In Hinduism we believe that the Oneness of existence is the Supreme Truth. Yet in our daily life we experience division and separation of existence, where there are apparent differences in the society of individuals, differences within the various groups in the communities and even within families.
With the apparent differences comes the challenge of living cohesively within our own immediate environment and the wider community in our neighbourhood. Here we may find individuals with different backgrounds, faiths and beliefs living side by side, sharing the experience of living close together in the area.
HFB Chaplaincy Board exists to provide Spiritual support to Hindus in Institutions such as Schools, Colleges & Universities, Hospitals and Prisons. We are in the process of developing a programme to meet the increasing demands for Hindu Faith Visitors.The Chaplaincy Board will interview, select and train people with a regulated training programme, shadowing, mentoring and so on...to become Hindu Faith Visitors. We will maintain a register of such people who could also be called upon for presentations.
The Chaplaincy Board now has a small group of HFVs, whom we have started placing with Institutions. Our Board members represent all branches of HInduism as well as working HFVs.
The aim of this project is to distribute Hindu RE packs to all schools in selected Boroughs to enable them to teach Hinduism in a standardised way. We have written to potential private sponsors to underwrite the cost of at least four Boroughs in 2008 after we distributed the pack to 72 schools in Harrow last year. The Project Teach committee met thrice in 2007 and have developed an HFB Religious Education toolkit for teaching Hinduism in schools at GCSE level. This pack included material produced by the Chinmaya Mission and ISKCON Educational Services. Negotiations are on with Keith Vaz to distribute the pack to every school in Leicester. We would be keen to speak to other councils if you have any contacts.
The aim of this project is to increase the participation of young Hindus in the democratic process through an MP shadowing shceme, high-powered seminars, and interaction between young Hindus and Parliamentary leaders.
Project PEP (Parliamentary Experience Programme) will roll out its second batch of young Hindus who will shadow Parliamentarians for six months. The project team has already made a business plan, which is being discussed for 2008. This will result in a national search for talented youngsters who wish to shadow Parliamentarians. The advertisements for the search are expected to begin in March.
Voting is one of the most important civic duties of a citizen. Our votes decide which government rules the country and which MP represents us in Parliament, yet many in our community do not go out to vote.
While we make a vast contribution to the fabric of cultural, economic and social makeup of this country, by not voting we are missing out on ensuring our concerns, issues and need – whether today or in the future – are heard and addressed.
The HFB wrote to Sir Keir Starmer, the new leader of the Labour Party, on 8th April in which we shared some serious concerns the Indian/Hindu community had with the Labour Party. The Labour leader wrote back on 27th April and whilst this is welcome, the issues raised by the HFB had not been addressed properly. On 30th April 2020 a teleconference took place between the representatives of the HFB led by Ms Trupti Patel and Sir Keir Starmer and his team. The HFB considers this as the first step in what we hope will be a continued positive dialogue for the Labour Party to learn, and to understand, the issues arising from within the community.
Those in attendance at this teleconference were:
Hindu Forum Britain (HFB): Mrs Trupti Patel (President), Mrs Harsha Shukla MBE (VP North) and Dr Ramesh Pattni OBE (VP South).
Labour Party: Sir Keir Starmer MP, RT Hon Angela Raynor MP, Rt Hon Janet Daby MP, Baroness D Lawrence and Navendu Mishra MP.
The discussion was cordial and Sir Keir Starmer confirmed that he was aware of the concerns, that as the new leader he wanted to reset relations with the Indian community. He went on to say, he wanted proper engagement and that the Labour Party needed to hear and to be held accountable. He further added that if the changes are not seen then he wanted the HFB to tell him so without any reservation. He accepted that an apology was due to the community. His team echoed his thinking to move forward and build good relations with the Hindu community.
The President of the HFB, Ms Trupti Patel thanked Sir Keir Starmer for taking the step in this important dialogue. She pointed out that the reservations and concerns raised in her letter to him are serious and require the Labour Party to address those urgently. She reminded him of the exclusion of Hindus in CV 19 steering group and most importantly Hate filled incident unfolding on the 15th of August 2019 on India’s Independence Day when some 4000 strong group of anti-Indian protestors threw missiles at the gathering of 200 people celebrating Independence day and created a very tense situation. She also pointed that it was alarming that some Labour politicians took an active part and voiced their views on Kashmir that were a detriment to community cohesion in the UK.
Sir Keir Starmer suggested that after the call it was essential to make sure that we don't let things fall by and to set up systems for communications that allow for continuous and direct communication with the senior leadership of the Labour Party.
The meeting concluded on the note that the HFB will be writing to Sir Keir Starmer with their observations on his letter as well as the teleconference call. In so doing to give a series of actions points that the party can work on immediately.
The Hindu Forum Britain have now written to Sir Keir Starmer with their observations as detailed in the letter below.
Mrs Trupti Patel