I went to Peterborough yesterday to this charming cafe called “Chaiwallah.” The Karak chai was very good but the cafe was all male and they were speaking Mirpuri.
I don’t understand who let these people into the country. It’s a shame on the British Pakistani community that we, who are the children of Ghalib & the Mughals, are reduced to such a degraded state in the UK.
The only solution seems to be that British Muslim community vote for the Tory Party, grammar schools and ditch those retrograde aspects of the culture/religion that inhibits aspiration.
The byword should be:
Integration without Exception
53 thoughts on “Why is the British Muslim community such an underclass one?”
What is so degraded about having chai or speaking Mirpuri? May be you should convince Tories of free distribution of Saville Row suits and a bottle of English wine to all Brits of Pakistani background.
May be rules can be created that no male will be allowed in chai rooms unless accompanied by female . A reverse of Saudi Arabia.
Unaccompanied males verboten
The BritPak community must be aspirational at all times; don’t let down the Qaum
I agree with VijayVan. There is nothing wrong with speaking Mirpuri. You can’t force integration.
The state should provide equality of opportunity so that immigrants can acquire the skills needed to get ahead. But that doesn’t mean that people need to necessarily give up their own language and culture, as long as they are not breaking the law.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t a lot of Mirpuris go to England after they were displaced by the Mangla Dam? The first generation was mostly unskilled labor. One would hope that subsequent generations rise up the socioeconomic ladder.
I guess the chances of a South Asian under or even upper class integrating smoothly with a host country are made remote due to the prevalence of arranged marriage and strict sexual norms. After all, migrants can only really integrate once they start inter marrying with the locals. I guess these attitudes hurt the poorer migrants much more than rich ones. But in a deep way, the problem for integration in Western societies is present for most South Asians, regardless of class, and is rooted deeply in marital attitudes.
I don’t think intermarrying with the “locals” is a prerequisite for integration. A lot of Indian-Americans marry other Indian-Americans and they are doing fine.
I think the major issue is the socioeconomic character of the community at the time of immigration. Mirpuris arrived as unskilled labor, while Indians who immigrated to the US were doctors and engineers. It should not be surprising that doctors and engineers have an easier time integrating than laborers.
And it’s all about the cultural outlook and whether it enables success .
Hindus have a MUCH more progressive cultural than Muslims; that’s why they flourished under the Raj and Muslims didn’t.
Zack, a lot of this comes downs to caste rather than religion. For example, Bohra and other Gujarati trading caste Muslims are as, or even more liberal than their Hindu counterparts. On the other hand, Hindu/Sikh Jats of Punjab-Haryana are as conservative as Sunni Jats of Pakistan.
What you might be observing in Britain is simply the difference in point of origin of the Hindu and Muslim populations. Hindus are probably mostly practical minded Gujarati Patels, who have a very different ethos from honor obsessed Punjabi-Haryanvi types.
Yes but even so religion has a deeply transformative effect.
Lots of Bahais have rural ancestry but we climb up (rapidly).
The argument of integration without intermarriage does not pass empirical scrutiny. German, Irish and Italian migrants integrated in America as they intermarried with extant English, Scottish and Dutch populations.
Also, the Indian American picture isnt as rosy as you think. There is a higher rate of singleness for Indian American males, see Table here: https://medium.com/a-m-awaken-your-inner-asian/part-ii-asian-american-men-dating-how-bad-is-it-really-c85fcb825f3e
The total number of married Indian American males (104,000) is much less than Indian American females (117,000). Although judging by personal observation, we will see a high rate of singleness for both males and females in the coming years.
It could be desirability. You’ve no doubt seen those racial hierarchy charts where among males, Asians (and Indians) are at the bottom of the totem pole, whereas among women, Asians (and probably Indians) are at the top.
It could be religion too. Indians are overwhelmingly not Christian, whereas, say, Koreans, mostly are. But there’s got to be something in those racial desirability conjectures, given the different out-marriage rates of men and women.
Yes, Indian males definitely lack the social and cultural capital in the US setting. They are almost totally absent in sports.
There is a lot of reticence from the Indian side due to religion and culture as well.
Mirpuris arrived as unskilled labor,
wernt they the ones brought to work in the cotton mills (in general).
There is a similar dynamic among the Turks, in Germany vs UK/US
Notably, there is a huge gap between the election results in Germany on one side, and in the UK and the US on the other. In Germany, Erdogan won about two-thirds of the votes; his main opponent, the Social-Democrat Muharrem Ince, won about 20%. In the UK and the US, the outcome was the reverse: 72% of Turks in the USA and 59% of Turks in the UK voted for Ince, only 16% and 22% percent respectively for Erdogan.
