A Time For Change
est. reading time: 45mins

My name is Roshan Chauhan, a name you might recognise from summer 2020 when I published my open letter to the dance music press. Today I’m changing my alias, from R.O.S.H to Works Of Intent. It’s one of the few examples in this industry of someone not changing their name out of realisation that the old one might be problematic. Instead, it is designed to better articulate the kind of output I want to focus on. Also, the previous alias was basically ungooglable – you could never find me. A nightmare for both people trying to search for me in the aftermath of a performance and to an artist in an industry that can be a bit of a numbers game depending on who you ask.

It’s not all change though. The R.O.S.H. project was filled with a rich and fictious history[]. Spanning from somewhere in the early 80s[] through to the 25th century[]. It featured late night phone ins; guest appearances on TV game shows[]; recordings from legendary raves of old[]; intimate tales set in recent reality[]; and a gauntlet of releases[]. So, while the name is changing, the Blackadder-esque timeline continues to be explored.

This new collection of photos was taken with various family members in Zambia during a period between the late 1940s and early 60s. They lived there till the 70s before moving to Britain. My observations and my conversations while there inspired me to explore the larger context of my background further. Below is the resulting essay, pieced together from months of research and conversations. It traces a history of how the South Asian diaspora[] was shaped by British colonialism, a history which will lend meaning to the new name.


It's hard to know where to begin. How far back do you want to go when exploring anyone's history? Where do the boundaries end? The advent of British colonialism and its impact on my family doesn't have a verifiable start date, but a symbolic start in infrastructure that shook an entire continent might be as good a place as any.

When the first rail was laid down in India by the British, it was for one purpose: extraction of the most efficient kind. This extraction was accompanied by a newly imposed agricultural system of crushing taxes and debts that required farmers to produce for the export market, rather than mere subsistence. Forests, farms, and commons such as water were privatised and sold off. The British had brought “the free market” to India.

The idea was that by stripping them away you could compel Indian farmers to be more productive: cast at the mercy of the market, they would figure out ways to extract ever higher yields from the land. Yet farmers found that the market was rigged against them, for India’s tariffs were controlled in London and in the interests of British stockholders. Jason Hickel (2018)[]

With resources that farmers required now being fenced off, exploited, and sold by British companies, farmers couldn’t acquire the feed for their cattle. So, the cattle died and without their manure, the nutrition of the land deteriorated. With the irrigation system privatised – when drought came, the result was devastating. Over 20 years, two massive droughts hit the Indian subcontinent causing 30 million Indians to die of starvation.

Excert from the New York Times 1896
The New York Times[], December 26th 1896

This devastating death toll was entirely avoidable. There was a surplus of grain in some parts of the country, but rather than re-routing these supplies to the areas in need, they were extracted using the very railway the British had forced the Indians to build.

…the rail system, obedient to market logic, was used by merchants to ship grain from the hinterlands into central depots where it could be guarded from the hungry and shipped to Europe. Financial speculation on the London Stock Exchange was driving food prices to eye-watering heights. During the period from 1875 to 1900, Indian grain exports increased from 3 million to 10 million tons per year. J, Hickel (2018)

Years before, in the countryside of Britain, the peasant class were also subject to enclosures by the landed elite. Enclosures involved the privatisation of the commons, the lands which the farmers required for subsistence. This drove them to a level of despair and poverty previously unimagined in their generation and forced them to “choose” between starvation and the emergent factories, workhouses, and slums of the new industrial era.

There was a symbiotic relationship between the enclosures enforced on the British peasant class and the enclosures in colonies. Often the elite privatisers would own slave ships or plantations in the colonies, whose wealth would generate the necessary funds to continue their process of enclosure in England. The plight of African slaves and the extraction of resources from foreign lands funded misery at home.

In describing the actions of the ruling class, the 16th century English poet Robert Crowley would unknowingly describe the actions and the subsequent feelings of those many thousands of miles away.

the great farmers...the men of law, the merchants, the gentleman, the knights, the lords... take our houses over our heads, they buy our grounds out of our hands, they raise our rents, they levy (yea unreasonable) fines, they enclose our commons. Men without conscience. Men utterly devoid of God's fear. Yea, men that live as though there were no God at all! Men that would have all in their hands; men that would leave nothing for others; men that would be alone on this earth; men that are never satisfied. They are greedy gulls; yea, men that would eat up men, women and children. Robert Crowley (1550)[]

As the British rapidly walled off what was once free to all, as their fields were left devoid of nutrients and water, as the railways took the grain from their lands and their mouths and as the 30 million in India starved - a similar damnation would have echoed in their minds.



