Hindu Woman Priest Appointed to Obama Advisory Council

14 08 2009

Shiva Parvati

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.


Australian “Curry Bashing”

30 05 2009

The Times of India reports on “Curry Bashing” in Australia:

There is growing anger among the Indian student community in both the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne over the latest incidents of curry-bashing.

”That is what it is called in local lingo: let’s go curry bashing which means assaulting and robbing an Indian. The phenomenon is hugely disturbing,” says Dr Yadu Singh, a Sydney-based cardiologist who heads a committee formed by Indian consulate to look after the interests of Indian students in Australia.

Singh said there had been at least 20 bashings of Indian students in Sydney in the past month, but most went unreported. ”Students stay silent because they are worried that a police report will jeopardise their chances of getting Permanent Residency.”

Why are the Australians racist towards Indians? What makes Indians easy targets in Australia? As far as I know, the American Midwest is rather tolerant, accepting, and even curious about Indian culture. But I can only speak for myself.

I will possibly have more to say later, as I read up on this subject some more.

May 31st update: Amitabh Bachchan Weighs in on “Curry Bashing”