Empire (2012) s01e02 Episode Script

Making Ourselves at Home

1 JEREMY PAXMAN: It was the greatest empire the world had ever seen.
At its height, Britain ruled over a quarter of the world's population.
Everywhere they went, the men and women who built the empire created a home away from home.
From the wastes of Canada to the fertile highlands of Africa and the hill stations of India.
They took with them what they saw as the spirit of Britain.
And they spread the British way of doing things right across the globe.
But as we made ourselves at home in strange and faraway lands, the question was always, "How do we live with the people we rule?" The answer would shape their countries, but it would also shape our own.
The story starts here, on the east coast of India, in the early 1600s.
The first British people arrived not as invaders but as traders.
Their attitude to the peoples they encountered would be very different from those who followed.
These pioneers of empire actively embraced an Indian way of life.
One of these early traders was Charles Stuart.
He worked for the East India Company, which traded in cotton, silks and spices.
Most mornings, Stuart could be seen joining the locals as they bathed in Calcutta's Hooghly river.
Charles Stuart is the sort of person who upends easy prejudices about the empire.
The caricature is that it was all run by arrogant racists suppressing downtrodden natives.
And like all caricatures, there is a degree of truth in that.
But Charles Stuart belongs to an early generation of the British in India who were seduced by the place.
For Charles Stuart, India was neither alien nor forbidding.
It was intoxicating.
Imagine coming across this, if the most exotic thing you'd ever seen was the stained glass in your parish church window.
Most people would have been absolutely intimidated, I think.
(BELLS CLANGING) In this unfamiliar world, Charles Stuart saw holiness, order and civilisation.
So enchanted was he with India, he soon became known as Hindoo Stuart.
(WORSHIPPERS CHANTING) He encouraged his fellow Europeans to adopt Indian customs.
He called on British women to abandon their dull dresses and wear colourful Indian saris, and on British men to grow what would become that trademark of empire a luxuriant moustache.
Indian style.
Can I talk to you about your moustache? Yes? Good, can I come in? - Yes.
- Now, how long have you had it? (SPEAKING BENGALI) Do you think it makes you more manly? Do you think I'm a bit of a girl for not having a moustache? That's a relief! The traders of the East India Company liked to mix business with pleasure.
Relaxing with the locals was an everyday affair.
To judge from their clothes, you often couldn't tell one from the other.
This was the empire making up the rules about the appropriate relations between the races as it went along.
In fact, there weren't really any rules at all yet.
Many British traders took Indian mistresses known as "bibis".
But there were more serious and lasting relationships too, leading to marriage and families.
Many men of the East India Company left their possessions to Indian wives or children.
(HORN HONKING) (MAN SHOUTING) The practice of interracial sex and interracial marriage extended to the very highest British officials in the land.
This monument was erected originally to honour Sir David Ochterlony.
One of the great spectacles of his time as British Resident in Delhi was the sight of him taking the evening air, attended by his 13 Indian wives, each on her own elephant.
Ochterlony liked nothing more than to repair to his residence for a quiet evening in with his harem, dressed in full Indian costume, his shisha pipe at his side.
The offspring of these mixed-race marriages became known as Anglo-Indians.
Today, there are an estimated 150,000 of them in India.
(CHRISTMAS SONG PLAYING) It's Christmas in Chennai, formerly known as Madras.
It's a big occasion in the Anglo-Indian calendar.
Anglo-Indians tend to marry within the community, so the term now means having some British blood, often several generations back.
(CROWD CHEERING) PAXMAN: You're all Christians? MAN: Yeah.
And you're all - Got some British blood, somewhere.
- Yeah.
But, you know, you can't I couldn't tell you from any other Indian.
But my name says it.
And I know my roots.
- That is it.
- What does it mean to you? It means something nice, because I feel proud to be an Anglo-Indian.
- That's it.
- But you're a visible reminder of the fact that this country was a colony.
Well, a lot of people wouldn't like that.
That's that's history.
That's all.
You just take it as a part of history.
And like every country has its history, this is our history.
