Bradistan, West Yorkshire

Bradistan: so-called because of the large Pakistani population in Bradford

I moved to Bradford in 1992. I’d had enough of living in Leeds, which I found congested, hostile, and disappointing (for such a big place). By contrast, Bradford people were friendly and unassuming, charming, and a little rough around the edges. The large Asian population (mostly originating from the Mirpur district of Pakistan in the 1960s) prompted someone to come up with the politically incorrect nickname Bradistan. As far as I was concerned, it seemed cosmopolitan, and it was curry house heaven.

Bradford was a wealthy industrial town in the 19th century, but went into decline with the wool trade. It’s been struggling to find a new identity ever since. It has been optimistically branded the City of Film, but this cultural label is difficult to justify, given the precarious state of the city’s cinemas and media museums over the years. It is arguably the UK’s curry capital, with several nationally-famous names to its credit. The only culture which seems to be prospering is South Asian culture. Maybe it’s time for old Bradfordians to stop clinging on to past glories, and proudly rename the city to Bradistan. Okay, maybe someone could think of a better name.

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