The National Hindu Students’ Forum (NHSF) UK, which represents and supports over 10,000 students each year at 50 universities across the UK, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with a special touring exhibition.
After travelling across university campuses up and down the country over the past six months, ‘The Hindu Journey in Britain: The Untold Story’ arrived in the House of Lords in London this week at an event hosted by British Indian peer . Narrating the trials and triumphs of the Hindu community in the British Isles, the exhibition is designed to highlight stories that have defined the journey of British Hindus and how the Hindu community has helped to shape Britain.
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Lord Gadhia said: “As well as celebrating the last 30 years of impressive achievement by NHSF – today is also an opportunity to take stock of the story of British Hindus – who now represent over 1 million of our citizens.
“Not only would the UK be poorer in every sense without British Hindus – but in many areas of activity, such as the health service – our society would struggle to function without the exceptional talent and skills of the Hindu and wider Indian community. Yet ours is a quiet contribution – not a bombastic or attention-seeking one – anchored in the very best Dharmic values of duty and service.”
The peer reflected that the absence of a public profile has, at times, acted against the interests of Hindus, reflected in the simplistic media portrayal which conflates the politics of the subcontinent with the underlying philosophy of Hinduism.
He noted: “Regrettably, Hindus and Indians have become a punch bag in too from certain quarters.
“The public understanding of the world’s third largest religion is surprisingly shallow and often dominated by images of rituals rather than an appreciation of a 5,000-year-old ancient civilisation from the Indus Valley. Now, more than ever, Hindus require a stronger voice and profile to counter the distorted representation.
“The essence of Hinduism is to be open, inclusive and tolerant of others.”
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The NHSF exhibition also covers the history of the organisation, dating back to its founding president in 1991. Over the years, it has brought together both Hindu students and communities across various areas of society onto one platform to spotlight Hindu voices that help shape a modern diverse Britain.
“Hindu societies on campuses nurture our eternal Hindu principles of respect, cohesion, and diversity. NHSF (UK) creates safe spaces for students to explore and engage with their identity, connecting them across universities, and provide platforms to develop future leaders, ambassadors, and role models,” the students’ forum said.