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September 14, 2000
For the first time, a Hindu priest will pray before US Congress
On Thursday, Venkatachalapathi Samudrala will become the first Hindu priest to perform the US Congress's daily invocation, before Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee addresses the joint session of the US Congress.
This historic gesture is the creation of US Congressman Sherrod Brown who requested the House Chaplain to invite the Hindu priest from the Shiva Vishnu Hindu Temple in Parma, Ohio. Brown, a senior member of the International Relations Committee, is a Democratic Congressman from Ohio.
The House Chaplain can allow clergyman of any religion to offer the opening invocation of the House. Historically, the House has hosted members of various Christian denominations and Jewish sects, but has never invited a representative of Hinduism to pray before the House convenes for the day.
rediff.com has assigned Associate Editors Amberish K Diwanji and Savera R Someshwar to cover Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to the United States. Don't forget to log into rediff.com for news of this historic visit as it happens!
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