In 1833, the Slavery Abolition Act was passed. It was passed to the delight of the concerned British liberal that had read about the horrors of such things in the papers. It was passed to the delight of the slave holders who were duly compensated for their loss of property. It was passed to the delight of plantation owners who had already found a cheaper source of labour: The South Asian indentured worker.

The earlier famine’s colonial extraction had placed millions of Indians in a position where taking up indentured contracts wasn't a choice but a means of survival. The sheer number and desperation of those seeking a way out came as a boon to colonial landowners across the world.

For just a blip in time, there was a moment of hope for the now emancipated slaves working on the plantations of British industry; hope that – if not compensated for their previous work – they might form in union and be able to demand fair wages for continued work on their lands.

But the arrival of the indentured labourer, brought in from abroad, fundamentally undermined their bargaining power. So, “the indentured workers were forced into becoming the international scabs of the nineteenth century.”[]

From the point of view of the planter, indenture was even better than slavery because it was cheaper. Enthused the Company of Gillanders and Arbuthnot: 'Their cost is not half that of slaves.' And indeed it wasn’t. The price of a slave at the time of emancipation was between £200-£250 for an average life span of ten years... An indentured worker cost the planter £55 for ten years, inclusive of wages, commissions and passage. Fatima Meer (1985)

Such knowledge puts the emancipation of slavery into a more realistic light. It could pass because a feel-good liberal replacement was on the books where indenture was sold as a "choice" and the land-owning classes would be no worse off for their labour needs.

The marketing of the indentured and the enslaved was similar. European companies engaged the services of the local agents: in Africa the chief, in India the duffadar and the arkatia. The slaves walked in chained coffles, up to 500 miles to reach the port; the indentured were marched in gangs, sometimes for forty days. Both labour commodities were kept locked and guarded at the ports while awaiting shipment - the slaves in barracoons, the indentured in emigration depots. Since indentured labour went under the subterfuge of emigration, the recruits had to signify acceptance of contracts which they could neither understand nor sign, and appear before a magistrate to register their willingness to be indentured. While slaves were branded before departing, the indentured had a tin ticket hung around their necks or wrists. F, Meer (1985)

The contract and treatment of South Asian indentured workers would vary, and it is neither the purpose nor ability of this piece to fairly represent the breadth of experience here. I hope with a few examples, though, I can paint a rough outline.

Indian indenture lasted from 1834 – 1920. During this time, 2 million Indians were brought to other parts of the British empire to work on sugar, rubber, tea, and coco plantations; and on all the ingredients required for effective colonial rule.

This is how the second railway in this story came to be built. Between 1896 and 1901, through the contract of indentured servitude, 30,000 labours from India were brought over to construct the Kenya-Uganda Railway. In doing so, they brought the same plight to native Kenyans and Ugandans as had been brought to them in India. To open the region to the “free market”; to expedite the process of goods for export; specifically, the agricultural goods from the arriving influx of white European settlers.

As European settlers arrived in Kenya from 1902, they claimed land in an ad hoc and irregular manner. Farms were pegged out on the ground and occupied by the settlers long before any proper survey could be completed, and before any formal title deed was issued. It took the colonial survey department nearly twenty years to catch up with the backlog of ratifying these claims. By and large, in areas legally opened from settlement, Europeans could claim the land they wanted. The law stated that the land should be unoccupied, but allowance was made to compensate any Africans who were dispossessed. European settlers paid little heed to these provisions, and hid behind the useful fiction that African’s had no notion of land ownership. D, Anderson (2005)[]

This was enclosure. Enclosure of the free lands and commons of Native Africans, some of the land was already being used for subsistence farming but white settlers believed that if the land was not being exploited properly then the land was not deserved. So, they took it, and the imaginary, real and legally inferred walls arose from the ground, displacing them from what was rightfully theirs - a right to live.

Many of the early white colonizers came from South Africa, and were shocked to find that the British protectorate had not implemented the same punishing level of racial segregation, protections, and violent enforcement that the Dutch had in their previous abode[].

The country is run too much according to Indian methods. If it is to be a white man's country would it not be better to follow a little more in the wake of the administrations of South African Colonies who have now had so many years of experience in similar territory, which they brought to a state of prosperity.

