NEW YORK: The US state of Georgia has officially declared October as the "Hindu Heritage Month" to acknowledge the contributions of the vibrant Hindu-American community in the state.
In a proclamation, Governor Brian Kemp declared October as the 'Hindu Heritage' month.
It said that the Hindu heritage will be celebrated by focusing on its culture and the diverse spiritual traditions rooted in India.
"The vibrant Hindu American community has contributed tremendously to the vitality of the State of Georgia by enriching the lives of its citizens," the proclamation dated August 23 read.
CoHNA (Coalition of Hindus of North America), a Hindu advocacy group in the US also welcomed the move and thanked Governor Kemp for recognising the Hindu community which is a significant contributor to diverse sectors.
"This was made possible by the untiring dedication of our friends at the Hindus of Georgia PAC. Hinduism has contributed greatly to the cultural milieu of America," the Hindu group said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Earlier this year, the Georgia Assembly passed a resolution condemning Hinduphobia, making it the first American State to take such a legislative measure.
Condemning Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu bigotry, the resolution noted the Hindu community's contributions of Yoga, ayurveda, meditation, food, music, and arts in enriching the cultural fabric of American society and enhancing the lives of millions.
While CoHna acknowledged the recognition by Georgia, it expressed dissatisfaction over the anti-caste discrimination bill passed by the California State Assembly this week.
"It is gratifying to see Georgia recognise the contribution of Hindu-Americans and Hinduism at the same time that California is targeting us with #SB403," CoHNA wrote on X.
The bill passed by the California Assembly seeks to combat caste discrimination and strengthen protections for marginalised communities across the state.
According to the Hindu American Foundation, Hindu Heritage Month (HHM) is a global movement highlighting Hinduism as a tradition and its contributions to human society.
October is significant because it is the birth month of Mahatma Gandhi and is often when major Hindu holidays such as Navaratri and Diwali are celebrated.
While Hinduism is the third-largest religion in the world with one billion devotees across the globe, approximately three million reside in the United States.