Haritha Moturi: Following in Big Footsteps
Haritha Moturi works in Enrollment Services as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Administrator. She is living proof that one moment in our lives can cause a ripple effect and change the trajectory of those around us and who come after us.
She was born and raised in India, where traditions, culture and ceremonies are sewn deeply into the fabric of everyday life. The majority of Indians are Hindus, a religion that incorporates several gods and goddesses into their worship. Haritha’s family, however, changed course in the early 1900s to forge a new path for their family and others who would follow their lead.
Haritha explains her great-grandmother was trying desperately to have a child when she was first married but was unsuccessful for quite some time. She had heard of Jesus through missionaries in her area. Haritha says her great-grandmother “came to the feet of Jesus and said, ‘If you’re the living God, and if you give me a child, this is the child I will dedicate to you.’”
Her great-grandmother conceived a child soon after. She and her husband immediately converted from Hinduism to Christianity. Haritha says, “The living God gave them something Hinduism was not giving them.” This bold decision to commit their lives to Christ in a Hindu nation was the beginning of a new way of living for them that would one day be passed down to Haritha.
“We had to stand for our faith.”
Her great-grandparents were considered wealthy for that time period, but they gave away everything after finding Christianity. They raised their children in a Christian home, and one of their sons, Haritha’s grandfather, not only followed the Seventh-day Adventist faith, but he also became a pastor. His name is still known in the south of India today, as a result of his work to pave a way for Christians.
Her grandfather, Pitta Prabhudas, set up many Adventist churches in the south of India. In a newspaper called Southern Asia Tidings in 1974 he was reported to have had 900 people turn to Christ in the 29 years of his preaching. The same archived newspaper from 1984 tells of his participation in a 30-day journey of over 70 kilometers to tell people of Christ and baptized hundreds of people during that journey. He set up an Adventist boarding school that is still in operation today in India.
Because of her great-grandmother’s decision three generations ago, Haritha was raised in a Christian home. Her family was laughed at, and people in the community were angry at their decision and rejected her family, calling them traitors. They told her family that God made them Hindus and by taking on a Western religion, they were turning their backs on God.
Haritha says, “We had to stand for our faith. Sometimes it was so difficult to stand up to that that we had to ask God if we could truly do it.” But they did it, together.
Outside of that struggle, she loved her childhood and all the traditions that are so important in India. Haritha’s upbringing was a mixture of Christian beliefs infused with time-honored traditions born of Hinduism, such as touching the feet of anyone older than you, putting your hand over your heart, and saying, “Namaste,” which means, “Bowing to you.” Haritha says, “It is a way of showing you are under their wisdom.”
Haritha says these traditions and cultural practices are such a part of life in India that “they are in your blood when you’re born.” You instinctively know to respect your elders, behave, dress appropriately, and to come to your family to help make any decisions. She says the character she has today is thanks to her upbringing that was full of love, celebration, respect, faith, and family.
“Asians believe America is a land of opportunities.”
Haritha came to America in 2017 for a master’s program in Washington, D.C. and worked for a year there. The option arose to return to India or stay in America to continue her studies. She began to look for an Adventist college and found Kettering College and enrolled in pre-nursing in 2021.
As she took two semesters of classes, she soon realized she would rather continue searching for a job in her field after working so hard to obtain her Master of Business Administration. She had already worked in information technology and accounting for 10 years in India and enjoyed her career. Just like her great-grandmother all those years ago, when Haritha was searching for answers, she received it. Her current job of CRM Administrator opened, and it was a perfect match for her skills and interests.
Regarding Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month, Haritha says she has not had any bad experiences in the U.S., but “Asians are not always treated great everywhere. Asians believe America is a land of opportunities. We move here to give our families those better opportunities. The Asian culture emphasizes respect so much, and we would love to have that same respect towards us as well in any country.”