April - May 2004
Dispatches & Reports
Dispatches & ReportsBritain Will Gain From Free Movement Of All EU Workers - Dholakia
The whole country stands to gain through a
legitimate route for the free movement of European Union workers, Lord
Navnit Dholakia, President of the Liberal Democrats, said today. Speaking
in a House of Lords debate on European Union enlargement and the free movement
of workers within the EU, Lord Navnit Dholakia, laid out the argument for
allowing free movement without introducing laws stopping entry.
Lord Dholakia said: "Migrants take less out of social security and
contribute more-to the tune of about £2.4 billion-to the British
economy. There is no need for a knee-jerk reaction of introducing legislation
to prohibit the entry of people.
"This is an opportunity for progressive change. Many people who come to this
country are, regrettably, abused and taken advantage of because they cannot
work legitimately. Britain must provide a clear way in which any of these individuals
can come to this country and apply for work at the minimum wage or above, so
that they will not be exploited and employers who
seek to take advantage by oppressing or subjugating them will not have
the opportunity to do so. "Individuals must be given a legitimate route
to be here, to work hard and to contribute. If that succeeds, we will
all be able to reap the benefit."
|BBC Has Lost Credibility For British
|Hindu leaders representing leading organisations
from all regions of Britain accused the BBC of having failed British Hindus
by losing its credibility. The allegations were made after the BBC's coverage
of claims made by Awaaz, a group of Muslim and leftist organisations, that
a Hindu charity had collected funds for the Gujarat Earthquake and diverted
them to extremist organisations.
"Although Awaaz has not provided a single figure or fact, the BBC gave
three minutes of coverage to Awaaz's conjectures and assumptions. On the
other hand, they only included one
sentence of denial from SEWA," explained Swami Nirliptananda, Chair of
the Hindu Centre for Communications. "It seems like the BBC is constantly
lowering its standards of fair reporting."
Referring to the BBC's indictment by the Hutton Report, Venilal Vaghela,
Chair of the Hindu Council of Brent, which represents 60 Hindu organisations
in London, added, "BBC has lost all credibility in the eyes of British
Hindus. We know exactly how Tony Blair felt about the Kelly affair. We
requested the BBC many times to reduce their anti-Hindu bias, but they
continue to dupe the British public with their misinformation campaign."
Jay Jina, Secretary of the Shree Hindu Community Centre in Birmingham explained
that this had not been the first time the BBC had ignored Hindus. "There
are many documented instances
of this disturbing trend. Last week, in a 90 minute documentary about God,
the BBC interviewed Christians, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists, but not a
single Hindu or Sikh," he cited. "On Radio 4's Thought of the Day programme,
they featured only one Hindu in the last fifteen months, whereas there
were four to five speakers from Sikhism and Islam. It almost seems like
Hindus don't count for the BBC."
Hindus in Birmingham felt so irritated by the BBC's coverage of the allegations
made by Awaaz that they have threatened not to co-operate with the Corporation. "It
seems that BBC has a
bias against one section of the British public," said Jo Thanki, Chair
of the Hindu Council of Birmingham, which represents over 20 organisations
in the Midlands. "It seems like they have not investigated the authenticity
of the source of information from Awaaz. If this trend continues, I can
assure them that Hindus from Birmingham will not cooperate in any way with
Ratilal Chohan, General Secretary of The Hindu Council of the North, which
represents 18 organisations from Manchester, Oldham Leeds, Bolton and Ashton,
commented, "Hindusim has a long history, a deep philosophy and a rich culture
that promotes respect for all faiths. Ignoring such a noble tradition can
only reflect on ignorance within the BBC."
Hindu students in universities across UK demanded a thorough overhaul of
BBC's reporting policies on faith matters. Nishma Shah, Vice President
of the National Hindu Students Forum, the largest student body of Hindus
in the UK said, "We back all Hindu organisations on the stand they have
taken about BBC, and call upon the BBC to undertake a complete rehaul of
the processes by which it reports on faith issues."
"We have been complaining for more than two years against the BBC's anti-Hindu
bias, but they have turned a blind eye to our reasoning. Moreover, VHP
UK, HSS and SEWA have close relations with most national and regional Hindu
bodies in Britain. Why has the BBC not asked for the views of these organisations?" asked
Kishore Ruparelia, General Secretary of the VHP UK. "Such a bias against
Hindus is not in keeping with the Government's community cohesion agenda."
"SEWA has helped people from all faith traditions. We have sent aid to
Kosovo, Turkey and Somalia. It is clear that this report is not a case
of SEWA duping the British public in
raising funds," added Vice Chair of SEWA International, Arjan Lal Sharma. "On
the contrary, it is the media that has been duped by the spurious and uncorroborated
allegations made by
So far, the UK Charity Commissioner has found no wrong-doing in SEWA International,
but the BBC is more keen to take the word of organisations with a hidden
agenda."In January 2004, a 51 member strong delegation representing 40
organizations from Hindu, Christian and Islamic faiths in UK visited Gujarat
and was overwhelmed by the rehabilitation work
initiated by SEWA. One of the members of the delegation Dr. Wali Tasar
Uddin, a Bangladeshi Muslim from Edinburgh, who owns a chain of Indian
restaurants, said, "This visit has opened my eyes and I sincerely appreciate
the work done by SEWA International UK. I would not hesitate to associate
myself with this organization in future."
Mr O.P. Sharma of the National Council of Hindu Temples, said, "The NCHT
considers the contents of the Aawaz report to be inaccurate and misleading,
often bordering on mischief, that will unnecessarily and inevitably affect
current inter faith relations in the UK. We are the opinion that the methods
employed, on which the above report is based, are not scientific and authoritative
and therefore the report should be withdrawn immediately."
