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...]

Race, Religion & Human RIghts

Editors' Note: This article is part of the Public Square 2014 Summer Series: Conversations on Religious Trends. Read other perspectives from the Patheos community here. This summer has been one of ups and downs, showcasing the critical relationship between race, religion and the struggle for human rights. My summer began with a workshop in June: along with about 150 others, ranging from representatives of various religious groups to public policy makers, I had an opportunity to listen to expe … [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...]


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