Hindu Ambition, Politics and Human Rights
There is so much hypocrisy in the issue of human rights across South Asia and the costs to human life is enormous. Let us hope that a new era in changes in the political landscape in Asia, Europe post-Brexit and the USA with a new president. Will 2021 offer a new vision?
India’s move on Kashmir and the controversial CAA legislation has caused much criticism. Some political activists have lashed onto the issues and campaigned through different governments depending on the country they reside in. At the same time, many of these campaigners put aside the persecution of Hindus in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan.
It does not fit with their own prejudices and hence Hindu communities continue to suffer and their numbers depleting at a rapid rate in these countries. It is the same with the Uighurs in Xinjiang whose plight has fallen of the news headlines. And there are other minorities in other parts of the world that do not even make it on the new agendas.
In the UK, Hindus did have a reputation of political novices whose key interest was to succeed in life, but not, in the political sphere where the career prospects are not secure and there is too much hard work for little reward and lots of headaches. But in less than a decade such stereotypes have fallen as Hindus began making their mark in politics.
And there is a strong shift as more of them jumped from the traditional Labour routes to the bright blue of the Tories. And the Indians can never forget Boris Johnson who in one swoop put three Hindus in the Cabinet. The rise of Rishi Sunak has been phenomenal as Chancellor; Priti Patel as Home Secretary continues to cause controversy and Alok Sharma made his mark as Business Secretary. Though Mr Sharma has moved on recently to concentrate full time on the UN COP26 Conference in Glasgow on climate change. One does wonder what would have happened to their careers without COVID-19?
So back to the Hindus and their newfound prowess in mainstream political circles. As the role models continue to inspire, grassroots begin to make a mark slowly, but surely. A group of Hindu organisations have written to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson urging him to take immediate action over Pakistan’s "rampant persecution" of Hindus in light of the recent incident in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province when a temple was burned.
The letter. Jointly signed by Trupti Patel, President of the Hindu Forum of Britain; Dharaj Shah, President of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh; Rajnish Kashyap, General Secretary of the Hindu Council UK; Arun Thakar, President of the National Council of Hindu Temples UK; and Tribhuvan Jotangia, President of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad stated:
“We the representatives of the national umbrella bodies for Hindus in the UK would like to seek urgent action to demand that the Prime Minister of Pakistan does everything possible to stop the rampant persecution of Hindus in Pakistan… in the recent past the situation for minorities like Hindus in Pakistan is getting extremely perilous.”
“We ask you Prime Minister to set up a Governmental Inquiry into this issue and to ask all good democracies around the world, via the United Nations, to replicate a similar type of inquiry. The mass murder, genocide and persecution of minorities in Pakistan must be stopped,” it stressed.
The issue is regarding an incident on December 30 last year, when a Hindu temple was burnt down and destroyed by what the groups describe as a mob consisting of “thousands of fanatics led by clerics" in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.
According to reports, thousands descended upon the Hindu temple in Terri village in Karak district before setting it on fire. The temple was attacked after members of the Hindu community received permission from local authorities to renovate its decades-old building. The mob had demolished the newly constructed work alongside the old structure.
“The vast majority of UK and international news organisations failed to cover this religiously motivated hate crime,” the letter reads.
Although not much is expected from the British Government, what it does illustrate that Hindus outside India are becoming confident and influential in politics. Their vote counts and they are demanding more from the elected officials. It is a big shift in a relatively short period since the rise of Indian confidence as a major world economy in the last decade.
But a word of caution, as the debate in India, continues in many spheres that colonial rule has still left a legacy of millions of Hindus still feeling inferior and rather believe what a foreigner thinks about their lives than they themselves do – how long for? Even with the backdrop of the pandemic, one feels that is going to some major developments of Indians and Hindus around the world – watch this space!