Launched for the first time in 2020, South Asian Heritage Month (SAHM) is all about celebrating, commemorating and educating others about how South Asians contributed to the growth and development of the UK, as well as why their history matters.
This year, SAHM will be running from Tuesday, July 18 to Thursday, August 17. Throughout the month, there will be a huge focus on the pioneering efforts and successes of people from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, India, The Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
This Year’s Theme
This year, SAHM’s theme is “stories to tell” and it’s all about bringing to the forefront the brilliant and inspiring stories of the many South Asians in Britain. By celebrating these stories, it will allow many of us to truly appreciate the power of a more diverse and vibrant community.
By focusing on family, faith, gender and identities, the hope is that South Asians from around the country will come forward to share their narrative. What shaped their lives? What has taught them valuable lessons? What defined a key moment in their lives? What positive contributions have they made in Britain? These questions will help in inviting more people to share their stories for others to benefit from.
How Can I Tell My Story?
As pointed out by SAHM on their website, you can tell your story in several ways. From painting to writing and social media to food, there are so many ways to share your unique story. You may even tell your story through poetry, virtual reality and also photography. If you feel like you know someone with a unique story or you believe your story is unique, visit the SAHM website to learn more about sharing.
Why Does SAHM Run Over These Dates?
SAHM spans from Tuesday, July 18 right through to Thursday, August 17, and it does so for good reason. The beginning date of 18th July was the same date that the Indian Independence Act of 1947 gained royal assent from King George VI. On the other hand, 17th August was the same date that the Radcliffe Line was published in 1947, which was basically what defined the border between India, West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
Between these two dates, so much happened. An eventful month, to say the least, the entire month in history only presents to us the amount of influence Britain has had on South Asia.
Last Year’s Theme (2022)
Last year’s theme was all about the journeys of previous empires. Whether it’s the Mughal, British, Duranni or Vijayanagar, the history of each empire packs within it stories of everyday people who fled to East Asia, Africa and of course, the UK. Whilst this was the main overarching theme of last year’s heritage month, there was also a reminder about the partition in India and the expulsion of Ugandan Asians by Idi Amin.
Why Is This Month So Important?
With over 4 million South Asians in the UK, SAHM contributes to the British South Asian narrative by raising awareness about the history, heritage, culture and accomplishments of South Asians in the UK. With microaggression and racism still rife in today’s society, the month of events intends to unite people in the UK by shedding light on diversity, multiculturalism and integration.
What Kinds of Events Will Be Taking Place?
To find out more about the events taking place throughout the month, visit the SAHM website.
Juber Ahmed is our Digital Editor and travel enthusiast with a keen interest in Islamic history and heritage. He travels with his wife to various places around the world and writes about his experiences.
Juber's favourite Quote...
"The World Is a Book and Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only One Page" [Saint Augustine]