VHP Atlanta BalVihar: The Connection of Culture from Old to Young


Puneet Bhatnagar

Teachers proudly observing success. Above are pictured Manju Tiwari (left, and Smita Daftardar (right), watching BalVihar alumni discuss the impact Hindi has had on their lives years after their graduation. BalVihar strives to teach Hindu students in America how to find context in their life, when religion and culture is questioned. When asked how Shyam Tiwari believes BalVihar is important, he says, "We tought that we should have a program for children that imparts culture, value, as well as how we celebrate our festivals, and what we do in India."

After spending eight years as a student enrolled in the VHPA BalVihar program, I became well-versed in the Hindi Language and Hindu Culture. I understood the context of my way of life, and now had an explanation to each festival, custom, and tradition my parents had instilled in me as a younger child. I decided to sit down with the teachers, administrators, and volunteers, who I had surrounded myself with for years, and speak about their backgrounds, and motivations for continuing to diffuse Indian culture.

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In a time where Hindi was unidentifiable in America, few brave individuals stood up for their culture, and began the diffusion of their language and essence of life to those who did not have context to their identity in their community. The respect, devotion, and pure love that the individuals at the World Hindu Council of America have for their origins are innumerable. Hindu culture and Indian Language has now linked generations of Indians to their heritage and rich history. Organizations like BalVihar have revolutionized the Hindu-American community in foreign countries, where young Indians can now proudly represent their culture, language, and essence of life to the world.