Prafulba "Pinky" Vaghela, founder and director of Young Adults For...

Prafulba "Pinky" Vaghela, founder and director of Young Adults For Community Service, speaks at an event held for Hindu Heritage Month at Huntington Town Hall on Friday. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Huntington town officials Friday recognized October as Hindu Heritage Month and the contributions of the Hindu community in Huntington and on Long Island.

Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and town officials presented a proclamation to Hindu leaders including Prafulba "Pinky" Vaghela, the founder and director of Young Adults for Community Services and a leader at the Huntington Youth Bureau. YACS students fulfil their National Honor Society hours, including by volunteering and participating in internships.

Lupinacci praised the Stony Brook University Hospital COVID-19 vaccination pop-up hosted by BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple in Melville, where more than 250 doses were administered last spring.

"Huntington’s diverse tapestry of cultures and beliefs is made stronger by our vibrant Hindu community, whose traditions and unique perspectives continue to enrich our town," Lupinacci said. "October serves as a time for Hindu communities to join together to celebrate their culture and diverse spiritual traditions."

Town officials noted that Vaghela’s YACS organization delivered food during the pandemic to more than 1,000 families and senior centers.

"The Hindu community believes the world is one family. It doesn’t matter who you are. We are all one family," she said.

Vaghela said Huntington’s Hindu population is growing and more than 500 families have moved to the town in recent years to start businesses.

Prafulba "Pinky" Vaghela, center, founder and director of Young Adult...

Prafulba "Pinky" Vaghela, center, founder and director of Young Adult For Community Service and members from Mangal Bhavan and BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, celebrated Hindu Heritage Month Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, at Huntington Town Hall with officials who acknowledged their service to the community with a proclamation. Credit: Danielle Silverman

She said she was glad Huntington was recognizing Hindu Heritage Month after it was federally recognized.

"This makes us feel part of the community and we always feel welcome," she said. "We feel part of the town and not differentiated from anyone else."

During a ceremony Friday at Huntington Town Hall, Hindu leaders recited a prayer for world peace.

"We believe in peace. We do not believe in any violence," film producer Mukesh Modi said. "We always treat our guests as God. We always welcome everyone. This is the Hindu heritage."

Officials said they are making preparations and parking restrictions next month for the celebration of Diwali.

"They don’t ask what we can do for them, they ask what they can do for us," Huntington Highway Superintendent Kevin Orelli said. "They always want to help their community. They’re so proud to be Americans. They’ve been a great friend to Huntington and they’re wonderful people to have as our friends and neighbors."

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