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...]

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...]

India’s Latest Census: Hindus, Christians & Confusion

John Dayal India Census

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...]

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...]

The Future of Hinduism in America: Publicly Engaging Pluralism for Peace

Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on the Future of Faith in America: Eastern Religions. Read other perspectives here. When I last wrote about the Future of Hinduism, I had become a voice for the Hindu community in interfaith relations, as co-founder of both the local interfaith group in Michigan’s most Asian American cities and the Outreach Committee of one of Michigan’s oldest and largest Hindu temples. Because of my interest in the way that Hinduism i … [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...]


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