Well, I’ve been saying for years that the Pendle Hill / Parramatta area is fast becoming the Hindu epicentre of Australia, but if there were any lingering doubts to what I’ve been saying they should have been squashed over the last two weeks.

Firstly, it has been announced that next November a new festival dubbed “Parramasala” is to be held in Parramatta to coincide with Dwali, the Indian Festival of Lights. David Borger, our local MP has said:

“Parramatta is the centre of Sydney’s cultural diversity, including the biggest population of Indian and South Asian communities in Australia, and is the perfect location for this colourful Bollywood style festival.”

For more see the Parramasala video and Parramatta to be transformed by Indian festival, Parramasala.

Secondly, last night Indian superstar A.R. Rahman staged a free outdoor spectacular in Parramatta Park where crowds of up to 80,000 people were expected.

“A.R. Rahman is one of the highest selling composers in the world and won two Academy Awards for composing music for the hit film Slumdog Millionaire. He specifically chose Parramatta as the venue for his only Australian appearance as a way of building community relations and fostering goodwill.”

The obvious question I’m struggling with though is, are we, the local Christian communities, up to the task of taking a lead in Hindu-Christian relations in Australia?

8 thoughts on “Parramatta goes Indian

  1. @ matt,
    as a hindu, i always find it nice to see our religious festivals being celebrated all around the world.
    now, coming to your “question” … i would give the example in some of the Indian towns, where there the majority are chriatians … but “religion” as such is seen in a “personal domain” of the concerned person.
    surely, we too have hindu religious thugs here in india, who have demostrated what they can do, if they mess with hindu religion.
    but, “generally speaking” … in india, though its a “religious country” … religion is the domain of a person’s personal beliefs.
    so, i think the question of “taking a lead” or “competing” … within different communities does not arise.
    i would just want to go to a church … to listen to the beautiful christmas carrols that are sung in symphony.
    cheers !

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  2. Ah, but you see Vemsi, simply by us talking to one another, that’s precisely what I mean by engaging in Hindu-Christian relations. In this case, we’re being civil. In other cases, such as the incidents you mention above, things have been less so. My question is, or at least part of my question is, how will things proceed in Australia? Parramatta is an experiment, in that Hindus are actually beginning to outnumber protestant Christians in some local schools. That’s fairly unprecidented in Australia. So, we’re a bit of a canary down the coal mine so to speak. Irrespective of how private or otherwise Christians and Hindus view their paths (and I would argue Hindutva is far from apolitical but that’s another conversation), we’ll be neighbours. So my question is, will we be good neighbours or not so good neighbours? Will we seek to understand each other or not?
    I’d like to think local churches could set a good example for the wider church. That’s what I intend to work towards anyway.

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  3. @ matt,
    the events that are mentioned in my comment, may look like some hardcore hindutva voilence (i guess, that is what you mean) … but, one has to look at the angle of “forced conversions” of indian tribals into christianity, to understand the point in contention.
    surely, voilence anywhere in the world does not look good.
    i guess, the state of australia has some immigration policy, and has been inviting indian students for its universities. i hope, they do the background check for all the people who come there as immigrants. its a state decision of australia.
    i dont think, hindus would want to “convert” others into hinduism …
    i guess its your feeling, that a majority hindu population in parramatta may “sideline” the minority christians … but i dont think hindus would want to “dominate” others … i think its in the general nature of hindus to be gentle and kind towards others.
    surely, by seeing the extravaganze celebrations of hindu festivals, you may feel that hindus are dominating … but its just a myth.
    yes, neigbhours should talk … and have good relations with eachother.
    cheers !

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  4. Vemsi, I’m puzzled as to why you’re using quotation marks for “dominate” and “sideline” and “convert” given I never used the words myself. And for your guesses on my feelings, they’re way off base. Projecting? I’d invite you to look closer.

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  5. Matt .. In view of the large scale slaughter of Hindu and Indian students in Oz land by hatemongering bigots .. the Hindutva brigade in India is very mild in comparison.
    If you can control the bigots in Aussie society, all will be fine.

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  6. Canadavsterror,
    What is this “large scale slaughter of Hindu and Indian students in Oz” that you speak of. There have been a handful of racist killings in Australia, which I agree is atrocious, but there is no need to grossly exaggerate to make your point. Exaggerations only undermine it. Furthermore, all will NOT be fine if only Australians address the hate in their ranks. Hate needs to be addressed werever it is found and that includes the hate mongering of Hindutva.

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  7. I think it’s a bit too late to make an impact now. Hinduism is about to be the majority in some suburbs and will be the largest of all the religions in Parramatta City in 2016.
    As long as you don’t try and convert of influence them, they’ll cooperate just fine.

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