came from towns, cities and even remote villages from Gujarat State
in India. What kind of obstacles did they encounter?
émigrés remember the harsh, frigid winters with icy roads, and fridge-freezer
air. They coped with very different working conditions.
was no siesta or break during the day - just one long 8-12 hour
working shift. Most laboured at the mills and factories of Lancashire
and Yorkshire and moved often, to find work elsewhere.
were wanted as factory hands and labourers. Those with professional
qualifications were informed they were not wanted.
women at an Asian event in Gloucester Park
boasted very little industry in the late 1950s and early 1960s and
so many worked in hotels at first and transferred later to such
companies as Williams and James Engineering, British Nylon (Du Pont,
Brockworth) and Wall's Ice Cream.
private and commercial companies candidly told job interviewees
that they 'weren't hiring blacks'. It was quite legal to do so before
the Race Relations Act criminalised such practices.
the absence of families and long-term friends, the men formed close
friendships with their compatriots and joined together to purchase
properties to use as flats and houses.
landlords in the sixties would hang "No Blacks" signs in their windows.
Thus the arrivals had no choice but to buy the properties outright
to enjoy a roof over their heads.
beds would actually never turn cold, as a daytime worker would
vacate the bed for a nightshift worker in the morning.
of the earliest men to arrive became known for leasing out rooms
as temporary accommodation for new arrivals. Some beds would actually
never turn cold, as a daytime worker would vacate the bed for a
nightshift worker in the morning.
seems that there is a disproportional representation of Gujarati
Muslims in Gloucester. But there seems to be a similar pattern of
disproportional representation in most regions in Europe.
example, there is a Sikh majority in Hounslow, and mostly Hindus
live in Leicester. This could be the result of colonial ties and
also the fact that first arrivals would become contact points for
a result, if several Gujarati Muslims had established themselves
at an early stage in Gloucester, later arrivals would find the path
'already beaten' and reap the benefits.
community has to abide by dietary protocols and Muslim butchers
soon appeared. Similar to Jewish Kosher food, Muslim halal meat
is obligatory for all.
there are five major grocery-butcher's shops in central Gloucester
that cater not just to Muslims but to any person who appreciates
vegetables and spices not commonly found at regular shops and superstores.
first the men used empty rooms in their own homes as places of congregational
worship, but soon banded together, raised funds and established
mosques for their burgeoning communities. The
two domed mosques in Gloucester today are difficult to miss but
are quite recent additions.
Kholwadia and his sister Amina were the first Gujarati Muslim
children to enter the educational system in Gloucester
decades, men prayed at nondescript buildings that had originally
served as warehouses or TV rental shops.
the families joined the men and experienced the strange land of
England from another viewpoint. Men experienced England from a working
man's perspective. Wives and mothers saw England through a female
children entered schools and came to know England from another completely
Men experienced England from a working man's perspective. Wives
and mothers saw England through a female prism. The
children entered schools and came to know England from another
completely different standpoint.
bilingual children, the youth quickly adopted the norms and culture
of their host country and thus wove between two foreign worlds,
able at a moment's notice to switch from the dialect of an English
borough to the idioms of a state many thousands of miles hence.
conscious of being the 'outsider', young people kept a low profile
and were often perceived as diffident, shy individuals.
would often report them as 'model' students, perhaps because they
were least likely to cause incidents in the classroom and because
they were disciplined by parents to work hard at school.
for youth was uncompromising. English schools then also used corporal
punishment and it was certainly practised at the 'Madressah'; a
school attended by Muslim children every evening after regular school.
this form of discipline is outmoded, partly because of recent laws
regarding child rights but primarily because second and third generation
parents are less tolerant of excessive smacking and caning today.
the Madressah School, usually based in a room at the local mosque,
children learnt to recite the Holy Koran (the Koran is to Muslims
as the Bible is to Christians), to practise different forms of worship
and to understand laws and scripture from books written by scholars
Harry Worrall attended the first Gujarati wedding in Gloucester
Koran is written in Arabic but children aren't taught Arabic grammar
or even the meanings of words. Children are taught the sounds of
letters and words which they learn to recite.
reading this paragraph aloud but without understanding any of the
words or the sense of the sentences? Recitation
of the Koran is an important form of worship but some parents are
addressing the Arabic language gap and attending Arabic classes
with their children.
