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Racism .. or something else ?

 

"To those who know only privilege, equality feels like oppression"

 

 

Whenever there is an attack upon a non white person - the Racist and Racism mantra is trotted out but after 50 years of immigration in to the UK, isnt it time we revisted the very assumptions behind the whole "Racism" ideology or "Race" industry even?

The questions which we, as an immigrant minority and a vulnerable religious minority, faced with institutional anti-Hindu prejudice and the perception of a rising level of white-supremacist hate speech, we will be exploring over the coming months will include:-

  • What if there is only one Race, the human race  - in which case who divided the peoples of this earth into "Races"?
  • Does "white supremacy" still exist in the UK?
  • Is there a difference between "White Supremacy" and Racism ??
  • What if the problem is not Racism  - just "ol fashioned white supremacy" ??
  • If feelings of supremacy do exist - who is teaching them and where do they come from??
  • Is it racist to call a "white racist" a "white supremacist" ??
  • By calling a "white supremacist" a racist do we lose focus on the core problem ?

 

We will have input from Jane Elliot, one of the USA's most potent speakers on the subject of White Suporemacy and Racism and other thought leaders.

 

In the meantime...

An African American friend called Brian Crooks, wrote the following account which makes sobering reading.

 

If we can have video evidence that an officer pulled up, jumped out of his car, shot a 12-year-old to death less than 2 seconds after arriving on the scene, administered no first aid, tackled and hand cuffed the boy's sister when she arrived on the scene, and then falsified a police report to say that the boy pointed a gun at him and that he only shot when the boy refused several orders to drop his weapon and STILL not get an indictment, why should we think that an officer who shoots a Black man who had a gun in his pocket, or a Black man who had a concealed weapon on him, will face a trial?

 

Is discrimination against non-whites a hidden but significant problem  herein the UK? Here's Brians full article, its a lot to read but very much worth it.

So, over the last few days I've done a lot of linking and reposting, but I haven't really done a lot of speaking about my personal experience to explain where I'm coming from. Please, bear with me for a few minutes. Hopefully, it'll help you understand why I feel the way I do about what's been going on.

The first time I was acutely aware of my Blackness, I was probably 6 or 7 years old. Like, before then obviously I knew I was Black, but I hadn't really had it put in my face like this until I was about 6 or 7. I used to go to daycare back then, and we went on a field trip to a water park one time. One of the other boys from the daycare came up to me and told me he was surprised I was going on the trip because his dad told him all colored people were afraid of the water since we sink to the bottom. He didn't know he was being offensive. He was just curious why someone who would sink to the bottom would want to go to a water park.

I can remember being in elementary school thinking maybe I was unable to see what was really going on. I, like many other Black people in my generation, was the only Black kid in my class. I think the first time I actually had class with another Black kid was when I was in 5th grade. I'd need to go back and look at my class pictures to be sure, but for sure there were never, like, 6 or 7 of us in one class. So anyway, in elementary school, right around the same time I was told that colored people couldn't swim, I remember wondering whether I saw the same stuff the White kids saw. I seriously remember wondering whether I just THOUGHT I was sitting quietly while in reality I was running around going crazy and being disruptive. I don't really know why I wondered that. I'd picked up on some kinds of cues in pop culture and stuff, I guess, but I really did think that there was a chance that the White kids were just being polite not to react to me if I was jumping on their desks and throwing stuff without being able to see it myself.

In elementary school, I was in the gifted program. I've never been any good at math or science, but I was a really creative kid who loved history and telling stories. In third grade, the gifted program focused on the middle ages. I was in heaven. I loved learning about knights and castles and all that stuff. We had a group project to do sometime that year, where we had to give a short speech about something we'd learned during the year. All of the groups broke off to divvy up the work when my teacher came over to my group. Wouldn't it be “easier” and more fun for me if my group did our presentation as a rap? I'm eight years old. I have no history writing any kind of music, much less a full 3 or 4 minutes of rap verses for me and my teammates. But, I tried. The other kids just expected it to be natural for me. They looked at me like, “What do you mean you don't know how to rap?” We ended up just doing it as a regular presentation like everybody else, and afterward my teacher came up to me and said, “I thought you guys were going to rap? I was looking forward to MC Brian.” Again, she didn't know that she was making a racially-insensitive statement. Why would she? It's not like she'd had deep conversation about how Black people feel about their Blackness, or the way Black people internalized the way White people feel about our Blackness.

From elementary school through middle school, I can't remember how many times the White kids asked if they could touch my hair. I'm not kidding when I say it happened pretty much once a week at least. At first, it didn't bother me. But eventually I felt like an exhibit in a petting zoo. And I didn't have the vocabulary to explain to them that it was really weird that they kept asking to touch my hair all the time. See, I was a pretty shy kid. I was the only Black one, I was overweight, and I'd moved three times before I turned 10. So, rather than tell the White kids that no, they couldn't rummage through my hair, I just said yes and sat there quietly while they marveled at how my hair felt.

My least favorite time of the year, every year, was February. Black History Month. Being the only Black kid in the class, I was the designated reader for the entire month. When it came time to read from our history books about slavery and the Triangle Trade Route, I was always the one who was chosen to read. When it came time to read about Jim Crow, it was my turn. George Washington Carver and the peanut? That sounds like a job for Brian. Booker T. Washington? Harriet Tubman? Surely Brian is the perfect choice for those passages. All the while, I felt the eyes of my fellow students on me. Again, I was already a shy kid. So, having an entire classroom of White kids stare at me while I explained what lynching and Black Codes were was pretty mortifying.

Middle school is awkward for almost everybody. But when you're one of a handful of Black kids in a sea of judgmental, painfully self-conscious White kids, that awkwardness is magnified. I can remember being in 7th grade when a couple of girls who were always way too cool to talk to me ran up in the hallway and told me they had a girl for me to meet. Being that I was 12 or 13, I asked what she looked like. “You're really going to like her,” they said. I met her near the end of the day. She was morbidly obese and about three shades darker than me. The popular girls, of course, decided that since we were both Black and overweight, we were a match made in heaven. At this point, I'm pretty sure they were aware that they were being jerks. The ignorance of childhood had mostly fallen away by that point. But they were popular, I was a nerd, and the girl they thought was perfect for me was new in school. I'm sure they told her they had a great guy for her too. We just stood there, both aware that we were the butt of their joke and aware that we didn't have the social cache to actually do anything about it.

