Mohammad Qazalbash
Aug 14, 2023

Why South Asian Heritage Month matters in PR

Mohammad Qazalbash reflects on his father's journey from his small, conservative hometown of Peshawar to pursue a new career in London, and reiterates why diversity matters now more than it's ever done before.

Photo: PR Week UK.
Photo: PR Week UK.

For many South Asians, our journeys are characterised by distinct footprints, each step resonating with a worldview that encompasses far more than meets the eye. Our narratives are a delicate dance between East and West, deftly weaving cultural nuances while bridging gaps in understanding. In a world where PR crafts narratives and forges connections, the value of having a storyteller with a cultured and informed point of view cannot be overstated, can it?

However, the journey is not without its obstacles. The PR industry, like many others, has been marred by the shadows of model minority myth, discrimination and microaggressions. The expectation that South Asian individuals must conform to predefined norms of success places undue pressure on us, stifling our creativity and individuality. Moreover, instances of discrimination and microaggressions can subtly erode our sense of belonging and potential in the industry.

This is why South Asian Heritage Month matters. It’s more than a cultural celebration; it’s a call to action. It’s a time to amplify our voices, share our stories and confront the intricacies of our journey. It’s a platform that transforms shared experiences into collective strength, reminding us that our heritage is a wellspring of creativity, innovation and resilience–and deeply rooted in British history.

Our industry, too, must heed this call. Inclusivity is not an option; it’s a necessity. Embracing diversity isn’t just about ticking boxes; it’s about enriching narratives and expanding perspectives. For too long, certain roles have remained homogenous, failing to capture the full spectrum of human experience. It’s time to recognise this disparity and dismantle the barriers that hold back untapped potential.

Driving inclusivity begins with hiring practices. We must actively seek diverse talent, providing opportunities that mirror the mosaic of our society. It’s about fostering a culture where voices are not only heard but valued, where microaggressions are confronted, and biases are addressed head-on. Workshops, training, panel discussions and simple research can play a pivotal role in this transformation, challenging preconceived notions and fostering a deeper understanding.

Standing at the crossroads of heritage and profession, I’m reminded that our narratives are potent, our experiences valid, and our contributions pivotal to the industry’s evolution. My father’s journey from Peshawar to London encapsulates the aspirations, sacrifices and resilience of countless South Asian individuals who’ve interwoven their narratives into the fabric of the UK. South Asian Heritage Month isn’t merely a ritual; it signifies our rightful place in society’s tapestry, an affirmation that our experiences matter, and a rallying call for a more inclusive future.

Let us embrace this month as an opportunity to spark conversations, challenge norms and drive lasting change. As we do so, we weave a brighter, more vibrant tapestry, one where every thread is a testament to the resilience and unity of the South Asian spirit within the PR industry.

Mohammad Qazalbash is vice-president of publicity at Live Nation Entertainment.




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