It obviously has some big pull for you, doesn't it? Yes, it does.
One, my family.
The roots are very deep and I am proud to be who I am here.
I have both worlds to enjoy.
Enjoy the West, as well as I've enjoyed the East.
You don't feel any resentment against these men who came over here and fathered children and then either died or disappeared? - No, not really.
- No.
We don't resent.
You sound, actually, as if you are rather proud of it.
- We are, actually.
- We are, because we like to keep in touch lf, if the situation You'd better be careful, next you'll be asking to be colonised again.
Everybody here seemed rather to celebrate the fusion of two cultures.
But in Victorian Britain, these relationships were seen as subversive, even dangerous.
The country was in the grip of a religious revival.
The British were adopting a new, more puritanical Christianity, and they wanted the rest of the world to do likewise.
(BIRDS CHIRPING) That shift would soon be felt on the far fringes of empire.
(TRAIN ENGINE CHUGGING) It wasn't long before Victorian values arrived in India.
They were brought not only by missionaries but by wives sent out from Britain, who were arriving in ever-increasing numbers.
They were known as "memsahibs".
They hadn't the slightest interest in local culture.
One memsahib, wrote of Indian holy men as, "Horrible objects with their wildly rolling eyes, "long, tangled hair, "and every bone visible in their wretched bodies.
" Another arrived in India and wrote home "There's such a lot of everything.
" (HORNS BLARING) (BELL TOLLS) (BIRDS CHIRPING) No wonder the memsahibs ran for the hills.
They had very different ideas about how to make themselves at home in India.
The days of easygoing tolerance were now over.
In their place came a culture war, a never-ending battle to maintain the British way of life in the face of foreign temptation.
The British strongholds in this battle were the places they came to escape the summer heat.
Hill stations, like Ooty.
The Indians called it Ootacamund.
But that was too much of a mouthful for most of the British.
As soon as they discovered the place, they began to turn it into a version of Surrey.
In places like this, a particular idea of Britishness was forged.
Tea on the lawn.
A certain reserve, order, formality, unbelievable stuffiness.
It is an idea that some people still have a soft spot for while others have been laughing at it for decades.
What tends to be forgotten though is that it was forged initially as a defence against something.
In this case, as a defence against India.
Bungalows sprouted like little forts all over the hills.
Bungalow is originally an Indian word, meaning a house in the Bengali style.
But the buildings it came to describe were very British indeed.
The great empire writer, Rudyard Kipling, talked about them as models of "shut-upness".
Enclosed within their own little compound, rigidly ordered within, they really were about the separation of us from them.
Of course, the great shift in attitudes was shared by men and memsahibs.
But as mistresses of the house, it was the women who were on the front line.
For a young woman, arriving in this alien land after weeks on a boat from England must have been a truly daunting experience.
Fortunately though, help was at hand.
The Complete Indian Housekeeper and Cook, by Flora Annie Steel and Grace Gardiner, is an intriguing window into the mind of British India.
It tells you absolutely everything, from how much to pay the cook's assistant to the best way to divide up the family possessions when you're moving house by means of 11 camels, to how many coolies it takes to carry a piano.
The answer to that one, if you're interested, is 16.
The kitchen was the principal battleground.
Here, there were terrible warnings.
"The kitchen is a black hole, "the pantry a sink.
"The only servant who will condescend to tidy up "is a skulking savage with a reed broom".
The book is astonishingly rude about the Indians themselves.
"The Indian servant" this bit here says, "is a child in all things save age, and should be treated as a child; "that is to say, kindly, but with the greatest firmness.
" It was these women's duty to introduce their native servants to the British way of doing things, and to teach them their place as decent, dutiful inferiors.
The book is obsessed with what it calls, "the native's capacity for uncleanness".
Of course, this isn't just dirt.
It's also foreign contamination.
And one particularly telling passage in the book advises not to worry too much if the house you rent at the start of the season is a bit grubby because it is English people's dirt, not entirely natives'.
