"It was our first victory," says Vijay Pallod, an accountant and AHADactivist in Houston. "We were very new, and the success of the Aerosmithdrive convinced us that we should look out for every instance, small or big,of a denigration of Hindu faith and its icons."

"We do not believe in confrontation at all," Pallod, 42, says. He maintainsthat AHAD never takes up a protest before exhausting other means ofpersuasion.

"Many times we have discovered that a particular person or organization hasno intention of offending or hurting any religion," he says. "By holding adialogue with them, we have an opportunity to educate them about Hinduism."

Like Shah, other AHAD activists, including Pallod and Beth Kulkarni, a50-plus white American who took to Hinduism after her marriage, areconnected with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America and RashtriyaSwayamsevak Sangh. The two organizations actively promote Hindu valuesand are closely aligned with the Bharatiya Janata Party, which currentlyheads India's ruling coalition.

But many AHAD protests--like the one against the Southern Baptists' bookletdenouncing Hinduism--have also drawn in liberal Hindus who usually keep adistance from VHPA and RSS.

The AHAD protests are not aimed at non-Hindus alone. Srinivas "Sarin" Reddy,co-owner of Club Karma in Chicago, was prevailed upon to withdraw thedisplay of religious icons in the trendy bar last year.

As AHAD is getting more active and vocal, so do its critics.

Vijay Parshad, a history professor at Trinity College, in Connecticut, andauthor of the book "The Karma of Brown Folk," criticizes what he sees asthe cavalier attitude of the VHP and RSS toward other religions. In India,the groups have reportedly been associated with the demolition of the Babrimosque in Ayodhya and recent attacks against Christian missionaries.