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The meaning of the Hindu temple for the North Indian community in Vancouver Garde, Niranjan Anil 2014

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  THE MEANING OF THE HINDU TEMPLE FOR THE NORTH INDIAN COMMUNITY IN VANCOUVER by Niranjan Anil Garde  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ADVANCED STUDIES IN ARCHITECTURE in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  May 2014 © Niranjan Anil Garde, 2014   ii  Abstract   This research study asks how the North Indian community in Vancouver gives meaning to its  Hindu temple. It examines how community identity is expressed through the built environment of the temple.  In order to understand the meaning attributed to the Hindu temple by the North Indian community, I undertook an ethnographic case study of a Hindu temple in the city of Surrey, Greater Vancouver Region. The study is also a personal journey through which I have come to understand the built environment as an expression of identity. The research study claims that the meaning of the built environment is related to how one perceives it – which depends on one’s values, which in turn, are related to the context.  Such a study offers an important contribution to knowledge about how North Indians use their temples in a diasporic context. It also suggests that the study of this kind of architecture is dependent on the community’s perceptions and meanings.              iii  Preface  This dissertation is an original intellectual product of the author, Niranjan Anil Garde. The methodology reported in Chapter 1, the access to the fieldwork and the data collected according to the prescribed forms as mentioned in appendix 4 was covered under the approval of UBC Ethics Certificate number H13-01590.    iv  Table of Contents  Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... ii Preface ............................................................................................................................................ iii Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................... iv List of Tables .................................................................................................................................. vi List of Figures ............................................................................................................................... vii Acknowledgement ........................................................................................................................ viii CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................1 1.1: INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM ..........................................................................1 1.2: METHODOLOGY ............................................................................................................5 CHAPTER 2: CONTEXT ............................................................................................................8 2.1: SOUTH ASIAN DIASPORA............................................................................................8 2.2: SOUTH ASIANS IN VANCOUVER ...............................................................................9 2.3:  HISTORY OF THE TEMPLE .......................................................................................13 CHAPTER THREE: THE COMMUNITY OF THE TEMPLE .................................................20 3.1: FORMATION .................................................................................................................20 3.2:  SEVA..............................................................................................................................23 3.2.1:  CHILDREN .............................................................................................................24 3.2.2: HOUSEWIVES AND ELDERS ..............................................................................25 3.3: SOCIAL VALUES ..........................................................................................................26 3.3.1:  RELEVANCE TO THE CHILDREN (FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF PARENTS) .........................................................................................................................27 3.3.2: PARENTS ................................................................................................................31 3.3.3: ELDERS ...................................................................................................................32 3.4: DINING ...........................................................................................................................33 3.5: FAITH .............................................................................................................................35 CHAPTER FOUR: THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT .................................................................40 4.1:  BUILT ENVIRONMENT BETWEEN 1991 TO 2000 ..................................................40 4.2: SYMBOLIC MEANING OF TEMPLE ARCHITECTURE ...........................................45 4.3: BUILT ENVIRONMENT IN EXISTING TEMPLE ......................................................48 4.3.1: SANCTUM ..............................................................................................................48 v  4.3.2: