Second-Generation Hindus Are "Torn Between Worlds"

April 1, 2006

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

On April 1, 2006 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, "Before Anand Adavi and Vijaya Adavi journeyed to the Hindu temple for prayers and fellowship, they took part in another ritual.

Their son, Pranav Anand, a precocious 7-year-old with deep brown eyes and a toothy grin, dallied on his PlayStation and lobbied to stay in the family's New Berlin home and away from the temple where strangers sang unfamiliar verses in a far-off language and worshipped unknown deities.

The battle was standard practice for the couple from India, who said they have coaxed, encouraged and even bribed their son to partake in ancient Hindu traditions with them... As the Indian community in America grows in size and influence, many worry whether Indian-Americans are prepared to carry out the religious and cultural customs of their ancestors... An estimated 1.5 million Hindus live in the United States, and Hindus are among the fastest growing religious groups in the country. The Pluralism Project at Harvard University, which seeks to raise awareness of religious diversity through research, lists 737 Hindu temples and centers in the United States [in its directory]. The Hindu temple in Pewaukee is [one of two listed by the Pluralism Project] in Wisconsin.

Experts said the experience of assimilating vs. integrating is common among U.S. immigrants and said second-generation Indian-Americans often struggle with cultural and religious identity, especially because Hinduism is frequently unfamiliar or misunderstood in the U.S."