Mihir Meghani, a prominent Indian-American physician and founder of the Hindu America Foundation, asserts that Hinduism transcends mere religious boundaries, characterizing it as a holistic way of life. Meghani, an emergency care physician, has recently pledged an additional USD 1.5 million to support Hindu advocacy and awareness causes in the United States. This commitment, made at the annual Silicon Valley gala of the Hindu America Foundation, brings his total contributions to an impressive USD 4 million over two decades.
Meghani's dedication to the Hindu cause positions him as a significant philanthropic figure within the Indian-American community, potentially making him the most substantial donor for Hindu advocacy in the United States. His contributions reflect a long-standing commitment to fostering understanding and awareness of Hinduism in the American landscape. The Hindu America Foundation, co-founded by Meghani and his friends twenty years ago, serves as a platform to promote the values and principles associated with Hinduism.
By allocating substantial financial resources to these causes, Dr. Mihir Meghani exemplifies a deep-seated commitment to preserving and promoting Hindu culture and values, recognizing the significance of Hinduism as more than just a religion but as an integral way of life. His contributions underscore the importance of advocacy and awareness in fostering a better understanding of Hinduism in the diverse cultural fabric of the United States.
The Bhavan, India’s center of culture in Kensington, London opened the Indian festive season with a spellbinding talk on better understanding India’s Gods, Goddesses, and festivals by Dr. Priya Virmani. It was a sell-out event where Priya, a renowned proponent of Vedic philosophy, looked beyond the stories of the Gods and Goddesses we are familiar with including Brahma, Krishna, Shiva, Durga, and Rama to understand their significance and how we can apply this learning to our everyday lives. Renowned Odissi dancer Katrina Rute, flautist Gaurav Uniyal and tabla player Soumyaraj Das gave dimension to Priya’s voice and verse with their captivating renditions which enthralled the audience.
The evening opened with the serenity of mantra chants and lamp lighting by Lord Karan Bilimoria. In his opening speech, he spoke about festivals conjuring memories of his parents and shared anecdotes from his meetings with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the mystic Sadhguru. Together with MP Virendra Sharma, Lord Bilimoria was welcomed by Dr. Priya Virmani and felicitated by Dr. Nanda, the Director of the Bhavan. They were also joined on stage by two inspirational, world record-making Indian cyclists – the mother-son duo - Gouri Mishra and Rian Kumar.
A little girl’s question (who was in the audience) was especially striking – she wanted to know if all Indian Gods had a message. Priya explained just as each one of us has various moods Indian Gods and Goddesses come with myriad messages to help us manage our different moods, for example, when you need strength and focus to study better it’s Hanuman; to start something new or partake in something out of your comfort zone, it’s Ganesha, and the like.
Priya imparted a new understanding of, and perspective to, the key festivals of Navratri leading to Dussehra and Diwali – the festival of lights that celebrates the homecoming of the Hindu God Lord Rama to his kingdom of Ayodhya.
The audience was especially mesmerised by Priya’s elucidation of the meaning of Ashtami (the eighth day of the Navratris) and of how the greatest ascetic Lord Shiva is also the greatest dancer among the Hindu Gods. Anjali, who was in the audience, commented, “I learned so much from Priya’s talk. It was so informative and well articulated and beautifully presented with so much energy, clarity and beauty.”
Food for the evening was specially curated by Michelin star and celebrity Indian chef Atul Kochhar and the team at his restaurant, Kanishka in Mayfair. The audience was treated to some beautiful vegetarian fare with Jain and vegan options.
Virendra Sharma MP, brought the celebratory evening to a close with his talk on the seminal importance of contributing to our communities as he extended a mention of unwavering support for Priya’s work to make ancient Indian spirituality, a GPRS for a happier life, accessible to all and relevant to current times.
India diplomatic mission has strongly urged the United States to initiate a comprehensive inquiry into recently revealed bodycam footage, which features a Seattle police officer making callous comments regarding the tragic death of an Indian student who was struck by a speeding police car.
