Lavina Melwani:

With Christians, I like to use Plato’s Cave Parable as a starting point, one of the most famous parables East or West, and from there, show how both Eastern and Western religions related to it, and then to each other.”

Coming from very different walks of life, all these people have devoted considerable time and energy to explaining the finer points of Hinduism, combating the misconceptions. What satisfaction do they get from being the Interpreters of Dharma? Says Lakhani, “The truth of the matter is I have no choice but to carry on like this. If a little bit of Vivekananda gets into one’s bloodstream — one has no choice in such matters!”

He believes that many Hindus living abroad are adopting the worst of both the East and the West: “This cocktail has produced a very grotesque scenario for modern India and for Hindus everywhere. Concepts like Brahmacharya, or respecting and looking after the elderly, are considered old-fashioned and (are) abandoned, while promiscuous lifestyles is considered to be cool.”

For Sidhaye, excitement comes from conveying that Hinduism is the only religion not out to convert people: “Because we believe each individual has the freedom of thought to achieve salvation — I use the word ‘salvation’ because non-Hindus are familiar with it. In fact, I tell them that you will not even find a process for somebody to become a Hindu; I ask them to show me any place where Hindus have gone and done mass conversions.” Kulkarni, who has become a part of the Indian-American community finds it even more imperative to change the perceptions people may have of Hinduism. —, concluded