There is a need to preserve Indian culture in the UK and make it more inclusive to have a “tolerant” society, experts at a panel discussion here have said.
The discussion was held at the Indian Gymkhana yesterday as part of the India and the UK year of culture 2017.
Participating in the discussion, Nanda Kumara, executive director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, the largest cultural institute outside India, said the Bhavan is committed to spread the Indian art and culture and make “life more meaningful.”
“We teach 23 subjects including dance, drama, music and yoga under one roof. I consider myself lucky to be part of the organisation which helps Indian art and culture flourish in the UK,” he said.
Noting that the Bhavan was open for everyone, he said 70 per cent of the students are girls and said Indian culture is “very special”.
“We follow the motto – the whole world is a family and we should imbibe from others everything that is good,” he said.
Trupti Patel, president of the Hindu Forum of Britain, described British society as “very tolerant” and said “because of us Britain has got a special identity.”
“We should not lose our identity while we should respect others culture as well,” she said.
Mayura Patel, chairperson, Croydon Hindu Council, said “let us try to be inclusive and engrave our values among children. We want our children to mix well with other children here. Unless we love our own culture how will others love it,” she asked.
Lakshmi Kaul, founder and executive member of the Kashmiri Pandits in the UK, said “it is fairly easy to celebrate ones ethnicity here as you have the opportunity to interact with the best in the world.”
Prabhakar Kaza, director of Kaza Business Consultants Ltd., said “there is racism here but we should not be too sensitive about it. It is part of the social fabric.”
His advise to youngsters is to “bring to the fore” whatever skills they have.
Earlier, Virendra Sharma, Labour MP, formally inaugurated an exhibition containing Indian craft work, embroidery, pottery, designing and handloom products along with handmade jewellery organised by a womens organisation Inspiring Indian Women.
Rashmi Mishra, founder of the Inspiring Indian Women said, “the exhibition was organised to give a platform to Indian artists to display their products and make them famous internationally.”
In his brief address, Virendra Sharma said, “We have a moral responsibility to support all initiatives taken by women, particularly rural women who have special talent in their craftsmanship.”
Mahendra Jadeja, president of the Retailers Association of Britain and Saleha, former Mayor of Lambeth also spoke on the occasion.