Forthcoming Title – The Indian Diaspora: Hindus and Sikhs in Australia

Purushottama Bilimoria, Jayant Bhalchandra Bapat, Rev. Dr. Philip Hughes

Since the late 1990s, the Indian community in Australia has grown faster than any other immigrant community. The Indian Diaspora has made substantial contributions to the multi-ethnic and multi-religious diversity within Australia. The growth of Hinduism and Sikhism through gurus, temples, yoga and ritual of many kinds has brought new colours, images, customs and practices to the profile of Australian religion, and the Australian landscape more widely. At the same time, Hinduism and Sikhism have themselves been transformed as Hindus and Sikhs from different parts of India as well as Fiji, Malaysia and other parts of the world have come together to establish a pan-Indian ethos. Hindus and Sikhs here have also interacted with other sectors of the Australian population and with religions from the Western world. This is the theme of this book. The Indian Diaspora covers the theory of diaspora, the historical development of the Indian communities in Australia since the late 19th century to the present times, current practices and statistical profiles of Hindus and Sikhs in Australia, and interactions between Hindus and Sikhs with the wider Australian community. There are case studies of the Indian students and women in the Australian community, of Indian communities in Melbourne and South Australia, and of temple building.

The book has been edited by and contains contributions from Purushottama Bilimoria, an internationally known scholar of philosophy and religion, Jayant Bhalchandra Bapat, one of Australia’s most senior Hindu priests and a scholar of Hinduism, and Philip Hughes, a leading analyst of the religious profiles of the Australian people. It also contains contributions from several other prominent scholars. Included are special essays on the importance of diaspora by the late Ninian Smart and on the 19th century Afghan cameleers and Indian hawkers.

Purushottama Bilimoria studied Philosophy, Sanskrit and Indian Religions in India, Australia and Oxford. He is the Editor of Sophia Journal of Philosophy and Religion, and the International Journal of Dharma Studies. He teaches, researches and publishes widely in Australia and the United States – on Indian ethics, Gandhi and global civil rights, Indian personal law and justice, diaspora studies and Indian dance in Australia.

Jayant Bhalchandra Bapat is a Hindu community elder and a priest in Australia and holds a doctorate in Organic Chemistry and Sociology. Currently, he is an Adjunct Research Fellow at Monash University Asia Institute and has published widely in Hinduism studies. Dr. Bapat’s research interests include Hindu goddesses, diaspora studies and temple priests and rituals. He has edited two books in this field.

Rev. Dr. Philip Hughes has been the senior research officer for the Christian Research Association in Australia since 1985. His research projects engage cross-cultural and multi-faith discourses. He is editor of Australia’s Religious Communities: A Multimedia Exploration. Dr Hughes is an honorary research fellow at Edith Cowan University and the University of Divinity, as well as a minister with the Uniting Church in Australia.

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