BNC Text G4S

Life in Caldmore: conversation with Bhagan Singh. Sample containing about 5670 words speech recorded in leisure context

4 speakers recorded by respondent number C196

PS21Y X f (j. hammond, age unknown, interviewer) unspecified
PS220 X m (Bhagan, age unknown) unspecified
G4SPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
G4SPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 091901 recorded on 1987-11-27. LocationWest Midlands: Caldmore () Activity: Conversation with Bhagan Singh

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (G4SPSUNK) [1] India, Punjab, northern part of India, on fifth of February, thirty-six.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [2] And when did you come to live in this country?
Bhagan (PS220) [3] In April, nineteen sixty-one.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [4] Did you live an in any other countries in between the two years?
Bhagan (PS220) [5] No, I came from India straight to England.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [6] What was your occupation in India?
[7] What did you do?
Bhagan (PS220) [8] Erm ... Well I'm a trained teacher but er I didn't get much experience in teaching although I had obtained my degree in teaching in nineteen ... fifty-eight.
[9] I've forgotten all the years now it's so long.
[10] [laugh] Fifty-eight.
[11] I graduated in fifty-seven so it was one year's [...] in fifty-eight.
[12] Then I couldn't get a job.
[13] I joined erm college again to start on my master's degree, because it was just an er gap, filling gap like.
[14] So eventually I got a temporary job, er in ni end of sixty, which lasted til er ... February sixty one.
[15] Er, but by the time I had my passport so I thought may not get a job again better to try the luck somewhere else.
[16] So I got er experience of three months now, [...] that was really very nice experience which I always wanted to be a teacher although I didn't join here.
[17] So I, I came in April, sixty-one here straight from India.
[18] That's, that was all the experience I had which you say experience of life.
[19] The rest was all college life.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [20] What about the rest of your family in India?
[21] Were there any other teachers amongst them?
Bhagan (PS220) [22] No.
[23] We were three brothers.
[24] Er two of us are here now.
[25] Both are of us are in business.
[26] He's he in greengrocery in Roehampton, and the third one who is younger to me, elder to the third one, he is in Canada.
[27] He was here before but he migrated to Canada.
[28] He's working ... so none of us ... er in any profession at all except er just earning our living.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [29] Did you come here by yourself or did some of the members of the family travel with you, when you travel [...]
Bhagan (PS220) [30] No I came with my brother actually, younger brother, who is Canada now.
[31] But my father was here before I came.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [32] Here in Walsall?
Bhagan (PS220) [33] Here in Walsall, and my, one of my cousins was here.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [34] How long have they been here?
Bhagan (PS220) [35] Erm, my cousin left India in nineteen fifty ... -six of fifty seven.
[36] He went to Fiji, where my uncle was there.
[37] My father ha, has got one brother only, there two brothers.
[38] Er he was living, the other was living in Fiji.
[39] He migrated to Fiji ... erm before I was born and my grandfather died in Fiji.
[40] I haven't seen my, never saw my grandfather and so family has been out of the country for a few generations now.
[41] Er, so ... two of us came in sixty-one the third one, youngest one, came in sixty- five.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [42] Where did you live when you first came here, whereabouts?
Bhagan (PS220) [43] Erm I came ... when I came in England I came here.
[44] Er, I stayed at [...] Erm that was the house erm belonged to my cousin He still lives in that house.
[45] He di , he's, I think he's the only person who never moved out of the same place.
[46] Normally we keep selling and buying the properties.
[47] Erm father was living there as well so I er didn't stay long er because we hadn't got a job.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [48] What sort of house is that one in ?
Bhagan (PS220) [49] It's a terraced house and er, it's double storey, two floors up and er, it was well-used at that time because the reason was one er, there wasn't much accommodation available and secondly it is the custom amongst our people that who's ever er is in need we have the person, like the two of us came from India, my brother and myself, so we di couldn't get a job.
[50] We weren't charged any rent.
[51] We weren't charged anything for the food, so we were there as guests, although everybody else was working but we was given the most comfortable er [laugh] room to stay, so it, there were quite a few people living there because of this reason, that er people coming from outside looking for a job, they would automatically er obtain the accommodation without being charged for it.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [52] What were your first impressions of Walsall [...]
