October Declared as Hindu Heritage Month in Several U.S. States, Cities
L-r: Dr. Divyendu Singh, Dr. Kusum Vyas, Mayor Cecil Willis, Councilman Ken Mathew, Nicola Browe, Acting City Secretary; and youth representative Anjali Agrawal, receiving the proclamation by the city of Stafford, Texas. (Bijay Dixit photo provided)
India-West Staff Reporter
Several states and cities across the U.S. have declared October as National Hindu Heritage Month, including the cities of Irvine, Anaheim, and Riverside in Southern California.
In Irvine on Oct. 19, 31 Indian American Hindus, on behalf of several Hindu groups, received a city proclamation designating the month as Hindu Heritage Month in Irvine.
On the occasion, several speakers spoke on Hinduism, said a press release, including Divya Prabha, a representative from the Hindu Sevak Sangh, who eloquently shared the Sanskrit shloka “Vasudeva Kutumbakam,” which means “the whole world is one family.” She also offered a second concept, “Sarve bhavantu sukhinah, sarve santu niramaya,” which means “May all humans be happy, healthy and prosperous.” Finally she spoke of “Seva,” which means serving humanity,” Prabha was quoted as saying in the release.
Irvine Mayor Farah Khan read the proclamation and then presented it to the Hindu groups present, some of whom included: the Asian Indian Women’s Group of Orange County; Ekta Center for the Performing Arts, Irvine; Hindu American Foundation; Hindu Sevak Sangh; Hawan Group of Irvine and Orange County; Indian Americans of Irvine and Orange County; Indian Culture and Hindu Gurukul; Indian Leadership Alliance; Indian Women’s Group of Orange County; Orange County Hindus/ Irvine Mandir; and United We Save Hindutva Group.
The Stafford mayor’s declaration noted, “Hindu-Americans have made a significant contribution across all fields, including science, education, medicine, law, politics, business, culture, sports and more.”
It added, “Hindu Heritage, culture, traditions and values have enriched our great city and State.”
Vijendra Agarwal adds from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota: Hindu Heritage Month has been proclaimed by nearly 20 states, a dozen cities, and counting, in addition to two congressmen. What a triumphant momentum for Hindu Americans.
The geographic diversity of the proclamations includes New Jersey to California and Minnesota to Texas with the political landscape representing blue and red states alike.
Hindus are getting recognition for contributions in all areas such as cultural, economic, social, political, education, art, and spirituality. The excellent beginning, we hope, will become contagious only to accelerate the excellence of Hindu philosophy and way of life. When asked about the future of Hindu Heritage Month, Jai Bansal, VHPA vice president, said, “All the 50 states in the Union first and then the U.S. Congress formally declaring October as the Hindu Heritage Month.” He went on to say that “A declaration from the White House would be an aspirational goal.”
Ohio Congressman Troy Balderson cited the contributions of Hindu Americans as “their steadfast conviction in a world that is everchanging.” A equally strong commendation came from Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who said: “Hindus in the United States include physicians, lawyers, scientists, economists, philosophers, artists, academics, business leaders, government officials and members of Congress,” as he recalled how Swami Vivekanand’s message of “religious tolerance, non-violence, and the universality of the human experience” is relevant to the U. S. and the world.
The first Florida proclamation cited Hindu Americans’ captivating history, cultural perspectives, and countless achievements which “enriched our living with heritage, culture, tradition, and values.”
The proclamation by South Brunswick, New Jersey, cites Vedanta philosophy, Ayurveda, classical art, drama, music, meditation, yoga, literature, and community service as Hindu values, while a Plano, Texas, proclamation highlights pursuit of knowledge of ‘truth and reality’ to strive for moral order, right activities, and promotion of tolerance as part of Hindu philosophy.