Indian families in Gloucester speak Arabic exclusively to their
young infants. After all, the language of the afterlife will be
Arabic, so a 'headstart' is prudent.
and grandparents didn't always come to England direct but often
lived a generation in a third country as guest workers. Perhaps
passage to England could prove to be too expensive.
source claimed Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister, prevented Indian
citizens travelling to England because he feared they were being
exploited by the colonial 'mother' which was making professional
migrants undertake unskilled, low paid manual work.
avoid the barriers many men first obtained visas to a third country
and then moved onto England.
wives and mothers have seen the UK through a different prism
than their menfolk
Untold Stories has found no data to confirm this but it is certainly
how one person remembers it.
Muslims are a minority in England and a minority in India. Other
nationals, such as Pakistanis, are gifted with a genuine homeland.
are conscious of being in the fringe, even in their parents' country
of origin. Their parents and grandparents establish their roots
during childhood through everyday memories of family and a sense
of belonging to their homeland.
Younger community members, born in Europe, may visit the mother
country briefly and may identify a few faces from family photograph
albums. But the connection to the extended family is tenuous
and there can often be a language barrier.
community members, born in Europe, may visit the 'mother' country
briefly and may identify a few faces from family photograph albums.
But the connection to the 'extended' family is tenuous and there
can often be a language barrier.
young generation occupies a larger footprint in this country's industrial
and commercial sectors than their forebears. Fathers and grandparents,
confined to manual labour, dreamt of higher ambitions for future
sons and daughters are employed as factory hands, IT Professionals,
lawyers, doctors, architects and also self-employed as business-owners.
recently, adults and teenagers have joined the British Army, marking
an enormous cultural leap.
the Army allow the observance of prayers and sensitivity to dietary
restrictions? The MOD has relaxed a number of regulations to encourage
ethnic minority participation. The Muslim Territorial recruits enjoyed
the Army experience without jettisoning their Muslim observances.
One Muslim recruit is considering a full professional career with
has admittedly been an insular attitude stemming from the elderly
generation and infecting the young men and women. However, the
spirit of youth often dares to step outside the box.
ceilings denying access to many job sectors have become porous.
Sometimes the barriers are within. Young people have rarely participated
as members of gyms or other leisure clubs. Membership costs can
be prohibitive and even today there is an untapped fund of talent
for certain sports.
has admittedly been an insular attitude stemming from the elderly
generation and infecting the young men and women. However, the spirit
of youth often dares to step outside the box.
elderly Asian population, though small, is increasing. Those who
migrated during the 1960s were relatively young and are now facing
old age in Great Britain - something for which they did not plan.
current elders did not envisage remaining in Britain permanently.
Their objective was always to earn some money, and to try and improve
the standing, conditions and circumstances of the extended family
back 'home' in India.
emotional roots remained in India and still do, to this day. Growing
old in a foreign country can raise the spectre of isolation and
Men and women left all that was familiar in their youth and
embarked on a voyage to ameliorate the economic standing of
their families. They
raised their own immediate families and established a quality
of life for their sons and daughters unknown to themselves in
their youth. They sacrificed with a purpose, and people on two
different continents have reaped the benefits.
research has highlighted the low uptake of mainstream services,
especially community care services. There
are specific needs relating to language, culture, religion and tradition.
The Asian Elders Drop-in Centre at Hatherley Day Centre and the
Mainstream Day Care Provision at Great Western Court (managed by
Social Services) respond to these specific needs.
elderly men and women left all that was familiar in their youth
and embarked on a voyage to ameliorate the economic standing of
their families. They cabled monies to fund buildings, amenities
and to succour the general well-being of relatives.
the same time they raised their own immediate families and established
a quality of life for their sons and daughters unknown to themselves
in their youth. They
sacrificed with a purpose, and people on two different continents
have reaped the benefits.
present generation and generations to come owe a debt of gratitude
to the courageous spirit of their elderly parents and one day, perhaps
with the help of this history project, will recall the love and
labour expended on their behalf.
See 'Mahmood Patel'
See 'Ebrahim Surty'
See 'Mahmood Moolla'
See 'Salim Kholwadia'
See 'Mohammed Hansdat'