of helping people to better understand the diversity of present-day Britain, as well as improving levels of social cohesion between the various communities.
What is the background to South Asian Heritage Month?
South Asian Heritage Month is a collaboration between The Grand Trunk Project1 and Partition Commemoration Campaign2, in order to commemorate, mark and celebrate South Asian history and culture, as well as better understand the diverse heritage that continues to link Britain with South Asia. Improving the levels of education and literacy within British society on South Asian heritage will form a central part of the month.
South Asian Heritage Month is seeking to build upon the momentum that was gathered during the various commemorations which took place in 2017 to mark 70 years since the Independence of India, creation of Pakistan, and Partition of Punjab and Bengal. There is strong goodwill within wider British society to help make South Asian Heritage Month a great success.
Due to the global pandemic, the very first South Asian Heritage Month from 18th July to 17th August 2020 was launched online with a view to raising the profile of the campaign and galvanising support for a host of events in 2021.
1. The Grand Trunk Project - created by Jasvir Singh OBE (City Sikhs/Faiths Forum for London) in 2017, takes its name from the Grand Trunk, or GT, Road. An ancient thoroughfare over 2,000 years old, it runs from Bangladesh, through India, through Pakistan, and to Afghanistan. The project was an attempt to build a bridge between the various communities that make up people of South Asian heritage in the UK, and in 2017 it marked the commemorations in an inclusive and non-judgmental way.
2. The Partition Commemoration Campaign was created by Dr Binita Kane after being a contributor to Leo Burley and Anita Rani’s award-winning BBC1 Documentary ‘My Family Partition and Me’, resulting in August 17th being declared ‘Partition Commemoration Day’ and the establishment of a UK working group working to raise awareness of Partition History in the British school education system.
What can you do to support South Asian Heritage Month?
1. Create a blog or vlog and share via social media using the hastag #southasianheritagemonth
What story do you want to tell others? Why is celebrating South Asian Heritage important? How does it feel to be of South Asian Heritage? If you aren’t South Asian Heritage yourself, what do you think of South Asian Heritage in modern day Britain ?
Perhaps you want to share something related to your heritage, whether this is through food, fashion, music or art? Have you or someone you know overcome barriers to achieve something great? Or you want to share your family’s migration story?
What can you do to raise awareness of the British-South Asian history in your community? What does it mean to you to be British?
2. Share an image or photograph on social media that connects you with South Asian Heritage using the hastag #southasianheritagemonth. This can be personal or more general.
3. Talk to others about celebrating South Asian Heritage Month, including family, friends and people in your local community.
4. Ask your organisation or professional body to celebrate the contribution of employees of South Asian Heritage
5. Create a local working group that can plan events for 2021