SUPPORTING ENGLAND DESPITE THE HATERS: Shop manager stands up against football racists

Ilford – VIJAY SHAH via ELLENA CRUSE and Ilford Recorder

A shop owner of Indian heritage, who was allegedly abused by racists and warned off his show of support by a fellow Indian after adorning his business with the flag of St. George in support of the England World Cup football team has vowed to fight back against the prejudice he suffered by increasing the number of flags flying at his shop, the Ilford Recorder newspaper reported today.

The unnamed owner of GMS Heating & Plumbing Spares, Ilford Lane, in the London-Essex town of Ilford, a Sikh Punjabi, declared his backing of the ‘Three Lions’ team by placing the distinctive red-and-white cross of England around the outside of his store, as well as a string of smaller flags of all the national teams in the World Cup across the shopfront.

 

The decorations riled some locals, who did not understand why a person of Indian origin was supporting England, even though he had lived in the country for forty years and had been supporting the national team for twenty years. Staff at GMS began receiving hate mail and letters criticising their manager’s allegiances. One handwritten missive accused the manager of forgetting his heritage and disavowing his culture and skin colour. The rambling letter went on to say that if National Front racists had seen the flags, the shop owner would have been ” [kicked] back to Indian with out (sic) your trousers on and give you flower (sic) to take”

The note, written anonymously and addressing the GMS owner as ‘Uncle’, annoyed the man and he has vowed to now add more England flags to his football display. 

The manager told the Recorder that the letters would not stop him supporting his favourite side, but that it had cast a shadow over the store’s World Cup celebrations.

“It is shocking how backward minded people think that by supporting the country you live in you will be dishonouring our religion or insulting India,” he added.

“These are the wrong people, not the ones who enjoy being part of the English culture.”

David Landau, a senior caseworker at the local people relations charity Redbridge Equalities and Community Council, said abuse in any form should not be tolerated and needs to be reported.

“This is a rather unusual situation but abuse is abuse and if someone is abused for putting up England flags this is wrong,” he said.

“It shouldn’t be happening and racism needs to be condemned.”

Another South Asian-owned business on the same Ilford road, which runs through the far west of the town along the border with Newham, also reported receiving similar letters after they also flew English flags outside their premises.

SOURCES:

Ilford Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/IlfordRecorder/

“Abusive letters won’t stop Ilford Sikh shopkeeper from displaying England flags during the Football World Cup” – Ellena Cruse, Ilford Recorder/Archant Community Media Ltd (24 June 2018) http://www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk/news/ilford-manager-will-put-up-more-england-flags-after-abusive-letters-1-5574492

IMAGE CREDIT: 

“SO7192 : Old Castle pub in Bridgnorth” – Jaggery, geograph (2 July 2014) https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4099318

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Jaggery and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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PHOTO MOMENT: Ganesh Chaturthi – Mumbai Ganpati

 

May all of your obstacles be overcome this Ganesh Chaturthi. Image by Supriya Tiwari.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Mumbai Ganpati‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Mum_Ganpati

mum_ganpati, Instagram (26 August 2017) https://www.instagram.com/p/BYPw3HenCFY/

tiwarisupriya392, Instagram https://www.instagram.com/tiwarisupriya392/

DIWALI 2014: Festive family photos

Yesterday, on Diwali day itself, I was able to spend time with my family at my mother’s house. It was a beautiful and magical occasion of enjoyment with some of the most special people in my life. There was lots of hugs and smiles as we greeted each other “Happy Diwali”. Mum treated me to a dish of her very delicious vegetarian chilli-con-carne and tasty Indian sweets. We had a quiz game on my brother’s PS4 (out of five players, I came top with a final score of 4,000 points) and later went around the house lighting diyas (lamps) in honour of the festival of lights.

Prompted by a blogging friend who saw my previous post on this year’s HEM selection of animated images on the theme of Diwali and suggested I post up pictures of the event, I here present a gallery of photos of Diwali in the Shah household. Many, many thanks to Anjali and Arjun for contributing pictures to this gallery, and to Suraj, who offered me a chance to take some pictures after he had lit some candles on the mantelpiece.

You can find full-resolution versions of the images in this gallery on the Half-Eaten Mind. Just look out for the square moving Flickr icon on the top of this page. Once you’re on the Flickr site, search for the “Diwali 2014/2070” album. Images refined and watermarked with piZap.

May thousands of lamps light up your life
with endless happiness, richness, health & wealth forever
wishing you and your family a very
“HAPPY DIWALI“

diwali64
ADDITIONAL SOURCE:
“[*Deepavali*] Happy Diwali Messages In English 2014 *[Msgs*]” – Happy Diwali/Happy Diwali 2014 Wishesms http://www.happydiwali2014wishesms.org/2014/09/deepavali-happy-diwali-messages-in-english-2014.html

PHOTO MOMENT: Mum’s Christmas decorations for 2013

Vijay Shah 

One of the fondest, and most persistent memories I had of growing up was a yearly ritual that my mother would perform towards the last few weeks before Christmas, along with many other British families. That ritual involved running around with a stepladder, clutching fancy objects made of tinsel and LED lights, and then transforming the living room into a kaleidoscope of shimmering metallic colours, flashing bulbs and festive knick-knacks. Cardboard boxes and bits of Sellotape surfaced everywhere, not to mention the occasional broken bauble or chair leg. Loads of rustling and troublesome tinsel that will not stay put on the walls. This is festive home decoration – Mumsy-style!!

