Friday, 15 April 2011

Brent welcomes Hindus but not Catholics!

I am indebted to A Reluctant Sinner for his timely post on the refusal of Brent Council, to allow a Good Friday procession organised by the local Catholic Church to take place.
Of course, all the usual reasons are given, "not enough notice" "it is a bit bureaucratic but what can we do?" and so on.
But, the Council do not seem too phased when it comes to Diwali, the Festival of Light so beloved of the Indian community.

This is a report from October 2010...

The countdown to Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, was fittingly launched by a group of students dressed as golden flames, yesterday (13).
In anticipation of the five day celebration, which takes place at the end of the month, Brent Mayor Harry Singh joined school students and organisers at the Shri Sanatan Hindu Mandir temple in Ealing Road, Wembley, to launch the festival.
Cllr Singh said: “Brent Diwali is such a wonderful occasion. It is the highlight of the events calendar for so many people.
“Each year our parade grows bigger, and this year promises to be more special than ever as the beautiful Shri Sanatan temple will be at the heart of celebrations.”
Diwali is celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs, and marks the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom after he defeated the demon King Ravana. The story signifies the triumph of good over evil.
During the festival small clay lamps known as diyas are filled with oil and celebrants wear their finest, colourful clothes.
Brent plays host to the largest Diwali procession outside of India, and some 60,000 people thronged along Ealing Road in Wembley to watch the glittering parade.
Veeru Selvanayagam, 12, from Alperton Community School, in Stanley Avenue, Wembley, ushered in the celebrations dressed in a sparkling peach flower costume.
She said: “I feel really special in what I am wearing because I am in the biggest costume.
“I celebrate Diwali every year with my family and I will definitely be going to the parade. I am excited, my whole family will be watching me.”
By her side was Calnita Brito, 11, one of two year 7 pupils at Alperton dressed as flames, said: “The costumes are so beautiful, I was really pleased when I found out I was going to wear one.
“We have learnt a lot about Diwali at school. It is a festival mostly celebrated by Hindus, but it can be enjoyed by people of all faiths.”
A festival including dace troupes in traditional costumes, a float parade and a fireworks show are being put on by Brent Council on October 30 to mark the beginning of Diwali.

Christian tradition NO! Hindu tradition YES!
Now it would be a little mean to point out that the name of the Mayor of the area is Councillor Harry Singh.....not a recusant family name!

Muslims also have special events and no reason why they should not except that it appears as if Catholic events are not allowed......

Brent Cross Shopping Centre is celebrating Eid on Saturday 26th September with a variety of traditional story telling, poetry reading, music and food. The Mayor of Barnet will kick off the festivities in the morning, and throughout the day shoppers will get the chance to join in the traditional celebrations.
10.30 Official opening of festivities by the Mayor of Barnet
10.35 – 10.45 Recitation from the Holy Qur’an
10.45 – 10.55 Nasheed by children
10.55 – 11.30 Break for refreshments
11.30 – 11.45 Poetry Reading
11.45 – 11.55 Recitation from the Holy Qur’an
11.55 – 12.00 Nasheed by children
12.00 – 1.30 Children’s quiz
1.30 - 2.30 Break for refreshments
2.30 – 2.45 Poetry readings
2.45 – 3.00 Story telling
3.00 – 4.00 Children’s quiz
4.00 – 4.15 Story telling
5.00 Finish

When: Saturday 26th September – 9.00am – 5pm
Where: Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Hendon, London, NW4 3FP

Well, thank goodness we have an Equality and Human Right Commission whose duty it is to stamp out such

"We have a statutory remit to promote and monitor human rights; and to protect, enforce and promote equality across the nine "protected" grounds - age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, sexual orientation and gender reassignment."


  1. Thanks, Richard - there goes the blood pressure again!

  2. While all you say here is fair, I think it should be pointed out that while "Singh" is clearly not a Catholic name, it equally clearly is not a Hindu one.

  3. Apologies for the further pedantry, but while it is true that while Willesden, and the biggest Hindu temple in England (or I think anywhere outside India) - in Neasden - are both in the Borough of Brent, Brent Cross shopping centre is not. (There is no such "place" as Brent, it's just the name of the area formerly known as the boroughs of Wembley and Willesden, and is a very small river)

    It's in the Borough of Barnet. So a different set of officials were responsible for the decisions. And Barnet is VERY different, both politically and socially, from Brent. But the gist of the article is correct none the less!

  4. Thanks Dominic - But Sikhs celebrate Diwali as well.
    I stand corrected re Brent Cross. Cheers.