Houston's growing Hindu community
July 10th, 2011
01:00 AM ET

In Texas, young Hindus want to Americanize ancient faith

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Houston, Texas (CNN) - In many ways, 29-year-old Rishi Bhutada is a traditional Hindu, not so different from his Indian-born parents.

An officer at his dad’s pipefitting company, Texas-born Bhutada had an arranged marriage in India three years ago and then brought his wife back to his hometown, where they recently welcomed a son.

Bhutada is a strict vegetarian and avoids alcohol, as do many observant Hindus.

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And the dashboard of his Toyota Prius is adorned with a small metal statue of Ganesh, an elephant-headed Hindu god known as the remover of obstacles. Bhutada prays to it each morning before leaving his driveway.

And yet Bhutada is a different kind of Hindu than his mom and dad.

His parents were part of a major wave of Indians who arrived in the U.S. in the 1960s and ’70s and focused their religious lives on building a community of believers and temples around Houston, which was then a Hindu wilderness.

Bhutada, by contrast, wants his religion to step out from that now-well-established Hindu hive to engage the broader culture.

Surprising origins of "Don't Mess with Texas"

Driving to lunch recently at a strip mall Indian buffet, he spoke of trying to forge a distinctly American Hindu identity that’s more tightly woven into the national fabric.

“The immigrant generation is focused on India, on the home country,” he said, noting that the TV in his parents’ house is often turned to a Hindi-language channel beamed in from the subcontinent. “I’m focused on the United States, which is my home country.”

That helps explain why a national group he’s involved with, the Hindu American Foundation, recently launched a Take Back Yoga campaign, aimed at raising awareness about the practice’s Hindu roots and values among non-Hindus.

And it's why Bhutada testified at the Capitol in Austin last year against a statewide school curriculum that calls Hinduism a polytheistic religion, a characterization many Hindus reject.

And it's why one area temple has begun placing copies of the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture, in thousands of Texas hotel rooms, right next to the Gideon Bible.

The developments speak to a new, publicly assertive stance that’s shared by many first-generation American Hindus across Houston, home to one of the country’s largest and fastest growing Indian enclaves, and by many young Hindus across the nation.

“Our parents had to build everything from scratch to make a united Hindu community in this country,” said Tejas N. Dave, 17, a high school junior who volunteers with a project bringing yoga to unprivileged Americans.

“Now we’re trying to reintegrate it back into society,” he said, “to make people realize that Hinduism is a religion and a way of life and a philosophy that’s not too different from what a lot of others believe. We’re all trying to make a better society.”

Some young Hindus are envious of the attention that American Muslims and Mormons have received in recent years – even if not all of the attention has been positive – and are trying to raise Hinduism’s national profile.

The impulse is not about winning converts. Hinduism, the world’s third-largest religion, doesn’t proselytize.

Rather, many young Hindus say, it’s about making their faith less exotic to others while making it more meaningful to their own modern American lives.

When their parents arrived from India a few decades ago, it was hard enough just being Hindu.

The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, which overhauled the U.S. immigration system by eliminating biases toward European immigrants, among other things, opened American doors to millions of Asian immigrants, including Indians.

Those first arrivals struggled to recreate ethnic and religious networks from back home. When Bhutada’s father, Ramesh Bhutada, arrived in the U.S. in 1968, Houston played host to a single Hindu temple, which had opened earlier that year.

It was a stark change from India, where Hindus can stop into seemingly ubiquitous temples every day for brief visits, helping explain why so many Indians say “Hinduism is a way of life.”

There were more prosaic struggles, too. Many Hindus believe that vegetarianism denotes religious purity and a commitment to nonviolence, but they struggled to maintain that tradition in what was then a very meat-centric American diet.

“There was not even anything like a vegetable burger in those days,” Ramesh Bhutada said.

In those early years, new Hindu arrivals turned their homes into makeshift temples, holding religious education classes for their American-born children.