Bhagan (PS220) [53] Not very good. [laugh]
j. hammond (PS21Y) [laugh]
Bhagan (PS220) [54] Because er, when I landed er at airport, er one of my relations was living in ... er Slough.
[55] I went to him first.
[56] He was living in a modern flat, nice flat, well-carpeted,wel nice furniture in there and er, you know the difference of Midlands and south India at that time was tremendous.
[57] Erm I liked it very much, it was nice and [...] in April.
[58] Er he wasn't at, er in when I came, so I left my bag out here on the stairs.
[59] I went and to just walk around the town.
[60] I was sitting in the car park and I appreciated the area very much, it was nice, clean area but when I came to Walsall it was smoky and [laughing] dirty area [] I'm sorry to say that and er, but I had no alternative but to stay here because my father was here, I had no money and er, I thought because of relations job prospects might be better here than elsewhere.
[61] But, unfortunately, couldn't get a job.
[62] So
j. hammond (PS21Y) [63] What sort of work did you try and get when you came?
Bhagan (PS220) [64] Any sort.
[65] Any sort.
[66] Foundry work, labour work for th nothing was available.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [67] So what did you do?
[68] What was your first paid job?
Bhagan (PS220) [69] Erm ... eventually er, one of my teachers in my school had migrated to this country and he was living in Southall at that time and he was working in a bakery.
[70] So I wrote him a letter, told him I'm here, I can't get a job, so he managed to get a job for me.
[71] That was bakery, near to the London airport north.
[72] It used to be airport north at that time, small house on the edge of the Western side isn't it?
[73] No, listen, we'll say it's north, say north side of I sometimes losing direction in this country.
[74] Because erm, [laughing] sun goes round very often [] it starts [...] in the winter.
[75] Erm
j. hammond (PS21Y) [76] So how long were you doing that?
Bhagan (PS220) [77] I stayed in bakery for two years.
[78] Erm the working conditions weren't very good and the behaviour of the officers wasn't very tolerable.
[79] Because I had come straight from college, it was really difficult for me to tolerate that sort of behaviour, so I managed to er convince the workers to form a union.
[80] So I had to [...] they said oh you were the shop steward.
[81] So I was shop steward for there, for one year and a half and er eventually because of the row between the workers, myself and er the management, er although we, we obtained a lot of facilities for the workers, a lot of facilities.
[82] There was time when they had to bribe er, give some sort of er incentive to the foreman to give them a good time, then it was the shop stewards who would give the ... workers to the management who will do the o overtime.
[83] So that sort of situation we obtained in a year and a half without going to, going on a strike.
[84] But er eventually I found out that er, er, I can't er work peacefully here, because if I stopped for er, fighting for the benefit of the workers then er they will think that er I have been bribed or something like this and if I keep fighting for them then there's no peace of mind, there's always struggle, so I thought I'll leave, and the second was, that I wanted to bring my family into this country and I wasn't saving anything while leaving them because that's a bit expensive area and er, the person who got the job for me he said let's migrate to Yorkshire.
[85] It's very cheap ov houses are very cheap and both of us left the job and down there.
[86] Here I was erm getting about er seventeen Pound a week.
[87] When I wh went to Yorkshire, in, we lived at Leeds, I couldn't get a job and eventually I got a job er in a electrical firm.
[88] I used to er wire the erm ... was a tube fittings.
[89] It was [...] lamps, [...] lamps, and I was getting only ten pounds a week there, which was just enough to, which erm, er expenses for one person.
[90] Then I ... migrated to ... Luton from there.
[91] I shifted to Luton.
[92] I thought I would get a job there but I couldn't for a few months and er, my wife and two children joined me there and my brother's wife joined us there, and two of us bought the house in Luton.
[93] And eventually I got job on a scaffold.
[94] It was a very nice firm.
[95] I enjoyed er very much that it was [...] job.
[96] Erm but erm ... then ... due to certain reasons of erm ... er ... it was again er bit of struggle between myself and my colleague and er ... I had to choose to leave.