There honestly seems to be very little that they did not complain about: white government officials getting marginally better rates on hunting licenses[]; perceived preference to Africans in the court system[]; that their train driver on arrival was Indian[]; that Indians were buying land near the railway; that there were Indians at all to begin with despite their arrival predating white settlement by 100 years[]; that they were not being given more free land for their very presence[] and that they did not have immunity from arrest by native police officers[]. The list goes on. The settlers wanted nothing less than total dominance of the land, law and its peoples.

One of the Indians that built that railway under what we can only guess were the terms of indentured servitude was a distant relative. Upon completion of his contract, and with knowledge of where stations would soon be constructed, he built shops along the line to sell goods to passengers and new settlers. It was a successful venture.

This was my family’s first foray into Africa and although he would sell his businesses and return to India at the request of his wife, the word would spread back home. There was opportunity in Africa.


Although almost 2,500 of the roughly 35,800 indentured workers would die in the gruelling conditions during the laying of the Kenyan-Ugandan railway, there were far worse fates for an indentured worker to end up.

Natal quickly gained the reputation of being one of the worst depots for indentured labour. Henry Binns reported to the Coolie Commission that he believed the rates paid in Natal to be the lowest of all colonies. Considerable numbers of the indentured were not even paid their legitimate pittances: employers made large deductions for small transgressions, rations were withheld from women and children and though the law laid down a ten-hour working day, fourteen hours were common. F, Meer (1985)

Natal, a region of South Africa, had one of the largest influxes of Indian indentured workers of all Britain’s colonies. The treatment of them was appalling. Provided housing had no toilets; the white landowners did not believe that they knew how to use them and that it would “only concentrate their filth.”

There is much rubbish about the coolie huts together with human excrement. I found the roads, paths, banks of the river, even the riverbed itself close to the place where the coolies drink in a very filthy state. The stench ... was sufficient to cause serious illness.

And illness there was. But the white landowners did not believe that their labour could fall ill, and so the hospital was turned into a prison. All excuses, under performance and misdemeanours, were treated with a fine and solitary confinement for weeks on end. Such fines would accrue more debt and often after the initial 5-year contract term was over, they would have no choice but to re-indenture under even worse terms as contracts in Natal were not regulated.

It was a life of misery with zero recourse for fair treatment. Gujrati Indians who arrived not as indentured workers but as entrepreneurs, known as ‘passengers,’ would internalise this treatment as a racial failure and embarrassment. Upon settling they would attempt to distance themselves from the indignities suffered by most Indians and claim themselves as Arab.

But the white landowners would not see anyone other than their own as equals deserving of Natal’s land and wealth.

The emergent Indian ’bourgeoisie’ had to be curbed, and the position of the Indian fixed to that of the unskilled workers. This was the essence of white domination. It could not be shared with the colonised… white Natal united against the Indians as a class. F, Meer (1985)


My grandfather moved to Ndola in Zambia as a teenager with the rest of his family after the second world war and the partition of India. He arrived into the aftermath of the battle between white settler lobbying and the interests of Whitehall. The result of this dispute was a hyper-segregated landscape.

Y.Ghai and D.Ghai correctly observed that members of the three different races were forced to go to different schools and lived in different locality, unable to share social and culture amenities and it is not surprising that they remained ignorant of one another’s customs, needs and aspiration… The British rulers separated all communities by creating segregated communal zones. The implementation of such a system inadvertently left a deep void in the understanding of the Zambian social and cultural practices by the Indian settlers, thus further destroying any hope of their integration into the fabric of the Zambian society. Kamini Krishna (2020)[]

The level of segregation was so strong that the sighting of a native Zambian or white settler was a rare occurrence. Their communities acted as insular hubs of activity. Open only to the import and export of goods along the railway.

The ability of Indians to sell and set up business was granted by the British colonial government in the first place. This meant that they were competing with the only other sellers allowed - white Europeans. Competition grew and the tight knit nature of the South Asian community in not only family but in finance meant that they became more successful.

An observation of Indian success in Zambia during the first half of the century was made by the former British consul of Asia.

His manner of life domestic in the extreme is nevertheless so thrifty, so fugal and his wants, bounded by a little curry and rice, are so inexpensive, that few there are who cannot remit a rupee to India at the end of the year, to add to the store. L, Gann (1964)[]

Seeking to join the rest of the business class my grandfather embarked on learning the art of tailoring and men’s dress wear, eventually setting up a store of his own.

