Hindu Youth in America



Growing up Hindu in America - A Surprising Success Story is a Youth and Religion Project by R. Stephen Warner, University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Youth and Religion Project (Y&RP) looked into the ways in which religious institutions serve the needs of younger Americans (aged 8 to 30) in the rapidly changing society through a focus on religious institutions in metropolitan Chicago. The project was directed by R. Stephen Warner of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Some excerpts from the project

We expected Hindu youth in our focus groups to manifest bewilderment about their religious identity… We did not expect what in fact we found well represented among the UIC students we began to talk with five years ago: enthusiastic, knowledgeable American-born and American-raised Hindu youth of both sexes. Our subsequent study of Hindu institutions and Hindu families has revealed some of the ingredients in what seems so far to be a success story: religious institutions (temples, congregations, Sunday schools, summer camps, special classes), most of them newly founded; teachers (of the dharma and of music and dance); friendship and kinship networks; and the increasingly intentional efforts of parents.

Missionary Hindu organizations as Chinmaya, Swadhyaya, ISKCON and the Swaminarayans have developed elaborate, age-graded curricula to teach diasporic Hindu parents (as well as their children) how to be Hindu, something these organizations know can’t be taken for granted. The boy who hates going to the temple said that he appreciates the classes at the Chinmaya Mission, where what is most important to him is the intellectual stimulation he receives. "It gives you something to think about.”

You can read the entire project here.

The project ended a couple of years ago but it has got several valuable points which Hindu organizations in India can emulate.