“There would be kids’ activities in one bedroom and adults in another,” said Dhruval Amin, 28, a Houston-based project manager at an international consulting firm, recalling childhood visits to such homes.

Today, Amin worships at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a sprawling, snow-white temple carved from Italian marble and Turkish limestone that sits on 22 manicured acres in Stafford, just south of Houston.

Opened in 2004, the temple is a proud symbol of the local Hindu community’s growth and prosperity, though it’s a story that’s hardly confined to Houston.

The U.S. Census does not track the number of Hindu Americans; the Census doesn’t ask about religion, period. But data from the 2010 Census show that Texas’ Asian Indian population nearly doubled in size in the past decade, to around 250,000.

Now, for the first time, Indians represent the largest Asian community in the state. Many were drawn by lucrative jobs in Texas’s booming oil, technology and medical sectors.

“A lot of the doctors in small metro markets across Texas are first- or second-generation Indians,” said Ray Perryman, who heads an economic research firm in Waco, Texas. “And the top two or three students in every high school tend to be from some part of Asia.”

Similar trends have emerged in other parts of the country. Nationally, Indian growth has surged by 60% in the past 10 years, according to the Census, with 2.8 million Asian Indians living in the U.S. today.

Indians now represent the country’s second-largest Asian group, after the Chinese.

They’re also among the nation’s most successful ethnic groups, with 71% of Asian Indians earning bachelor’s degrees or higher, compared with 28% of all Americans, according to data from the U.S. Census’s 2009 American Community Survey.

The survey reported that Asian Indians have median household incomes of more than $90,000, compared with $50,000 for all Americans.

Not everyone from that community is Hindu. India’s Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Jain minorities are also represented in the United States.

At a recent yoga class at Houston’s India House, a community center, the instructor was Hindu, and most participants were Indian, but half were Catholic, Methodist or another kind of Christian.

When the instructor, Sarika Phalak, leads open and closing prayers that reference God, she invites participants to speak the name of their own deity. Many say “Jesus.”

Still, Hindu growth around Houston has exploded in recent years, with 19 temples now scattered across the sprawling metropolitan area, most built just in the past decade.

Temple-based Hindu youth camps long ago replaced home-based classes. And several national Hindu organizations now call Houston home.

The city’s Hindu onslaught put Charu Krishna Thammavaram, 28, in closer touch with her religion when she relocated from Lafayette, Louisiana, three years ago.

“I feel like a born-again Hindu now,” said Thammavaram, who works for an India-focused humanitarian group called Ekal Vidyalaya, which is headquartered in Houston.

In Louisiana, the lone “nearby” temple was an hour’s drive from Thammavaram’s home. Here, she had her choice of temples and settled on a Hare Krishna temple after shopping around, just as many Americans of other faiths do.

For many young Hindus, tweaking their religious heritage to make it more relevant has become an important project.

“My parents were just immersed in Hinduism, starting every day with prayer and accepting it without question,” said Kavita Pallod, a native Houstonian and first-generation American who recently graduated college. “But I don’t start my days with prayer. And Hinduism is something I’ve questioned and debated with friends.”

Yet Pallod, 23, has spent a good deal of time thinking about how to apply her faith to her life. “I believe that karma is the principal that guides the universe,” she said, referring to the Hindu concept of cosmic justice. “It’s one of the reasons I joined Teach for America.”

Pallod, who’s training for the teaching program this summer, was speaking at Star Pipe Products, the pipefitting distributor where Rishi Bhutada works and that his father, Ramesh, founded in 1982.

Situated at the end of a bland industrial drive on the city’s west end, the company doubles as a meeting place for local Hindus.

Among its warren of warehouse and offices spaces is a community center where a mural of Swami Vivekananda, a famous 19th-century spiritual leader who introduced the faith to the United States, fills the back wall.

But like the younger Bhutada, Pallod is intent on taking her religion outside officially Hindu spaces. As the president of the Hindus Student Association at the University of Texas at Austin until her graduation in May, she focused on introducing Hinduism to non-Hindu students.

