Category Archives: Equality & Diversity within Community Cohesion

HEARTFELT DIWALI & NEW YEAR GREETINGS

As the dawn breaks on a New Day, let us give thanks for all we hold dear: Our health, our family, our friends, the grace of God which never ends. Let us release our grudges, anger and pains, for these are nothing but binding chains. Let us vow to live each day in the most pious, God-conscious way. Let us vow to serve all who are in need, regardless of race, caste, gender or creed. Let us vow to keep God in our heart, to chant His name each day at the start. Let us vow to lead the world from darkness to light, from falsehood to truth, and from wrong to right. And let us vow to remember that we are all one, embracing all, discriminating against none. May your weekend and your year be filled with prosperity and peace, and love and joy which doesn’t cease. May you have success in all you do. And may God’s blessings be showered upon you. (Anonymous)

Aap ko Pyaarbhara Namaskaar aur Hardik Nutan Varshabhinandan

 

One kind thought in one heart

May touch another heart

And that heart may touch another

Thus begins a flow of kindness

Touching many hearts

 

This Diwali

Let the flow of kindness begin

With our single act of kindness

And let the river of kindness flow

Through all the hearts we touch

 

This Diwali

May all the rivers of kindness

Merge into the ocean of humanity

Till every life around us

 Is touched with love and light

 

Happy Diwali

&

A very rewarding New Year

To You

 

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Gandhi Remembered on his birth anniversary 2 October 2006

 
 
  • The Gita is not only my Bible and my Koran, it is more than that, it is my mother.  Mahatma Gandhi
  • The lives of Zoroaster, Jesus and Mohammed, as I have understood them have illumined many a passage in the Gita.
  •  To one who reads the spirit of the Gita, it teaches the secret of nonviolence, the secret of realizing self through the physical body. Mahatma Gandhi

Comment: I hope that those who have asked questions in the past about Gandhiji would find what ever they are looking for in this link. Those who have yet not asked any questions, undoubtedly will after visiting this link.

My tuppence worth:

My concise explanation of inherent meaning (arrth) contained in that Mahakavya The Mahabharat  is that it:

 §          Disseminates vyas* Dharma-Shashtra (Emotional Intelligence) treatise exemplifying social and ethical principles, globally persuasive, for sustainable cohesive coexistence

 Footnotes & meaning of words used in this sentence for ease of reference only:

 §          Disseminate: spread to distribute or spread something, especially information or become widespread. 

 §          vyas*= Sanskrit meaning – voluminous or outer Space (infinite or anant). Rushi Véd Vyas earned that name; I’m told, precisely because of his voluminous poem (mahakavya) summarising all 4 Véds in Bhadvadgita. Thus also known as the Fifth Véd.

 §          Dharmashashtra (one word): Dharma = the truth about the way things are, and will always be, in the universe or in nature, especially when contained in scripture or the true nature of things (as in Bhadvadgita – the essence of all Vedic knowledge); Shashtra = science of or art of or instructions in. Thus Mahabharat teaches Dharma, the righteousness above everything else.

 §          Emotional Intelligence = A common core of personal and social abilities has proven to be the key ingredient in people’s success. " Our mind is like a garden, which can either be cultivated or be allowed to run wild." Today Emotional intelligence carries much more weight than IQ in determining who emerges as a leader. Herein, in my view, the word Dharma-Shashtra can be interchanged with Emotional Intelligence which is currently vogue and has rapidly gained relevance in the 21st Century in every walk of life. 

 §          Treatise = detailed written account of a subject or a formal written work that deals with a subject systematically and usually extensively.

 §          Exemplify: be an example of something: to show or illustrate something by being a typical or model example of it viz. " He exemplifies all the qualities of a natural leader."

 §          Ethical: consistent with agreed principles of correct moral conduct viz. "While such activities are not strictly illegal, they are certainly not ethical."

 §          Sustainable: social, environmental & economic wellbeing (devoid of inequalities and injustice and thus devoid of any conflict) that is capable of lasting indefinitely due to inherent local & global benefits.

 §          Cohesive: unified: sticking, holding or working together to form a united whole.

 §          Coexistence: live together peacefully: to occupy the same space (planet) in a peaceful way.

 Gandhiji’s Political Significance

http://www.mkgandhi.org/g_relevance/chap10.htm

 

 
 

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AGE DISCRIMINATION ILLEGAL FROM 1 OCT BUT ….

