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Tuesday, Dec 07, 2021
Outlook.com
photofeature: indo-britain

Picadilly Tamasha

Multicultural Britain is splashed with Indian colours. A sensitive lens feels its beating heart.

Picadilly Tamasha
Picadilly Tamasha
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Kajal Nisha Patel used to work with a funeral firm. Her bosses asked her to dig in a little at Hindu cremation rites, which were supposed to be environmentally friendly. That was the start of her interest in Indian traditions. So she resigned and set out on a visit to Gujarat. It was a journey that was to change her life. “I realised my heritage,” Kajal, 34, tells Outlook. It was her first visit to India as an adult and she realised how different things were from what her parents had told her in Leicester about the Indian way. “I realised how culturally unaware I was and started taking photographs of every moment. But those photographs are quite cliched.”

It wasn’t long before Kajal took up photography seriously. She worked with rag-pickers in Gujarat and started documenting their lives. But it “was naive work. I am now embarrassed that I portrayed India like that.” Back home in the UK, she first began with street photography, capturing all aspects of Indian immigrant lives, starting with the elderly. “People born of my age in the UK have a derogatory view of India. They are always looking for a licence, an approval from the British. They don’t know what they are missing. I tell them go and see India and get a taste of it. And India is not Mumbai alone,” she says.

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