December 2006 - January 2007
From Far and Near: Topics of Interest
Is David Cameron playing politics with our lives?
David Cameron’s opportunistic attack on the government of being soft
on home-grown Islamic terrorism and extremism is not only opportunist politics
of the worst kind but it may come back to haunt him at the most inappropriate
One may ask, and rightly so, whether this is the right time to break ranks,
to shatter the political consensus when the country is going through a very
difficult time. The airports are in chaos, people’s holidays are ruined
and travelling by air has become a nightmare.
The British people from the ethnic minorities, especially from the Indian subcontinent,
are having a hard time, even members of the peace-loving and law abiding Hindu
and Sikh communities.
The worst-case scenario occurred when two young men who passed all security
checks were thrown off a Manchester-bound plane just because they were of Asian
origin and spoke a foreign language. It was a mob rule at its worse, as the
fellow passengers refused to fly with them.
There is nothing new in Mr. Cameron’s demand that the Human Rights act
should be scrapped and replaced by our own Bill of Rights. Most of us will support
him if he includes this in his party’s manifest at the next general election.
It is not the government but the loony-left judiciary that thwarts all attempts
by the government to bring sanity and security in this once peaceful and harmonious
So why he has said nothing, made no comments on our outdated and antiquated
judiciary system whereby the government selects, nominates all judges who occupy
the post for life without being accountable to any one, especially to voters
who have no say in this judiciary process. Can Mr Cameron give us, the voters
the right to throw out the rotten apple in the judiciary barrel? Somehow I
do not think so.
Even his other suggestions, such as a Minister for Terrorism and Unified Force
to tackle terrorists, as well as to expel clerics who preach hate do make sense
but his words do not match his actions in Parliament.
Why did he and his party, in league with loony, left-leaning Labour backbenchers
water down the Government’s bill to give our hard-working and besieged
police the authority to detain terrorist suspects for ninety days. This was
not a government policy but a specific request from the police who surely know
better than most of us and especially the politicians how to combat and fight
It was the Conservative Government who introduced internment in Northern Ireland
where IRA suspects were detained, not for weeks or months but for years, even
without bringing them to court. They made a martyr out of Bobby Sands, a terrorist
suspect who starved himself to death rather than be detained indefinitely without
Yet the threat poised by IRA was insignificant compared to our present situation,
created by our naïve foreign policy and our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan,
the policy supported wholeheartedly by the Conservatives who behaved like a
lackey, sycophant rather than a responsible opposition.
So Mr Cameron, be a responsible politician rather than an opportunist politician
and most of us will support you if you are sincere.
While the mass conversion of Hindus to Christianity and Buddhism take place
in big cities like Delhi and Chennai, under intense media coverage, the real
threat comes not from such show piece, stage managed conversions that could
only be tolerated in a country like India but the conversion in small villages
and tiny settlements throughout the length and breadth of this vast and liberal
country where any thing goes, as long as it is directed against Hindus, the
most docile and easy going community in India. This is the real threat that
no Hindu organization would like to tackle, even admit. We live in a cuckoo
land, a dream world far-fetched from reality and every day struggle.
As a secular, liberal and ccommodating person brought up in a Christian country
but a staunch believer as well in my culture and religion, I always visit and
pray in churches, temples, gurudwar and pagodas when I am on holidays in those
I would like to share my recent experience in Kerala. While cruising the backwaters
of this beautiful state, in a converted rice boat with most facilities, on
the lake Vembanad, we stopped at an island in the lagoon, which was a home
to some 300 families. Our attention was drawn by a small but beautiful church
on the bank of the Karmana River which looked so peaceful and inviting.
We carried out our normal routine of lighting a candle, offering a prayer and
making a small donation. As we live in a Christian country like Britain, we
appreciate the freedom of worship, free speech and the opportunities in the
field of commerce, finance and politics that we enjoy in a Christian country
like ours but denied to us in practically every nation in the Middle East where
Islam is the main and the only religion.
Being Sunday, the morning service was just over. So we had an opportunity to
talk to Father Joseph who was so friendly.
On learning that we were from England and Hindus, he was intrigued, as he seldom
gets an opportunity to talk to overseas visitors like us. He was also impressed
with our Rs500 donation which may not sound much for a Westerner but is a significant
amount in these settlements with subsistence living carved out of a tiny plot
Our talk was frank, vivid and an eye opener to both of us. Only ten years ago,
the entire population of the island, of some 300 families, was Hindus. In 1996,
the Catholic hierarchy opened a church, followed by a weekly health clinic,
kindergarten and a primary school.
