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Manchester Museum exploring the tie between South Asia and Britain’s legacy

A series of events, performance and public programme will launch, with a dedicated performance space at the centre of the gallery, which will be shaped by ideas and contributions from the Collective and programmed in collaboration with both local and international artists and performers…reports Asian Lite News

Following a significant capital redevelopment, the University of Manchester’s Manchester Museum will reopen to the public on February 18, 2023. This new multilingual gallery will explore the relationship between South Asia and Britain’s legacy of Empire and offer new perspectives on British Asian and South Asian culture and creativity.

The South Asia Gallery Collective, a group of 30 remarkable people that includes community leaders, educators, artists, historians, journalists, and musicians, has co-curated the gallery in a unique way. The exhibition will present a variety of human stories that provide visitors a window into South Asia by showcasing over 140 antique artefacts from the collections of the Manchester Museum and British Museum, coupled with new modern commissions and personal objects contributed by the Collective. Through the use of six main themes-Past & Present, Lived Environments, Innovation & Language, Sound, Music & Dance, British Asian, and Movement & Empire-the gallery’s story-led design will represent various voices

In Past & Present, the general public will examine the historic Indus Valley Civilization through a modern lens and share perspectives that go beyond those of archaeologists. It will also highlight influential female figures from the Mughal Empire, like Nur Jahan, to encourage discussion about the place of women in history. Through the relationship between Manchester’s cotton industry and the Indian independence movement, it will demonstrate the significance of Gandhi’s 1931 visit to the Lancashire cotton mill town of Darwen.

Lived Environments will use objects including postcards from tea estates, 18th-century tea tokens, an opium pipe, and a movie on floating gardens in Bangladesh to highlight the value of conservation in South Asian culture and the environmental effects of the British Empire.

Innovation & Language will examine South Asian innovation through the work of three legendary figures who are frequently disregarded, including Satyendra Nath Bose, one of the key figures in the development of contemporary quantum science. Fal Sarker, a member of the collective and the grandson of Bose, will discuss Bose’s influence on the scientific community and the correspondence he had with Albert Einstein as “a labour of love to my famous ancestry and his impact on quantum physics.”

Another anthology, Sound, Music & Dance, will feature various forms of musical expression from ancient instruments such as the hakgediya, a Sri-Lankan conch shell, to the secret South Asian Daytimers raves of the 80s and 90s. A listening station will play work by Aziz Ibrahim, a musician in the Collective, recognised for playing with the Stone Roses and Simply Red, as well as developing South Asian blues which mixes English and Punjabi, whose album describes a family journey from Lahore to Manchester.

British Asian explores identity through a range of expressions from pop music to art, and celebrating stories not usually represented by mainstream British Asian culture including women and queer communities. A powerful contemporary painting by female painter Azraa Motala, will explore what it means to be British Asian today, whilst Taslima Ahmad, a Collective member will discuss garment manufacture and South Asian working lives in Manchester.

Finally Movement & Empire will look at South Asian identity in relation to voluntary and involuntary migration, including as a result of war and the trauma of Partition, which was one of the largest migrations in human history. An NHS display will celebrate the importance of the South Asian community to UK medicine, from the 1950s movement of medics to the UK to the significant contribution of the community during the Covid pandemic.

New commissions will populate the space, celebrating contemporary South Asian creativity and innovation, including a rickshaw imported from Bangladesh and decorated by communities in Manchester and a 17 metre long newly commissioned mural from British artists, The Singh Twins, illustrating an emotional map of South Asian diaspora experience.

A series of events, performance and public programme will launch, with a dedicated performance space at the centre of the gallery, which will be shaped by ideas and contributions from the Collective and programmed in collaboration with both local and international artists and performers.