[97] [laugh] Because er, er management erm ... to his side actually.
[98] I made a mistake by telling them the truth actually and they said you have admitted your fault.
[99] So I said do you want the truth or you want me to [...] yourself?
[100] He said I want the truth.
[101] I said the truth is, that he reported that I was sleeping at night.
[102] I, I said the truth is that everybody stop work at twelve and we do our paperwork and [...] and we're normally finished by two o'clock, and if you come to the factory by twelve o'clock you won't find any machines working, and if you come at two o'clock you won't find any storeman working so that is the truth.
[103] He said all right, you have admitted you've been sleeping so out you go.
[104] [laugh] So I had no option.
[105] And then er, there's a long line of changing jobs and eventually ... I ... came to Dudley.
[106] One of my [...] had a house which was actually a shop previously, but it wa was on the back street, so his suggestion why don't you go into business?
[107] And we opened a small shop there and, in a whole week we couldn't even sell fifty pence worth of [laughing] sweets. []
[108] So [cough] I came to Walsall again, when I left Walsall I never wanted to, to come back to Walsall er because of two reasons.
[109] One was I didn't like the Midlands.
[110] Secondly I had so many relations.
[111] They used to drink a lot of beer ... in groups which I didn't like myself.
[112] Er it was er ... their social evening but for me I wasn't er very enjoyable.
[113] When I, when I came here I saw a shop in which was for sale.
[114] It was just er ... you may say destiny brought me here which I never wanted to come to this place.
[115] So I thought let's try.
[116] I went to ... the agents and it was for two thousand Pounds.
[117] I said well it's not that dear.
[118] So I said I'll look at it.
[119] So we bought that shop for two thousand Pounds.
[120] I ... er managed to ... find thousand Pounds from here and there and borrowing from each other and thousand Pounds was given immorally to me.
[121] Er the sale figures were quite good and that.
[122] But I had a very ... bad experience there again.
[123] First week we took only five Pounds, while the er previous owner was doing very well.
[124] At lunchtime ooh [...] shelf.
[125] [...] a customer comes in and he was [...] my wife [...] I didn't have er beard then I was clean-shaven, because after coming to this country when I couldn't get a job, I thought that this might be a bar so, which wasn't right, but we did it.
[126] So it was again a great disappointment for me but er, we carried on this struggle.
[127] We were well established for even three months.
[128] But I'd been working nights to live on.
[129] I used to work four nights and er working all day in the shop, working all night in there.
[130] It was er, er, Dunlop factory, wheel, Dunlop wheel something in Dudley, or wheel manufacturers something like this.
[131] I've forgot the name.
[132] Erm nice place.
[133] The conditions of work were very good, were very good, doing ten hours every night.
[134] Forty hours in four nights.
[135] So it was an uphill struggle and within three months we were doing well in shop and I left my job and since then I'm in Walsall.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [136] How did your wife and family settle down?
Bhagan (PS220) [137] They were moving with me all the time and er, the eldest child was four year's old when he came to this country and er, two and a half year's old the girl, younger to him.
[138] Er, although they've been moving around with me, but er they did very well in their studies in the end.
[139] Er I had very bad reports of work er from the eldest son.
[140] He used to go to school erm Mr, I think that was the headmaster [...] same sort of name.
[141] Er and he said he's very weak in his studies.
[142] I said well there must be some reason?
[143] He said change his company then, try that.
[144] Well we did.
[145] He didn't want to leave his friends, so we found a job in the shop for him packing.
[146] I used to pay him, incentive.
[147] So that worked.
[148] Now he's a doctor in, he's a senior housemaster in erm, er hospital, Sutton Coalfield.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [149] You must be very proud of him.
Bhagan (PS220) [150] Oh he's er, he's done very well and the girl she's a dentist.
[151] Er she has bought her own surgery in ... er Smethwick, but she comes from er,sh she's married, she's got one son and she's expecting another baby any day now.
[152] Er she's married in Leicester, they live in Leicester.
