'Caste has come to US': Hindu-Americans flag ‘violence, bias against religion’ | World News - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

'Caste has come to US': Hindu-Americans flag ‘rising violence, bias against religion’

ANI |
Jul 12, 2023 06:55 PM IST

An event titled 'National Hindu Advocacy Day on the Hill' was organized by the Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) at the US Capitol Hill.

A Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) highlighted the challenges being faced by Hindus in the US amid the rising violence against the religion, Hinduphobia, caste laws and academic bias.

Hindu American Foundation’s Associate Policy Director Anita Joshi and Board Member Rajiv Pandit displaying types of resources HAF used to educate lawmakers and Hindu American communities. (Representative)(@HinduAmerican)
Hindu American Foundation’s Associate Policy Director Anita Joshi and Board Member Rajiv Pandit displaying types of resources HAF used to educate lawmakers and Hindu American communities. (Representative)(@HinduAmerican)

The event titled 'National Hindu Advocacy Day on the Hill' was organized by the Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) at the US Capitol Hill.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

The event was attended by a group of lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats including Congressman Rich McCormick, Indian American entrepreneur turned politician Sri Thanedar, Buddy Carter of Georgia, Congressman Thomas Keane and Hank Johnson.

Read: 'Have power to truly select…': Congressman's big claim at Hindu American summit

A strong supporter of the Indian American community, Congressman McCormick praised the ‘hard-working’, harmonious and peaceful US Hindu community numbering about three million; who had made a lot of contributions to the nation and society; especially in his constituency.

On February 21, Seattle became the first US city to ban caste-based discrimination by incorporating it into its anti-discrimination laws. The legislation, SB 403, originally sought to add caste as a new category under the state’s non-discrimination law, but it now enumerates caste as one protected class under the larger umbrella of “ancestry.”

“I think it's racist and it classifies people in a divisive way. I've also been very outspoken against any intimidation. We will take them on publicly, privately, whatever need to do, because they should never exist right here in America…” McCormick told ANI.

Read: California one step closer to ban ‘caste-based’ discrimination

On Tuesday Indian-American Congressman Shri Thanedar was the only Indian American US lawmakers that attended the Hindu advocacy day on Capitol Hill. When asked about the event, Thanedar said that he is there to support the Hindu community and believes every person has a right to practice his or her religion without hate, bigotry or without any kind of attack.

“I am here to show them support because I believe that every person has a right to practice his or her religion without hate, without bigotry, without hatred, without any kind of attacks or phobias. And I strongly believe that religious freedom is important. And I am here to support the Hindu community. And also I happen to be a US Congressman that formed the Hindu caucus in the United States Congress." Thanedar said.

Read: How Indian-American caucus straddled two worlds during Modi’s US visit

Hindu American students, workers and community members exist in every part of the country and have been part of the American tapestry for decades. Yet, data shows that only one in four Americans actually knows a Hindu and according to 2020 Federal Bureau of Investigation data, hate crimes against Indian Americans are up 500 per cent.

Salvatore Bobonus, the associate professor at the University of Sydney and executive director of the Indian Century Roundtable in Sydney, Australia, who was also one of the speakers at the event, told ANI, “Indians might be surprised to hear that caste has come to America and in a big way. Now, by that, I don't mean any actual caste discrimination. What I mean is the politicization of caste. Indians will be very familiar with caste reservations and the disputes over who is classified as a Scheduled Caste,” Salvatore added.

Over the years, CoHNA has held several congressional briefings on various issues impacting the Hindu American community and is leading efforts to educate stakeholders about Hinduism and the growing challenges it faces today in the US through events like its Hindu Advocacy on the Hill event.

Notably, caste hierarchies are also prevalent among the Sikh, Muslim, Buddhist and Christian communities in the region but growing attention has been paid to casteism among Hindu South Asians, including in the US, which is home to 5.4 million people of South Asian descent.

According to data collected by Pew in 2015, there are now 2.23 million Hindus in the United States, making them the fourth largest religious group in the country after Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

Hinduism belongs to a family of religions known as Indic or Dharmic religions. Hinduism is the largest dharmic tradition in the United States. Two other dharmic religions also have large populations in the United States: Sikhism, with around 500,000 individuals, and Jainism, with around 180,000 adherents. There are also large populations of Muslims and Christians from the Indian subcontinent in the United States.

Approximately 16 per cent of Muslims in the United States are from South Asia (around 600,000 people). Additionally, there are smaller populations of Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) from South Asia in the United States.

“So in California, we are actually now getting pretty close to passing a law that for the first time we will be Profiling and singling out people and subjecting them to discrimination simply based on something we can't control our birth. This doesn't come just for folks like us who have migrated from India. It's something that's in perpetuity for our kids. So 2nd, 3rd, 10th generation there's really no end limit to being targeted for your background if you happen to be Hindu...": Pushpita Prasad, Member (COHNA) Coalition of Hindus of North America on Hindus in America.

Indian Americans of Hindu faith have the highest retention of any religion in the United States, with a full 80 per cent of those raised Hindu still identifying with Hinduism as adults, according to Pew data.

ead:

Tell us what your First Vote will stand for in a short video & get a chance to be featured on HT’s social media handles. Click here to know more!

Get Current Updates on India News, Elections 2024, Lok sabha election 2024 voting live , Karnataka election 2024 live in Bengaluru , Election 2024 Date along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, May 19, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On