Great news in The Nottingham Post on Saturday:
Tim and Sally are a lovely couple, and I’ve been very lucky to have got to know them well over the last few months. Tim has been a key player in getting the Beestonian Film Club up and running, as well as penning (quilling?) a column for The Beestonian, Bow Selector.
After the Post put the story on the front cover, they’ve been deluged with phone calls from national publications, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it went international too. It’s silly season in the press right now, so a story as good as this is perfect. Tim, Sally, that little foetus swimming around is possibly going to be this year’s Essex Lion.
A visit to the Hindu Temple on Friday. Regular readers might both remember the story from early last year, where after some pretty bigoted nastiness at a CAT meeting we ran a campaign from this site to send welcome cards to the Temple to say that although the bigots at the meeting shouted loud, the vast majority of Beeston, tolerant, multicultural, open-minded folk, could shout louder. Loads of you sent cards, and when the temple opened that April it was a joyous, colourful experience.
Things were indeed rosy for a while, and their windows remained unsmashed until February of this year when a side window was put through. In quick succession, two other windows were attacked. The police were handed CCTV, but this was inconclusive, and no arrests were made.
Most of the community around the temple’s location on West Crescent were incredibly positive about it’s existence. As well as being used for religious purposes, the large hall at the rear of the temple has hosted yoga sessions, South Indian dance classes and various other communit activities. The hall doesn’t charge, though a donation is always welcome. What was nce a derelict, decaying building had been transformed into a thriving community resource, and an incredibly beautiful one at that.
Yet sometimes, that isn’t enough to placate some people.
On the day the temple opened, I chatted briefly to some locals who were annoyed at the Temple’s existence. They demanded to know what gave the Temple visitors a right to park in the Temple carpark, drive down the street, or walk by their house. I asked them if they’d been in. They looked at me like they were nuns being shepherded into a brothel. They chuntered off, and once out of earshot of the pair of police who were on hand, unleashed a slew of pretty nasty racist remarks.
Complaints of the most petty nature were made to the Temple attendees over the next few months, always from a small group of people. They demanded a fence be put up to enclose the whole Temple, when the Temple organisers pointed out that Hinduism is a welcome, open religion and a fence would be against it’s principals, they complained about the Temple attendees cars creating harmful fumes. The Temple organisers offered to have their cars checked for illegal exhaust discharges, as they were pretty sure their vehicles were low-emission. This wasn’t taken up by the complainants, but they’d found a new source of angst: they could see vehicles in the Temple car park from their window. Even more heinously, a skip was visible from their window on Christmas Day, entirely ruining their festive season.
These constant complaints are tantamout to harrasment, and it doesn’t take a leap of logic to see what the onmi-limbed elephant in the room is here. If the Temple had been turned into a Salvation Army Meeting Place, a Jehovah Witness Kingdown Hall or a Quaker Friendship House I don’t think the complaints and barrage of ire would be quite the same.
Paddy Tipping, Notts Police and Crime Comissioner turned up later, and was given a tour of the place. He was effusive about the good community relations that the Temple has engendered, but was keen to discover more about the harrasment and vandalism, and if they were connected. I admitted I was unwilling to make a certain judgement on a definate connection.
‘C’mon!’ said Paddy ‘You’re the journalist!’
‘Yes’ I replied ‘And you’re the politician. So why have you asked the journo question and I responded with a politician’s answer?’ Much mirth.
Maybe you had to be there. And if you were, you might have also been offered the fantastic food they provide to worshippers and non-Hindu visitors: incredible South Indian grub. Myself, Paddy and his lovely partner Catherine all nommed down on dhaal, spicy curry and a ghee-tastic side that so beats the last two meals I’ve had in religious places: a communian wafer at a Catholic church; and a Penguin bar served with sweet milky tea when interviewing a vicar about the hot-topic of campanology. None contained cardoman. If I was to choose a religion on taste alone, I’d willingly eschew beef for the delights of polytheistic sub-continental worship.
The Temple is a wonderful addition to Beeston. Get down there when you can. More info here: http://www.nottinghamamman.org/