Embracing the Colors of Culture: Celebrating South Asian Heritage Month
‘Captify Voices’ spotlights employees from across the business as they reflect on their experiences, educate and inspire action around Diversity and Inclusion, particularly around historical and religious holidays.
In this edition, Deepa Patel, Account Executive, reflects on how Captify has been celebrating South Asian Heritage Month throughout August.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background
My background is Indian, specifically from the western state of Gujarat. My dad moved to England from India when he was 10 years old and my mum also moved here from India when she married my dad at the age of 20.
I grew up and currently live in East London and I went to university in Birmingham, both of which are very diverse and multicultural areas. I’ve therefore been extremely lucky to have grown up being very in touch with my culture and heritage.
What is South Asian Heritage Month?
To me, South Asian Heritage Month is a chance to bring my culture into the spotlight and share the amazing food, music, movies, literature, clothes, traditions and festivals.
It’s also a chance for me to learn about other cultures within South Asia. People tend to group South Asian cultures under one big umbrella. However, Indian culture is very different to its South Asian neighbours, such as Afghan or Bhutan. For instance, I didn’t even know that Bhutan was part of South Asia! It’s been enlightening to do my own research to find out the differences and similarities between the respective cultures in South Asia.
How has Captify been celebrating South Asian Heritage Month?
Captify has been celebrating South Asian Heritage Month through different initiatives:
- Internal spotlights by colleagues within the South Asian community
- A collated playlist and playing it in the office (it was an odd but amazing feeling hearing Bollywood and bhangra in the office!)
- Experiencing South Asian cuisine by bringing an Indian food caterer into the office
- Hosting a South Asian movie night (we watched ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It’)
While the Indian food was delicious, I think my favourite of these initiatives was creating the playlist as it was super nostalgic going through the Bollywood songs I grew up listening to. It’s been so nice and different to share these things with my work colleagues.
Who are notable figures or events from the South Asian community that you recommend readers should learn more about?
Authors – Truthfully, I haven’t read many books by South Asian authors. However, Captify’s book club is currently reading ‘Kaikeyi’ by Vaishnavi Patel, which is a beautifully written book that reimagines the life of the infamous queen from the Indian epic the Ramayana—I’d highly recommend!
Singers – A more modern singer I recommend is Leo Kalyan—he merges Bollywood songs with English songs while demonstrating his amazing vocals. If we’re talking about older Bollywood singers, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is one of my favourites. His song ‘O Re Piya’ gives me chills every time I listen to it.
DJs – Jyoty, Arthi, Ahadadream, Mahnoor (140bpmahns) and Goldtooth are all incredible South Asian DJs. Jyoty in particular has a talent for mixing Bollywood music into other genres and mixes that you would never expect and it sounds incredible.
Events / raves – Can you tell that I love live music?! DialledIn is an artist-led movement that celebrates South Asian music, art and culture. Going to a DialledIn event was life-changing as it was my first live music experience where everything was centred around South Asian culture—there were South Asian DJs, singers, rappers, poets, musicians etc. It felt incredible to be seen and represented like that, especially as it’s not done much.