A Hindu tutor for UK's Eton school
Eton, the English boy's school that is the nursing ground of maharajas, prime ministers and generals, is to have a Hindu religious tutor - thanks to its Indian pupils.
Jay Lakhani, head of the Hindu Academy and Education Director for the Hindu Council UK, has been appointed to the post of part-time Hindu Tutor at Eton College, the public school favoured by the world's elite.
Lakhani will provide pastoral support and religious teaching to Hindu boys and contribute to school inter-faith activities at the school, traditionally known as "the chief nurse of England's statesmen".
For many years Jewish boys at Eton have been able to take instruction from a Jewish tutor during Sunday service and, for the last four years, the school has had a Muslim tutor to offer the same service to Muslim boys.
The appointment of Lakhani means Hindu boys will now be offered the same choice, the Hindu Council said Thursday.
Lakhani was appointed after a meeting with the school's Head of Divinity, Michael Wilcockson, at a conference for religious education teachers earlier this year.
"I asked him to give a talk on science and Hinduism to our philosophy society, which so impressed the Hindu boys, they asked if they could have him as their Hindu Tutor," said Wilcockson.
"I thought this was an excellent idea, feeling Jay would fit in superbly with our Jewish and Muslim tutors because his views on other faiths are so inclusive."
Lakhani, who is to hold his first session April 20, said: "I see this as an exciting opportunity to explore a broader vision of spirituality with the boys at Eton College, particularly how the Hindu idea of spiritual humanism manages to reconcile differences between religious and secular world-views.
"Religious pluralism offers the best prescription for making religions once again the cohesive force in our society."
Eton and Harrow are thought to be the world's two most famous public school for boys, known for producing boys who, in later years, often distinguish themselves - whether in corridors of power and wealth or on the battlefield.
Harrow produced India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Eton, founded in 1440, was the alma mater of three men who ruled India before independence - the first was Lord Cornwallis, who defeated Tipu Sultan in the battle of Srirangapatnam in 1792.
The second was Lord Curzon, the viceroy from 1898 to 1905, who famously predicted: "While we hold onto India, we are a first rate power. If we lose India, we will decline to a third rate power."
The third was Lord Linlithgow, also viceroy, who in 1939 declared war against the Axis powers on behalf of India without consulting Indians.