Hindus & Sikhs Unite
The last few weeks have been remarkable and we are witnessing the emergence of a new forward looking consensus between two great Dharmic communities of modern times. In his recent visit to the UK Dr Subramanian Swamy, one of the most high profile Indian politicians and a champion for anti-corruption opened the doors for even better cooperation between these two great communities. Dr Swamy became the very first Indian politician to set foot in a Gurdwara in the UK since the sad events of 1984 that took place under the then Congress government in India. On Saturday 18th April 2015 a very special gathering took place at Gurdwara Har Rai Sahib ji in West Bromwich where the leading lights of the Sikh community came together to discuss the General Election and the issues affecting both these communities. High profile speakers included: Sarpanch Harjeet Singhji, Shri Satish Sharma (NCHT), Dr Praveen Kumar (VHP) and Sardar Jasdev Singh Rai (BSCF). Many organisations attended including: Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurudwara – Southall, Sri Hargobind Sahib Gurudwara – Tividale, Sri Gurur Amardas Gurdwara – Leicester, NCHTUK, Sri Krishna Mandir – Wolverhampton, Sri Omkarananda Mission – Wolverhampton, Mata Mandir – Dudley, Slough Sri Krishna Temple and British Sikh Consultative Forum. In a dramatic climax to the proceeding the gathering passed a unanimous resolution as follows: STANDING COALITION OF SIKHS, HINDUS AND JAINS UK We find the inclusion of the term “caste” as a protected category in the 2010 Equalities Act, and subsequently in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, to be totally unacceptable and demand that its inclusion be repealed in its entirety within the first two years of the next Parliamentary Term. The legislation, by way of the Lord Harries Caste Amendment, was introduced on the basis of poor research and the associated report was dismissed as unreliable in Parliament. The report authors have also confirmed that its primary purpose was not to instigate any legislation, and in fact goes onto to repeat that given the variance of evidence, that a more substantial piece of research is required before any views can be formed. When has an Act of Parliament, except in national security issues, been passed without knowing what the Act is about (definition) and whether the need exists? Furthermore there has been no impact assessment of this legislation on business, the communities concerned and the very fabric of British society. We find this an extraordinary state of affairs, a glaring abuse of Parliamentary privilege and a breach of trust that citizens rightly place in the legislative process. It has brought Parliament into disrepute. We require that each party leader and their political party give the following undertakings:
- The legislation on caste in its entirety be repealed within the first two years of the next Parliamentary Term.
- Genuine independent research should be conducted on a longitudinal basis.
- Full detailed impact assessments should be carried out: business sector, concerned communities, society in general and the service sector.
The ramifications of the resolution are very clear. Every major political party that wants Hindu and Sikh votes will have to give their confirmation that the disgraceful and treacherous legislation on Caste is repealed in its entirety during the next Parliamentary term. The clear evidence so far is that both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have refused to accept this and will therefore ignore the wishes of the Sikh and Hindu communities. In contrast the Conservative Party has confirmed that if they have a clear majority after the elections, they will repeal the entire caste legislation. This is bound to impact the way our communities vote since protecting our Dharma from denigration and disrespect must always come first.
British Hindu Manifesto:
In another dramatic development it seems the Hindu Manifesto first published in Asian Voice in Kapil’s Khichadi has become the foundation for the unveiling of the full blown British Hindu Manifesto (BHM). The BHM was led by the Hindu Forum of Britain in partnership with the National Council of Hindu Temples. Other major leading organisations also joined in to lend their support including Hindu Lawyers Association, City Hindu Network, Birmingham Hindu Council, Hindu Council of the North and the Sahajanand Swami Charitable Trust. What is interesting to note is that the very first item on the BHM is to demand that the caste legislation is repealed in its entirety.
Dharma Rakshak Award:
On a lighter note, but one that is dear to me, I was conferred the ‘Dharma Rakshak’ award by Dr S Swamy during his recent visit to the UK. I am most grateful to the NCHT and the BBHS for having confidence to grant me this award. I understand it is for my work in the media. I accept the award in the spirit it has been given and I hope that I may continue to live up to these high standards in my column. Photo: Dr Subramanian Swamy with Kapil Dudakia (AV)
Below you will find all the statements made by leading Hindus and Sikh organisations: