Ep. 11: Being South Asian during COVID times, SAHM special episode
For this very special episode of Masala Podcast, I interview the women behind South Asian Heritage Month (SAHM). On this episode, we talk about what it means to be a South Asian woman in Britain today, particularly during COVID times as well as the rich bits of our culture that excite us the most. Think saris, samosas & music.
South Asian Heritage Month runs from 18th July to 17th August every year. It seeks to raise the profile of British South Asian heritage and history in the UK through education, arts, culture and commemoration, with the goal of helping people to better understand the diversity of present-day Britain and improve social cohesion across the country. South Asian Heritage Month is about reclaiming the history and identity of British South Asians. People need to be able to tell their own stories, and this is an opportunity to show what it means to be South Asian in the 21st century, as well as look to the past to see how Britain became the diverse country it is today.
Dr Binita Kane, Co-Founder
Dr Binita Kane is a Consultant Respiratory Physician based in Manchester, she is the Co-founder of South Asian Heritage Month. She was a contributor to the BBC1 Documentary ‘My Family Partition and Me’ which aired in 2017 for the 70th Anniversary of the Partition of India. Her personal journey led her to Parliament in 2018 to campaign for a formal ‘Partition Commemoration Day’, which has since been declared 17th August (the day the Radcliffe line was published). She has gone on to create ‘The Partition Education Group’, bringing together multiple stakeholders from across the UK to campaign and create material for the inclusion of British-South Asian and Colonial history on school curricula. She went on to co-found South Asian Heritage Month.
Anita Rani, Founding Patron
Anita Rani is one of the UK’s best loved TV & radio presenters. She is one of the leading presenters on BBC One’s Countryfile and has been the face of many well-known documentaries for the BBC including Bollywood: The World’s Biggest Film Industry and War On Plastic with Hugh and Anita alongside Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Anita is transforming British audio as the new host of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour alongside Emma Barnett.
Anita’s episode of BBC1’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” broadcast on 1 October 2015, led her to discover the history of her maternal grandfather Sant Singh and his tragic personal losses during the violence of the Partition of India in 1947. The public interest in the topic, particularly from second and third generation Asians led her and Director Leo Burley to create ‘My Family Partition and Me’ aired in 2017, which was nominated for Best TV Documentary at the National Television Awards in 2018 and for which she won best Presenter. She has been a passionate supporter of the South Asian Heritage Month campaign and is the Founding Patron.
Ruby Bukhari, Events Lead
Ruby Bukhari is a young British-Punjabi entrepreneur and powerhouse with 10 years’ experience in the publishing and creative industries. She is the founder of Ruthless Collective; a social enterprise committed to supporting young talent.
Ruby is also a freelance consultant with an impressive portfolio of clients from the European Union to Manchester International Festival. She is actively committed to ensuring that the full diversity of British South Asian identity is reflected in the events programming of South Asian Heritage Month, of which she is the Events Lead.
Natasha Junejo, Literary Lead
Natasha Junejo proudly leads the literary arm of South Asian Heritage Month. Through her writing she has been invited to speak on BBC Woman’s Hour, Lena Dunham’s Women of The Hour, BBC Asian Network, City Radio, and Europe & Me.
Natasha is the founder of South Asian Writers, a hashtag that went viral in 2017, inviting writers of South Asian descent to introduce themselves and their work. Over one long weekend, 3,000,000 people from all over the world engaged with the hashtag. South Asian Writers has since flourished and aims to platform and uplift writers from the SA community through; features, book launches, speaking events, and collaborative visual ethnography projects like, Our Stories Matter.
Natasha is passionate about creating access and opportunity for marginalised people and is committed to this fight at every level of society. She is currently developing a television and film writing programme across the US and UK for BIPOC writers and writers from underrepresented communities who have little to no prior experience in this area.