(THUNDER RUMBLING) Yet, for all their apparent self-confidence, these were women who lived in a state of fear - fear that the climate and conditions in India might actually kill them.
Saint Stephen's Church was one of British Ooty's first buildings.
Its graveyard is full of British women and children whose stay in the new country didn't last long.
"In memory of Mary, wife of RC Lewin of the Madras Civil Service.
"June 10th, 1858.
"Aged 28", that one.
Death and disease ravaged the British in India.
Among soldiers' wives and children, the mortality rate here was three times that back home.
"Sacred to the memory of Issabella Frances Etheldred.
"Fourth daughter of the late Lieutenant Colonel Havelock, "14th Light Dragoons, who died June 18th, 1851, "aged 17 years, "2 months and 3 days.
" How precisely they'd measured their loss.
Along with the snobbery and self-righteousness went a certain fortitude and courage as well.
Maybe they passed themselves off as the master race because deep down they knew that they were an endangered species.
But adversity seemed merely to spur the 19th-century British onto further expansion across the globe.
One of their greatest success stories began life as a swampy tropical island in the South China Sea.
Modern Singapore is a creation of empire.
It was founded by Britain as a trading post in 1819.
It was Thomas Stamford Raffles who saw its potential at the crossroads of East and West.
The British established free trade and the rule of law, and turned a pestilential island into a commercial metropolis, which drew in Malays, Indians and Chinese.
In this colonial melting pot, the British were determined to remain distinct.
As one old colonial put it to a new arrival, "If you want to be happy in Singapore, "don't admit you're living in an oriental country.
"Live as nearly as possible as you would in Europe.
" And the British did this all over the empire.
Central to this concoction was the club.
This is Singapore Cricket Club.
It's been here since 1852.
If the bungalow was the place the British ran away to, the club was where they came together.
Inside, the club was designed to reassure, a piece of foreign soil that was forever England.
(CLASSICAL MUSIC PLAYING) It's open to all races now, but it was founded as a haven where British expats could retreat from the fact that they were abroad.
At the heart of club life was a very British passion.
There were cricket clubs.
Golf clubs.
Hockey clubs.
Badminton clubs.
Tennis clubs.
Hunting clubs, where there were neither hounds nor foxes.
And a yacht club in the middle of the desert.
The natives grieve when the white men leave their huts Because they're obviously, definitely nuts Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun Do you play golf every evening or No, not every evening.
As often as one can do, one does, one likes to.
It's a good form of relaxation.
But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday Out in the midday, out in the midday Out in the midday, out in the midday sun It was the done thing to ignore the stifling heat and humidity.
As one member put it, "At the end of every game, "you wrung out your shirt and shorts, "then had a large glass of salt and water "before settling down to the serious drinking.
" As well as sports, there were amateur theatricals - solid British fare like Gilbert and Sullivan or the latest West End smash.
There were Burns' Nights and bridge evenings, dances and fancy-dress parties galore.
And of course, tea on the terrace.
The club served British comfort food.
Sausage and mash, or pies from Melton Mowbray.
When one member of the Singapore club asked for fresh papaya, he was served tinned apricots on the grounds that "the club does not serve native food".
As tins preserved food, so the club was meant to preserve a particular sense of national identity.
Too much mixing with the locals was frowned upon.
What is it you guys like about this club? It's home.
- Home? - It's home to me.
I've got so many friends here.
I came 36 years ago and I play sport.
Do you remember what the club used to be like? On this side here, the men's bar was on that side.
The men's side of the club, it was retained there.
There was this lovely sign there that said, "No women, children, and dogs beyond this point.
" And that used to annoy my mother immensely.
Also the dogs complained about it.
Well, they would, wouldn't they? I mean, it would be a natural thing for them to complain.
Anyway, Dad would be bring me in here for lunch and I spent my whole life here.
And my wife is a Columbian and she said, you know, "If it wasn't for the men's bar we would be divorced a long time ago.
" Because she knew when I was in the men's bar, I was safe, 'cause there was nothing else I was up to.
