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An Asian whitewash

Ziauddin Sardar's latest book touches on many of the most troubling questions at the heart of what it means to be a British Asian in the 21st century. But his blinkered adherence to the politics of resentment means it contains few useful answers

By Emran Mian   November 2008

Balti Britain: A Journey Through the British Asian Experience by Ziauddin Sardar (Granta, £20)

In Pakistan, a balti is a bucket. In Britain, it’s a dish served in Pakistani restaurants. So it is, as Ziauddin Sardar spends the first 30 pages of this book explaining, emblematic of British Asian identity: it’s not British, it’s not Asian, it’s British Asian. That’s a trivial insight, but I mention it to warn the reader that Sardar—a major Asian and Muslim commentator, a columnist for the New Statesman, a maker of programmes for the BBC and Channel 4—often spends a long time presenting arguments…

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