Nusrat Ahmed, South Asia Gallery Curator at Manchester Museum, says: “As a first-generation British-born South Asian person, it is really exciting to be part of such a groundbreaking project. The co-curated South Asia Gallery envisages a collaborative, iterative space that will generate new perspectives and connections. We hope to engage further diaspora communities on its opening and support its continual evolution. This personalised approach humanises the gallery, telling stories about real people and their objects.”

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London Diary London News


London Mayor Sadi Khan visits University off East London. After the visit, he tweeted: Young Londoners are the future of our city – and we need young people with the skills that will help to drive London’s economic future. Great to see the fantastic new facilities for students at UEL’s School of Business and Law.

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Bridgerton themed afternoon tea to be launched on March 25

Finger sandwiches and brioche sliders will comprise of Coronation chicken, fresh coriander, Clarence court egg mayonnaise, wholegrain mustard, Smoked salmon, horseradish, watercress, Organic cucumber, natural yoghurt, mint, Rare roast beef slider, black pepper mayonnaise, onion seed…reports Asian Lite News

The Lanesborough, London, announced the latest in its innovative series of seasonal afternoon teas, inspired by the hit Netflix show ‘Bridgerton’.

Created in partnership with Netflix and Shondaland, the limited-edition tea will pay homage to the Regency era; a time of great revelling and high style, of elegant parties, balls, and grand dinners, with a contemporary twist.

Launching on March 25, the Bridgerton Afternoon Tea will take place in The Lanesborough’s richly decorated dining room, naturally illuminated during the day by a domed glass roof while seductively aglow under softly lit chandeliers in the evening. A Regency icon in the capital, beneath the original skydome there is bas-relief artwork meticulously cast from 250 different mouldings, and Wedgwood china mounted on the walls, evoking a sense of Regency neoclassical grandeur.

Carefully crafted by The Lanesborough’s Head Pastry Chef, Kevin Miller, the menu will pay tribute to the key families in ‘Bridgerton’, in addition to ‘Lanesborough House’ as we now know it, built-in 1825 in the fashionable classical style by William Wilkins at the highpoint of Regency era and today, London’s quintessential Regency building.

Finger sandwiches and brioche sliders will comprise of Coronation chicken, fresh coriander, Clarence court egg mayonnaise, wholegrain mustard, Smoked salmon, horseradish, watercress, Organic cucumber, natural yoghurt, mint, Rare roast beef slider, black pepper mayonnaise, onion seed.

Bridgerton Tea at The Lanesborough.

To accompany savoury flavours and The Lanesborough’s delectable scones, cream and jam, Miller’s curated cake and sweet treat concept will include five signature highlights.

. The Queen’s Diamond – dedicated to the star of the season, to celebrate great revelling and high style. Exquisite hand-crafted chocolate blended with honey, green cardamon and white chocolate ganache, displayed in a beautiful jewel-coloured ring box, is a nod to Edwina Sharma, this season’s diamond.

The Rake – in honour of Viscount Anthony, The Rake is a cake of distinction – a real big spender – good looking and refined. A dandy white shirt enveloped in a crisp tailored suit with a dashing cream cravat, the delectable cake is a chocolate sable with milk chocolate mousse and a burst of whipped passionfruit curd centre. It is finished in a dark chocolate glaze, chocolate shard collar, and a whipped passionfruit cream Chantilly cravat.

A True Love Match -a British staple inspired by the exquisite Queen Charlotte, A True Love Match is an elegant, largesse classic layered Charlotte sponge cake constructed from a delicious light vanilla sponge, layered by the seasons, with strawberry jam and vanilla twisted cream.

The Lady Whistledown – a nod to Lady Whistledown, the narrator and high society columnist in Bridgerton, this cake is reflective of her inkpot and quill. Inside is a pistachio nut financier and pistachio mousse, coated in milk chocolate and cocoa butter.

