New Delhi: At the G20 summit in Bali, the Prime Ministers of the UK Rishi Sunak and India Narendra Modi engaged in an exuberant handshake. Apart from every other dimension, the meeting of two Hindu world leaders in predominantly Hindu (87%) Bali offered a unique perspective.
Some may suggest that Hindus actually downplay their immense multi-dimensional contribution to the new world order, connected to education-driven success as well as a historical foundation of equanimity.
In the UK, Hindus number approximately a million in the citizenry, while their academic and socio-professional reputation is way above any other minority ethnicity. Balinese Hinduism is truthfully age-old and a plethora of cross-cultural exchanges with India in the 1950s cemented the integrity in practice.
So why must the only scalable projection of religion be the stray ultra-right conversations? Well, one factor most surely is our reticence in amplification, driven usually by orthodox old-world value systems cemented by education. The second would surely be the secular Indian identity, which is naturally the designated calling card in applicable forums.
Also, possibly an honest desire to avoid us-versus-them conversations, which are usually adjunct to ownership of ethnic accolades. Perhaps, Hindus globally carry their identity rather lightly, not being obsessive about the public display of rituals and integrating gorgeously with diverse ethnicities.
The time is thus ripe for a Hindu resurgence, logical and passionate, without being judgemental or divisive. On the fundamental tenets of inclusion, peace and the strains of gestalt, how the amalgamation of multiple influences leads to a greater good.
Quite like a fine blended scotch whisky that is inquisitive in sourcing and not an obstinate single malt, rigid about mixing. Inspired equally by Swami Vivekananda as well as the many supreme success stories of the current era, undeniably alluring and genuinely multi-national.
Thus, this becomes a parallel socio-cultural identity, always enriching and never threatening the primary sovereign stature. So while Rishi and Modi proudly flaunt differing passports, they bond spiritually on the tenets of Hinduism, as an inner unification and not a destructive alliance. Like say members of the Mensa Society or even the more plebian Rotary movement, attached deeply by unimpeachable soul.
So, what I am suggesting sincerely is the Hindu Union, a universal association of the fundamentally aligned and connected seamlessly by a motivational birthright. What I am seeking is a conjunction of science, spirituality, self-belief and ambition - expressed in multiple sovereign domains, peacefully and professionally. But yet accredited most beautifully, to the amenable signs and practices of this religion.
Diwali already is becoming a global leitmotif, with Joe Biden declaring a holiday in the US and a survey by YouGov in the UK confirming the enhanced affection levels across the younger majority. Truth be told, this is a fine ambassador of the finer values of Hinduism - serene and sincere, simple and inclusive, easy to follow and even easier to replicate. The ultimate message of peace and happiness has never been restricted to followers of just a solitary faith and is relentlessly a universal value.
Rishi will soon depart to London and attempt to resolve the financial crisis while Modi will be received on the tarmac by an incredulous array of agendas. It is worth noting that the learned adhesion of the Hindu Union can become a valuable reservoir of strength, not just for them but for every desiring other.
While Bali will continue to remain an icon of scalable Hinduism, coexisting exquisitely with the Islamic majority of Indonesia (Hindus less than 2% nationally while being almost 90% in Bali), a valuable QED for my seemingly shallow thesis.
The future of the universe depends heavily on the equilibrium between integrity and flexibility and that is where the Hindu Union, a global collection of Hindus, can be an agent of delight.
Do think of it as an illustration of pride and not an agent of prejudice, lest the doubt still lingers. The first hybrid global conference can well be slotted in Bali, and it will certainly be a group exceeding twenty in number.