South Asian Heritage Month: Veejo’s ‘journey of empire’
We're marking South Asian Heritage Month in many ways at EPUT. This year's theme is 'Journeys of Empire' and, as part of our celebrations for the month, Veejo Jacob, Mental Health Nurse, shared details of his heritage and wrote about his journey of empire:
'South Asian Heritage Month is a wonderful concept of remembering our roots, and it provides an opportunity to celebrate, commemorate and educate the wider public in the United Kingdom about South Asian history and heritage.
'Personally, for me, it takes me back to the memory lanes of my home country, the beautiful and the glorious India. It also helps me to look back on my journey from India to the UK, where I joined EPUT to work as a mental health nurse. I was thrilled when this opportunity came along and, after arriving here, I am so glad that I accepted this challenge. My family back home were a bit apprehensive, but now, after my journey so far, their apprehensions are gone and they feel reassured.
'The people here in the UK are so warm and respectful about you and your culture, and so far, my experience has been amazing. I am a people centric person who loves to know more about people, their values and their culture. It was also wonderful to know that EPUT imbibes a multi-cultural approach and welcomes staff from various cultural backgrounds. I have interacted with many South Asian colleagues and everyone feels at home, in their newly adopted home.
'It fills me with immense pride to see the strong appetite for recognition of a diaspora that makes up one in every four people on the planet and has shaped so much of modern Britain. You can almost bump into people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri-Lanka, Nepal and the Maldives etc. on every street and you can feel the warm aura of Asian hospitality and pride.
'This kind of celebration provides a platform for open discussion, bringing like-minded people together, tackling stigma and normalising discussions related to race, inequality and discrimination in an attempt to dispel it.
'Finally, this celebration highlights the huge appetite of colleagues, friends and the public to discuss their South Asian heritage openly. It feels good to see colleagues proudly telling their family stories of migration, sharing their issues with dual identity, and posting photographs of themselves in traditional outfits which they might have otherwise felt embarrassed to step outside in. It has been a remarkable journey for me in this beautiful land of opportunities.'