All is Fair in Love & War – the star of the show sitting atop the cake stand, All is Fair in Love & War celebrates the Bridgerton family and is pale blue in colour, embossed with a bee – the symbol of Bridgerton. The concept roots back to the earliest known origin of the sentiment ‘all is fair in love in war’, found in poet John Lyly’s 1579 novel, Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit. This dessert is to share between two; a rosewater cheesecake with a burst of raspberry jelly in the centre, on a crumble crunch base coated in sprayed-blue white chocolate. The question is, who gets the biggest slice? After all, All is Fair in Love and War…

The Pall Mall Cocktail

Inspired by the original Regency Gin Punch, the essential cocktail that formed part of quotidian social life during the Regency period, The Lanesborough’s Head of Bars, Mickael Perron has created The Pall Mall cocktail; a refreshing recipe combining Hendrick’s gin & Graham Blend No5 white port, balanced with citrus and subtle sweetness. The delectable concoction is served in an elegant high glass teacup, with a tea strainer filled with dried hibiscus flowers to infuse the drink with a pinkish colour. Finally, the cocktail is garnished with a floating lotus flower arrangement – the national flower of India that occupies a unique position in Indian culture – another nod to the Sharmas.

The Pall Mall – Non-Alcoholic

Generously presented tropical punch prepared with Atopia Non-Alcoholic spirits, Ginger & Rhubarb as well as Hedgerow Berry. Graciously mixed with London Essence roasted pineapple soda, lychee, passion & citrus. Served with Butterfly Pea Flower infusion, for a gracious finish.

The Lanesborough’s Bridgerton Afternoon Tea is priced from 65 pounds per person; from 76 pounds per person with The Pall Mall cocktail; or from 80 pounds per person with a glass of House Champagne. Children’s afternoon tea menu from 35 pounds per person for children under 12. For more information and to book, visit or call +44 (0)20 7259 5599. Prior reservation is absolutely essential to avoid grievous disappointment and possible societal embarrassment.

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London Diary UK News

Londoners to join war in Ukraine

His call for an international legion carried echoes of the International Brigades that fought against the fascists – backed by Nazi Germany – in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s…reports Asian Lite News

Scores of British volunteers are preparing to leave shores to join the fight in Ukraine

The Russian aggression in Ukraine is prompting scores of Londoners and members of Ukraine diaspora to join the fight to defend the homeland. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’s support also fuelling the campaign.

Volunteers are also collecting donations, medical supplies and essential items like batteries, power-banks to support the refugees fleeing Ukraine.

Several people turned up to enrol at the Ukrainian embassy in London on Monday, after Foreign Secretary Truss said she would “absolutely” support British nationals who chose to go to help fight against the Russian invasion.

A diplomat at the embassy handed out sheets of paper to those wishing to join Ukraine’s army, containing a phone number and an email address for a contact co-ordinating the volunteers. As well as Britons, nationals from other countries were also among those volunteering to join the fight against Russia.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced the formation of a new “international legion” to help defend his country and appealed to foreign volunteers to come forward, promising them arms to fight against the Russian troops.

His call for an international legion carried echoes of the International Brigades that fought against the fascists – backed by Nazi Germany – in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba appeared to encourage the comparison, saying that just as Hitler had finally been defeated, “we will defeat Putin, too”.

But there is a legal hurdle for the volunteers. In 2014, the Crown Prosecution Service warned that UK nationals who went to fight in the Syrian civil war could be committing an offence, even if they joined the rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad. So the volunteers are facing terrorism charges on their return.

Meanwhile, another report says that Roman Abramovich is involved in the attempts to broker peace between Russia and Ukraine, Chelsea owner’s spokesperson claimed.

 The Russian billionaire handed “stewardship” of Chelsea to the club foundation’s trustees on Saturday amid the ongoing crisis between Russian and Ukraine, in a move aimed to protect the Stamford Bridge club. However, it has now emerged that Abramovich is attempting to help bring about an end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

  “I can confirm that Roman Abramovich was contacted by the Ukrainian side for support in achieving a peaceful resolution and that he has been trying to help ever since. Considering what is at stake, we would ask for your understanding as to why we have commented on neither the situation as such nor his involvement. Thank you,” Abramovich’s spokesperson was quoted as saying by Skysports.