This entrepreneurial zeal in a highly segregated and controlled environment would define how Indian communities saw themselves and would impact and shape British politics even today.


In Natal measures were attempted by the settlers to prevent any form of solidarity either in their worker camps or between races from forming.

It was in the interest of the white colonist to fan any hostility, for any consolidation of interest between the two labour contingents would have been fatal in a situation where the ratio between white and Black was already in the region of 1:10. Consequently, Indians and Africans were separated from each other, and in separation, projected as dangerous to each other. They were at the same time kept within ’viewing’ distance of each other, so that they could be constantly reminded of their strange and different ways. There was the use of African whipping boys on the estates, and the sentencing of a transgressing coolie to the kaffir barracks where he could be terrorised and ridiculed as the master intended; there was the appointment of an Indian overseer over African mill-hands and the use of African police to suppress Indian strikes; and running through it all, constantly reinforced, was the use of stereotypes calculated to present each with an adverse image of the other. Such stereotypes were fabricated, in the first instance, for the peace of mind of the whites themselves, to relieve them of Christian guilt for the humanity they degraded. F, Meer (1985)

Despite this, resistance inevitably grew against their treatment. Class boundaries would be broken between the indentured labourers and the more privileged Indians. They engaged in passive resistance leading to several massive strikes that put the Indians in conversation with whites on a political level.

But these strikes were organised by India for the good of Indians in Natal. On the ground, the lies, the stereotypes and most importantly the walls created by white settlers between the natives and Indians were beginning to crumble.

In 1932 the Natal Indian Congress was met by criticism from a local Indian newspaper, Indian Views, over its strategy of passive resistance[]. Understanding that any action and solidarity must also breach racial lines, they wrote:

To Britain we say may the curse of an oppressed people drag you to your doom. To India - spare us your sympathy, your delegations and your Round Table conferences, to ourselves - purge yourself of every iota of the snobbery that keeps you aloof from the native African - turn native. In this country you are nothing more and nothing less than the native. Thicker than ties of blood are the ties of slavery - one common destiny, one common tyrant, one common hell of tyranny ordains that the two of you shall merge and give battle to the oppressor as one. Indian Views (1932)

Crucially, the white landowners had not headed the example set by British Protectorates elsewhere of allowing the Indians to become a second class buffer race. In their brutal treatment of the Indian indenture servants, they hoped to quell consolidation by dividing along racial lines alone. Instead, the iron strength of class solidarity had emerged.


In my visit to see family in Ndola in 1961 all notions of frugality had gone out the window and no one was sending money back to India anymore. They were now part of the burgeoning business elite. Streets with multi-bedroom estates and tracks of land as garden space. Cleaners, gardeners, and chefs with their own lodgings on the property. Car ownership, a rare thing even in 1960s Britain, was a norm in this community. They were, in fewer words, ballin’.

The hyper segregation of before still marked the social character of the country, but the walls were beginning to crumble and views of how the other lived were becoming more frequent. Seeing the wealth in these communities led to rumours that there was collaboration between South Asian communities and the colonial rulers in supressing and delaying African independence. Businesses were boycotted and attacked in protest.

South Asians were largely ignorant of the political struggles of local Africans because of segregation. But after the attacks and boycotts many in the Asian community wanted to set the standing straight on what they thought of their colonial rulers and on African independence.

Indians joined either ANC or UNIP but their participation in African nationalists politics had little effect on Asia businesses as a whole. This was because in the main, their participation was not done openly. Asians contributed to the nationalist cause through moral, and most importantly through financial support which was done quietly. Consequently, their contribution remained unnoticed by the colonial authorities and was misguided as they saw most members of the Asia community as sympathiser of the colonial ruler. Hence, they were left alone to transact their business unimpeded. K, Krishna (2020)

The struggle for independence from British rule was of course, something they could relate to. My grandfather was one of many secret South Asian contributors to the ANC before Zambia gained independence in 1964.

In Kenya, where my mother was born, disenfranchised local natives were fighting to reclaim land from the white settlers that had taken it.

The British response was a mass corral of the populous to find out who belonged to the so called “Mau Mau” guerrilla army. Under this pretence they tortured and killed Kenyans not subservient to the needs of white settlers for cheap/free labour and put many in concentration camps the protectorate had constructed outside the city centres.

Meanwhile, Indians were granted business licenses at the most lucrative areas of commerce. Functioning as a middle class within the retail and service sector. They were educated either by the British in Kenya or in India. The natives were denied the rights to any free education unlike the children of white settlers.

