The Indian Diaspora: Hindus and Sikhs in Australia
The Hindus and Sikhs are, by far, the fastest growing religious communities in Australia, doubling their numbers between 2006
and 2011. The Hindu community is already much larger than the Pentecostal community in Australia, and the Sikhs are much larger than the Salvation Army. If their rate of growth continues the Hindus and Sikhs will surpass the number of Muslims and the number of Buddhists in Australia by 2016 making them the second largest religious community surpassed only by the Christians!
As religious communities develop in new contexts, so they both change the context and are changed by it. The Hindu and Sikh communities are quietly having a significant influence on Australia. But they themselves are also having to adapt to the new environment. In this book, Purushottama Bilimoria, an internationally-renowned scholar of philosophy and religion, explores the nature of diaspora religious communities. He and a senior Hindu priest and scholar of Hinduism, Jayant Bapat, explore the historical roots of Hinduism and their practices and organisations in Australia. Carmen Voigt-Graf describes the history, migration and practices of the Sikh community in Australia. Philip Hughes contributes statistical profiles of both groups.
A range of authors have contributed other essays on special topics: temple architecture, Hindus in South Australia, the diversity of Indian identity in multicultural Melbourne, women’s strategies for daily living, Indian communities in Australia, and changing attitudes towards Hindu and Sikh communities in Australia. There are two special appendices: an essay by Ninian Smart on diasporas which has not been previously published and a historical essay on Aghan Cameleers and Indian Hawkers. This book is a substantial scholarly examination of an important part of Australia’s religious profile. It makes a major contribution to the understanding of the rich tapestry of Australia’s multicultural and multi-faith society.