The kiwi-Indian community is incensed over Winston Peters’ latest dab in creating chasms between Sikhs and Hindus in New Zealand.
Winston Peters’ had recently derided National’s promise to Sikh community to amend the law for allowing Sikh Kirpan in New Zealand if re-elected to power after elections.
“If Sikhs can do this as part of their customs, then what do we say to Maori who want to carry their traditional weapon a taiaha, or perhaps a Hindu who wants to carry a trident, their traditional a three-pronged spear,” Mr Peters said.
This is being seen as Mr Peters’ attempt at creating an erroneous divide between the Sikh and Hindu community on the pretext of practising their respective cultural beliefs.
Vinod Kumar, President of Hindu Council of New Zealand, has denied that Hindus in New Zealand have any such aspirations.
“I can confirm that Hindus in New Zealand do not have any such aspirations to carry a trident,” Mr Kumar said to The Indian Weekender.
Selva Ramasami, a key leader of the Wellington’s Hindu community and an integral part of the team currently engaging with the Law Commission and the Maori Select Committee for the Hindu cultural need of respectfully dispersing ashes of their loved ones in open water was also critical of the imaginary demand being imposed on the Hindus of New Zealand.
“To say that the Hindus will be demanding to carry the Trident is an unfounded exaggeration of the cultural requirement for Hindus.
“The Hindu community has always been very respectful towards the cultural need of our Sikh brothers to carry the Kirpan,” Mr Ramasami said to the Indian Weekender.
Similarly, Pandit Acharya Ajay Tiwari of Sanskrit Yoga & Jyotish Trust, a renowned scholar on Veda, the revered Hindu text, was also incensed with the fictitious idea that a trident could be carried by any ordinary Hindu follower.
“The Trident is an important symbol for Hindus to be used to remove one's ignorance and arrogance.
“Only Lord Shiva, who epitomises supreme knowledge and conquering of one’s ignorance, is entitled to carry a Trident,” Pandit Tiwari asserted.
This jab of playing Hindus against Sikhs is unseen and unheard of, even in India – the land from where these two religious communities trace their origin.
Even globally, wherever Sikh communities have lobbied for gaining acceptability of Sikh Kirpan in public spaces in countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and others, no Hindu group has threatened to veto, or, diminish that demand with their own demand of carrying a trident.
In that regard, Mr Peters would have gained a unique notoriety of driving wedges between these two close knit communities.
This is surprising even when New Zealand First party has one Kiwi-Indian MP in their caucus, Mahesh Bindra, who takes pride in representing both these communities Sikhism and Hinduism.
“Mahesh Bindra should have properly informed Mr Peters of our religion and symbol and has failed as both ethics spokesperson and truly representing our community before making uneducated statements,” ACT Party candidate Bhupinder Singh, said to The Indian Weekender.
Roshan Nahuriya, Chairman of Board of Trustees of Balmoral temple, New Zealand’s first Hindu temple is also not impressed by Mr Peters’ attempt at playing Hindus against Sikhs.
“Every religious cultural group have their individual cultural aspirations.
“If aspirations of one cultural group are being fulfilled by the government of the day, then there is no need for other cultural groups to sulk or worry about,” Mr Nahuria said to The Indian Weekender.
“Aghast at these comments of Mr Peters, Kanwaljit Bakshi said "This is a very low ball effort to create an unwanted rift between two peace loving Indian communities. Mr Peters needs to grow up and do thorough research before he makes such irrelevant and stupid comments.
“Maybe he needs to review his Indian community advisors".