In 8th grade, I went to a friend's house to jump on his trampoline. I didn't know the kid all that well, but we had some mutual friends and at that age, if a kid has a trampoline, you're going to jump on that trampoline. He had a couple of neighbors who were probably 6 or 7 year old girls. We're jumping on the trampoline and the girls come out of their house and come over into his yard. Within about 5 minutes, they were laughing while saying “Get off our property, Black boy.” They were little, and they were laughing, so I don't think they knew how ugly they were being. After all, they'd probably never had a Black kid in their one or two elementary school classes. But they'd clearly heard that phrase somewhere else before. I wasn't even on their property; I was next door. But it's fair to assume that at some point, someone in their house had said “Get off my property, Black boy.”

In high school, I was around more Black kids. Still not a lot, but more than zero, so that was nice. When I was fifteen, I got my first “real” girlfriend. I'd asked some girls out before, and some of them said yes, but when you're 13 or 14 years old, what does “going out” even mean? So, my first “real” girlfriend was White. After all, I was living in an overwhelmingly White community and it's not like I was a heartthrob, so I was in no position to tell a girl who liked me that I was only interested in dating a Black girl. I might've never had a girlfriend if that was the line I drew. We were a good couple. We got along well and had similar interests and stuff. Basically, what you'd like to have as a high school sophomore. Her parents were divorced, but her mom and stepdad liked me. Then, her biological father found out I was Black. A week later, she called me crying and said we had to break up. Her dad didn't support her dating a Black person. So, my first heartbreak came as a direct result of racism.

When I was going through driver's ed, my behind the wheel instructor was a football coach at one of the other Naperville high schools. He asked what kind of car I wanted one time, and I told him I was gonna get my dad's Dodge Intrepid, but that I really liked my brother's Mazda. He looked at me like I was nuts and said he figured I'd want an Impala so I could put some hydraulics on it and “hit dem switchezzzzz.” When we got back to my house at the end of my last behind the wheel session, he shook my hand and said it was a pleasure teaching me how to drive. Then, he said, “You're a Black kid, but you're pretty cool, you know? Like, you're not like one of THOSE Black people, you know?”

In high school, I played football. There was a kid on the football team who I'd been friends with since middle school. Not, like, best friends or anything, but we ran in similar circles and we were certainly friendly with each other. When we were 16 or 17, he started referring to me as “The Whitest Black guy.” It really pissed me off. He knew it pissed me off. I guess because I used proper grammar, wore clothes that fit, and listened to metal in addition to hip hop, it made me “White.” Turns out, to be “authentically Black” means being a caricature of what a Black person should be, according to this suburban White kid. This is another case of me lacking the vocabulary at the time to express how that made me feel, but it's pretty messed up. This kid (we're currently Facebook friends, so I hope he reads this and knows who I'm talking about) identified as Italian-American. I didn't call him “The most Anglo Italian guy” because he didn't bring home-made ravioli to school for lunch everyday and play an accordion while growing a mustache.

I got pulled over a lot in high school. Like, a lot a lot. By this point, I was no longer driving the Dodge. I had a Mazda of my own. It was flashy and loud, but this was 2002 and everybody with a Japanese car was doing a Vin Diesel impression, so it's not like mine stood out that much more than anyone else's. I spent a ton of money on my car and was especially aware of its appearance. You can understand, then, why it was weird that I was routinely pulled over for a busted taillight. After all, that's the kind of thing I would've noticed and gotten fixed, especially if that taillight tended to burn out once a week or so. My parents had told me how to act when pulled over by the police, so of course I was all “Yes sir, no sir” every time it happened. That didn't stop them from asking me to step out of the car so they could pat me down or search for drugs, though. I didn't have a drop of alcohol until I was 21, but by that point I was an expert at breathalyzers and field sobriety tests. On occasion, the officer was polite. But usually, they walked up with their hand on their gun and talked to me like I'd been found guilty of a grisly homicide earlier in the day. A handful of times, they'd tell me to turn off the car, drop the keys out the window, and keep my hands outside the vehicle before even approaching.

I went to the University of Iowa, which is a very White campus in a very White state. It's funny, because most of the people I met there who came from small-town Iowa were really excited to finally meet a Black person. And it wasn't like they wanted me to be a mascot; they genuinely wanted a Black friend so they could learn about Black people and stuff. It was nice. On the other hand, if I was in a bar and talking to a girl they didn't think I should be talking to, or in their drunken state they bumped into sober me, you'd be surprised to see how quickly some of these guys will call a complete stranger a nigger.

Once, when I came home from college, I was pulled over less than a block from my parents' house. It was late, probably about midnight or so, but I hadn't been drinking and it was winter so I wasn't speeding because it had snowed that day. The officer stepped out of his car with his gun drawn. He told me to drop the keys out the window, then exit the car with my hands up and step back toward him. I knew he was wrong, but I wasn't about to be shot to death down the street from my parents' house because my failure to immediately comply was interpreted as me plotting to murder that officer. So yeah, I stepped out and backed up toward the officer. He hand cuffed me and refused to tell me why I had been pulled over, or why I had been asked to exit my vehicle. Only when I was sitting in the back of the police car did he tell me that there had been reports of gang activity in the area and that a car fitting my car's description with a driver fitting my description had recently been involved in said gang activity. Gang activity. In south Naperville. Committed by a Black male driving a bright blue Mazda MX-6 with a gaudy blue and white interior. Yeah, alright. He was very short in asking me what I was doing in the neighborhood so late at night. I explained that my parents lived at that house with the glass backboard over there. He didn't believe me. He took me back out of the car and put me face down on the hood of the police car to frisk me. I'd already been searched once before he put me in the car. Then, he spent about 15 minutes searching my car while I stood hand cuffed in the cold. My ID had my parents' address on it, but he still didn't think I lived there. I could tell he wanted to accuse me of having a fake ID. About a half hour after being pulled over, when he found nothing on me, nothing in my car, and nothing on my record, he reluctantly let me go. He didn't even say sorry, or explain that it was his mistake; he must've been looking for another Black man in a bright blue Mazda MX-6 who was a gang leader in south Naperville. He sat in the street until I drove to my parents' house, opened the garage door, drove inside, and then closed the garage door.