Last spring, her group went all out to get non-Hindus to participate in Holi, a Hindu festival that involves throwing colored powder and water – often at other people – in a playful, rainbow-like spectacle.

“We wanted them to actually experience it themselves as opposed to just sitting there passively,” Pallod said of the event. “We wanted to teach that the colors are all about eliminating differences by making everyone look the same.”

The festival drew about 2,000 people, with many enthusiastically throwing colored powder at one another in the shadow the state Capitol. It was the kind of scene that Indian immigrant parents could have never imagined.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Content Partner • Hinduism • Interfaith issues • Texas

soundoff (2,004 Responses)
  1. AHindu

    Let me tell you .. the faiths of the eatrh based on two categories .. faith based on dharma (According to hinduism, buddhism, sikhism, jainism – all follow and uses the word dharma – meaning divine law) and abrahmic faiths (are jews/xtians/muslims),
    they believe in the same god, they are all ok with taking life for their own survival, and all are warlike ..

    jews/christian and muslim are all true abrahmic faiths .. each claim about their onlyness .. hinduism doesnot make any such claim .. it only says one should live his life intune with dharma .. never to be reborn .. again .. on earth and be with almighty ..

    July 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  2. Dan Bhide

    Hinduism has always been open to evolution w/ time & location to absorb new positives, discard old negatives and perpetuate old & new positives to the next generation. That's the reason this oldest spiritual form still survives and thrives.

    It is more a spiritual & ethical system of values than a religion in the sense that it enables many paths to evolve, excel, enrich and ultimately enlighten – through knowledge, devotion, action etc. Hence no one god or one text or one set of rituals is thrust upon its believers.

    It looks at GOD (like Mother) as a relationship and not A particular human being (like my mother vs. your mother) and hence enables all of us to agree on core values / principles – like "we love mother" – instead of fighting with "my mother is better than yours" type of arguments. Hinduism is neither human-chauvinist (since it does not believe that human being alone can reach heaven – after all a dog or a tree or a river could not know who any of our GODs are), nor religion-chauvinist (since it does not believe that only Hindus can reach heaven) nor male-chauvinist (since it does not believe only in the male form of GOD).

    Hence. the real news is not that Hinduism can Americanize it self. It is that the world is slowly but surely evolving toward time tested core beliefs of Hinduism. Throughout the world, there is a growing majority in the middle that inherently believes that there can be many ways to reach GOD and achieve enlightenment, that my way can be as good for me as yours can be for you, that God is a personal relationship which is immortal and within each of us rather than another human being outside of us. By any other name, this is indeed an evolution of humanity in sync w/ Hinduism.

    July 10, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Michelle

      This is the best and most positive elaboration of religion & spiritualism I have ever seen! Thank you for enlightening us.

      July 10, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  3. Sharon

    Why shouldn't Hindu's Americanize their religion? Hindu's believe in Brahma as their supreme God. We are all created by God. The religious concept of the brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God is basic to our American democracy. It is the idea that has enabled Americans of many religions, ethnic origins, and races to work together and to build a just society. Each religion, in its own way, has contributed to America, and it is the contributions of all that have made America strong. God hears prayers in many tongues, and they are all sweet to His ears.

    July 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
  4. jasonda

    I have no problem at all with Hindus– they are peaceful as a creed, they do not proselytize. They also don't commit terrorist acts. Islam, however, is a disease that is spreading like a cancer, and too many Americans are letting it kill us because they refuse to diagnose the disease before it spreads.

    July 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  5. Reality

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Paganism,
    and Christianity by the "hatters", "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" will quickly converge these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples or synagogues.


    July 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Daniel

      Yeah can you imagine how much better our country would be if we plowed every church under and built a library or park in its place? One day mankind will realize religion for the cancer it is.

      July 10, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • Roy

      Not sure who is worse – Christian missionaries that destroy non white people's religion to replace with their own or atheists who destroy non white people's religions along with the Abrahamic ones to replace with their own idea of atheism. Both Abrahamic religions and atheists are alike in that they are arrogant and intolerant of other religious belief and think their way is the only right way.

