Anju Bhargava: Getting Hinduism a seat at the table

by | Mar 13, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — Eighty-seven percent of Hindus in the United States today are immigrants. A striking 62% are male, suggesting that many families in South Asia, where Hinduism is geographically and historically rooted, are first sending men of working age abroad in search of opportunity and only later send over other relatives.It’s a familiar picture of American immigration, with newcomers embracing the comforts of the religion they brought with them, even as they strive to integrate themselves into their new home. Hindus, like other non-Christian groups especially, have typically tended to limit expressions of faith to their home life and their neighborhood temples.
But a rising cohort of Hindu leaders is becoming more public about its spirituality. Inspired by the Hindu concept of “seva” — selfless service — they are organizing themselves and seeking common ground with believers in other South Asian traditions, such as Sikhism and Buddhism, to contribute to their communities. And increasingly they are taking part in national public policy conversations.
One such leader is Anju Bhargava, who grew up in Chennai, in Southern India, and attended Madras University before immigrating to the U.S. In the early 1980s, as she worked her way to senior positions as a banker, Bhargava found herself asking questions about belief and identity. Moving from these broad questions to the practice of her faith — from “philosophy to ritual,” she has said — Bhargava became one of the few female Hindu clergy in the United States. 
She had already become involved in corporate diversity efforts at work; she then threw herself into interfaith work around her northern New Jersey home. She saw that Hindu Americans were underre …

Article Attribution | Read More at Article Source

Share This