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Tulsi Gabbard, First Hindu Elected To Congress, Will Swear In On Bhagavad Gita
By Jaweed Kaleem   |  Nov 23, 2012

When Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii resident who made history this month as the first Hindu elected to Congress, attends her swearing in ceremony in January, she’s poised to mark another first in American politics: Gabbard will take her oath over the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Hindu text.

While no religious ceremony is legally required for those elected to Congress and the Senate, many choose to take oaths of office over Christian and Jewish texts, and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, a Muslim, took his oath over a Quran. But Gabbard’s use of a non-Abrahamic text will be unique and is symbolic of the growing religious diversity of Congress.

“For the Hindu Americans it is a historic moment … It is a matter of pride that finally someone not only from our own faith, but someone who is a practicing Hindu, will be sworn in the Congress on one of our most sacred books,” said Anju Bhargava, founder of Hindu American Seva Charities and a former member of the White House’s Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

“It is my hope is that this swearing in will be another learning opportunity for our country about Hindus and Gita. Another step towards bringing the knowledge and values of Gita even more prominently to the American political landscape so that it becomes part of the everyday vocabulary in applying the moral principles in our political arena,” said Bhargava, whose organization works to promote Hindu participation in civic life.

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