Back at Iowa, things were pretty cool. Yeah, the occasional frat boy would call me a nigger when he was mad at me at the bar, but I had a lot of good friends and it's not like nobody had ever called me that before or anything. I was dating a girl when I went to college, and we broke up right before my sophomore year. She made sure to tell me she would NEVER date someone outside of her race again when we broke up. As though A) I was the representative of all Black people, and B) I was going to have to explain to all Black men why she was unwilling to date them in the future.

One summer when I was back from college, I had an argument with a good friend of mine. When I say “good friend,” I mean that this is a guy I knew since middle school. Our dads used to work together. I can't count how many times I had spent the night at his parents' house. But we had an argument. The kind of argument most friends have at one point or another. This time, he decided to get really, really racial about it. He started off by telling me I should be ashamed of my complexion (he later claimed that he meant I had bad skin; only I'd only had like two pimples in my entire life). Then, he said I belong in the ghetto, not Naperville. In the end, he looked me dead in the face and called me a nigger. Again, this was one of my closest friends. Since then, I've completely cut him out of my life. But, it fits with the experiences that I've had too many times; people can be totally cool for years and years but suddenly decide that they need to be super racist because they want to hurt you. They'll say they're sorry, they'll explain how you misinterpreted what they said, but the fact is, they reach for racism because they think it'll emotionally and psychologically destroy you, and that's what they want to do at that moment.

During my senior year, I went to a game at Kinnick stadium. I'd been to every home game since my first week at college and a handful of away games too. I'd only started drinking about 5 months before that, but my band had a show the night before and my bandmates were leaving town that morning, so I didn't get hammered during tailgating. I didn't want them to call me for directions and have me be unable to help. We were waiting in line to get into the game; I was with probably 4 or 5 of my friends. While standing in line, a much drunker guy lost his balance and fell into me and one of my friends. I caught him and helped him back up, and he was pretty oblivious to his surroundings. An officer inside the gate saw what happened and called me out of the line when I got inside the gate. He told me that he saw me try to fight that guy in line and said I was too drunk to enter the stadium. He told me I could either go home or go to jail. I told him I had no problem going home, but because there were only two more home games left I wanted to know what I had done to draw such negative attention to myself. Plus, it was pretty cold anyway. He got about an inch from my face and yelled, “GO HOME NOW OR GO TO JAIL.” I turned to leave and he hand cuffed me. I wound up watching Iowa vs Northwestern 2006 from the drunk tank inside Kinnick Stadium. Everyone else in there was either screaming, puking, or passed out. The guy who fell into me was allowed to go into the game. The charges against me were dropped when the lady who kept an eye on the drunk tank spoke on my behalf when I had to go see the judge.

In 2012, I went to watch the Iowa game at John Barleycorn on Clark Street in Chicago. We watched almost every game there. I had gotten some t-shirts printed up and went to my car to get them so I could give them to my friends. While coming back, I saw a Michigan fan absolutely beating the hell out of a Nebraska fan (they were both White). I ran up into the fight (I was admittedly drunk this time) and pulled the Michigan fan off the Nebraska fan. Dude's face was all bloody and messed up. The police were on the scene about 15 seconds later. Michigan and Nebraska both got to go home to “cool off,” but I wound up hand cuffed and sitting on the curb. There were at least a dozen witnesses there who tried to tell the officer that I was just trying to break up the fight, and that Michigan should've been arrested for assault. One of Nebraska's female friends even told the officer that I might've saved his life (probably an exaggeration, but it's what was said). After about 15 minutes, the officer removed the hand cuffs and let me go. He said he got a call that there was a big fight breaking out, but otherwise I'd be going to jail that night. He said if he ever saw me on Clark Street again, we'd have a problem.

I could go on and on and on about this. I could tell you about the guy who wanted to buy his guitar from someone who “actually knew what a guitar was” when I worked at guitar center. At that point, I had a Gibson Les Paul at my house and an Ibanez acoustic, plus a Warwick fretless bass. I could tell you about the coworker who thought it was funny to adopt a stereotypical Black accent to apologize that we weren't going to have fried chicken and cornbread at our company Christmas party. I could tell you about the time I gave my floor mate a haircut freshman year and he “thanked” me by saying he'd let a negro cut his hair any day of the week. I could tell you about leaving a bar heartbroken and fighting tears when the Trayvon Martin verdict came out only to see a couple middle-aged White guys high-fiving and saying he “got what he deserved” right outside. These are only a handful of the experiences I've had in my 31 years.

I've never had a Black boss. I played football from middle school through senior year of high school and only had one Black coach in that whole time. Not just head coaches, I'm talking about assistants and position coaches. I've had two Black teachers in my entire life. One was for my Harlem Renaissance class, and one was for my sign language class. I've never been to a Black doctor, or a Black dentist. I've never been pulled over by a Black police officer. What I'm trying to explain is that, in 31 years, I've seen three Black people in a position of authority. Think about what that does to the psyche of a growing young man. I remember being excited just a few years ago when we started to see Black people in commercials without there being gospel or hip hop music in the background (remember that McDonald's commercial where the little kid was pop-locking with the chicken McNuggets?).

Before you say it, I don't want to hear that you're “sorry I had these experiences.” Because it's not just me. It's not like I'm some kind of magnet for all of the racists in America and I'm some weird anomaly. This is what it means to be Black in America. I appreciate that you're sorry for me, but I'm not seeking your sorrow. I'm seeking your understanding. I just want you to understand that this is real. We're not exaggerating it, and we're not making it up. White people often say that we make everything about race. That's because, for us, damn near everything IS about race. It's always been that way. When I have a great phone interview, but go for my in-person interview only to be told that the position has been filled, how am I supposed to know that's not just because they expected a White Iowa graduate to show up for the interview? When I have an especially-attentive employee keep checking in with me at the mall, how am I supposed to know they're shooting for employee of the month, not watching me to make sure I'm not stealing? What do you think it's like when someone says “You don't sound Black at all” when I have a phone conversation with them and then meet them in person? What do you think it's like seeing Confederate flags on cars and flag poles in northern states, only to have someone tell me I'm being too sensitive for not liking it?

