Religion and Clarity Clarity

Subhash V Thakrar B com FCA FRSA, Partner, CBW LLP, V. President and Past Chairman, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Monday 09th February 2015 14:29 EST

For a modern Hindu, Hinduism represents different things, which probably distinguishes this very ancient and oldest of religions. Being such an old religion, it clearly has undergone changes and erosion just like a solid rock coastline gets eroded by sea waves.

Today the understanding of Hinduism amongst Hindus in different parts of the world is so varied and different. There are some 20 million Hindus all over the world outside India. Each part of the world has undergone its own change and evolution. The Hindus in Myanmar have kept up with traditions of probably 100 years ago and with little connectivity with India whilst Hindus in Africa have developed further with stronger connectivity with India. The US and UK Hindus have reconnected to pure Hindu values with so many young people developing their understanding of their roots- you only have to see young Hindus donning their Hindu identity with the puja threads around their right wrists and the various Gitaji discourses they attend. The Hindus in India have moved on and their religion is far less important in their lives.

The beauty of Hinduism is that it is such a free religion which sometimes Hindus do not appreciate. We are not expected to turn up at the mandirs on Sunday's or any other days like Christians are expected to attend the church. Hindus do not have to strictly follow what the pujaris and gurus stipulate or live in fear if they did not as Muslims have to follow the directions of the mullahs. May be this is because Hinduism has evolved over such a long time span. Christianity and Islam are relatively younger faiths and may be given similar time they will also evolve in a similar way. Already one can see that not all the people born as Christians follow the religion.

There is a difference between religion and spirituality. This gets mixed up in Hinduism and leads to confusion. Spirituality is a way of life with huge personal and community benefits when followed religiously. It enables better health, better hygiene , better ethics and better citizenship. The practice of yoga and meditation enable healthy lives both physically and mentally. The Gitaji when read in its purity, highlights how one can meditate and develop one's nature by highlighting the three natures of satvic, rajasic and tamasic as well as characteristics of divine and demonical lives. For many Hindus it is the way of life and this is really what all religions should be promoting ie how to be personally healthy and a good citizen. This includes charitable giving and care for humanity.

In the name of religion there are so many charitable organisations that are being operated. Even in the UK we have numerous mandirs and charities. Some of these are wonderful examples of good governance who care for humanity and give so much to the wellbeing of the community. They are transparent in their dealings, have independent audits conducted by independent external auditors and ensure their trustees are not only respected society people but also given good training about ethics and objectivity. Such charities should be highlighted and supported by more donations. But even in the UK there are examples of poorly run charities with hardly any training for trustees for good governance nor good accountability of funds they collect from well meaning donors.

With increasing wealth in the community and more and more young Hindus wanting to donate, they want to know that their donations ultimately benefit society in the intended ways. They are going to start asking questions about how effective are the organisations in their governance , transparency and accountability. So how do they find the charities that are better run? There is now a solution for them. A new initiative Has been started by Clarity Clarity(CC) which is an independent rating body providing credit rating to charities by giving them star rating. A charity with 3 stars will mean better governed charity and more suitable for people to donate to. Any charity with 1 star or no rating clearly needs to improve. ACC aims to then help such charities in ways and means to improve their standards and their rating. Of course lower or non rated charities will attract less donations than the higher rated ones. The relevant website contains lots of good information such as list of 10 top rated charities, links to charities etc.

You can enter the charity name in the search section and find out all relevant information about that charity and its rating. You can also link up to that charity's own web site.

CC has some well known advisors on its board including Sri Nat Puri, CB Patel, Dr Gautam Bodiwala, Alpesh Patel and others. The CC is being operated by well known charity specialist consultant, Pratik Dattani. You can check the web site at

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