GENDER ..................................................................................................................50 4.3.3: CHARACTER OF SPACE ......................................................................................51 4.3.4: MOVEMENT WITHIN THE TEMPLE ..................................................................51 4.3.5: FORM OF THE TEMPLE .......................................................................................53 CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION ..............................................................................................55 5.1: IDENTITY AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT .........................................................55 5.2: HINDU TEMPLE AS A PLACE ASSISTING IN INTEGRATION .............................57 5.3: SITUATING THE TEMPLE ..........................................................................................58 5.4: THE ROLE OF YOUTH .................................................................................................61 BIBLIOGRAPHY ..........................................................................................................................63 APPENDIX 1: SUMMARY OF DATA ........................................................................................69 APPENDIX 2: DETAILS OF DATA COLLECTED ....................................................................72 PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS .................................................................................................72 PHOTO SOURCES ....................................................................................................................73 VIDEO SOURCES .....................................................................................................................73 TEMPLE NEWS LETTERS FROM EX- EDITORS (PERIOD 1991 – 1995) .........................74 OTHER NEWSPAPER ARTICLES ..........................................................................................74 OTHER NEWSPAPER WEBLINKS ........................................................................................75 DATA FROM INTERVIEWEES ..............................................................................................76 PAMPHLETS COLLECTED DURING FIELD VISITS ..........................................................76 ONLINE BROCHURES FORWARDED BY THE TEMPLE SOCIETY ................................77 APPENDIX 3: ACTIVITY CHART OF THE TEMPLE...............................................................79 RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY ...........................................................................................................79 FESTIVALS THAT ARE CELEBRATED IN THE TEMPLE .................................................79 VEDIC SENIOR PARIWAR ACTIVITIES ..............................................................................80 LANGUAGE CLASSES AND OTHER PROGRAMS FOR KIDS ..........................................81 PRIEST SERVICES TAKEN BY PEOPLE INSIDE OR OUTSIDE THE TEMPLE ..............81 ASSISTANCE FROM TEMPLE NETWORKING ...................................................................82 SEASONAL ACTIVITIES ........................................................................................................83 SECULAR AND POLITICAL EVENTS ..................................................................................83 APPENDIX 4: INTERVIEW GUIDE ............................................................................................84  vi   List of Tables  TABLE 1: SUMMARY OF DATA COLLECTED .......................................................................69 TABLE 2: SELECTED DATES OF FIELD VISITS ....................................................................71    vii   List of Figures  Figure 1: Census map 2006 showing distribution of people in Vancouver whose mother tongue is Punjabi ............................................................................................................................................13 Figure 2: Census Map 2006 showing distribution of people in Vancouver whose mother tongue is Hindi ...............................................................................................................................................14 Figure 3: Census Map 2006 showing distribution of South Asian visible minority population in Vancouver ......................................................................................................................................14 Figure 4: Site Map of Vedic Hindu Cultural Society .....................................................................15 Figure 5: The temporary cave structure imitating pilgrimage site of Amarnath in the Himalayan range ...............................................................................................................................................36 Figure 6: Shiva Lingam on the festival day ....................................................................................36 Figure 7: The personification of Shiva ...........................................................................................37 Figure 8: Food Stalls ......................................................................................................................38 Figure 9: Visit by a revered Saint ...................................................................................................41 Figure 10: land Purification Rituals ...............................................................................................41 Figure 11: The interiors of the Temple established on the 'sacred' spot .........................................43 Figure 12: Land Purification Ritual ................................................................................................44 Figure 13: The Sanctum .................................................................................................................48 Figure 14: Marriage function in the multipurpose prayer hall of the temple .................................49 Figure 15: Vedic Hindu Cultural Society (Lakshmi Narayan Temple), City of Surrey .................53     viii  Acknowledgement  I offer my enduring gratitude to the faculty, staff and my fellow students at the University of British Columbia (UBC, Vancouver), who continue to be my source of encouragement in the exciting journey of research. I wish to state that UBC offers a very intellectually intensive environment which has definitely rubbed off in some ways on this research study.  I owe particular thanks to my Research Supervisor Dr. Sherry McKay, who was always available to offer critical suggestions and words of advice ensuring timely progress of this study.   I thank my research committee members Dr. Abidin Kusno for his kind words of encouragement and prompting me to think of different themes and Dr. Renisa Mawani for her valuable feedback throughout my research.  Special thanks are owed to my parents, my brother and my extended family in India whose presence gives meaning to all the things I do in life. The undeniable moral commitment and dedication to this research undertaking is a reflection of the thorough grounding given to me by my parents. Without them, the research would not have reached the satisfying level that it now enjoys. This research is as much credit to them as may be deserved to be given to me.    1     CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION   1.1: INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM  This research study is centered on understanding the meaning of the Hindu temple for the North Indian community in Vancouver. It deals with the notion of the identity of this community and its expression through the built environment of the temple. I aim to understand the relevance of a Hindu temple for the visible minority group of North Indian Hindus in the City of Surrey (Greater Vancouver region). Specifically, I am interested in how a given context shapes the nature of the built environment. Hindu temples were in existence from the first century AD in India and later on spread to other continents in the 19 th and 20th centuries. I was curious to understand how they function in contemporary times and in an era of global diffusion of cultures? Simply stated, why do North Indians continue to go to a temple in Vancouver, although a Hindu temple is historically conceived and situated in India? The study of the meaning of the built environment of a Hindu temple in historical and contemporary times involves an understanding of the conception, evolution and diaspora of this building typology. I will focus this discussion on the diaspora of Hindus and the context of Vancouver.  I start my discussion by talking about the migration of people to Vancouver and the corresponding literature review of the faith based institutions formed in Vancouver. I move on to narrow my focus to South Asian immigrants, wherein I introduce their patterns of migration to Vancouver, their percentage of population and the establishment of their faith based institutions in Vancouver. I proceed to highlight observations about the literature review concerning diaspora Hindu temples and the issues that have been explored in them. In this process, I state how the need of the study of North Indian Hindu temple is situated in 2    each of the above points of discussion. Finally, I state the focus of the research study and the important questions that I wish to explore leading me to talk about the methodology. Vancouver has been witness to the migration of people from the European and Asian continents from the late nineteenth century (Anderson, Bose, & Richardson, 1983). Each wave of new immigrants was unique, in terms of demographic composition, their faith, culture, class, and the concerns of the host society at that time. There has consequently been a diverse development of faith based institutions and this has generated considerable research concerning their role in the kinds of social service they provide (Ley, 2008), the aspect of religious diversity in recent times (Bradamat & Koenig, 2009) as well as the chronology of the establishment of faith based Institutions in areas such as the City of Richmond (Henderson, no date). The extent to which different faith based organizations are participating more directly with the wider society and to what extent they work along with each other is illustrated by the faith based organizations located along Richmond Road no. 5 (Dwyer, Tse, & Ley, 2013). However, substantial research concerning any of the Hindu temples established in Vancouver is yet to be done. Yet, Hindu temples form a part of the cultural landscape. Talking specifically about the immigrant South Asians in Canada, the