When we say “Black Lives Matter,” understand what that actually means. We aren't saying that ONLY Black lives matter. We're saying “Black lives matter TOO.” For the entirety of the history of this country, Black lives have not mattered. At a minimum, they haven't mattered nearly as much as White lives. If a Black person kills another Black person, and we have it on tape, the killer goes to jail. If a White police officer kills a Black person and we have it on tape, the entire judicial system steps up to make sure that officer doesn't go to jail. It doesn't matter whether the Black person was holding a toy gun in a Walmart, or whether the Black person was a 12-year-old kid playing with a BB gun in an empty park. The police union steps up to say the officer was fearing for his life, just worried about trying to make it home that night. IF a grand jury is convened, the prosecutor will present a purposely-weak case to make sure no indictment is reached. IF, by some miracle, an indictment is handed down, no jury is actually going to convict that officer. That's what we mean when we say Black Lives Matter. I can only speak for myself, but I have no reason to believe that the officers in Minnesota or Baton Rouge will ever see the inside of a jail cell. If we can have video evidence that an officer pulled up, jumped out of his car, shot a 12-year-old to death less than 2 seconds after arriving on the scene, administered no first aid, tackled and hand cuffed the boy's sister when she arrived on the scene, and then falsified a police report to say that the boy pointed a gun at him and that he only shot when the boy refused several orders to drop his weapon and STILL not get an indictment, why should we think that an officer who shoots a Black man who had a gun in his pocket, or a Black man who had a concealed weapon on him, will face a trial? If a White man sees a 14-year-old Black boy in his neighborhood, follows him in his car, ignores orders not to engage him, then gets into a fight with him and shoots him in the chest and is found not guilty, why should we expect ANYBODY to go to jail for killing us? It's just not realistic. It's a fairy tale. All you have to do is say you were afraid, and you get a book deal and a job as a commentator on FOX News every time this kind of thing happens again.

That is why Black people are in such pain right now. The deaths are bad enough. But having the feeling that nobody will ever actually be held accountable for the deaths is so much worse. And then watching as the police union, the media, and conservative politicians team up to imagine scenarios where the officer did nothing wrong, and then tell those of us who are in pain that our pain is wrong, unjustified, and all in our heads just serves to twist the knife.

If you read all this, I really, really want to say thank you. I know it was a lot to get through. But this is real. This is me. This is what my life is and has been. And I'm not alone.

 

There is much work to be done, join us in helping find a real and lasting solution.

Hindu Community bids Farewell to PM Cameron

 cameron baps

In a joint letter to PM David Cameron, the NCHT(UK) joined with the Hindu Forum of Britain, the VHP, HSS and the National Hindu Students Forum to offer a note of gratitude and appreciation for the manner in which PM Cameron engaged fully and with great humour and enthusiasm, with the British Hindu Community.

Whether it was on the stage at Wembley at PM Modiji''s side or perfoming Abhishek at  the Swaminarayan BAPS Temple in Neasden with Mrs Cameron, PM Cameron established and developed direct links with the British Hindu community and Government to a level and degree unheard of before. The principal National Hindu organisations have written to the PM today to express their appreciation for his encouragement and support.

 

NCHT(UK) - BBC1 - The Big Questions

theBigQuestion

 

Did Man Create God..?  decide for yourself but one thing is clear...

our GenSec Satishji has never been called a Christ among thieves before!

 

 

 Social media was buzzing about this show... heres some of the feedback...

 

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twitt dogra01

 

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UN International Yoga Day in Parliament

Press Release

Bob Blackman MP, Chair of APPG Indian Traditional Sciences
hosts International Yoga Day at British Parliament

For Immediate Release

UN international yoga day logo square

 

“Yoga to be integrated within the NHS” was the unanimous appeal made by yoga practitioners, health care professionals, community leaders, education professionals, researchers and parliamentarians at the 2nd International Day of Yoga celebrations in the Houses of Parliament, UK. The programme was hosted by Bob Blackman MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group of Indian Traditional Sciences and was joined by fellow parliamentarians, Conservative MP Matthew Offord (Hendon) and Labour MP Virendra Sharma (Southall & Ealing). The High Commissioner of India, His Excellency Mr. Navtej Sarna, the Chief Guest on the day elaborated the origins and significance of United Nations International Yoga Day. This vision was encapsulated by United Nations General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon “By proclaiming 21 June as the International Day of Yoga, the General Assembly has recognized the holistic benefits of this timeless practice and its inherent compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations”.  

Recognising the greater need for Yoga within the health care and school curriculums, Bob Blackman tabled an early day motion 215:
That this House celebrates the 2nd International Day of Yoga, on 21 June 2016, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015; recognises yoga4nhs01 smlthat yoga is a multi-dimensional approach to encouraging well-being, which appreciates the link between physical and psychological health and lifestyle; appreciates that yoga is a reflective and non-invasive practice, which is appropriate in all stages of life; recommends yoga to be included as part of mindfulness and well-being initiatives for NHS staff and for yoga to be integrated within treatment for patients; and urges the Department for Education to introduce yoga in the school physical education curriculum.”

In the UK, a growing percentage of the population practices Yoga and research finds that its practice promotes lifestyle factors, which reduce risk of chronic disease, while also reducing symptoms of many chronic mental and physical conditions.

The programme was conducted by the Secretary of the APPG for Indian Traditional Sciences Amarjeet Bhamra who introduced the speakers and welcomed the guests, “It is absolute privilege for us to have the presence of HE The High Commissioner of India Mr Sarna with us along with the members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Indian Traditional Sciences to move forward our agenda of Yoga into the NHS. The efforts and support received from Bob Blackman MP and his office, in this very important initiative has been incredible. I welcome Matthew Offord MP and Virendra Sharma MP for having joined in and supporting the APPG in its efforts.”

Founder of The Minded Institute, Heather Mason MA co-conducted the programme along with the Amarjeet and gave an overview on the need for integration of Yoga into the NHS. She said, “Yoga practice is correlated with positive health outcomes and its integration into the health services would yoga4nhs hoc1reduce the economic burden associated with non-communicable diseases. Yoga practice is correlated with positive health outcomes and its integration into the health services would reduce the economic burden associated with non-communicable diseases. There is a large and strong corpus of research evidence supporting yoga's efficacy in the management of chronic conditions.” 

