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INTERVIEW Audio File: [Arzignano Sanatan Dharm Mandir group-HT] Transcribed: [12th August 2013] [00:00.0 - 00:04.

4 - Intro] Interviewer1Interviewer: Yeah, Im recording so

Interviewer: I would like to just offer to them the survey of why were here. Very simply, to tell them that we were actually brought to Lisbon for a yoga conference; and since they have to pay our rate to put your go we said, lets take the opportunity and do an article on Hinduism all through Europe as much as we can in a short time [00:39.8] Translator: [00:40:4]

Interviewee: [00:45.7] Interviewer: We believe that Europe is about to experience a trend that happened in America about 35 years ago. Translator: [01:20.8]

Interviewer: 35 years ago in America, there was not even this much hardly kind of temple; and today there are more than one thousand Hindu temples in my country. Translator: [01:44.0]

Interviewer: So our perception is that: you are all the pioneers of a new wave thats going to move through Europe in the next few decades. Translator: [02:09.8]

Interviewee: Yes Interviewer: And it may seem small and insignificant today, but thats how all things begin right? Translator: [02:24.5]

Interviewer1Interviewer: So, our first question to them is to give us a very brief history of this Durga Temple, and the community surrounding it. How many families are we talking about, when did it begin? Translator: [02:53.6]

Interviewee: [03:03.2] Translator: Twelve years ago, they started to rent out this place and the community of Arzignano

Interviewer: He can tell us his name also Translator: [03:36.2]

Interviewee: [03:37.0] Interviewer1Interviewer & 2: Translator: Khumar Predi

Khumar Predi, President of this, Sanatan Dharma Mandir

Interviewer: Okay. Interviewee: [03:51.7] Translator: The community is around 300 people

Interviewee: [04:21:7] Translator: So the community of Arzignano is around ten thousand people

Interviewee: [04:34.6] Translator: But the 300 people are the person that comes for the festivals. So 300, 400 depend on the festivals; they come to the temple. And regularly, every Sunday, they celebrate a small prayer. And during Sunday, two hundred people come to the temple.

Interviewer: But in this general region, theres ten thousand Hindus Translator: [05:03.5]

Translator: Interviewer1:

In this place, Arzignanoten thousand Punjabis mixed with the Sikh community. Ten thousand Punjab familiessome Hindus, some Sikh

Interviewee: [05:28.6] Translator: In this temple, they come from Bangladesh, Hindus. They come here in the Temple.

Interviewee: [05:43.0] Translator: Around 50 persons of the community are Hindus from Bangladesh.

Interviewee: [05:51.0] Translator: Translator: [05:58.5] So, one Saturday a month, they come and this place is only for themonce a month for their prayer. If fifty of them come, how many of them are there in the area? In the area?

Interviewer: : Translator:

Interviewer: Yes, how many Bangladeshi Hindus are there n the area? Translator : [06:28.0] Interviewee: [06:31.1] Translator : 300 to 400, and out of this, 350 are active in the temple. Interviewer1: How does the community here find the Italian community, government and municipalities helping them, obstructing them or not worried about themWhat is the relationship? [07:17.3]

Translator :

Interviewee: [07:27.6] Translator : [08:00.5]

Interviewee: Translator :

[08:07.2]

So they have had no problem with the authorities, and also with the neighbors. They know that once a month, they sing al the night, And they know, they were advised so that nobody will complain. [08:31.4] Why is it that nobody complained? The Italian people simply [08:38.6- inaudible] their prayers. Has he noticed any difference in the relationship, since this initiatives official recognition? They dont know yet now because it has not yet started; because everything starts in 2014. We have signed this year, but not up to the next year. This year we will use it to inform them of what has happened and still, what will happen next. But now, th ey dont know what has happened, and what possibilities that they have. In the community that we have and with our priest, are we observing some scars? We have the festivals of course, we have Puja. Are we observing some scars, for life? [10:11.0]

Interviewee : Translator:

Interviewer1:

Translator :

Interviewer1:

Translator :

Interviewer: [10:24.1] Translator: The Pundit is here, a family can come ask him everything traditional that they need and he provides everything namakarana, annaprashana mundane

Interviewee: : [11:05.0] Translator: Interviewer1:: He also performs weddings, livaja, But the weddings as of now are not legal, correct?

