Sunita Viswanath has worked for over two decades in women’s rights and human rights organizations. She is a co-founder and active board member of the international women’s human rights organization, Women for Afghan Women. Sunita was raised in an Andhra Hindu family, and always felt that it was her Hindu values and beliefs that motivated her insistence on justice and human rights. However, she did not find that there was a Hindu voice or presence in the movements for justice of which she was a part. Sunita co-founded Sadhana in 2011 in order to bring together these two parts of her journey: her activism for human rights and her identity as a Hindu. Sunita lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband Stephan Shaw and their youngest son Satya. Their older sons Gautama and Akash have flown the coop.
Nikhil is a student at the University of Chicago studying public policy. He is involved with various cultural and religious organizations on his campus, including the South Asian Students Association. Off-campus, Nikhil has also been involved with South Asian Americans Leading Together as a 2016 Young Leaders Institute Fellow. He regularly blogs about South Asian music, poetry, religion, and history. He is currently working to expand Sadhana's Chicago chapter.
Gautham is a doctoral student at the University of Chicago writing a dissertation on Telugu literature and the cultural history of nineteenth-century south India. He was raised in the vibrant Hindu community of Minneapolis and is an active member of his local temple. He traces his family roots to Tirupati, a major pilgrimage site in India, where he spent many summers. His experiences with Hinduism in the diaspora as well as India have given him a deep appreciation for the many diverse and locally-rooted popular traditions of Hindu devotion that exist around the world. He is passionate about building more inclusive Hindu and South Asian American spaces and fighting the rise of Hindu nationalism. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, reading poetry, and dancing with new friends.
Davanie is a student at Adelphi University, currently majoring in biology and molecular neuroscience with the intention of going on to medical school. In addition to the sciences, she studies history, philosophy, and ethics as a part of the school’s Honors program. Davanie is a devotee of the Shaanti Bhavan Mandir, the Hindu temple located in Queens, New York that recently declared itself a Sanctuary Temple, the first Hindu temple in the nation to do so. She was drawn to the mandir’s message of peace, love, inclusivity, and the importance of seva, or service to others. With the mandir’s youth group, the Naujavaan Mandalee, she participates in many acts of community service. It is Davanie’s firm belief in the group’s motto, “The hands that serve are holier than the lips that pray,” that led her to become an active member of Sadhana.
Udit is an organizer, scholar, essayist, and proud member of Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus. Udit also the Poor People's Campaign Coordinator for Sadhana. Most importantly, he is the proud son of two immigrants, a student of history/religion/politics, and a fierce believer in the promise of democracy.