The evening saw a number of Yoga breathing and simple relaxation demonstrations by leading Yoga practitioners at the event with everyone chanting the Om and joining in the various relaxation, meditation and breathing demonstrations led by practitioners. The personal journey of success of defying cancer by the use of Yoga and Meditation was shared by Neil Patel, Founder, Director and Grandmaster at Chi Kri and Chi Kri Classes (Ltd) UK. This was followed by various contributions on the scientific evidence on the value of yoga in day to day life and its proven benefits. He asked “why no investigation is being done by the NHS into how yoga can prevent and overcome cancer in the UK. By 2020, 1 in 2 people will get cancer in their lifetime in the UK (According to new figures from McMillian), it is time other methods were looked at. Currently it is ILLEGAL to help people with cancer in the UK other than by 3 methods (Chemo, Radio and Surgery via the NHS). Thus, even if you find a cure, you will be locked up or fined for saving or claiming to save or even help anyone.”

Pandit Satish K Sharma MBCS FRSA, a yogi and General Secretary of National Council for Hindu Temples discussed “the need for the sks yoga4nhs hoc1highest standards of integrity from Yoga practitioners since something as powerful as Yoga Practice could harm as well as heal. Because Yoga is transformational unlike all other bodies of knowledge, knowing is not enough – one must only teach to the degree determined by one’s own experience and ability, one can only help support someone else’s transformation to the degree that you too have mastered that specific stage and practice. The Yamas and Niyamas of Yoga, which are the foundations of all practice, are not optional – they will determine what you can learn and thus, what you can and should teach.”

Representing the medical fraternity, Dr.Matt Joslin, a GP from Manchester said, “My own personal practice of yoga has lead me to introduce yoga as a option for patients to add to their toolkits to help manage their illnesses and maintain physical and psychological wellbeing. This option is met with enthusiasm when introduced in a patient centred way with a collaborative approach. All members of the team in our primary care organisation, from reception staff through to visiting locum doctors are invited to attend a yoga class with me. This broadens the base of "yoga prescribers" and creates a culture where yoga is seen as part of "usual care".​ An endorsement of yoga by a healthcare professional under the banner of the NHS is powerful message to patients. The social media response to my "yoga prescription" demonstrates that people are engaged with this debate.”

Goran Boll spoke (via skype) about the success of Yoga in Swedish Hospitals. He said, “Yoga has already been implemented into the Swedish NHS. From 2010-2016 more 150 hospitals, primary care- and specialist clinics have started using yoga on their patients. The projection for 2020 is 5-600 NHS units, and we see a similar development all over Scandinavia. Yoga is used on heart patients, for pain management, eating disorders, cancer rehab, in psychiatry, treatment for the elderly, and in palliative care. The yoga instructors in the Swedish NHS are mostly physic therapists, nurses and doctors, having taken up to 2 years of yoga training. The basis for this development in Sweden is scientific research on yoga, since 1998.”

Dr. Gangadhar from Depart of Psychiatry,NIMHANS Bangalore (via skype) discussed the present state of affairs for Yoga & Healthcare in India. He said, “Practicing yoga lifestyle not only promotes better mental health but also reduces illnesses and their symptoms. Substantial evidence is available to objectively demonstrate the benefits of yoga and these are well documented in scientific research. Being non-invasive, it has best potential for integration with other treatments and such integration has already happened at NIMHANS for mental and neurological disorders.” 

Dr. Tina Cartwright, Senior Lecturer at University of Westminster spoke said “Surveys in the US and Australia have shown that around a fifth of yoga practitioners report using yoga for specific health conditions, with the majority perceiving yoga as helpful in improving or managing their health.” She added, “Yoga is most commonly used for musculoskeletal problems, mental health conditions and stress management.” Discussing the Big UK Yoga Survey, she said, “There has been no equivalent detailed survey of yoga practice in the UK. The recently launched Big UK Yoga Survey investigates why people practice yoga, how they practice and how they feel it affects their health and well-being. The results of the survey will suggest where yoga might be most beneficial and what research is needed in the future.” 

Dr. Fiona Butler representing the ‘Yoga for Underserved Population’ from NHS West London Clinical Commissioning Group shared that “the College of Medicine is pleased to be part of the collaboration looking at the cost effectiveness of bringing more therapeutic yoga to the UK and NHS, researching its beneficial impact on emotional and physical health and on chronic conditions such as back pain, depression and stress, obesity.” She highlighted the need for prevention and self-care as key to ensure sustainability of NHS. “We need to reduce numbers of people at risk of life style related long term conditions and return people to a state of wellness . This means thinking out of the box, being open minded and embracing new ideas for healing that are cost effective and have evidence base.” Speaking about the Yoga for Underserved Population she said, “We particularly want to reach underserved communities and help health inequalities, and the college is committed to research the benefits of therapeutic yoga in areas of social deprivation where lifestyle factors such as poor diet and stress, and social isolation have an adverse effect on health and people are least likely to access holistic care.”

Dr. Ned Hartfield discussed the cost benefits of Yoga for the NHS – “Each year the NHS loses over 5 million sickness absence days due to back pain and musculoskeletal conditions, costing the NHS more than £600 million. Recent research shows that yoga programmes - involving specific movements, breathing techniques and relaxation methods - are highly effective for reducing back pain and musculoskeletal conditions. A recent randomised controlled trial involving 151 NHS employees in North Wales showed that a yoga programme was not only effective in reducing back pain, but also cost-effective in decreasing the number of sickness absence days due to back pain and musculoskeletal conditions.  In this study, yoga participants missed only 2 days due back pain and musculoskeletal conditions over a six month trial period, compared to 43 missed days in the control group.”   

Jo Manuel speaking about the role of yoga in the education system said, A study conducted by NASUWT (the largest teachers’ union in the UK) in 2016 surveyed over 5,000 teachers and found that over three quarters (79%) had reported experiencing work related anxiousness; almost half (47%) of teachers have seen a doctor in the last 12 months as a result of work related physical or mental health problems, 14% have undergone counselling and 5% have been admitted to hospital. 10% of teachers say they have been prescribed anti-depressants to help them cope; shockingly, 2% of teachers say they have self-harmed as a result of work-related pressures.”

