HAF Hosts Panel on Emergence of Hindu Political Voice in America

Fremont, CA (May 14, 2012) - The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) hosted a dynamic panel discussion on the emergence of a Hindu political voice in America this past Saturday, May 12, at the Fremont Hindu Temple. The event was part of HAF’s Northern California Quarterly Speakers Series, and focused on the increasing presence of Hindu Americans serving in public office and its implications for the wider Hindu American community.
 
Panelists included Kumar Barve, Majority Leader of the Maryland House of Delegates; Ro Khanna, emerging candidate for the US House of Representatives and former White House Business Council Member; Anu Natarajan, Fremont Vice-Mayor and Mayoral candidate; and Ash Kalra, San Jose City Council Member. The discussion was moderated by Anjali Lathi, Union Sanitary District Board Member.
 
"It was truly inspiring to hear how such prominent political leaders and elected officials were positively influenced by their Hindu faith and beliefs,” said Sunil Shukla, HAF Northern California Working Group Member and Co-Coordinator of the event. “Each of the panelists provided great insight into why they became involved in public service and the role of their Hindu identity.”
 
The event featured a lively discussion on a wide range of other topics, including how the Hindu American community can effectively raise awareness amongst policy makers about important issues of concern, such as human rights and misconceptions about Hinduism. The panelists further discussed what they had done in their respective positions to publicly recognize the significance of Diwali and how they used it as an opportunity to educate the public on Hinduism.
 
They concluded their remarks by noting the importance of Hindu American elected officials serving as positive role models for the next generation of aspiring Hindus American candidates. Council Member Kalra, in particular, spoke personally of the significant impact Delegate Kumar Barve had on his decision to run for San Jose City Council.
 
"While the Hindu American community still has a long way to go to, it’s exciting to see the development of a distinct Hindu voice in American politics and public affairs,” added Lathi. “In order to continue growing, however, the community needs to actively participate in the political process and engage with policy makers at all levels of governance.”
 

The Hindu American Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3), non-partisan organization, promoting the Hindu and American ideals of dignity, mutual respect, and pluralism. HAF does not endorse nor oppose any candidate for public office or political party.