COLORADO, U.S., September 26, 2012 (Air Force Academy Public Affairs): A group of 10 cadets and 20 other guests attended a Hindu service in the Cadet Chapel's multipurpose room Sept. 21 to honor one of the major Gods of the Hindu pantheon, marking the first Hindu service in the Cadet Chapel in recent memory. The Academy chaplain's office provided support for the event, which was led by Hindu priests with the Sri Venkateswara Temple of Colorado.
Cadet 3rd Class Anish Bachu of Cadet Squadron 09 called the event historic and thanked the chaplains, particularly Chaplain (Col.) Robert Bruno and Chaplain (Lt. Col.) James Brantingham, for their support. "My mother approached Brantingham a few weeks ago regarding having a service for the Hindu cadets, and he immediately agreed," Bachu said. "The chaplains were very excited for the Hindu cadets, and my chain of command was very open and encouraging as well."
The Ganesha Chaturthi service was held to observe the birthday of the Hindu God Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, according to Hindu theology. Hindus typically pray to Ganesha before starting projects, so the chance to observe His birthday early in the academic year was special, Bachu said.
Bachu's mother, Mythili Bachu, is the chairperson of the Council of Hindu Temples of North America and president of the United Hindu Jain Temples of Washington, D.C. She worked with the Academy's chaplains to set up the observance. "I felt very satisfied with the whole program and very much grateful to the leadership for providing an opportunity for Hindu cadets to pray to our gods," she said. "I am happy to see that we can have an annual service for all the Hindu cadets at the Academy. This is a great start for Hindus in the United States."