Hindus worldwide are urging Prime Minister Scott Morrison to censure Treasurer Josh Frydenberg for mocking deeply revered Hindu practices in the Parliament on Thursday, which was highly inappropriate.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about 1.1 billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken frivolously. Concepts/symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated that this belittling of the entire Hindu community appeared to have an official sanction as no action had yet been taken against Frydenberg. Parliament of a great country like Australia should not be in the business of denigrating a minority religion for no reason.
Rajan Zed further said that it was heartbreaking for the hard-working, harmonious and peaceful Australian Hindu community; which had made lot of contributions to the nation and society and continued to do so; to watch being belittled and laughed at in the Parliament.
Yoga, ashram, string of beads and incense burning were serious and sacred practices/concepts/objects in Hinduism and seeing these derided in Australian Parliament by nation’s treasurer in presence of Prime Minister and others was painful for the community, Zed noted.
If minority religions were demeaned, mocked-at, insulted like this in the Australian Parliament; what message would it send to the streets? Rajan Zed wondered and asked: Was this the standard of debate in Parliament?
As an interfaith gesture; Zed urged Australian Roman Catholic Bishops Conference President Mark Coleridge, Anglican Church of Australia Primate Philip Freier, Uniting Church in Australia President Deidre Palmer, and leaders of other religions in Australia to strongly condemn this ridiculing of Hinduism in Parliament to show their solidarity with the dismayed Hindus.
Rajan Zed explains that yoga is considered Union with God and is a mean for transforming consciousness and attaining liberation. Ashram (spiritual hermitage/monastery) is a center for religious study and meditation. Mala (string of beads), regarded as auspicious and protective, is used in spiritual practice. Incense burning is an integral part of any auspicious Hindu ritual and had spiritual significance.
Hinduism is one of the fastest growing religions in Australia, and according to 2016 census, formed 1.9% of the country’s population numbering at 440,300.