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Hindu Heritage Day 2009

Samir Asthana and Vishal Jain



Verily, through action alone, Janaka and others attained perfection; even with the view to ensure lokasamgraha, the stability of human society, you should perform action (B.G. 3:20)

The annual Hindu Heritage Day will be held on Sunday, May 17, 2009, from 3pm to 7pm at Marlboro Middle School in Marlboro, Massachusetts. The focus of this day is on Lokasamgraha, the stability and welfare of all in the community.

The Hindu American community in the United States experiences some universal and some unique challenges common to all immigrants. It also enjoys distinct advantages that have made it possible for the community to thrive. The first wave of immigrants to arrive in the 1970s, the “baby-boomers,” raised their own children, the “Gen-Xers.”  The Hindu American youth of Generation X has now come of age to raise their own families. Three generations of Indians now live in America.  Coupled with the steady wave of immigrants from India, this makes for a mix of Hindus with diverse needs in the Hindu American community.

The first generation of Hindu Americans has been firmly rooted in the Hindu culture bringing the traditions and concept of service from home. They have enjoyed the best of both worlds: a firm rooting in their identity as well as an opportunity to explore the new ideas of the West from the secure foundation of a rich heritage. The second generation of Heritage children has grown up straddling the two cultures. Their exposure to Hindu culture and heritage has been mixed due to a variety of reasons. They are at varying degrees of risk of assimilating in the famed “melting pot” of America possibly losing their roots and identity altogether. It is a two way loss, one for the second generation and their children, and the other as a whole for America. The irony is that the melting pot that is America cannot exist without the richness and diversity of the cultures each individual brings to that melting pot.  If we allow our distinct culture to blend into homogeneity then the second and third generation Hindu Americans would lose their vital economic, social, educational, mental, and spiritual advantage that has been the cause of success of the first generation Hindu Americans. In turn, America loses the collective vitality of an important segment of its population as the welfare of the community depends on the welfare and stability of the individuals within the community.

VHPA’s central tenant relates to the above concept of Lokasamgraha, which in essence is to promote stability and welfare of the community by reinforcing the importance of holding on to our ancient Vedic heritage and cultural values. Dharma, that which holds us, we must uphold. For lokasamgraha, VHPA has undertaken a major task of integrating the cultural values of India with that of the western world. This is envisioned to be achieved by a web of interaction among people from different walks of life comprising different generations. This interaction encourages sharing of common and uncommon experiences. This helping of each other is envisioned to promote unity as well as acceptance of each other. Hence, a major goal of this community is to pass on the Vedic values and ideals to the future generations to sustain a strong and vibrant community that benefits all.

The HHD format adopted last year proved to be a resounding success. A similar mela complete with activities focusing on this attractive theme will be held. A nominal entrance fee of $2 covers all activities being held through the day. There are going to be an assortment of non-profit organizations and cultural schools present to give out information, along with vendors of goods and services with different products geared to cater to Indian taste. Organized by Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, over 40 organizations plan to participate in this year’s mela. At this time, a limited supply of booths remains available. The cost of each booth is $50 with a discounted cost of $25 for non-profit organizations. For booth information, contact Mr. Kaushik Patel (508-789-3548).

There are a number of entertaining activities being held for all ages. The popular mehndi application will have dedicated space for the full duration of the program. An informative and enlightening exhibition on Hindu Dharma that has traveled around the country will be on display. An exhibit devoted to giving brief life histories of Hindu sants will have educational content for all, especially youth. Children can engage in face painting, kite flying, various contest booths, picture coloring, and viewing movies. A live DJ will entertain the audience while favored snacks of bhel puri, samosa, chole bhature, and chaat are being served. Freshly made dosa, idli, and uttapam would be available to cater to different food tastes along with chai, lassi, soft drinks, and bottled water.

A cultural variety performance begins at 4.30 pm in the main auditorium choreographed by different dance and music studios and performed by their talented students. This two hour program has special skits called "Satyavadi Harishchnadra" and “Jai Bhavani: The Roar of Shivaji.”
The day will conclude with this variety program. If you or your organization would like to participate in any way in this inclusive mela, contact jasthana@hotmail.com

VHP of America is a national organization which has among its objectives to unite Hindus by instilling in them devotion to the Hindu way of life, to cultivate self-respect and respect for all people, and to establish contacts with Hindus all over the world. For more information please visit http://www.vhp-america.org/

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