The push and pull between the demands of white settlers and the social engineers at Whitehall to keep the status of Indians elevated as a buffer race prevented the two racial groups from banding together. For any sympathetic Indians the stark nature of the treatment and conditions of native Africans served as a reminder of what was at stake.

This divide and conquer technique worked incredibly well, allowing many Indians to shed the concepts of history, context and material circumstances and regard the native's misfortune, lack of education and reduced opportunities as a failing of their own making. Not one deliberately instilled by the very recent actions of British ruling class social design.

Functioning as a subordinate ruling class, Indians in east Africa enjoyed success in business, finance, and the professions throughout the colonial period, and gained significant control over the economy. By the time Kenya won its independence in 1963, Indians – who accounted for less than 3% of the population – owned more than two thirds of the country’s private non-agricultural assets. Maria del Pilar Kaladeen (2021)[]

There were exceptions to the rule: Indians who fought for Kenyan independence with the Mau Mau like Makhan Singh[] and Udham Singh[]. India even sent lawyers to defend Jomo Kenyatta during his trial in 1952[].

But most put their heads in the sand about the world around them. In places like Kenya and Uganda where the inequalities and segregation had created an insurmountable barrier, they crafted a new story about themselves and their successes. The wealth they had gained and the system that they had navigated was the result of pure entrepreneurial graft and handwork. A “boot-straps” rhetoric with licks of racial superiority inherited from their white enablers was the reality that they could bear. When the colonies started to gain independence from the British empire and the cost of maintaining the colonies became unpopular domestically, then they were left at the mercy of a native populous that had grown bitter with white settlers and their perceived beneficiaries.



In the 1960s successive East African countries gained independence from their British protectorates. Their independence brought with it the rise of nationalist thinking and the South Asians that made up the bulk of the middle class were expected to give up their colonial passports or leave.

The Kenyan government had not pulled its punches in telling the British Passport holding Asians they were not wanted. President Kenyatta said “He looked forward to the early ‘Kenyanisation’ of the commercial life of his country.” Asian shop keepers were left with little alternative but to wind up their businesses and seek new roots. The airport was jammed with those lucky enough to get flight tickets to Britain. Pathé (1968)[]

Understanding that there was to be a wave of immigration by the east African Indians to the UK, the British government sent in envoys from India to encourage Indians to return “home”. But for many who had been living in East Africa for generations, and who owned Colonial British Passports, they were British, and they were going to exercise their rights to move where they liked within the empire.

The potential influx of once colonial subjects roused parliament into action, leading to the quick passing of the Immigration Acts of 1962 and 1968. The context and results of this legislation are important and best described by Deirdre Troy, a researcher into citizenship revocation.

A considerable number of immigrants to the UK were Irish and this group would play a significant role during the immigration debates of the 1960s and 1970s. By 1951 Britain was home to 750,000 Irish-born people. However, an increase in immigration from the colonies was viewed differently. That immigration was not decreasing was presented as a problem, yet it was also stimulated by the recruitment of transport and domestic workers. While there was reportedly little evidence of any difficulty of arrivals finding work - the committee pointed to an issue of overcrowding and housing. This is despite the fact that during the 1950s and 1960s more people left the country than entered each year apart from 1961 and 62. By continually counting citizens arriving from the colonies, the government began to refer to these citizens as a problem. Whereas they were unconcerned with the figures of those arriving from the old commonwealth countries such as Canada and Australia. And so, they wished to find a way to separate citizens from the colonies from immigrants elsewhere. Now unless a new British Nationality Bill was passed the government would have to divide this one citizenship category into two - in order to regulate the mobility of one but not the other. And with these claims over housing and social tension the government introduced a new immigration bill in 1962. In designing an immigration bill for citizens, the categories of citizen and immigrant broke down during this period. That is in deciding to use an immigration act on the citizens of the colonies the British government took the crucial step to treat its citizens as immigrants. Privately, cabinet ministers recognised that new restrictions would "operate on coloured people almost exclusively". What is striking about the belonger division is the attempts by those defending the 1968 bill to appeal to an intuitive sense of belonger and the idea that if MPs really thought about it, they would know who a belonger was. Deirdre Troy (2020)[]

The idea of “Belongers & Non-Belongers” is still the most contemporary political approach to matters of immigration and domestic ideals of what the identity of Britain is.