[153] So, so she travelled from Leicester to Birmingham all day, and they would of then erm had their degrees from Birmingham University.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [154] Erm while your children were here and going to school in, in [...] and all that, did they have any instruction from, from the temple, any extra tuition in anything?
Bhagan (PS220) [155] No.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [156] In language or culture it was just
Bhagan (PS220) [157] No, no, my children didn't have any, although there's, there's er [...] school going on, er being run by the temple all through these years.
[158] But er, because we were, see we, I always had a uphill struggle for many years, so that it wasn't er, tell you the truth I didn't erm devote much time towards the children, it is their own effort really that er they did very well.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [159] Erm can you tell me something about the temple in that area in Caldmore, its role in the community, briefly perhaps.
[160] [clears throat] Some things that [...]
Bhagan (PS220) [161] Erm well [...] temple in Caldmore has erm played a very important part in the life of the Sikh community, people in the Si er families here.
[162] Er number one ... that is the only place ... where we normally can meet.
[163] Er people do go to pub, they do meet, but it's not a family outing because our women don't go to pub, it's not socially approved.
[164] So that is a community place for us as well and that is the only place we can, where we can learn about religion other place because this is a foreign country wi who has got a different religion than we are and there is no other institution will, which will ever mention any of the reading apart from which is [...] So it has ... played a very important part.
[165] When I came it used to be a very old building which belonged to ... British Legion club previously and er Sikhs bought from them.
[166] We were running in that building er our day to day duties.
[167] Then in nineteen seventy ... -two ... yeah April seventy-two I think, we opened the new building.
[168] Then there was a extension to that.
[169] Now we have recently added two more halls to the existing building, so it's er, quite er bit of accommodation there for different er [...] duties.
[170] We extended er, this er, er, temple by buying the houses around.
[171] Altogether I think so far we have demolished er six, seven, seven or eight houses near to the boundary, to add the space to the car park and for the building.
[172] Now we've still got four or five houses in er er which are owned by the Sikh temple.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [173] That's at the back of the temple [...]
Bhagan (PS220) [174] At the back of the temple yeah.
[175] The gardens are er adjoining, adjacent to the er grounds of the temple.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [176] What about the old people in your community?
[177] How, how are they sort of brought into things ... by the temple would they ... have special
Bhagan (PS220) [178] We haven't got any special ... er way of er preaching or teaching different age groups.
[179] Er that's a sad thing and er ... our children normally learnt about Sikhism, our religion, just by, as they go in life.
[180] We don't teach them specially er they just er learn by living in the community because er, mainly Sikhism is about life, how to live a decent, healthy er social life, which ... do doesn't finish here, which leads to eternal union with God.
[181] So that is er, oh so it's a part and parcel of day to day er living.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [182] Erm ... perhaps ... children, young people, English young people and children of a similar age have more freedom, more social freedom.
[183] Does it cause problems?
Bhagan (PS220) [184] Er it does cause problems yes.
[185] It is causing, causing not just [...] lot of problems for us now.
[186] Because er ... we have different set-up.
[187] There are advantages and disadvantages of every set-up, in every society, er which doesn't fit into the er British er social structure.
[188] The marriage, a traditional marriage doesn't fit with the Western structure, because our children ... er we like arranged marriage.
[189] They see that the British children can have their own way.
[190] We see that er there is no possibility [...] our children can have because unless until they move around so freely as the Western children do move, that is the only way they can choose the right sort of person as a, as the companion for family.
[191] But again we said, see, that er although British children have a lot of freedom, the rate of the success in marriage isn't that great, not very encouraging.
[192] So then again we have the reservations regarding the success of the system.
[193] While we see that more marriages succeed, although there so some of them might be just dragging, but er a, at least they don't become a headache for the society as children of adult er parents or children with one parent, we don't have that problem.
[194] So we do feel that er, while children feel they don't er have the freedom, we feel that er, er, er a very nice system, which has been socially used for, is being sacrificed because we are living in a different set-up.
[195] So we are far apart from each other.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [196] Erm did you ever face any racial conflicts here in Caldmore when you came?
Bhagan (PS220) [197] Mm I do, still do.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [198] Still do?
Bhagan (PS220) [199] Mm, normally er people who can't afford, hesitate to walk around.
