Jasvir Singh, Chair of the City Sikhs Network, Co-chair of Faiths Forum 4 London

And in the Big News today from a Faith Perspective, isn’t it just great being a Sikh!


12 thoughts on “Jasvir Singh, Chair of the City Sikhs Network, Co-chair of Faiths Forum 4 London

  1. “If only town planners took divine advice about the gloriousness of Sikh buildings.
    “BTW there’s a big Sikh festival coming soon – yippee!”


  2. Started out as a piece of PR for the Sikh religion, and finished as a plug for his version of a more tolerant , outward-looking Sikhism. Neither incarnation came anywhere close to meeting the supposed remit of the slot.


  3. The BBC R4 TFTD editorial staff must have been away on holiday or asleep or or tied up in the broom cupboard. What other explanation can there be for the airing of this TFTD which apart from being a crashing bore adhered to none of the remit of the slot. Well I guess another explanation could be that despite what the BBC complaints department tell us there never was any TFTD editorial staff and the great TFTD thinkers can get to say anything they like no matter how offensive, boring, devisive, fantastic, arrogant, ignorant, proselytising, disingenuous, specious or just plain wrong it is.


    1. The slot frequently either ignores its remit, or pays casual lip service to it. If I could be bothered, I’d actually collect some statistics on this for the NSS to use next time they challenge it. Unfortunately I was born lazy and can’t be bothered.


  4. 0.8% of the UK population are Sikh. The advent of a Sikh festival is of only passing interest to 99.2% of the population, as are planning regulations and attitudes to historic building preservation in India. What a farce. TftD continues to parody itself.


  5. Jasvir Singh’s main interest in old SIkh temples seems to be that they remind him and (some of) his fellow Sikhs about the history of their religion. He didn’t say whether they had any architectural merit, whether they worked as buildings, or even whether many people still use them.

    He’s in good company. The CofE owns some historical and, yes, awe-inspiring buildings (it also owns some hideously ugly ones as well, but that’s another story). It is quite happy to boast about their beauty or architectural merit when it is trying to get its hands on taxpayers’ money to pay for their repair or upkeep; but it is equally happy to wreck them in its desperate attempt to get more bums on seats. Removing pews or choir-stalls; neglecting or getting rid of church organs; building architecturally inappropriate meeting rooms, loos or kitchens; installing obtrusive sound systems: the list goes on.

    The Church might well say that since I don’t attend any of their services this is none of my business. But the aesthetics of public buildings is everybody’s business. We should call out institutional vandalism wherever we see it.


    1. In the rather beautiful 800 year old church, situated on the high ground in my Middle England village, there is now what can be best described as an Ikeaesque open plan kitchen and coffee bar. Its not tucked away discretely in some side room. Its at the back occupying space that was once occupied by pews and in full view from the altar and right in your face as you enter through the main door. Is there not some planning regulation that should prevent this architectural desecration? Or is it ok if the vicar, having consulted with the good lord, is cool with it. I guess it could have been worse if Costa or Starbucks had gotten involved.


  6. @StephenJP and Tony – alll too true. I’ve seen some hideous mangling of lovely churches by idiot clergy; and some pretty zany plans too, including a former Vicar of St Michael Huyton who wished to remove a fabulous 16th C. screen from his church in order to erect….. a giant screen for his overhead projector. Tw*t.

    As a humanist and social historian it always pains me that churches – irrespective of architectural merit – fare better in the eyes of planners than other – to me – important buildings. Liverpool has lost countless wonderful pubs, which were very often the only truly architectural feature of a street; and old picture houses, many of which were stunning Art Deco masterpieces. I consider these to be buildings of the people, yet working class heritage comes way down the line below churches and country houses.

    And yes, we have a supremely hideous Chuch in Edge Hill, which a few years ago was decaying very satisfactorily, with trees growing from the gutters and slates off the roof. It seemed only a matter of time before it would be gone forever. But no. It has now been ‘rescued’ and restored at (presumably) huge expense as part of a student housing development. So now we have to look at this monster indefinitely!

    Btw – yes, today’s ‘Thought’ fulfilled none of the TFtD criteria, including the bit about representatives of the major religions. I bet there’s more Jedi in the UK than Sikhs.

    P.S. @ Tony. I had a friend who sat on the Diocesan Advisory Committee of Liverpool – passing judgement on clergy’s applications for altering their churches. He successfully scotched an inappropriate scheme for lavatories in a church. Afterwards he opined, with some satisfaction, “I think we’ll consider that a triumph of Sacrament over excrament!”


  7. As regards planning permission, most religious buildings (as some of you will no doubt know) are exempt – the so-called ‘ecclesiastical exemption’. The organisations which operate them are supposed to have an equivalent system in place. Obviously this is most relevant to the CofE as that owns most of the architecturally / historically important buildings, and has a system of Diocesan Advisory Committees which in theory has experts on the various specialisms (architecture, archaeology, organs, bells, clocks, etc) who advise on applications for Faculties (a Faculty is the CofE equivalent of planning permission).

    I’m out of touch with the current situation, but I was very familiar with it ten or fifteen years ago (doubt if it’s changed much), and basically the advisors tended to be appointed on a nod and a wink, who-you-know, etc – rarely were the roles publicly advertised, and candidates were generally not assessed independently for their suitability for the post – all of which would of course never happen in the secular planning system to which everyone else has to conform. In fairness, the CofE system wasn’t a complete failure – often the people appointed would be genuine experts in their specialism and highly competent to advise on it (e.g. university archaeology lecturers advising on archaeology), but this couldn’t be guaranteed and if it was decided to appoint a yes-man or woman who wouldn’t rock any boats then there was nothing to stop that happening. Likewise, there was generally no system of fixed terms of office or ongoing evaluation, so in theory there was nothijng stopping people from remaining in office for long periods, even if useless, provided they didn’t rock any boats (things varied a bit between dioceses, but not a lot).

    Objections to the refusal or grant of a Faculty could be made to the Consistory Court (basically, a legally-constituted church court) who would decide. If a church did some work which should have had a faculty but they never bothered to apply for one then in theory they could be ordered to reinstate the building back to how it was, but of course this is often difficult if things which are irreplaceable have been destroyed, Where this happened, it tended to be in churches at the more evangelical end of the spectrum who often regard their projectors and screens, lack of pews, etc, as far more important than any historical significance which the building has.

    I’m not familiar the system in place for other religious organisations, but I was led to believe that the RC system was considerable less rigorous than the CofE.


    1. Many thanks for that helpful explanation, Cynic. I must say that I’ve never noticed the CofE being ordered to undo any of the inappropriate alterations they have made to buildings that would have been listed Grade 1 if they had been in the real world. Some vicars seem to take pride in wanting to get rid of anything that might remind people of the actual history of their cult.


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