Jo added, “NHS Clinincal commission in Havering commissioned a mindfulness programme from Special Yoga Foundation for their 6 hours of training and a daily yoga and midfulness practise delivered with audio and visual materials created this result in 6 weeks: Increase in high wellbeing from 8 to 20 % Drop in low wellbeing from 14 to 4 %.”

To end the evening, Venerable Dr. H R Nagendra, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Yoga consultant spoke (via skype) to the participants and discussed the importance of yoga. Lakshmi Kaul from Bob Blackman MP’s office extended a vote of thanks to a packed audience and read out the following resolution that was ratified by all:

“Create fraternity, a sangha, of yoga experts and leaders encompassing all schools of yoga who unify towards under the umbrella of this traditional practice. This group will collectively work within and embody the ethos of yoga. That this group will pool their wisdom and possess a communal platform to share ideas and promote the practice of yoga in the UK towards the highest good. This group will collectively act as advisor to the country on how to bring yoga to the public in healthcare, education, and the workplace to enhance public well-being. This group will liaise and development networks with India, other nations, and the World Health Organisation.”

***End***

For more information, contact:

Lakshmi Kaul
Email:
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Office of Bob Blackman MP

Amarjeet S Bhamra
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

All Party Parliamentary Group on Indian Traditional Sciences has been set up “To promote and facilitate informed discussion on issues concerning all Indian traditional sciences practised in the UK (Ayurveda, Jyotish, Indian classical music, Siddha, Unani, Vastu, Yoga etc) within Parliament by providing a forum for cross-party parliamentarians, senior policy makers, academics, leading community figures and other stakeholders.”
Co-Chairs: Bob Blackman MP (Conservative) and Virendra Sharma MP (Labour & registered contact)
Vice Chairs: Tom Brake MP (Liberal Democrat), Lord Rana (Crossbench), Lord Stone of Blackheath (Labour), Lord Hussain (Liberal Democrat), Baroness Uddin (Non Affiliated), Lord Patel of Blackburn (Labour), Lord Bilimoria (Crossbench).

 

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Post Referendum Hate Crimes

 

Nelson Mandela Hate and Love QuoteFollowing a spate of racist incidents and reports of other similar Hate crimes, the NCHTUK has setup a monitoring project to gather data on the degree to which the British Hindu Community are being targeted by extremists and criminals. Reports in the following publications seem to suggest that these incidents are connected to the recent Referendum but we hope that reliable data will provide greater clarity on the degree, any increases and possible causes.It is essential to establish who is responsible for teaching such hateful people to hate and to hold them accountable.

 

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/06/brexit-increase-racist-attacks-eu-referendum-160628045317215.html


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-36646979

 

If you are the victim of such an attack, or have witnessed or had reported to you such an incident, please do not hestitate to advise the Police and also please do let us know via the following link.

 

Submit report of "Anti-Hindu Hate Crime" Incident

 

 

 

Crematoria Consultation DCLG

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DCLG Review of Crematoria Provision and Facilities

 Spiritual, Material & Educational dimensions of the
Cremation Process from the Dharmic Perspective

 

Summary of Requirements for Hindu Cremation facilities.
The elements of the cremation process specifically to do with the Crematoria premises, which would enable Hindus (and generally followers of Dharmic traditions) to complete religious cremation rites are as summarized below (explanations follow):-
⦁    Unrestricted flues above pyres.
⦁    The option of full visibility of the body during the cremation process – (not necessarily an open air pyre).
⦁    The facility for circumambulation around the pyre would be desirable but not critical.
⦁    The ability to accommodate several hundred persons as witnesses to the cremation, with appropriate provision for parking and access.
⦁    The absence of all non Dharmic symbols such as Crucifixes etc – the premises should be “religion neutral”
⦁    The availability of water for ritual purification and washing of hands.
⦁    Proximity to running water, i.e. rivers etc preferred.
⦁    Multiple pyres are perfectly acceptable
Not critical aspects are:-
⦁    Crematoria can be located outside and away from urban areas (we have no memorial aspect requiring or desiring to revisit the premises to tend to a grave or a memorial etc)
⦁    Memorial gardens provide a healing dimension but are not required or they can be quite small in size with proportionately more space made available for parking.


Introduction
This document has been produced in response to the “Consultation on Crematoria Provision” initiated by the DCLG and following meetings with DCLG by Satish K Sharma (NCHTUK), Trupti Patel (HFB) and with contributions from Shri Anant M Vyas. Please be aware that the processes followed by adherents of Sanatan Dharma (Hindusim) have been conceived, devised and guided by lineages of Sages and Rishi’s over thousands of years. This document seeks to convey some of the key aspects of these guidelines and underlying philosophy’s, as supported by relevant scriptural statements..  – it is not a document produced by consultation or validated by a democratic process, which would be inappropriate, nor does it seek to satisfy the modern day beliefs and sentiments of all Hindu’s. It is a statement of existing practice and established process intended to provide substance and support for the deeper understanding of the process of transition of a soul from one level of existence to the next and rests on the sophisticated and sufficiently established principles of Reincarnation recorded and repeated through-out the Hindu Scriptures and increasingly evidenced and accepted by modern day research scientists (ref Dr Ian Stevenson –UVA).
It is understood that an essence of a person separates and is absent at the stage called death, following which the body can be returned, respectfully and with gratitude, to the Mother Earth from which all elements of the body are constituted. Hindus devised the Cremation process to best serve the departing essence (atma), the remaining relatives and society, and the environment.

