Steering group meeting amidst a bit of snow!


Chamu, Sacha, Esme and Dr. Patel at the steering group meeting on the 20th of March 2013 at Mappin Boardroom

Things are moving smoothly at Hindu Samaj heritage HQ! We are getting quite used to the ‘board’ room at Mappin Building for our strategic planning in the project! This evening our main focus was the upcoming workshop on cotton on the 13th of April. The plan is to have a day event at a UoS venue starting from 10 and finishing at 5 pm. We are going to have lots of hands-on activties and sharing of stories about cotton. Sacha and Esme will put together presetnations on cotton as a global commodity. Rather than being a pure history lesson, the workshop is intended to steer discussion towards things that matter to the community in the present. Ideas about globalisation will take on a local flavour in the context of cotton as we discuss Richard Arkwright and his mills and the role of Indian cotton in the Peak District. Who are the winners and losers in globalisation, what happened then, what is happening now? What are the benefits of industrialisation, world trade and technological innovation in the 21st century? They are designed to provide lots of information and stimulate lots of questions and thoughts, setting the backdrop for our Bakewell and Cromford visits.

Unna Arun reports on the FOEC Quiz

FOECquiznight_28Feb2013-saravanan and bashir

Saravanan Rajendran and Bashir Khan busy writing down answers at the FOEC quiz night

We (Unna, Pallavi, and Saravanan) all have gathered at Chamu’s place on Thursday 28th of February 2013 to start for the Edward Carpenter’s quiz event by walk. The place where it held was new for everyone in the group and somehow with the help of map we reached the STAG at Psalter lane. Having brought up in traditional place in India, it was bit of different environment to me. However, it was nice and warm. Also, it looked bit different rather than red building and white windows. Pallavi was well prepared for walk with the map, even though not for the quiz L. None of us either prepared for the quiz. Chamu expected some divine intervention to help with quiz questions, but she has not realised that after a couple of pints in pub, even god cannot help with the questions.

As soon as, we entered inside, we had refreshments and few people from the friends of Edward carpenter’s quiz committee approached us and told us about the event and their programs of raising funds to raise a statue for Edward carpenter. There was a long discussion on the project British Raj in the peak district. They were excited to hear that our project involves Edward carpenter and our interest in knowing about things that are related to our project. Even we had planned to meet up some time to discuss about the project.

The quiz commenced bit late around 9.30pm and we four along with Bashir from the FOEC who joined in our group. We were handed a sheet with different photos to guess what it is. Except ‘Christ the Redeemer’ and ‘Liberty lady’ we couldn’t able to guess any. I have posted them here, may be you can give a try and I know you cannot as well.

Finally, the quiz commenced and the first question was

The place of birth of Edward Carpenter.

Yes we knew it J.

We managed to answer 3 out of 5 in the section of Edward Carpenter.  The other questions which we answered were about his civil partner and about his re-invention of sandals in UK. The questions we missed are:

–         Political song written by Edward Carpenter while living in Sheffield

–         Book written by Edward Carpenter when influenced with spirituality.

The next set of questions were based on pop songs which we do not have any clue. However, the next set of questions were interesting. It was about the place where I am living. Yes..It is about Sheffield. You can give a try

–         City where ratio of trees to people are high?

–         Number of hills and number of rivers in Sheffield?

Altogether, somehow, we were able to answer 8 (out of 20) answers correct (thank god) and gained some general knowledge (some said this). It was interesting to discuss and answer the questions in the group. Once the quiz was over the winner has been declared and they got 13 answers correct and realised that we were not far off from them. Saravanan, with a bit of greediness, bought few raffle tickets. No luck…he did not win that as well.

Here are some of the pictures…..identify if you can


Answers to follow, if you post yours in the comments section below!

Millthreads – Memories of Mill Workers


A Mill in Holmfirth (photo:Chamu Kuppuswamy)

Memories of the Mill Workers’ ( is an excellent, extensive web resource based on the ‘Threads’ research project carried out in the Derwent Valley area. The ‘Threads’ project was set up to capture the oral history, memories and reminiscences of people who used to work in the Derwent Valley Mills, including Cromford Mill and The Silk Mill (Derby). The worker’s memories date from the 1920s-1980s and emphasise the role of ordinary men and women in the broader processes of the global cotton industry.These oral histories record worker’s experiences towards the end of the period covered by the Hindu Samaj research project ‘British Raj in the Peak District: Discovering, recovering and sharing colonial history’.

