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On Wednesday August 23rd, 2023 members of the White Plains Police Department met with members of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA, “HSS” or the Hindu Service Society, a charitable community organization.

Among their many activities, HSS conducts outreach programs to introduce Hindu values to their friends and neighbors from other faith traditions. In recent years, they have used the occasion of a traditional Hindu holiday known as Rakṣā Bandhana (pronounced ruck-SHAH bund-HUN) to meet with civic leaders, public safety officers, and other individuals and organizations involved in service activities.

Hindus have traditionally observed Rakṣā Bandhana – loosely translated as the “Protection Connection” – as a day reaffirming the relationship between sisters and brothers. The sister ties a string known as a Rākhī (pronounced rah-KEY) around her brother’s wrist as a symbol of her love. Not only does the brother promise to protect his sister, but the sister’s Rākhī also protects the brother from life’s adversities.

Since 2004, HSS has celebrated this holiday as “Universal Oneness Day,” broadening its scope from the family to the community with the simple idea that we should all love and protect each other. They have met with civic leaders and public safety officers and offered them the Protection Connection by tying Rākhīs on them.

This year, the Hindu Swayamsevek Sangh (White Plains Chapter) honored us by celebrating Universal Oneness right here at the Public Safety Building. Chief Castelli, members of the Command Staff and others learned a great deal about Hindu traditions and values and in turn our guests learned a lot about our Department and our values. Taking part in the “Protection Connection” ceremony was a wonderful experience and we thank The Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh for inviting us to participate.

Much thanks to Gayatri, Sumedh, Ashwini & Vihaan Deshpande, Shubhan Nerkar, Ashwini & Neel Paranjpe, Akhila Vemulakonda and sriVidya Vinjamuri.

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