| Confused desi: Swraj Paul during a visit to Calcutta last year
London, Nov. 14: London is confirmed as virtually “the capital of Greater India”, according to analysis of figures from the Office for National Statistics.
The latest figures show that out of London’s total population in June 2006 of 7,348,000, those born in the UK amounted to 5,060,000 — which means a third of Londoners were born abroad.
Of those born abroad, Indians make up the biggest contingent — 206,000 — outstripping even those who were born in the Irish Republic (114,000).
However, to get a true picture of the Indian population in London, it is important to add the children of first-generation Indians born in the UK plus Indians who were born in East Africa and other parts of the world and their children.
“We are taking over,” joked Lord Swraj Paul. “This might get me into trouble with the (right wing) BNP (British National Party).”
Paul’s family is a suitable one for closer analysis. “In my family, one of my sons, Angad, was born in the UK. Out of seven grandchildren, five were born in the UK.”
A little more seriously, he added: “This sort of analysis in a global world is very confusing.”
Much of the newspaper retail trade in London is in the hands of Indians. Also, FDI means that India is becoming a major investor in London and this has brought highly-paid Indian executives into the British capital.
Certainly, there has been a flood of Indian bankers into London because of the expansions of institutions such as ICICI Bank.
Because of family and other links, between 500,000 and 600,000 Indians visit London every year and go shopping in Oxford Street and the adjacent Bond Street.
Even Bollywood has discovered London in a big way. Amitabh Bachchan is an actor who now practically lives in London, brushing shoulders with politicians such as Gordon Brown and Tessa Jowell in the House of Commons, with occasional trips to Mumbai. And if Bachchan is here, can “younger brother” Amar Singh be far behind'
Film-maker Jagmohan Mundhra appears to have abandoned his residence in Los Angeles and made London his home.
Many of the 8,000 “Indian” restaurants in the UK are in London. Rohit Khattar of the Chor Bizarre group from Delhi spends much of his time in London.
The figures from the Office for National Statistics show that London’s population went up from 6,845,000 — 3,282,000 men and 3,563,000 women — in June 1997 to 7,348,000 in June this year. The latter includes 3,620,000 men and 3,728,000 women.
The figure for those born in the Irish Republic has actually gone down from 144,000 to 114,000 over this period — possibly because the economy of the Irish Republic has greatly benefited from being in the European Union.
Economic success has indirectly caused the terrorism of the IRA to decline — which may be a lesson which could be adopted for Kashmir that when people have well-paid jobs, they have less time to run around with guns.
The Indian population born in India has gone up to 206,000 with an equal split — 103,000 — between men and women.
In 1997, the Indian-born population stood at 144,000 — 65,000 men and 79,000 women.
The Pakistan-born population is 38,000 (22,000 men and 16,000 women), compared with the figure from 1997 of also 38,000 (21,000 men and 17,000 women) — Pakistanis are more numerous outside London in Bradford, Birmingham, Luton, Manchester and Rochdale.
The Bangladesh-born population is now 133,000 (72,000 men and 61,000 women), but because of its high birth rate this may in time catch up with the Indians. Families with five to seven children are not rare.
In 1997, the relevant figure was only 71,000 (36,000 men and 35,000 women).
With free movement of labour within the European Union, London’s composition will change in the next 10 years.
For example, the number of Poles is given now as 70,000 — the number in 1997 was so small that they are not even listed. The Poles are known to be very hard working.
With Romania and Bulgaria acceding to the EU next year and Turkey negotiating to join, the Indian dominance of London may not last for ever.
Both the Labour and Tory parties want to curb immigration from the Indian sub-continent, by which they mean they want fewer Pakistanis, i.e. Muslims, to come and add to the numbers already here.
They would on balance prefer white immigrants from eastern Europe though there is some worry that this category includes criminal gangs who traffic in sex slaves.