'Cause Singapore is a terrible place for getting up to a bit of Yeah, the odd There's a few distractions.
This is my sanctuary.
So, if I didn't have this, I think I'd probably go back home.
PAXMAN: I wonder if, looking at chaps like you, a couple of Uh, I don't care, I might as well be frank about it, a couple of old fossils in a club in Singapore.
- Very much so.
- Clinging on to our colonial past.
PAXMAN: You sort of belong in the You do belong in the past, don't you? We do.
We've lost it.
I have.
He's lost it completely.
(ALL CHUCKLING) PAXMAN: But there was more than one kind of empire.
The British arrived on foreign soil not only as traders or rulers, but as settlers, determined to make a new and permanent home for themselves in the empire.
(WIND HOWLING) They found plenty of thinly populated, if inhospitable places, in which to do it.
In 1831, a young Scottish lawyer was travelling across the wild and snowy lands of British Canada.
His name was Adam Fergusson.
He'd come all the way from Perthshire to look for a suitable spot to build a new town for Scottish immigrants.
Adam Fergusson was just one of vast numbers of British people who saw the empire as an opportunity to make something of themselves.
Throughout the 19th and well into the 20th century, millions upon millions of British people left home for somewhere in the empire.
There can hardly have been a family in the land who hadn't said goodbye to somebody.
The Scots in particular left their homeland in vast numbers.
They would play a huge role in the building of empire not only as settlers but as soldiers, missionaries, engineers, and pioneers.
Fergusson and his companions eventually found a site in a sheltered valley sixty miles from what is now Toronto.
There was water to power a mill, and wood and stone for building in a harsh climate.
It was tough going at first.
They built themselves log cabins like this, they survived on whatever bears or deer they could kill.
And in winter, it was so cold that the wheat froze, which made the scones pretty chewy.
In only a few years, a handful of huts had become a thriving little town.
Modestly, Fergusson named his new town after himself, Fergus.
Settlements like Fergus sprang up all over the empire from Canada to Australia.
The settlers built in the style they knew, from the houses they lived in to the churches where they worshipped and the pub where they gathered in the evening.
Always striving to hold on to a sense of home.
Fergus was a little bit of Scotland transplanted to the other side of the world.
People here formed pipe bands and curling clubs.
They wore kilts and celebrated Hogmanay.
They even had their own highland games.
- Hello.
- Hello.
- I'm Jeremy.
- Hello, Jeremy.
Thanks for coming to my shop.
I'm Heather.
- You're Heather? - I'm the owner of the shop.
- Nice to meet you.
- Nice Scottish name, eh? - HEATHER: Welcome.
- What do you sell in a Scottish shop? HEATHER: Well, we sell all things Scottish.
We sell all the sweets and the cakes, and the drinks and the crisps, and all the stories.
- All the connections - Stories? All the stories.
People like to come and tell us their stories, and their Scottish connections.
And all their memories from their past Got any deep-fried Mars bars? Oh, no, I haven't.
I do have the Mars bars.
- Meat pies? - I do have meat pies.
I have Scotch pies and bridies and steak pies and - Haggis? - Black pudding, haggis.
Oh, yes, I've got the haggis and the sausage, and Good stuff.
God, I didn't even know they still made Camp Coffee.
We've got the Camp Coffee, and Do people buy this stuff? Yes, they just love that we carry all of these products that they grew up with.
So, your customers are mainly people who've moved here from Scotland? They are mainly people who have moved here.
And the fact that there is a connection here to their past is fabulous.
- That seems to be the big draw.
- PAXMAN: Hmm.
- Gosh, what fun! - HEATHER: Blast from the past.
Bring back all the memories of childhood.
(TRADITIONAL MUSIC PLAYING) PAXMAN: The Scots who settled in Fergus wanted a better life than the one they were leaving behind.
But in their new homeland they clung tenaciously to the customs of the land of their birth.
English-speaking former colonies like these are one of the empire's most enduring legacies - a network of countries linked to Britain by tradition, family and history.
The growth of this successful community was a pretty peaceful affair.
