Friday, February 18, 2011

Hindu American Reflections on the Federal Budget


These are difficult economic times in America and tough choices will be made as part of the ongoing budget discussions which President Obama and the members of the United States Congress are now facing.  Each of these tough choices will be met, from certain segments of the population, with frustration, disappointment and anger. And social service initiatives will not be immune to these difficult decisions. 

President Obama emphasized  the continued priority needs to be on investing in innovative, effective and efficient programs that address many of the country’s greatest community challenges.   However, as both the President and members of Congress look for savings within the budget, Hindu American Seva Charities, along with many other faiths believes, the impact of future reductions to the most vulnerable should be minimized. 

“While cognizant of the deficit and the difficult choices ahead of us, this is the wrong time to be slashing programs that serve the very needy, particularly those that leverage community-based and faith-based resources and volunteers like Americorps VISTA,” observed Shekar Narasimhan, Board Member, Hindu American Seva Charities.

With great challenges comes the opportunity for reinvention. Like other faiths in service, such as Catholic Charities, members of Interreligious Working Group on Domestic Human Needs,  HASC also believes that now is the time to work together to create a new national approach to service delivery models that is market driven, results oriented and locally controlled. This approach will enable the country to make a permanent difference to all those who are living in poverty and have been trapped, for years, in the same safety net that was intended to save them originally. 

“Now is also the time to for the New Americans and people of Dharmic (eastern tradition) to be more fully engaged in the re-invention.  Collaboratively with established organizations such as Corporation of National and Community Service, as we develop our capacity to serve through sustainable infrastructures, we will have avenues to leverage our talent to strengthen America.  HASC, in collaboration with other faiths, will continue to work with the policymakers to bring efficiencies to the service delivery system.” said Anju Bhargava, Founder, Hindu American Seva Charities.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Call to Service for U.S. Armed Forces Hindu Chaplains

This is a call to service for those interested in earning a commission as an officer in the U.S. Armed Forces as a Hindu Chaplain, and serve military families in a humanitarian role.

"The rising number of South Asians in the U.S. Armed Forces has brought about the critical need to recruit Hindu Chaplains to meet the needs of the thousands of Hindus serving with pride in our Nation's Armed Forces."
- Lt Col Ravi Chaudhary
U.S. Air Force


Department of Defense (DoD) Chaplains fulfill a crucial role for military service members. Military chaplains directly support the free exercise of religion for all members of the armed services and their families. They provide spiritual care, counseling and ethical leadership to DoD members as they meet the challenges of military deployment and service. DoD chaplains come from a variety of religious backgrounds such as Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or any of hundreds of religious organizations. Chaplains and their staff form a religious support team for military members and their families. They serve as noncombatants, with a charter to improve quality of life for military members serving all over the world. In 2008, Air Force chaplains alone performed 147,000 counseling sessions, 50,000 worship events, and conducted more than 28,000 religious rites for Airmen and their families.

General Requirements

DoD has established Chinmaya Mission West as an endorsing agency for Hindu Chaplains entering the U.S. Military. Candidates must be U.S. citizens under the age of 42 and possess a Bachelors degree. They should have 2 years of Hindu faith leadership experience, and be prepared to meet global mission requirements for DoD. The prospective candidate should have a strong knowledge of Hindu principals, and also able to work in a pluralistic environment to support troops of all faith groups. Chaplains must also maintain military physical requirements and be ready to accept assignments at CONUS and overseas locations. Chaplains meeting entry requirements will be commissioned in the rank of Second Lieutenant, and then have an opportunities to advance in rank while serving their respective military service (Army,Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps).

Contact Information and Resources

If you are interested in becoming a military Chaplain, visit the following web sites for frequently asked questions and recruitment of Hindu Chaplains. Contact the POCs listed below for detailed information.

Chinmaya Mission West Website:

Mission Reps:
Ramachandra K. Bhat (
Chaturbhuj N. Gidwani (

Service Representatives:
POC is Chaplain Manning (502) 626-4014
Sgt Cantu (502)-626-1082

CAPT Henry Nixon

Air Force:
POC is Chaplain Giannone

DoD Policy on Military Chaplains: