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Saturday, 24th February 2024


The global accounting and consulting firm Deloitte hosted a fascinating presentation on ethics and diversity at their offices in the City of London. Deepak Haria, partner at Deloitte, welcomed the visitors, giving examples of how the Deloitte Hindu Network is making a mark in many different arenas, including mentoring and engagement. The speaker was Shaunaka Rishi Das, Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. In his presentation, he explained the Hindu approach to pluralism and diversity and articulated how it has practical relevance for modern-day professionals.

Modern approaches to diversity are mainly superficial and political he argued - they are about saying and doing the right things than actually about engaging with the meaning and philosophy of diversity. This is a very strong statement, and has profound ramifications. It suggests that what is really needed is an engagement with the real meaning and substance of diversity and its implications, and Hindu philosophy is a tremendous beacon for this. Doing the right thing is more important than doing the thing right. In the modern world, form is more important than substance, and this leads to unethical behaviour becoming routinised and somehow 'legal and normal'. In western philosophy, there is little room for feeling or emotion, which is an integral part of human existence. In contrast, Hinduism integrates reason, feeling and action to give a comprehensive direction to human ethics, happiness and sustainability. In the global multilogue, its timeless voice and depth is most practical and helpful today. Ignoring it is costly.

Rishi Das illustrated his talk with examples, like the Holocaust, which showed a complete lack of emotion among the Nazis, something which is very hard to fathom unless somehow, the philosophy led humans to suppress or deny any emotion. Mandela, after being released from prison, said that a new South Africa should share power with white people, even though the majority of Africans wanted him to say the opposite. This was his unique moment of doing the right thing. Shaunaka asked the young Hindus to always strive to do the right thing, and then the collective actions will also come out just and fair. The question and answer session was fascinating, demonstrating how curious the young people are to understand their culture and heritage. Pratik from the City Hindus Network closed the session by giving examples of the latest events and upcoming projects. The Network has been a huge success, and events are very well organised and attended, and draw a large number of City professionals.

The evening ended with lovely Indian food, and there was an opportunity for the professionals to network and exchange experiences. I emphasise the food element because in so many of the diversity events I attend, food is very poor, and there is no care given to its content or service. Food for the mind and food for the soul are equally important to food for the body.

Article added on 14th July 2011 at 9:01am