Balti Britain: A Journey Through the British Asian Experience by Ziauddin Sardar - review by Amol Rajan

Amol Rajan

Terms of Estrangement

Balti Britain: A Journey Through the British Asian Experience


Granta Books 392pp £20 order from our bookshop

The term ‘British Asian’ is distinguished from most comparable sociological categories by the extent of its malleability and porosity. Its uses are as many as its abuses.

Ziauddin Sardar, a Muslim journalist who grew up in east London and describes himself as ‘a critical polymath’, has undertaken to write a history of the term and the people whose existence nourishes it, though it is not immediately clear what, or who, his subject matter is.

British Asians, assuming they exist, may have, at the very least, the following characteristics. They are Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Christian, atheist or agnostic; they feel allegiance to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Kenya or Uganda; they are first, second, or third generation immigrants; they live anywhere between Devon

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