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New Pluralism in the Indian-American Community

Thursday, Mar 3, 2016 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

New Pluralism in the Indian-American Community
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While early Indian immigrants to the United States hailed from the most privileged sectors of one of the most religiously and culturally diverse societies in the world, today’s Indian Americans—reflecting more recent immigration—are a cross-section of the rich plurality of their motherland. The numerous castes and sub-castes of the Hindus, the Muslims who constitute the second-biggest national Islamic population in the world, Indian Christians whose heritage goes back two thousand years, the vibrant Neo-Buddhist presence and others are all part of the Indian American mosaic. There are also other “little traditions” that are often overlooked: the rationalist stream in Hinduism, the Dravidian tradition, the rich Indo-Mongoloid tribal traditions of Northeast India, the Dalit tradition, women’s perspectives in a highly patriarchal society and several other such areas. All these together — all undeniably Indian – are all parts of the emergent, evolving Indian American community, however easily lost sight of in the mega-narrative of a hip, techno-savvy, and always prosperous mainline religion.

Jesudas M. Athyal is general editor of Religion in Southeast Asia: An Encyclopedia of Faith and Cultures.

Co-sponsored by Religious Studies and the Humanities Commons