Sacha Hepburn

Dates announced!




We have an extensive programme of events planned for 2013 as part of the heritage project. A number of other events run by the Hindu Samaj also relate to this project.

The core activities for this project are as below. This constitutes the first set of events and are planned for the following dates, email to reserve places.

Date Activity
13-04-2013 Cotton Workshop
25-05-2013 Old House Museum, Bakewell tour
01-06-2013 Carpenter Workshop and Archive visit
29-06-2013 Cromford Mills tour
06-07-2013 Archive visit
27-07-2013 Millthorpe coach tour

Outside of the core events we expect to soon be offering trips to the Beardwood Natural Living project where participants can experience growing their own fruit and veg, learn about tree planting and woodland management, habitat creation and wildlife identification. They can learn rural crafts such as making bird boxes, bat boxes and insect hides, dry stone walling, wool craft made from the farms Hebridean and Gritstone sheep, spinning and natural dyeing of wool using plants grown on the farm. The farmhouse kitchen will be available for cooking, using mainly produce grown on the farm, from the garden, orchard and hedgerows. A herb walk will take place led by a qualified herbalist who will identify and explain the use of herbs used in herbal medicine and cooking. An introduction into basic bushcraft & survival skills will include shelter building, collection of clean water, fire lighting and outdoor cooking. See . The dates for these activities will soon be released.

In the pipeline are the following activities

September 2013

Cotton walk and Millthorpe walk  events

October 2013

PDNPA afternoon seminar session  presentation

UoS history department seminar

November and December 2013

Off the Shelf event – Carpenter book read

Exhibition of project

Showing of film on the project

UoS Researching Heritage exhibition




Profiling our Steering group

steering group 1 mar 2013 collage

(Inset) Ms.Trupti Khandelwal (Standing L to R) Dr. Bhupendra Khandelwal, Dr. Naik, Dr. Chamu Kuppuswamy, Dr. Patel, Mr. Saravanan Rajendran, Dr. Esme Cleall (Sitting L to R) Dr. Kimberley Marwood, Mrs. Shweta Kamat, Ms. Suruchi Pacharne, Mr. Sandeep Rajan

The Hindu Samaj Sheffield hosts the project ‘ British Raj in the Peak District: Discovering, recovering and sharing colonial heritage’. The steering group comprises of Dr. Chamu Kuppuswamy, Mr. Saravanan Rajendran, Mrs. Shweta Kamat, Mr. Sandeep Rajan, Dr. Vithal Patel, Mr. Bhupendra Khandelwal, Ms. Suruchi Pacharne, Ms. Trupti Khandelwal and Dr. Naik. Dr. Marwood and Dr. Cleall from the University of Sheffield advice us on various aspects of the project.

Between us we have experience, energy, enthusiasm and a lot of curiousity! We come from a range of disciplines including law, medicine, management, engineering, biology and a mix of British and Indian nationalities.

Our hobbies and passions include photography and videography, visual and performing arts, events management and organisation, Hindu culture and philosophy, Indian cuisine and much more, which we are putting to use in the project.

Sacha writes

history UoS pic-crop

History Department, University of Sheffield

I am excited to be working as a research assistant on the Hindu Samaj’s exciting new ‘British Raj in the Peak District’ project. I am currently a PhD student in the Department of History at the University of Sheffield. My PhD research focuses on labour and migration in post-colonial Zambia. More broadly, I am interested in the history of Africa, the history of the British Empire and women’s history. Working with Dr Esme Cleall, my part of the ‘British Raj in the Peak District’ project will focus on the ways in which cotton production and cotton products connected communities in India under British colonial rule to the Peak District. This project is an exciting way to pursue my research interests in the history of the British Empire and engage with a vibrant community group!

Alongside the pursuit of my research interests, something else drives my interest in working with Hindu Samaj. I believe that universities have a duty to work with their surrounding communities and develop meaningful relationships with local initiatives and community groups. Furthermore I am keen to work with the local community on projects that originate from their own interests. I am therefore particularly attracted to this project as it has clearly developed out of the Hindu Samaj’s curiosity in exploring historical links between the Peak District and India. I am in the early stages of research but have already begun to uncover some fascinating facts about the role cotton played in connecting these communities at both the local and global scale! In future posts I will discuss some of these interesting historical connections…

Sacha Hepburn