New monthly for Asian professionals in UK launched


London : A new monthly magazine targeting the large number of professionals with origins in India and elsewhere in Asia working in Britain has been launched from Manchester.

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Called 'Asian Lite', the magazine is edited and published by Anasudhin Azeez, a senior journalist of Indian origin who has worked for Khaleej Times, Gulf Today and the Indian Express.

The 32-page full colour monthly has a cover price of 70 pence but it will initially be distributed free for the first six months to over 20,000 Asian professionals across the UK. The editorial office is based in Manchester.

Azeez told IANS: "Check any newspaper. Even newspapers from the big media stables such as Guardian (Asian News) and Johnston Press (Asian Leader) are dominated with stories about violence, drugs, racial discrimination, illegal immigration, forced marriages and gun crime.

"These are only a slice of the spectrum. Asians are really doing well in some of the major sectors in the British economy. Asian-owned businesses in the UK have a turnover of about £60 billion a year, while real Asian wealth increased by 69 per cent between 1998 and 2005, compared with the UK's GDP, which was up just 23 per cent.

"The new generation is doing well academically. There are more professionals in the Indian community than other sections of the British society. But even in the post Big Brother era, they are still largely synonymous with curry and Shilpa."

He added that the publication's links with professional associations in Britain will "prove to be our backbone." Thirty plus professional associations across the UK have signed up as distribution partners for the venture.

Azees said that among the leading lights associated with the magazine are Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi (as a columnist), Bikram Vohra (as consulting editor), Rahul Singh (columnist), as well as British Asian columnists such as model Sadia Siddiqui, former Manchester mayor Afzal Khan and Sajjad Karim, Member of the European Parliament.

Speaking at the launch event, Lord Mayor of Manchester Glynn Evans said: "The new title will help the Asian community to cement its cultural identity and improve better community relations.

"Manchester has played an important role in the immigration of Asians to Britain. The city had witnessed the arrival of thousands of Asians during the heydays of cotton mills. The chimneys are no more active today but the community is still thriving.

"They have found alternative work in various small scale and big businesses. The new generation is breaking the glass ceilings and instead of treading through worn paths, they prefer to become trail blazers."