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Shaunaka Rishi Das discusses what drives the world's one billion-strong Hindu community

FAITHINVEST IN CONVERSATION


The global Hindu community comprises one billion of the world's population. Shaunaka Rishi Das, Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Oxford, UK, and a member of the Board for FaithInvest, discusses this diverse community with Nana Francois, Director of Membership, and Michael Even, Director of Research. How do concepts such as Rita (cosmic order) influence a Hindu approach to investing, and the opportunities for faith-consistent investing, and what happened to attempts to create a Dharme Index for Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists?


In terms of wealth creation, we know that the Indian community per say, the Hindu community, included with the Jains and the Buddhists and the Sikhs, are doing exceptionally well globally in terms of wealth creation. – Shaunaka Rishi Das





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CONTENTS

  • 00:00 to 04:20: Introduction and personal background

  • 04:21 to 11.16: Organisational background

  • 11.17 to 19:29: Beliefs and investments

  • 19:30 to 23.58: Practical application

  • 23.59 to 27.32: Faith-consistent investing (Dharmic Investing)

  • 27.33 to 31.49: Reaching Hindu communities


KEY TAKE-AWAYS:

  • Find out how Shaunaka Rishi Das became a Hindu priest, having grown up in an Irish Catholic family, and eventually set up the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

  • Learn how diverse the Hindu community, how it is organised and the opportunities for faith-consistent investing

  • Get a better understanding of how Hindu spiritual values, particularly the concept of interconnectedness, shape a Hindu approach to investing

  • Find out more about the principles behind the Dharma Index originally developed for Dow Jones


OVERVIEW

  • The Hindu global population is at least a billion people, of which approximately 30 million are in the diaspora. And in nations such as America, the United Kingdom and Australia, the Hindus community is one of the most well educated and wealthiest ethnic groups in those countries.

  • Ideas of pluralism, interconnectedness and interdependence are very important to Hinduism. This very fundamental Hindu thought, a concept called Rita which means cosmic order, means that none of us are disconnected in reality, we are all part of a much bigger machine.

    • This concept from Rita means that I am essentially a servant of the greater whole. So how do I make a contribution? How do I empower others, rather than detract from them?

    • It also shapes a Hindu approach to investing. As an investor, this means I am the servant of the funds that have been given to me. It's my service to manage this, to invest this. So how do I do it in a way that serves the greater whole, the greater good?

  • Shaunaka was involved in attempts to create a Dharma Index by a company representing Dow Jones and brought together a council of scholars and religious leaders to develop the principles.

  • Hinduism is not centralised; individual temples can be very wealthy and currently tend to spend their money in impact investing such as building schools and hospitals.

  • The Hindu community also has a lot of high net-worth individuals and a lot of Hindu businesses operate on a family-run model that is unique. 'Hindus have money and they're wondering what to do with that and thinking of different ways and how to manage it.'

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