The victim, Jaahnavi Kandula, a 23-year-old master's student at Northeastern University's Seattle campus, lost her life in January when she was struck by a police vehicle driven by Officer Kevin Dave. Officer Dave was reportedly driving at nearly 120 kilometers per hour while responding to an overdose report. .
The controversy surrounding the incident escalated after the Seattle Police Department released a video on Monday, capturing another police officer making insensitive remarks and laughing while discussing the accident.
In the widely circulated video on social media, Daniel Auderer, Vice President of the Seattle Police Officers' Guild, is heard conversing with the guild's president, stating, "She is dead," followed by bursts of laughter, and referring to Ms. Kandula as "a regular person." Mr. Auderer continued to laugh, suggesting, "Yeah, just write a check. Eleven thousand dollars.''
The video concludes with Mr. Auderer inaccurately stating Ms. Kandula's age, saying, "She was 26 anyway, she had limited value."
In response to this deeply troubling video, India has called for a thorough investigation into the matter, seeking accountability and justice for the untimely loss of Jaahnavi Kandula. This incident has raised serious concerns about the conduct and attitudes of certain individuals within the Seattle Police Department and the need for a prompt and impartial examination of the situation.
The growing power of PIO worldwide is stamped with Ms Claire Coutinho, a close aide of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who got a big promotion as his new Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary in a mini reshuffle on Thursday.
Ms Coutinho becomes the second Goan-origin minister after Home Secretary Suella Braverman in the Sunak Cabinet and has a tough brief ahead of her as energy costs have been soaring in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
She has committed herself to work on safeguarding energy security and reducing bills for families struggling with a cost-of-living crisis.
In a swift move at Tesla, Indian-origin Vaibhav Taneja has been named Tesla's new Chief Financial Officer as the previous finance chief Zachary Kirkhorn announced his decision to step down, the automaker said in a company filing on Monday.
Vaibhav Taneja, 45, was appointed Tesla CFO in addition to his current role as Chief Accounting Officer (CAO) of the US-based electric car major on Friday after Kirhorn, Tesla's Master of Coin and finance chief for the last four years, stepped down from the post.
Meanwhile, Tesla is likely to start its Indian journey soon after the recent meeting with Indian PM Narendra Modi and Tesla Chief Elon Musk in USA.
USA Prez candidate hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy is as comfortable talking about Bible stories as he is sharing the message of the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most sacred Hindu texts.
The 37-year-old PIO biotech entrepreneur turned Republican presidential candidate has been steadily garnering support in a party dominated by conservative Christians. In many polls, he's in third place behind former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and he is one of six candidates who have qualified for the first GOP presidential debate on Aug. 23.
He is also only the nation's second Hindu presidential candidate. Tulsi Gabbard, the former Hawaii congresswoman, ran as a Democrat in 2020.
Vivek shared 10 core beliefs as part of his campaign, with “God is real” topping the list followed by "There are two genders." He cascaded into the limelight with his 2021 book “Woke Inc: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam," a scathing critique of corporations that he says use social justice causes as a smokescreen for self-interested policies.
Prez hopeful became a regular commentator on Fox News and other conservative outlets, backing capitalism and meritocracy, and criticizing affirmative action, mask mandates and open borders. He is anti-abortion and believes gender dysphoria should be treated as a mental illness. He has expressed support for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, whose populist policies have been divisive.
On the campaign trail, Ramaswamy has leaned into his faith as he vies for the nomination of a party where evangelical Christian support is key. In speeches and casual conversations with these voters, he maintains that his religion has much in common with “the Judeo-Christian values this nation was founded on.”
"I’m an ardent defender of religious liberty," he said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I will be an even more vocal and unapologetic defender of it precisely because no one is going to accuse me of being a Christian nationalist.”
Former Indian-origin minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam launched his presidential campaign, vowing to evolve Singapore's culture to maintain its global prominence. He emphasized the need to prevent societal divisions and expressed his commitment to be a unifying figure if elected. Tharman highlighted his experience in unifying people during his 22 years in politics and his capability to handle presidential responsibilities, including safeguarding reserves. He also stressed his integrity and independence of mind, which would remain unchanged. Tharman's background includes roles as Minister for Education, Finance, and Deputy Prime Minister, as well as positions in international organizations.