South Asian population is the second-largest visible minority group in Canada, at 670,585 people or 2.32% of the national population as noted in Statistics Canada, 1996 (Abouguendia & Noels, 2001). South Asian Hindus constitute 1.5% of total Canadian population as per 2011 NHS database. The ‘South Asians’ in Statistics Canada are classified as people coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri-Lanka, Mauritius and Nepal and people from former British colonies who trace their lineage to India. South Asians include Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians within them. There has been research on the social history of the South Asian community in Canada (Buchignani, Doreen, & Srivastava, 1985), the Sikh community in Vancouver (Kazimi, 2011) and their faith institutions,  the Gurudwaras (Johnston, 1988), but Hindu temples have not been researched in detail, except for mention of their very brief history (Anderson, Bose, & Richardson, 1983) and identity issues from psychological 3    perspectives (Paranjpe, 1986). ‘North Indian’ Hindus are only a part of the 1.5% South Asian Hindu group, and they are not categorized in any survey. In a nutshell, very little is known about the North Indian Hindu’s social, cultural and religious issues and their relation to their faith based institution (which is the Hindu temple) in Vancouver. With the rapid expansion of the population of immigrant Indians in Vancouver, the importance of researching this community’s expression through the use of religious space in the context of Vancouver cannot be underestimated.  In the extensive literature about Hindu temples in India and diaspora, there is hardly any systematic research on the North Indian community’s social, cultural and religious relation with the temple (Bauman & Saunders, 2009). There are a number of research articles that talk about how South Indian Hindus build their temples in India and in other diaspora situations (Bharadwaj & Rao, 1998; Govinan , 2001; Mazumdar, 2006, 2009; Palmer, 2006; Parker, 1992,2003; Shekhar, 2001), but these observations cannot be easily applied to North Indian Hindus because they represent a different cultural group. The diversity in the North Indian community in terms of age, gender, educational status, immigration status, class, sub-ethnicity, religious and ritual diversity (being a polytheistic religion) also pose a unique challenge for the functioning of the Hindu temple in meeting the needs of this community. Research on the North Indian Hindu temple located in Vancouver will contribute to knowledge about how North Indians build and use their temples in a diasporic context.  It is also important to consider the studies related to the architecture of the temple. The symbolic meanings of the sacred space of the Hindu temple are articulated in a number of research publications (Hardy A, 2007; Meister M, 1986; Mitchell G, 1977; Rao S, 1997). Whereas early research portrays a fixed or an unchanging notion of sacredness derived from the ancient texts, contemporary studies in sociology and anthropology challenge this stable notion and illustrate the multiple meanings of sacredness with respect to the people who are the patrons and who construct a temple (Parker S., 1992, 2003) and with respect to the politics of social differentiation prevalent in central India (Rao U. , 2003). However, the status of symbolic meanings in a diasporic situation is not yet known. It is not clear if 4    symbolic meanings attributed to the built environment undergo change and if so for what reasons. Also unknown is what the change might indicate about the community’s identity? Times change, society changes and therefore, meanings of the temple would obviously evolve with new situations. I am interested to know what are the meanings, here. To establish a temple in diasporic context, requires knowledge about existing legal systems and relevant bylaws, under which, this faith based institution can be established. This calls for strategic decisions on the part of the community in question and how they set out to bring their people together to build their temple. In other words, the role of the community prior to and during the temple building activity is a very important ingredient in understanding the relationship between the temple and the community (Mazumdar, 2009) and this will be explained here.  The underlying theme centers on understanding how identity is articulated. Therefore, the research aims to understand what meanings are ascribed to the Hindu temple by the North Indian community, here - in Vancouver.  The temple that forms the basis of this research is registered as the Vedic Hindu Cultural Society under the Society Act of BC and is popularly known as the Lakshmi Narayan Temple among the Hindu community. It is located on 140th Street, 84th Avenue, Surrey. The research is concerned with examining this community’s perceptions, ideas, views and opinions about this temple. It explores why this temple in the City of Surrey is important to them. What is its significance? What does the temple say about the context here, as experienced by the community? Does this temple function in a different way as compared to its Indian counterpart and to other temples in Vancouver and if it does, for what reasons? What challenges and issues is the community trying to address through the built environment of the temple?  