Why is Erdogan so much more popular among Germany’s Turks? Gökay Sofuoglu, chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany, told the German news agency DPA that while the Turks in Germany were mostly laborers from rural parts of Anatolia, who brought with them their conservative values, the Turkish voters in the UK and the USA were mostly students and highly-educated people who lean towards the opposition.
Great information on emigrant Turks in Germany and UK. But I still think there is more than stickyness of urban vs rural culture. Bengali Muslim lower middle class emigrate illegally in overwhelming numbers and do jobs at the bottom of the ladder mostly in the western countries. But their kids seem to be highly aspirational with education as a ladder. So its not religion either.
Hi Shafiq R
For villager or those at the bottom of the ladder I think its the difference between who get taken (or was easy to migrate) vs those who defy odds to migrate. i.e. ambition specially for the future of their children.
The British then needed workers, mainly for textile factories. Up to 5,000 people from Mirpur (5% of the displaced) left for Britain, and the displaced Mirpuris were given legal and financial assistance by the British contractor that built the dam.
Many started working in factories, mostly in the so-called “Black Country” and in Bradford. In some villages of Mirpur, more than half of the people moved to the United Kingdom to settle in the industrial towns. The rural, impoverished district provided cheap, unskilled labour for Britain in the 1960s and the 1970s.
I think skin color helps too. I found the dark/black Sri Lankans are the most likely end up marrying out, mainly white and the occasional African-America, mainly west indian origin.
Exotic or African-American lite.
Is religion not an issue ?
Is religion not an issue ?
I dont think so in the case of Sri Lankans and Keralites (both some of the blackest in Asia).
Obviously easy for Christians, Tamils, Sinhalese and Keralites.
Buddhists also do seem to have issues assimilating or marrying out.
Possibly a little less so for Hindu Tamils who are kind of conservative.
However, in the early 1900 quite a few elite conservative Hindu Tamils married out , Europeans and Sinhalese. e.g. Ponnambalam/ Ramanathan/Coomaraswamys.
The Ponnambalams / Ramanathan/Coomaraswamys were black in that early generation.
Perhaps the Mirpuris aren’t the children of Mughals or Ghalib. One does encounter the genuine descendants, they are occasionally Hindu UPites or atheists of Muslim heritage, and they assimilate relatively soon.
The Mughals left Hindu descendants?
The point of Pakistan is that we can all lay claim to such exalted heritage.. Ghalib is our collective ancestor..
The mughals, as a power structure with its attendant cultural paradigms, had hindu participation at all levels. The descendants of these military officials, administrators, clerks and financiers are in many ways more of that heritage than those of rural folk (of whatever religion) with limited proximity to mughal cosmopolitanism. Even if some in the former class seem to disavow it notionally, the heritage is more recent and tangible than most of what they would try to supplant it with. In the end, this is why hindustanis and pakistanis “get” each other on a personal level.
This is probably so
This would have been the case had it not been for the British/Western interlude. Apart from some friendly sparring at cricket games, and the ‘South Asia’ groups populated by left-leaning folks, interaction between North Indians and Pakistanis has been quite limited in the two universities and cities I have known in the US. In the professional setting, interactions rarely move beyond the usual hi-hellos. Despite Pakistanis here (at least students/professionals) rarely being super religious, the Indians seem far more Westernized.
Even if there is an acknowledged of a shared South Asianness, this seems mostly perfunctory, and is not acted upon in real life even if brought up vigorously in media. Maybe things change amongst the first generation Americans though.
I would say cricket is the main link right now.
Mirpuris are from a traditionally rural district of Azad Kashmir. Many of them came to England when they were displaced by Mangla Dam. Most were not used to urban living.
On the plus side, Mirpur has benefited enormously from remittances.
On the downside they embarrass us.
Mirpuris do not embarrasses you, we are embarrassed of Pakistanis esp. like yourselves who come from Punjab or Sindh and pretend you are from Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. Urdu was not the language of the Mughals first of all, so you’ve embarrassed yourself there, and neither are you in any way connected to Ghalib except for the fact your fake country decided to co-opt the language of another region from further east.
What does Ghalib and the Mughals have to do with Mirpuris and integration in the UK anyway? The national language of the UK is English. Britain is the land of Shakespeare and William Blake is what you should have said. Mirpuris speak English perhaps with a better English accent than yourself. Why is it a problem for you that they chose to speak their own language amongst themselves?