 

varanasi 2

Crematoria Specific requirements for Hindu-compliant Crematoria
⦁    Unrestricted flues above pyres.
The spiritual essence of the being, if released during cremation and not prior, needs to have unimpeded freedom to leave its material confines and physical elements with minimum impediment. The flue design should facilitate this departure.
⦁    The option of full visibility of the body during the cremation process – (not necessarily an open air pyre).
A glazed enclosed pyre would be acceptable. The desire is for as many persons to witness the consumption by fire of the body as necessary and possible. The process of death is one with which a Hindu should be fully conversant prior to their own transition. It is recognized as a perfectly normal everyday part of the experience of life and not shunned nor shrouded in religious mystique. The more one is aware of this, the greater ones acceptance of its inevitability and even necessity, the less the shock, the less the pain of separation and the less the suffering. It is our understanding that the departed atma can remain in the proximity of its body and relatives for a number of days following separation and that it suffers greatly if relatives prolong their emotional pain. Mature preparation of all persons for this event serves the departed to progress on its onward journey and also diminishes the suffering of those left behind.
⦁    The facility for circumambulation around the pyre would be desirable but not critical.
At present the last rites are performed at the former residence of the departed and a significant part of the rites involves the coffin being opened and friends and family expressing last farewells by circumambulating the departed and depositing flower petals into the coffin. If the complete process were to be provided for at the Crematorium, circumambulation would be required. On occasion the former residence is not suitable for such rites and the possibility of completing all rites at the Crematoria would be of great use in the future.
⦁    The ability to accommodate several hundred persons as witnesses to the cremation, with appropriate provision for parking and access.
As has been expressed above, the maximum number of persons who can witness the cremation and attain the maximum level of both closure and also experience of the end of our bodies, the better for all concerned.
⦁    The absence of all non Dharmic symbols such as Crucifixes etc – the premises should be “religion neutral”.
The Dharmic traditions are non evangelical and have a revulsion for the manner in which monopolistic theocracies subliminally intrude into the lives of our communities and traditions. The time of death is one of great vulnerability and in order for this stage to be navigated with minimum disruption and for tranquility to return with the minimum level of cultural, social and spiritual upheaval,   the crematoria must be devoid of evangelical or religious symbols.
⦁    The availability of water for ritual purification and washing of hands.
⦁    Proximity to running water, i.e. rivers etc preferred.
A time may come in the future when all British rivers have been deemed consecrated, with provision for the safe immersion of ashes and in anticipation of that possibility, proximity to a river may be a positive.
⦁    Multiple pyres are perfectly acceptable.
In India it is perfectly acceptable for multiple cremations to be  conducted concurrently as evidenced by the proceedings at Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi.



Explanations and supporting philosophy.
Hindus do not accept the concept of bodily resurrection and the reuniting of each soul with its physical body, hence they place no importance on preserving the body. The Hindu understanding of the process of Reincarnation gives assurance that death is merely the soul's release from the current life and current physical form. An ancient text puts it simply, "Even as the snake sloughs off its skivaranasi 1n, even as the bird leaves its shell, even as in its waking state the soul forgets happenings of the dream state, thus does the soul migrate from one body to another..." (Tirumantiram 2132). 

A fully prepared Hindu shall love death as he loves this life.  New bodies are donned by the dweller, like garments.   Death is viewed in a positive light: as a transition from one life on the road towards a progressively better one, with an ultimate return to merging with consciousness tranquillity at the final Paramapada (the ultimate place). Reincarnation is viewed as a never-ending set of cyclical births until final liberation.

One may be reincarnated millions of times. Escape from the weary cycle of reincarnation can be achieved through merging into “a Divine unchanging anonymous Absolute" and. The purpose of human life for the Hindu is to "get off the wheel of incarnation" to escape the cycle and merge finally with the Oneness that was there before the present cycle of Creation began.

Methods used on the path of escaping reincarnation include yoga, charity, grace , kindness, simple living, or living as per the laws/interrelationships of the universe (dharma). Death is only another station on our soul’s journey to the perfect life ultimate. Once we understand what life really is, then without a shred of doubt, the transition know in the west as death, loses its horror.

The reality of our life continues.  The process of dying is similar to that of birth. To be born into a material life is a very natural event. The soul changes spheres. To die is to be born into the spiritual worlds.

Hindus accept that the body is made up of five elements which are earth, water, air, fire and “akaash” and that fire restores these five elements to their respective sources at death.  Holy fire is the purifying agent that enables the soul to be liberated from the physical body. Usually the body is desired to be cremated within six hours, and preferably on the very day the death occurs.

Death is only separation of the jivatma (individualised soul) from the physical body .The jivatma leaves the body as soon as the person dies. The rites and processes surrounding Cremation in Hinduism are also intended to induce a feeling of detachment into the freshly disembodied atma, lest it remain near its former body for too long. For the Family, the core principle underpinning a funeral is to show respect and appreciation for the departed contribution and participation in life, not sadness.  
 
Hindus experience the atma as being indestructible; and that death symbolises the end of the existence of a person's physical being, but the start of a new journey for the atma. This atma then reincarnates in some other life form, and passes through the same cycle of taking birth, growing and eventually again meeting death- only to begin the cycle afresh.

The Funeral and Cremation Processes

Traditionally in India, before the cremation, the body is brought home, washed, clothed, garlanded and laid on its back on the floor, head pointing south as the region of Yama, the personification of death, is in the south. A lamp is lit and placed near the head of the body and this lamp is not to be extinguished until the body is cremated. A vigil is kept until the time of the cremation.  Whilst the body is in the house no family member or immediate close neighbour eats, drinks, nor works.

Relatives and friends pay their last respects by walking round the body and by placing some flowers on it. They offer condolences by only touching the hands of the grieving family members. As this is a solemn moment, no food is prepared or served in a house where a death has occurred and neighbours and relatives provide food for the family of the departed.

Since cremation should not take place after dark, if the person dies during the daylight hours, preparations should be hastily made so that the cremation can take place before sunset.  Otherwise the body should be taken after sunrise the next day.  The body should be burned before decomposition sets in.

After the body has been prepared it is carried by male relatives on a flower-draped bamboo bier to the cremation grounds, or ghats. Traditionally there is no requirement for a coffin.  Male relatives that carry the shrouded body chant “Rama Nama Satya Hai,” the Name of Divinity is the only Reality”. The eldest son or next of kin traditionally take the lead, having been purified in a special ritual and will carry a fire kindled in the home of the deceased. In Varanasi the fire at Manikarnika has been continuously burning for over 3,500 years.

The fire is carried in a black earthen pot. The bearers of the body would be bathed, shoeless and without upper cloth on their bodies.  The male members of the procession would also be without upper cloth, and their hair would be unbound.