The upcoming 2023 presidential election is scheduled for September, as President Halimah Yacob's six-year term concludes. Two other potential candidates, businessman George Goh and investment manager Ng Kok Song, have also announced their intention to run. Singapore's Constitution outlines requirements for public-sector and private-sector candidates.
The 2017 presidential election was a reserved one, limited to members of the Malay community, with Halimah becoming Singapore's first female president. Her current term ends on September 13 this year.
The PIO community in Singapore is extremely enthusiastic about the news of Tharman Shanmugaratnam's bid for the top post.
In a developing story, Singapore's transport minister has been arrested in connection with a rare top-level corruption probe that has ensnared a billionaire hotel tycoon, the country's anti-graft body has said. Transport Minister S. Iswaran was "arrested on 11 July 2023" and "subsequently released on bail", the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) said in an emailed statement late Friday, confirming the arrest for the first time.
Hotel tycoon Ong Beng Seng, one of Singapore's richest people, was also arrested on the same day and released on bail in connection with the probe, the bureau said.
The bureau has not disclosed details of the investigation that has gripped the city-state, a global financial hub reputed to be among the least corrupt countries in the world. The country is extremely strict in keeping its anti-corruption movement upfront and there is a zero-tolerance policy against corruption in the country.
In a compliment to the aggressive foreign policy followed by the Narendra Modi government in New Delhi for the last decade, an article in Foreign Policy, a noted US magazine focused on global affairs, has cited the emergence of India as a "major player" in the Middle East as one of the most interesting geopolitical developments in the region in years. The write-up highlighted New Delhi's deep and growing ties with major countries in the region, including Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to assert that the evolution of India's place reflects the changing international order and the willingness -- perhaps even eagerness -- of these nations to benefit from the new multipolarity.
There is little that the United States can do about this development and may even in a paradoxical way benefit from it, its author Steven A Cook has argued. "If the United States Middle Eastern partners are looking for an alternative to Washington, it is better that New Delhi is among the choices.
"The US may no longer be the undisputed big daddy in the region, but as long as India expands its presence in the Middle East, neither Russia nor China can assume that role," he asserted. The author recalled his visit to India around a decade ago to state what had struck him then that Indians did not want to play a larger role in the Middle East.
In the 10 years since his trip, however, things have changed, he said. India is seen as a big daddy by the regional countries and the perception of global power is gradually emerging throughout the world regarding the Indian state.
PIO/NRI community continues to bring pride to the motherland. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has honoured Rajindar Singh Dhatt, one of the last surviving Sikh soldiers who fought in the Second World War with a Points of Light honour at a UK-India Week reception at 10 Downing Street.
Dhatt, 101, was recognised on Wednesday for his service and his work running the "Undivided Indian Ex-Servicemen's Association" to help bring together British Indian war veterans.
Dhatt, based in Hounslow in southwest London since 1963, was born in pre-Partition India in 1921 and fought with the Allied forces during the British colonial period.
“It is an immense honour to receive this recognition from the Prime Minister, to whom I would like to extend my deepest appreciation for acknowledging the importance and impact of the 'Undivided Indian Ex-Servicemen's Association'," said Dhatt.
US' Georgia Assembly has passed a resolution condemning Hinduphobia, making it the first American state to take such a legislative measure. While condemning Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu bigotry, the resolution said Hinduism is one of the world's largest and oldest religions with over 1.2 billion adherents in over 100 countries and encompasses an array of diverse traditions and belief systems with values of acceptance, mutual respect and peace.
The specific resolution was introduced by Representatives Lauren McDonald and Todd Jones from Forsyth County in the suburbs of Atlanta, home to one of the largest Hindu and Indian-American communities in Georgia.
The resolution observed that the American-Hindu community has been a major contributor to diverse sectors such as medicine, science and engineering, information technology, hospitality, finance, academia, manufacturing, energy, retail trade, among others. It also noted that the community's contributions of Yoga, ayurveda, meditation, food, music, arts have enriched the cultural fabric and have been widely adopted in American society and enhanced the lives of millions.