Another Rite of Passage: Celebrating a Decade of Interfaith Activism

A week ago the Troy-area Interfaith Group celebrated its 11th annual National Day of Prayer event. I helped start this community organization over a controversy - the contentious history is here, and also taught as a case study in pluralism by Harvard University's Pluralism Project - but it was a very peaceful, harmonious group that gathered to celebrate unity in diversity, with prayers from many people, from many traditions. I was honored that I was invited to share the reflection below on the … [Read more...]

Rites of Passage: A Hindu American Experience

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on Rites of Passage. Read other perspectives here.A few years ago, the temple in the metro-Detroit area that my family goes to most often started conducting a special puja to mark graduation. I was fascinated. A puja is a religious rite, where Hindus worship through devotion to God, offering prayers and food, often to a specific deity, performed daily or on special occasions, on holy days.  Pujas are done to mark rites of pa … [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...]

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...]

Hindu Activism in America: Moving beyond bias, with India’s election of the BJP and PM Modi

Indian Election Issues

Editors' Note: This article is part of the Public Square 2014 Summer Series: Conversations on Religious Trends. Read other perspectives from the Hindu community here.For the last decade, I have been focused on developing interreligious understanding, after being excluded from the city-sponsored National Day of Prayer event in my family’s hometown of Troy, MI - all because the organizers didn’t want Hindus and others who didn’t exclusively believe in the Nicene Creed involved in their annual e … [Read more...]

Preserving Human Rights Through Article 26 of the UN Declaration

As a Board member of the Hindu American Foundation, I have had the opportunity to share what advocacy is with some stellar college students who join HAF's Congressional Internship program each summer. Current intern Tej Desai recently shared his experience after a month in DC where HAF's main offices are, but it is former intern Suneeta Israni's thoughts on the importance of the Hindu American Foundation's annual Human Rights Report and its relevance to Article 26 in the UN Declaration of Human R … [Read more...]


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