UNITED STATES, January 5, 2021 (Swarajya, by A. Neelakandran): Pankaj Jain came to New Jersey in 1996 on a H1B visa and is now Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of North Texas (@ProfPankajJain). His Indian employer gifted two American software experts, who had come to teach Pankaj Jain and his colleagues a programming language, a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, and a few albums of Indian classical music and this, Jain says, was his first wake-up alarm. "Dharma and Diaspora" skillfully combines his own personal journey with the larger history of how the Dharmic family of religions came to the United States and created an impact, faced challenges, adapted, survived and are flourishing.
Though there have been quite a lot of books on Hindus in the United States, he points out that most of these books do not study Indian classical music or Ayurveda making inroads into the Americas. It is interesting to note that the image of India -- from being a land of peculiar Deities and exotic animals during the period when the United States was under British dominion -- changes to that of a philosophical, ancient nation, through the transcendentalist movement. He gives the readers a brief tour of the influence of Vedantins, starting with Swami Vivekananda, and that of the theosophists, and moves to later-day gurus like Rajneesh Chandra Mohan (Osho). With a bird's eye-view of the conceptual and exotic influence Hinduism had on the Americas, he moves to the way indentured laborers in the Caribbean islands contributed to societal evolution there.
Much more of this review at "source."