The British Hindu "Leadership" Conference - 11th January 2015
Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, Leicester
The Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre in Leicester played host to a gathering of the UK's Hindu organisations on Sunday 11th January.
The meeting had been convened as a result of a discussion which occurred immediately after the hugely dissatisfactory IFN AGM. NCHTUK General Secretary Satish K Sharma expressed dismay that the "same old faces" had managed to secure their seats on the Executive without due consideration by the Hindu British Community and that since their effectiveness had been questioned many times in the preceding 12 months, this was unacceptable. This was a sentiment accepted by the other Hindu representatives on the day and Dr Girdhari Bhan agreed to call a meeting of all of the British Hindu leadership to discuss and consider these isssues.
Invitations had been sent to all of the prominent Hindu individuals and organisations and the day saw delegates invited converging upon Leicester from as far as Liverpool and London and we are delighted to report that the day was filled with robust and passionate debate, discussions and decisions. Present were the VHP, the NCHTUK executive, the Hindu Forum of Europe, the National Hindu Students Forum, the Hindu Forum of Britain, the HCUK (recently engaged!) the Nepali Hindu Forum, Prajapati Association, British Hindu Voice/Coalition for Dialogue, Hindu Lawyers Association, Shri Kapil Dudakia, Dr Prakash Shah and other prominent Hindu individuals and organisations.
The agenda is below and details of the minutes of the meetings will no doubt be produced and circulated in due course but the key issues and outcomes of the discussions were the passing of the following important resolutions:
Resolution 1) the Meeting resolved that no sampradaya had the mandate to represent the British Hindu Community on any national body (this was overwhelmingly passed after detailed discussion about for example, the "single Sampradaya bias" in the Hinduism RE Text books which suggested that Sanatan Dharma was merely 400 years old - (the age of the Sampradaya in question) and the recent suggestion by one of the Sampradayas that British Hindus would consider being "compassionately evangelised" by Christian conversionaries !
Resolution 2) the Meeting had no confidence in the existing longstanding Hindu members of the IFN and that they should be either replaced or asked to step down.
Resolution 3) the Meeting had no confidence in the longstanding members of the HCF who it was felt had let the Hindu Community down especially with regard to the Caste issue, and that they should be either replaced or asked to step down immediately.
Resolution 4) the Meeting resolved to support the Yezidi community as members of the Hindu family.
Session I: 11.00 AM – 1.00 PM
1. Welcome and Introductions
2. Evolving an effective ‘Hindu Voice’ – Introduction
3. Organisations and Individuals
a)Develop a common forum to deal with issues
b)Subscribe to a Code of Conduct
c)Public Statements on behalf of British Hindus
d)Mechanisms for nominating Hindus as representatives to various bodies
e)Issues to be taken up: which / when / how
f)How prompt and comprehensive feedback from meetings of these should be given, and to whom Bhojan
Session II: 2.00 PM – 4.00 PM
a)Role of the Interfaith Network UK
b)Role of the Hindu Christian Forum UK
c)The issue of ‘Caste’ and the Hindus
d)The issue of ‘Religion and Belief Commission UK’
5.Any Other Matter to be discussed
Sincere Gratitude was expressed to the hosts and the Karyakarta's for providing refreshing lunch and refreshments in abundance.