As there was no school on the island, the parents who are conscious and eager
to educate their children, had to send them to a school on the main land, some
twenty miles away, taking more than an hour by boat.
Luckily the school was only a walking distance from the jetty. But not every
one could afford the cost of travel, as well as the school fees.
The offer of free education to Catholic children started a slow process of
conversion and today, at the time we visited the island, some seventy five
families have embraced Christianity. It is only a matter of time before the
whole population will embrace Christian religion, as educating their children
is a priority for the people of Kerala, especially Hindus.
I must admit Christian religion and charities do know how to serve humanity,
especially where it matters most. Even in such a small Christian community
on the island, there were two nuns, beside Father Joseph who would visit every
Christian family on the island, on a weekly basis.
The sick, the old, the poor and disabled people received special attention
and more regular visits with help and assistance whenever and however needed.
There was also a soup kitchen at the church for the needy and the hungry, serving
the entire community.
There was a tiny, depleted temple with a vast open ground. Temple was only
used on special occasion and there was no resident priest on the island, even
though the vast majority of the people were Hindus.
There were no social, religious or cultural organizations among Hindus who
could look after their welfare, the people could turn to in their hour of need.
The Hindu community on the island was divided and devoid of any leadership
that could keep them together.
This is a typical Hindus weakness, a neglect in our society, even in this country
where we are for the most part well-organized on the social and cultural front
but not on the humanitarian front when it comes to looking after the weaker
members of the society.
No Hindu priests ever visit hospitals or the sick in their own homes. There
is no such thing as faith healing among Hindus which is part and a tradition
of Christianity. Faith healing may or may not work but it does comfort the
sick. I could not find any one whom I could talk to about our culture and religion
on the island.
When I mentioned to Father Joseph that when I go back to London, I would like
to request VHP to build a small temple and open a primary school for Hindu
children in a similar fashion, father Joseph was apprehensive, fearing that
it might damage the excellent relations between Hindus and Christians that
exist today on the island.
I could not help but to remind him that the only reason such a cordial relation
exist between the two communities was that the majority of the population were
Hindus. He would not be allowed such a free hand in any country in Asia other
He reluctantly agreed, under my questioning, stating that he would lose his
life if he tried to convert some one in a Gulf State or even in Pakistan. Moreover
he had to agree that even in Bharat, he could not receive such a cordial treatment,
cooperation and welcome in Kerala where the majority of the people are not
Christian missionaries mainly target Hindus, as we are such a timid, easily-intimidated
race who put materialistic benefits above moral, cultural and religious values.
No wonder Bharat was enslaved for over thousand years by various races, culture
and religion. It seems we have learnt nothing from our painful past.
I feel that while VHP and RSS are preoccupied with the Ayodhia issue and infighting,
the minority communities are taking advantage and converting Hindus.
VHP and RSS hardly exist in Kerala and other Southern States. While Ayodhia
represent the sentiments of the majority of Hindus, it is equally important
to open a small temple and a social centre, with a clinic and a school in every
village. It would cost just £1500 to start such a project. But again,
have we got time, money and above all inclination and the will to rescue, to
stop the decline of Hinduism, especially in Bharat? I doubt it.
Let us start a fund for such a project and pledge to open at least one such
temple, a social centre every month, before it is too late. I am sure most
of us will contribute generously if some one is willing to take a lead. I feel
we, the NRI Hindus, are kind, considerate, well-educated and generous people
but we lack the will and the desire to go to the aid of our beleaguered brothers
and sisters in our motherland Bharat.
If we neglect our duty, then in fifty years time, there will be no Bharat to
go to. We will meet the same fate as the Jewish community before the establishment
of the state of Israel, in the wake of Jewish community being annihilated in
many European countries by the Nazis.
It is our duty to promote Hinduism throughout the world, to unite Hindus worldwide.
Hinduism is one of the few religions that can bring peace, progress and harmony
in the troubled world. We can live in peace and harmony with any one, in any
country. We can integrate easily with the indigenous people, as is happening
in this country.