 
 
Comment: This is very welcome indeed. However just like Race Discriminations Laws since 1976 – this too will have to run and run until all the aggrieved older people are long gone. I am not a pessimist but a realist.
 
The Chancellor has only just mentioned what I have maintained all along – that we must ensure that we have the educational edge in the Global labour market. This incompetent government has ruined a whole generation of young pupils through ideologica  experimentation. Having realised that they have made a sorry mess – they now wish to go back to the basics – which is what I have been preaching since 1980s as a Chairman of First Scholl Governors viz that there ought to be equality of access for both sexes right to University level, that there ought to be compulsory physical training, inter-school games, athletics, after school activities, lessons in nutrition, how to prepare healthy meals, science applied to health and how to be responsible citizens and learning the three R’s. Having eroded these values – we have been producing dunces of this World who cannot count, spell, write, analyse or speak properly to sell themselves in the current labour market..
 
What sort of role models and older people they’d make? The turn-around must happen now lest we want all our future service industry jobs to go to overseas graduates. The future migration may not be as much in people ‘swarming’ the coasts of Britain but of jobs that will inevitably go to the best value-for-money quality service providers living in their own countries some where on this Earth. That is the reality of economic migration – outwards – permanently.
 
Britain had better watch it! (please excuse any mistakes as my ability to proof read my own text is limited by vision which is grossly undermined by my malfunctioning PC)

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UK Faith Communities remember Mumbai

 
Monks praying

Followers of eight faiths were invited to join the service
 

Europe’s biggest Hindu Temple, Bhaktivedanta Manor (donated by George Harrison of The Beatles), on the outskirts of Watford, invited members of eight faiths – Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islam, Jain, Judaism, Sikhism and Zoroastrian – to condemn the atrocity on Mumbai’s transport system.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, the most senior Asian police officer in the UK – and a Muslim – said it was important to keep communities together in the face of such atrocities.

 

Comment: Although I was unaware that such a gathering was initiated and organised by The Radha-Krsna Mandir (Temple where my daughter Meera got married last year), I am very very glad indeed that such a gathering, albeit one of the first in UK, has been organised by The Hindu Forum of UK even if it was necessitated by such atrocities.

 

http://www.krishnatemple.com/index.htm

 

I am particularly glad and impressed that Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur exemplarily lent his personal and professional credibility to this gathering of all Faiths. In doing so, he has lit a Diya (ghee fueled cotton wick lamp) of community cohesion within UK. Let that flame go onto ignite other flames throughout such that the multi-ethnic diversity of Britain should be at ease within itself and each other not only during such trying times.

This steady flame of communities cohesion will require constant vigilance – to keep in fuelled from time to time and keep it protected from being blown out by the ill winds of hate and conflict. I will be doing my duty to keep it going eternally. I hope that you all will join in to that end for Global Peace.

 

Light a Candle for Mumbai Massacre Victims & Families:

http://clients.ibnlive.com/features/mumatt/index.php

 

Mumbai came to a shocking standstill on July 11 when serial blasts ripped through its local trains, killing and wounding hundreds. But the city of dreams stood fearless and fighting fit.

Salute Mumbai’s never-say-die spirit and Light a Candle for those who succumbed to the blasts or got injured. For every candle you light, CNN-IBN and Channel 7 will donate Re 1 for the relief of the victims.

 
Mumbai’s Heart of Gold:
 
Somnath Julka

Mr Julka says that he is "doing his bit for society".

 

Comment: I consider his altruistic intervention in time much more valuable than those multi-millionaires & billionaires in India & of Indian origin who have yet to put their hands deep into their coffers. I consider him a bigger man than most. (pun unintentional) 

Daily Inspiration

To give love is true freedom; to demand love is pure slavery.

Swami Chinmayananda

18/07/06: Indian tribute to Mumbai victims  

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/5188450.stm

 

Indians hold candles in Delhi

People in Delhi and elsewhere lit candles
 
21/07/06 Further Reading: HINDUISM AND THE BAHÁ’I FAITH
 

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UK Hindus feel excluded

 
The survey of Hindus in Britain, written by the Runnymede Trust, is due to be launched by communities secretary Ruth Kelly on Tuesday.
 

Behind the peaceful exterior there is an undercurrent of growing frustration in British Hindu communities.

One man who has worked for community cohesion in Leicester for 20 years, Steve White, said there was a danger of provoking community conflict if one group felt ignored.

"The government should be mindful of the way Hindus feel marginalised."

