South Asian Heritage Month
What is South Asian Heritage Month?
South Asian Heritage Month (SAHM) is a celebration that runs annually from the 18 July – 17 August and seeks to commemorate, mark and celebrate the cultures, histories and heritage of people with roots in the South Asian countries of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan.
The first SAHM event was launched in July 2019 at the House of Commons, through a collaboration between Faiths Forum for London, City Sikhs, The Grand Truck Project and The Partition Commemoration Campaign. From its infancy in 2019, SAHM is now in its third year, and the theme for this year’s celebration is Journeys of Empire.
This theme aims to reflect on the different aspects of South Asian identity, not only in Britain but in other communities across the diaspora that were and continue to be influenced by the journeys of the empire. It seeks to explore the hidden histories that we do not address enough, such as emergence of dual and triple heritage identities as a result of exile and migration, disruption of social and cultural networks by the journeys of the Empire and the dispersal of South Asian communities across the world. Whilst reflecting on the experiences of the South Asian community, it is imperative that we not only think about the plethora of contributions to science, business, medicine, the arts, academia, politics and sports, but we also think about how journeys of the Empire still have a lasting impact on the lives of the South Asian community.
This year SAHM also reflects on two major anniversaries taking place in 2022- the 75th anniversary of the Partition of the Indian subcontinent and the emergence of India and Pakistan as independent nation-states, and the 50th anniversary of the expulsion of Ugandan Asians by Idi Amin. This month also contains several significant dates in the South Asian calendar, including,
- 8 August: Bhutan Independence Day
- 14 August: Pakistani Independence Day
- 15 August: Indian Independence Day
This year, the Univerity will be organising several events to celebrate, mark and commemorate the month and we encourage all our staff and students to participate fully and join us in learning new things about their colleagues and peers who are of South Asian heritage.
'Any discussion of the future is incomplete without a consideration of the past… As we try and chart a path into an unknown future, we should make sure not to leave our heritage behind, but to carry it forward with us in a manner that is compatible with the future we envision and honours the rich cultural traditions from which that future emerged as well.' - Omar Gilani, artist of Pakistan.
For more information and resources on the events taking place during SAHM, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Humaira Khan
Associate Dean Equality, Diversity, Inclusion (Faculty of Life Sciences)