Accents in ‘uddersfield

View of Castle Hill from Sikh Temple in Springwood

View of Castle Hill from Sikh Temple in Springwood

With transport being so readily available and travel instant, people are diluting their accents to an acceptable form as they are no longer restricted to living and working in one town or city. I am born and bred in ‘uddersfield, and with fellow Yorkshire men and lasses my accent will go back to the Yorkshire form it should be, but in the workplace and even on the phone I find I am speaking the way one should… but how should one speak? and how long will we be able to keep our regional accents and dialects without diluting them to the extent they no longer exist?

Oral history is the way in which this can be preserved. For years now oral historians have been recoding and archiving hundreds if not thousands of interviews with people on subjects of the past. Going back to World War I and the experience of the soldiers in the trenches, World War II and the migration of the South Asian community after the collapse of the British Empire. Here are just a few of the subject areas in which people have delved into, but listening back to the sound archives makes you appreciate the language and tones in which ordinary people communicated in. How times have changed, how diverse language has become, with the Oxford dictionary taking on new words constantly, words originating from across cultures and continents, it is something to think of. Try recording your older generations on your phone and see if you can catch a glimpse of the past through their voice.

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Afghanistan: what’s going on?

There has been much controversy over the presidential elections which have been taking place in Afghanistan over the last few months, but what’s actually happening?

In August, Hamid Karzai won the election outright, with a clear majority of votes, but it came to light shortly after that this outcome was the product of widespread fraud throughout the election process. President Karzai was accordingly stripped of his victory and it was decided that there should be a second round of the election. Controversially, this second round, which was planned to take place on the 7th November, was called off after Dr. Abdullah Abdullah – President Karzai’s main rival – pulled out of the election race claiming that the vote would not be ‘free and fair’.

So on Monday it emerged that, after the entirety of this long and drawn out election, with all its various complications, that Hamid Karzai will in fact be resuming the role of Afghan President for a second term. Naturally, this decision has provoked yet more outcries at the state of affairs within the Afghan government and electoral system. Dr. Abdullah called the decision ‘illegal’ due to the issues of fraud in the election, whereby Karzai did not win a majority of votes, so he does not technically have the public’s consent to rule them.

Meanwhile in Helmand, the conflict between British forces and the Taliban remains fierce as 5 more British soldiers have been shot dead. The attack has been blamed on a rogue policeman who was being mentored by the men. This news brings the total number of British deaths this year to 92, which is the highest in any year since the Falklands War in 1982. Following the shooting, Gordon Brown stressed that he was confident and hopeful that the new Afghan government would “play its part in confronting the challenges Afghanistan faces”.

In Huddersfield, we would all agree that we have a harmonious and co-operative attitude and there is very little in the way of friction or conflict between different groups of people. Evidently this is not the case at the minute in Afghanistan, although the British troops are doing their best to help the people move on and fight extremism and terrorism. The new Afghan government will have a large part to play in promoting and leading the way to peace. The question is, will they be successful?

 

Diwali

Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights which will start on the 17th October 2009. Here are some recipes to get you cooking for Diwali:

wheat laddo

Wheat Laddu
Ingredients:
1 cup Wheat Flour
1/4 cup Gram Flour
11/2 cup Sugar Powder
1/4 cup Grated Coconut
1/4 cup Dry Fruit almonds, raisins, kaju etc
1 cup Ghee

Preparation:
1. Heat the ghee.
2. Put both the flours in the heated ghee.
3. When nearly roasted put coconut and sliced dry fruit in the mixture.
4. Now put the ground sugar in the mixture and stir thoroughly.
5. Take off from the heat quickly and make laddus. You may also put the mixture in an oil based thali & make small pieces.

 

kheer Kheer

Ingredients:
1 litre milk, 1 tbsp basmati rice(washed), 1 cup sugar, 2-3 bay leaves, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 5 cardamoms, 4 cm cinnamon, 4 cloves, a pinch of salt, 1 tsp ghee.
For Garnishing:6 almonds(sliced), a handful of raisins, 8 cashewnuts(chopped), a little ghee.

Method:
Heat ghee in a pressure cooker.Add bay leaves and cuminseeds.When they splutter add 2 tbsp sugar.Lower the heat and stir the sugar.When it caramelises to a dark brown colour, add milk, When the milk comes to a boil, add rice.Stir well.Pressure cook for 10-15 minutes.When cool, mix the rice and milk well with a hand beater.Add sugar and simmer for 5 minutes.Remove from heat.Powder cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves finely, and add to the milk.Stir well. Heat a little ghee and fry the raisins, cashewnuts and almonds lightly.Add to the milk and serve.

Yorkshire in Pictures

Leeds Mela 2009Asian Artists

Indian elephant

 

Yorkshire events in pictures, 2009.

Education Pack

Asian voices leafletAsian Voices is developing an education pack in which schools can teach their students aspects of oral history though a social, historical and geographical context. Oral history is about capturing people’s feeling, emotion and experiences of past life to allow individuals to trace developments within an area.

Asian Voices is looking at Huddersfield’s geographical landscape and the way it has changed since the 1960’s through the South Asian influence. We are hoping to produce an education pack viewed through South Asian history in which students from all backgrounds can explore their local community.

Packs will be available free to Kirklees schools from January 2010.

The month of fasting

Cresent moon

Cresent moon

Ramadham is the month in which the Holy Quran was sent down from heaven by the angel Gibrael (also know as Gabriel) for Muhammad to read and is the month in which all Muslims fast from sunrise until sunset. There are exceptions for the sick, elderly and young, but many will observe the month of Ramadham (pronounced Ram-zaan) for the complete 29-30 days. Muslims go with out food and water during the daylight hours and this year they have been starting their fast from 4am to 8pm, to remember the poor and go through a process of self purification. Fasting enables Muslims to feel sympathy for one another and be grateful for what they have through the process of prayer and abstinence.

Ramdham is the ninth month in the lunar year and starts at the sighting of the crescent moon and continues for up to 30 days. This month is very special for Muslims as they believe the gates of heaven are open and they persevere with good deeds to gain self control and purification. During this month there is a ‘night of power’ on the 27 day of fasting; Muslims pray from the Quran during this night as they believe this night is better than any other, as during the time of the Prophet Muhammad angels were sent down to level one of heaven to pray for mankind. 

The full moon then signals the celebration day of Eid-ul-Fitr in which Muslims start the day with Eid prayer from which celebrations commence. The day is often filled with feasting and visiting relations. The moon is used throughout the Islamic calendar to count days which was the Arab method during the time of the Prophet Muhammad.

Oral History Interviews

flashmicWe are always looking for people to interview and if you are interested in recording your oral history please contact me via the Asian Voices website www.asianvoices.org.uk.

We are looking for people who have lived or currently live in Huddersfield and are first, second or third generation South Asian.