Hindu Matters In Britain - For British Hindus

In The Press

Here are stories in the media that are relevant to the Hindus and Indians in Britain. 

How Britain's opium trade impoverished Indians

In Amitav Ghosh's acclaimed novel, Sea of Poppies, a village woman from an opium-producing region in India has a vivid encounter with a poppy seed. 

"She looked at the seed as if she has never seen one before, and suddenly she knew that it was not the planet above that governed her life; it was this miniscule orb - at once beautiful and all - devouring, merciful and destructive, sustaining and vengeful."

At the time when the novel is set, poppy was harvested by some 1.3 million peasant households in northern India. The cash crop occupied between a quarter and half of a peasant's holding. By the end of the 19th Century poppy farming had an impact on the lives of some 10 million people in what is now the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. A few thousand workers - in two opium factories located on the Ganges river - dried and mixed the milky fluid from the seed, made it into cakes and packed the opium balls in wooden chests.

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Cricket, it has famously been said, is an Indian game accidentally invented by the English.

By a curious historical irony, a sport that was the exclusive preserve of colonial elite is now the national passion of the formerly colonised. What is equally extraordinary is that India has become world cricket's sole superpower. 

It is a status much savoured by contemporary Indians, for whom their cricket team is the nation. They regard "team India" as a symbol of national unity, and its players a reflection of the country's diversity.

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Sam Manekshaw: Why is this Indian war hero trending?

An announcement that a Bollywood film will be made on Indian war hero Sam Manekshaw has seen him trend on social media 11 years after his death.

Manekshaw is arguably India's best-known army general.

He was the chief of the Indian army during the 1971 war with Pakistan, which led to the creation of Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan.

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Theresa May expresses 'regret' for 1919 Amritsar massacre

However, PM stops short of apologising for killings by British troops who opened fire on the crowd of defenceless men, women and children.

On 13 April 1919, a crowd gathered at Jallianwala Bagh, a public garden, including families having picnics and people protesting about the deportation of a pair of nationalist leaders. Many were unaware there was a ban on public gatherings in the city, which had been placed under the direct rule of the British Indian army to curb recent unrest.

 

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Hinduism is the world’s largest ecology

One of the first lessons a student of ecology is taught is that this science is relatively new, that the term ‘ecology’ was only first defined in 1866 by Ernst Haeckel. Among the sciences, it has become sought after from the latter half of the 20th century, largely due to widespread environmental degradation and pollution.

What the western discourse in general and the western academia and its textbooks in particular forget to inform us is that the roots of ecology lie in Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism and no other religion pays as much attention to environment and environmental ethics, and to the understanding of the role and value of nature. Hinduism is inherently an ecological religion.  It can quite easily be said that Hinduism is the world’s largest nature-based religion that recognises and seeks the Divine in nature and acknowledges everything as sacred. It views the earth as our Mother, and hence, advocates that it should not be exploited. A loss of this understanding that earth is our mother, or rather a deliberate ignorance of this, has resulted in the abuse, and the exploitation of the earth and its resources.

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