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December 2004 - January 2005


Letters

Letters to the Editor

KUMUDINI D. VALAMBIA

Kingsbury, London, UK

FIRST DONATE THEN CRITICIZE: (BE GENEROUS BEFORE CRITICAL)

Dear Sir,


While I appreciate the noble sentiment (bhavna) expressed in various letters published in some Asian publications, regarding the entrance fees charged by temple authorities during our nominally religious but colourful and immensely popular and enjoyable Navratri festival that attracts devotees right across social and cultural divides, it is time we examine our own role, our own contribution and devotion that compels a temple authority to demand a fee to enter a religious establishment.
When it comes to donating for religious causes, we the Hindus are at the bottom of the league. Only some 10% of us give a significant religious donation on a regular basis. The rest of us are satisfied with showering few pence in the arti plate. Temples cannot run efficiently on such a meagre income.

A couple of years ago one of our small local temples, serving the neighbourhood community, especially the elderly who also use the temple as a social get-together place, especially in winter, where they are served a hot lunch and provided with a well-heated accommodation to congregate, to escape the winter blues and pass the time in like-minded company, distributed some three thousand direct debit mandate forms, urging the devotees to contribute between £10 to £50 a month, to make the temple self-sufficient and self-reliant.

It is needless to say that less than twenty forms were returned. Even those who use the temple facilities on a daily bases were reluctant to make a small financial commitment. This is in sharp contrast to the tradition that prevails in other religions, notably in Judaism, Buddhism and Islam, in particular among the Daudi Bhora and Ismali community. Most of their followers put aside 10% of their net annual income for the good of the community. No wonder they are so well organized and able to serve their community on all fronts, with eclat, panache and zest that is absent amongst Hindus.

Yes, it is the duty of the temple management to ensure that religious atmosphere prevails on all occasions but it is even more important for the parents to verse their children with the intricacies of our noble culture and Hindu religion from an early age. Otherwise it is too late by the time they come to the temple to play dandia.

Unfortunately in a vast number of our homes, children are rarely encouraged to light a divo (candle) and say a prayer on a daily basis, although such a gesture may not take more than a few minutes but verse the child in our religious and cultural tradition that may stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.

Yours Sincerely
KUMUDINI D. VALAMBIA

 

From: Bhupendra M. Gandhi

 

WHAT IS INDIA’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE WORLD?

 

Dear Sir,

Although India has been a spiritual land, a land of Mox (salvation) and Nirvana (deliverance) as well as science, agriculture and medicine for thousands of years, it is only recently that the people of the West have become aware and appreciative of India’s past greatness and present contribution to the wellbeing of the global good health, both physical and spiritual, commerce and cultural contribution.

The popularity of Indian food and Yoga first made the common people in the West aware that there is more to India than meets the eye. With terrorism and political, economic, social and religious turmoil rife throughout the world, especially in the Islamic world, the West has at last realized the true value, the accomplishment of India and the Indian people who are par excellence in every field of spatial infrastructure of the host nations, especially in the West where they are given, on most part, equal opportunity and freedom of expression.

Hindus have grabbed this opportunity, especially in the field of higher education, with both hands and as a result Hindu students are not only more numerous than any other ethnic minority but at the top of the class as well. Hinduism has become a byword in par excellence on the university campus. This is a great tribute to our culture, our tradition, our way of life and of course our noble Hindu religion.

Much credit for these awareness in the West, especially in America and Britain, goes to India’s multi party NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government, so ably led by an honest, clever and popular, almost saint like politician, the Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee that ruled Bharat for seven years and put India on the world map in more ways than one but unfortunately people of Bharat threw out one of the most honest and progressive administration Bharat ever had. In a similar manner, the people of America has just re-elected president George Bush, one of the most destructive presidents in the history of America who destroyed some two million jobs, turned a sixty billion dollar yearly budget surplus created by Bill Clinton into a four hundred billion dollar deficiency, again an all time record. American prestige overseas has never been so low, their soldiers are dying fighting a lost cause. America’s economy is in the doldrum, depression just on the horizon, yet President Bush has just secured 56 million votes, a record in it self? It seems political illiteracy is not the sole monopoly of the third world countries or the people of Bharat?
Perhaps we the Hindus are expert at finding faults with our selves not them who constantly question our right to be patriotic, as if patriotism and secularism can not go hand in hand and to be secular, we have to condemn our culture, our religion and our way of life, as some of our own politicians in this country, Lords, MPs, Councillors and prominent personalities in business, commerce and academic field inevitably behave or should I say misbehave towards Hindus?
British media which include BBC goes out of their way to portray Hindus as no different to other ethnic minorities whose members are in constant conflict with the British way of life which most Hindus admire and have adopted to their advantage.

It is nice to note that more and more publications like India Link and Asian Voice goes out of their way to put Hindus on the high pedestal that they deserve and make the local people and the politicians aware of our tremendous contribution in commerce, business, finances, journalism, science and education in our adopted country Great Britain.In fact we are one of the very few ethnic minorities who are the net contributor to the exchequer, a real asset in our benefit dependent society.

Yours Sincerely

BHUPENDRA M. GANDHI

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