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Wednesday, 29th November 2023


Anushka Asthana, writing in the Observer Newspaper, has given an interesting personal account of 'multiculturalism'. You can read the whole article in the link here - she is a policy editor, so clearly has influence in her thinking. I absolutely agree with her that multiculturalism is a fact, not a choice. It is how we choose to live with it that matters.

The key point in the article is about the need to improve cultural literacy in the nation. And this nation is very culturally illiterate, in spite of its 'civilisation' status. Languages are the best example of proof - very few people in the country can speak any language other than English, and often they are even poor in their English. This shows how much awareness and respect there is of difference. Even in schools, if languages are taught, the overwhelming influence is on European languages.

Wake up to the world, Britain. Anushka is very polite in her article, and does not make the observation that in Britain, pride has turned to arrogance, and this is a disaster for any society. Often this arrogance is preventing different cultures to co-exist.

What can be done? Here are some practical suggestions:

  • As a nation, Britain should highlight the facts of its diversity and boast about them loudly
  • There should be a diversity map of Britain showing people how to visit different cultural places and interact with diverse communities
  • There should be a pro-active celebration of diversity, by having a national diversity day
  • Children should be exposed to different languages and cultures from a young age. Children from minorities should be encouraged in class to talk about their culture, festivals and language.
  • The media has a huge role to play in cultural literacy, and its lack of diversity is a bad example for the nation. Also, ethnic writers should be allowed to interpret their culture in their own way and not against a 'norm'. Editors should allow for difference in their power structures and thought patterns.
  • Wisdom is a huge candle of hope for a better society, and should be sought from any corner and shared openly and loudly, especially in education hubs. Britain is very far from doing this, and really does not understand the huge power and timelessness of wisdom. This is a shame on its intellectuals.
  • The Masala Tour is an excellent example of multiculturalism in action, and how those with a plural mind are integrating so well in Britain. These provide hope and light for the whole nation.

Atul K. Shah