At the invitation of The Lord Gadhia of Northwood, the National Hindu Students’ Forum (UK) hosted its 30th anniversary celebrations on Wednesday the 18th May 2022 at the Cholmondeley Room of the House of Lords

After almost a decade, NHSF (UK), the largest Hindu student movement outside of Bharat, made its presence known in the halls of Parliament, marking our history in the distinguished company of Honourable Lords, Baronesses, Members of Parliament, Councillors, and the wider community.

“Ours is a history steeped in success.”

Echoed by the former NHSF (UK) National President, Pranav Bhanot (2011-2014) at the Palace of Westminster, these words commemorating our accomplishments resounded once again in 2022, in the very esteemed establishment they once found voice.

The 30th anniversary celebrations saw the presentation of the NHSF (UK) Exhibition, namely ‘The Hindu Journey in Britain: The Untold Story.’

Comprised of three sections, ‘The Hindu Journey in Britain’ is NHSF (UK)’s bold attempt to tell our tale. Aligning with our 30th anniversary slogan, ‘Stand Up, Speak Up, Show Up,’ the NHSF (UK) Exhibition is the first work of its kind to showcase the story of Hindus in the UK – researched, written, and designed by students. 

The NHSF (UK) Exhibition has provided insights into the contributions of Hindus to British society, through the fields of politics and the public sector, economy and enterprise, sports and the sciences, the armed forces, and academia. There exists no space through which British Hindus have not aided the progress of our country.

The Exhibition further features a timeline of the landmark moments of our collective history, noting our key achievements and campaigns, and depicting our successive waves of migration since the end of the Second World War. Chronicling the stories of the refugee communities of East Africa and Sri Lanka, to the skilled workers of the late 90s/early 2000s, the poignant anecdotes presented have tugged the heartstrings of many. 

An additional section of the Exhibition illustrated the history of our students’ movement, portraying the feats achieved by our Hindu youth over 30 years, and how NHSF (UK)’s contributions weave into the journey of British Hindus. 

Compèred by our National Sampark (Public Relations) Co-ordinator, Samyak Pandey, our afternoon opened with a welcome addressed by The Lord Gadhia, whose continued support for our students has provided the impetus for our successes over the years. He praised the Hindu community’s approach of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,’ of seeing the ‘world as one family’. He discussed how this informs the Hindu community to encompass global outlooks and seek solutions that uplift all, a mindset of service that invigorates the work of NHSF (UK) too.

“As NHSF (UK) looks back at its legacy over the past thirty years, it can look forward to making an ever greater impact in the years to come, supporting generations ahead to understanding and celebrate their Hindu culture and identity, and building on its reputation of being a factor of future leaders.”

Janhavi Dadarkar Ji, our NHSF (UK)’s second National President (1996-1998), affirmed in her speech the distinction between our students’ movement and any other: that ours is one that acts without ego. The voluntary nature of our work, nationally and locally, ensures the sole incentive of our student activities is for the upliftment of our community, and that our efforts are thereby transformed into acts of Sewa (selfless service).

“Our vision then and now has been to instil holistic mindsets in our future leaders, nurturing thousands of proactive Hindu youth, that are shining lights in all walks of British life. We enable Dharmic solutions to modern-day problems, creating a more harmonious and sustainable world.”

A highlight of the event was a speech by our Cambridge University Hindu Cultural Society President (2021/2022), Thomas Awad. He touched upon how his Hindu identity has forever been an integral “source of support”, and how in instances of animosity or isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the Hindu Society on campus that was an invaluable pillar of solace.

“The sense of community and solidarity provided to us by the wider NHSF (UK) community made me realise that I was never alone, and that I am indeed part of one big family. That there was a safe space for me on campus, where I could be my true, authentic self.”

Concluding our afternoon, were words from our National President, Bhavya Shah (2021-), who thanked our attendees, supporters, wellwishers, and the community at large, who work tirelessly in the background to ensure the Hindu voice is empowered.

“The last 30 years have seen our youth take lead in defining what it means to be a British Hindu. When a student graduates from NHSF (UK), they know they have a responsibility. To become a leader of tomorrow. To become the inspirations for the next generation, and to embody the values that our Dharma teaches us: respect, cohesion, and diversity. We assert our commitment to protect, preserve, practice, and promote Hindu Dharma, for a sustainable and secure Britain.”

Narrating the trials and triumphs of the Hindu community in these British Isles, ‘The Hindu Journey in Britain’ has immersed thousands in the stories that have defined the journey of British Hindus, and highlighted how the Hindu community has helped to shape Britain. The NHSF (UK) Exhibition has brought together Britons of all backgrounds onto one platform, demonstrating how our past, present, and future have been integrally shaped by a confluence of Hindu Dharma and inspiring individuals who live its values everyday. 

As the event came to a close, NHSF (UK) National Committee members distributed out Prasad (offering), and tied Rakhis on each of our guests. These Rakhis served as expressions of gratitude, as a token of appreciation for the blessings the wider Hindu community and British society have bestowed on our students. As a gesture of promise to celebrate and strengthen our relations.

We thank each and every student who has been a part of the NHSF (UK) movement over the past three decades, whose passion and commitment enables us to carry on. 

May the achievements of our Hindu students continue to bring pride to British society, as the future leaders of tomorrow.