Hinduism discussion to enlighten students, faculty

A different perspective: A discussion on Hinduism will provide a look at an unfamiliar religion, not prevalent in the Midwest. Nimishakavi and his wife founded the first Hindu temple in Topeka.

For many students at Washburn, Hinduism is a foreign subject. India is the origin of Hinduism, making it far removed from the traditional faiths that are more common to the Midwest.

Its status as a major world religion has allowed many to get a glimpse of what Hinduism entails, but it remains mostly a mystery. There will be a discussion event taking place next week for those who want to learn more about the religion.

Our university will have the pleasure of welcoming Sam Nimishakavi to speak on Hinduism and answer questions regarding it. He is part of a local temple that he and his wife, Maruthi Nimishakavi, started officially on Feb. 17, 2018.

The temple is located on 2300 SW 30th Street. The temple was created so that local Hindu worshippers would have a place to practice their beliefs in Topeka rather than having to travel to Kansas City.

Nimishakavi has a PhD in computer science and came to Topeka several years ago when his wife had the opportunity for a new career. Later, he helped to start the first Hindu temple in the capital city. He was born in India where all children are placed in a unique caste system that determines their future career paths.

Interestingly, Nimishakavi was born into the priest class where he attributes his first contact with Hinduism although he is not a Hindu priest.

“I think it’s important for us as humans to learn as much as we can about each other,” said Melisa Posey, Program Coordinator of the Diversity & Inclusion Office on campus. “We live in a world of fear of the unknown, and we’re scared to ask questions about each other. This event is a way to expose students and staff to something they are not familiar with so they can have a greater understanding of it.”

The discussion on Hinduism will be taking place at 4 p.m. next week, Nov. 13 in the Vogel room of the Student Union. Nimishakavi will dedicate 45 minutes to lecturing while reserving an additional 15 minutes to answer questions.

“Most of the people are probably new to it so I will explain to them the basic tenets of Hinduism,” said Nimishakavi. “How history has shaped Hinduism to be what it is today through socioeconomics, war and politics. We will discuss how they’ve changed it over time and how the religion has evolved.”

This is a great opportunity to learn about something new from a culture most students know little about. It is a great prelude to the upcoming Celebration of Cultures event that will be taking place later in the month.

Edited by Adam White, Jason Morrison, Wesley Tabor, Jessica Galvin

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