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on 1 June 2016
boar off
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on 19 December 2010
Prof Sardar gives an excellent portrayal of life in Britain through the eyes of a British Asian. His personal experiences are often very moving. I had no idea of the complexities of the various groupings within Islam and learned a great deal. His progressive vision of Islam is one that can be embraced by those who share a similar view within their own faith (Christian in my case). Thank you for this book.
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on 27 June 2012
If you want the 'gift to gie us, to see ourselves as others see us' here the gift comes through the eyes and voice of a man born in Pakistan who grew up in London. He is a journalist who travels in England and Scotland recounting the experiences and diversity of South Asians in Britain. He is outspoken on the history of colonial India and how Indian immigration and influences are no new thing. He is good on the diversity of South Asian immigrant communities, especially the diversity of Muslims. This diverse Islam is in his view essentially benign. I think he is too kind when he says many (Muslim) puritans divide the world into the abode of Islam and the abode of infidels. Is that not Islamic orthodoxy? He is a strong advocate of multiculturalism and gives a very good chapter advocating a kind of multiculturalism which is not wholly relativistic, one which I could never envisage in a Muslim dominated society.
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on 21 February 2011
I bought Balti Britain for research into a newspaper piece I'm writing. It is poorly written, which surprises me, as Granta is very selective and normally publishes immaculate stuff. I'm surprised they didn't demand more of the writer. He inserts memoir sections into the book and they're lively and interesting. Then he descends into dullness. The paperback inserts the word "provocative" into the title, which is always a bad sign, but I can see why they did it. It's not a book, more a series of worthy magazine pieces (I suppose, to be fair, that this is Granta's strength.)
The book is basically a series of interviews with male Britons, usually elderly, of South Asian background. No women. Sardar comments on South Asian women briefly near the end of the book, I suspect at the insistence of an editor. He says such women have little to complain of.
Maybe they don't. It would have helped to hear them say this. I swear, if you went by Balti Britain's version, there are no South Asian women in Britain at all. Sardar isn't interested. This reader is.
The section on Balti restaurants is fascinating, though, and gives great insight into what makes them great. But it's not the fascinating comprehensive book it pretends to be.
It's boring. Granta let me down.
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on 3 March 2015
This book is a must read for Asians, especially Pakistanis, living in the UK (to a lesser extent, in the West generally). Western readers may not find it very interesting.
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on 28 March 2009
A good access to Asians in Britain written with usual wit and knowledge from Sardar
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