      July 10, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  6. EuphioTGank

    the world need less religion not more

    July 10, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  7. John


    July 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  8. Fly Guy in SJ

    Huge reporting/editing fail for stating that many Hindus reject Hindu being characterized as a polytheistic religion. It looks like one from the outside, so if many Hindus believe it isn't, the very minimum standard of proper writing/reporting would have been to explain – however briefly – why they don't think so. I appreciate that column inches are limited, but come on – you can't make a statement like that without explaining why many Hindus don't regard Hinduism as polytheistic. Also, since the word "many" was used, it seems to be seeing that a lot of Hindus *do* regard their religion as being polytheistic. If there is a follow-up to this piece, that needs to be expanded and clarified. Since "many" can mean "a lot, but not the majority," it also needs to be clarified as to just how large a group this "many" is.

    July 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  9. Wow

    I'm from the deep south, born and raised, and it amazes me when I hear my neighbors or co-workers say the reason there are no jobs is because immigrants have taken them all for REAL Americans. Many of my African American co-workers are incredibly predjudiced against Hispanics, complaining they have taken all their jobs. And strangley enough, they are predjudiced against Asians because they have come into their neighborhoods and bought the majorityof the gas stations and convenient stores. They hate the Chinese and Vietnamese even more for not only opening their own businesses but consistently being the top students in all levels of education as well as being the top dogs at many companies (the Toyota factory, for example). White people are just as bad. They says blacks are just angry because the Hispanics are will ing to work their butts off in all of the minimum wage jobs when they (the blacks) are not. Whites are also predjudiced agaiinst Indian/Asians for coming in and buying all of their neighborhood convenient stores. Not sure why since their former neighbors are the ones who sold to the Indian/Asians. Why didn't they buy the stores themselves? Oh yeah. Because we can't afford it and aren't willing to make the sacrifices it would take to save the money. I will say, however, southern whites have no problem with the Chinese and Vietnamese or Koreans. Even the most die hard rednecks, though they may make fun of the way they talk, seem to admire and even long for their work ethic, dedication to family and general personalities and culture.

    July 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Wow

      To clarify-Not saying southern whites want to adapt Asian culture. They admire how the families work together, the fact their children are so respectful and hard working, etc.

      July 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  10. REG in AZ

    In a very long history Hinduism shows a strong ability to adapt by assimilation. Their theology is very diverse and has absorbed different cultures in the past. It is said that with their diversity almost anyone could find a comfort zone. Maybe this will prove true again.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  11. Mohan

    This temple (Mandir) in Stanford, Texas is the second one. Similar temple (mandir) already exists in Atlanta, GA. Here is the link http://atlanta.baps.org/

    July 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  12. Adi

    I'm struggling to understand what the author means by Americanizing hinduism? Has anyone heard of Indianizing christianity or Islam? Are you kidding me? Your faith is your faith and is real the way it is.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  13. PRA

    I must repost this by Acaraho
    "Wrong! America is not a Christian nation. It was in fact founded to escape the Christian persecution prevalent in England and fostered by the monarchy. If you really want to look at this country's original religious worship you must then look at Native Americans' religious practices which are based in praise of Creator and Mother Earth."

    I wish people would stop assuming this country was built on Christianity, when it was Christian on Christian hate that brought them here. Catholics persecuted Protestants and vice vera.


    July 10, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • jem99

      It was founded on Masonic principles and by Masons. Religious tolerance and separation of Church and State were critical values everyone took for granted. Go read jefferson or Adams... (Unitarian/Universalism – NOT PROTESTANT!).

