Indian Takeaway: Kohli serves up the big question
Hardeep Singh Kohli, one of UK Sikhism’s growing array of media personalities, is the personification of the contradictions that many Sikhs feel about their role and purpose in modern Britain
A little odd perhaps for one who seems so well-established on the UK entertainment and media scene.
But the “Who am I?” question that taxes so many children of immigrant families in the UK clearly still figures large in his thinking.
Hardeep, born to a family of Indian stock who settled in Glasgow, this month reports on a journey to India to further examine the British-Sikhi equation – or should that be British-Scottish-Sikhi-Indian equation?
He does it in a book, Indian Takeaway, and as he is a comedy scriptwriter it’s no surprise that it’s a lively read, but it is a thought provoking work as well, built as it is around some gently confrontational situations.
A runner-up on BBC1’s Celebrity Masterchef, Hardeep decided that he should extend his journey of self-discovery by cooking his way around India!
He served up very British meals for a variety of people. And placing before them such dishes as fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, cock-a-leekie soup and the traditional Sunday roast, had sometimes hilarious, sometimes humiliating, outcomes.
And what conclusions did he draw from these encounters and other experiences?
Well, I doubt that we are giving much away if we say that he did not return with the answers to the many uncertainties that lie just beneath the surface of modern British Sikhism. But it is a highly enjoyable traveller’s tale, with moving moments to cherish.
Father-of-two Hardeep made a name as co-writer of the Channel 4 comedy Meet the Magoons – and is much in demand as a contributor to BBC2’s Newsnight Review and numerous radio programmes including Radio 4’s Question Time.
Turban-clad, he’s makes a strong impression, sometimes improbably combining the turban with a kilt, a gesture that suggests he wants us all to consider the possibility that cultural differences can be that easily reconciled.
Food for thought – whether it be British, Scottish, Sikhi or Indian.
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