Posts for 2007
Another year had gone by so I wondered about what I had been writing about since January 2007.
In January I wrote about how different types of racism are defined in the work place, for example: Direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, Harassment and Victimisation.
I also remember that the media storm over the jaded characters in the Cel BB waste of time household!
Yesterday it was nice to receive a text message from someone we met whilst touring South India. I remember writing about India’s terrible death toll and also the irony between shiny new petrol stations surrounded by slums.
In February I wrote about the enormous cost of the Oscars, whether our media outlets were changing and the extent of global warming.
In March we remembered that on 25 March 1807, the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act was passed. For more than 200 years Britain was at the heart of a rich (to them!) transatlantic trade in millions of enslaved Africans.
I also wrote an article about the need for greater accuracy for documentaries. Especially as one outlining the last days of the Raj (consider that 2007 was commemorating 60 years of independence for both India and Pakistan) was full of inaccuracies and bias. We need to create higher quality media outlets!
In April I commented about the sadness of the Virginia Tech tragedy: Everyone watched with shock and horror the post nightmare of the Virginia Tech shootings. Scholars and lecturers were gunned down in a pointless sense of rage by one lost soul.
In June and July I wrote articles about the lead-up to the annual Birmingham to London cycle ride – this year the 18th with proceeds collected for the Children with Leukemia charity. I also viewed a documentary about child cocoa workers being exploited by giant multi-national confectioners.
August was the month when the actual commemorations took place for understanding that it was 60 years since independence for both India and Pakistan – So many pointless deaths instigated by a few who had the power to be more creative!
In September we saw another misleading documentary, this time: Michael Wood’s: The story of India! When we do get any good documentaries, e.g.: October’s Roots Remembered it was shown at non-peak hours! I suppose we have to make room for more reality TV!
In November it was an honour for me to meet and interview the Rev Jesse Jackson. He commented on the lack of corporate justice and responsibilities of banks.
This Month I was disturbed to hear a certain musician mouth off about British culture considering the person does not even live hear!
Hot News of the week has to be the terrible killing in Pakistan of B Bhutto.
Until the world appreciates that living is a gift and that ego should be removed, there are going to be challenges!
When you hear musicians talking about their country of origins with impoliteness about its cultural make-up you have to consider that something is not quite right.
Either the person in question has been misquoted or has a misunderstanding of what the make-up and heritage situation / circumstances of the United Kingdom is today.
Times change, migrants become part of a culture and therefore, what is deemed to be British changes.
The UK has one of the highest number of curry houses outside of India.
At our nearest supermarket I can buy a variety of foods, from Polish Bread to Mexican tortilla wraps and also a packet of Bombay mix.
The recent outburst from a musician about his view of the UK cultural situation is not new. It does however suggest a mockery of what these people attempt to believe in. It has sparked a debate about immigration, e.g.: The Tory’s have expressed a desire to impose quotas.
A quick history lesson.
During the very early settlement of the British East India Company employees in India, there was a acceptance of the Indian lifestyle.
Over time this situation reversed and a segregated attitude prevailed. Although the British left some infrastructure, e.g.: Buildings, bridges and railways, they did not attempt to understand or appreciate the richness of the culture. An apartied society resulted. A fascinating book and movie is The Far Pavilions. The movie depicts a superiority complex within the British institution of the time.
Today the UK has a wide variety of settlers, travelers, workers and they bring with them the desire to enrich the country they now adopt as their home – investing in housing, savings and both public and private employment. The settlers contribute heavily to the economy. In the case of migrant workers, they may enrich the UK and at the same time the UK is assisting them in building their own European countries in return.
Maybe there is something else going on? A sense of scare mongering. A suggestion that to ‘rock the boat’ is healthy rather than considering the optimistic perspective of communities living together and respecting each others customs.
NB There is a separate argument about the combination of ‘white flight’ and repeated poor investment in selective areas.
