Jai Bhim Network

Church Law and the Future of Jai Bhim Network in Hungary

2011.09.09. Categorized: Uncategorized   

It’s almost been two years to my visit (23rd Sept to 20th Oct 2009) to the Sajókaza (Hungary) and since then I’ve been in constant contact with my friends - Anikó Szegedi, Derdák Tibor and Katlin Bodori - from Hungary. This article is in continuation to my previous articles - Babasaheb Ambedkar and ‘the Dalits of Europe’, Reclaiming Human Dignity: The Protest and Gypsy Stereotypes, Celebrating Dhamma Chakka Parivartan Diwas in Hungary, and Ambedkar in Hungary - which I wrote while staying at Sajókaza.

Few Updates from the Jai Bhim Network, Hungary

Since 2009, Jai Bhim Network has expanded its roots deep into the Hungarian society via opening new schools at Alsózsolca (about 60 students), Mágocs and Sáta (elementary school about 20km from Sajókaza) and Jai Bhim Network has purchased a new house (named White House) to teach Roma students and carry out various social functions. With the help of Bharat Wankhede (the guy who accompanied me on the visit) and The Corporate Body of the Buddha Education Foundation, Taipei (Taiwan) Jai Bhim Network has published a Buddhist Puja book – Telihold. Kubu (the guy I mentioned few times in my earlier articles) will graduate in Physics in few years. Benu (the guy whose speech on Roma rights at Heroes Square (Budapest) was simply amazing.) has joined job at Budapest and he is continuing his activities with Jai Bhim Network from Budapest. Katlin Bodori left for completing her master’s degree. Many new teachers are hired and few completed their tenure successfully – enriching Roma students’ lives and their own lives with wonderful experiences.

To fulfil their Buddha-Dhamma and Ambedkarite quest, in Nov-Dec 2010, Derdák Tibor and János Orsós visited India again (third time) and stayed at Bodh Gaya for few days and then took part in the Dalits demonstration for equal rights at Jantar Mantar, Delhi on 5th Dec 2010. Derdák Tibor and János Orsós come to Buddhist places in India as Muslims go to Mecca and Hindus go to Varanasi.

Derdák Tibor at Dalits Protest rally

Law on the Right to Freedom of Conscience and Religion, and on Churches, Religions and Religious Community

Few days ago while talking to Derdák Tibor (founder of Jai Bhim Network), I came to know about the recent church lawand while talking to Anikó Szegedi on Jan Lokpal Bill (I can bet that she understands this much better than many Indians!), she told me the complications of this church law and she asked me, “Do you think only Indian can act thoughtlessly?” Hungarian parliament can also do such blunders!

On the name of curbing the misuse of funds and to deal with tax frauds, Hungarian government passed (with 254 to 43 votes) a new law on July 12, 2011 – Law on the Right to Freedom of Conscience and Religion, and on Churches, Religions and Religious Community - famously known as church law in Hungary. According to this new law, religious organisations should have more than 1000 peoples’ base and religious organisation should be more than 20 years old to be able for getting funds from the state and other government agencies. According to the new law, in Hungary only 14 religious organisations out of 358 fulfil the criteria and excluded groups will automatically lose their registration status on January 1, 2012, thereby losing financial support, state subsidies and tax benefits from the government to run their social and charitable work. Lord Jesus said, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”But so called government seems to disagree with Lord Jesus. I don’t understand why government is interfering with the freedom of religious practice? Church law seems not to curb the tax frauds but to curb religious freedom of citizens.

It’s really a shameful on the part of government to bring such a (unlawful) law and behave like rule in a democratic nation - Hungary. In Hungary, many Romas (Gypsies) depend upon the charitable work done by various churches and Jai Bhim Network. Losing their registration and lack of funds will further affect the poor Romas.

It’s to be noted that Hungary comes in European Union and Article -10 of Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union on Freedom of thought, conscience and religion and Article- 9 of European Convention on Human Rightsstates:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or in private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”

It’s really strange to note that a country recently freed from the claws of communism passed such a discriminating law, which will hinder the religious freedom as stated in Hungarian constitution. It’s simply unethical to bar someone from practicing religion or belief of one’s choice. Church law to me is similar to the ‘Gujarat Religious Freedom Act’ and notably known as ‘Anti-Conversion Law’ introduced by the Gujarat (India) state government (infamous for persecuting religious minorities) in 2008.

I think governments should not interfere on which religion one should follow and should work on planning and executing the projects that will get adequate drinking water, decent housings, and good education to the millions who are still deprived of these basic necessities. Also, rather than limiting religious freedom, governments should work on making people aware of their basic human rights, only then we can be proud of our country.

Future of Jai Bhim Network, Hungary

Jai Bhim Network is working among Romas (Gypsies) since 2007 for the social integration of Romas, running more than six schools (at Sajókaza, Ózd, Hegymeg, Alsózsolca, Sáta, and Mágocs etc) on the name of Dr Ambedkar High School and teaching illiterate Romas, providing education to the Romas of all age groups and organising various Buddhist events such as meditation camps and celebrating Dr Ambedkar’s Birthday and Dhamma Chakka Parivartan in Hungary. With the help of Jai Bhim Network Romas are able to stand against the daily whips of village life and Network has given millions hopes to these unprivileged Romas through education and social integration program, all such measures were ignored by governments and many others. Jai Bhim Network is working and drawing inspiration from many other Buddhist religious bodies from different countries and especially Dalits of India.

