A number of interesting and appreciative comments have come through to Thursday’s episode of BBC radio 4’s ‘Open Country’ which featured our project. The following is an excerpt from each of these public responses
“In my mind’s eye I saw hot silk saris shimmering against the grey stone walls and skeins of threads reaching across the hilly moorland.”
wrote Sarah Campbell, who Brenda King introduced to me as a very eminent textile designer. Sarah caught up with our episode as it was rebroadcast early one weekend morning, and after listening to our programme and letting her imagination run, she says it was ‘a great way to greet the day’
Sarah’s blog – http://sarahcampbelldesigns.wordpress.com
It was with great interest that I read David Haden’s own inquiry in the directions we have taken in the project. In his blog post ‘Hindus and the Peak District’, he has posted this tantalising snippet – a result of a bit of online research.
“he recounted the true story of his own encounter with a wandering Hindu in the vicinity of Bakewell and Monsal Dale”
I am now able to present a fuller extract from the chapter ‘Writers in the Dales’ from The Discovery of the Peak District: from Hades to Elysium (p.178)
“Rhodes, whose writing we are told could occasionally emulate that of Sir Walter Scott or Samuel Johnson, may have been subconsciously affected by the latter’s Rasselas when he recounted the true story of his own encounter with a wandering Hindu in the vicinity of Bakewell and Monsal Dale. His narrative has pathos and is as moving as Defoe’s graphic description of his meeting with the lead miner’s wife at Brassington a century earlier. In this case Rhodes and a stranger he had met at an inn were travelling in his gig when they came upon ‘a man clothed in an English great-coat, with a white turban on his head; his gait and appearance, even at a distance, bespoke him the native of another country’. Rhodes’s companion had apparently served in India and spoke to the wanderer in his native tongue. He replied, ecstatic with emotion, that he had not heard his mother tongue since he had left India on a vessel bound for Hull. On arrival at that port ‘ he was no longer useful and therefore discarded’. He was now seeking another ship to take him home. He spoke no English, had no food and was quite lost. Rhodes’s companion wrote on a card the name of a gentleman in Ashbourne who had resided for some years in Calcutta and suggested that he help this lost ‘Child of Nature’ to his native land.”
Ebenezer Rhodes was a Sheffield man and a Master Cutler, very interested in the Peak District and spent a lot of time in the Dales.
Fascinating stuff! Why did the sailor (could have been a lascar, see an early blog post here) not remain in Hull and look for the next ship to take him home? How did he get to the Peak District? Was he a Hindu? What language was it that they conversed in? Who was this Ashbourne resident who had lived in Calcutta? What happened in Hull (or perhaps we should be asking what are these practices) that meant the lascar was not ‘useful’ and therefore ‘discarded’?
Thanks David for your interesting blog piece on our radio programme.
David’s blog – http://potbanks.wordpress.com/
And finally a radio response to our radio programme!
Hardeep Singh Kohli, a British writer, comedian and radio and television presenter who is a prominent supporter of Scottish independence chose his favourite programmes from the week’s offerings on Radio 4 and our programme made it to his list! In Radio 4’s ‘Pick of the week’! [Listen from 10.18 to 13.10, available only until Sunday, the 13th of April, 6 pm] he says
“I am all for making connections between my dual heritage – Scotland and India but I hadn’t realised that in the heart of the Peak District there are secrets from colonial British India”.
And here’s how our project inspired him. Or perhaps particularly the Elephant in the Park [https://heritagehindusamaj.wordpress.com/heritage-walks/] walk, Hardeep says
“Its inspired me to propose a short series of programmes myself “Shiva skis Glenshee, Durga goes dancing in the Dales and Buddha in the Brecon Beacons”
Ha ha, Hardeep! We already thought of at least two of these – Durga dancing in the Dales – See my blog post here , a new dance production is in the pipeline. We will send you an invite, Hardeep! And Buddha in the Brecon Beacons – See Mindfulness workshop here. Great minds and all, Hardeep 🙂