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Make it count -Vote
The time has come when each and every citizen must do their duty and ensure they take the time to consider what’s on offer and then go and cast their vote for the party of their choice. By so doing we empower our society and our democracy. The strength of our democracy rests in our interaction with due process – and that is the deal we sign up to when we wish to be part of society. So don’t forget or come up with excuses, do your duty to yourself and to your country.
We have seen an incredible week when PM Cameron has come out fighting and responding to the challenges he faces to retain his government. In what has become one of the key moments of the campaign, Cameron visited BAPS Neasden Mandir where he got one of the most stunning welcomes possible. People in the audience confirmed what became an endorsing event to celebrate a Prime Minister who had done so much for India, for PM Modiji, for Hindus in this country and in declaring that his government will seek to ensure India becomes a permanent member of the United Nations. In fact I have checked and as far as I can make out, no party in the history of British elections has ever put that as one of their manifesto commitments.
No sooner was that news coming hot off the press and I received an open letter from the National Council of Hindu Temples (NCHT) which is one of the most prominent national Hindu Temple organisations in the UK. The open letter was very articulate and you can all read it fully at the end of this blog. In essence the Secretary General, Shri Satish Sharma is asking all Dharmic communities to engage with the election process. He rightly reminds us of the words of Lord Krishna that in any civil society it is our duty to stand up for righteousness. And as such, taking part in an election is to contribute to civil society and its well being. That is our dharmic duty. The open letter reminds us of how the Labour Party imposed the caste legislation that potentially will not only be harmful to us, but may well undermine the very fabric of our community.
I am also pleased to note that the Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) has also released an open statement which is on very similar lines to the one from the NCHT. Smt Trupti Patel (President of HFB) statement reminds us of our duty to nation by taking part in the election process. She also reminds us of important issues such as the caste legislation as well as Kashmir, and the relative positions of the various parties. HFB also concurs with the NCHT conclusions that the Conservative party has been a friend of the Hindu community during these testing times.
Dharmic communities should always take note of all parties and the impact of their policies. When any one of their policies is so specific as to undermine and damage our dharma, we must make that the centre piece of our decision making. The generations to come will not forgive anyone who allows politicians to get away with it, especially when there are matters that directly impact and affect our dharmic traditions.
When we published the very first British Hindu Manifesto in Asian Voice, we did so to put issues of substance up for public debate and scrutiny. By so doing Asian Voice through Kapil’s Khichadi became the very conduit that allowed all our national organisations to come together and launch their own Hindu manifesto. In one go organisations such as, HFB, NCHT, BBHS, HLA, CHN, BHC, SSCT, HC (North) and many more came together for the well being of the community.
We have seen the Jewish community who are very proactive and the most successful when it comes to British politics. For a community of some 450000 people it has in excess of 70 MPs in Parliament. When it comes to the Jewish issues, what we observe is how quickly they all come together and face the challenges as one. For them protecting their faith, their community and the integrity of Israel is always of the highest priority.
As Hindus we also need to learn lessons from our Jewish friends. Ours is a community of some 850000 people yet we have less than 10 MPs in Parliament. Post the 2015 elections there is a strong chance that maybe we can break the 10 MP ceiling. However should we not expect and aspire to have say 50 plus MPs over the coming decade or so? The only way we can achieve this is with our proactive engagement and in making sure that we support people from our community who will put us first, and not forget us when the going gets tough.
In India we saw PM Modiji take the positive message of Hindu values to the voters. In a country that has been split on every fault line imaginable to mankind, he succeeded in getting his message across and winning a massive majority. He proved that you can be a strong Hindu, with positive values and become instrumental in constructive politics that benefits the masses. PM Modiji is destined to visit the UK this summer. Let us as a community stand tall and proud and show him that yes, even in the UK, we as a community are making an impact that is bigger than our socio/economic footprint.
GE2015 will be with us shortly. So take it seriously. Do your research and make an informed decision.
The following articles/statements from leading Hindus and Sikh Organisation are helpful in considering relevant information before casting your vote:
And this is from the National Hindu Students Forum: http://www.nhsf.org.uk/2015/05/hindu_voice/