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In the News Archives

Indian State makes Yoga mandatory in grade school

posted by sheetal

Last week, the Times of India reported that the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is making yoga mandatory for school children in grades 1 – 5.   What a great idea! The article can be found online at http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-07-31/news/40914078_1_yoga-teachers-chouhan-master-trainers.

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Thoughts from Kumbha Mela

posted by sheetal

My good friend and colleague at the Hindu American Foundation, Swaminathan Venkataraman, recently had the amazing opportunity to attend the Hindu festival of Kumbha Mela.  Below are a few lovely thoughts he shared with the team: Today, Feb 10, 2013, a larger […]

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An exciting night for Hindu Americans

posted by sheetal

History was made on Nov. 6, for a number of reasons.  But the reason I’m talking about is the election of the first Hindu American.  Tulsi Gabbard, the Democratic contender from Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, will be the first Hindu […]

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10/11/12 Day of the Girl

posted by sheetal

I just learned that today, in addition to being 10/11/12, is also Day of the Girl. This initiative, established through the United Nations, is about “highlighting, celebrating, discussing, and advancing girls lives and opportunities across the globe.” In light of […]

Eleven years…

posted by sheetal

On this crisp morning, I am staring at the partially constructed Freedom Tower.  In fact, I look out at that tower every morning from my office window and every night from my bedroom window.  Some days, it’s easier to not […]

Decline in Pakistan’s Hindu Population Due to “Better” Family Planning

posted by sheetal

If you have any interest in minority human rights in Pakistan and have the patience to sit through 30 minutes of mayhem, this news segment on Hindus in Pakistan is worth a watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06cUS2IcN7I&feature=share. As most of us who stay […]

Sharing in Grief with Sikh Americans

posted by sheetal

In the wake of the horrific attack at the Sikh gurudwara yesterday, I share my deepest condolences with the families of the victims and the Sikh community at large.  Last night, the Hindu American Foundation – of which I am a part […]

Columbia’s Hindu Chaplain on TEDx

posted by sheetal

My friend, Gadadhara Pandit Dasa, the Hindu Chaplain at Columbia University was invited to speak at TEDx.  In his talk, Pandit shares with us his riches to rags life story, which eventually led him to the Bhagavad Gita and to […]

Kidnapped, converted, married: Growing up Hindu in Pakistan

posted by sheetal

Over the past few weeks, the news from Pakistan has been dominated by the case of Rinkel Kumari, a Hindu teenage girl who was kidnapped from home. Rinkel eventually turned up…but converted to Islam, supposedly of her own free will, […]

NPR: To Some Hindus, Modern Yoga Has Lost Its Way

posted by sheetal

Almost one year later, NPR invited me back to their studio here in NYC to record another segment on the ongoing debate over yoga’s Hindu roots.  The piece, by Margot Adler, was featured on NPR’s Morning Edition today.  It also […]

Hinduism and Homosexuality

posted by sheetal

I ran across a great piece by Prof. Anant Rambachan on Hinduism and homosexuality and thought it is worthwhile sharing. In particular, my favorite lines from his piece are as follows: There are important teachings in the Hindu tradition that […]

Competition Beats Yoga Down

posted by sheetal

Ahh, the Choudhury’s are still at it.  First, Bikram wanted to patent “his” sequence of asanas.  And now, his wife, Rajashree, is out to make yoga a competitive sport.  Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that an organization […]

Practicing Yoga in Prison Cell

posted by sheetal

By now, we’ve all read about the benefits of teaching yoga to children.  And despite the ongoing separation-of-church-and-state debate,  some schools do offer yoga classes to their students. Another group finding the benefits of yoga are prison inmates.  I ran […]

Comments from India on yoga in the West

posted by sheetal

Acknowledging the “outpouring of criticism” the Broad yoga piece received, the New York Times’ India blog published a nice blurb earlier today, taking stock of some of the reactions in India to yoga in the West.  The last quote by […]

How Poor Analysis Can Wreck Your Yoga

posted by sheetal

I’d like to thank the The New York Times for continuing to fuel the relevancy of the Hindu American Foundation’s Take Back Yoga campaign.  The latest piece in the Times Magazine, “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body” by William Broad, […]

CNN rings in 2012 with faith-based predictions

posted by sheetal

The belief blog on CNN rang in the new year with 15 concise, faith-based predictions for 2012.  My prediction for Hindu Americans is #12 on the list: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/01/12-faith-based-predictions-for-2012/.  Enjoy!

