The Hindu Society of Southern Indiana lecture series opens today with Mandar Deo, who will present the discussion “Hinduism — As One Hindu Sees It.”
Society communications leader Rajkumar Subramanian said the lecture series, which will include lectures in January and April, is designed to help broaden Hindus’ understanding of their own culture and to introduce Hinduism to those of other faiths.
“Even many people who are from India don’t have an in-depth understanding of Hinduism,” Subramanian said.
Deo, who is a plant manager at Cummins, comes from a family of preachers and attended a traditional Vedic school to learn basic Hindu scripts and rituals. His discussion will include the most basic and broad concepts of the faith.
“We aren’t trying to preach or get anyone to change their religion,” Subramanian said, but rather give participants a broader understanding of Hinduism as it relates to our global economy and culture.
The lecture series is just one new piece of the society’s programming, which received a boost this year thanks to a Welcoming Communities II grant, awarded by the Heritage Fund, for $2,000. Another new event is Passport to India, a free, four-week program in which participants can learn how to navigate the Indian language, currency, culture, even tipping practices — “anything you would need to know if you wanted to take a trip to India,” Subramanian said.
Passport to India will take place at North High School, and dates are still forthcoming, though Subramanian said the series will likely begin in mid-October.
Future programs may include dance and music instruction this winter, Subramanian said.
Though the society has been in existence for more than 10 years and became a registered nonprofit three years ago, Subramanian said the grant was particularly significant because, up until this point, the group has been run primarily on the personal funds of many of its core 25 members.
Currently, the group’s main endeavor is Gurukul, a Sunday school for Indian children ages 5 and up that is designed to help them learn more about their cultural roots through games, storytelling, and other activities. Between 20 and 40 students take part each week.
“It’s making home away from home for these kids,” Subramanian said.
If you go
What: “Hinduism — As One Hindu Sees It” by Dr. Mandar Deo, presented by the Hindu Society of Southern Indiana.
When: Today, from 10 a.m. to noon
Where: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus, 7850 Youth Camp Road