Translator: : [11:17.4] Interviewee: [11:22.5]

Translator:

[11:33.9]They are Indian citizens, not Italians. So he (the Pundit) performs the marriage, fulfills documents, they go to the embassy and this marriage is recognized in India. Not in Italy, but in Indiayes. So he performs a marriage recognized in India. If they go to the embassy, of course it is not all in accordance with Italian laws ...but next year, it will be legal, presumably. In Italy? The marriage, no?

Interviewer1: Translator:

Interviewer1Interviewer: Translator:

If they are not Italian citizen, nothey are Indian citizen.

Interviewer: So, if its not legal, do they have a civil ceremony to have a legal marriage? Translator: It is not possible to have a civil ceremony for citizens that are not Italianin Italy.

Interviewer1Interviewer: : Interesting. So if the husband dies, and theres some estate to go to the wife; she has no right to that? Translator: Translator: [13:06. 0] They are under the Indian law. So they are Indian citizens, and their marriage is recognized under Indian Laws. For Italian Laws, they are only immigrants [13:59.2] [14:05.6] its not at all easy to become an Italian citizen because the government doesnt give citizenship that easily.

Translator: Translator:

Interviewer1Interviewer: If he were to look bodily into the regional community in here, what would be the momentum of yoga studies and yoga schools of not Hindu but of the Italian people, following yoga, going to yoga classes so far Translator: Interviewee: [14:49.5] [15:03.5]

Translator:

No, separate. I mean they dont do yoga, the people that come into the temple; somebody pactices yoga in or in his own house. But here, they dont have any school for yoga, and they dont have any contacts with yoga schools. So they dont have any yoga schools in the region? [15:41.9] theyre Italians but nobody contacted them. I understand. But I want him to comment not on the relationship of the yoga schools and the temple, but just on the yoga schools presence [16:05.0] [16:29.4] They dont know because theyre working 8 hours per day. Their first thought and worries regarding the yoga, the family so they have no time to be connected with these kind of things. They dont know.

Interviewer: Translator: Interviewer:

Translator: Interviewee: Translator:

Interviewer: It would probably be a better one for me to interview. Translator: Yes, because yoga work is mainly for Italian, no? They do yoga then dont link yoga with Hinduism. There are no links

Interviewer: No. Thats pretty common. For example, we were in Portugal a few days ago, and theres a very strong youth movement about yoga and theres a hundred of yoga schools and teachers and its quite a powerful force in Portugal; and we were trying to understand is that through [ 18:00.0] Spain, through Italy, we have to ask someone else I think. Translator: I think.[18:08.3]

Interviewee: [18:41.5] Translator: Here it is only a personal business, private citizenthat they sponsor themselves and there is no organization, no involvement with the community, none at all.

Interviewee: [19:04.7]

They say that one person [speakers overlapping-19:29.2].A person who came from India, hes teaching yoga in Indianan dhyana and meditation. He came here for three days to teach, then to speak of dhyana[19:44.3]; this is the name. Translator: Interviewer: What is the priests experience with the youth? Are the youth pushing themselves away from Hinduism? Are they being brought back with classes? How well are we preserving the Hindu Culture and Language. Translator: [20:20.7]

Interviewee: [20:42.] Translator: [20:53.6]

Interviewee: [21:09.7] Translator: They say no, the younger, they like to come here, there are no.

Interviewee: [21:22.6] Translator: So they, the young people are in charge of Shiva. So they come here every morning, they cook for her, they prepare her, they serve her, they wash the dishes; so they are very active, they dothey do the cleaning. These are all the things that the young people do to serve Shiva. And they do it very well.

Interviewer: In other countries, theres perhaps a stronger tendency for the youth to be affected by outside or western forces. But is it true that here theyre kind of drawn into their own families so they dont have that touching? Is that part of it? Translator: [22:32.3] No, they dont say that they feel this attraction, they dont have tis kind of problem; so I told them, its because you give them too much freedom thats why they dont try to escape from something. Then, they say, yes, theyre free. And we dont give any restrictions, but they stay with the family and follow family rules.