[200] I, I do hesitate myself because if I walk around normally I have to suffer a lot of abuse by, not by, people by who are walking round, but the people who are passing by in the cars etc.
[201] And youngsters normally er when, when they pass by, they will certainly say, at your back, something nasty and so er there is no way just have to an tolerate it ... unless, until we want to end up in, behind the bars.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [202] Has it become worse or better since you first arrived here?
Bhagan (PS220) [203] Erm it has become worse ... in a way that er ... we did, I did experience some sort of er, er racial ... intolerance ... er with the youth, but the middle-aged and the er m older people were very, very er tolerant [...] ... I had to ask er when I couldn't find my way, ask my way to certain places and er there was an [...] that er the lady just walked by me er with me and she, she said I'll have to walk with you you can't find it.
[204] So she was going to the opposite direction actually, and I insisted that I don't want to take her ... that long she would have to walk back again.
[205] She said no you can't find your way.
[206] But now the situation is that if, er we ... stop and ask the way somebody very few people will stop and say it.
[207] But I don't blame them for that, if the situation is such that er, er the ladies are scared of the strangers whether he's er coloured or probably the [...] er or [...] white people as well.
[208] And there are so many mugging cases which, in which coloured people are involved, so er everything is contributed to it.
[209] Er, there's such a change, tremendous change in the general attitudes of the people.
[210] See when I came in sixty-one I, I remember, you know B B C cinema?
[211] The buses used to start from their to Hampton, and there used to be a place where they would leave newspapers and they put, put a er box there by that and people used to take out newspaper and put the money into the box and er, you can't dream of that sort of thing now.
[212] You leave your door open and while, by the time you turn your er back around er something is missing.
[213] This er, this is a lot of difference.
[214] It's not er racial or something like that it was just the general standard of the people which has so much changed.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [215] Erm [clears throat] tell me about Caldmore Green itself now, erm the shops here seem to cater so well for the Asian community, er is this really so, I mean do you have everything [...]
Bhagan (PS220) [216] Yeah, erm When I bought the shop in in nineteen sixty ... -six ... in Caldmore we were the only coloured people, as far as I can remember.
[217] I don't know [...] was there in clothing business, but in groceries certainly we were the only people and there was another shop in er which used to belong to er [...] who [...] now and er, the most popular shop was in er [...] near to the er church.
[218] But that belonged to a white person who was, who could speak Punjabi very well, I think he wa he has been living in India for some time.
[219] So that was most popular, very busy person and er, since then more and more shops er have been bought by the Asians and now I think er ... we cater for, for every need and there are some pubs as well which have been bought by the Asian [...] and [...] The last straw I think is the Conservative club and bought [laughing] by Mr [] and two of his er partners.
[220] So
j. hammond (PS21Y) [221] What are they going to do with that place?
Bhagan (PS220) [222] They're using it as, at a, as a club.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [223] As a club?
Bhagan (PS220) [224] Mm as a club, yeah.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [225] Erm would you say that now you can get everything you need in Caldmore without venturing further afield or
Bhagan (PS220) [226] Erm the situation isn't er the same as is used to be.
[227] Erm big stores selling all the Asian er stuff now and so they don't depend on the Asian shops anymore ... er the West Indians used to depend a lot on the Asian er grocery stores because er, of er things like erm [...] etc. etc.
[228] The people, most of the er sh big stores not even in the, they don't sell even now those things, things.
[229] But er the consumption of those er goods have reduced a lot because the new generation's er I think don't bother to eat those things.
[230] So the, the eating habits have changed a lot since then ... although we have shops which cater for every need of the immigrant community.
[231] But immigrant community isn't that dependent on them.
[232] ... The Asian womens er, women are ... er they differ a lot in every way to the Western erm female.
[233] One thing they are very devoted wives.
[234] They cannot ... er, although i it's not that er, er that sort of erm instinct doesn't exist anymore in the Indian-Asian woman.
[235] Er there has been cases where ... er there has been ... er ... some sort of erm affairs between ... men and women but the majority [...] and psychological er think way of thinking that er the Asian woman always think of their husbands only, nothing else.
