We are living in a strange time, where anything can stir controversy and can trigger a meltdown. United Kingdom’s home secretary Priti Patel had recently made a reference to her ministerial job as “Sewa” during her speech at the annual Conservative party conference and it has created a storm in the social media.
Priti Patel said “Our values embody service before self and this can be neatly defined by the Hindu word ‘Sewa’, which can mean service, commitment, and dedication to others. Ensuring the best interests of our country come first is what drives me each and every day. That is my responsibility and that is my service and that is our party. It is because of our commitment to putting the needs of the hard-working silent majority first that I will not tolerate the so-called eco-warriors trampling over our way of life,”. She made this statement while making a reference to Extinction Rebellion protesters blocking motorways.
Well, this was a sensible statement and as she is a practicing Hindu, hence she can certainly make a statement based on her learning and ethos. But the moment she evoked the word ‘Hindu’, it opened a hornet’s nest and, the so-called Liberals and Seculars have started their meltdown.
Amandeep Madra, the founder of the UK Punjab Heritage Association, tweeted a video of Patel’s “Sewa” reference and wrote: “Oi mate, do you speak Hindu”.
Indian-origin Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, who is known for his anti-India and anti-Hindu statements has quote-tweeted and said: “Agree @amanmadra, what language is Hindu? Her comment is just so wrong on so many different levels. No wonder many Sikhs and others are outraged by it! Ministers really ought to be much better briefed about languages and the meaning of words.”
Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi’s statement shows that he was triggered by the mention of the word ‘Hindu’ and he made the claim that Sikhs are outraged by this statement. Well, we don’t understand what part of the statement would have outraged the Sikhs.
But Indian-origin Labour MP Preet Kaur Gill tweeted: “Compassion is a key part of Sewa. Selfless service for the betterment of all mankind. Its clear @pritipatel does not know the meaning of the word given cuts to universal credit, no plan to protect women, tax rises to hit working families. Cuts to aid and takeover of DFID.”
However, few people did take a stand and supported Priti Patel’s statement. But Anil Bhanot, interfaith director at the Hindu Council UK, told TOI that “Sewa” is a Hindu word in the same way “Sharma” is, and that Patel had meant to use it. “Sewa is an ancient Hindu concept from the Vedas. It’s selfless service without expectation for any acknowledgment and is done by Nishkam Karma as Bhagwan Krishna mentions in the Bhagwad Gita. It is a Sanskrit word, not a Hindi word. Hindi did not exist then. Sikhs do langar Sewa but the concept originated in Hinduism. Many Hindus do Sewa,” he said.
Some UK PIOs were happy that UK’s first British Indian cabinet minister had highlighted the Hindu concept in her speech. British Indians Voice tweeted: “#BritishIndians thank Rt Hon Priti Patel for her Seva.”
Well, there wasn’t anything in this statement to create such a storm, but it seems the Labour party and other anti-Hindu people always look for an opportunity to demean Hinduism and India in particular. However, the heartening trend is that more people have understood these tactics and they have started supporting the people who are quite vocal about Hindu values and ethos, and that is the reason why we can witness the liberal meltdown quite often these days.