LONDON: Sri Krishan Attri, the British army'sfirst Hindu chaplain, uses extracts from the Mahabharata to counsel British soldiers going to war in Iraq or Afghanistan. Shri Attri was among the first four faith chaplains appointed by the army in November 2005. The other three were Smt Mandeep Kaur (Sikh chaplain), Shri Sunil Kariyakarawana (Buddhist), and Imam Asim Hafiz (Islam).
Britain'sarmed forces have 300 regular commissioned Christian chaplains serving 183,000 Christian personnel, but the four new chaplains were the first such appointments in the history of the forces.
Shri Attri, who hails from Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh, says that he uses the Bhagwad Gita to explain the necessity of going to war to British Hindu soldiers deputed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
There are 470 Hindus in Britain'sarmed forces. ?I tell them, ?God has given you an opportunity to protect your country and maintain peace in the world?. They need to know they are not killing anybody but just performing a duty,? he says.
When Shri Attri was interviewed at the Ministry of Defence for the job, he was asked what he would say if a soldier did not want to go to war. Hindu teachings, he responded, offered good guidance: ?Duty is our priority. It'sour karma, and we have to face it.? Hindu teachings have armed most of the soldiers, he told The Times. ?They know they?ve undertaken a contract to look after the boundary walls of the country,? he told the newspaper.