 

Comment: The Ethnic Category of British Asian comprises Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Bahia’s, Zoroastrians, Jains, Atheists & other belief systems within the Asian umbrella.

However, every time a British Asian gains fame and name – every one within the above faith communities do not object to being associated with British Asian category.

But when a terrorist who happens to a British Muslim is charged and proven guilty or is killed whist perpetrating a suicide terrorist mission – I am afraid that all other non-Muslim faith groups abhor being identified or associated with the wider label – British Asian. Then they’d prefer to call a spade a spade.

Conversely – when the infamous Hinduja Brothers were entangled with the current Labour Leadership over British passports scandal – none of the Hindu communities objected to them being deemed Asian rather than specifically Indian Hindus and none of the non-Hindu Communities asked them to be thus specified or distanced themselves (from the wider Asian label) for their notoriety in India (implicating now Late Rajiv Gandhi) and in the Europe including Britain. Such is the idea of social justice, inclusion and fairness.

 

 

 

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Northern Ireland – Mixed Housing – bridging sectarian divide?

About 90% of public sector housing has become segregated

About 90% of public sector housing has become segregated

For the first time, the Housing Executive is to provide accommodation for families who want to live alongside people of different denominations.

Up until the outbreak of the Troubles, most public housing tenants had lived in relative harmony in mixed estates.

Comment: So how can they claim that they’re mixing sectarian communities for the first time? And if up until the outbreak of the Troubles, most public housing tenants had lived in relative harmony in mixed estates – isn’t this move, although very worthy and august, a little cynical akin to putting a plaster-tape over a shattered leg? Shouldn’t the Politicians and the communities be seeking permanent answers to what divides them thus – religion or politics or both?

Experiments in community cohesion will only succeed when the communities themselves become (not tolerating but) accepting* of other faiths and beliefs.

The social fragility mere tolerance brings is all too clear to see. Social trust and social capital cannot be built on such fragile arrangements. Notwithstanding the report from Joseph Rowntree Foundation on Faith as Social Capital

 my view is that in spite of "All major faiths have doctrinal commitments to peace, justice, honesty, service, community, personal responsibility and forgiveness, which can contribute to the development of networks and the trusting relationships that characterise positive social capital.  Recognition of these two facets of religion prompts a critical exploration of the complex field of faith and social capital." – sustainable community cohesion will remain an anathema unless the critical exploration of the complex field of faith elicits unconditional acceptance from all faiths of the concept of Henotheism which is defined by Webster’s as "the belief in or worship of one God without denying the existence of others." and Panentheism – a beautiful concept. It says that God is both in the world and beyond it, both immanent and transcendent.

Some Hindus believe only in the formless Absolute Reality as God, others believe in God as personal Lord and Creator. Hinduism gives the freedom to approach God in one’s own way, without demanding conformity to any dogma. This freedom makes the concept of God in Hinduism the richest and the most diverse in all the world’s religions (accepting and inclusive of all schools of thought including Atheism).

"However, whilst religion is a deeply personal matter, it is one’s own journey towards one’s God or a desire to go home, as it were. If we look at the last 2000 years of history, God and religion have been used for political motives, to trespass, to conquer, to loot, to kill. Some people found that God and religion were the most potent weapons and this gave birth to exclusivism, an ideology that only one religious path is true and that others need to be condemned and conquered." Anil Bhanot  Gita’s "Unity in Diversity" v Religious Exclusivism. "The problem is that these religious people, who are all very good people, really nice, very charitable, feel that in order to be passionately devout they must hold onto the exclusiveness of their religion, that by believing that only they are following the true path, they are somehow more religious, more pious and therefore closer to God." "Even the word tolerance in interfaith is unacceptable when it implies that actually it is in one’s magnanimity that one is tolerating other false religions. That one would sit with others on the same table but won’t accept their faith and belief systems as true."

I am not here to promote Hindu school of thought but to promote internationally accepted theological concepts of Henotheism & Panentheism as explained above. Without these becoming the mainstream concepts within the Interfaith Communities world over – there is very little chance of eliciting social capital out of faith and therefore very little chance for sustainable cohesive societies.