An ethnographic case study was therefore done to highlight the voices of those involved with the Hindu temple in terms of age, gender, linguistic, religious and other prominent variables. Throughout the study, a basic intention was to articulate the temple as a response to a context that people experience.  5     1.2: METHODOLOGY  This research takes the form of an ethnographic case study of the Vedic Hindu Cultural Society in the City of Surrey. All characteristics of qualitative studies (Creswell, 2007) were applied here. Notable points of this methodology are: The intention of this research is to present themes informed by people’s perceptions, ideas, views, opinions and to articulate the complexity, uniqueness and the context of the functioning of this Hindu Temple.  The research design also proposes a ‘Case Study’ approach (Creswell, 2007) which includes a bounded system based on a specific context.  The context includes the geographical location (City of Surrey), the predominant North Indian membership base of the temple, the specific building typology (Hindu temple) and the bounded duration of study period of 6 months of field contact and 1.5 years of topic research.  Data Collection sources – Data about the temple was collected from different sources (Refer to the appendix for data sources). Among these, photos and videos pertaining to this temple during the period of 2009 to 2013 were also used for analysis of cultural, social, religious and political events. Some members were kind enough to share personal photos of the time prior to construction of the temple and provide newspaper articles spanning a period from 1994 to 2003. This has assisted in generating knowledge about the development of the temple as an evolution over a period of time and the changes that are seen in its functioning.  Sampling and field work planning – Certain participants were specifically identified as experts (architect, past committee members, present president of the management committee, priests and other key persons responsible for specific functions) in order to get relevant information covering various aspects of the temple and to present the temple in a comprehensive way. As far as the visitors and members of the temple were concerned, the sampling approach was on ‘maximum variation.’ I included the voices of people belonging to 6    age groups of 19 to 25 years, 35-65 age group and elders. Another variable consisted of the operational status of a person, whether that person was an Indo-Canadian citizen or an immigrant, since their concerns and way of looking at the temple might be remarkably different. Also, variation in sub cultures was considered by interviewing Nepali, Bengalis, South Indians, Fijians and Gujarathis coming to the temple in order to know their perspectives about this Hindu temple despite the fact that it consisted of a predominantly Punjabi Hindu population. Standard protocols of the Research Ethic Committee of the University were followed for selecting a pool of participants, collecting data and maintaining confidentiality and privacy. A snow balling technique was used to generate additional participants.  For fieldwork, I was a witness to various social, cultural and religious functions, the news of which I received from the temple website and through interviews with the participants. This was done in order to have first-hand experience as to how the space was used. Sometimes these observations would inform my interview questions that I asked on follow-up sessions with the participants. Occasions of field visits are included in the Appendix.  Interview guide design – The format of the interviews was semi-structured since I preferred to make it more discussion oriented to understand the range of meanings (forms attached in the Appendix 4). The interview guide represents a set of questions that were designed to incorporate maximum variation in sampling.  Most interviews lasted for 60 minutes and were conducted either in the temple premise or any other location convenient to the participant. In times when it was difficult to meet the participants face-to-face, telephone interviews were conducted.  The questions were designed to know the background of the user (from where the person had come to stay in Vancouver), religious outlook of the person, challenges the person encountered during the acculturation process, the involvement of the person with the temple and finally perception of the architecture of the temple. The intention was to view the temple from the individual’s perspective, situating the discussion in relation to the values the 7    individual had before coming to Vancouver and how these values were mediated by the diasporic context.  Approach to Data Analysis – I have referred to the data analysis procedures as described in qualitative studies (Creswell, 2007).  My experience with ‘themes’ is that they could develop at any stage and kept on evolving as one came across new interviews, new people, new events and situations. My first interpretive notes were scribbled after the interview with the participant – just to remark the prominent impression I received after interviewing the person. The second interpretation of interview data occurred during the stage of transcription, when I was not only listening to the recorded voice, but also understanding the possible meanings of what was being said. Each transcription was used to generate reflective notes. I also referred to other data sources mentioned by participants (such as newspapers, radio channels, videos) and made reflective notes on those as well. Finally all these notes and transcripts were re-read and a narrative evolved. The decision as to the manner of writing was a gradual process of discovering what best suited the presentation of this research.   