But in some colonial settlements it was a very different story.
Native peoples were forced off their land.
Many people were tricked into signing it away.
Others had their populations devastated by famine and diseases introduced by settlers.
The biggest land grab of all was still to come.
(TRUMPETING) What became known as the "scramble for Africa" saw the great European powers carve up millions of square miles as they wrestled over the land and its peoples.
British settlers started coming here to Kenya in the early 1900s.
Then it was a vast, thinly populated region of mountains and forests, huge plains and wild animals.
The settlers liked what they saw.
West Africa was full of swamps and diseases and things, but here here the land was fertile, the climate was glorious - like England on the very nicest kind of summer's day.
But there was one problem.
The best land was already occupied.
Local tribes such as the Kikuyu were bribed or bullied into making way for the new arrivals.
In return for six months' labour, they were allowed to become squatters and to grow crops on land that had once been theirs.
It was an uneasy arrangement.
Tension led to violence on both sides.
Some Kikuyu villages witnessed dreadful scenes.
One morning in the early 1900s, a young British lieutenant in the King's African Rifles received orders to find out what had become of a white settler.
He described what he found.
"In the middle of the village, on the open ground, "was a sight which horrified me.
"A naked white man had been pegged out on his back, "mutilated and disembowelled, "his body used as a latrine by all who passed by.
" Revenge was instant and it was savage.
"We burned all the huts," he said.
"We razed the banana plantations to the ground, "and every soul was either shot or bayoneted.
" The English class system made sure different kinds of settlers ended up in different kinds of colonies.
Toffs came to Kenya.
No one without plenty of cash was allowed in.
They proved themselves good at growing new crops like coffee, wheat and sugar cane.
Or tea.
Surrounded by their estates, they built grand houses in the English style.
A taste of Edwardian England in the so-called Dark Continent.
Some stayed on after independence in the 1960s.
Jeremy, nice to meet you.
Very pleased to meet you.
Thank you for having us.
Tony Seth-Smith's grandparents came to Kenya in 1904.
That's the first animal I've recognised today.
SETH-SMITH: That's my uncle's first house.
It's a grass hut.
It's just a grass hut, and some mud walls.
The zebra skin on the wall probably stopped the draught going through a crack in it.
And then he progressed to a rather smarter house made of corrugated iron up on stilts to stop the white ants getting at the floorboards.
Transport, there you are PAXMAN: That's a huge oxen train, isn't it? SETH-SMITH: Train of oxen.
Sixteen was generally a typical span of oxen.
- Sixteen oxen for one cart? - Sixteen oxen for the one cart.
And then, of course, during the night you'd have a little thorn enclosure which you kept the oxen in.
And probably a lion would come around and roar upwind of it and poof! All your oxen had gone and the lion's nailed two of them in the dark, you know.
But it was I suppose that was a part of the fun, wasn't it? You know, it was exciting.
PAXMAN: That's a great picture.
- This is your father, is it? - That's my father.
- PAXMAN: With a dead lion.
- With a dead lion.
You know, these lions, they didn't sit around like you see them in a park nowadays.
The lions in those days knew how to look after themselves and there wasn't a park.
PAXMAN: But even the lions aren't what they were, eh? SETH-SMITH: No, no, no, everything's fallen by the wayside.
PAXMAN: Do you think this policy of trying to attract enterprising people with a bit of money to invest, do you think it worked for this country? SETH-SMITH: I think it worked in the long term.
Because, unlike today, where much of the developing world is developing as a result of aid and packages of money, the donor thing There were no donors.
The country was developed on the backs of the settlers.
People like my father.
PAXMAN: Which one of these is your father? SETH-SMITH: That's my father.
They came out and they brought all their family money out and it was all sunk into this country.
PAXMAN: Do you think they had a sense of what the purpose of the British Empire was? Or were they just concerned with getting on with their lives? I think there was a quite a lot of that.
Englishmen were proud of having an empire, being a part of it.
And I think that every family in England round about that time had a member of it who was serving, or doing development somewhere in the empire.