      July 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Roy

      Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

      -Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom

      July 10, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  14. AHindu

    Regarding americanizin their faith .. its a tough ask from a 1000ands of year old faith .. the faith will automatically americanize if americans have better knowledge about it .. americans of all shades , black or white or browns ..hinduism has about 2 main flavours .. north and south ..20 main languges .. two classical ancient languages (sanskrit/north and tamil/south) .. three main gods brahma the creator, vishnu the preserver, shiva the destroyer .. rama and krishna are most important avatars of vishnu historically .. krishna happeed 5100 years back to fight for dharma .. after going aay of krishna human beings stopped to live pure lives based on dharma .. and became greedy, warlike, unrighteous .. forgetting god given righteous principles ..
    so dharma is destroyed in kaliyug – vishnu is protector of dharma ..

    dharma means –
    pure living so you dont have to take birth again.
    respect parents.
    respesct all life and nature.
    respect and conduct ur duties towards ur familial
    ties .. true freinds .. society .. with selflessness ..without greed attachment or
    sense of profit .. and many more .. good honest living can call for ..

    July 10, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • AHindu

      modern hindus are mostly materialistic .. like their counterparts in west .. even when they observe dharma by being vegetarians .. they cant let go of desire for wealth .. fame and much more desires .. holy books of hindus are vedas ..

      July 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • AHindu

      in india vishnu or shiva is worshipped .. brahma is white in color not worshipped in india .. abraham .. spelled in reverse is brahma ..

      July 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • AHindu

      we are currently living in age of kaliyug .. the degraded age when ppl forget true meaning of dharma .. kaliyug started 5100 years back .. after krishna went away after destrying all the evil kings .. promoting adharma .. ie what is against dharma .. so we on earth are are living in kaliyug for past 5100 years

      July 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  15. Humkara

    The author of this article (as well most of the world, including much of modernize India) is strikingly ignorant of what the word "Hinduism" means. There is NO "Hindu" religion. "Hinduism" is a term coined by the British to lump together thousands of sects throughout the Indian subcontinent, many of which have literally nothing in common. Some are vegetarian and avoid alcohol; some are just the opposite. They aren't even all polytheistic! "Yoga," too, has about a hundred different meanings depending on where the word is being used. Lumping all "Hindus" into a single category does an immense disservice to the panoply of religions in Indian, and to Yoga.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • WHY

      it was not the britishers who coined the word hinduism for the indian subcontinent religion. The persian, arab and greek traders, invaders were responsible for naming it hinduism. The word in existence for more than 1000 years.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Chicago

      Absolutely, west thinks Indians are "Om" ppl meditate, do yoga, worship cow, non vegetarian, in fact only 5-6% fit in this category, a large number of Indian tribes eat beef, pork, even Indian govt doesn't have full statistics on these ppl, Hindu is split in to several groups major caste, sub caste, almost 10-15 layers and each caste/ sub caste has different customs and living style. The major factor for all these segregation is economy and access to resources, unlike the stereotype thinking of one`s belief/ Bu**S***, less resources more people so people started making their own groups to fight for resources, India is a live example of human primeval behaviour India needs a psychologist not a religion.

      July 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Roy

      The Sanskrit word for Hinduism is Sanatana Dharma and the central scriptures are the Vedas. That is what the groups have in common. They are different denominations and sects but you are a follower of Sanatana Dharma aka Hinduism if you hold the Vedas as central. Yoga is also one of the 6 branches of Hinduism. It is not just the physical exercise. You should read this book "The Fundamentals of Hinduism" by Bansi Pandit

      July 10, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  16. Chicago

    First of all, Hinduism is not a religion, its a philosophy and every one has choice to follow or dont follow, in fact there hasn't been idol worshipping in Hinduism for a long time, Hinduism always talks about energy, The word Om is described as a sound wave, So Indian who made Hinduism a religion are sick

    July 10, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • flywithme

      Hinduism isn't a religion. But people catalogize them as one. the British and Muslims came and saw, anyone who doesn't believe in Christ, or Allah, are hence Hindus in that region. So as these organized religions grew, so Hinduism also did, to stay alive.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Stranger

      An amazing display of ignorance. Why not start by doing a little reading about Hinduism on Wikipedia?

