IDENTITY (DIS)Nadeem Rangzeb, Reiss Haidar
The Identity (DIS) podcast is produced by the Portmir Foundation. The podcast centres around British Mirpuris, one of oldest and largest South Asian Diaspora communities in the UK. Approximately 80% percent of British Pakistanis originate from Mirpur Division, Erstwhile Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir, whose forebears as single men came to the UK as early as the late 1800s, early 1900s. Migration increased after World War II during the reconstruction years as many Mirpuris had fought in both world wars, and were invited by the UK government to cover labour shortages. They subsequently became a settled community in the UK. And yet this community is shrouded in mystery. The (DIS) bit in our title implies the idea of dispossession. We attempt to dismantle narratives and labels that have been imposed upon the Mirpuri community by outsiders. We are attempting to create a new discourse around identity issues that impact ordinary Mirpuris; disrupting the cultural spaces that claim to represent Mirpuris through non-Mirpuri actors who assert an overarching British-Pakistani or South Asian identity; challenging disinformation by the media and social commentators who rely heavily on negative stereotypes and popular tropes from within the British-Pakistani community. We want to speak on behalf of our own community to members of the wider British society without the anxieties of those who constantly denigrate us even as they claim to be our peers.