American Hindu Coalition celebrates its 6th Anniversary and Diwali

AHC President, Harsh Sethi, delivering his address at AHC’s 6th Anniversary and Diwali Celebrations on November 17, 2023, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manassas, Virginia. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

The American Hindu Coalition (AHC) celebrated its 6th Anniversary and Diwali on November 17, 2023, at the Hilton Garden Inn, in Manassas, Virginia.

President of AHC, Harsh Sethi said the AHC, since its inception, has advocated for the interests of American Hindus and individuals who align with Hindu enlightenment principles in the realm of politics, public policy, legislation, and regulation.

“We actively encourage our members to engage in community service at the national, state, county, and local levels with a strong emphasis on fulfillment of our civic duty to vote. Our membership has been actively involved in various elections, most recently in Virginia, where we provided a platform for candidates from both parties to connect with our community including visits to temples, large community gatherings, and private events,” Sethi noted.

According to Sethi, AHC’s inclusivity extends beyond Hindus to encompass Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, and other religions of the subcontinent. Sethi said AHC members have extended their support to candidates like Kamala Harris, and Vivek Ramaswamy.

“We were instrumental in the recently formed Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain American Congressional Caucus,” said Sethi adding that there are 27 Congressional representatives in the Caucus, which is the first-ever Hindu Caucus in the US Congress.

Chairman of AHC, Shekhar Tiwari said AHC is against genocides around the world,  pointing to the “Indian Americans against Genocide in Ukraine,” conference held on June 22, 2023, on Capitol Hill. He also noted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effort to distance himself from Russia’s Ukraine invasion, and his statements against the attack by Hamas on Israel.

Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Thet Win underscored India-Myanmar relations, and said that Myanmar shares its longest border with India and that it is an important partner of India in the ASEAN group of nations. Win said, “We have very good relations with the Indians, not only government-government, but also in terms of people-to-people,” while noting that Hinduism is “part and parcel” of Myanmar’s culture.

Co-Chair, AHC’s Ambassador Circle, former Indian Ambassador to Chile and Cambodia, Pradeep Kapur, while extending Diwali greetings, said it is important to celebrate Diwali “to see how we can bring more good in the world,” considering the ongoing crises in the Middle-East, Russia and Ukraine. He also recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s successful state visit to the US in June, and praised India’s leadership role in the New Delhi G20 Leaders’ Summit in September. Kapur also touched upon the Second Voice of Global South Summit held in New Delhi on November 17th and commended India’s role in the inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member during its G20 Presidency.

Suhas Subramanyam being honored with a memento at AHC’s 6th Anniversary and Diwali Celebrations on November 17, 2023, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manassas, Virginia. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

First Hindu-American elected to the VA State Senate, Suhas Subramanyam noted that upon his election to the Virginia General Assembly he proposed a resolution designating October of each year as Hindu Heritage Month, which Virginia now officially acknowledges. He mentioned that Virginia holds the distinction of being the first state to take such an initiative and expressed his ongoing collaboration with other lawmakers nationwide to expand it to other states as well.

A few years ago, Subramanyam noted that he found out from a group of parents that their children were being taught inaccurate information about Hinduism and Indian Heritage. As such, he promptly put together a group of activists to help revise the curriculum “so that Hinduism is accurately reflected in our schools.” He also announced his Congressional bid for 2024.

The AHC presented Subramanyam with a memento commending his work. AHC also presented a memento to Dr. Sampat Shivangi from Mississippi, and AHC’s Srilekha Palle, who was appointed to the Virginia Asian Advisory Board by Governor Glenn Youngkin, earlier this year, received the memento on Dr. Shivangi’s behalf.

A Sitar performance by Alif Laila and her group being presented at AHC’s 6th Anniversary and Diwali Celebrations on November 17, 2023, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manassas, Virginia. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Governor Youngkin sent his Diwali greetings through a video message, and Attorney General of Virginia, Jason Miyares’s Chief of Staff, D.J. Jordan, presented a letter of recognition from Miyares extending Diwali greetings.

AHC’s Dr. Kanchan Anand, Srilekha Palle, and Founding Member of AHC, Sue Ghosh also spoke at the event. AHC’s Executive Director, Alok Srivastava delivered the vote of thanks. A Sitar performance by Alif Laila accompanied by Abhay Kulkarni on Tabla, and a Bharatnatyam performance by Priya Basker were also presented.



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