President Barack Obama recently appointed Anju Bhargava, a female Hindu priest, to the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The Times of India writes that she,
hopes to remove the ignorance about Hinduism and spread the “real meaning” of the rituals associated with the religion.
Sounds like something the South Asian community really needs. In Bhargava’s own words:
“Most people do not understand Hinduism or the ritual process. I have a computer presentation to explain the context, the meaning of the symbols and why we do the puja. It is not just a traditional recitation.
Non-Indians and Indians alike could benefit from her presentation and her appointment. I would say most Hindus, especially of the younger generation don’t have a clue why they perform these minute rituals.
“Only then will the rituals be meaningful and not just something we are doing because someone is telling us to do them and in a language we don’t understand.”
These could be some issues as to why many younger Hindus do not follow the faith anymore. Their parents and their peers have become so removed from the original culture that the meanings are lost. Some might be curious, but without any form of national representation in America, it feels even more strange. Now, I can’t say I know anything about Bhargava’s leadership style, but I hope that she is the right person to represent the growing number of American Hindus.