Be it an administrator in India, or a policeman in Nigeria, or a farmer in Kenya, or a gold miner in South Africa.
Everyone had a member of the family, and so they were all very aware of of, uh, Britain's empire, and they were proud of it then.
Are you proud of it? Yes, there's nothing to be ashamed of.
Nothing to be ashamed of.
PAXMAN: One African writer dismissed the white farmers as "Parasites in paradise, "living off land they had taken from others.
" Whatever the justice of that remark, the white settlers of Kenya felt they had a right to the land they were developing.
This was their home now.
It would be half a century before this tension found a bloody resolution as the country stumbled towards independence.
It was the British who created the country's capital, Nairobi.
The city still has plenty of the rough and ready feel of the early days.
Not much more than a century ago, this was just a strip of swampy ground.
No one planned Nairobi as a capital city, it just happened.
It happened because it was a railway stop on one of the most ambitious lines in the entire British Empire - the Lunatic Line.
(HORN BLARING) For the empire in 1900, making yourself at home meant building a railway.
The line ran 600 miles from the coast, through Nairobi, all the way to Lake Victoria.
It was built to bring British goods to the interior and raw materials out to ports on the coast.
It would encourage British farmers to come out here and settle.
There was plenty to merit the title, Lunatic Line.
There was the cost, £534 million in today's money.
There was the engineering required to allow a train to climb from sea level into the mountains, and then to plunge down into the great Rift Valley.
And to construct 1,200 bridges on the way.
But it wasn't the British who built the railway, it wasn't even the Africans.
This remarkable feat was the work of 32,000 labourers, craftsmen and engineers brought in by the British from India.
They knew how to build railways there.
(HORN BLARING) Soon the Lunatic Line was carrying coffee and tea, sisal and wheat from the settlers' farms to the coast.
The building of the railway was a staggering feat, but it came at a staggering cost in human life.
Two-and-a-half thousand workers were killed during its construction by malaria, accidents, or man-eating lions.
What was the attraction for someone like your great-grandfather and his brother when they came here? Well, I mean, to be honest, uh I don't think we were very well off back at home, okay? 'Cause I mean, why would you want to leave the comfort of your home to come into this wilderness - harsh African conditions, vegetation, a strange land to them.
Uh, it wasn't very easy 'cause water was scarce, especially when they were going across the Taru desert toward Tsavo.
They didn't have water for showering for, like, weeks.
You know, they would just get enough water just to drink.
And what my great-grandfather told me is, when the carriage would come for their drinking water, they would pretend to be clumsy about drinking their water 'cause basically they'd go and scoop it out.
And they'd pretend to be clumsy about it and in the process have a little shower, you know, like, literally throw the water on them.
And dangerous, dangerous, dangerous, isn't it? Yes, wilderness, wild animals are often Tsavo.
- Tsavo is a place? - Yes, man-eaters.
I've read accounts of these attacks by the man-eating lions.
And they talk about men being dragged from their tents and their colleagues being able to hear them as they're eaten alive - by the lions.
- Yes, yes.
Horrifying, isn't it? Let me ask you a political question.
The fact that you and your community are now a very, very long way from where, naturally, you came from and you're in this alien culture, was what the British did in bringing you here a good thing or a bad thing? Um That's a good question.
To be honest I have no regrets for being here.
And uh, when people ask me, you know, "Who are you? Where are you from?" You know, I say, "Kenya is my home.
" And I have no regrets for coming here.
PAXMAN: The Indian workers who built the Kenya railway were part of a bigger empire story - the shifting of populations around the globe to meet the empire's need for labour.
In the 18th century, Africans were taken as slaves to the sugar plantations of the West Indies.
Their descendants now people those islands.
In the 19th century, Tamils from South India were sent to pick tea on estates in Sri Lanka, or tap rubber in Malaya.
All had to make new homes in Britain's ever-growing empire.
The world still lives with the consequences of these great population shifts.
In the 20th century, Indians came to play a vital part in the Kenyan economy as shopkeepers and professionals.
