Hinduism is both complex and simple, personal and universal, colorful and austere. Its teachings are timely and timeless. These polarities are often met with confusion, leading to misunderstanding and stereotyping, especially in the West.
Growing up Hindu in America can be challenging. From idol worshipper or dot head to Apu, we’ve heard it all. And just when you’ve made it through the ‘caste, cow, and karma’ stereotypes in high school world history, you end up at a university with professors presenting warped interpretations of Hindu scripture and epics in class and on social media under the guise of ‘academic freedom’.
But in the seemingly rough landscape, you see your path ahead. It’s one that’s inspired by ancient Hindu teachings. It’s the same inspiration that other Hindu Americans have used to forge their own path in America. They’ve gone on to break barriers in American politics and entertainment, not in spite of their Hindu traditions, but because of them. And it’s the same inspiration that HAF draws from in our advocacy work to make it easier to be Hindu in America.
Join us on Thursday, May 20 for HAF’s Spring Gala: Growing up Hindu in America. Hear from New York State Assemblymember, Jenifer Rajkumar, on the challenges she faced while running for office earlier this year, and how she succeeded to become the first South Asian-American woman to be elected to office in the state of New York. In addition, we’ll peek into some of the first hand experiences from today’s students who have experienced Hinduphobia, and talk about what inspires them to push through those obstacles.
And to cap off the night, we’re thrilled to have comedic actor Omi Vaidya join us for an evening of laughter. You may recognize him from 3 Idiots or The Office!