Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Madeleine Bunting (Guardian Newspaper) on Atheism

This is an excellent article showing how so many scientists and critics of religion are fanatical and extremist in their own right. In this process, they misunderstand and distort religion completely.

As a practitioner and promoter of Indian Dharma, I also find this disturbing. If one really tries to understand it, Indian Dharma is the science of sustainable living. However, most scientists approach it with great suspicion and cynicism and start from the view that it is dogmatic and dismissive of critical thinking and appraisal. Far from it. There is evidence of multi-faith debates in India as far back as the fifth century and even earlier. There were no boundaries between the major religions of India and often an active desire to debate and learn from one another. Some of the best manuscripts of different religions were preserved in Jain libraries for example - such was the openness and respect for wisdom.

Yes, we all need to try to understand Indian wisdom in its own terms, and see how rational and scientific it is. Also if we were to try yoga and meditation, we would directly experience the benefits instantly - without needing a scientific test to prove it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Rowntree Study on Integration

This BBC article quotes a new study which shows that Eastern Europeans who come here do not feel welcome and as a result live in ghettos and do not know host community people. This was discussed today on the BBC Asian Network radio on the Nihal show and I participated in the phone-in. A number of callers said how impressed they were with the Polish community and felt that they should be allowed to settle and given time to adapt and learn English and the local habits and customs. The British are 'Polite yet distant' was one of the findings of the study - I took this phrase and said on radio that hospitality is a weakness and we need to be more accomodating and considerate of others who come here - many people are insensititive to the needs of others. It seems ethnic communities find it easier to accept the Eastern Europeans as they have had similar experiences and can relate to them.

Generally speaking, the migrants are hard working and keen to adapt, but they need to be given time and respect.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Art and Diversity Article

The above article is an excellent piece on UK Arts Funding for Ethnic Minorities. The author finds a tension between labelling and funding, and would prefer artists to be recognised for their art, not their colour. This is symptomatic of the tensions we as a society will have as Britain tries to be genuinely diverse and give equal opportunities to all. Affirmative action can be blocked by BME individuals because they do not want to be branded as being given preferential treatment. However, to deal with institutional racism, affirmative action may be necessary.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Something that has been long established in the US is now coming to the UK. Large firms are monitoring the diversity of their suppliers. A few weeks ago, Microsoft in the UK sacked a supplier because of a lack of diversity and now JP Morgan in the UK is reviewing its suppliers

Firms should become pro-active about Diversity and not wait for commercial pressures or lawsuits to make them change. It could prove very costly if they continue to brush it under the carpet.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Vegetarian Delight

The UK Mars and other confectionary controversy related to 'strict vegetarians' - Mars announced initially that many of its foods were not pure vegetarian and used animal rennet. There was a huge public outcry, and after a few weeks, Mars withdrew and said that it will ensure that these products comply with Vegetarian Society labelling standards.

The reasons for ignoring the strict vegetarians must have been commercial - but this belied the simple fact that by catering to strict vegetarians, we are making our products universal. It is a simple but often forgotten fact that while non-vegetarians can eat vegetarian food, it is not vice versa. And modern vegetarian food is delicious and can be equally filling and nourishing - the myth that meat is the only filling food is being proved wrong in so many ways.

I see this same insensitivity applied to other issues such as race. Others have to fit in, but we wont change say some. This approach leads to a divided society.