Hindu Heritage Month declared in the U.S: It is official

US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi took the floor in the House of Representatives to recognize such a celebration

US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi took the floor in the House of Representatives to recognize such a celebration
US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi took the floor in the House of Representatives to recognize such a celebration

US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi recognizes October as Hindu Heritage Month

An Indian American and a Hindu himself, 8th District (Illinois) Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi declared October as “Hindu Heritage Month (HHM),” from the floor of the House of Representatives on October 5. A dozen of States and communities had already proclaimed HHM in their own jurisdictions but it is now “national,” an unprecedented first for Hindus in America.

Little did I know that it was only days away when I wrote on October 3, “Given the excellent reputation of Indian Americans in professional, political, and financial sectors, it is only a matter of time when HHM is proclaimed nationally.” This was corroborated more clearly by Krishnamoorthi, “Hindu in the United States include physicians, lawyers, scientists, economists, philosophers, artists, academics, business leaders, government officials and Members of Congress.”

The most somber and celebratory moment for the Hindu community in the United States and perhaps Hindus everywhere is when Krishnamoorthi proudly said, “Madam Speaker, today I rise to join the many Hindu faithful in the United States in recognizing the month of October as Hindu Heritage Month.”

Today’s announcement makes me feel truly overjoyed that the heritage of Hindu Americans is duly recognized in the American land.

In many ways, it reflects Swami Vivekananda’s historical visit to Chicago in 1893 at the first World’s Parliament of Religions. There he said, “I thank you in the name of the mother of religions.” Krishnamoorthi cited Vivekananda bringing a “message of religious tolerance, non-violence, and the universality of the human experience,” to the United States. Later he also cited two other luminaries, India’s Mahatma Gandhi who inspired Martin Luther King in the United States to become the foremost civil rights leader. Their vision of non-violence and peace continues to remain meaningful even today when the world has so much violence, intolerance, and terrorism.

Chicago’s Krishnamoorthi said, “Madam Speaker, I know all Americans of goodwill share these beliefs, and today I would like to celebrate the work of the Hindu faithful in building bridges of understanding between all Americans, for their important contributions to our economy and our cultural and civic life, and for the part they play in creating our wonderful and distinctively diverse American experience”, he further said, “I believe this acknowledgment is especially timely, given the disturbing rise of prejudice and racism in this country, including Hinduphobia as manifested in hateful speech and violent acts perpetrated against Indian-Americans and Hindu houses of worship.”

I wonder if he was referring to the most damning and damaging conference on Dismantling Global Hindutva. I have no doubt that his words that the “Hindu religion dates back millennia and has profoundly influenced both ancient and modern cultures,” are causing reverberations and loss of sleep for the Hinduphobics everywhere.

When I was writing about HHM a few days ago, I had a bit of sadness that July was proclaimed the Muslim American Heritage Month. Today’s announcement makes me feel truly overjoyed that the heritage of Hindu Americans is duly recognized in the American land.

Hindus globally must take pride that their ancient Indic civilization, where their heritage begins, symbolizes endurance which Hindus and Hinduism have sustained and survived for thousands of years. Yoga, meditation, and spirituality nurturing the mind, body, and soul are the legacies of Hinduism to the world. As one Hindu, representing many like-minded, I believe that now the HHM will endure and invade space and time in perpetuity.

Note:
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

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Born in village Kotah (Saharanpur), Vijendra Agarwal, left India in 1973 after Ph.D. (Physics) from IIT Roorkee but always remained connected with his roots. A researcher in Italy, Japan, and France, he came to US in 1978. He served as faculty and academic
administrator (Assistant Vice President, Associate Vice Chancellor, and Dean of the College of Science and Engineering) in several universities, and an Executive Fellow in the White House S&T Policy during Clinton administration. Following his voluntary retirement in 2014, he and his wife co-founded a US based NGO, Vidya Gyan, to serve rural India toward education, health, and empowerment of girls and overall development. An Indian at heart, his passion for writing has no boundaries. This includes policy, politics and people, and social/cultural activities promoting community engagement. Currently he is the Brand Ambassador for Times of India and frequently blogs on Linkedin on various topics.
Vijendra Agarwal

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