As you know, I’ve been one of many chasing this issue of Oxford University Hindu hatred. The City Hindus Network of which I am Chair, received this reply. The only negative one out of dozens if not hundred plus positive ones.
I thought I would share it, because in short-hand to me it reads like ‘it’s Hindus fault’ we are hated. I am sure some will explain the subtler nuances.
I've been debating on whether to send this email but ultimately, I thought that perhaps some good / benefit could come from it for others.
To be clear from the start, my problem is not the calling out of the Oxford Faculty member, I agree with this (perhaps not the manner and especially not the emotive line "Your ancestors weep and your descendants will laugh at the fool"). But in essence, yes calling this out I can align to.
What I find troubling is the section referring to the 'girl hounded out of university" for the two following reasons:
1) to simple deny she was not homophobic, transphobic, anti-Semitic and racist in her past - alienates those who are (or have loved ones that are) LGBTQ+, trans, jewish / other faiths and,
2) a minor point but referring to her as a 'girl' - she's a grown 22 yera old woman not a 12 year old child and stating she is a "girl" only minimises her own accountability.
How is (1) this aligned with the groups own objectives of "Inclusivity?" Although most (maybe all bar those like myself) are inspired by the email but looking at this objectively, I find the email hypocritical. You cannot simply call out an atheist but not call out your fellow Hindu who has also done wrong (perhaps in the past yes). This is simply not fair nor right. I would have expected a significantly more balanced viewpoint from a group (CHN) that is full of diverse individuals, rather than a complete denial of the student's transgressions.
A reminder of the group's own objectives around "inclusivity and inspiration":
Inclusivity: Our very presence and voice and successes will help keep Britain a diverse nation, a representative democracy and ensure it is inclusive of all parts of society of which we are an integral part. We too as a society will be inclusive
Inspire: a new generation of leaders to help those after them and around them, and those of other faiths, to use their voice for good in society; and use our faith where relevant to bring forth inspired leadership.
Although the intention of the "Hatred of Hindus" email came from what I believe is a good place - perhaps a lack of consideration of the perception created by denying the students past could ultimately be perceived as a negative reflection of the City Hindu Network / shows the potential of the groups own biases / non-inclusivity?
Upon reviewing all of the above, ultimately, this has led me to unsubscribe from the City Hindu network - perhaps the group cares but perhaps not - given I was not so much an active member. Why am I sending this? So that I know I've spoken up especially for those that do now feel alienated and those who may not have the courage to do so - one of the morals I try to live my life by as a good Hindu.
Best wishes to you all.”
My role in this column and also as Chair of City Hindus, or any role of leadership, is not to be distracted by the wrong, or try to persuade all and carry everyone. There will be those who will be a distraction. Do not swing for every pitch a cricketer may say. Wish them well on their wrong road.