Monday, 20 October 2008

I'm glad that's over

From the back of our house we have a magnificent view across a valley of houses to the hills and fields of the South Downs, with a distant view of the Chattri. This is a memorial garden which has been created at the spot where Indian soldiers who died in Brighton during the first World War after service on the Western Front passed through the fire.

During the last week it has been one of the sites used in the World Festival of Sacred Music which is held in Brighton each year. To quote from their web site:

Environmental arts group Red Earth is creating Nada/Mantra, a unique installation of sacred sound, spirit and space at the Chattri Memorial on the South Downs, which commemorates the Hindu and Sikh Commonwealth soldiers cremated there during World War I.

This is a week-long, free-access collaboration between international artists, involving public participation and live sound - with performances each day at 5pm.

Drop by any time to watch – and take part in – the creation of gateways and avenues that will extend the sacred Chattri space into a living temple. Or come at 5pm to experience live sound improvisations between musicians and artists of different faiths and traditions, which culminate in a final celebration of sound, spectacle and performance on Sunday 19 October.

Somehow it doesn't seem quite ‘the thing' to me - using what is effectively a war cemetery in this way. I would most certainly not like to think that any of the war cemeteries in France and Belgium where my ancestors are buried would be treated in this way. However, this morning I'm glad to see that the flag poles and banners which had been erected on the site have been removed and that the Chattri is being returned to what I think it should be - a place of peace and tranquillity in the middle of the fields.

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