Hindus Celebrate Important Holiday, Reflect on Growing Community

October 21, 2006

Author: Sheila B. Lalwani

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


A congregation is more than a place of worship for a young immigrant community. It's the center for religious life, community and social gatherings.

Just ask area physician Charul Munshi.

He remembers when there were just a handful of tight-knit Hindus in metro Milwaukee, and the idea of a temple seemed like a distant dream.

On Saturday, he watched as some 1,500 Hindus ushered in the biggest holiday of the year at the Hindu Temple of Wisconsin, with songs and special prayers.

Hindus across the nation marked the beginning of Diwali, which in terms of religious significance is similar to Christmas for Christians. But this year, Hindus are marking the holiday with an added sense of glee: National organizations are pushing for a bill before Congress that would formally recognize the significance of Diwali.

The Hindu American Foundation, a human rights group that works to provide a voice for Hindus in America, launched a plan to raise awareness about Diwali and is asking lawmakers' to support House Resolution 548, which acknowledges the festival of Diwali and its importance to Hindus, Jains and Sikhs in the United States.