8    CHAPTER 2: CONTEXT  In this chapter, I set out to describe the South Asian population in the context of Vancouver. I begin with the history of diaspora of Hindus since the late 19th century and early 20th century and highlight some of the key features that constitute the South Asian immigrant population here. I then proceed to a description of the history of this temple.   2.1: SOUTH ASIAN DIASPORA  The global diaspora of Hindus in the 19th and early 20th centuries under the colonial rule has been mainly in the form of indentured labours working on sugarcane plantations, lumber industry and labour for infrastructural works (Jacobson K. A., 2004); (Rukmani, 2001). Subsequent migration cycles include Indians that were recruited for construction, as businessmen, and entrepreneurs. Overall, the Hindu diaspora, as it formed over the decades, demonstrates a diversity in religious practices, class, linguistic and cultural attitudes. Temples in new diasporic settings were a result of this interplay of inherent religious, social and cultural diversity of Indian ethnicity and their response to each unique situation prevalent in the host societies.  The existing literature focuses on general historic trends and observations concerning the lives of Hindus from social and religious perspectives offering few glimpses of and only some references to the nature of architecture that was consequently produced in the diaspora context under colonial period (Rukmani, 2001). The migration of Hindus in this period comprises South Africa, East Africa, Mauritius, Malaysia, Trinidad, Guyana, parts of Australia, British Columbia (Canada) and California (USA) in the time period of 1818 to 1947. Indian Independence in 1947, and changes in immigration policies in the USA and Canada from 1965 to 1969, resulted in the migration of highly educated and skilled professionals coming from all parts of India. This has led to the adaptation or transplantation of practices of Hinduism in differing ways and means (Shekhar R., 2013, Waghorne, 1999). 9    Consequently, several things have led to differing and unique responses to temple architecture: attitudes towards Hinduism, demographic composition of diverse cultural ethnic Indian communities united to construct temples, culture of the host societies; and social, cultural and religious issues to be tackled in the new secular environments; and the available resources in the host societies. This response is highlighted in terms of the adaptation of religious practices of the Hindu community and there are several research articles that describe classification of Hindu temples based on the community organization (Shekhar R., 2013, Waghorne, 1999). Yet the meaning of the built environment as a central aspect of identity and its relation to the local context is illustrated only briefly, and if it is, then it is illustrated for South Indian diaspora temples (Mazumdar, 2006).   2.2: SOUTH ASIANS IN VANCOUVER  As a part of the diasporic movements of Indians occurring from colonial rule to contemporary times, Vancouver has been witness to Indians coming here since the last decade of the 19th century (Kazimi, 2011). However, Sikhs have a long history in Canada and they were the only representative ‘voice’ for Indians up to 1970s. It was only after the 1969 immigration act that encouraged independent immigrants from India to immigrate to Canada that other cultural, linguistic and religious ethnic groups (Hindus and Muslims) from India, Fiji, East Africa, Sri Lanka started to arrive in Vancouver. These later groups were to be absorbed within the Sikh institutions which had already been established (Johnston H, 1988; Paranjape A, 1986). In order to establish a Hindu religious institution with different religious considerations from those of Sikhism and in response to their specific cultural needs, the first religious Hindu institution was setup in 1973 (Anderson et al, 1983; Paranjape, 1986). It was known as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Subsequent influx and diversity in composition of ethnic Indians have resulted in the establishment of other Hindu temples as well, and one can now find Hindu temples responding to different sub cultures of India.  How does this temple position itself with respect to other Hindu temples will be 10    mentioned in the final chapter on Discussion. Before I proceed to describe the history of the temple that forms the case study of this research, some of the important factors that inform this case study need further discussion. The immigration of Indians to Vancouver: Immigration of Indians to Vancouver since the beginning has predominantly been from the Doaba province of Punjab followed by surrounding districts in Punjab. This geographical region is reflected in the composition of the Indo- Canadian community today (Roberts, 2003). The majority of people who form the community base of this temple are Punjabi Hindus followed by Punjabi Sikhs. Thus the majority of the activities that take place in the temple respond to the concerns of this group. However, other responses are generic across the South Asian population and this will be discussed subsequently in Chapter 3.  