A Foundation for Constructive Interfaith Dialogue: Equity in Education

Fifteen years ago, I was a community activist who came into the space of actively engaging diversity and working for inclusion. I live in Troy, the city with diversity second only to Ann Arbor, in a region with more immigrants from India than from any other country. I realized that the impact of 9/11/2001 on our community — local, regional as well as national — would be far reaching, and began building more bridges of understanding across difference. I brought my whole self into these con … [Read more...]


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The Who, What and Why of WISDOM – Part 2

The presentation by the WISDOM panel at the NACCC Annual Conference continues, where former WISDOM Board member Gigi Salka shares her experience as a part of this women's interfaith organization for nearly a decade. She provides anecdotes from our 5 Women, 5 Journeys signature program that WISDOM has been doing over the years - along with our monthly e-News, which you can subscribe to here.Five Women Five Journeys – How Different Are We?This unique WISDOM program features personal stor … [Read more...]


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The Hindus of Kashmir: The Persecution of Kashmiri Pandits

On my biannual trips to India, I usually look forward to eating my mom’s cooking and acquiring saris - my favorite garment. I also acquire books; when my children were young, it was a throwback to my childhood, with my parents taking them to a local bookstore and letting them pick something they wanted - usually, it was a few Amar Chitra Katha to add to our collection at home in Troy. These comic-like picture books are a great way to learn the stories from the Hindu puranas such as the M … [Read more...]


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Baby Shower And/Or Seemantham: Bundle of Hope and Joy

It is indeed special to celebrate the start of a new year, and the new beginnings associated with it, but it is even more special when the first few days of the year includes celebrating the arrival of a new baby. The Hindu life sacrament known in Sanskrit as Simantonnayana with the literal meaning “parting of the hair,” has evolved into a baby shower, to both welcome a new baby into the family and celebrate the expectant mother. Hindus, particularly those from southern India where my ancestors h … [Read more...]


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India’s Latest Census: Hindus, Christians & Confusion

As most people of Indian origin know, “American Born Confused Desi” - an ABCD - is a special phrase used to refer to a rather “neither here nor there” mentality that we Indian Americans might have acquired while growing up in America, with parents who are immigrants from India trying to provide an “Indian” environment at home. My parents went a step farther - they moved the family back to India when I was in high school, so that I could have a first hand experience of what it means to be Indian. … [Read more...]


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Ethics of Vegetarianism: Evangelizing for the Environment

A recent NPR piece that someone shared with me reminded me why I no longer support them financially.  An Indian vegetarian diet and efforts to promote this are portrayed as a culture or caste issue, instead of one about the impact to environment, human health, animal welfare or religious freedom: the  “Egg War” seemed more of a war on Hinduism and Jainism. I have been raised on a traditional Indian, and to be even more specific, an Andhra vegetarian diet, while growing up in America - where being … [Read more...]


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