Hindu Heritage Walk brings together Hindu Americans of all backgrounds, regardless of sampradaya and ethnicity to walk with pride for our heritage. Anyone of Hindu identity, practicing or non, is encouraged to attend, as well interfaith and civic leaders, and anyone interested to learn more. After a brief walk sharing prominent messages, we\’ll have a concluding program with speeches and cultural items, including performances and crafts for children. This is a great opportunity to join in celebration with the community.
On October 9th 2022 about 250 individuals gathered to join the Hindu Heritage Walk in Novi. The walk was the second of its kind, bringing together Hindu Americans, regardless of denomination, organization, race, or ethnic background, to connect and raise awareness. October is recognized as Hindu Heritage Month. It is the time of many prominent festivals, such as Navaratri, Durga Puja, and Diwali.
Hindu Americans have made many contributions to the state of Michigan, and this was recognized by Governor Whitmer in her proclamation. The community comprises many frontline healthcare workers, such as doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. Many are part of Michigan’s automotive industry or essential workers in other industries.
During the Covid-19 pandemic and through the Ukraine war, the Hindu community continued its involvement in the broader community. Many Hindu organizations were engaged in community service, also called ‘seva’, through which they have made masks, distributed food for the needy, provided free academic tutoring, held vaccine drives, and even flew to Poland to set up field kitchens to feed those fleeing the violence, providing counseling and relocation support.
Community leaders expressed appreciation for the recognition by city, state, and federal officials, in raising awareness and appreciation of the rich and ancient Hindu heritage. A few attendees mentioned how many members of the community were concerned over the recent violence against Hindu Americans and vandalism of Hindu temples in North America, as well as bigotry and promotion of hate and anti-Hindu violence by a number of American political groups.
Several interfaith community leaders attended the event. Former convener of the Troy Interfaith Group and Troy Police Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Robert Cornwall addressed the crowd, stating that “Southeast Michigan is rich in its religious diversity. As a Christian minister I have been blessed by Hindu friends. So in this moment of concern I stand in solidarity with my Hindu friends and neighbors.”
Mr. Bob Bruttell, co-founder and the current vice-chair of Interfaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, shared his experience of working with the Hindu community in the Interfaith arena, especially in educating our school children through Religious Diversity Journeys program.
The concluding program after the walk, included not only a few speeches, but several performances by children. Young female students of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir opened with a prayer for peace. Young children affiliated with The Hindu Temple of Canton, dressed up as deities and figures from the ancient civilization, garnering cheers from the crowd. In addition, there was a Kuchipudi (classical) dance performance as well as musical performances, both in the program and during the walk.
After an inspiring speech by Namrata Sandadi (Hindu Yuva, youth leader), Narayanaswamy (Nasy) Sankagiri, president of the Hindu Community Relations Council, thanked the grassroots collective and volunteers that came together to put this event together in under 2 weeks and all the speakers and special guests.