This film is part of Free

Defending a Way of Life

Melas, music and dance: second generation Bangladeshi youth in London’s Brick Lane celebrate multiculturalism

Documentary 1980 32 mins


Balancing a Bangladeshi cultural identity with their life in England is the focus for the young people in this episode of Home from Home, a series examining the lives of the Bangladeshi community in London. Melas, music, poetry and dance are brought to the fore as the residents of Brick Lane share their rich cultural heritage with the wider community in East London.

This insightful documentary covers a lot of ground in exploring the history of Bangladeshi migration to the East End, the establishment of the community there, the barriers faced by first generation Bengalis and the changes the second generation youth aimed to bring about. With racism at a peak in the late 70s, the Bangladeshi Youth Movement was established to bring the community together, provide education in Bengali language and culture that wasn’t available in state schools and foster a broader cultural understanding between the diverse communities living in the East End.