It seems this is not about integrating into Britain at all, your problem is your a self-hater who discarded your own language because you believed it to be of low status. Your problem isn’t that they weren’t speaking English. You would have no problem if they were speaking Urdu. Am I correct? I think I am and you probably won’t admit it.
Who let you into this country mate? Why do you think you are a better immigrant than any Mirpuri. Because you speak Urdu? Because you vote Tory? This makes you integrated I guess. Britain is a multi-cultural society mate. People are allowed to speak their own languages. Why don’t you take your backwards Urdu only speaking attitudes all the way to your precious homeland that Mirpuris are supposedly embarrassing? Yeah sure, a failed stated with non-stop terrorism and great record on gender equality right?
Finally Mirpuris are British Paharis from Jammu Kashmir. We are not Pakistanis. So we are not embarrassing you in anyway. We speak Pahari and we are proud of it. We are proud of our culture and our language as ethnic Paharis. We’d rather be true to our roots then pretend to be what we are not. Our people come from the Western Himalayas, not the plains of India. Our language is beautiful so we don’t need to prove our Pakistaniyat or how integrated we are into society to people who are embarrassed of their own roots.
Ouch u sound a bit bitter buddy
I have nothing against Mirpuris
I simply want aspiration embedded in the BritPak community..
Spot on Freed. it’s people like Zack who have insecurities and suffer from anxieties. Most Mirpuris in Uk are 2nd and 3rd generation, unlike Zack. I sense jealousy and you are right Zack does speak with accented English because he’s an immigrant, unlike most Mirpuris who speak with regional British accents and born in Uk. It’s Zack who sounds bitter probably gets reminded about his immigrant status and tries to overcompensate to be “British”. It wouldn’t come to a surprise “this charming cafe called “Chaiwallah.” ” is owned by a Mirpuri. Zack your so-called “Brit-Pak” without Mirpuris is nothing.
Yes I’m terrified of my national origins.. that’s why I confounded Brown Pundits a little less than a decade ago ?
You have some good points about immigrants being allowed to speak their own languages. You could have done without the Pakistan bashing though. At this point, Pakistan is as real as any other country. Its domestic problems also aren’t entirely germane to your point.
Haven’t heard mirpuri language , but when you say pahari is it similar to other pahari language like Dogri? And is it different from kashmiri language.
Quick note @Saurav:
Mirpuri is Pahari-Pothohari, i.e. Western Pahari. Closely related to Dogri or Chambeyali in India. 75-80% lexical overlap with Punjabi (Majhi) proper. Mutually intelligible to some extent. Easier for a Pahari speaker to understand Punjabi than the other way round.
Nothing like Kashmiri. To a Mirpuri, köshur (Kashmiri) might as well be Polish – and I have tried this experiment on dozens on Mirpuris in the UK.
(Please don’t let this distract you from an excellent discussion)
@slapstik what’s the reason for mirpuri language not being closer to Kashmiri and closer to Pahari. Kashmir is closer to mirpur then kangra. Always felt that only Pahari language was that of himachal etc And Kashmir of Pakistan side would have Kashmiri only or probably Punjabi. But sub continent is a strange place
Interesting reading and learning for me. As an external observer can I ask one of the road question? How do you call ‘honey’ in Mirpuri (Pahari, Dogri, Chambeyali) languages because I don’t have them in my Google translate? Txs.
Why is Tibetan language closer to Chinese than to Hindi? Tibet is closer to Delhi than Beijing.
Its an elite looking for a mass …
I read the other day some British muslim just became a cabinet minister in Pakistan! This would be unheard of in India. Our “nativism” in that respect is too strong to allow foreigners to become ministers (case in point Sonia Gandhi). It has its positive and negative effects.
Sonia Gandhi is not a comparable equivalent tbh
But we do integrate half-goras quite easily.
Case in point – no one seriously questions the Indian-ness of Omar Abdullah or Rahul Gandhi.
I think it is mostly about language. Rahul Gandhi speaks with some sort of a UP accent. His mother doesn’t.
Omar Abdullah’s father was a quarter English as well..
bro u sound so snob 😉 but that’s how u roll…
the issue with brit-paks is complicated. but it probably doesn’t help that they settled in industrial north england, a region which is in general decline culturally and economically (contrast with sylhetis who are concentrated around london).
Yes but north of Leceister we have the syndrome of:
Manchester – Salford/Oldham
Sheffield – Rotherham
Leeds – Bradford
Newcastle – Middlesborough
Birmingham – Sparky Hill
Cambridge – Peterborough
We are seeing a very prosperous white English city (albeit Northern) with a poor Asian (Muslim) sister city right next door.