Interviewer: So theyre learning the native language, and are they dressing in the traditional way? Translator: [23:56.7]

Interviewee: [24:02.5] Translator: : Yes, they have both no? They speak Italian, they study Italian. And then when they go to school they dress like the others; but when they go to the temple, when they speak to the family, they speak in Punjab. And when they come here, they wear Indian clothes. So they combine both, Italian life, Italian language, Indian and religious life together. Interviewer: This community is looking at this place as their home forever or this is a temporary camp? [25:15.8]

Translator:

Interviewee: [25:26.7] Translator: No, they say they will stay here because they already bought their houses and they have permanent jobs, and the children who were born here. Theyre Italians, so they dont feel the need to come back. They feel that this is their culture, their life, their work, their house. And the motherland[speakers overlapping - 26:20.1] What are the forces, protocol, and business or otherwise that brought this community to this particular place? Why are they all here? [26:35.6]

Interviewer:

Translator:

Interviewee: [26:45.6] Translator: Yes, it is work. Work is the main reason why theyre here. And it rounded to thousands, and here, they have tons of requests; a lot of opportunity for work. There is marble, wood work, there is plastic and also you know, the leather for the shoes, no? Working with leatherso, theres lots of opportunities for work. Those are the primary occupations of our group.leather workers, No agricultural, no plastic, no industrial. This is a very big, important industrial area. So theyre not working on vineyards, non- farming

Interviewer: Translator: Interviewer:

Translator: Interviewer:

[27:57.] So near Verona, and Turin, they are coming but .[28:21.6] How socially mobile is the community? Are they allowed by the government or by the culture here to become the president of a bankor a bit like, maybe an academic or are they kind of being kept in a subservient position? [28:51.5]

Translator:

Interviewee: [29:15.] Translator: [29:33.] They have their own independent work. They have their own kind of work, they are road workers. They dont have a high position; but they have no problem with the bank, with politics, no, none at all They have this with Italian people, they pay rent of 1,200 euros a month for a certain place. So they regularly pay, maintaining good relations with bank, police and stable work too.

Interviewer: What would he regard as the most difficult challenge that the group faces today? What was their biggest problem? Translator: [30:41.2]

Interviewee: [30:58.0] Translator: [31:14.0] No. What they dream to achieve is to buy a land or a place and to build a temple. This is the only prospect that they need. And he thinks he can give money in advance because, hes being regularly paid for twelve years now. And so, he feels that now, they can give the occasion to buy the temple. And I even asked him if he ever needed something for women, for children, and he said they never needed anything for their community; and everything is going smoothly and well so we would only need our place, a proper temple, their own property. This is their dream. Well, we hope that that would work for all of you. [33:03.1] So for the health service, school service, they can use the public service, it is good and theres no discrimination, they can have what they need.

Interviewer: Translator:

Interviewer: Are we maintaining good relationship with India? Their families, or the other people in India? Or do we travel back and forth to India? Or is it beginning to move apart? Translator: [33:55.9]

Interviewee: No... [34:08.4] Translator: So, if they have their holiday and they have the money, they go back to India for a holiday. When was the last time he was in India? [34:41.3], August last year, he stayed one month.

Interviewer: Translator:

Interviewer: Very nice, wonderful. Translator: [34:53.9]


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Interviewee: [3514.0 inaudible- 35:07.6] Pause, low voices Translator: [35:14.4]

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Interviewee: [35:17.1] Translator: Translator: [35:27.1] So only one office for visa; because visa is not easy for them to maintain and have their visa here where they have work and family. So Im suggesting that they have an office that could help them. Though they were very organized and they can manage quite well even their visas. But.

Interviewee: [35:59.5] Translator: So at the beginning after ten years of staying here with regular work, they can get citizenship. The people who could get their Italian citizenship will help others to organize and maintain the visa and to but nowadays, things are not so easy anymore. Though sometimes, they manage. With the change in the economy in Italy, its becoming a little bit difficult for everyone to have jobs. Is that the threat that the government might change their policies and send them away? [37:09.9]

Interviewer:

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Interviewee: [37:22.0] Translator: Say, If we can find the work, If for some period, they dont have the job, they suspend for some time, and they try some other work; if they have this card of [38:44.0] means they have no job, so they fulfill this and they wait sometime for a new job. If it comes its okay, But if the job doesnt come, we go back, no problemThey have no fear, they have their God to take care of them .

