We’re kicking off the series with Episode 2 where you’ll hear me interview Misbah about the gold jewellery pieces given to her by her Mother and the pieces she bought for her eldest daughter when she got married a few years ago. I loved speaking to Misbah about Gold within the South Asian culture, because in this conversation it was so apparent how much its engrained in the culture and especially to hear what its like to buy gold for a daughter’s weddings from a mother’s point of view in modern time:
" Well, gold jewellery as you know plays a really important part in a girl's life when she's coming up to getting married. You know, it's, it's like one of the first things that you have to think about that you save for your children. You know because you know that's our culture, that we give gold, if you talk to an English person it's just not even an issue for them, because it's not something that's in their culture. So for Asians, it's just an inherent part of our culture."
And because this research sheds a light on crucial British Asian oral history, I decided to launch the rest of the series on the 18th July as it coincided with South Asian Heritage Month
which runs from 18th July to 17th August every year. It seeks to raise the profile of British South Asian heritage and history in the UK through education, arts, culture and commemoration, with the goal of helping people to better understand the diversity of present-day Britain and improve social cohesion across the country. A perfect way celebrate the stories and people in my podcast.
In Episode 2 you’ll hear Misbah talk about about her family history from where they originated in Karachi, Pakistan and left everything to come to the UK;
"I feel like with my parents, when my mom and dad came, it was quite a quick decision to come over. And so a lot of my mom's like, albums, a lot of their heavy clothes like her wedding clothes, she had to leave all of that behind, you know, so literally she came with some jewellery, with a view that if they were really struggling, then they would sell the jewellery though, luckily they didn't have to do that as my dad managed to find a job straight away, but I think a lot of that history has been lost."
Misbah then goes on to reflect on her first memories of coming to the UK and being in the school playground where she couldn’t speak or understand a word of English at the age of 4;
"I was born in Pakistan, but I came to England in the late 60s I was about four and a half, so I was just ready to go to infant school, and I couldn't speak a word of English. So my first memory of England, or one of my first memories is actually standing in the school playground crying because people were talking to me, I couldn't understand it. I had no time to learn the language because I came by law, I had to go to school."
We then spoke about the gold jewellery pieces given to Misbah by her mother: An intricate filigree bangle and a statement gold ring and how Misbah’s mother always looks to see which gifted pieces from her she wears at special occasions.
"I wear this. Virtually every wedding I go to, basically because , it's something my mom gave me, and it just goes with everything. Weddings are bling, isn't it, everybody is bling as possible. So, even if I don't wear anything else on the other wrist, if I have this on I just feel like I've got enough on. I just feel love when I wear it because it something a loved one has given you."
And with this sentiment we spoke about the love she has for her daughter Nafeesa, and especially around the time she was buying her eldest daughter jewellery for her wedding almost 10 years before she was getting married;
"And at that time I was with one of my cousin’s in Lahore, and her father in law has a jewellers and again I had that in my mind that she's gonna be getting married and thought I would have a look. And they, specialise in Kundan jewellery. I was like, how am I going to choose this for her you know because kids nowadays have their own taste, and their mom's choice is doesn't always match up. When I was in Lahore, I saw this beautiful set, and it was a Kundan Haar with matching really nice big earrings and a tikka. And so I sent her a picture, thinking, oh my gosh isn't the same as what would have wanted but was actually she thought it was really beautiful, and she was like this is perfect."
Misbah kindly asked her daughter Nafeesa about the handed down pieces her grandmother gave to her:
In this episode the love of a mother and daughter through the jewellery pieces bought for special occasions as a marker of remembrance shines through, the wearer feels and remembers the loved one who bought them the gold jewellery they adorn with pride. Misbah explains to to us with so much passion why giving a daughter gold jewellery is a tradition that she wants to uphold and pass on to the new generation- to her its an inherent part of our culture, whose meaning may have changed but the emotional sentiment still remains.