Textile links between India and the Peak District region

This is the last of our films for the HLF project. Enjoy!

Our project is work in progress, we are aware that there may be inaccuracies in this film, we apologise for them. If you would like to get in touch with us regarding any aspects of this film, please contact us via Sheffield.hindu.samaj.culture@gmail.com

Chamu Kuppuswamy

How many can you count?

Did you know that just on a short walk, in areas that we explored as part of our project, there is all this biodiversity?

Did you know we had poisonous snakes in the Peak district – Well, not the King Cobra, but Britain’s only venomous snake is not far from Sheffield!

You can potentially see red deer, adders, brook lamprey, great crested newts, harvest mice, water vole and red breasted mergansers.

It is a naturalist and photographer’s paradise!

Chamu Kuppuswamy

Experiencing Edward Carpenter

I hadn’t heard of Edward Carpenter until November 2012, when I got a note from Esme which among other things mentioned Edward Carpenter and his interest in Eastern religions and travel to India and Ceylon.

Since then we have been uncovering a lot about the man and his life. An early glimpse into this multi-faceted personality came through the exhibition in the town hall. Then we were enticed into the Carpenter Quiz night where we hoped to meet more Carpenter enthusiasts. We didn’t do a bad job at the quiz and uncovered a few more things about Carpenter. Museums Sheffield had a big do celebrating Edward Carpenter’s life and times which was a nice event held in the city centre  We came across the Friends of Edward Carpenter (FOEC) who are raising funds to put a bust of Carpenter in Sheffield city centre, in recognition for his contribution to the city

This is what FOEC say about Edward Carpenter

“Edward Carpenter (1844 -1929) was a significant cultural and political activist, who for over 40 years formed a strong bond with the people of Sheffield, living in Millthorpe, Derbyshire only a few miles away. A man ahead of his time, Carpenter campaigned and wrote throughout his life on many issues of social concern. Mainly remembered as a pioneer of gay rights campaigning, Carpenter also advocated socialism, environmentalism, feminism, vegetarianism, and clothes reform. He opposed imperialism, vivisection, war and capital punishment. He envisioned a world free of class struggles, pollution, animal abuses and homophobia and a simpler, more sustainable way of living. His vision clearly resonates in our world today.  His home at Millthorpe became a meeting place for socialists and free thinkers, intellectuals, writers and humanitarians from across the world, including Gandhi, Siegfried Sassoon, EM Forster and Walt Whitman. The signatories to his 70th and 80th birthday cards include almost every important labour and trade union figure of the day. Sheffield never gave him any civic recognition.”

Our proper work in discovering the ‘Indian’ Edward Carpenter started with the Carpenter workshop on the 1st of June 2013. This was an important element in our project as it offered us the opportunity to learn some skills, i.e researching in a local Archive, thanks to Dr. Helen Smith. From then on listened Carpenter experts and did more archive research work and so on. Now we have a lot of material that we must read through and analyse!

Ps: Our project is work in progress, we are aware that there are some factual errors in this film, and apologise for them. If you would like to get in touch with us regarding any aspects of this film, please contact us via Sheffield.hindu.samaj.culture@gmail.com

Chamu Kuppuswamy

How to walk the spiritual path? Literally!

Watch this fantastic film from our heritage project as it takes the long view of the ‘walks’ component of the project – starting from researching stories and preparing a route card to walking in the landscape and developing an enlightened view of nature that is summarised in Edward Carpenter’s own words.

Once we had completed our research, through reading of books and materials, and working with primary material from the Edward Carpenter Collection held in the Sheffield Archives, we had collected information that had played itself out in the landscape years ago. The walks component enabled us to play it out again in the landscape in our own way and bring new understandings about our shared heritage. We were building up on, picking up the threads from where Edward Carpenter left off. We were telling the story of his discovery and adventure into understanding the relationship between us and nature through Hinduism and with the help of rangers, enabling everyone to chart to their own journeys into the special landscape of the National Park to help understand and experience this relationship between human and nature.

In the final part of this short film, Shayast Panezai reads from ‘Adam’s Peak to Elephanta’ (page 178)-

“You are not to differentiate yourself from Nature. We have seen that the Guru Tilleinathan spoke of the operations of the external world as ” I,” having dismissed the sense of difference between himself and them. It is only under these, and such conditions as these, that the little mortal creature gradually becomes aware of What he is. This non-differentiation is the final deliverance. When it enters in the whole burden of absurd cares, anxieties, duties, motives, desires, fears, plans, purposes, preferences, etc., rolls off and lies like mere lumber on the ground. The winged spirit is free, and takes its flight. It passes through the veil of mortality and leaves that behind. Though I say this non-differentiation is the final deliverance (from the bonds of illusion) I do not say it is the final experience. Rather I should be inclined to think it is only the beginning of many experiences. As, in the history of man and the higher animals, the consciousness of self—the local self—has been the basis of an enormous mass of perceptions, intuitions, joys, sufferings, etc., incalculable and indescribable in multitudinousness and variety, so in the history of man and the angels will the consciousness of the cosmic and universal life—the true self underlying — become the basis of another and far vaster knowledge.”

This is the first of our short film releases on our project.

Ps: The route card sample shown here is not a Edward Carpenter route, prepared by volunteer ranger Mike Pupius. It is a silk route, which is another part of the project, and was prepared by another group that was charting out a silk route walk in the south western part of the Peak District National Park.

Chamu Kuppuswamy

Get involved!

Have you been inspired by the work on this blog to think more about the ‘threads of connection’ between India and the Peak District National Park or about the relationship between Britain and the Indian subcontinent more generally? Has this work made you think more about the spiritual, historical and environmental legacies of the past? If so, would you like to contribute to a project that aims to put together different responses to Indian Heritage in the Peak District?

These can be creative contributions, your thoughts or experiences, or those based on historical work.

We would welcome:

-photographs, drawings, pictures, collages

-stories, poems, plays

-maps, diagrams, guided walks

-historical research on individual people or places linked to the cotton story

Or anything else you can think of….

The deadline for submissions is 30th September 2014. Please email them to e.r.cleall@sheffield.ac.uk

If you have any questions or would like to talk through any ideas please contact Esme Cleall on e.r.cleall@sheffield.ac.uk

Workshop Announcement

There is going to be a new workshop on Global Cotton Connections: East Meets West in the Peak District National Park.

The event will take place on Friday 16th May at the University of Sheffield University from 12.30-16.30.

The aim of the workshop is to continue the work started between September 2012 and March 2014 by a National Lottery funded project on Indian Heritage in the Peak District National Park led by Chumu Kuppuswamy.

The forthcoming workshop will be an opportunity to reflect on work done in Phase II of the project and to think about ways to take this further. There will be a speaker from Nottingham on cotton connections globally and an opportunity to do some research yourself. New faces are very welcome as are those who participated in Phase I of the project. Lunch will be provided!

The workshop is free but if you would like to come please register by emailing Esme Cleall at e.r.cleall@sheffield.ac.uk

The workshop will take place at Octagon Council Chamber, University of Sheffield, Octagon Centre, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TQ. #118 on the Campus Map: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.240769!/file/jan13campusmapAZ.gif

It is easily accessible by bus and tram, bus numbers are also indicated in this map. For a view of the area, see google street view. For parking, see https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/roads/travel/driving/parking/centre.html

A useful little meeting

Last week we had our first steering meeting for Phase II of the heritage project. It was a small gathering just Dr. Naik, Kim Marwood and me! But we got lots done and are close to finalising the programme for our next workshop. This is on 16th May so please put that in your diaries – more information will follow shortly!!