  Ukrainian film director and producer Alexander Rodnyansky also confirmed that Abramovich is involved due to his connections with both the Russian and Ukrainian Jewish communities.

 “I can confirm that the Ukrainian side has been trying to find someone in Russia willing to help them in finding a peaceful resolution,” said Rodnyansky. “They are connected to Roman Abramovich through the Jewish community and reached out to him for help.

  On Sunday, the Blues owner handed “stewardship” of Chelsea to the club foundation’s trustees. However, in Abramovich’s statement, there was no mention or condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Abramovich had said his decision was in the best interest of the club.

  “During my nearly 20-year ownership of Chelsea FC, I have always viewed my role as a custodian of the Club, whose job it is ensuring that we are as successful as we can be today, as well as build for the future, while also playing a positive role in our communities,” said Abramovich in an official statement on Sunday.

  “I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart. I remain committed to these values. That is why I am today giving trustees of Chelsea’s charitable Foundation the stewardship and care of Chelsea FC. I believe that currently, they are in the best position to look after the interests of the Club, players, staff, and fans.”

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Arts & Culture Lite Blogs London Diary

JLF London brings fresh ideas in a virtual jamboree

‘JLF London at the British Library’ had a very successful curtain-raiser in June. With 2020 struck by the cloud of a global pandemic, the Festival was postponed from its customary summer dates…reports Asian Lite News.

As the world works through a new “normal” this year, Teamwork Arts, the producer of the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival, and the British Library, bring to you a virtual edition of the annual JLF London, with the magnificent piazza of the British Library replaced by the boundless possibilities of the internet.

Everything else remains the same – the magic of discourse, the caravan of ideas, the camaraderie of people, and the seamless flow of knowledge.

‘JLF London at the British Library’ had a very successful curtain-raiser in June. With 2020 struck by the cloud of a global pandemic, the Festival was postponed from its customary summer dates.

The much-awaited JLF London at the British Library now opens virtually tomorrow with a stellar list of leading speakers from across the globe engaging in intellectual and literary discourse. Scheduled from 24th-26th September 2021, the eighth edition of the annual Festival will explore an array of topics relevant to the contemporary world, maintaining the magnitude of programming as every year.

In the inaugural session, the audience will be addressed by Festival Co-directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple, Festival Producer Sanjoy K. Roy, and Head of Culture and Learning, British Library, Jamie Andrews.

JLF London will be in an entirely new avatar this year with a mix of special on-ground and virtual sessions. The rich programming includes some of the most sought-after speakers, including Asma Khan, Cat Jarman, Edmund Richardson, Elif Shafak, Makarand R. Paranjape, Rory Stewart, Saad Mohseni, Swapan Dasgupta, Tahmima Anam, Vir Sanghvi and many more, sharing their stories and ideas.”, Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director, Teamwork Arts, and Festival Producer said.

Namita Gokhale, award-winning author, publisher and Festival Co-director shared, “JLF returns to the British Library in a hybrid format. The rich diversity of our programming will as ever open windows to many worlds. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Republic of India, and this reflects in our themes and sessions, as we celebrate books, ideas and dialogue.”

“JLF London is by far the most wonderful and eagerly anticipated literary festival. In these times, it’s a celebration of life and resurgence of the human spirit overcoming the adversities and traumas of the past two years! The spirit of the Festival in its hybrid form is fabulously innovative and makes authors and lovers of literature believe and hope in the future. It makes our hearts rise with sheer joy and happiness. JLF London is a symbol of hope!” said Moin Mir, who will be speaking at the Festival.

JLF London at the British Library, an annual celebration of books, creativity, dialogue and diversity, brings South Asia’s unique multilingual literary heritage to life in the heart of London. This year, the Festival will be hosted on an exclusive virtual platform. To register for the sessions, please click here.

