Chaplain of the Fleet Rev Scott Brown QHC RN was welcomed and honoured by the Hindu Council UK at Ram Mandir Southall in a reception held with over 20 key faith and political leaders and Diplomats from the India High Commission.
Anil Bhanot OBE, the Hindu Religious Advisor to the MOD, introduced Rev Scott Brown who has held the chief Chaplaincy post at the Royal Navy since 2010 after an illustrious career of nearly 20 years dealing with all operational aspects of pastoral care for the Royal navy and the Royal Marines. Rev Scott Brown is also an honorary Chaplain to her majesty the Queen.
The MOD’s Hindu Chaplain Pandit Krishan Attri recited the prayers at the temple and the Hindu Council UK Chairman Umesh Sharma introduced all the political leaders, including the Mayor of Ealing Cllr. Mohammed Aslam and Deputy Leader Mr Ranjit Dheer and the recently elected Assembly Member at GLA, Dr Omkar Sahota, along with the Deputy Secretary General of Muslim Council of Britain Dr Shuja Shaffi, and other faith leaders as below.
The Temple arranged a cultural item for 10 minutes of two classical and one Rajasthani Folk Dance.
Rev Scott Brown spoke about the need for pastoral care particularly at the MOD but he said that there are still only 18 Hindus in the Royal Navy. Perhaps a more targeted approach in explaining the various careers offered by the Navy need to be done at the community level.
From the Army Recruitment side Warrant Officer Mr Ashok Chauhan MBE spoke about his history at the Army from a handful Hindus to now over 800 personnel. Mr Bhanot enquired about the figure given to him by the MOD of 1,800 Hindus which Ashok said probably included civil servants too. In any case more information needs to be targeted to some of the regions with minority population to explain the careers offered by not only the Army, but the Navy and the Royal Air Force.
The Metropolitan Police Commander for the Borough, Mr Andy Rowe gave his experience of drawing in the first recruits into Police from the area.
Everyone present spoke and a lively debate ensued before lunch and the Chairman Umesh Sharma extended a vote of thanks to everyone not least Shri Gulu Anand of the Brilliant Restaurant for his delicious food and service.
Leaders who all spoke at the Reception:
Mayor of Ealing Cllr Mohammed Aslam
Dr Omkar Sahota AM at GLA
Cllr. Ranjit Dheer, Deputy Leader Ealing Council
Mr Pritam Lal, 1st Secretary Co-ordination India High Commission
Andy Rowe, Borough Police Commander
Dr Shuja Shaffi, Deputy Secretary General Muslim Council of Britain
Mr Sudershan Bhatia President of Vishwa Hindu Temple Southall
Mr Prem Sondhi President of Laxmi Narayan Temple Hounslow
Mr Yog Raj Ahir President Shri Ravidas Temple
Mr Himat Sohi President Gurdwara Singh Sabha
Dr Shaminder Singh Chair Ramgaria Temple
Mr Kulwinder Channa Vice Chair Guru Nanakdev Sikh School Hayes
Mr Krishankant Attri MOD Hindu Chaplain
Mr Ashok Chauhan MBE Warrant Officer Royal Army
Mr Mahanta Shrestha Nepalese Hindu Friends
Mr Chris Gopaul Mauritian Hindu Society
Mr Surinder Sund Director of Dalit Empowerment HCUK
Mr Gulu Anand Trustee Ram Mandir
Mr Anil Bhanot Hindu Religious Advisor to the MOD
Mr Umesh Sharma Chairman HCUK
Hindu Religious Advisor to the MOD