Introducing Dialogues of Diaspora

Our wonderful friends at Dialogues of Diaspora have done something awesome. Get ready to sit-down and listen-in to eye-opening conversations in their brand-new three-part series which sheds a unique light on the South Asian Diaspora. They unpack interesting views on identity, history, music, fashion – share untold stories and ask thought-provoking questions. We’re so excited to share the first episode with you.

Created by our incredibly talented friends Sanvir Singh Chana and Ramneet Baidwan, they say of the three-part series:–

"Dialogues of Diaspora is a way for us to reconnect. In some ways, like me, this project is 26 years in the making. Hounslow, a rich South Asian pocket in West London was a somewhat welcoming place to grow up. Nurtured in the comfort of our culture, reflected in the Gurdwaras and pungent smells gently wafting from the litter of Punjabi restaurants frequented by the many faces alike my own. But any interest in my own heritage and faith was outweighed by the fluctuating need to fit in at school, and at sixteen, without a platform for my British/Asian identity to resonate, I only drifted further away from that comfort into a place of false assimilation.

If only I returned home to regularly feel part of the national story, to see myself reflected in mainstream media, I wouldn’t have contemplated the fate of my long hair. However, I felt the blame could no longer be inflicted on the industry if I wasn’t doing anything about it, and fortunately, a friend on the opposite side of the world felt the same. Together, Ramneet Baidwan and I, with an arduous eight-hour time difference, carefully crafted this talk show and two short films (to be later released) that we hope will inspire the next generation with the comfort to be themselves. Our passion for story-telling and platforming the vast history and narratives of the South Asian diaspora found the curious and energetic team and Dishoom. The sole purpose of pursuing this project was envoked by emotion; Dialogues of Diaspora is a way for us all to reconnect."

Episode One kicks off with Shamil and Shalina (who is brilliant and lovely in equal measure) whimsically reflecting on South Asian British history. From chapatis in World War One trenches to school history lessons and the importance of shared stories – it’s not to be missed.

Watch on YouTube

Find Shalina on Instagram @thehistorycorridor. Shalina has also kindly taken a quick moment to share more on ‘unexpected’ moments in South Asian and British history below. Read on here.

You can also find Ramneet and Sanvir @dialoguesofdiaspora or visit their website to find out more.

Read the café stories

Suggested Reading

See the journal

The Dishoom Canary Wharf story – Chapter Three

The phone keeps ringing shrilly through the flat. Nauzer holds his head in his hands, palms clamped over his ears. “Beta, the phone!” He forgot his mother would still be here. He can’t have her answering in case it is Devia. He runs into the corridor to pick it up. It stops just before he can reach it. Breathless, he looks up and sees his mother in the kitchen. 

Dishoom Canary Wharf – now officially OPEN!

Tucked away in a lovely corner of Wood Wharf, Dishoom Canary Wharf is now officially open and ready to welcome you all. The marble-top bar is ready to hold your drink, the textured, patterned (and extremely comforting) chairs are waiting to be kept warm and the hand-painted mural and carefully curated art – from Bombay and beyond – are waiting to be part of your conversations. 

Dishoom's Chicken Berry Britannia Biryani Recipe

This chicken biryani is our homage to Britannia’s chicken berry pulao, using cranberries in place of the more authentic Persian barberries, which are tricky to find. (Despite much cajoling, Mr Kohinoor has never shared his wife’s famous recipe.) It is prepared in the kacchi style, originating from Hyderabad, in which marinated raw meat goes into the pot, to be cooked at the same time as the rice.

Dishoom's Taj Ballroom Toddy Recipe

No party is complete without some delectable pours to toast the host with the most. For the crafty amongst us, bring out the shakers and strainers and the channel knife and pour your energy into building our festive concoction – The Taj Ballroom Toddy. A warming tipple inspired by The Taj Mahal Palace hotel, where Bombay’s jazz age was born.