At the cremation site, the services of a priest are engaged.  The eldest son performs the ceremony as directed by the priest or elder. If there is no son in the family, an elder male relative performs the ceremony. The body is placed with the head pointing south. The eldest son carries a pot of water on his left shoulder, using his right hand to hold the pot in place. He has to circumambulate (or go around) the body three times in an anti-clockwise direction, from left to right. The younger sons if any follow behind him. The pyre is circumambulated counterclockwise– for everything is backward at the time of death. Even the dead body is taken out of the house feet first.  

When the eldest son circumambulates the body, the priest makes a hole in the pot so as to allow water to flow out of it. Water is important as it is a purifying agent. Each time he circumambulates, a hole is made. In the first circumambulation, the water that flows symbolises the departure of the soul from this world. During the second circumambulation, the water that flows is to purify the atmosphere. During the third circumambulation, the water that flows is to lead the soul to heaven.

After the third circumambulation, the son faces north and throws the pot over the shoulder southwards, over his back. .. He is not to look back. The symbolises the break with the earth.
He goes to the foot of the body where a pot of fire which is brought from the home has been placed.  He takes a twig or cinder and lights it with the fire from the pot.   The priest reads sacred verses from the Garuda Purana, speeding the dead person’ soul to its next life.

Chants from 7000 year old Rig Veda: "Release him again, O Agni (fire), to the fathers. The one offered to you now proceeds to his destiny. Putting on new life, let him approach the surviving, let him reunite with a [new] body, All-Knowing One!" (10. 16. 5).

Chants from Atharva veda: "Oh, departed soul, your lifeless body is offered so that the two fires may unite for your salvation. I set the body on fire. Through those two fires you may go in your best state of Yama, who controls death."

Verse of Sri Isopanishad,  "Let this temporary body be burnt to ashes, and let the air of life be merged with the totality of air. Now, O my Lord, please remember all my sacrifices, and because You are the ultimate Beneficiary, please remember all that I have done for You."

Sri Isa Upanishad 17 " O my Lord, powerful as the fire, Omnipotent One, now I do offer You all obeisance,. O my Lord, please lead me on the right path to reach You, and, as You know all of what I have done in the past, please make me free from the reactions to my past transgressions, so that there will be no hindrance to my progress."

Prayers and hymns from the Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita are recited while the body burns. They express the vision of reincarnation: "For to one that is born, death is certain; and to one that dies, birth is certain. Therefore do not grieve over what is unavoidable." The mourners leave.

The next day the next of kin returns to pick the bones and collect the ashes which are then put into an earthen pot. The pot is placed into a flowing river ( Ganges, Thirunelli  etc)  where there is little likelihood of it coming back to land. The mourning period is usually ten, fifteen days or a year from the date of death in the Hindu almanac.
After the cremation, the family may have a meal and offer prayers in their home. Mourners wash and change completely before entering the house after the funeral. A priest will visit and purify the house with spices and incense

Everything is energy and none of this energy is ever lost! Life on earth is only an intermediate station on the pathway of the soul, a journey whose purpose is to reach its original pureness, its original light-power, its original high vibration, by developing spiritually higher.. The soul is the "book of life” and all negative things burden our soul, shadow and darken it.

Positive thoughts and actions relieve the soul and make it more light-filled. The soul, which is so strongly oriented to this life on earth, remains more or less connected with the physical body through energy streams even after it has left it. It clings to its physical "house," so to speak, because it thinks that life is possible solely in a material body.

If  the dead body is  buried, the soul still maintains a connection to its body. If a person has already aligned his soul with higher regions, his soul will be attracted by higher worlds after its disembodiment during cremation.  A soul’s capacity to feel is much more sensitive than that of a human being.  It suffers from the pain which the person’s relatives feel on its account.

Death is separation of the soul from the physical body. Death becomes the starting point of a new and better life. Death does not end your personality and self-consciousness. It merely opens the door to a higher form of life. Death is only the gateway to a fuller life. Just as a man casting off worn-out garments, takes new ones, so the dweller in this body, casting off worn-out bodies, enters into others which are new.

Death is not the end of life. Life is one continuous never-ending process. Death is only a passing and necessary phenomenon, which every soul has to pass to gain experience for its further evolution. A man of discrimination and wisdom is not afraid of death. He knows that death is the gate of life. Death to him is no longer a skeleton bearing a sword to cut the thread of life, but rather an friend who has a golden key to unlock for him the door to a wider, fuller and happier existence.

Mind borrows its light from the soul. Soul is beyond the realm of physical science. Soul is beyond the reach of material science. Man is a soul wearing a physical body. Soul is extremely subtle. It is subtler than ether, mind and energy.

Soul is the immortal part in man. Hindus do not identify with this body. You are not this perishable body. You are the Immortal Soul. Identify yourself with the soul. “Tat Tvam Asi—Thou art That”. Feel this. Realise this and be free.


The doctrine of transmigration gives ample scope for the individual to correct and educate himself in future births. The human body is only a vesture and dwelling place for the immortal soul. The soul can certainly re-inhabit another dwelling place and put on another vesture in order to develop and realise better than before the Divine plan and purpose for it. Vedanta says that there is hope of salvation even for the worst person.

The union of the soul with a particular body is known as birth and its separation therefrom is called death, when the soul leaves its physical sheath, it transmigrates into another body- human. Birth follows death just as waking follows sleep. You will again resume the work that was left off by you in your previous life. Therefore, do not be afraid of death.

A few celebrities among hundreds who chose cremation-- Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein , Robert Oppenheimer , Arthur Rubenstein,  Harpo Marx ,Neville Chamberlain, Alexander Fleming, Greta Garbo, George Harrison, John F. Kennedy, Rudyard Kipling, John Lennon, George Bernard Shaw, Marlon Brando, Alfred Hitchcock Rock Hudson, Jill Ireland ,John F. Kennedy Jr. ,Vivian Leigh, Groucho Marx, Robert Mitchum, Steve McQueen ,Christopher Reeve, Neil Armstrong , Edmund Hillary,H. G. Wells etc.  Cremation is the future and its knowledge a gift of Hinduism and India to all of Humanity.

 

 

Reincarnation Research:-

http://dreamcatcherreality.com/reincarnation-ian-stevenson/

 

 

 

 

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