The first-of-its-kind British Hindu Report (BHR) was created to gain an insight into the needs and priorities of the Hindu population living in the United Kingdom, by conducting a nationwide survey to be completed anonymously by British Hindus. The impulse came as a result of very limited data available on a community which makes up 1.5 per cent of the total population of the UK.
The report aims to bridge this gap with a broad spectrum of questions, from how British Hindus identify themselves and their voting habits to economic factors and even Covid-19.
In this exclusive interview with iGlobal?, BHR Chair Pranav Bhanot a full-time solicitor and local councillor explains the nuanced approach being taken with BHR and how it can be used to assist a variety of institutions in creating policies, initiatives and funding tailored to the needs of the British Hindu population.
Why is the British Hindu Report important?
Growing up in Britain, we were privy to various organisations whether that be going on TV, to writing articles or in editorials on what the Hindu view was on various topics. One of our main concerns, and one of the main things that struck me was the lack of data to back up the various views and opinions.
It would be the head of organisation which would unilaterally say the Hindu view, or our members? view is X, Y and Z, and this would be accepted. There was a real lack of nuanced data and there is a need to be more sophisticated and detailed, in terms of views.
Hindus, as we know, are made up of so many different communities, languages, and cultures, so it is very difficult for one organisation to advocate a view. Thus, the purpose of this report is that we wanted to be as close to the ground as possible to really understand the opinions of the British Hindu community on a variety of different topics.
How will the report help the public sector?
The public sector has an obligation to give careful consideration about any policies or work that's done for the public to ensure that they are taking into account a whole variety of people, of protected characteristics, of which a religious group is one of them.
The British Hindu Report will provide not just the public sector but private bodies as well as the third sector an insight into some of the issues impacting the Hindu community. This in turn, can help with policymaking, resource allocation and forming new initiatives that would benefit the Hindu population. An example of this is the current times we are in the middle of a global pandemic and there is very little quantitative data about how the Hindu community is infected and affected by Covid-19. Through this report, we aspire to provide metrics which in return will provide effective suggestions that we can put forward to these various sectors.
How will the report help tackle issues such as workplace diversity and racism?
One of the questions this survey asks is whether the individual has been subjected to racism, and to explain their experience. For us, what was surprising to uncover is the number of people who are in fact impacted by racism in the workplace and who have been subjected to racial slurs in the workplace.
With information like this, we can relay it to HR directors, who can then become more vigilant of the concerns of the Hindu community, and circumstances surrounding racism and can find solutions to address racism within the workplace as well as diversify the workplace.
How will the report capture the evolution of the British Hindu community?
The fundamental point of this is that we just do not know how much we have evolved. What we do know is that British Hindus have been very successful in the UK and are within very critical jobs, whether that be in the National Health Service (NHS) or jobs within the corporate world. But what is missing is that we do not know enough about how we have changed year on year, there is massive gap in terms of data about the Hindu community.
The benefit of doing this survey every year, is that we can look back in 10 years? time and see where there has been change or no change. For example, are Hindus using temples less and what does this mean for the future of our temples?
There is a lot of work to be done by comparative exercise and we want to create a continuous stream of data that can be used. It would not be sufficient for us to do a survey every three or four years because we may not capture the data required for a certain issue that might be live in a given year.