Others like Rami Ranger, PRO of the Punjabi Society, felt that such biased
reporting will aggravate racial and religious tension amongst minority
communities in Britain. "We are disturbed by the biased reporting of BBC,
which can only be termed irresponsible. It will surely increase disharmony
and mistrust amongst the faith communities in Britain," he added.
Mahesh Bhatt, President of the Federation of Brahmin Association of Europe,
the largest representative body of Brahmins in Europe, felt appalled by
the sustained negative coverage of BBC for the Hindu community, and said, "The
BBC's reputation of fair and unbiased reporting is no longer unquestioned."
Hindu politicians from all parties added to the anger felt in the community.
Harshad Patel, Tory Councillor from Brent commented, "It is totally wrong
to link SEVA to extremism. The BBC and other media organisations should
first investigate thoroughly before deciding to give high publicity to
mere allegations."Labour Councillor from Brent, Ramesh Patel, added, "From
beginning the BBC has always been biased and reported against the Hindu
community. This has been true on many occasions in the past including their
coverage of the Godhra riots and the
Gujarat earthquake. SEWA has conducted relief work even amongst Muslims
in Kosovo and Turkey. How can they label such an organisation as communal?
They have never given us a proper chance to respond back."
President "The BBC should at least have investigated the secular credentials
of Awaaz before they publicised their unfounded allegations," said Dhiraj
Shah, Joint Secretary of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh. "Awaaz, which is
predominantly dominated by Muslim and Far-left organisations, claims to
be the South Asia Watchdog, but they have been completely silent over ethnic
cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Thirty thousand Kashmiri
Hindus have been massacred in Kashmir and half a million have been driven
out of their homes by Islamic terrorists and made refugees in their own
homeland. Why doesn't the BBC question Awaaz's selective choice of human
rights issues to understand the lack of credibility in their reporting?"
Hindu organisations and leaders will be writing to the BBC and the Press
Complaints Commission to report their grievance at the highest levels.
|Disenfranchisement Of Ahmadi Muslims In Pakistan
|More than 4 million Ahmadi Muslims living in
Pakistan are being denied the right to vote in the next General Election.
The Chief Election Commissioner, Mr Irshad Hasan Khan, has issued an Order
that Ahmadis should register themselves as Non-Muslims in the Electoral
Register. Muslim voters, according to the Order, must sign a declaration
of absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad, (peace
and blessings of Allah be upon him); moreover, they have to declare that
they do not belong to the Ahmadiyya group.
It has to be noted that Ahmadi Muslims do believe in the Finality of Prophet
hood of Muhammad, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and regard
him as the last Law-bearing Prophet, a belief, which is held by all eminent
Muslim scholars and saints. To say that they do not believe in the Finality
of Prophethood of Muhammad, (may peace and blessings
of Allah be upon him), is a false propaganda against the Ahmadis.
The Chief Election Commissioner, after his Annual review of the Electoral
Rolls has also issued instructions that, if an objection is raised against
a person who has registered his name as a Muslim voter, then within 30
days the applicant will be issued with a notice to appear before the Commission
to sign that declaration. If that applicant refuses to sign the declaration
or fails to appear before the Authority, his name shall be deleted from
the Muslim Voters List and entered onto the non-Muslim Voters List.
Under such circumstances Ahmadis cannot register as non-Muslims because
they believe in all the fundamental principles of Islam and regard themselves
as Muslims. They can neitherregister as Muslims because the declaration
that they are forced to sign contains the sentence that they do not belong
to the Ahmadiyya Group and this is against their conscience and religious
It was through the mechanism of such a declaration that Ahmadis were disenfranchised
in the past and are now being denied their right to vote in the next Elections.
The Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community wishes to register its strongest
protest against this entirely discriminatory Order. To force Ahmadis to
enrol themselves as non-Muslim voters under the Separate Electorate System
is detrimental to national integration and harmony. This is a denial of
Fundamental Human Rights by the government of Pakistan to a section of
its population and is also against the very idea of democracy.
|Equilibrium By SHRISHTI, Nina Rajrani Dance Creations
At Queen's Theatre.
|Performed by Nina Rjarani and Abhay Shankar Mishra
Equlibrium in life, as in performance, is achieved when a balance
is struck between Antarang, one's hidden inner self and Bahirang,
one's conscious outward projection.
Lord Krishna in Bhagwad Gita elaborates the value of equilibrium
in life in all its facets. It is the ambience in which Soul finds
its fulfillment. The dance drama, produced in two parts, brings out
the serene beauty of Soul: Deep within the indestructible Self's
powerful diamond core. Nothing exists other than Pure Light
The first part of the Dance Drama, Antarang, The Inner Self, is based
on the eternal theme of Shiva and Parvati, the universal representatives
of man and woman. In this part, classical Bahrain Natty and Cathy
|Abhay Shankar Mishra and Rajarani both faithfully
interpret the story of the origin of the universal attributes which bring
harmony. In the second part called Bahirang - the outward projection -
, the innovation in dance form is praiseworthy. The two dancers are able
to project the turmoil, the chaos and then the harmony by innovating dance
sequences with western dance language.
|Powerful music by Shankar Mahadevan is dominant.
The choreographers, Rajarani and Abhay Shankar Mishra, have dexterously
brought the outer explosive force in dance sequences, although with the
active assistance of powerful music and subtle use of lighting design which
brings out clearly the meaning and the message of the outward projection.
The second part, although short (20 minutes)completes the significance
of the title i.e. 'Equilibrium'. Shiva's attributes work when there is
no equilibrium in nature or in human life. He is the purveyor of the Universe;
and harbinger of Equilibrium. "Where there is equilibrium, I am there",
says Krishna in Bhagvad Gita.
More Dispatches & Reports
Return to April - May 2004 contents