      July 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  17. Navneet V.

    Being a Hindu born and raised in the states by immigrant parents, I relate to the religious education and frequent trips to the temple that are mentioned in the article. We ( children of Hindu immigrants), mostly feel that our religion is somewhat archaic and thus misunderstood by the public as a cow worshiping polytheistic cult as opposed to a world religion. The fact that many Hindu immigrants only came here to the states recently makes them more favored towards their homeland and so, it hasn't really assimilated into American culture as much as Christianity or Judaism. So, why not try to make the religion just as much a part of America as others since our population is growing rapidly.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  18. Brain Power


    July 10, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • guest

      Nobody cares if you change your mind.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • flywithme

      go see this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_inventions_and_discoveries

      But I don't know what this is going to prove, India has been under foreigner for centuries and they missed many opurunities to build their society, Indians are up and coming, you can call them 3rd worlders but soon them and China will challenge America.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Chicago

      Indian are great workers not inventors, should say good at following orders.. great sweatshop employees, no wonder they have poor culture.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Mani

      Most modern day invention came from Indian Vedas. For ex world round is there 1000 years ago before europe discovered. Same way I can go on and on. Let us not talk about that. Indus valley civilization was much more advanced than any other civilization. British empire stole lot of ideas from there including modern day plastic surgery from indian medicine. I can give you so many examples of that. Please see read do not just comment for the sake of it.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm |

      INDIA has had a huge influence in todays current use of argriculture, textiles, mathematics, games, etc.

      Sure they are not technologically advanced, however, without these simple inventions and or discoveries, there would be little or no knowledge of what you use everyday.

      How about opening a book and reading you ignorant fool? You tell me what the 400,000,000 Americans are doing for this country? How about a whole lot of nothing other than relying on China and India to feed and cloth them. FOOL.

      1. the number 0
      2. the button
      3. the game of chess
      4. founders of cotton
      5. playing cards
      6. the ruler
      7. founders of MANY mathematical equations

      shall i go on?

      July 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • jem99

      Inventions??? you have to be joking, or really ignorant.
      They are famous mathematicians and astronomers. Go read a Physics Journal (pick about any). The articles are from India and China. They are brilliant and in many ways ahead of us. Oh, I hope they will allow us a ride up to Space Station. Otherwise, I guess we have to beg China, France or Russia. Ever add any numbers together? they created that system.
      They created the concept of a trinity. Christians kinda stole that one.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • flywithme

      @Chicago- not necessarily, Indians now are great workers, but you see many of them becoming gov. CEO's, and starting up silicon valley corp. The Idea of Indians working at call center is gone, even if that still happens, many Indians in US are transisting to entrepreneurship. Whether it's a motel or gas station ;D or high tech corp.. We shouldn't ride them off.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Sarka Bohemina

      You poor, ignorant thing:

      Mathematics – Vedic literature is replete with concepts of zero, the techniques of algebra and algorithm, square root and cube root. Arguably, the origins of Calculus lie in India 300 years before Leibnitz and Newton.

      Astronomy – Rig Veda (2000 BC) refers to astronomy.

      Physics – Concepts of atom and theory of relativity were explicitly stated by an Indian Philosopher around 600 BC.

      Chemistry – Principles of chemistry did not remain abstract but also found expression in distillation of perfumes, aromatic liquids, manufacturing of dyes and pigments, and extraction of sugar.

      Medical science & surgery – Around 800 BC, first compendium on medicine and surgery was complied in ancient India.

      Fine Arts – Vedas were recited and recitation has to be correct, which gave rise to a finer study of sound and phonetics. The natural corollary were emergence of music and other forms of performing arts.

      Mechanical & production technology – Greek historians have testified to smelting of certain metals in India in the 4th century BC.

      Civil engineering & architecture – The discovery of urban settlements of Mohenjodaro and Harappa indicate existence of civil engineering & architecture, which blossomed to a highly precise science of civil engineering and architecture and found expression in innumerable monuments of ancient India.

