DECEMBER 2014
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Florida News

MISS AMERICA NINA DAVULURI SPEAKS AT HAF TAMPA EVENT

On Nov. 7, Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri addressed a full house at the Hindu American Foundation’s Annual Gala Dinner event at the Indian Cultural Center in Tampa, talking about her own upbringing as a Hindu and the importance of HAF’s work. The Gala Dinner, attended by HAF staff, Board Director, volunteers, and community leaders, marked the largest event in HAF’s Tampa Chapter history.

Davuluri, who gave the evening's keynote address, discussed her journey as the first ever Hindu and Indian American to win the Miss America contest, while describing her experiences growing up as a religious and ethnic minority. Davuluri spoke on the dynamics she learned to balance when being a Hindu American and navigating different cultures.

"I remember the first time I even realized I was different in terms of my religion was when I was in elementary school," said Davuluri. "A classmate of mine came up to me and said, 'Do you believe in Jesus?' and I said, 'Well, no but I believe in God.' And he said, 'Well you're going to hell.' I went home and told this to my mother ... And we had this conversation about religion and spirituality and how people believe in different things, but at the core of it, at the heart of it, all of us are one."

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn recognized Nov. 7, 2014 as “Hindu American Foundation Day.” The proclamation noted the numerous contributions of HAF through their human and civil rights, education, government, and public policy efforts. “As HAF started in the Tampa Bay area, the recognition by Mayor Buckhorn is particularly special for the entire Tampa Hindu community and the Foundation,” said Mihir Meghani, board member and HAF co-founder.

“It is wonderful to see our community come together and share a passion for Hindu American advocacy,” noted HAF Tampa chapter President Dev Kumbhani.

For more information, visit http://www.hafsite.org/


Sri Laxmi Narayan Mandir in Tampa inaugurated

A ribbon cutting and inauguration ceremony was held Nov. 2 for the Sri Laxmi Narayan Mandir in Tampa. Idols installed during the Pran Pratistha ceremony at the temple include Sri Laxmi Narayan, Ambaji Mata, Shri Radha Krishna, Shri Shankar Parvati, Shreenathji Bava, Shri Sathya Sai Baba, Shree Hanumanji, Shree Ganeshji, Shree Swaminarayanji an Shivalingam.

Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel were chief guests during the celebrations. Dr. Patel said, “It is a great pleasure and brings immense happiness to be here with my family and participating in the auspicious mandir opening Pran Pratistha ceremony. Guruji Maharishi Omdev is doing a great service for our new generation, children and families. This is a beautiful place to celebrate and teach our languages, our cultures and Vedic samskaras.”

Dr. Pallavi Patel said, “You see a church in every neighborhood, in the same way, we should have a temple in every neighborhood. Temples help promote our cultures, values, tradition, art, music and festivals and enlightens your spirit.” Also present was Dr. Arun Gulati, associate dean at Midwestern University in Illinois.

The Sri Laxmi-Narayan temple sits on more than five acres of land at 4615 George Road. For information, call (813) 444-9786, visit www.HinduTempleOfTampa.org or email JaiJaiLaxmi@Gmail.com


Applicants SOUGHT for 2015 Washington Leadership Program

The Washington Leadership Program (WLP) is accepting applications from high-potential South Asian college students for the 2015 summer leadership program scheduled to take place from June 13, 2015-Aug. 7, 2015. The WLP cultivates the South Asian American community's next generation of leaders by placing them in congressional offices or government agencies for eight-week summer internships and a structured leadership-training curriculum. The students gain a firsthand view of the policy-making and legislative process, as well as gain access to high-profile South-Asian leaders in the nation's Capitol. 

The Washington Leadership Program, in its seventh year, continues to remain a prestigious and elite program for the community. With more than 120 applicants, the 10 scholars who qualify for the WLP are among the best and most diverse the program will ever seen. 

The program founded in 1995, and re-started in 2006 by the alumni, brings the best and brightest college students from the community to Washington, D.C., to intern on Capitol Hill and in government agencies.

Applications are available online at www.thewlp.com The deadline for submitting applications is Jan. 23, 2015.

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