Never expect anything from Indian govt for Hindus living outside 20/04/2012 22:30:10 By Dipin Damodharan - The Views Post
April 20, 2012
“Bhutanese Hindus had thrown out of Bhutan, because the Bhutan King knew that the Indian government will not do anything to protect them. Today, over a half million Kashmiri Pandits are refugees in their own country and staying in refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi. So, I don't expect anything from Indian government for Hindus who live outside,” says
, a renowned international activist for Bhutan refugees, in an exclusive interview with Views Post.
Swadesh, who owns an IT firm in Georgia, has recently got an award from Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage (GAPI) for his outstanding work for resettlement of Bhutanese Hindu refugees. In this interview he talks about the condition of Bhutanese refugees living in various countries. Excerpts
What is the current situation of Bhutan refugees living in various countries?
In 1991, more than 100,000 Bhutanese Hindus were ethnically cleansed from their motherland for political reasons and became refugees. They lived in squalid conditions with no flowing water or sewage or electricity in seven refugee camps in southeastern Nepal.
In 2007, in the largest third country resettlement project of the UN Human Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the US decided to accept 60,000 refugees between 2008-2012.
The resettlement is going on; however, diverse culture, language barrier, limited literacy, and unskilled workforce have become hindrances for the process. Sewa International in the US is serving the Bhutanese refugees in more than 20 cities; Sewa Internationals in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK also have Bhutanese refugee empowerment projects.
The very sick refugees were accepted in Norway and Denmark because of socialized medicine systems. Overall, across the world the conditions are improving but still it will take some time to get adjusted in new culture.
Swadesh Katoch with his family
How do you perceive the recent recognition you got from the Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage? Will it add more strength to your service?
I am a volunteer of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh. It's one of the motto is, ‘Nar Seva Narayan Sev- Service to Humanity is Service to God’. This recognition is not my personal but it is of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh's. I am glad that our efforts warranted a recognition. Swayam Sevaks are working around the clock all over world without expecting anything in return.
Even though I was not thinking of recognition, now I am feeling good about this. It will add more strength and energy to our organization and I hope this will inspire more people do something for the society.
What is the status of Hindus living in countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh?
Don't know much about Hindus living in Pakistan and Bangladesh. But if you surf internet on their conditions, situation doesn't look good. They do not have access to education, jobs, health and other live hood facilities. This makes their life miserable.
What is your comment on Indian government's stand towards the sad plight of Hindus in other countries?
Like other Hindus, I am also concerned on Indian government’s stand on Hindus. Bhutanese Hindus were thrown out of Bhutan because the Bhutan King knew that the Indian government will not do anything. Today, over a half million Kashmiri Pandits are refugees in their own country and staying in refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi.
So, I don't expect anything from Indian government for Hindus who live outside. Till Hindus will not create their own vote bank, Indian Government will continue treating them as they are treating them now.
Can you describe the activities of HSS in Georgia?
Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), USA is a voluntary, non-profit, social and cultural organization. Sangh, as the organization is popularly known, aims at organizing the Hindu community in order to preserve, practice and promote Hindu ideals and values.
HSS conducts structured programs of regular athletic and academic activities to develop strong character and leadership skills in its members (known as swayamsevaks for men and sevikas for women), emphasizing values such as self-discipline, self-confidence and a spirit of selfless service (seva) for humanity. We encourage maintaining Hindu cultural identity in harmony with the larger community.
In 1991, more than 100,000 Bhutanese Hindus were ethnically cleansed from their motherland for political reasons and became refugees. They lived in squalid conditions with no flowing water or sewage or electricity in seven refugee camps in southeastern Nepal
In the US, there are around 150 shakhas (branches). In Atlanta, we have 6 shakhas. HSS is running many projects in the USA that includes Surya Namaskar Yagna to popularize Yoga for Health benefits, Sangh Utsav, Sewa (service) activities in 38 cities, Diwali outreach program etc.
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