This year is no different, and this photo moment is dedicated to my mum’s skillful, playfully over the top, jaw-dropping-ly fantastic Christmas decorations, which can take her several hours to perfect and finish.

Though no-one in our family celebrates Christmas for religious reasons (although we do respect the message behind it), it is customary for families in the United Kingdom to erect a Christmas tree in the living room and festoon it with tinsel, baubles and more wattage than Oxford Street. My mother is very fond of decorating the house for Christmas ever since Day One, and this year she has really made an effort. It is not just the living room that gets the motherly festive touch now. Since my mum and younger siblings moved to a much larger suburban house five years back, she has now has more space to place decorations, and now not a single room in the house escapes my Mum’s festive cheer. In addition to the Christmas tree (we kept the same plastic pine tree for several years), my Mum would also pull out a ladder or chair and hang special decorations made from metallic foil from the ceiling. That is also an important sub-ritual we have enacted for as long as I can remember. I was fascinated by them as a child, and now, more than two decades later, my niece, who is four years old, is just as fascinated. In fact when she saw them, she thought yesterday was the great “Happy Christmas Day” and wanted to “reach up to the sky”. She was mesmerised by the hanging ornaments.

This year, Mum went all-out. Additional kitschy lighted ornaments were placed in windows and in the passageways of the house. The decorating project was a nice effort by Mum. She stayed up until 2.00 in the morning last week on one occasion, doing nothing but hoisting up and sticking down all manners of festive decor to the walls. She had picked up some new additions from eBay and some local stores to add to the ones we box up after every New Year for storage. When I visited her yesterday, I even got stuck in a bit myself, although most of my help extended to lugging a large mattress across one of the bedrooms (don’t ask) so my Mum could get access to the window. My Mum was understandably very proud of her efforts and the hard work she put in to make sure that the displays were perfect and had the right effect of awesomeness. She even badgered me to go around and take pictures of the various decorations, while giving me a back story about some of them, especially how she got hold of them.

I walked around the whole house and even stepped outside in the freezing col minus jacket to take a selection of photos. I was suitably impressed, so much so in fact that today I have decided to upload them to the blog’s newly created Flickr account and then share them with you in today’s Photo Moment. Hopefully these pictures will get you deeper into the holiday season spirit and maybe even give you some decoration ideas of your own if you haven’t yet decked your halls with holly and other such Christmassy things.

Lit-up reindeer grace the front door of my mum’s place. Even the ornaments get their own bespoke ornamentation (c) V. Shah
Festive metallic card banner suspended over the door leading to the living room (c) V. Shah
Wide-angle view of living room decorations. The chains of ‘icicles’ at the top of this photo contain red and blue LEDs that alternate between the two colours. Witness the array of shapes hanging from the ceiling. (c) V. Shah
The Xmas tree. Traditionally we used a green one, but for the last couple of years, the colour scheme has been switched to snowy white. (c)V. Shah
A closer detail of Mum’s trademark ceiling ornaments. A red star jostles for attention with a ‘sea urchin’ and two snowflakes. Old is gold. (c) V. Shah
Model reindeer under the tree. My niece was smitten, but mistook is for one of those ‘My Little Ponies’. She refused to believe me when I told her it was a reindeer from Santa. (c) V. Shah
The Christmas tree. Notice the gold star at the top. We did not steal it from the Kremlin. (c) V. Shah
Brightly-coloured deer and Santa decorations set up in the living room window. (c) V. Shah
“Merry Christmas” light display and a few dangling snowdrops to lend that wintery feel from an upstairs bedroom window. Seen from the driveway. (c) V. Shah
Simple chain of electric blue LEDs above the threshold of the front door. Why do I suddenly feel like singing the “Bad Boy” song? (c) V. Shah
Freshly kidnapped from the National Santas Convention – a trio of ornamental Father Christmases. One appears to have been hired by a call centre. (c) V. Shah
A ghetto Christmas tree – in reality a branch ornament in the dining room which has not escaped the LED frenzy of my Mum. (c) V. Shah
The tree in all its finest glory. I managed to the get the blue lights at the top to snake around the body of the tree to make a good contrast between blue and white – good winter theme. Not bad for someone who is hopeless at interior design. (c) V. Shah
This Santa decided to jack in Rudolph and the sleigh and deliver prezzies with added locomotion. A long-established heirloom with fibre optic lighting that gently changes colour. (c) V. Shah
Miniature Xmas pine trees that look like the main tree’s sapling children. The empty drinks can is not a permanent decoration. (c) V. Shah
The train Santa again with full illumination. Kitschy but a good reminder of snowy Christmas evenings by candlelight. (c) V. Shah
Not quite a decoration but arguably one of the cutest Xmas cards I’ve seen in a while. A reindeer with glittery red nose, robin, and candy cane. (c) V. Shah
We even have a festive doormat. Jolly Santa and Xmas greeting. (c) V. Shah
Handheld fibre-optic tree, as demonstrated by one of my sisters. (c) V .Shah
I moustache you a question. Where did you get this bauble? Movember may be long over, but you can’t argue with a bauble sporting its own glittering lip scarf. (c) V. Shah

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IMAGE CREDITS:
Half-Eaten Mind on Flickr LINK