Now, after this new law, Jai Bhim Network has been robbed of its religious status and governments will stop funding for Jai Bhim Network’s activities such as running schools. Proposed law endangers the survival Hungary’s largest educational institution for Roma children - Dr. Ambedkar School. We can’t afford to turn our backs on such a successful initiative - to educated and give ‘Dalits of Europe’ a sense of pride. I would like if friends can write to human rights commissions and support the Jai Bhim Network in what-so-ever-manner to carry on its work of spreading Buddhism and Ambedkarite thoughts through its schools. Don’t deprive Romas from a chance of learning and starting a new life. Future of Jai Bhim Network will be uncertain without your support and participation, so please come forward and support. Please write to Derdák Tibor at derdak@ambedkar.hu

Also sign an online petition against church law at http://www.vallasszabadsag.atw.hu/ and spread the link with your friends. (On the petition Név means Name and Foglalkozás means Occupation)

P.S.: Credit to shape this article goes to Anikó Szegedi, who shared much information with me on the church law, and Derdák Tibor.

P.P.S.: In case you liked the above piece please click on Like button and share it with your friends!

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Our Inspiration 1st Part

Our Inspiration (1st Part)
Jai Bhim is a cheerful greeting. Ten million Indians greet each other in this manner. They're the Dalits who are a proud community. They inherited an extremely difficult life. Their parents and grandparents and untold generations before them were outcasts in society. Even today they still encounter prejudice and experience helplessness.
For more than a millenium their ancestors lived as outcasts. People had a horror of touching them. Others even avoided being in their proximity as their shadow was considered polluting. If they went to school they were seated separately, If they were able to obtain work they did the dirtiest and lowest paid jobs.

Our Inspiration 2nd Part

Our Inspiration (2nd Part)
With their greeting of Jai Bhim they remind each other of their own successful revolution in 1956 for their human rights. Their cause is sacred. It inspires us here in Hungary, as we also face segregation and prejudice today. We would like to know discrimination is a thing of the past.
The dalit's story is like a fairy tale.

Our Inspiration 3rd Part

Our Inspiration (3rd Part)
Once upon a time, a hundred years ago, there lived a seventeen year old untouchable boy in a big family, His name was Bhim. He was the youngest child among 14 siblings. He surpassed all of them because of his brilliant mind. A wealthy maharaj acknowledged his poverty and bestowed a scholarship on him. Bhim was aware that Indian schools were being discriminatory and practiced segregation. Therefore, he tried his fortune in London and New York where he achieved university degrees. He received the title Dr. Ambedkar when he returned home to serve his people as a barrister.

Our Inspiration 4th Part

Our Inspiration (4th Part)
Nevertheless, he was considered as an untouchable in accordance with the holy books of the Hindu religion. Therefore, he convened with his friends and publicly burned Manu's Laws, the Hindu holy script which bids the Hindu to hold the Untouchable in disdain. He became a human right fighter and his authority was constantly growing throughout the whole country. When India gained independence in 1947 he was nominated as law minister. He was entrusted with drafting the Constitution for the country. He wrote in it that discrimination is forbidden.

Our Inspiration 5th Part

Our Inspiration (5th Part)
In his old age the Dalit people addressed him with veneration as Dr. Babasaheb. He and his laws, however respected they were, he still stared frustratedly at the discrimination existing all over the country. He decided then to show the people a spiritual alternative. As our judgment is determined by our faith, he took an oath: "I was born a Hindu Untouchable. It was beyond my power to prevent that but I declare that it is within my power to refuse to live under ignoble and humiliating conditions. I solemnly assure you that I will not die a Hindu". He abjured hindu religion that had brought so much suffering and humiliation to the Untouchable people (today's Dalits).

Our Inspiration 6th Part

Our Inspiration (6th Part)
He studied thoroughly all the faiths of the world. He was seeking a religion which fitted together with reason, with modern science, and which declared liberty, fraternity and equality amongst people. He decided to follow the path of the Indian prince who lived 2500 years ago: he would be a follower of the Buddha. This was a decision of profound importance for the Dalits because the Buddha is venerated thoughout the world, and India is entitled to take pride in her great son. Dr. Ambedkar showed his astuteness: all of us can choose the way to be respected, we can change our fate for the better. Hundreds of thousands followed Ambedkar to the magnificent ceremony in Nagpur in October 1956. This was the rebirth of Buddhism in India. Babasaheb died six weeks later.

Our Inspiration 7th Part

Our Inspiration (7th Part)
Those who at that time embraced a new world view with him, they are today grandfathers and grandmothers. Their grandchildren are as numerous as the whole population of Hungary. They follow Ambedkar's example: they face even the biggest difficulties in all things - to study and to exercise their human rights.

All of the Parts in One

Our Inspiration

  • Chandrakirti: I like ur views on Bhim Jayanti... And i jst can say "Jai Bhim".....
  • Sunil Sagar: Jai Bhim Janos it's great seeing Dr. Ambedkar's follower in Hungary. The Emancipator, The god of Small. What Millions of god and goddess of Hindu's c
  • Ashwin Jangam: Struggle for liberation of Mulnivasis When freedom struggle of our country was going on, we were dual slaves. The Arya Brahmin
  • Ashwin Jangam: Jaibhim Abhinav Thank you Abhinav for putting up a superb photos of our ancestors to know our peop

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