New Hindu Leader Aims to Shine a Light On a Rich Culture

October 16, 2009

Author: Zaki Cooper

Source: Times Online

Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, an annual five-day celebration of the triumph of good over evil, starts today, and festivities in the UK are being led by Bharti Tailor. She is the new secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain, and thus a key figure in the UK Hindu community, which is now thought to number far more than the 550,000 counted in the 2001 Census.

Tailor, 50, is also the first female leader of the forum. Her community has viewed her election as “a very positive thing” but she cautions that the arrival of a woman at the helm is unusual on the interfaith scene. “When I go to interfaith meetings you only ever see a few ladies, and when I joined my first committee within the Hindu community, I was the first female on that committee,” she says. “They were all men, working during the day and would meet in the evening. This didn’t suit the ladies because they had homes and families to run. I tried to change their way of working.”

As head of the Hindu Forum, Tailor is responsible for running one of the most important Hindu bodies to represent the community to the Government and the media. Set up in 2004, the forum is an umbrella body affiliated to more than 300 community organisations. It acts as the first point of call for many government departments and agencies searching for information on Hinduism.