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Portsmouth City Council is committed to equality, diversity, and inclusion and fostering an environment where every person feels confident and safe to express themselves fully and without prejudice.

What is South Asian Heritage Month?

South Asian Heritage Month is an annual celebration of the rich cultural legacy of countries in South Asia. It runs from 18 July – 17 August 2022 and aims to commemorate, mark and celebrate South Asian cultures, histories, communities and how South Asian cultures are present throughout the UK. The theme for 2022 is Journeys of Empire.

There are eight South Asian countries:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India
  • The Maldives
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka

South Asian Heritage Month was launched in July 2019 at the House of Commons. The launch was a collaboration between:

  • City Sikhs
  • Faiths Forum for London
  • The Grand Trunk Project, and
  • The Partition Commemoration Campaign

Key dates during South Asian Heritage Month

South Asian Heritage Month takes place across two western calendar months (July and August). The reason for this is that it respects the traditions of the South Asian solar calendar and the 18 July – 17 August contains several significant dates:

  • 18 July: Indian Independence Act 1947 gained royal assent. 2022 marks the 75th anniversary
  • 26 July: Maldives Independence Day
  • 8 August: Bhutan Independence Day
  • 14 August: Pakistani Independence Day
  • 15 August: Indian Independence Day
  • 17 August: Partition Commemoration Day or the date that the Radcliffe Line was published in 1947, setting out where the border between India, West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) would be.

How you can get involved

  • Celebrate South Asian heritage month with a range of books for you to enjoy from our libraries. Visit the Central Library between 18 July and 17 August to enjoy the display and enrich your knowledge of this vibrant heritage. We also have books in Bengali, Malayalam, Panjabi Pashto and Tamil. There’s a fantastic range of eBooks and audiobooks from BorrowBox and PressReader, our free newspaper and magazine service, has coverage of lots of South Asian countries.
  • Listen to a wide selection of South Asian music on Freegal, an online music service which has millions of tracks to stream or download. Listen to your favourite Asian artist on the go with the free app.
  • Foster Portsmouth always look to support its looked after young people from South Asian communities, and we do this by, when requested, matching children from these communities with a foster family from their own cultural background. If you’re over the age of 18, have a spare room and can provide a vulnerable child with the care, love, support and stability that they need please apply to foster with us. It’ll help us to find the best matches for the diverse children in our care, increasing stability and providing better outcomes for the child. To learn more about the help we can provide when fostering alongside a religious background, visit Foster Portsmouth’s website.
  • Come along to Portsmouth International Kite Festival (30-31 July). Kites will be flown by some of the world’s most internationally renowned fliers. A truly spectacular event where hundreds of kites take to the air, some of which have been made using traditional methods. Kite flying has cultural significance in Afghanistan and goes back over 800 years.
  • On 20 August, a multi-city kite festival will take place in 15 locations across the UK and Europe to mark one year since Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Afghan artists across the UK and Europe present a festival of solidarity filled with Afghan kite-flying, storytelling, music, poetry and dance. Learn more.
  • Learn to make your own kite with a tutorial by Master Afghan kite maker Sanjar Qiam. View the tutorial below to make your own and try it out at the kite festival on Southsea Common on 30-31 July.

Further resources