On a warm sunny afternoon of 23rd July, about 60 young cadets of the Houston Police Department (HPD) were introduced to the core principles of Hindu Dharma through a series of presentations and lectures at Vallabh Priti Seva Samaj (VPSS). As the Greater Houston area is one of the most culturally diverse communities in the US, it was a much needed introduction to the Hindu faith and a huge step forward to help understand and support the members of the community they serve.
This unique engagement with the HPD was initiated by the Hindus of Greater Houston (HGH). HGH Director Manisha Gandhi led the initiative with the keen involvement of Senior HPD Officer Danish Hussain.
After welcoming the cadets and inviting the distinguished guests to the dais, VPSS Trustee and HGH Advisor Rasesh Dalal kicked off the day’s proceedings with a presentation that covered many aspects of Hindu Dharma including the customs and rationale behind each of those customs. Observing the fact that Hindu Dharma is better defined “as a way of life than a religion,” Rasesh also explained the Hindu philosophy of karma – one’s life being an eternal circle with good deeds in the current life that lead to a better re-birth in the next life. He also highlighted how Hindus receive and treat guests at home; how people respect the premises by leaving the shoes outside the home before entering and the practice of wearing gold jewelry on social and religious occasions. The essence of Hindu Dharma, he added, is the same of all true religions – Bhakti and genuine compassion for all beings.
HGH President Thara Narasimhan congratulated the cadets on joining such a noble profession and noted that over the last 40 years, the community has become very diverse. She also emphasized the fact that India itself is very diverse with people following different customs including dressing styles. This, in turn, makes it the very nature of Indians to respect other cultures and customs. She offered the services of HGH to the cadets at any point should there be such a need and concluded her address by requesting HGH and its members to pray for the cadets’ success in their careers.
Manisha Gandhi wrapped up the event with the vote of thanks. She thanked HPD for taking the time to learn more about Hindu Dharma and Hindus in Houston and VPSS for providing the venue for such an initiative. She also thanked Officer Danish Hussain for playing an active role in arranging the event and closed out the day’s proceedings with a brief explanation of the meaning of Namaste – the gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another.
Several interesting questions came up at the Q&A session. HGH Director Somansh Agarwal remarked that in case of any doubt, HPD officers can contact the HGH President at [email protected] or through Manisha Gandhi, to help them out with any issues, as and when needed. ” The cadets who attended the presentation at VPSS will be graduating in October 2021.
-By Kesava B. Chakka
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