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Hindu Chaplain Endorsed By U.S. Church For Award

Hindu chaplain endorsed by American Christian church for prestigious award

In a remarkable interfaith gesture, a Christian bishop has joined the call for prestigious "Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award" of India for world famous Hindu chaplain and Indo-American leader Rajan Zed.

Right Reverend Gene Savoy Jr., Head Bishop of International Community of Christ, Church of the Second Advent, in a letter to Vayalar Ravi, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, recommending this most prestigious award for Indians overseas for Zed, said, "...Mr. Zed believes that lasting peace can be achieved by sharing different perspectives with respect, tolerance, compassion, mercy, and love, and acts accordingly in the region. He helps bringing the faiths/communities together to promote partnership, cooperation, conversation, and compassion..."

Bishop Savoy further wrote, "Mr. Zed attempts to promote respect, tolerance and mutual understanding among various faiths and cultures through partnership with different religious/faith organizations. With his hard work, he tries to create an atmosphere so that citizens of the world live in peace and harmony." Because of Mr. Zed's selfless works for the welfare of the mankind, I, although a "Christian" bishop, make this effort to write you requesting this honor for a "Hindu" chaplain, he added.

Various other organizations and individuals in USA and India have also joined this call for Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award for Rajan Zed. Michael Poehlman, police chief of the City of Reno, one of the well-known cities of western USA, in a letter to the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, strongly recommended Zed for this Award, saying, "Mr. Rajan Zed has helped bring communities together in order to promote compassion, cooperation, community service, and partnership through interfaith dialog. It is an honor to put his name forward for your distinguished Award."

Nevada Clergy Association, composed of priests/pastors/ministers/etc of various religions/denominations, strongly recommending Zed for this Award, wrote, "...He (Zed) goes beyond his own faith tradition to serve the larger community of various religions and works to bring all the religious traditions together for common causes of social and economic development, freedom and human rights, peace-making and peace-keeping, etc. He creates an atmosphere of mutual understanding and mutual trust, which makes the dialogue between various traditions very smooth and effective...".

Prayer and Peace Circle, in its communication to the Ministry, said that with his courage, his breadth of vision, and his graciousness, Mr. Rajan Zed rekindled the Indian pride, inspired the youth how they should strive to uphold their ancient values while participating in the fast changing world, and restored a sense of belonging and self-esteem among Indians by presenting ancient Sanskrit teachings to a western audience.

India Heritage Panel stated that after the eloquent September 1893 Chicago address of Swami Vivekananda, Mr. Rajan Zed again brought ancient Indian culture and Hinduism in the forefront of American and world psyche with his short but powerful prayer in the United States (US) Senate. After Swami Vivekananda, he was the first Indian to have a significant and impressive impact on the American public on the subject of Hinduism and Indian heritage.

Other organizations/individuals, who have endorsed Rajan Zed for Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award include, Dharam Loonaa, President of Society of Community Journalists of North India; Lila D. Sharma, Secretary of International Trade Front; Ashok Singhi, leader of Indian Media Centre; etc. These organizations have been highlighting Zed's work for promoting ancient Indian heritage and culture abroad, interfaith dialogue, and peace; restoring a sense of belonging and self-esteem among Indians; and his services to the sick/hospitalized and other community.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards are the highest honor for Indians settled abroad and shall be presented on January nine next by President of India in New Delhi at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the annual conclave of the Indian diaspora.

Rajan Zed recited the historic first prayer from ancient Indian scriptures in US Senate in Washington DC in July last during its 218 years history. He also read the historic first prayer from ancient Indian Sanskrit scriptures in California State Senate, Nevada State Senate, and Nevada State Assembly during the last few months and is scheduled to recite in Colorado State Senate and New Mexico State Senate next month.

Hindu Sangathan Committee of New York gave Award of Excellence to Zed sometime back in recognition of "selfless and invaluable service". Nevada Clergy Association, drawn from various religions, gave a reception in honor of Zed where he was garlanded and presented a certificate. City of Reno issued him a proclamation during the City Council meeting and presented him with a plaque, while Reno Police Chief, Michael Poehlman, gave him "Chief's Certificate of Commendation" to recognize his good works in "promoting peace and tranquility for all, regardless of race or faith" and to commend him for continuing his work in promoting interfaith dialogue. Sri Siva Vishnu Temple of Lanham, Maryland, invited and honored Zed on July 12 evening after he delivered the historic prayer in the US Senate in Washington DC. Unity Church of Today of Minden (Nevada) honored Zed during their Sunday service where the Minister, Larry Schneider, presented him a commendation certificate for the work he has done to bring various communities together. One of the prestigious educational institutions of Nevada, Truckee Meadows Community College, recently honored Zed with a plaque. Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada recently honored him for "his courage and his vision of world community". Washoe County of Nevada, in a "Resolution of Accomplishment", recognized and commended Zed, besides other things, for his dedication to the citizens of the County. Various other organizations in United States and India are planning to honor him.

In a remarkable interfaith gesture, Zed recently addressed the congregation of Unity Church of Today, Annual Ramadan Dialog and Friendship Dinner of Sierra Foundation, Sikh Gurudwara and Unitarian Universalist church. He has been invited to address Annual Conference of Catholic Diocese next month.


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