Leaving Lululemon behind

posted by sheetal

I never bought into the Lululemon fan club.  Granted, they do have some rather stylish workout and yoga attire.  But by the end of my seven mile run, hour training session, or 90 minute Ashtanga class, no amount of Lululemon […]

Yoga teachers and trainers: Essential, but not interchangeable

posted by sheetal

Just before Thanksgiving – and barely one year shy of its front page story on the Hindu American Foundation’s Take Back Yoga campaign – the New York Times ran a piece, “Yoga Addict’s New Mantra: ‘Mix it Up’” by Deborah Schoeneman, […]

Hindu Sunni or Hindu Shia: The need for advocacy

posted by sheetal

“Are you Hindu Sunni or Hindu Shia?” Seven years ago, this was the shocking question that greeted the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) delegation during a visit to a Congressional office.  More perplexing than the question itself was the dilemma of […]

Sorry Bachmann, but government spending didn’t cause Irene

posted by sheetal

Manhattan is one lucky island.  Irene came and went this past weekend and largely left us unscathed.  The residents in my building, which is in lower Manhattan and rather close to Battery Park, were told to evacuate, and many of […]

The Economist and its phallic “lump of ice”

posted by sheetal

As a school child, I often found myself embarrassed by the exoticized description of my faith.  With those days long behind me and being far more confident, as an adult, I often find myself forced to face descriptions in magazines […]

What caste are you?

posted by sheetal

As a child, I always dreaded the world’s religions portion of social studies.  In particular, it was the section on Hinduism that made me shudder, because it was always portrayed as weird, exotic, and discriminatory.  There I was, the only […]

The Difficulty of Dharma

posted by sheetal

In the midst of many celebrating the demise of Osama bin Laden, there has been an ongoing debate amongst many of us at the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) around whether it is right to rejoice over the death of another, […]

McChrystal’s Inner War

posted by Vineet Chander

Fifth graders can be unbelievably cruel with their words. Keenly aware of this, my fifth grade teacher devised a simple demonstration to get us to see the need to be more mindful of what we said and how we said […]

Get Him to the Hindu? On Russell Brand’s Sanskrit Brand

posted by Vineet Chander

With Russell Brand’s highly-anticipated (and raunchy) comedy “Get Him to the Greek” hitting theaters right about now, the controversial British comic is becoming quite the talk of the town this side of the pond. He even graces the cover of […]

Will Top Kill work? Only if it goes deep enough.

posted by Vineet Chander

The good news: BP’s  procedure to plug the oil leak — ominously named “top kill” — seems to be working. The not-so-good news: new estimates show that the spill has already surpassed the notorious Exxon Valdez disaster. It is, officially […]

The Yoga of “24”

posted by Vineet Chander

With “24″, “Lost”, and “Law and Order” all saying their goodbyes — and all rife with spiritual significance and religious symbolism — I wondered about a possible Hindu connection. Unfortunately, however, I wasn’t a devotee of any of the three […]

Tim Burton’s Ramayana in 3-D!

posted by Vineet Chander

Coming soon to a theater near you? Okay, so maybe not quite yet. But the Indian media is buzzing with rumors day-dreams of the award-winning filmmaker —  most famous for his use of magic realism to create dark-but-amazingly-beautiful cult classics — […]

Monkey Business

posted by Vineet Chander

Note to Self:  The next time you want to denigrate someone’s religion, make sure that you don’t accidentally denigrate someone else’s religion. Last week, Tea Party Express chairperson Mark Williams went on a tirade protesting a proposed mosque at Ground […]

Draw Muhammad. Oh wait, no don’t.

