Aquarius PR creative director Suzanne Evans, leading the account, told PRWeek that the council turned to external PR for the first time because it felt Hinduism was not ‘getting the profile it deserved’.
‘It can be difficult for other faith groups, because the media are slightly obsessed with Islam,’ she said.
Aquarius’s brief also includes public affairs.
The council is keen to raise awareness of issues such as equality of representation in professions and the public sector. ‘The perception can be that Hindus want to be self-employed and own a corner shop – sometimes they find they hit a glass ceiling if they try to progress in other careers,’ Evans said.
She added that the Hindu Council is keen to point out that the Hindu community has integrated successfully into British society.
The issue was highlighted by a recent case in Wales, where a group of Hindu monks has been fighting to save Shambo – a bullock they believe to be sacred – which has tested positive for bovine TB. A court ruled this week that Shambo should be slaughtered.
Evans – a former BBC religious affairs reporter – said that while the council supported the monks, ‘it is keen to point out that the Hindu community will, of course, respect the law’.
Raising awareness of health issues for the Hindu community – including the fact that Hindus have a higher rate of diabetes – is also a priority for Aquarius.
The 2001 Census showed Hinduism to be the third most common UK religion – after Christianity and Islam – with 1.1 per cent of people in England being Hindu.