Hindu Heritage Month Goes Into US Congressional Record

Illinois Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi has submitted a statement in the House of Representatives Sept. 30, 2021, on recognizing October as Hindu Heritage Month. The statement is now part of the U.S. Congressional Record, the official daily record of proceedings in Congress. (His statement can be found in the Congressional Record Vol. 167, No. 172 of Oct. 1.)

Rep. Krishnamoorthi, said he joins the many Hindu faithful in the United States in recognizing October as Hindu Heritage Month. Several Hindu organizations in the U.S., including Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), have declared October as Hindu Heritage Month, and several states including New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Texas, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Minnesota, Virginia and Massachusetts have proclaimed October as Hindu Heritage Month, according to the website hindumonth.org, as have several cities like Dallas, TX, and  La Palma, CA.

The Congressman, who represents the 8th Congressional District in Illinois, said his constituency “is home to many followers of this uniquely pluralistic religion, and I wish to celebrate the Hindu community’s valuable contributions to my district and to our state and country.”

“I believe this acknowledgment is especially timely, given the disturbing rise of prejudice and racism in the country,” the Congressman said, “including Hinduphobia as manifested in hateful speech and violent acts perpetrated against Indian-Americans and Hindu houses of worship.”

Noting how Hinduism dates back millennia and may have ‘profoundly’ influenced both ancient and modern cultures, Krishnamoorthi said “It’s message of religious tolerance, non-violence, and the universality of the human experience was introduced to this country in 1893 by Swami Vivekanand in his landmark address at the World Parliament of Religions,” in Chicago.

Vivekananda’s spiritual influence on Mahatma Gandhi was profound, the Congressman said, and Gandhi “inspired the important work of one of our nation’s most revered leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr., to advance the cause of civil rights in the United States.”

Rep. Krishnamoorthi went on to say, “The Hindu faithful in our country include physicians, lawyers, scientists, economists, philosophers, artists, academics, business leaders, government officials – and Members of Congress,” who are inspired by Vivekananda’s call to service and respect for all religions and people.

“Madame 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, fo their important contributions to our economy and our cultural and civil life, and for the part they play in creating our wonderful and distinctively diverse American experience,” Krishnamoorthi said.

On Sept. 5, 2021, the ‘Hindu Heritage Month’ which has an eponymous organization (hindumonth.org) announced, “Today, Dharma-based organizations including those of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain traditions from around the world, are pleased to announce the addition of another major festival, indeed an entire month of festivals,in October as the Hindu Heritage Month.”

It goes on to say, “Hindus represent one of the newest and the fastest growing immigrant communities in the United States and Canada. Backed by a rock-solid family structure and love for education, they are fully integrated into every aspect of their adopted society, enriching it with not only outstanding professional contributions but also rich cultural heritage. From the elegant ethnic wear to delicious food to festivals like Holi and Diwali, their diverse and rich culture has impressed all in the Western world.” Various Indian organizations of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain traditions announced Oct. 3 that the month of October has been designated as “Hindu Heritage Month.”

Thee celebration of Hindu Heritage Month will be a showcase for the diversity that is so fundamental to Hindu civilization, said a press release, adding that each participating organization will decide the manner as well as the schedule of their events. Celebrations can take many forms: cultural programs, fashion shows, webinars, multi-day conferences, walkathons and more. Some events may be conducted in-person but the majority will be virtual, given the Covid-19 situation.

Mission Bindi and the Hindu Student Council are the first organizations to announce their first event for Hindu Heritage Month. They will be observing “World Bindi Day” on the first day of Navratri, Oct. 7, 2021. Dr. Jai Bansal, Indian American vice president of the World Hindu Council of America, and one of the organizers of the event, noted that with second and third generations now making their mark in their adopted lands, the time has come for the Hindu community to talk about its rich cultural heritage and important role in making the multitude of contributions to every aspect of the fabric of the adopted lands.

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