Anita and Me - Background


The first in a series of study resources on Meera Syal's Anita and Me, this study note sets the scene by giving you some background information on areas that are relevant to the novel - The Black Country, India and Punjab. The slides set will give you some context to help understand the characters and narrative better.
Niamh Ryan
Slide Set by Niamh Ryan, updated more than 1 year ago
Niamh Ryan
Created by Niamh Ryan over 6 years ago

Resource summary

Slide 1

    The Black Country
    A region located in the area to the North and West of Birmingham Played an important part in the Industrial Revolution Coal mining and manufacturing of metalwork  Name comes from black soot that clouded the sky as a result of growing industry

Slide 2

    Change in the Black Country
    After World War II, many jobs  were filled by women. Immigration from Europe and the Commonwealth was encouraged. Closure of the coal mines and the decline of manufacturing industry led to widespread unemployment in the region in the 1960's and 1970's.

Slide 3

    India received independence from Britain in August 1947. It was partitioned in to India and East and West Pakistan, which are now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh today. The main religion of Pakistan was to be Islam, while the main religions of India would be Hinduism and Sikhism. Hundreds of thousands of people were involuntarily relocated from their homes so that they would be living in the country that corresponded to their religion. Many were very bitter and reacted violently - Some preferred to move to the UK than to move to India or Pakistan.

Slide 4

    Meena's family is from a region in India known as Punjab. During parition, Punjab was split between India and Pakistan, and as a result the violence resulting from partition was especially terrible there. Some say that up between 200,000 and 2,000,000 people were killed trying to cross over the borders to reach their new countries. Virtually no Muslim survived in East Punjab (except in Malerkotla) and virtually no Hindu or Sikh survived in West Punjab. The British Nationality Act of 1948 made it easier for citizens of the Commonwealth countries to live and work in Britain and resulted in an influx of immigration from Africa and Asia.
    Caption: : Emergency trains crowded with desperate refugees
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