Atlanta, GA — August 29, 2006 — Hindu Vedic Hymns reverberated the quiet monday afternoon hallways of the GA State Capitol Building in Downtown Atlanta on August 28, 2006 – the first ever Hindu event at the GA State Capitol. The occasion was the inauguration of an exhibition titled ‘Hindu Culture and Dharmic Traditions of India’, organized by the Atlanta Chapter of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS).
Priest Srinivasa Sarma from the Hindu Temple of Atlanta (HTA) chanted the hymns from the most ancient Hindu scriptures – the Vedas – while Georgia State Representatives Pedro Marin, Brooks Coleman and Tom Rice inaugurated the Exhibition by the symbolic removal of the white sheet covering the Exhibit panels.
The South Atrium of the capitol building was packed with the who’s who of the Atlanta Hindu-American community as well as many young professionals taking off from their lunch breaks to witness a new beginning for the Hindu community at the Capitol. The event started with a welcome address by Sandeep Parashar, the Atlanta coordinator of the Exhibition. Representative Pedro Marin, representing Georgia District 96 that is a part of Gwinnett County invited the Hindu-American community to empower themselves by joining the diverse political mainstream. He also welcomed HSS to host the Exhibition during the months of January to March when the Capitol is in session.
Representative Tom Rice, Georgia District 51 (parts of Fulton and Gwinnett counties), reminded the audience of the most cherished American values of liberty and freedom that are absent from almost 90% of the countries in the world today while congratulating the Hindu-American community for its professional conduct in availing itself of the opportunities that America provides.
Representative Brooks Coleman, Georgia District 97 (part of Gwinnett County) was excited to see the Exhibition at the Capitol. He expressed his curiosity about the Hindu culture and religion and his resolve and intent to learn more about it. Narendra Reddy, executive member of the HTA and chairman of the Georgia Indian American Republican Council (GIARC), read a letter by the Governor of Georgia, Sonny Purdue, congratulating HSS for bringing the Exhibition at the State Capitol. Sneha Mehta, President – Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Atlanta Chapter, read a similar letter by the Secretary of State, Cathy Cox.
The representatives were given copies of a coffee table version of the Exhibition each by Vasav Mehta, Sushma Sharma and Dr Raj Gandhi. Saumitra Gokhale, coordinator of HSS activities in the American continents, gave a brief introduction to HSS and the Exhibition. The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Srikanth Konda in which he “thanked all the Atlanta Hindu temples for supporting this event”. This was followed by a guided tour for the representatives and attendees led by Saumitra Gokhale.
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