posted by Vineet Chander

That old adage about a picture being worth a thousand words may need to be revised. Pictures of the prophet Muhammad have generated perhaps millions of words this week alone, without even being drawn. Today, May 20, has been designated […]

Elena Kagan, Religion, and the Supreme Court

posted by Vineet Chander

President Obama’s pick of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to become the newest Supreme Court Justice raises a number of questions and presents the media with a number of story angles. One of the earliest of these, back when the Kagan […]

LAX Grounds Hare Krishnas

posted by Vineet Chander

Is it the end of an era? After a 13-year battle with the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for the right to distribute Hindu religious literature, Hare Krishna (ISKCON) devotees may finally have to throw in the towel. A California […]

Sandra, Phoebe, and the Quest for Success

posted by Vineet Chander

Is Sandra Bullock a success? Well, that depends on a lot of things– and mostly on when you were to ask the question. Seeing her on Oscar night, as she gracefully stepped up to the podium to claim her prize, we […]

A Sari State of Affairs

posted by Vineet Chander

I remember attending a sort of “Hindu pride” class as a pre-teen tween, and being taught the glories of all things Indian (or “Vedic” as our teacher would say).  “Vedic clothes” — dhoti for the males and sari for the […]

Padma’s Krishna

posted by Vineet Chander

Padma Lakshmi’s pregnancy was anything but conventional. She posed nude for Page 6 Magazine. She still refuses to disclose the identity of the baby’s father. But when it came to naming the baby (a little girl born on February 20), […]

Video: Getting Hindu-ized… for the Olympics?

posted by Vineet Chander

I’ve been wanting to blog about the Olympics because, well, let’s face it, everyone is absorbed in Olympics Consciousness right now. Wouldn’t it be cool to find a Hindu connection? It hasn’t been easy. I thought I did a pretty […]

V-Day Madness

posted by Vineet Chander

“Roses are red, violets are blue,don’t even think about celebrating Valentine’s Day if you’re a Hindu…” There are few things that get right-wing Hindu fundamentalists quite as rabid as the twang of cupid’s bow every year. In fact, on the […]

Calling on Avatar

posted by Vineet Chander

In a case of life imitating art imitating art, it appears that the blockbuster (and, as I’ve discussed, sort of Hindu-ish) film Avatar has a very real-world application. Reportedly, a British charity called Survival (which campaigns on behalf of tribal […]

Video: Govinda on Ice

posted by Vineet Chander

With Winter Olympics XXI kicking off, I’m wondering if there will be a Hindu connection to speak of. Lets face it — India, the seat of Hindu culture, is not exactly renowned for its excellence in sports that involve snow […]

The Complex Karma of Haiti

posted by Vineet Chander

It is natural, though never pleasant, to question the workings of the Divine when we see (and feel, and weep over) suffering on a grand scale. In the West, philosophers like Epicurus and David Hume lay it out for us. […]

Beck, Bath, and Bizarre

posted by Vineet Chander

Oops, he did it again. Conservative mega-mouth Glenn Beck went on a xenophobic rant against those who choose to journey to India for health-care. He analogized Indian doctors to counterfeit Gucci purses, and mocked India for (what he perceived to […]

When the Prince is the Pauper

posted by Vineet Chander

England’s Prince William spent a cold winter’s night  on the streets of central London last week. Along with others from the homelessness charity Centrepoint (which William is a patron and spokesperson of), the dashing young heir-to-the-throne slept in an old […]

Less Krupa, More Kripa

posted by Vineet Chander

Well, those wacky folks at PETA have done it again. In their new ad campaign, model Joanna Krupa bares it all (well, almost all) to raise awareness about adopting abandoned pets companion animals. The big deal? The object used to […]

Crashers, Wishers, and Assassins

posted by Vineet Chander

Here’s a free tip for anyone who is lucky enough to be a guest at the White House: if you return from the restroom to find an exuberant blond lady in a red sari in your seat, taking Facebook-bound pictures […]