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Climate change activists block Central London

“We need to take drastic actions now. People in countries further south are suffering terribly, there are already wars over resources because of climate change,” she stressed…reports Asian Lite News.

Hundreds of people on Tuesday blocked roads around Parliament Street and Whitehall, in central London, on the second day of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protest to demand urgent actions from governments to tackle climate change, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

Several protesters lied in the middle of the street in front of a large green banner reading “Government in bed with climate criminals,” while others chanted and danced to the beat of drums.

“We’re here because the government is not telling us the truth about the reality of climate change and what it will mean to our children and grandchildren and for all the generations that will come after them,” Mary, one of the XR members, told Sputnik.

According to the activist, authorities in the United Kingdom and across the world are trying to hide from people that climate is already breaking down and that there will be shortages of food and water because of this, and what is worst “they are not taking any action to stop this from happening.”

Asked about the UK government’s pledges to achieve the ‘net zero’ target by 2050 and boost the use of electric vehicles as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “Green Revolution,” Mary said they are “too little too late.”

“We need to take drastic actions now. People in countries further south are suffering terribly, there are already wars over resources because of climate change,” she stressed.

Juliana, a Brazilian national who joined the protest with her children, said she had brought them with her because “their future is at stake”

The so-called “Impossible Rebellion,” which XR said will last two weeks, started on Monday, with protests in other parts of central London. The ecological movement is also planning to target the City – the heart of UK’s financial sector – to protest against banks financing fossil fuel companies.

The protests have been peaceful so far, but the Metropolitan Police confirmed that a “number of arrests” have been made. (ANI/Sputnik)

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Sadiq offers warm welcome to HK migrants

The Mayor also pledged to launch crackdown on racist abuse and hate crime incidents in London…reports Asian Lite News.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has offered a warm welcome and a message of support to Hongkongers who have begun arriving in the capital.

London is expected to welcome the largest proportion of arrivals from Hong Kong to the UK this year after the Government introduced a new visa for Hong Kong British National (Overseas) status holders and their families. It is estimated that between 123,000 and 153,000 adults and their dependents will take up the visa this year to live, work and study in the UK.

The Mayor welcomed the move from Ministers and is working alongside the Government to ensure suitable support is available, the City Hall said.

City Hall will use more than £900,000 of Government funding as part of the integration work across the city to ensure new arrivals can settle in London, including advice on housing, education and employment.

“I want to be very clear to Hongkongers and their families who have begun arriving in the capital that they are very welcome in London,” Sadiq said.

“Our city has a proud history of being home to people from many different backgrounds, and I’m committed to doing all I can to help them settle in London. By working alongside the Government, local authorities, communities and community organisations we will ensure that suitable support is available right across the capital so that they can quickly feel part of our great city,” he added.

Sadiq will also be working with organisations, including Hong Kong Arc, Hongkongers in Britain, Hackney Chinese Community Services and Refugees Welcome to discuss how best to support the community and address any concerns they may have.

The Mayor also pledged to launch crackdown on racist abuse and hate crime incidents in London. He has already invested more than £6 million to support London’s diverse communities and tackle the scourge of hate crime, as well as funding grassroots community organisations and civil society groups.

“Government funding is helping to ensure that new arrivals from Hong Kong have the best start to their new lives – assisting them to find a home, a school place for their children and employment – here in London and across the country,” Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said.

“The Government is creating 12 virtual welcome hubs across the UK, backed by £43 million, to give BNO status holders the practical help they need to establish themselves. It’s my sincere hope that these families will find the UK a place they can call home,” he added.

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London launches hydrogen double decker buses

The Mayor on Wednesday visited Perivale bus depot in Ealing to see the new hydrogen double decker and new hydrogen refuelling station…reports Asian Lite News.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched England’s first ever hydrogen double decker buses, marking a major step towards making the bus fleet zero-emission and cleaning up London’s toxic air.  

