5:12 am - Thursday August 17, 2017

Bob Blackman MP Praises HSS Activities

 

(Key points from the speech he gave at the concluding function of 9 days Youth Training Course of HSS(UK) in Harpenden on 3 August 2014)

Namaste to young people, parents, distinguished guests .

What we should do is thank all the volunteers who made this 9 day training course such a valuable learning exercise for everyone.

This is not my first visit to HSS summer camp. My first visit to HSS summer camp was in 1992 in Leicester as a guest. I saw there what I see now. Young people learning the benefits not only of physical education, not only of mental education but also learning as individuals and as part of a team. Far too many myths have been allowed to develop about what HSS does which needs to be dispelled.

HINDU VOICE IN PARLIAMENT

I have a long history of public service. I would like to think that it is a distinguished service but it is for others to judge. When I was elected to the parliament for the first time it felt like a fresher’s week in the University. There are different things you can do. You can change society or join all societies, etc. Similarly, there is a parliamentary group for absolutely everything you can think of, all the health related issues, every sport, countries, religion, special interest. There is one for India (which I am proud to be part of), Israel, Pakistan, Bangladesh, … for every religion, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikh but guess what? There was no parliamentary group (APPG) for Hindus. I said why is this? The third biggest religion in the UK , this cannot be right. I looked into creating this group but encountered obstructions as some politicians believe that Hindus are (in scope) supporters of some other political party. I don’t think that is right. I believe that British Hindus support all British political parties, participate fully in the British society and therefore should have a voice in parliament. It took me three and a half years and last December we launched the group. Now the British Hindus have a direct voice in the parliament for the issues that matter to them . The challenge for you good people is to ensure that you feed us your concerns and we will make sure that things are done properly. One of the first thing which the group had to address was rather foolish change in the law which was taking place which almost encapsulated the caste system. It was done without any consultations with leaders of the Hindu community or with politicians. I believe it is wrong. It enshrines things which were a problem when first people came to this country. Imagine your child coming home and asking what caste he was? It doesn’t matter. What matters is the young people seeking their way into the world irrespective of previous history. This is a vital aspect.

DISPEL MYTHS ABOUT HSS

We should dispel myths that have grown about HSS. Such stories that it is a paramilitary organisation, it trains people to hate other people. What you see is that it trains people to be physically fit and who would think that is a bad thing. It trains young people with mental education as well and teaches meditation. It enshrines core values of Hinduism which is to create a peaceful world. Who would think that is a bad thing? Being peaceful is the core value of Hinduism and to maintain peace one needs to be vigilant. One should be ever willing to go to war in order to maintain peace.

HSS brother organisation has presented two great prime ministers to India.It is a misconception that young generation does not care about politics but with elections in India they were enthused by Mr Modi’s policies and BJP. It is possible that one of you could become prime minister of UK. Why not? Why should we not aspire to achieve that particular end?

BRITISH VALUES – HINDU VALUES

When we talk about British values, some people think that is excluding othersStanding on your own two feet, loyalty to country, family, rule of law are great British values. These are also great Hindu values. Remember the Hindu contribution to the country. The power of our economy is driven by Hindu contribution. Hindus are the most law abiding citizens with 0.005% rate of imprisonment. The smallest sector of any identifiable group. They are more likely to be victims of crime rather than perpetrators. So actually when you see young people learning the art of self-defence that is a big deterrent to being victims of crime and there is nothing wrong with defending yourself from aggressors. So that is something to celebrate.

We should also remember that belief of education is embedded in Hindu religion and that is great. Parents want their children to become doctors, engineers, scientists and dentists etc and aspire to be superior people in the society and within this generation I think that will be achieved.

Also remember, tomorrow we will commemorate 100 years to the start of world war one. Great contribution was made by India and now commonwealth. So many soldiers sacrificed their life so that we can be free and their contributions are often forgotten and we should not allow that.

MEDIA BIAS

We recognise media bias exists out there against HSS and Sangh community in general. During Indian elections several accusations were made on Mr Modi, mainly false. He was banned from coming here by the previous government and the coalition government has now removed the ban. We expect him to visit us this autumn and hear his wise words about he turned around Gujarat and will now turn around India as well.

Stay under no illusion of media bias, combat that by going back and promoting the benefits of this camp. You had benefit of 9 days training at the camp – apply the learning – excel in various areas. Not good enough to be good at studies. Vital for some of you to get involved in politics. Your community needs it. Your country needs it. Your grandparents, in eastern Africa, ran the economy power horse of the eastern African countries but did not get involved in politics. When mad dictators came they kicked them out of the country. An insurance policy is for young people to get involved in politics.

SEWA AND TOLERANCE

I will finish with two important concepts.

One is Sewa – people from all walks of life giving their voluntary services, cleaning floor by senior executives. It is crucial that everyone should learn this. All parliament debates are recorded by Hansard. I was explaining the concept of sewa as part of the debate on Diwali. Why should Hindus only celebrate Diwali? We should all join in and enjoy Diwali and understand each other better. I received an email from Hansard, asking if I was out of context, did I mean saving money instead. I then realised how much work has to be done.

The second is tolerance. How do we make the world a safer place? A more peaceful place? There is a terrible situation in Gaza. More people die a month in Syria but don’t see that on the news. More people die in Libya in a month than in Gaza but it is not in the news. Across the world there are many conflicts going on mainly because people cannot seem to live with one another. Hinduism is the mother of all religions. It practices what it preaches – everyone is allowed to celebrate their own religion and is given equal value. Equally tolerance is preached from the word go. So wouldn’t the world be a better place if we at least embraced the principles of Hinduism even if people could not give up their own religion.

MESSAGE OF HOPE

Maybe the message we have to send out is one of tolerance and getting along with one another.

I hope that in this country we continue to be a beacon of hope to the world where people of all creeds, all faith, all colours could come together; celebrate their religion, live their lives with peace and promote harmony across the world and if we can do it then the rest of the world can do it as well.

Let’s part with that message of hope. With what you have learnt in the past 9 days we can translate into a message for the world.

Aum Shanthi !

( Bob Blackman is the Chairman of All Party Parliamentary Group for British Hindus.)

 

 

 

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