So what if you, ‘cannot hear a British accent’ on the streets of London. We live in a world where we need to enjoy the cultural mix.
In addition, we have too many issues to resolve, hunger, poverty and global warming. At a time like this we need to unite around common causes, for example: to harmonise the world from a trading perspective or missing children at home.
I have always considered that there is a hidden in danger in flying the flag to the extreme.
It is interesting that the musician that made the derogatory comments about the UK’s current cultural mix is no longer a British resident.
Singing songs of peace and hope is better than apparent discourses of negativity.
Yesterday I was at apparently the UK’s highest grossing Bollywood cinema.
No, not exclusively / dedicated to showing Bollywood movies but a UK cinema chain that also shows Bollywood blockbusters and feels good about it!
In the foyer a large crowd had gathered to watch a regional round of Dancers competing for a chance to win two tickets to Mumbai.
As the crowd jostled for better positions the security staff grew more and more anxious as fire exits were taking the brunt of the overspill.
I wondered how the tug of Bollywood in recent times has become a real force in media. Take for example, the presence of 2 film crews, the judging panel and the gloss. Yes, gloss in the form of big posters and 2 giant spotlights being casually spun around to ensure a quality image and essential marketing mix. There are other reasons why Bollywood has begun so popular: Mainly the cross fertilisation of music genres through internationalisation of producers, artists and technology.
I remember the time my parents took me to the Southall Dominion cinema. During the day it was an Indian film house but often the circle area’s private rooms / area could be hired out for weddings. At that time no commercial chain would feature any ‘foreign’ cinema.
Like most things money has really raised the stakes in both production and sometimes egos. NB For a change I’m not going to focus on the potential negativity of Bollywood! Instead, let us consider the motivation of those that took part in the competition. Interestingly, it went on for hours. We arrived a 3pm but our movie was not on until 3.55pm. The event started at 3.30 and didn’t finish until at least 5 hours afterwards! i.e: Our movie finished and the event was still raging on. You have to hand it to the contestants for both their staying power but most of all to their dedication.
Dedication is the key to performance in whatever one does. Whether it be establishing and maintaining a business or learning the steps of a dance routine. It is dreams that drive dedication but also required is a sense of determination and a support system -
I noticed that all the three finalists graciously thanked their parents and friends.
From an optimistic perspective, when the 3 finalists were interviewed, they stated genuinely I’m sure, that their Bollywood Dreams were not driven on the desire for fame but on their joy to entertain. One contestant worked at an insurance company by day and she must be spending her spare time working on perfecting her routines. Others were studying dance and hoping for a chance to clock-up some experience.
I wondered if we changed our attitudes to help others rather than ourselves, if the world could be a better place. Dedication, determination and a desire to make a difference could all add to the mix of optimism, all we have to do is maintain it.
Wow! What a week it was last week.
I had a call late Thursday to interview Reverend Jesse Jackson.
He was passing through London and I had a chance to meet and interview him for a friend in an organisation.
It had some amazing points to make about the importance of justice and equality, through his work with
The Rainbow Push Coalition – The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization fighting for social change.
As a mighty coalition of conscience; workers, women and people of color have the power to make the
American Dream a Reality!
They believe that the issues consist of:
RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by focusing on cures for social, economic and political ills.
Our issues include but are not limited to:
• Jobs and Economic Empowerment
• Employee Rights and Livable Wages
• Educational Access
• Fair and Decent Housing
• Voter Registration and Civic Education
• Election Law Reform
• Fairness in the Media, Sports, and Criminal
• Justice System
• Political Empowerment
• Trade and Foreign Policy
• Affirmative Action and Equal Rights
• Gender Equality
• Environmental justice
and in terms of the UK http://www.equanomics.org.uk/
Equanomics UK is a growing coalition of organisations across the UK who want to develop more economic
analyses and approaches to equality in the UK. It is a project incubated at the 1990 Trust.
