Hindu Mommy

September 5, 2006

Being Hindu in the US

Filed under: Hinduism,India — hindumommy @ 9:27 am

 This article in Hindustan Times  articulates exactly what I and I am sure other Hindus living in the US feel about our religion.

It starts out with

It took coming to America for 13-year-old Samyuktha Shivraj to understand what it really meant to her to be Hindu.

Back in India, Hindus are so immersed in the religion and surrounded by fellow Hindus that there is no need for such services. Hindus pick things up and learn simply by taking part in all the rituals and traditions

“To be Hindu in America is much more an intentional choice than it is in India,” … “Even if you’re first generation, you have to decide if you perpetuate it or if you just kind of let it go.

In India, the emphasis is more on what people do than on doctrine or religious beliefs, since Hinduism covers a wide spectrum of gods and beliefs, and ritual is very important.

In America, Hindus “are increasingly being challenged to articulate the Hindu tradition in a manner that places more emphasis on doctrine,” “People will ask, ‘What do you believe?'”

Faced with that, temples and cultural organisations that had been working to make outsiders understand more about the faith realised they needed to help young Indian Americans know what they believed, if the religion was going to be passed on.

The article quotes Shivraj saying

“When I say those prayers now, I actually know what it means,” “It’s not just a mundane ritual routine that I’m doing.”



  1. Hindu Mommy, That was a very enlightening article in the Hindustan Times. Thanks for pointing us to it. I really like the idea of Indian heritage camps. I think my kids would really love to attend one – hope I can find a couple here in Canada, if not, maybe I can even start one myself? Thanks for giving me something to mull on! 🙂

    p.s. I might do a post on this myself. Will link to you,if I do.

    Comment by lotusreads — September 7, 2006 @ 11:20 am | Reply

  2. @LotusReads:
    Thanks – Would be honored if you would link to my post 😉

    I like the idea of Indian heritage camps – we don’t have any here. For a brief moment (more like a microsecond), I was tempted to start one myself when I read the article but then thought of the amount of work that would be involved and immediately decided to forget about it 🙂

    If you do start something, please let me know – I would be inspired by you !

    Comment by hindumommy — September 8, 2006 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  3. Thanks for pointing out the article.


    Comment by Sethi — September 19, 2006 @ 3:26 am | Reply

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