Hamant Verma: The British Indian approach to business can help us escape recession

Share
Related Topics

British Indians have a conservative culture, with a small "c", which means they are sceptical of change, resourceful and austere – perfect for dealing with a recession. While the regular sight of an Indian housewife parking a large new Mercedes saloon outside one of Ealing Road's modest vegetarian restaurants probably looks ostentatious to indigenous Brits, shrewd Desis will have the nagging feeling that her husband could probably have afforded a bigger one if he wanted.

It is hard for mainstream high streets to draw lessons from the British Indian approach to business, not least because of the idiosyncrasies of south Asian culture. But an analysis should provide them with food for thought. Most British Indian shopkeepers tend to own their premises outright, which helps their ability to leverage.

Many of the shops on Southall Broadway and Ealing Road are family businesses, which means the owner can be flexible with the labour force. And because of the Indian communities' determination to strain every last A grade out of their kids at school, their workforce tend to be well educated.

Customer service is also good at these shops, with the owners personable and knowledgeable about their products. The diligent shopkeeper can become an "uncle" in name to a family in the course of time. Jaffer Kapasi, chairman of Leicestershire Asian Business Association, said the number of banks that have sprung up in and around Belgrave Road, in Leicester, over the past ten years is testament to another positive aspect of desi culture: saving for a rainy day. An inclination to save cash is drummed into Indians from childhood and the slightest hint of personal debt provides a loss of face in the family (and the occasionally threat of a slap on it, if the offender is young enough).

And leaving any debt to future generations is frowned upon in the Indian Diaspora. Let's not forget that a mortgage from a financial institution is only a recent method to buy a flat in big cities such as Mumbai; India is the biggest influence on British Indian culture, after all. If the British Indian community is conservative with a small "c", perhaps the "c" should stand for cost-effective.



Hamant Verma is former Editor of Eastern Eye

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Are you looking for part time/ ...

SEN (SLD/PMLD) Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Currently looking for teachers ...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Karl Lagerfeld's latest Chanel show might have dressed itself up in feminism, but it was more embarrassing than empowering

Mark Izatt
 

Theresa May doesn’t get it - banning ideas we don’t like is to suggest that we are frightened of them

Mike Harris
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?