We see the pattern repeating itself in London too (white flight en masse).
In Coloniser Central we are all Snobs 🙂
There may be a factor that would explain why certain communities underperform with regard to social status given their baseline economic and educational levels. It could be the resistance to female social freedom, and in the south asian context, certain communities like mirpuris might have more of it than others. At least in the US, I’ve noticed that these remnants of purdah culture limit the social potential of the family, limit the educational opportunities of the daughters, and if one believes that the mother has a greater influence on the how culturally sophisticated the children are, it influences that as well. I’ve observed this between hindu ethnicities as well. Some south asian families basically force their daughters attend a third-rate local college because they don’t want to lose control, the result being that the girl will not be socialized to certain other classes of people, and so forth.
I wouldn’t say that the other extreme is optimal either, where there is no social restraint at all, but the insular village mentality handicap works through gender in many cases.
Yes that’s why educating girls is so paramount.
I can attest that having a wife, an order of magnitude (at least), smarter than me has transformed my life ..
The irony is that a lot of my Pak-Persian friendship circles dislike the “Indianisation” my life has undergone.
But tbh the Sindhi community are probably the most glamorous one of the lot (and monies) so why wouldn’t I default to that..
Basically blaming Mirpuris for all the ills in the northern city. One thing I’m glad Zack is your hatred towards Mirpuris has come out finally from the dormant. It’s interesting how you switch from Mirpuris to Muslims in your replies. In one your tweets that “the foundational culture of Britain is the constitutional monarchy + the established church. If they can’t do so then they are welcome to go back to where they came from tbh.. Integration with no exception” if you were really integrated you would find with your south Asian accented immigrant English for every monarchist there is republican in Uk. Coming from a Mirpuri background being born bred in Uk unlike you that’s what I’ve experienced. Unlike you as an immigrant, most Mirpuris don’t suffer from insecurities you do and start blaming others. Mirpuris are now 2nd 3rd generation who speak with a regional British accent. When Mirpuris start speaking to white Brits and other Brits, they would most likely identify them with British regions. You don’t go through the process because of your foreign accent. Britain is still very accent conscience and class conscience country. you’re trying to peddle the “constitutional monarchy + the established church” an old fashion conservatism even modern conservatives shy away and probably snigger. Zack ever thought about sharing your true feelings very openly to Mirpuris in a public domain instead of on blog or tweets?
it’s very interesting you won’t post my previous comment. You can give but you take. Let’s have a proper debate on Mirpuris???? Don’t believe in the right of reply or what??? Zack a Pakistani immigrant who likes to British born to integrate.
Basically blaming Mirpuris for all the ills in the northern city. One thing I’m glad Zack is your hatred towards Mirpuris has come out finally from the dormant. It’s interesting how you switch from Mirpuris to Muslims in your replies. In one your tweets that “the foundational culture of Britain is the constitutional monarchy + the established church. If they can’t do so then they are welcome to go back to where they came from tbh.. Integration with no exception” if you were really integrated you would find with your south Asian accented immigrant English for every monarchist there is republican in Uk. Coming from a Mirpuri background being born bred in Uk unlike you that’s what I’ve experienced. Unlike you as an immigrant, most Mirpuris don’t suffer from insecurities you do and start blaming others. Mirpuris are now 2nd 3rd generation who speak with a regional British accent. When Mirpuris start speaking to White Brits and other Brits, they would most likely identify them with British regions. You don’t go through the process because of your foreign accent. Britain is still are very accent conscience and class conscience country. you’re trying to peddle the “constitutional monarchy + the established church” an old fashion conservatism even modern conservatives shy away and probably snigger. Zack ever thought about sharing your true feelings very openly to Mirpuris in a public domain instead of on blog or tweets?
I actually like Bradford / I like Mirpuris / it could have been Punjabi or Mirpuri
Republicanism is NOT at 50%
Strange – when I used to work in the City I was told I sounded like foreign Royalty.. I sorta like my accent 🙂
I assume you’ll be eagerly hearing BrownCast; just for the enunciation of course..
How do you know it’s not??? I’m presuming it is from my experience of growing in the UK. There is a whole country outside of London Wall. The keyword’s foreign of your royal accent, unlike Mirpuris who have regional British accents. I wonder how they ended up getting British accents without ever integrating?? do you know something brits hate snobs.
I am in the Shires
Tell me this you judged an entire community just because they weren’t speaking English in a Cafe. What does that say about you? You wouldn’t have mind if they were speaking Urdu or Farsi.
“On the downside they embarrass us.” Explain?
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