The terms Indian Britons, Indian British, or British Indian are used in reference to people residing in the United Kingdom but whose ancestral origin is India.
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This comprises of people who were born in the United Kingdom but whose descendants are Indian and all Indian- born individuals who migrated to the United Kingdom.
Presently, there are approximately 1.4 million Indians residing in the United Kingdom. Therefore, the Indians are the hugest ethnic minority group. The Indians constitute the biggest British Asians’ subgroup.
For an Indian to be legally recognised in the United Kingdom, he had to adhere to exceptionally stringent government regulation guidelines.
In the United Kingdom, therefore, the Indian Act was acknowledged as more than an organ of laws that laid the guidelines concerning each Indian’s aspects of life. This has been the case for more than a century (Kakar, 2007). The Indian Act was an esteemed regulatory regime.
Through it, there was a better comprehension of the native identity that fashioned the traditional native life.
It is worth noting that the high population of Indians in the United Kingdom was as a result of historical links. The Indians were included in the Commonwealth of Nations and were under the British authority during colonial occupations.
The Indians residing in the United Kingdom belonged to the middle social class and were socioeconomically affluent (Sen, 2006).
A number of researches were done to assess how Indians living in the United States felt about their identity. A study conducted among people under the age of thirty five in the Asian Network revealed that thirty eight percent of people of South Asian origin in the UK felt disconnected from the British.
More than 1/3 of the participants agreed that for an Indian to survive in the United Kingdom, he was supposed to be a “coconut” (Kurien, 1999).
This term was used in the UK to refer to someone whose outside was brown and the inside white. A majority of the Indians preferred living in the UK since there were better opportunities.
¾ of the Indians living in the UK feel that their culture was at risk of being diluted (Sen, 2006). Moreover, many Indians had the feeling that they whites treated them as though they were not British.
More than fifty percent of the participants in the studies revealed that they felt they were British. A majority of the Indians in the UK were Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims. Authorities argue that the Indians did not need to be “coconuts” so as to be efficacious in UK.
There was a need for Indians to perceive a positive identity, which would boost their confidence and promote their success. Identity and confidence were vital for a person to realize that everyone can succeed. Opportunities were open to every individual who had a vision to succeed.
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Irrespective of the fact that a majority of the Indians in UK had assumed a British identity, they adhered to their ancestral and cultural origins when at home.
Some Indians also felt that there was a need for them to be coconuts since they wanted to fit in a society that viewed them negatively (Kakar, 2007).
The Indians in the UK faced numerous challenges because of identity cards crisis. There was no consensus regarding how to establish an Indian’s identity amidst passports, driving licenses, PAN card, and Aadhaar cards.
In addition, there was disagreement for NPR (National Population Register) enrolment. Only a few Indians had accessibility to the Aadhaar cards, which rendered a majority of them unable to operate bank accounts.
Not many Indians possessed passports that made it difficult to establish their identity.
A huge number of the natives in UK enquired about the origin of Indians. Many of them answered that they were from the UK but their grandparents were Indian. However, no Indian answered that his ethnicity was Indian (Kurien, 1999).
Consequently, a lot of the Indians wondered whether they had given an adequate response to describe who they were. Therefore, Indians in UK were faced with challenges regarding belonging and acceptance.
A majority of them wondered the extent to which their identity was defined through the country they were born and grew up in. There was confusion regarding the level of significance that should be linked to their ethnic origin. Defining the cultural heritage and identity was also a challenge.
Consequently, Indian generation living in the United Kingdom had a deep feeling that UK was not their country.
Indians had a hard time fighting for the right of being treated with fairness and respect. This is a right that everyone globally should enjoy irrespective of his cultural origin. Historically, numerous Indians had migrated to UK after receiving invitations to work in foundries, factories, or for NHS.
Consequently, they grew up in UK and were also incorporated into the academic system. In this case, there was a need to develop a sense of belonging regardless of the fact they were not considered a portion of the majority (Sen, 2006).
The Indians usually questioned themselves regarding the level to which they were accepted in the country they were born. They wondered whether they were a distinct immigrant population since they were normally segregated from the mainstream society.
They could not engage in the mainstream society without being prejudiced. Again, the issue of adaptation, integration, and acceptance was manifested.
Kakar, S. (2007). Indian identity. London: Penguin UK.
Kurien, P. (1999). Gendered Ethnicity Creating a Hindu Indian Identity in the United States. American Behavioral Scientist, 42(4), 648-670.
Sen, A. (2006). The argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian history, culture and identity. London: Picador.