Sponsorship System: In the case of family-class immigration, Punjab continues to exercise a strong influence, accounting for 80 percent of all applications in 1998. The sponsorship process played a central role in community formation for Canadian Punjabis in Vancouver in the 1970s and 1980s, and this type of immigration is still evident, since India represents the largest source of family-class immigrants to Canada by a significant margin. Within the family-class category, the most significant components are spouses and parents. In the case of India-Canada immigration, human mobility is overwhelmingly built around the extended family, a larger social unit (Roberts, 2003). There seems to be more emphasis on the settlement of Indians in Vancouver by Family Reunification System (rather than by independent skilled immigrants). Spouses, children and grandparents are considered to be important social units of the community and likewise have a bearing on this temple’s activities, which will be elaborated in Chapter 3.  Relationship of Permanent Residence and economic status of immigrants:  Different countries have different policies for accepting immigrants and their naturalization processes. For any of the mediums by which an immigrant from India comes (either on a Study Permit, Work Permit or through a Family Reunification system or as a landed Permanent Resident), job assurance for most cases has to be created AFTER landing in Vancouver. This condition 11    seems to be very critical as is highlighted by current debates on the lack of recognition of job equivalency of immigrants from developing countries and their resulting deskilling. It is under these conditions issues of job security arise. The temple is viewed by many immigrants as a networking resource. The temple, therefore, has this undeniable dimension of catering to the practical requirements settlement issues (jobs, housing, referrals) of the community it serves. The activities through which the temple responds to these issues and how meanings of ‘service’ and transcendental identity are affected will be highlighted in Chapter 3.   Life Cycle rituals: There is a particular way is which life cycle events are conducted by faith communities. The expression of such rituals is one way in which a community defines itself and the beliefs that it has on matters related to birth, marriage and death. Although there are secular and legal institutions in Vancouver to register births, marriages and deaths, the North Indian Hindu community continues practicing its rituals concerning life cycles, wherever it settles. The interviewees cited the challenge of specific constraints in practicing their life cycles in the early 1970s when there was not a single provision of physical space that could assist in expressing their religious beliefs. Times have changed and with the advent of Hindu temples in Vancouver, this need gets fulfilled. However, there are regional, linguistic and sub-cultural differences in the performance of these rituals. Therefore, this particular temple caters to religious beliefs of a dominant Punjabi population. The life cycles are performed confirming to their specific format, although adaptations have been found necessary in the new context. To conclude, the temple (like the majority of other diaspora temples in the USA and Canada) is associated with the community right from birth, through marriage and death – which is fundamentally different from the way such activities are done in India.  Legal frameworks for the establishment of religious or a faith based institutions in Vancouver: Acts conforming to practicing religion or faith based activities are incorporated under Society Act. The Society Act was first created in 1920, modified in 1947 and then in 1977. It is currently under extensive review since 2006 (Institute, 2008). The Society Act gives a registered Society (in this case – the Hindu temple) complete freedom to decide matters related to finance and management of the temple. Understandably, this has an effect 12    on the functioning of the temple from social, cultural and religious perspectives. Another point to be noted is the legal provisions that are setup for taking elections of the committee members responsible for managing the Society. Every registered member of the Society has a right to vote for the prospective candidate to be included in the Management Committee of that Society. Thus, in totality, the structure of the Management Committee and its agendas about the functioning of the temple are also influenced by the member’s power to vote. Like any democratic process of elections, this is an aspect of negotiations. It is also important to note that any donations given by the individual to the Society can be claimed as tax deductibles by the individual. The Society can use the donation for the purposes it deems fit and the overall income through community donations are not liable for any taxes. Suffice it to say, there are financial dynamics at play. This has repercussions on the quality and the scale of activities that are managed by the temple and is also an indication as to how power is expressed. My case study will not go in the expressions of power structures that get formed by such connections of members to the Management Committee but this is an aspect of a separate research, if one wants to understand how power mediates religious dimensions of the temple.  