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The Challenge Of Mobilizing The Next Generation Of Young Hindus

on 2013/5/5 4:06:42 ( 2129 reads )


UNITED KINGDOM, April 1, 2013 (Huffington Post by Pratik Dattani): As a young, modern British Hindu, I'm one of a confused bunch of people. Our Sanatan Dharma represents the oldest religion in the world. Our Vedic texts introduced philosophy to the world. That's our heritage. But almost every young Hindu I know plans to marry in lavish multi-day long ceremonies not because it's so Hindu, but because it's so Bollywood. And most of us won't know the meanings of any of those ceremonial wedding rituals. So most of us will be Hindu in name only, at major festivals and weddings.

A research report by the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a cross-partisan British think-tank, said earlier this year that Hindus were under-represented in the media in Britain. Out of 3,945 articles they surveyed over 10 years, the HJS found almost all of the Hindu representation in mainstream media were to do with three issues: opposition to the slaughter of a cow in Wales in 2007; asking Royal Mail to remove Christmas stamps featuring Hindu deities in 2005; and finally a case against Newcastle City Council asking for land to be dedicated for open air pyres.

While these may have been important issues, there were almost no Hindu opinions expressed in the media with relation to foreign policy, international aid, community cohesion, discrimination, defense, environment, justice, anti-terrorism, economic policy, employment, family, immigration and abortion. According to report author Hannah Stuart, "Hindu claims were often more specific, and not about wider society and contributions to public policy."

Hindu community leadership in Britain is at a crossroads. Young British Hindus care about many of the same issues as other young Britons -- pop music, the credit crunch, Bollywood, the environment, inflation, cultural identity and football. When community leaders do not speak the same language as the next generation, they begin to lose relevance. Many second and third generation Hindus, whose parents are from East Africa or India, have already begun to see their linguistic and cultural heritage dilute over time.

This month gave a sneak peek into what the future may hold. The British government passed legislation to specifically ban "caste" discrimination as part of the Equalities Act 2010, something that was likely to happen since the Act originally came into force on 1 October 2010. Hindus condemned any discrimination based on caste (obviously), but many had serious concerns about the consequences and practicality of such legislation, and the impact it may have on entrenching the outdated notion of caste-based discrimination in Britain.

In saying the notion was outdated, community leaders were likely in sync with what most, especially young, Hindus thought. MPs and community leaders alike, speaking in hushed tones, said it was the first time they could ever remember the Hindu community coming together in such a united voice.

More at 'source.'

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