A few days ago, an Indian American politician Suhas Subramanyam, tweeted
I am honored to have been sworn in as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates on the Bhagavad Gita. Thank you to my wife, family, friends, and all my supporters for sharing this special day with us at the Virginia State Capitol. The work has just begun. pic.twitter.com/EJZYiCvGr5
I thought it was important to embrace it. I also want others running for office here or in other areas to not feel that they have to downplay or hide it. My constituency has Hindus and people are exposed to the faith, but it is also a diverse, smart and open-minded community. It is very inclusive, especially in recent years. While campaigning, too, I went to temples and did namaskar, but I also went to churches and mosques. Hinduism is accepting of all faiths as we believe it is one god with many names.
Subramanyam is married to Miranda Peña Subramanyam, who works for a government contractor and volunteers in her free time at the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter. They were married in Sterling, Virginia, where they currently reside.
About Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita (Sanskrit: भगवद् गीता, ) often referred to as the Gita, is a 700-verse Sanskrit scripture that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Popular media in India including bollywood films have long depicted court scenes where witnesses take an oath using Bhagavad Gita (link).
Subramanyam’s swearing in with a Bhagavad Gita follows a trend. With the increasing diversity in the West, many politicians of Indian descent are taking to the Gita during their swearing in:
At Sri Srinivasan’s formal swearing-in ceremony in September, administered by retired Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Srinivasan took the oath on the Hindu holy book Bhagavad Gita and became the first federal appellate judge of South Asian descent.
And the hawks are watching for those who aren’t following this new norm: UK MP under fire for not taking oath on Gita – A British Punjabi Hindu MP has come under fire for not taking an oath of allegiance to the Crown on the Bhagavat Gita.
The recent Australian bushfires have devastated communities across the region, leaving people without homes and basic necessities.
Raj Gupta’s home went up in flames during recent NSW South Coast bushfires and his town of Malua Bay remains severely damaged, without power and mobile service. However, Gupta continues to run the small pharmacy there, dispensing medicines and essentials to those who need it.
In yet another case of an apparently senseless killing, Abhishek Sudesh Bhat, a student of Indian origin was shot dead by an unidentified person in San Bernardino, California. In a facebook post, Abhishek said “Started New Job at California State University, San Bernardino College of Natural Sciences October — Teaching Assistant (TA)”
As per media accounts, Abhishek’s body was found in front of a motel room where he was also working part time. Abhishek’s father Sudhesh Chand is a yoga guru and founder of Sri Upanishath Yoga Centre Trust in Kuvempunagar, Mysuru.
Abhishek’s family has approached the local MP, Pratap Simha and deputy commissioner of Police, seeking their help to bring home the mortal remains.
The motive behind the crime or the identity of the attacker were not immediately known.
Indian-origin entrepreneur Tushar Atre who was abducted from his home in California’s Santa Cruz earlier this week has been found dead inside his BMW car, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office said
Atre, Santa Cruz tech executive was forced from his home in the middle of the night and then killed this week, leaving authorities with few clues but plenty of questions in the slaying.
The body of Tushar Atre, 50, was found Tuesday morning about seven hours after the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office was alerted that he had been taken from his home “during a crime.”
Law enforcement officials are still trying to piece together the events that led to Atre’s death, which they believe originated with a robbery attempt.
Atre was also in the cannabis business. The city of Santa Cruz confirmed he was “the owner of Interstitial Systems, which is a licensed cannabis manufacturer that operates out of a location on Fern street,” reported Kion456. Heavy has confirmed through state records that Atre was a licensed Cannabis distributor.
Atre was the owner of AtreNet, a web design company founded in 1996 that caters to Silicon Valley corporate businesses. According to AtreNet’s website, the company’s clients include technology, marketing and software companies such as Hewlett-Packard, BuzzLogic, Seagate and Tealeaf Technology.