The 20 new environmentally-friendly buses, the first of their kind to be launched in England, will produce no pollution from their exhausts and join more than 500 electric buses in the core fleet which are already zero-emission.

The new hydrogen fuel cell double decker buses are first being introduced on route 7 between East Acton and Oxford Circus.

Hydrogen used in a fuel cell is free from harmful emissions. The only by-product is water from the chemical reaction of hydrogen with oxygen from air, a process that produces electricity to power the bus

 The buses will help clean up the air and improve the health of Londoners by reducing the level of harmful nitrogen oxide in the air. Passengers will benefit from smoother, quieter journeys due to fewer vibrations and will be able to take advantage of free-to-use USB charging points. 

A new, state of the art fuelling station completed by Danish engineering firm Nel Hydrogen will top up each hydrogen fuel cell bus just once per day in as little as five minutes.

The Mayor on Wednesday visited Perivale bus depot in Ealing to see the new hydrogen double decker and new hydrogen refuelling station.

He said, “Our investment in these hydrogen buses is not only helping us to clean up London’s air, but is supporting jobs and local economics across the UK. This is a great demonstration of how tackling air pollution and the climate crisis and boosting economic growth is about regions working together, investing in the very latest technology.”

“I’ve worked hard to ensure TfL’s entire core bus fleet across London now meets the ULEZ standards, and this includes 500 electric buses. Our new investment in hydrogen buses will move us even closer to our ambition of making all London buses zero-emission by 2030,” he added.

In addition to around £6 million of funding from TfL, more than £5 million of funding has been provided by European bodies – by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, and the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), an executive agency of the European Commission – as well as £1 million from the Office of Zero Emission Vehicles.

TfL has paved the way for cheaper hydrogen buses across the rest of the UK, having led the UK procurement within the Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles across Europe (JIVE), to buy in bulk with other UK authorities.

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#LetsDoLondon: Sadiq launches campaign for domestic tourism

The 50-year-old politician from Britain’s main opposition Labour Party has allocated 6 million pounds ($8 million) to directly support the new campaign…reports Asian Lite News.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has launched a domestic tourism campaign to kick-start the British capital’s economy as restrictions on international travel will likely continue this year, local media reported.

In his signing-in speech for a second term as Mayor, Khan on Monday announced the new “Let’s Do London” campaign to attract domestic visitors to the city and bring its economy back to life, reports Xinhua news agency.

A pedestrian walks by a pub, The Hope, shuttered in London due to coronavirus regulations. Thousands of British pubs have not survived the pandemic, according to an industry association, and the ones that have will need financial support “for years if they are to recover.” Photo: Yui Mok/PA

The 50-year-old politician from Britain’s main opposition Labour Party has allocated 6 million pounds ($8 million) to directly support the new campaign.

The campaign and events program will bring together London’s world-leading hospitality, culture, night-life and retail venues to promote all that the city has to offer.

“With restrictions on international travel likely to continue this year, Londoners and visitors from the UK have a unique opportunity to experience all the capital has to offer without the queues.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan

“In doing so you’ll be providing vital support for our world-leading venues as they start to re-open and need our help more than ever.

“My mission over the next three years is to put the dark days of the pandemic behind us and to deliver a better and brighter future for London, creating a fairer, greener and more prosperous city, where everyone gets the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential,” he added.

Khan confirmed that a top priority for his second term will be jobs, standing up for the Londoners who lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic and helping to skill up the city’s residents to get back into work.

He also confirmed he will continue to prioritize the long-standing issues that matter most to Londoners, including safer streets, more affordable housing and action to tackle air pollution and the climate emergency.

During the May 6 local elections, more than 5,000 seats were up for grabs in city hall and town hall elections, with the Mayor of London and 12 provincial mayors along with police and crime commissioners also being elected.

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