A case study of urban ethnicity : Harrow Gujaratis
This thesis examines the settlement of Gujaratis in Harrow, London, and the evolution of Gujarati organisations during the 1970s and the 1980s. Most Harrow Asians settled in the Borough after 1972, following their expulsion from Uganda. The Asian community, therefore, is predominantly East African and the majority of Asians originate from the Indian state of Gujarat. Gujaratis were not welcomed in Harrow, yet the Borough could not prevent Asian immigrants from settling in this part of London. The proximity of Harrow to large Asian settlements in north London made it attractive to the more established immigrants. The first years of settlement were mainly dedicated to building a firm economic base, and Gujaratis established, during the 1970s, various associations that complemented their economic activity during the 1970s. Some associations were founded on traditional lines. These were mainly caste and religious associations, which were also the most resourceful in financial and human terms. The affiliation of Gujaratis to different caste associations created serious rivalries with the consequence that the Gujarati community in Britain has remained divided. In Harrow, rivalries have emerged within the Asian community as a result of a growing competition for scarce resources. During the 1980s, Harrow Council declared itself an equal opportunities employer and, by this act, has raised the expectations of Asians that the Borough would be more responsive to their needs. Several pressure groups have emerged, and Gujaratis played a major role in exerting pressure on the Council. Though some Gujarati activists were equally active in traditional associations, the intensification of the relationships with the Council assisted in the emergence of a new type of leadership, comprised Gujaratis who identified themselves as black and who adopted the ideological framework of institutional racism. Although the thesis is about the settlement in Harrow of this community, the original interest of the researcher was focused on the food habits of this population as a method of measuring acculturation. Fieldwork on this subject was conducted both in Harrow and India. The thesis ends, therefore, with a description of the Gujarati diet both in Britain and India, with an analysis of the significance of the changes that have taken place in this area.