Festival of Lights

An American
October 05, 2012

Every Diwali, I explain to my friends at school why I am so tired—garba it’s like dancing—pujas? I guess like praying—  I explain in fragments because even we don’t know why we wash statues with milk, why worshipping God takes so many coats. I don’t ask,  just sit beside my mother when she sings. My sister and I watch our father struggle to cross his legs; his laughter resting on his lifted knees.  He closes his eyes, pretending to pray. We believe my mother made this temple herself, found pictures and tiny murtis, gold coins with Shiva, rice and turmeric  stored in tiny steel jars.

Racial Diversity, Religious Intolerance
July 16, 2010

The Republicans' new non-white candidates have drawn a lot of attention, but Peter Beinart notes that the party's religious litmus tests remain in full force: Jindal was raised Hindu and converted to Catholicism; Haley is a Sikh who became evangelical. There’s no reason to doubt the sincerity of their conversions. But both also seem aware that maintaining the non-Western religious traditions of their birth would have imperiled their political careers. In 2007, when Congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution recognizing the Hindu and Sikh festival of Diwali, Jindal abstained.