Just as the first wave of East African Indian migrants in the 1970s established communities and charitable institutions all over the UK, especially in London the Midlands and Manchester, the recent wave of professional migrants from India are doing the same all over the country with gusto and skill.
One of the first experiences of migrants is displacement. When coming from India, the loss of family, community and festivals can be felt very acutely. At the same time, the new generation of children born and raised in Britain ask questions and need a sense of personal identity and self-esteem. Educated parents value the need for this investment and can make time and space for it if they choose to do so.
Having professional parents, the Indo-Brits are very intelligent and aspirational so the only challenge is cultural rootedness. Parents are committed to keeping this and nourishing it. Their children are growing up to be pioneering leaders in professions like medicine, accounting, banking, entrepreneurship and even politics! They build diverse networks in school and university and gain confidence to speak, lead and challenge. Campus student groups like the National Hindu Students Forum (NHSF) UK really help nurture a rooted leadership.
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The more established communities should take note of this new energy and dynamism and integrate it with their hopes and ambitions. New blood is very critical to keeping communities dynamic and vigorous. Over time the demands and needs of communities change as they settle and mature and the reinvention needs to be faced not ignored by the elders with traditional mindsets and narrow visions.
The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) in the UK has long been a prime example of this leadership and integration and continues to provide rare vision and talent. We really need this for all our better futures. Whilst communities all around are breaking apart, it is lovely to see ours is open-minded and an inclusive resurgence. Dharma is often at the root of this and rightly so. It gives us cultural and spiritual nourishment in a world ruined by selfishness and individualism.
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Professor Atul K. Shah [@atulkshah] teaches and writes about Indian wisdom on business, culture and community at various UK universities and is a renowned international author, speaker and broadcaster.