Our parents, or grandparents emigrated to the UK mainly in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. The main reason that they came here was for a better life for their children’s future. Why else would they have left their families and homes behind to come into an unknown world? Leaving a country where they were born and bred must have been hard, but it’s a sacrifice they made for the future. What they didn’t think of necessarily, however was what consequences it might have. For example, racism was probably something they never thought they would have to face. But the other thing they didn’t realise was a risk was losing the Indian culture, and the fact that their children/grandchildren were going to be British born, which meant adopting the British culture – and ultimately slowly losing the Indian language, and the idea of arranged marriages in the same religion and caste. Marrying out of caste and religion is still a big taboo in Asian society, but wasn’t this inevitable?
We, as second generation British-Asians have the best of both cultures, British culture, and Asian culture. This is great when it comes to weddings, clothes, food, films, cinema, but can be so stressful, and put such a strain on families and relationships especially when it comes to falling in love with somebody outside of our religion/caste. We educate, work, and live with people from all different backgrounds so its hardly surprising that often people fall in love outside their religion/caste.
Ultimately the older generations would still want their children to marry in the same culture/religion and that’s because they want their grandchildren to continue their religion. And that’s fair enough because it was something they never had to think about. But another reason is the idea of ‘shame’ in society. Reputation is a big deal in the Asian culture and your children marrying the same religion is a way to show the world that you have done a good job bringing up your children.
However on the other side of the spectrum from our perspective, we were born here, went to school here, work here.
Is it fair that some of us have had to sacrifice our happiness in order to keep our families happy or having to be made to choose? Perhaps you were made to feel selfish if you chose your loved one. If you did however love and marry somebody from a different background, how did you overcome any challenges you faced?
Maybe your parents were OK eventually and just wanted you to be happy. Maybe you are under pressure and in a dilemma as you don’t know what to do. Please put your questions on here and people will write back with advice. Maybe you are the parents and your children want to marry into a different background, we also want to hear from you.