Pahari speakers form one of the largest ethnic non-European diasporas in Britain (Coventry University).
The video below gives us an overview of British Pahari speaking people and also informs us about an interesting organization that beautifully represents Pahari speaking people in the UK. This organization is called Portmir “Heritage” Foundation. It was founded by British-Paharis to document and celebrate the cultural heritage of their grandparents, especially as that heritage now takes shape in Britain.
So… who are these British-Paharis? Most of them were born in the UK, likely to parents who were also born in the UK. But Their grandparents came here from somewhere in Pahari speaking areas of Asia. It is an interesting thing that People think that ‘Paharis’ were either ‘Indians’ or ‘Pakistanis’. But they probably don’t know that many ethnic Paharis continue to live in areas as far as Himachal Pardesh in India, Peshawar and Kohat IN Pakistan and Kabul in Afghanistan and and not just in Kashmir’s Pahari speaking communities.
However, they speak a related dialect of ‘Hindko’ and are not necessarily Muslims. The fact is that these Pahari speaking communities have their own identity labels now. The culture of Pahari speaking people of the UK is deep rooted in history and predates the emergence of new countries of Asia namely Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.
And Culture is their main identity. They have a huge focus on their lives in the UK and their identity as British Pahari People. The organization that we mentioned earlier is doing a lot to give them a voice in mainstream media and also at prominent cultural and social scene of the UK.
The young people who run this organisation talk about their ancestor’s ‘culture’. For instance , they think that Cultures are not fossils, they’re like living things. They are fluid and they evolve and change. Naturally, people’s cultural norms have good aspects to them, as they have bad aspects and all cultures are like this. But Pahari cultural norms have been influenced by a heritage that people don’t necessarily understand and often times confuse it with religion, politics and social classes.
If you don’t understand this, you’d be left with a warped view of your grandparent’s cultural traditions, and you’d inevitably join the popular bandwagon of unreflective people who are embarrassed by their forefathers native language, regional history and cultural norms. This organization Portmir foundation seeks to shed light on that rich and complex heritage, celebrate the life-stories Pahari speaking people and ultimately want to make sense of their new roots in Britain.
Source: Portmir Foundation