      Shipbuilding & navigation – Sanskrit and Pali texts have several references to maritime activity by ancient Indians.Sports & games – Ancient India is the birth place of chess, ludo, snakes and ladders and playing cards.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Navneet V

      The world's 6th and 9th richest men.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Uma

      I hope you have visited the link suggested by guest, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_inventions_and_discoveries
      By now your ignorance may be dispelled.

      July 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • maude

      Kama Sutra, Alegebra, consept of Zero, English Language , (Adam & Eve) born in Sri Lanka thus humanity was created in Hindustan. Now f / o for good.

      July 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Huh?

      Hey brain power... Go see if you can find some brain power.

      July 10, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • Chicago

      Mr. Mani..... you remind me of a proverb in southern India, it says something like this " my great great grandfathers used to drink honey every day, you want evidence smell my mouth" ... there is nothing written in Vedas... knowledge cannot be destroyed, if India ever had such knowledge it wouldn't be in this position now, please stop making fool of yourself and other people, Britishers stole nothing in fact they gave a governance, railways a proper functioning system. If something is stolen its all stolen by Indians from their own people by creating the crappiest culture in this world, where every one is divided on the basis of caste and culture, India has successfully created a genetically inbreeding race, that's the reason we neither excel in sports, science& technology, invention. The first thing in reform is accept you have a problem, as long as India denies this fact no one can help it.

      July 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Anish

      Brian Power, how about the mother of all inventions – the number zero.

      July 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Over Educated

      Exactly excuse for failure is no excuse India was owned by GB who is a fraction its size and that is no excuse for missed opportunities change your own country not ours.

      July 10, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  19. Rahul

    Any religion today-does more harm than good. Whats the point of following rituals which segregate people and waste time and money? Really, what does it get, except a twisted notion of reality which sets one up for disappointments when faced with the reality of nature. The whole phenomenon is so absurd!

    July 10, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • maude

      Save yourself child, the devil is going bite your sorry ass soon. Religion , just like anthing, is difficult to understand and follow. God made it so to root out the lazy, useless, stinky flith lifeforms from reaching the heaven's. Good luck with
      your concept.

      July 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  20. Jessy

    Indians are so engulfed in their hatred for Pakistan that it is unbelievable. Here I am sitting reading an article about the growth of a religion in the country and someone criticized the religion without have any knowledge about it and that person became a Pakistani? Are you kidding me? Indians: Please let go of your obsession with Pakistan. If you claim to be so big, then why spend energy on Pakistan. This only shows that you are unable to play on a bigger stage.

    July 10, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • DJ

      You mean, like the way the US is spending so much energy on Pakistan?

      July 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • coolls21

      indians are obssessed with pakistan??...u gotta be joking...they officially attacked us 4 times...constantly sending terrorists across the border...brainwashing indian muslims...pakistan is hell bend on destroying us...

      July 10, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • flywithme

      Like Americans obsess over Mexicans, Muslims and immigrants...hmm...

      July 10, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Adi

      Jessy – You need to get your facts right.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • maude

      Jessy, we are not engulfed with Pakistan. India has 190,000,000 muslims. Most live in peace. This is more of US propaganda you are reading. The US and British were appliying the rule of "Divide and conquer" and spread hatefull rumors. We understand this very clearly.

      July 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Chicago

      Jessy, you are wrong, we are not obsessed with Pakistan, but we are obsessed with P*** sites, can you believe one nation produced 1 billion population, sure we must be obsessed with something 😉 We will take over this world someday not by technology, not by religion, but by something every one can do... watch out gujju coming through to USA

      July 10, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Roy

      India is one of the BRIC fast developing economies (Brazil, Russia, India China). They are not obsessed with the failed terrorist sponsoring state of Pakistan that would collapse were it not for the billions of US tax payer dollars proping it up. They are sick and tired of the never ending terrorist operations from Pakistan in their country the latest being the horrific Mumbai massacre in 2008.

      July 10, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.