A Harris County, Texas deputy, Sandeep Dhaliwal, who made headlines after gaining an exemption to wear a turban as part of his uniform, was shot during a traffic stop.
A sheriff’s deputy in Texas who was an observant Sikh and garnered national attention for gaining permission to wear a turban as part of his uniform was shot and killed on Friday near Houston in what officials described as an ambush during a traffic stop.
Dhaliwal‘s killing comes just days after Indian Prime minister along with President Trump addressed a large gathering of Indian Americans at a historic ‘Howdy, Modi!’ rally in Houston Texas
Law enforcement officials saluted Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal as his body was moved to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.CreditJon Shapley/Houston Chronicle, via Associated Press
A 30-year-old Indian student, Neil Kumar, was recently shot to death at point-blank range in Alabama last week. The local police have arrested Leon Flowers suspected for killing an Neil.
Neil Kumar, who was pursuing his Master’s in Computer Science at the University of Troy in Brundidge, Alabama was shot to death in an apparent robbery. The 30-year-old was a student at the Sharjah Indian School and a native of Thrissur in Kerala. Neil was working as a part time cashier at a Gulf Gas station convenience store on the busy Highway 10 when the robbery and shooting took place last Wednesday morning.
Three CCTV visuals of the attack were released by the police personnel on Thursday. The visuals, carried by local newspapers, showed the assailant who is dressed in all black with white gloves and was carrying a gun. The time code on the CCTV visuals indicate that the suspect had been lurking around the area of the convenience store prior to the shooting. This suspicion was even raised by the Sheriff of Pike County who is investigating the homicide.
Officers have also told the media that this was the first time in years that Brundidge, which is the second biggest city in Pike County, has witnessed such a violent crime.
Born to parents Purushothaman Kumar and Seema, who are based in the UAE, Neil had been studying in the United States for a year after graduating from a Chennai college. His parents and sisters Neema and Natasha flew in to Alabama on hearing the news. Neil’s funeral will be held on Monday afternoon in Alabama, in the presence of friends and family. Apart from computers, Neil also nurtured a passion for photography.
Several friends and classmates remember Neil as a happy person who left a lasting impression on whoever he met. The community at Troy University also held a memorial for their late classmate.
Same sex relationships and gay rights in India seem to be catching up with rest of the world. Of course, this is not universal or uniform. Some cities and states in India are more advanced than others when it comes to accommodating Gay rights. Some like Bengaluru have gone as far as having Public Toilets for Transgenders (link)
Now comes news that Dutee Chand is the first Indian sports star to openly acknowledge being in a same-sex relationship with her ‘soulmate’. Dutee Chand is the 100 m record holder and winner of two silver medals at the 2018 Asian Games.
Dutee spoke to The Sunday Express about her relationship, career plans and eventually settling down with the woman she loves. She is busy training for the Tokyo Olympics and that she hoped to settle down with her ‘soulmate’ in future.
“I have found someone who is my soulmate. I believe everyone should have the freedom to be with whoever they decide they want to be with. I have always supported the rights of those who want to be in a same-sex relationship,” she was quoted.
The 2018 Asian Games double silver medalist didn’t reveal the identity of her partner, and wants to safeguard her from being “the center of undue attention”, in a country that is still getting used to the decriminalization of homosexuality.
She is an Indian professional sprinter and current national champion in the women’s 100 metres event. She is the third Indian woman to ever qualify for the Women’s 100 meters event at the Summer Olympic Games. However in the 2016 Summer Olympics, her 11.69s in the preliminary round did not make her qualify to the next round. In 2018 Chand clinched silver in women’s 100m at the Jakarta Asian Games. It was India’s first medal in this event since 1998.
Also inNew York Times: Sprinter Dutee Chand Becomes India’s First Openly Gay Athlete – A champion sprinter with village roots has become India’s first openly gay professional athlete, less than a year after the country’s top court overturned a longstanding ban on gay sex.