Hindus In The House

Greetings from New York where I am attending the just concluded annual SAJA convention. The special guest star at this year’s gala was one of the best looking Indian men in the world, Sendhil Ramamurthy of the TV show Heroes.

Since every woman I know has been asking me, I will announce it to the world: the man is married — seemingly happily so. Sorry to break the news.

Someone else had also asked about Sendhil’s accent on the show, something I too had been wondering about. It seems that in the pilot, he had put on a standard upper class Indian accent, but focus groups had indicated that the accent was unpopular. So Sendhil gradually phased it out over the next handful of episodes until settling on the faux London accent he presently uses. So there.

Another story that I learned about from SAJA sources is this one, about a Hindu priest being invited to lead the opening prayers at Capitol Hill. It seems the gesture was met with protest from Christian groups who felt it was “blasphemous” to acknowledge any religion other than Christianity within the halls of American power.

Now, I’m all for the separation of Church and State, and the pressing for secularism within the official corridors of government power. But if you’re going to traditionally allow a “chaplain” into Capitol Hill to perform official religious duties, then it’s not unreasonable to expect that chaplain to be from any number of religions. The US religion right has been pressing for more religion in government, schools and in every other official forum. But as this event shows, it’s not “religion” they want –it’s a specific religion.

Supposedly, Pat Robertson once said, “We want a secular constitution, we want to make sure religious minorities are protected.” But he was talking about Afghanistan, and about protecting Christian minorities. It seems to me that the same logic should apply in America, as well.