Umesh Sharma, building bridges between communities

Swimming against the current, Umesh works very hard to bring people of different communities and religions together. But this is easier said than done.

Shivani

ShivaniBy Shivani

Published on 26 Sep 2021 6:33 AM GMT

Umesh Sharma, building bridges between communities
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Umesh Sharma, building bridges between communities

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In recognition to Umesh Sharma's defining contribution in civic service fostering good interfaith relationships across the globe, in March 2021, Sharma was honoured with 'The Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Inter-Faith Cooperation' by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Sharma's role as a bridge-builder for important and official Christian-Hindu dialogue that the Anglican Church has with Hindu Community was vividly recounted by Archbishop Welby in the august presence of distinguished audience.

Umesh Sharma, a dreamer who imagines that all people live life in peace and harmony

When it comes to matters of faith, Umesh Sharma is a dreamer who imagines that all people live life in peace and harmony. He too has arrived in Great Britain from India and has since then only added a range and depth to his community service and focused on religion as a way of spreading the oneness that many religious faiths espouse.

Swimming against the current, Umesh works very hard to bring people of different communities and religions together. But this is easier said than done.

Look at the experience and experiences of Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther and few others – they have all been assassinated and they had all tried to bring humanity together to live in peace and harmony. All of them tried to remove some of the social ills plaguing their respective countries and possibly paid for them as well with their lives.

Uniting people of different religions or races is not an easy task. See the fate of the crusaders.

Umesh Sharma has in his own way, contributes to improving race relations, works for social inclusion and community regeneration and tries to facilitate inter-faith dialogues. His interfaith work aims to achieve a harmonious society in which different faiths continue to honour the religious and other differences between them, without compromising their respective integrities through mutual understanding, bilateral talks, trust and friendship.

In recognition to his defining contribution in civic service fostering good interfaith relationships across the globe, in March 2021, Sharma was honoured with 'The Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Inter-Faith Cooperation' by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Needless to mention, as Chair of Trustee of Shree Ram Mandir Southall and Co-Chair of Hindu Council UK, Sharma's role as a bridge-builder for important and official Christian-Hindu dialogue that the Anglican Church has with Hindu Community was vividly recounted by Archbishop Welby in the august presence of distinguished audience.

From an early age, Sharma has been a community activist and was actively involved in various leadership roles. He has been instrumental in advancing the social, cultural and religious interests of the Indian and Hindu communities living in the United Kingdom.

One of his prime ambitions has been to promote inter-faith dialogue and inter-ethnic understanding and working with charities, voluntary and community organizations on a local, national and international level – a mission he accomplished. Small wonder then he is recognized for his tireless service to help improve the lives and settlement needs of the communities. His dedication to community work has resulted in increased awareness and recognition of culturally sensitive issues among different faiths and cultures, government and authorities.

From a modest school teacher to attaining notable public positions like Mayor of London Borough of Ealing, Councilor, the Executive Committee Member of Ealing Community and Police Consultative Group and Serving Magistrate since 1992, the journey of Umesh Sharma has been one of inspiration for the generations to come.

As a philanthropist, Umesh Sharma is a Chair of Hindu Temple Trust and Executive Member of the National Council of Hindu Temples. The Hindu Cultural Society (now known as the Hindu Temple Trust) was formed. After taking up the position of Chairman of the Hindu Council UK (HCUK), Sharma quickly provided inspiration and leadership and established HCUK as the leading umbrella Hindu organization known much beyond the British frontiers.

He works behind the scenes to resolve conflicts, heal divisions and build relationships of mutual trust and respect amongst different cultures and religions. He travelled across the length and breadth of the UK to encourage local Hindu groups to develop and work together for the mutual benefit of the Hindu community. Needless to mention, he is a tireless advocate for both the community's interests as well as global world interest and his efforts are deserving of recognition.

Sharma's deep knowledge of different cultures has convinced him that at the base all human beings irrespective of religious affinities are good. His accomplishments of promoting harmony, understanding and empowering others to follow in their pursuit of worthwhile endeavours are worth emulating.

While protecting the rights of Hindus maybe his major if not the sole aim of Sharma, but he also worked tirelessly for religious harmony – that made it widely acceptable cutting across the communities in the UK.

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Shivani

Shivani

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