About Hindu Matters in Britain
Hindu Matters in Britain offers a voice to the British Hindu community – Hindus of Britain are relevant. Hindus need to be counted; participate in the policy making process and play a key role in public life. HMB is not religious, nor political. It offers an informed opinion based on facts, research and current data available. HMB is a conduit to represent the views of the British Hindu community, and how it is represented within the mainstream. HMB hopes to provide an overall viewpoint so that people can make an informed decision on issues that matter to them.
The Hindu community has been well established in the United Kingdom, especially in the last few decades, although the first visitors established themselves in Britain since the 19th century. The Hindu community has made great inroads into settling firmly into the roots of the modern British identity. The fourth and fifth generation of British Hindus are now coming to the forefront.
At the peak of the British rule in undivided India, it was the likes of Hindu scholars, philosophers, reformers, students and maharajas who frequented the unfamiliar shores. The now familiar names like Swami Vivekananda, Swami Paramahansa Yogananda and Rabindranath Tagore came to visit and offer curious gazes to the masses.
During the onset of World War 1 offer the first sign of people of India coming onto the shore of Britain. The British Indian Army was supporting Britain’s freedom struggle against the Nazis. The Indian freedom campaigners while struggling for independence from the British, had also realised that there was a matter of the greater good that needed to take precedence. India thus made available the largest volunteer force in the world by providing over 1.5 million personnel to fight alongside their colonial rulers. This equated to one in five soldiers of the British Military was of Indian origin. Around half of the Indian Army personnel were of Hindu heritage. Many of them at the time set foot on British shores on their way to the battlefields of Europe or being nursed to health after an injury during the war. One of the well-known landmarks in Sussex is the Brighton Pavilion where many soldiers resided.
The number of Indians who volunteered to fight for the British Raj in World War II was over 2.5 million soldiers making it the largest volunteer army in the world. And it was after World War II when many Indians, with the Hindus being the largest majority wanted to find better opportunities abroad and this together with shortages of skilled labour in Britain attracted many Indian professionals to the United Kingdom. Specialists like doctors were particularly needed in the NHS.
In the 1970s another wave of Hindu migration came from East Africa as Britain agreed to take on Asians from the Ugandan expulsion in particular. Many from the surrounding countries of Kenya and Tanzania also joined them.
Since the 1990s there has been a steady flow of Hindus who have come to work or settle in Britain with specific skills. In addition to doctors and engineers, it is the field of IT that many Indians are attracted to the UK. It can be said that the Hindu community has set well in Britain. But in many cases, the community is less known and the indigenous people find it difficult to comprehend the intricacies of Hindu practices. On the other hand, there is a lot of respect for the hospitality of the British Hindu community and it’s outwardly values of strong family units, educational achievement and hard work.
Hindu Matters in Britain (HMB) website is being developed to offer a portal for issues relating to the British Hindu Community. It is an opportunity for incorporating and collating all the key ideas, thoughts and materials relating the lives of British Hindus as well as guiding people as to where to find related information as there are some excellent resources available regarding specific issues. HMB is looking forward to working with experts in the field who would like to contribute towards providing content and help progress the British Hindu cause for a peaceful and prosperous Britain for us all.
The Hindu community has been well established for many decades in the UK. It has made great inroads into settling firmly within the British identity. It has faced and continues to face difficult challenges from various quarters, but continues to work hard at keeping its ethos of family values, education and hard work – to be the success for family, the community and for Britain. HMB is being developed to offer a single online portal that helps provide information on issues relating to the Hindu community of the United Kingdom. It is an opportunity for incorporating and collating all the key ideas, thoughts and materials relating the lives of British Hindus. This it will do by inviting experts, writers and profiling research that exists to help offer an informed opinion about the key issues that matter to the British Asian community. From time to time, HMB will conduct polls where there is a need to understand and find out the view of British Hindus on specific issues. This information will help to gauge the British Hindu opinion and provide policymakers objective information on matters of national importance. It is not always possible to have data available specifically relating to Hindus, thus in some cases, information is given under the banner of ethnic minorities, or Asians or other such terms. Where this is the case, these above-mentioned terms are utilised. Although they do not specifically apply to Hindus per se, they do incorporate the general idea. As more research becomes available in the future, it will be added to the database. HMB looks forward to progressing the British Hindu cause for a peaceful and prosperous Britain.