Multicultralism: THE SATURDAY INTERVIEW: Culture and the Generations; Jo Ind Asked Three Generations of Three Diverse Families If They Had Close Friendships with People of Cultures Different from Their Own
Byline: Jo Ind
Babubhai Nathwani, aged 68, lives in Walsall with his wife and his son's family. He is a company director of Ace International, a sporting goods wholesalers. He is from a Ugandan Hindu background.
My family came to Uganda from India in 1924. We were economic migrants and we built up a printing and stationery business importing products from all over the world and selling to universities and colleges.
I had very good business relationships with people from Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK. English was the business language.
At home, we lived in an Indian neighbourhood and my closest friends were Indian.
We had to leave Uganda in 1972 because of Idi Amin. We couldn't take anything with us. My six bothers and their families came to England at the same time.
There was a slightly unwelcoming reception with people not wanting us to live on their street. We all came to live in Great Barr which I'd say was a 90 per cent white area.
We had to build a business up from scratch. It was very, very hard work. Our priority was to provide for our families and it wasn't easy.
Now we have a good mix friends, like our neighbours who are white, but when we first arrived we were trying to find Hindus from similar backgrounds - we are Lohanas - so we could have a platform for discussion and celebrate cultural events like Diwali together Vijay Nathwani, aged 44, is also a company director of Ace International. He is Babubhai's son and lives with the family in Walsall I was 11 years old when I came to England. I did my secondary school education in Birmingham and went to University in Scotland.
I had friends from Scotland, Ireland, England, India and the Middle East.
I had more English friends through sport or other interests such as music but I had more Hindu friends from activities with our community.
I'm active in maintaining all those relationships and the friendships that develop through business.
It's important for us to have friends with other Hindus and to maintain links with our culture but we are also good friends with the white and non-white people who live near us.
Our English neighbours have had the key to our house for 16 years, so there is no problem with trust and sharing basic values.
How would I feel if my son brought a white girlfriend home? Well I was the first one to do that, so I've already broken that taboo.
I think Rajiv is fortunate that my generation has worked hard to communicate our cultural values.
Also through our success and contribution to the economy, things have turned round so now it's very fashionable to be Indian Rajiv Nathwani, aged 17, is a full time student at King Edward's School, Aston. He lives in Walsall with his parents and grandparents I've got lots of good friends from different cultural backgrounds. The school I go to is 50 per cent nonwhite, which is quite unusual for a grammar school.
I also work in a store in the Bull Ring where most of the people are white. I go out with them, no problem.
At the school they are very positive about the non-white people and are aware of cultural differences, for example they have a Festival of Culture.
I think this really helps us to all mix well with each other. I think there would be more racial tensionif the school wasn't so aware. I'm the first Asian in our school to direct a musical and I'm deputy head boy.
My grandad has taught me about our culture and religion but I was interested anyway and wanted to know about it.
Hinduism is a religion that teaches you to embrace other religions as well. When I was younger I played Joseph in a nativity play. I've been in the choir and been to church which has given me insight into Christianity. I really believe in mixed schools.
I don't think my generation has to struggle with racism as much as my parents and grandparents. …