Inspiration:

Our peace of mind increases in spite of suffering; we become braver and more enterprising; we understand more clearly the difference between what is everlasting and what is not; we learn how to distinguish between what is our duty and what is not. Our pride melts away and we become humble. Our worldly attachments diminish and, likewise, the evil within us diminishes from day to day. Mahatma Gandhi

Trackback: http://vyas7.spaces.msn.com/Blog/cns!1ptkvGThou8Z7Rmghu-ORXMA!197.entry

‘Messages from three mature mixed-tenure communities’

 

 

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Women vote & stand as candidates for the very first time in Kuwait

It is the first time women have been allowed to vote or stand as candidates.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/5126510.stm

 

Nadia al-Sharrah
Name: Nadia al-Sharrah
Age: 40s
Lives: Kuwait City
Works: Economist, political campaigner

 

Comment: As I have mentioned before – this reform was essentially inevitable and imminent. I am very happy for the Kuwaitis in the Arabic World to have been the exemplars.

Inshallah – what a wonderful and beautiful this world can be when it is fair both in attitude and in gender equality?

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Economic Inequality in India – World Bank Report

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/5116596.stm

 

India villagers

India’s per capita income is a tad higher than sub-Saharan Africa’s

 

Homeless people in Karachi

Even smaller inequality means much greater hardship for the poor in South Asia

 

The problem with South Asia is that, being poor, even this smaller inequality means much greater hardship for the poor and this is what is feeding various kinds of rebellious movements in the region.

This will be one of the most formidable challenges confronting India over the next decade if it is to live up to its promise.

The difficulty arises from the fact that the rising inequality is largely a concomitant of globalisation and, hence, for a single country to take action against this is to take the risk of a pathological backlash on the economy

 

Comment: On one hand we have the elite who know not how best to use their money (as demonstrated in previous entry) and on the other we have people in abject poverty not being able to have the social mobility to move out of it.

India has the innovativeness. She must find the way to retain the high earning brain capital and yet have an social system able to help and lift poor out that eternal trap of generational settled disadvantage.

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The Trekinetic K2 – redesign peak – eradicates the ‘D’ from Disability

An appropriately named designer who has spent most of his career working on parts for Formula One cars has come up with a new, off-road wheelchair – of course with the ubiquitously recognisable British symbol – an integral black umbrella
 
 
Photo of Mike Spindle in the Trekinetic K2 wheelchair

Mike Spindle decided to redesign the wheelchair from scratch
 
Comment: People who use their innovativeness also enabling others to overcome disadvantage (inherent or acquired) are the true Equality Champions of the highest calibre and worthy of being ‘elevated’ to the highest echelons of our Global society.

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Say Yes to Fès – Festival of World Sacred Music

 
Chisel calligraphy in the medina

Fez became famous for Islamic scholarship, music and dance
 
Alongside music from around the world, the Fez festival has spawned a discussion forum, or colloquium, to address burning issues of the day. Now in its sixth year, the colloquium is quietly becoming the festival’s raison d’etre.
 
The festival’s focus on tolerance and understanding is nothing new to Fez, which has seen times change since its establishment at the end of the 8th Century.

 

Fez’s fame grew with the reputation of the scholar Ibn Arabi, regarded as one of Islam’s mystical pioneers, and the city became home to all manner of Sufi brotherhoods, groups who channelled their devotion to Allah through, among other things, music and dance. The five-day forum agenda for 2006 is certainly ambitious, spanning economics, Islam and the art of forgiveness.

 

Comment: This is the uniqueness and inclusiveness of Sufism – a branch of Islam which found Hindu’s religious practice employing classical vocal & instrumental music in India much more entrancing. Sufis were naturally absorbed within the accepting and inclusive Hindu culture. Capitalising on the audio-orgasmic nature of the classical Hindu music – the Sufis developed their unique style of ‘bunndgi’ or ‘bhakti’ or ‘ecstatic devotional songs’ called Qawalis. The Qawals are mystic Sufi singers. They ore often wanderers who are enormously popular and sometimes world-famous, like the Sabri brothers and not forgetting, my favourite, (Late Ustad*) Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (in my view to revere him as an Ustaad = The Master, The Expert – is not quite befitting or doing justice to his inimitable status.

The origins of Qawwali music trace back over seven hundred years+ to the spiritual Samah songs of Persia. Qawwali’s devotional themes of peace and love are held to come from God, sung on earth by the Prophets who followed Mohammad.

Pakistan’s Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan the most revered Qawwal came to prominence to western audiences through his collaborations with Eddie Vedder and Tim Robbins (Dead Man Walking soundtrack), Michael Brook, Massive Attack, and Peter Gabriel (Last Temptation of Christ soundtrack) which would result in a number of tours and albums released in North America and Europe.

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