This post is part of a series of blog posts introducing the multiple migrant communities living in London.
Almost impossible to miss the South Asian cultural “vibe” in London. Historical ties and migration patterns have intermingled British and South Asian to such an extent that it is often indistinguishable. Still many traditions like Hindi events in London are highly representative of the original South Asian culture.
The largest of all migrant communities in the UK
Probably the most visible migrant community in London for its historical and commercial ties, South Asians in London represent 13% of all Londoners and more than the half of the foreigners residing in London (55%). This is without counting all migrants from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh that have become British nationals over time, and all sons and daughters of native South Asian immigrants. Indians are known entrepreneurs and hard workers: Indian nationals top the UK work charts for the highest number of professionals applying for work related visas in the UK and Indian-owned businesses in the UK are said to employ over 100,000 people in Britain.
The influence they have had over London is huge: from the chai tea tradition, to the spiced chicken masala found at any local supermarket, vibrant neighbourhoods filled with South Asian outfits, tailors, shops and restaurants (with the iconic Brick Lane as one popular example) and Indian inspired buildings in Central London (or even beautiful Hindu temples on the outskirts of London), it is tough not to miss the Indian vibes of London, difficult not to be tempted by a Bollywood night in Mayfair or go take part in one of the many South Asian inspired festivals in London and the UK (with Navratri and Durga Puja just passing, the festival season has only just begun!).
What do South Asian Londoners do in London, and how to get to know them better? You might want to ask famous London bloggers Funoon, Manjiri or Irna Qureshi to get an understanding of what being South Asian means for them, as well as how they made London their new home. For sure, they are a different breed of South Asians: just read of 6 things you will miss the most about the UK if you were to return to India or 5 first date ideas for a South Asian in London to understand that one does not experience London the same way when coming from South Asia.