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‘British Indians are more optimistic’

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Indians in London Group (IIL) hosted their much anticipated annual ‘Rang Barse’ Holi event at The Indian Gymkhana club in Osterley, London (File)

48% of British Asians saw religion as a source of division and conflict, compared to 77% of the wider population. 30% of British Asians thought Britain has become a “more tolerant place” in the last couple of years – compared to 22% of the general population….reports Asian Lite News

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Indians in London Group (IIL) hosted their much anticipated annual ‘Rang Barse’ Holi event at The Indian Gymkhana club in Osterley, London (File)

A survey conducted by ComeRes for BBC Asian Network shows that British Indians are more optimistic group in the British community. The survey also reveals many facts about the British Asian communities.

The results of the survey will be reported by BBC News, inform season content across BBC Local Radio and be unpicked in a week of special coverage on BBC Asian Network, including in a live debate show, with an invited audience, hosted by Mobeen Azhar and Nomia Iqbal on Tuesday 14 August, ‘Being British Asian: Who Do We Think We Are?’ – From 22:00 BST – midnight.

Some 72% said Britain is somewhere you can fulfil your aspirations and ambitions, compared to 64% of the population at large. The most optimistic group of all were British Indians – with over three-quarters believing in a bright future, the survey for BBC revealed.

More than 2,000 British Asians responded to the poll as part of the BBC’s Big British Asian Summer.

When asked to describe Asian culture, 33% of British Asians said it was “modernising” and 25% “progressive”. The UK-wide response was 9% and 8% respectively.

When asked about changing their behaviour to fit in, about 12% said they frequently “toned down” their Asian identity – 23% said occasionally and 18% rarely. Some 79% said at least some of their cultural traditions were dying out. Overall, though, British Asians were more hopeful about their future than the population at large.

The survey also asked about other topics, including same sex marriage, religion, the police and the monarchy.

@ 59% of British Asians trusted the police, compared to 65% of of the wider population

@ 51% of British Asians wanted to keep the monarchy, with 26% preferring a republic (the rest were unsure). Across the UK, 65% wanted to keep the monarchy, with 21% preferring a republic

@ 48% of British Asians saw religion as a source of division and conflict, compared to 77% of the wider population. 30% of British Asians thought Britain has become a “more tolerant place” in the last couple of years – compared to 22% of the general population

@ The survey shows that British Asians are more socially conservative than the wider UK population. The survey found that less than half of respondents – 43% – thought same-sex relationships were acceptable.

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Dr Jagbir Jutti-Johal and Jasvir Singh from City Sikhs

According to the surveys, just 5% of UK-wide respondents would be offended if a relative had sex before marriage – while more than a third (34%) of British Asians would be. On same-sex relationships, 15% of UK-wide respondents said they were not acceptable. This rose to more than a third (36%) of British Asians.

On religion, over half of 18-34 year olds in the general population said it wasn’t important to them “at all”. Just 8% of young British Asians said the same. Overall, 46% of British Asians said it was “very important” to them – compared to 12% of the general population.

The survey also confirms what many British Asians have always said – bridging two cultures involves complication and contradiction. More than half of respondents say that they’ve toned down their Asian identity in order to better fit into British society. This could mean people using Western-sounding names or altering their accents.

Of the 2,026 respondents to the British Asian survey, 1,197 were born in the UK – with countries of origin being predominantly India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

The survey will be discussed on a special live debate show on the Asian Network, on 14 August from 22:00 BST – midnight.