After going through the latest unfortunate violence against the Hindu population in the United Kingdom (UK), I couldn’t help to hold back my anguish for those who are ostensibly our neighbours, and their existence has been taught to us in terms of brotherhood. This sense of vandalism and hatred in the UK, USA, or other European nations is nothing new in this situation. Indeed, today’s Hinduphobia, like anti-semitism is re-igniting the hatred by exploiting centuries-old tropes against Hindus globally. On the contrary, the Hindu community globally is a Vedic heritage, which has been an advanced civilisation for over 10,000 years and has served as a worldwide light house for spirituality, wisdom, science, and culture.
The foundation of Hinduism is based on the philosophy of bringing together humans with the divine potential innate in them (Advaita or Oneness). Once around 30 per cent of the global GDP was contributed by the ancient Hindu civilisation of Bharat. Also it made a mark in scientific/economic revolution, including breakthroughs in mathematics, astronomical science, architecture, construction, and healthcare.
After Christianity and Islam, Sanatan Dharma is the third largest religious group in the UK, with around 1.6 per cent of the total British Hindu population adhering to the faith. Hindus had lived in the UK since the early nineteenth century when India was a part of the British Empire. Numerous Indians, largely Hindus, served in the British Indian Army and established themselves in the UK and Northern Ireland. The majority of British Hindus are immigrants from India, with a sizeable proportion also coming from Sri Lanka and Nepal.
As reported by the UK’s National Statistics Office, the British Hindu community has exhibited the highest economic activity rate to date. Their net wealth is much higher compared to the other religious groups. The same report highlighted that the men population in the British Hindu community are more inclined toward the entrepreneurial mode of earning. In addition, this report states that both genders in this community are more likely to have higher education compared to the other general population of the UK. And data also reveal that this community over the 20 years, this community has shown the third-lowest poverty rate and the second-lowest rate of detainment, prosecution, or imprisonment (only 0.5 per cent) among all the ethnic groups recorded by the UK’s Ministry of Justice.
The Hindu community in the UK seeks instant and strong action from the UK authorities to save Hindu lives, honour, and wealth. It should also be investigated by the law enforcement authorities to figure out whether these targeted attacks on the Hindu community were a covert plot to sow discord
This research explores the cause of the pattern of perceived discrimination towards religious minorities (Hindus), mainly in the UK, where the Muslim community has outgrown the Hindu population.
Also, in recent years it’s also been observed that many British citizens, including many famous technocrats and public figures, have accepted and embraced Hinduism. This is owing to the efforts of many Hindu spiritual organisations like—RK Mission, ISKCON, and other Hindu groups, as well as the widespread following of Yoga, Meditation, and other Hinduism-based ritualistic practices.
The Hindus in England have risen substantially as a result of the diaspora. Now, if we talk about Pakistani Britons, they are 1.12 million in the count, making up 2 per cent of the total UK population. Pakistanis are the second-largest ethnic minority in England, along with Wales and the biggest Pakistani diaspora in Europe resides in the UK, where they are also the second-largest ethnic minority group.
Most of them reside in England, with lesser populations in Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. And out of them, Kashmiris from PoJK make up the greatest portion of Briton Pakistanis, followed by Punjabis. Since there are sizable Pakistani populations from PoJK Kashmir in Birmingham, Bradford, and Oldham, so the violence against the Hindu population that happened currently there is more relatable and expected. British Pakistanis were among the main groups with the lowest levels of education.
According to data from the UK Census, approximately 25 per cent of British Pakistanis living in England and Wales hold a degree or seek higher education, compared to 75 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively, of Indians, making them one of the least educated significant groupings. In the light of prevailing violent situations against the Hindu community recently in the UK wherein some paranoid Hinduphobics Islamic protesters attacked the places of worship along with their religious flags and damaged property, this data speaks volumes for their restricted mindsets.
Moreover, the reason for higher dropout rates among Briton Pakistanis in the same census survey is attributed to weaker individualism and more influence of religion/family on each person’s job choices. One of the other listed causes was possibly the absence of family members who are role models for higher education. And current UK communal riots reflect the disparity and inequity within and across the various ethnoreligious groups that affect the propensity and frequency of riots in communities. The evidence from various research studies reports that such riots are less likely to occur and happen comparatively less frequently where there is economic equality.
The recent violence in Leicester and Birmingham towards Hindus is a huge concern for the Indian community, either residing in India or in any other part of the world. And the concern is more severe this time, as every Indian national is furious about a series of assaults against Hindus happening in the UK.
These Hinduphobic agitations have become ongoing activities. I express my deep sorrow and fear over the violence in the UK, where many Hindu temples and cultural and religious centres have been willfully attacked and damaged by Islamic extremists. In contrast, no counterattacks by the Hindu community have done anything of such type with their Islamic symbols, or places of worship reflecting their deep-rooted sense of respect for any religion.
The Hindu community in the UK seeks instant and strong action from the UK authorities to save Hindu lives, honour, and wealth. It should also be investigated by the law enforcement authorities to figure out whether these targeted attacks on the Hindu community were a covert plot to sow discord in a sleepy city renowned for its extraordinary intercultural goodwill for years. This episode has left everyone stunned, the politicians and every Briton who worked hard for centuries to foster a climate of peaceful coexistence.