One reason why we were made to leave East Africa was that we did not reach out to the local community. Those of us here in or UK or USA are repeating the same mistakes. It is imperative that the Hindu, Jain, Sikh community reach out to the local people–the danger is that with the growing terrorism there will be a backlash and we will all be tarred with the same brush unless we make special efforts to educate the local community who we are and what we stand for. Food is a great medium through which to reach out. If Indian organizations in every town and city organized a Christmas lunch its impact would be immense. The new Jain temple in Potters Bar, London, had problems with complaints from neighbors and the council. I managed to persuade the then president to organize a Xmas lunch. Many neighbors came-they were fascinated to see the temple and became good friends. The event was also mentioned in the local community newspaper. Now the president has changed and it is not happening! The Navnat group had great parking issues with local neighbors at their old Centre in Harrow. They started organizing Xmas lunch and all local issues were resolved! Now they have moved and it is not happening!
In the Mahabharat there is the story of Dronacharya who sided with the evil Kauravas. When asked why he did that inspite of knowing that Kauravas were in the wrong , he replied , ‘ I have worked for them all my life -now I have to be faithful to them’. Similarly those of us living outside India have to be loyal, faithful citizens of the country we live in and do everything to uphold its values. You are right–our organizations have to look at the bigger picture.
Nitin Mehta

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