Hindus, do your dharma: Vote… and then light your diya - Hindu American Foundation
On The Issues

Hindus, do your dharma: Vote… and then light your diya

By October 9, 2018 September 21st, 2020 No Comments

Hindu Americans make up 1 percent of the US population. We’re a small minority community, without a doubt. And while Hindus have seen much success in the United States, there are nevertheless policies that adversely affect us — ranging from civil rights to immigration, access to education to how educational institutions teach about our history and culture.

If we want to have these issues addressed, if we want our voices and concerns to be heard and and acted upon by policymakers, if we want to continue to have Hindu Americans elected to office, then we need to vote — all of us.

You may not realize it but in the last presidential elections an astonishing 117 million people who were eligible and registered to vote didn’t bother to do so. That’s so many people that if “Did Not Vote” were actually on the ballot as a candidate, Did Not Vote would’ve been elected president, by a landslide.

In 2016, Did Not Vote would’ve gotten 44 percent of the vote; Hillary Clinton would’ve gotten 28 percent; Donald Trump would’ve come in third, with 27% of the vote. Voter turnout was so dismal that only eight states and the District of Columbia had high enough voter turnout that either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would have beat out Did Not Vote.

The democracy of the United States is not perfect in its functioning. There are many aspects that could make it more representative: corporate campaign contributions have undue influence in our elections; the electoral college adds a distinctly un-democratic variable in presidential elections; gerrymandering has made many districts un-representative; the number of representatives from each state no longer matches state populations. And that’s just a start.

Who’s to blame for those things and how best to solve them so that the needs and wants of the American public are accurately represented is complicated. But one thing that is very uncomplicated is this simple fact: If you don’t vote, your voice won’t be heard.

So, this November 6th, do your dharmic duty and vote. And with election day this year falling one day before Diwali, after you vote, be sure to light your diya!

10/28/22Dr. Anandibai Joshi

Dr. Anandi Gopal Joshi is credited with being the first woman from India to study medicine in the United States. Born in Bombay in 1865, she was married at the age of ten to an older man who had been her teacher. Dr. Joshi had a child at the age of 13, but the child died when only 10 days old. She believed that with better medical care, the child would have lived, and she frequently cited this as motivation for her desire to attend medical school. Her husband encouraged her in her academic pursuits and in 1883, Joshee joined the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, now known as the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. She graduated in 1886 with her degree in medicine; her M.D. thesis focused on Hindu obstetrics. Unfortunately,  Dr. Joshi was only able to practice medicine for a few months before passing away from tuberculosis.

Science in Hinduism

10/2/2022Gandhi Jayanti

Gandhi Jayanti marks the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the ‘Father of the Nation’ for India and the Indian Diaspora. To honor Gandhi’s message of ahimsa (non-violence), volunteer events and commemorative ceremonies are conducted and statues of Gandhi are also decorated with flower garlands. Gandhi and the satyagraha (truth force) has inspired many of America’s most prominent civil rights and social impact movements and leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., and Cesar Chavez. The United Nations declared October 2 as the International Day of Non-Violence in honor of Gandhi, whose work continues to inspire civil rights movements across the world.

Examining the Impact of Mahatma Gandhi on Social Change Movements

Why we should not tear down statues of Gandhi

10/1/2022First Hindu temple in US

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 facilitated the journey of many Indian immigrants to the United States. In this new land, many created home shrines and community temples to practice and hold pujas (services). As Hindu American populations grew in metropolitan and rural areas, so did the need to find a permanent temple site for worship. In 1906, the Vedanta Society built the Old Temple in San Francisco, California but as this was not considered a formal temple, many don’t credit this with being the first. Others believe it is the Shiva Murugan Temple built in 1957 in Concord, California, whereas others believe it is the Maha Vallabha Ganapati Devanstanam in New York that should be considered the first. Today, there are nearly 1,000 temples in the United States . Regardless of where you live, you have the right to practice your faith.

A Guide To Temple Safety and Security

5 Things to Know About Visiting a Hindu Temple