(PEOPLE CHEERING) Then, on the 12th of December, 1963, Kenya gained independence from Britain.
(CHANTING) Now, Indians in Kenya were seen as unwelcome relics from the days of British rule.
Many of them feared for their future and turned to their former colonial masters to provide a new home.
NEWSREEL: The Asian community prepared to leave, Britain was their destination.
The Kenya government had not pulled its punches in telling the British-passport-holding Asians they were not wanted.
Asian shopkeepers were left with little alternative but to wind up their businesses and seek new roots.
The airport was jammed with those lucky enough to get flight tickets to Britain.
PAXMAN: Though not everyone in Britain was happy about it at the time, the empire was coming home.
Many Kenyan-Asians chose to settle in the Midlands, in cities like Leicester.
In the process they transformed the face of urban Britain.
Today, over a quarter of Leicester's population is of Asian origin.
They've worked hard and done well, as in Kenya, specialising in running shops and businesses.
(HINDI SONG PLAYING) - Oh, you must be Rameela.
- Welcome, Jeremy.
- Come on in.
- Thank you.
Thank you.
Rameela Shah came to Britain from Kenya when she was 14.
She's now a Labour councillor in Leicester.
Jeremy, I would like to introduce you to my husband, Suresh.
How do you do? Hello, I'm Jeremy.
Her husband Suresh was also brought up in Kenya.
That's my mother-in-law.
How do you do? Very good to see you.
His mother brought the family over in 1968.
His sister, Madhu, was 18 when she left Kenya and went to India.
But she didn't feel at home there and followed her family to England.
SURESH: That's the model of our shop in Kenya.
PAXMAN: That was the family business, was it? Yeah.
That's me.
PAXMAN: Oh, you're the little boy, yeah.
- That's my elder brother.
- Uh-huh.
- SURESH: That's my dad at the back.
- Mm-hm.
That's my mum at the back.
- So, this is Grandma over here? - SURESH: Yeah.
- When slightly younger, eh? - (WOMEN LAUGHING) Must have taken all of you some getting used to.
- Come from the warmth of East Africa - MADHU: It's so cold here.
At that time I think not many people even had central heating, - and used to use charcoal fires - RAMEELA: Or paraffin heaters.
- There were no bathrooms.
- PAXMAN: No bathrooms? No, people had to go public bath at that time.
When we stayed at my aunt's house, she says, "You won't have "You can't have a bath like you used to have twice a day in Kenya.
"It'll be once a week now, we'll have to go city centre to the public baths.
" Public bath, yes.
PAXMAN: You must have thought we were really dirty people, did you? It must have been very strange.
No bath, no toilet.
- Toilet we had.
- No, we didn't.
- Toilet - Outside.
- Outside.
- Outside.
PAXMAN: When you think about the British Empire, most people, as far as I can see in this country, have a pretty black-and-white view about what the British Empire was.
And what they're taught very often is that it was pretty much a bad thing, imposing your rule on somebody else.
What do you guys think about the empire? In one way, I think we thank the British Empire, you know, for - PAXMAN: You thank the British Empire? - Yeah, thank them, because where we are at the moment and what we have and everything MADHU: We have a job Yeah, and it's because of that, you know, everything what we've achieved and we are.
So, we got to thank the British Empire.
Do you know how politically incorrect you are? When I came here, there was a job, if you want to work.
You can go to college, study.
I think wherever British people were and they went, and whichever country they ruled, the country was good.
You know, it was ruled good and it was better.
And there was no corruption, nothing.
That's what my feelings are.
As soon as the British left any country, I think they just went downhill.
That's my own feelings about it.
(CELEBRATORY MUSIC PLAYING) PAXMAN: It's Diwali night in Leicester.
The festival of lights.
ALL: Happy Diwali! Over 35,000 people come here each year for the biggest Diwali celebration outside India.
(LAUGHTER) For better or for worse, the empire changed the world.
But it changed Britain too.
For many of the peoples who were colonised, home is now here.
A land utterly different from the one the empire builders left behind.