It is played with constantly in matters of immigration and citizenship through examples such as the Windrush scandal, “Go Home” vans, treatment in detention centres, refugee status, admittance, and deportation. In matters of identity: through the absurd notion of specifically “British values”, the Trojan Horse school fiasco, Islamophobia, school exclusion rates, trans rights, Brexit – the list goes on.

The conversations everyday Britons are confronted with in news media are designed to enclose the idea of who belongs and who does not to a specific architype, which becomes less and less relevant to the actual make up of its citizens with each passing day.

So strong is this effect that South Asians can internalise a vision of who belongs in Britain that does not even include themselves.

Maya Kalaria explores the idea that the effects of British colonialism - its rules, its standards, its needs and wants - are embedded in the experience and identity of South Asians. Remember, for those who served as indentured servants in Africa and stayed there, that rule did not end during Indian Independence and partition in 1947 but continued into the 60s. Where upon independence caused another mass migratory exodus, this time to the home of the coloniser. There are multiple generations of South Asians dating back to as early as 1612[] that have never known life without the British gaze.

We still have this Stockholm syndrome, so many of us are living under British occupation. Mentally and emotionally, that's where the scaring is. It's in the mind a lot of the time. It's the voice in your head that is so critical and colonial and "you must be like this." "You need to look whiter." "You need to speak better." I think so many of us have internalised that voice, that colonial voice. Maya Kalaria (2021)[]

When my father arrived in Britain at the age of 17 in the late 70s with his parents and 6 other brothers and sisters, they faced a level of hostility that I will thankfully never know. Living in South London during the rise of the National Front involved the constant threat of violence. Speaking the language with a neutral accent is one thing; understanding the minutia of British social norms and unwritten rules on its own turf was another. Making friends was difficult, redoing years of education was frustrating. The extended family sought to re-enact in some ways the safety and community of old. There were frequent trips to points of interest in their new home via family stuffed car convoys. There was comfort in numbers, comfort in family - there was comfort in enclosure.

On a wider scale, the effects of a racial hierarchal thinking and the implementation of a second class buffer race in the colonies still leave their marks today.

Visual bar graph showing relative wealth by ethnic group

The 2019 Runnymede report “The Colour of Money”[] shows Indians measured an average of almost 95% of the assets and savings of a typical white British household, while Black African households have just 10% of their averaged accrued wealth. The first major wave of Indian migrants came in the 1950s to fill out the labour supply in a post-world war Britain, with activity mainly taking place in northern England's factories and mills. Many of these Indians participated in trade unions and would be labelled as “politically Black” because of their anti-racist activism and solidarity with Black migrants. But for the “twice migrant” Indians from east Africa there was a different mindset.

When this group of Indians arrived in Britain, many brought with them the considerable wealth they had accrued (along with a hostility towards black Africans). Others brought with them the benefits of English-language education. These advantages virtually guaranteed the economic success of east African Indians in Britain. Neha Shah (2020)[]


In the summer of 2020, I wrote an open letter to the UK music press that detailed their historic failures to include a thriving Black community into their coverage and worldview for years[]. It summarised the systemic oppression of London’s Black working class electronic music scenes. It became the most ubiquitous piece of writing on dance music in decades.

As a follow up, Marcus Barnes reached out to Black creatives that had publicly shared the piece for further comment and reflection[]. Overwhelmingly the message, not just from that piece but also from other Black creatives that had reached out to me was this: that I had articulated the feeling of many in the Black music community and that finally, they felt heard. On its own, this would be a statement to take pride in, but understanding the broader context of who its audience was and who I was made me feel uniquely uncomfortable.

The complaints of many Black artists in the industry were not truly heard by the white middle class that gatekept most of it, till a piece written by the son of twice migrant Indians, and all the privileges that came with that status, articulated it to them. My role as a parley between Black voices to a mass of white ears as the preferred subservient race was inescapable. It felt like I had fallen into a kind of postcolonial trap.

As I pieced together the “civilising” actions of colonial Britain and came to understand how their racial hierarchical world view became imposed across its empire; it uncovered how their actions impacted the direction of the family that came before me. I realised that the lingering mark of colonial thinking had never left its source. In Britain, we are all the descendants of the actions taken by the British elite abroad and their experiments in social structuring.

The limits of our identities and roles are enclosed in walls that have been built over centuries. We unknowingly reflect the structures we inhabit. It is only after understanding the makeup of it that we might start to slip from its image and begin
to make works
of intent.

Rosh on the left, his grandfather on the right.