In the Water, Not of It

posted by Vineet Chander

“Black Friday” — the day after Thanksgiving, which officially kicks-off the Christmas shopping season — doesn’t always bring out the best in humanbeings. Adults start to behave like unruly children, shoving and fighting one another over that last flat screen […]

Mumbai 26/11: “Where Was God?”

posted by Vineet Chander

At some point during the Mumbai terror attacks, somewhere between the first shot fired on  November 26, 2008 and the tragic end on November 29, 2008, the Mumbai police officially declared a state of emergency. In the heart of downtown […]

Mumbai 26/11: A Prayer for Peace

posted by Vineet Chander

Today, November 26, 2009, marks the one year anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks– beginning on November 26, 2008 and lasting until November 29, 2008, terrorists sent by an Islamic extremist group in Pakistan coordinated more than ten shooting and […]

Pilgrims and Hindus for Thanksgiving

posted by Vineet Chander

What do Diwali, Holi, Shiva Ratri, and Thanksgiving all have in common? Give up? They’re all originally Hindu holidays, of course! Really? Well, sort of. At least this is the hypothesis put forth by Richard Salva —  a minister, yoga […]

Diwali at the Chapel

posted by Vineet Chander

Apologies for my hiatus from blogging on OSO. I have spent the last week busily engaged in hosting a special Diwali celebration at Princeton University (where, as my day job, I direct the University’s newly created Hindu Life Program). The […]

The Ocean

posted by Vineet Chander

“Imagine there is a puddle. When it rains, the puddle is filled with water. When it doesn’t, the puddle dries up. Now compare that to the ocean. The ocean is so deep, it doesn’t matter if it rains above or […]

The Home Team

posted by Vineet Chander

The New York Yankees, World Series champions yet again, are preparing to have 50 tons of confetti dropped on them. Yes, Math Wizards, that would be 100,000 pounds of little, tiny bits of paper. On Friday, the champions will be […]

Ahimsa for the Earth? Pass the Veggies.

posted by Vineet Chander

Thanks to Chris at the Yoga of Ecology blog for the heads up on this fascinating Times Online piece about UK Climate Chief Lord Stern of Brentford proclaiming that “People will need to turn vegetarian if the world is to […]

Obama on Rama

posted by Vineet Chander

My inbox was flooded today with emails from friends, co-workers, and family members, full of smiley face emoticons and an overuse of exclamation marks, excitedly directing me to YouTube to see President Obama deliver his Diwali Message. The two minute […]

Happy Diwali, Mr. President

posted by Vineet Chander

How’s this for an early Diwali gift for Hindu-Americans (and, perhaps, Hindus around the world): President Barack Obama lit a ceremonial diya (traditional candle) and delivered a characteristically smooth speech in which he declared that he was happy to join […]

Previous Posts

Is Asana Religious?
Last week, I received an inquiry from a Christian theologian interested in showing that “the postures of Yoga” (asana) are directly tied to Hinduism and thus, cannot be easily incorporated into daily life by Christians.  While the origin of ...

posted 2:48:02pm Jul. 17, 2014 | read full post »

India's Holy Men by Joey L.
I just ran across these stunning images of Holy Men by photographer Joey L. The initial set of images are of Indian sadhus living in the holy city of Varanasi...and they are absolutely ...

posted 11:54:40am Mar. 03, 2014 | read full post »

The Idea of a Constructed Hindu Identity
The following piece was written by my friend Raman Khanna, who is also a member of the Hindu American Foundation's Executive Council. “Hinduism was invented recently.” “The word Hindu is problematic.” “It’s not accurate to speak ...

posted 5:21:42pm Jan. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Coalition Against Reality: Deconstructing an Attack on the Hindu American Foundation
Principled opposition is expected when litigating issues in the public square, and the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) , for which I serve as the Senior Director, has at times faced stiff opposition from the right and left of the ideological ...

posted 5:38:10pm Jan. 06, 2014 | read full post »

Advice on kindness
My yoga teacher sent me the below link to George Saunders' convocation speech at Syracuse University for the class of 2013. It's worth a ...

posted 10:24:26am Aug. 08, 2013 | read full post »

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