Please support Sheffield's Panditji, Shri Ashwini Kumar Vasudeva

Friends, we’ve been blessed to have an excellent pujari, Ashwini Kumar Vasudeva, popularly known as Panditji, resident in our Sheffield temple since 2016. He is not only learned in the scriptures and beliefs of Sanatana Dharma, but also teaches others in an easy down-to-earth and friendly way. A person of rare integrity, he is enthusiastic, compassionate and devout. Being a pujari is not just a job for him – it is a vocation. Noteworthy is the fact that he always serves and seeks to unite the various Hindu communities and take pride in our common spiritual heritage. So, it’s most shameful that the current Executive Committee (EC) of Hindu Samaj – Sheffield recently dismissed Panditji, saying they had no money to pay him, even when a number of members offered financial support. They have continuously pressed him to vacate his flat during a difficult pandemic time. At the same time, they’ve advertised for a resident caretaker! What do other devotees think of such 'mismanagement'? I believe the temple must have a resident pujari; but it can survive without a caretaker if money is short. When concerned members formed an Action Group and asked the EC for a Special General Meeting to discuss his job, the request was flatly refused. This EC doesn’t listen to members. So this EC doesn’t represent us. They dishonour themselves. By ensuring that justice is done to Panditji, we will recover the good name of Hindu Samaj – Sheffield. For Sheffield, the 4th largest city in this country, and the host of South Yorkshire's only Hindu temple, to even consider operating without a priest is damaging to the reputation and welfare of our community. It is a matter of utmost urgency that the EC carefully reconsider the morality of their current policy on this issue. Your prayers and support for this petition are vital. I thank you all for signing and adding your own supportive comments. Anonymous offers of support cannot be counted. I'm especially grateful to all who offered to contribute to our pujari's pay and expenses if required. Om shanti.

Dr Debjani Chatterjee on behalf of the Action Group    Contact the author of the petition

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