But Hindu organizations like RSS and VHP are in disarray, more interested in
fighting among themselves than the invaders, and with destructive leaders like
Uma Bharti and Dr Togadia, the future for Bharat and Hindus is indeed gloomy
World class Vedanta University for Orissa
Orissa is set to offer the younger generation educational excellence not
only to the residence of the state of Orissa and Bharat but also to all the
Indians living anywhere in the world, thanks to Shri Anil Agarwal of Agarwal
Foundation that has donated US $1bn to turn his dream into a reality.
Prompted by Shri Agarwal, the noble son of Bharat and a leading industrialist
who is also the Chairperson of Vedanta Resources, the Agarwal foundation has
announced the plans to establish a world class university at a joint press
conference with the state government of Orissa, graced by the presence of the
Chief Minister Mr. Naveen Patnik, a politician of rare quality and dedication.
Speaking to the worldwide media, Shri Agarwal said that Indian people are one
of the most industrious and hard-working people and the country has the potential
to be a global leader in business, information technology, science and performing
arts, if given the right encouragement, opportunity and the modern facilities
that could match the best in the Western world.
In a brief statement to the gathering dignitaries and the press, Shri Patnik
expressed his joy and delight that the foundation has chosen Orissa for such
a prestigious project. He promised all the help, material and logistic, that
the state could provide to make this mammoth task a roaring, runaway success.
He further stressed that success breeds success and if this project draws international
acclaim, it will bring more inward investment to the state of Orissa which
is already enjoying an unprecedented economic success under his wise and able
He further said that this university will be the guiding light for thousands
of students, both national and international and will put in motion an immense
knowledge revolution in our state that will benefit the younger generation
for years to come. He hoped that this is just the beginning of a glorious future
for the state.
The consultant to the project has said that after careful consideration and
in-depth research, they chose Orissa, as it is an ideal location with a co-operative
state government that is able and willing to help the project at every turn.
The state government has not only pledged full support but set aside some 8000
acres of prime land near the Konark-Puri Marine Drive and to built all the
infrastructure, such as roads, sanitation, water and electricity supply and
to cut the red tape that normally hinders such projects and discourages foreign
The Vedanta University Project Management has appointed the world renowned
and globally acclaimed firm of Ayers Saint Gross who have nearly one hundred
experience and have designed some of the best universities in the world; to
prepare the master plan, the blue print of the main university buildings, hall
of residence, laboratories, conference halls as well as developing and greenifying
the huge eight thousand acres sight, to make it a garden of Eden, a sort of
natural reserve to merge with the countryside and be part of the development,
to make the project ecologically friendly.
The State Government will pass a bill in the legislative assembly to give the
university administration complete autonomy so that it can function efficiently
without state interference. The state will also build a three lane motorway
to link the university campus with Bhubaneswar airport, a quick and efficient
link with the outside world.
The university will start enrolling students by the end of 2008 and ultimately
could accommodate up to ten thousand students from all over the world, putting
Bharat in the forefront as far as education is concerned.
Bharat is already attracting IT Firms, Call Centres for Western Service Sectors,
Health Tourists and Retired Pensioners with excellent and reasonably priced
services that include hospitals, restaurants, transport, retirement homes in
Goa and Kerala. So why not overseas students who could not only bring their
wealth of experience but when they qualify and return home in Western countries
like America, Canada and Britain, they can be an ambassador of peace, harmony
and our rich culture and tradition that is already taking the Western world
by storm. In any case Indian educational standards are one of the highest,
the best in the world.
Add to this the success of ayurvedic medicine and the Yoga, as demonstrated
and preached by Swami Ramdevji on Astha TV channel and there is no limit to
our success in the Western world, as Indian younger generation is one of the
best, the highest achievers in the West, overtaking even the tiny Jewish community
who used to dominate the profession, such as law, accountancy and medicine
but no more.
Let us hope that this is just the beginning and other states like Gujarat and
Rajasthan will follow in the foot-steps of Orissa and establish such learning
institutions to match the best in the world.
Gujarat had already put such a plan in motion way back in 2001 with Sandipani
University, near the city of Porbander, the birth place of not only Mahatma
Gandhi but also the site of the ancient place of learning, the Ashram run by
Sage Sandipani where Lord Krishna was a student. It was a world renowned place
of learning at the time. Perhaps the knowledgeable readers of this prestigious
publication may have more information about the development and the progress
of Sandipani project that they could share with us, the readers of this prestigious
More Political News
More articles by Bhupendra Gandhi
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