[236] Er a, they are dependent on them in many ways, b, if they desert, they're not acceptable to this society.
[237] So we teach our daughters that er, er, the first and foremost duty they have to perform in life is to like after your husband and elders and bring up the family, and the economical side, contribution from the er female is secondary, although they claim it a part as well, erm as economically as well .
j. hammond (PS21Y) [238] Do they go out to work?
Bhagan (PS220) [239] Most of them most of them do go out to work.
[240] Specially the Indian women.
[241] Erm the Pakistani women, they have started venturing out now.
[242] Er we've been in, ten years in this shop and er, for those ten years I have experienced a lot of er difference in the attitudes of Muslim women as well.
[243] They have started working and er they have started going out to work in the factories as well.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [244] Do you think this is a good thing?
Bhagan (PS220) [245] It is a good thing.
[246] Er it is a good thing as a health thing because they, at home they didn't get the company.
[247] It was boring for them and now they go out they spend some time er amongst each other and they have time to chat around.
[248] Er wh when you earn something with your own efforts it, it also helps [...] the money you get earned by somebody else.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [249] What about language difficulties, do the women
Bhagan (PS220) [250] It's tremendous.
[251] Er it's very serious.
[252] Er they're getting on well because erm, er we live in a close er society.
[253] We're, they tend to buy houses where er others, there are already er houses of the same community.
[254] ... So ... we don't experience that difficulty but otherwise it's very serious.
[255] ... It's very difficult to communicate.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [256] What sort of jobs do the women do?
Bhagan (PS220) [257] It's mostly sewing job in the clothing factories, low-paid.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [258] Is it local?
Bhagan (PS220) [259] Local, yeah local.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [260] Do you get your supplies locally from
Bhagan (PS220) [261] We
j. hammond (PS21Y) [262] the area?
Bhagan (PS220) [263] Er ... we do get locally as well and from outside as well.
[264] There are people, wholesalers coming from London who supply us the goods ... and er ... there are some goods which are manufactured in this country, some are imported.
[265] The majority of the are made in Leicester.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [266] You've got such a wonderful array down there.
[267] I was looking at them. [laugh]
Bhagan (PS220) [268] [laugh] Well we have to keep variety to ... make something.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [269] There are fashions are there as well for ... for the women [...] not
Bhagan (PS220) [270] Yeah
j. hammond (PS21Y) [271] bother them quite so much.
Bhagan (PS220) [272] Erm recently this er ... Asian dress has become very popular er, you know, in India it's a [...] country.
[273] Punjabi's, Punjabi women wear these baggy trousers and er [...] .
[274] The [...] women used to wear sari and I have never seen a [...] lately with anything but sari, but now they have started wearing the Punjabi dress.
[275] So it has become a fashion now.
[276] Er instead of buying ready-made er dresses I suppose which wer became er very popular at one time with the Indian girls and the Pakistani girls.
[277] Pakistani girls used to wear er trousers underneath that.
[278] We have stopped that and now they are making their own, most of them are making their own fashionable garments out of the loose material we sell and er, some ask the friends to make for them.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [279] Are they warm enough?
[280] It always bothers me that they never seem, you know, very warm [...]
Bhagan (PS220) [281] No they're not but they've been getting on all right really.
[282] It's not very warm.
[283] They wear more, more or less the same sort of er material through the year.
[284] Er sometimes I always laugh I say it's funny when erm it's about twenty degrees outside they're still wearing the same dress and when it's [laughing] minus [] fifteen or ten they're still wearing the same dress.
[285] But erm they put on certain warm clothes on.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [286] Erm ... a few months back I was interviewing someone who lived in the area all their life and she said that the Sikh temple had distributed some E E C erm butter I think it was.
[287] Is, is that so?
Bhagan (PS220) [288] Yeah Erm when, you know when they send the free butter, previously they sent butter cheap butter to the big supermarkets, so the distributor charged something for this.
[289] Last time er it was er free distribution, so they needed someone to, workers for that and Sikh temple offered their services and er, I think they did the job very well because mostly we get a lot of volunteers round and er, many times I went their there was quite a big queue, er five or six people were serving at the same time.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [290] They undertook to do it for the whole of the Caldmore area did they?