Interviewer; : I would like to confirm just a few facts before we close. So, they came here mostly around 2,000? Translator: [39:23.6] 1998, he was here, then established the temple, twelve years ago 2001. Most of the communities that came around at the same time, late 90s [40:04.1] its around 1990 till 2000 when the community came in large numbers.

Translator:

Interviewer: And that happened because Italy is booming and needed outside help. And they learned of that, thats why. Translator: [40:37.2] They chose Italy because some friends were already here; The friend here, will say that if they come here with a tourist visa, they will help them become regulars here. So that time, the law is still not that tight so they can be that way before in order to find work. Are they allowed to bring additional relatives like if you have a visa, or if they have a jobcan they bring mother here? Can they bring uncle here? [41:45.4] so the parents, they came here, and they died here. His parentsso yes, they can join the family. And speaking of that, the community has no good cremation facility. So how does that work when they [42:23.5] [42:30.9] Yes, what they do is that they do their cremation here, like any ordinary cremation. [43:09.2] So they have to pay three thousand euro, for cremation Really??

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Interviewer:

Translator: Interviewee: Translator:

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and And then for the cremation ashes, they go to India. They go to Ganges, and do all the Hindu rituals in India. You may be interested in my country, United States, where more than 30% of the people today choose to be cremated; it's its getting more and more each year, its like 5% or 10% more. In America a normal burial costs an average about sixteen to twenty thousand dollars and a cremation will cost about sixteen hundred dollars. Its ten times expensive to do a burial than to do cremation.

Interviewer:

Interviewer:

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[44:28.3]

Interviewer: Interesting. I was hoping our priest might have something from his point of view, as a spiritual person of this community of how he would add to our understanding. Translator: Interviewee: Interviewer: Translator: Interviewee: Translator: [44:57.1] [45:07.2] A man of few words, a man of few words? A man of yes. [45:32.8] He understands well Italian, but he doesnt speak it fluentlyso this is like [ 45:54.2] Hes happy with his work. They take good care of him Its good work. Yes its a sacred work he does. [46:09.2] [46:32.2] So he is very lucky to be here, his work is to be with Hanuman Ji, so hes very lucky. And I asked him if he is maintained by the community if they pay him. Oh, its mostly for Sivawhat hes doing.

Interviewer: Interviewee: Translator:

Interviewer:

His family is here too?

Translator: [47:09.6] Hes alone here, his mother and father is in India. Interviewer: Interviewee: Translator: I think theyve done beautifully answering our sometimes difficult questions. Nice also to meet you. [47:42.8] I have seen their festival that they do here, and they always invite the mayor of the city, the policemen, and the priest.catholic priest. And they have always have nothing but good works. They really feel that they are part of the community. And the priests say that they are brothers. And I think that that is because they are doing a very good job. Its also because the community knows that they live with the Ahimsa so they are no threat. [48:57.1] In Italy, there are a lot of problems to the questions on women. You have to declare, give the same right to women. So they are very sensitive because of problems that happen every day. One to two women are killed every day in Italy, maybe because it is in the Muslim partsenvironment, and people too. So I would like to ask them if they feel this problem or not. So the women can go to school, and they can learn Italian, so they can become a part of the integration [50:52.0]. They say Hindus are very open You mentioned school, and went to go to the terms of women; So I just want to ask, If theres any problem with bullying, you heard the term bullying? In America, at times, Hindu boys and girls will get bullied by the Christian Boys and Girls in school. Its a big problem in certain places, especially in the south where the Christianity is very strong in the Southern United States. Is there any problem with the Hindu Boys and Girls here in school? Getting any kind of. [51:53.1] Because they live in a small country, with a not so big city. They have a very good relationship; they become very good friends, because everybody knows each other. So they never had any problem in the school with the children; even with the religion, sometimes in the school, they say you worship the elephant, worship the monkey. No, they said no, they never had this kind of problem, thats goodgood integration.

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Interviewee:

Youve done a very wonderful job, we have to get our land and get our temple [53:10.1] Sorry for my English You did well!

Interviewer:

[End of Recording 53:35.6]