Yesterday was a special day – IndiaFest 2017 at the State Capitol Grounds. No agenda – pure fun: eating, learning and watching thousands of others having a good time. I have attended this event several times in the past but there was something special this year. This blog is just to catalog my experiences.

The first group I encountered was Jehovah’s Witness people spreading the message of Christ in Tamil. I thanked them for being the first Christian group to stand up for their pacifist beliefs against the Nazi and face executions and deportation to the concentration camps in the hundreds of thousands.

I wondered if there is a message here for us Hindus to act on our beliefs: spread the message of tolerance, pluralism and environmentalism in the form of vegetarianism (beef being two orders of magnitude verse than beans!).

Minnesota is home to a large number of refugees from any parts of the world: the largest community of Somali people, the second largest number of Hmong people, a very large Tibetan population as a result of culture genocide by the Chinese communists, Bhutanese Hindus due to ethnic cleansing in Bhutan (Gross Happiness Index – what a BS!), similarly the Karen people fleeing Myanmar due to religious and ethnic persecution. Some of them are Hindus like those from Bhutan but most are not. But all of them understand what extremism and intolerance can do. In my own humble way, I passed on, to as many as I could, the Namaste buttons – We Are Connected.

Continuing on the topic of spreading the message of tolerance and pluralism inherent in Hinduism, it will resonate more than murti puja (BTW, it’s not either-or) with Hindu youth who are losing interest in Hinduism. In my opinion, this alienation and loss of interest is a far greater threat to Hinduism, even as a philosophy, than proselytizing by the missionaries or by others waging the war of the womb which will be a catastrophe for them as well!

 

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