Bhagan (PS220) [291] I think they did, yeah ... Because I don't get much time during the day er to go away from the shop but er I, the only job I mostly do is when the visitors come to the er temple I have to go there ... explain about Sikhism.
[292] But er other [...] you can't do everything i o that so it can er
j. hammond (PS21Y) [293] Do you get many visitors to the temple [...]
Bhagan (PS220) [294] Yes we get many visitors.
[295] We had a teaching-training class today.
[296] They came at ten o'clock.
[297] I take er assemblies in the morning er in schools, so I wasn't [...] today.
[298] I finished assembly at a nine-thirty, ten o'clock I was in temple and er worked there til twelve.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [299] Do you instruct them?
Bhagan (PS220) [300] Mm I explain them what we're doing in the temple, what is our religion like.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [301] Erm ... tell me about these assemblies in the school.
[302] What do you do?
j. hammond (PS21Y) [303] We've been feeling for some time that our children are feeling that they've been left alone, because er when they come to the temple they are too young to understand anything which is being explained from the stage, because er the speakers, or the preachers, have to cater for all the age groups and normally it's for the, those who understand, already understand about Sikhism.
[304] ... Er so we wrote to the heads of the schools and they were quite willing to accommodate er us and then I found out that er Muslims are already taking assemblies for a few years.
[305] So its been quite helpful.
[306] I,w we [...] five, six minutes, we worship the way we normally worship at home.
[307] See, Sikh worship is remembering God, that's all.
[308] Er, see when, when s , when I say worship it er, it sounds like er, er playing some rituals or something like this, but there's no ritual in the Sikh faith it's just remembering God.
[309] So we erm
j. hammond (PS21Y) [310] So there are no set prayers or anything like that?
Bhagan (PS220) [311] Yeah yeah, set prayers.
[312] See first er, line of er [...] is the set prayer, then we go add to that er, say first full hymn is our morning, what, what we call [...] The first line we would call [...] the basic er say route of the er ... magics, that's the magic, which erm, er which erm con controls the er eternal er power.
[313] See, it, it brings, takes us near to God, so eventually it helps us to er unite with him.
[314] So we recite that at the er [...] er assembly.
[315] Then I, for a few minutes, we've got only fifteen minutes so, about twelve to fifteen minutes, and I explain them the historical aspects.
[316] Just simple.
[317] It's not er a really a teaching which er is important, it's just that they know that er we have a Sikh assembly and since then er I have found er they have a type of great ... moral courage, they're proud of themselves.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [318] Gives them more identity [...]
Bhagan (PS220) [319] Yes it does give them more identity.
[320] See the first week I went to these schools they couldn't speak a word of Punjabi.
[321] Wouldn't dare to.
[322] It wasn't that they couldn't speak, they didn't no how to speak, they didn't no how to speak but they couldn't.
[323] I had to repeat very simple sentences, six, seven, eight, ten times before they could repeat it.
[324] Now it's spontaneous.
[325] So it has made a lot of difference.
[326] I enjoy it very much.
j. hammond (PS21Y) [327] Your home life in India, how does it compare with here, the sort of home you had?
Bhagan (PS220) [328] It's very different, very different.
[329] I come from a village ... It's like er, erm a lion in general, a lion in cage.
[330] [laughing] [...] [] a lot of difference.
[331] So when I go back, although I didn't go back since nineteen eighty-three, because the situation is not that favourable since then, I felt that I'm out of the cage.
[332] Although I've been here for a long time, I've got my house, got my family here, I've got comfortable living, although not er luxurious but er normal standard, better standard than I could have in India.
[333] Er but because I was born in the country, lazy I was.
[334] I look at erm the countryside probably because of that.
[335] Er the industrial life I never experienced before.
[336] It's more busy, no relaxation.
[337] Over there we do work over there, we do work here but er, we always work in a relaxing way over there but here always tension.
[338] ... And that's the difference between the industrialist er situation and the country situation.
[339] It's a lot of difference.