Socialist Worker

Journey from Kashmir to the steel mills of South Yorkshire

by Geoff Harrison
Issue No. 1940

A community in focus at last

A community in focus at last

Faultlines — Tales from Kashmir and Rotherham
26 Februrary Carlisle Business Centre, Bradford
10 April St Peter’s Community Centre, Sheffield
For details of other venues phone 01709 367 287

An untold chapter of history emerges in the dramatised story of the first Kashmiri arrivals to the Yorkshire industrial town of Rotherham 50 years ago.

Open Minds Theatre Company—in partnership with the Al Muneera education organisation—are touring the play “Faultlines—Tales from Kashmir and Rotherham”.

It is acted by young third generation Kashmiris—whose grandparents suffered low pay, long hours and racism. They helped build not one, but two economies—in Britain and Kashmir—while enduring loneliness and discrimination in the cold and grey of South Yorkshire.

The play follows the dreams of those who came to Britain from Kashmir.

Divorced from their land and their families, only the camaraderie between them overcomes the misery of finding a job typically of shift work which sometimes lasted 24 hours at a time in appalling conditions.

It shows the switch from talk of “only for five years” to becoming a settled community and the arrival of their families.

It changed the landscape of both Rotherham and Mirpur in Kashmir.

The piece draws on research done with Rotherham’s Elderly Asian Men’s Social Activities Group and others.

Director Steve Rogers says, “It was my dream to see this story performed after I saw a millennium production supposedly depicting the history of Rotherham with no mention of the huge contribution made by the Kashmiri community.

“We have received overwhelming help and support from many members of the community. The experience of the young people involved has been invaluable in using the arts to explore their own heritage and identity.”

Funny and moving, it is a long overdue celebration of the Kashmiri community in Rotherham.

Sheffield Respect will be presenting the play in April

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Article information

Sat 26 Feb 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1940
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