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Sep 1 – In a momentous step, the US state of Georgia has declared October to be ‘Hindu Heritage Month,’ citing the ‘vibrant’ ‘Hindu American’ community’s’ commitment to the state’s success. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued the proclamation, stating that the month of October will be dedicated to celebrating Hindu culture and the various spiritual traditions based in India.
Notably, the month of October is noteworthy for Hinduism because it features major Hindu festivals such as Navaratri and Diwali. “The Hindu heritage, culture, traditions, and values provide their followers with invaluable solutions to many of life’s problems and often serve as a source of inspiration, reflection, and contemplation for the millions of individuals who look to the teachings of Hinduism for guidance,” Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said in his proclamation.
According to the proclamation, Hinduism is the third-largest religion in the world, with one billion devotees globally and around three million in the United States. “The vibrant Hindu American community has contributed tremendously to the vitality of the State of Georgia by enriching the lives of its citizens,” according to the proclamation.
“During the month of October 2023, the Hindu community across the State of Georgia and across our great nation will collectively celebrate its heritage by focusing on its culture and the diverse spiritual traditions rooted in India,” the statement continued.
The Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA), a Hindu advocacy group in the United States, has applauded the move and commended Governor Kemp for appreciating the Hindu community’s contribution.
“Georgia proclaims October as Hindu Heritage Month. Our thanks to Governor @BrianKempGA for this recognition. This was made possible by the untiring dedication of our friends at the Hindus of Georgia PAC. Hinduism has contributed greatly to the cultural milieu of America. It is gratifying to see Georgia recognize the contribution of Hindu Americans and Hinduism at the same time that California is targeting us with #SB403,” the group said on X (formerly Twitter).
Notably, the Georgia Assembly passed the first-ever resolution condemning “Hinduphobia” earlier this year, making it the first US state to do so. The Georgia legislature’s resolution referencing the ‘Understanding Hinduphobia Initiative’ defined Hinduphobia as “a set of antagonistic, destructive, and derogatory attitudes and behaviours towards Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) and Hindus that may manifest as prejudice, fear, or hatred.”