Last week, I attended a small Indian community dinner and dance in Finchley.
Over the years I've noticed a number of changes, in particular, regarding young people and their engagement. Whether it be Garba, the annual BBQ, trips abroad or a Dinner and Dance...the number of young people has declined considerably over the years. This trend has been mirrored in countless other communities. The question, which urgently faces community leaders and committee members all over the United kingdom now, is a question of relevance.
The VKPA Community is a member of the wider Patidar Association and was created in 1992 by a man with a dream.
Stories have passed down the generations of how this man called and visited the houses of every single family in the United Kingdom that emigrated from a specific region of India. He persuaded them to donate some money and attend community events in order to remember our common heritage and perhaps unite in the face of our common struggle. In a society plagued by racism and with people still to attain success in their new countries and homes, it's easy to see why the community spirit was strong.
Now that generation has aged and success has reached many. Racism has diminished and a new generation is born. Why then should the young feel the need to be a part of a community. What function does it serve?
It is my belief that 'community' IS relevant and in fact even moreso now than it was before.
Many young Indians share a common history of Great Grandparents and even Grandparents coming to this country and living a very hard, challenging life. They did this so that our generation could live a happier more prosperous one. We must not forget this sacrifice.
As we continue living happily in this fantastic country, our values and culture becomes more anglicised. There is nothing wrong this. But in becoming so, we risk losing our Indian identity. Are we not proud to be Indian?
When our kids ask us what it means to be Indian or where it is we came from...what will we answer?
It is by engaging and participating in your community events that we might continue to celebrate our Indian heritage. We can be proud to be British and we can also be proud to be Indian. Many communities across the UK have, perhaps unknowingly, found themselves at a crossroads. The events cannot keep happening if the young do not attend or continue running them. A change is certainly in order. The question now is what and who is ambitious enough to start the process....