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Week of events focuses on Hinduism in 21st century America

Saturday to Sunday, March 28-April 5, 2009, various times various locations

A weeklong celebration of Hindu culture and religion featuring lectures, performances and yoga demonstrations will be held Saturday to Sunday, March 28-April 5, at various campus locations. The celebration is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required to attend some of the events.

"Hinduism in the 21st Century" week will explore the intersection of India's ancient spiritual traditions with the modernity of American life. The event is sponsored by the Office of Hindu Life in the Office of Religious Life and the student group Hindu Satsangam.

A full schedule of events is available by visiting the Hindu Satsangam website.

Organizers said they hope the week's theme will not only resonate with members of Princeton's Hindu community, but also serve as an impetus for those from the broader community to learn more about the faith.

"In presenting such a variety of programming, we wish to convey the diversity within Hinduism itself," said Vineet Chander, Princeton's coordinator for Hindu life and principal organizer of the event. "At the same time, we hope that each event will allow us to go deeper in exploring our theme, and gain insight into the faith as a fluid, living tradition faced with both challenges and opportunities in the modern world."

Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, will give the keynote address during a vegetarian banquet at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 4, in the Chancellor Green Rotunda. Mysorekar will speak about challenges and opportunities facing the next generation of Hindu-Americans, and she also will be honored by event organizers with the first Hindu-American Inspiration of the Year Award. An RSVP is required to attend the banquet and keynote address by e-mailing hindu@princeton.edu before April 3.

Other highlights of the week include: a field trip to one of the first Hindu temples established in the United States; a panel discussion exploring the tensions between the academic and practitioner's approaches to Hinduism; a discussion about Hinduism's take on the real-life struggles faced by American college students; and a student-driven arts festival.

"Hinduism in the 21st Century" also pays homage to the popularity of yoga and spiritual vegetarianism -- perhaps Hinduism's biggest contributions to American pop-culture -- with an interactive yoga class and a discussion of Hinduism and animal rights, held jointly with the student group Princeton Animal Welfare Society.

Although student groups have presented a Hinduism week at Princeton in previous years, this is the first year the celebration will be hosted by the Office of Hindu Life, a part of the University's Office of Religious Life and the Chapel.

Media who would like to attend an event should contact Vineet Chander in advance by calling (201) 925-4973 or e-mailing vchander@princeton.edu.

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