About Padma Kuppa

Padma Kuppa is a Hindu American and community activist working for social justice and understanding. She is a co-founder of both the Troy-area Interfaith Group and the Bharatiya Temple of Metropolitan Detroit's Outreach Committee, and as a Board member of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion. Padma focuses on inter-religious cooperation as a Board member of the Hindu American Foundation. Views expressed here are those of Padma Kuppa and do not necessarily represent those of any organization of which she is a part.

The Good of Hinduism: A Solid Foundation of Pluralism

Editors' Note: This post is part of a Patheos symposium —What Good Is Religion? Read more here.In trying to understand or discuss the “good of Hinduism” - how faith has, in big and small ways, theoretical and very concrete, served humanity and the world for good – one can simply state the obvious. A Hindu can do good by serving others, as indicated in the oft repeated “Manav seva, Madhav seva.”  A loose translation – Service to humanity is service to God  - doesn’t capture the selfless nature … [Read more...]

Freedom to Choose: Conversion to Hinduism

At a recent HAF Awareness Event, a group of people came to learn about the work of the Foundation, and I was asked a seemingly simple question, with an underlying challenge to prove my point: Do you think that conversion to Hinduism is allowed?  Since I usually am vocal about the challenges caused by conversion away from Hinduism, answering the question was an ideal way to explain the difference between conversion to Hinduism and conversion to Christianity (or also to another faith which seeks … [Read more...]

Religious Diversity Journeys: How a Visit to a Temple Can Reveal that Hindus don’t Worship Idols.

During my early days of blogging at Patheos, I loved the title and the one liners that Kathleen Mulhern,  my editor at the time, pulled to the top of my essays. (Perhaps they were one of the reasons I wrote so frequently - a quick way to see what an open minded reader got from my few hundred words on a topic!)  One of the best summaries was this one on how Language Matters: [about] Deities and Darshan: "Idols" is the wrong term to use to describe our temple deities; Hindus are not ido … [Read more...]

Hinduism and Caste: Explaining Caste-Privilege and Ending Caste-Based Discrimination

My fellow Hindu American Foundation member, Raman Khanna, recently posted on the subject of caste at Aerogram, refuting yet another piece that was written that equates Hinduism and caste. During my early years as a leader at the Hindu American Foundation, when I joined the Executive Council, the Foundation published a report entitled Hinduism: Not Cast in Caste, in order to seek an end to caste based discrimination. That caste is not equal to Hinduism cannot be said enough, and as my co-blogger A … [Read more...]

Farce or Dialogue: Who should be discussing Proselytism & Pluralism?

I  recently received an email about an event at Georgetown University’s Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, where Rick Warren and Ruth Messinger will be the keynote speakers on Sharing the Message? Proselytism and Development in Pluralistic Societies: A Public Dialogue. On perusing the site, it appears that no one from the Indian or Hindu community will be on a panel during the day-long dialogue. India is home to one of the most pluralistic societies I know, and in need of de … [Read more...]

A Hindu Eulogy for Leonard Nimoy: I am not Spock, I am Spock.

Star Trek: The Next Generation became religious worship in my uncle’s home around when their oldest started high school and was unwilling to go to church. I had just moved back to the United States to go to graduate school in Long Island. Monthly, often fortnightly trips, to their house in Connecticut became my respite from the rigors of graduate school and relief from homesickness for family in India. It fit in with my needs – cuddled up next to two elementary-age girls who saw me as a big sis … [Read more...]


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