SERVICE TO UHJ – CONTRIBUTION OF LADIES
This is a letter from a troubled father to all Friends in the Community. Hopefully this letter will bring to light certain concerns about the Conduct of our beloved UHJ. Of course facts would be presented before drawing conclusions.
Friends, we hear time and again appeals from the UHJ for volunteers at the Holy Land. With deep sincerity the message is circulated by the respected LSAs. With equal sincerity some of our youth, purely for serving the Faith, volunteer. The Local Community is overjoyed when certain youth are selected for serving at Holy Land. Indeed, it is a representation of the local community – an honour. However the tragedy starts when after serving at Holy Land for about a decade, the now “middle aged” volunteer returns. In private discussions, these volunteers tell their woes. Some of the common points that emerge are :
1. The Selection Process: The volunteers selected are youths in early twenties and mostly females. This reality never strikes us, but when we ponder on certain long term serving volunteers we indeed come to know of this gender preference (eg in India we have examples of Shraddha Singh, Elisa Rassiwalla, Yasmin Rassiwallah, Shraddha Teli, Pooja Puthran and some others).
2. Service of Volunteers : The Volunteers are assigned as secretaries / under-studies to certain chiefs of departments. Interestingly all the girl volunteers work under middle-aged male bosses.
3. Grooming – What goes into it?: The enthusiastic and simple girls, while being induced and groomed for the work, are subtly conveyed the ‘other expectations’. There ‘other expectations’ include spending long hours with bosses in privacy, not resisting advances by bosses (as the poor man is over loaded with various assignments of the UHJ, and thereby needs some ‘relaxation’ as there is no outlet for ‘relaxation’ of the bosses, except the volunteers) and always having a cheerful presence.
4. Feelings of the volunteers: These volunteers who are thousands of miles away from their parents, in a foreign country and almost in captivity in the huge premise, feel terribly lonely. Having no one to confide, except those who re-affirm the ‘expectations’ and need for serving the Faith with ‘Body’ and ‘Soul’, most volunteers feel that best way out is to continue the service without complaints. Atleast, with the stipend, they are not a burden on their parents. The volunteer is shunted across various departments every couple of years.
5. The worst stage: Probably the worst stage in the career of the volunteer, is when she approaches her 40’s. Now the youth, the charm, the vigour starts fading. With age, and with this exposure in the name of service, the so–far unmarried volunteer, develops medical complications. She is now a liability to the Holy Land and UHJ and is very gently shown the door. The volunteer, trudges her way back to India, only to experience a sense of guilt and a life and a career lost. She develops depression, especially when she finds that how cunningly the Persian and Zoroastrian background Baha’is, did not send their children of same age for service but had motivated the simple Indian Baha’i parents for the same. The children of these Persian and Zoroastrian Bahai parents develop into settled professionals and have an established family, while the poor volunteer has returned with absolute loss.
Friends, as a father who cannot see the plight of his daughter, I appeal to all to be cautious in sending their daughters, as volunteers to the Holy Land. It is indeed saddening, how this exploitation is happening at the most Holy place for the Bahais. The UHJ is indeed a den of vice.
Friends, we have made a supreme sacrifice by leaving our religion and accepting the Bahai Faith. Little did we know about the skeletons in the cupboard. The situation now is that we are forced to see the tragic plight of our unmarried daughters in our old age without anyone to fall back. Our relatives and friends of our previous religion have forsaken us and the Bahais have exploited us. Indeed this is a cumulative loss.
Friends lets unite and expose the mis-deeds so that we can save the next generation. Lets bring this awareness globally, as our daughters have narrated that volunteers come to the Holy Land for service from all over the world – in particular from developing and under-developed countries, and undergo same experience. Lets campaign globally about reducing the male dominance at the Holy Land and UHJ, especially in responsible positions. Lets campaign that volunteers selected should be predominantly males. Lets clean the Faith of shameful mal-practices.
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