It was fascinating to hear him talk about the need for greater equality and ways that it could materialise, for example:
* Investing in firms, through stock purchasing
* Making people aware that the recent sub-prime mortgage problems may impact selective communities.
With regard to the latter, there will be marches held in December 2007, in both Wall Street and London’s stock
exchange area to highlight the need for a rescue package. The Rainbow Push Coalition on their site suggests…
It is time to act. Join us on December 10 on Wall Street and in cities across the country.
Stand up to stop the wave of home loan defaults that threatens to foreclose not just on their homes but on our hopes.
The problem keeps getting worse. Two million homeowners face foreclosure over the next year. Their neighbors will
lose billions in the equity they have in their homes. Millions will find themselves stuck, unable to get a decent price
for their homes in a flooded market. Tens of millions more will tighten their belts. Communities will struggle with budget crises….
It is interesting some banks were quick to lend. However, now that there is an issue, they need to show both
Corporate Responsibility and justice. Now is the time for creative solutions to ensure that people, all who are hardworking
can manage their existence and dreams.
What a wonderful time of year we have now embarked upon. In the UK and for many in the Northern Hemisphere we will obviously have to adapt to it getting darker earlier and a possible turn in the weather – a turn in the downwardly direction in terms of temperature! It won’t be long before the memory of chipping ice of your windscreen will come rushing back. Those winds will be cutting our faces in a reminder that winter is here. Let us all hope that it will be safe for us all.
At this time of year in London many festivities are co-inciding: Bon Fire night and the Festival of Lights for Hindus and also a time when Sikhs celebrate a special event.
There was a time when our sixth Guru, Guru Har Gobind and Emperor Jahangir (son of Akbar) were friends. Over time, Jahangir became dictatorial. These emotions were combined with opportunist ministers who wished to protect their own positions and interests. Amongst them was Chandu who gave false information and unfounded accusations against our Guru. The Emperor ordered the arrest and imprisonment of Guru Har Gobind at the fort of Gwalior.
The Sikhs in Delhi and Amritsar protested at the foul play. Chandu wrote to Har Das, the commander of the Gwalior fort, ordering him to poison or murder the Guru; he was promised a large reward. Har Das had become a devotee to the Guru and placed all Chandu’s letters before the Guru.
There were many Rajahs and princes in the same prison. Queen Noor Jahan felt the unfair imprisonment of the Guru and convinced him to release the Guru. The Guru refused to leave the fort unless all the princes were released as well. The Emperor agreed and the Guru was hailed as ‘Bandi Chhor’. The news spread all over India.
After the release, the Guru went straight to Amritsar. On the way people sprinkled water on dusty roads, started Langars (free kitchens) and placed earthen lamps on their housetops at night. When he reached Amritsar, thousands of Sikhs thronged to see the Guru, and on the night of his arrival, placed lamps in the streets and on housetops and distributed sweets. This day is still celebrated every year, which coincides with Diwali.
Another event took place in 1737 and is also known as Bandi Chhorh Diwas (Diwali) . Bhai Mani Singh transcribed the final version of Guru Granth Sahib upon dictation from Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1704 at Damdamma Sahib. After heavenly abode of Guru Sahib in 1708, he took charge of Harmandir Sahib’s management. In 1737, invitations were sent to the Sikhs all over India to join Bandi Chhorh Diwas celebrations at Harmandir Sahib. A large tax of rupees had to be paid to the Mogul governor of Punjab, Zakariya Khan. Bhai Mani Singh Ji later discovered the secret plan of Zakariya Khan to kill the Sikhs during the gathering. Bhai Mani Singh Ji immediately sent message to all the Sikhs not to turn up for celebrations. Zakariya Khan was not happy about the situation and he ordered Bhai Mani Singh’s assassination at Lahore by ruthlessly cutting him limb-by-limb to death. Ever since, the great sacrifice & devotion of Bhai Mani Singh Ji is remembered on the Bandi Chhorh Diwas (Diwali).