It’s no secret that in many ways, minorities still do not have proper platforms to speak up about their lives. Similarly, after finding that there were very few places for South Asians to turn to and discuss their culture, Sharan Dhaliwal decided to create Burnt Roti Mag, a publication that aims to promote South Asian heritage and talent.
Raised in Southall and Hounslow in West London, before finally settling down in Stoke Newington, Dhaliwal now works at the United Kingdom Parliament as a designer. Being of South Asian descent but raised in England, she is no stranger to both the benefits and struggles that come with being accustomed to several cultures. Burnt Roti Mag aims to give others like her, who hail from South Asian heritage, a voice.
I suffered body disorders, anxiety and depression from my appearance and thought that if I fit into what everyone considered as ‘beautiful,’ it would improve my life I started thinking about how often PoC are affected by this, looking for ‘remedies’ in surgery.
The more conversations I had, the more I wondered how important it was to speak about it. This was one of the reasons Burnt Roti was created – to have a platform where this is discussed and people understood.”
Burnt Roti focuses on many different topics, ranging from women’s issues to racism to mental health. While the voices behind the content might be South Asians, Dhaliwal hopes to attract a diverse audience.
Starting your own online platform is not easy – Dhaliwal faced many obstacles, including funding the magazine, creating the print publications and dealing with the negative opinions that many had, including those who believed that the formation of a South Asian magazine was discriminating against other backgrounds.
I’ve had people ask why I’m discriminating against white people who want to write about South Asian culture, to which I’ve pointed them to the many publications that exist for people like them. I’ve had a club refuse to hold my launch party after finding out we’re a South Asian magazine.”
Nevertheless, Dhaliwal worked hard and has turned Burnt Roti into a well-developed and extremely influential platform.
However, she isn’t quite done yet; there are still many ideas for the website that she hopes to implement in the future.
Burnt Roti’s main focus at the moment is “The Beauty of Being British Asian,” an event being held by the publication in August which aims to celebrate the dual identities of people of South Asian descent who were born and raised in Britain. More information about the event can be found here
To learn more about Burnt Roti, visit them at http://www.burntroti.com.