Power in the Society Act: The Society Act bestows the registered Society powers to define the constitution of the Managing Committee.  Similarly every registered Society has the power to define membership rules. This represents the first step for defining members of a community and the discourses that are used to do so will be elaborated later. As will be explained in chapter 3, a temple is maintained by a huge volunteering force and the means to do so by the Management Committee, will be elaborated in the same chapter. Finally, the Society Act bestows power to cater to the practical legal requirements for purchasing property, plot, mortgaging, loan applications and so on. Without the incorporation of the temple through the registered Society, construction and legal identity of a temple is impossible at least in the City of Surrey. Such factors played an important role in defining the relation of this community to this Hindu temple. Before that relation is articulated, I will describe in detail, the history of this temple and the chronological events in the formation and growth of this temple.   13     2.3:  HISTORY OF THE TEMPLE  In reviewing the settlement pattern of South Asian immigrants it is observed that by 1986 Indo-Canadians began to locate further from the city of Vancouver, to the distant suburbs of Northeast Delta and West Surrey (especially in and around the neighbourhood of Newton). Significantly, the new area of settlement bordered on agricultural land and was near sawmills places of potential jobs; it also became the site of a new commercial landscape mainly owned by Indo-Canadians (Ley, Hiebert, and Pratt 1992).  Although Hindu temples existed in Vancouver before 1990, a need was felt to create a new temple for Hindus, who predominantly were staying in the City of Surrey, for easy accessibility and for their specific religious, social and cultural concerns.        Figure 1: Census map 2006 showing distribution of people in Vancouver whose mother tongue is Punjabi Hiebert D and Coyle M, Punjabi Mother Tongue Location Quotients. From Hiebert D and Coyle M (2006). 2006 Census Atlas on British Columbia, Retrieved from http://www.geog.ubc.ca/metropolis/atlas2006/. Used with permission from Hiebert D.   14     Figure 2: Census Map 2006 showing distribution of people in Vancouver whose mother tongue is Hindi  Hiebert D and Coyle M, Hindi Mother Tongue Location Quotients. From Hiebert D and Coyle M (2006). 2006 Census Atlas on British Columbia, Retrieved from http://www.geog.ubc.ca/metropolis/atlas2006/. Used with permission from Hiebert D.    Figure 3: Census Map 2006 showing distribution of South Asian visible minority population in Vancouver Hiebert D and Coyle M, South Asian Visible Minority Location Quotients. From Hiebert D and Coyle M (2006). 2006 Census Atlas on British Columbia, Retrieved from http://www.geog.ubc.ca/metropolis/atlas2006/. Used with permission from Hiebert D.   15    The following section will describe the history of Lakshmi Narayan Temple. The history is divided into three stages which can be stated as the preliminary stage where most activities took place in some existing structures (1989 to 1997), the intermediate stage where new structures were added (1997 to 2000) and the final stage during which, the temple was constructed and a lot of activities came into existence (2000 to present)   Figure 4: Site Map of Vedic Hindu Cultural Society Used with permission from Map Data: Google 16      Period of 1989 to 1995: The primary motives for the formation of any temple have, for most cases in the history of diasporic Indians been the same – to carry out religious, social and cultural activities for the continuation of their cultural identity in a new environment and to pass on this identity to the subsequent generations. As far as this case study is concerned, in the period commencing in 1989, with the initiation of a handful of members of the community, people started to gather for social and religious events every Sunday in any one of the community members’ residences. Between 1989 and 1992, the people coming together increased from 10 to 100. In order to carry out religious and cultural activity on a larger scale, where more people could come and manage things together, it was necessary to look for a convenient location by buying a piece of land. This necessitated the formation and the registration of a Society (under the provisions of the Society Act of BC) allowing people to carry out religious and cultural functions and having legal provisions to buy or sell land, set up a management body, membership and election structure,  and to manage finance. The name of the Society was Vedic Hindu Society and the reasons for the selection of this name and what it means to the community will be explained in the Chapter 3.  The founding members of the Society were able to purchase an appropriate 10 acres for the construction of the temple and apply for loan. The choice of plot was dictated by secular and economic concerns and not on traditional aspects based on orientation of the plot and symbolic characteristics required for the proper selection of the plot, as was the case with other diaspora South Indian temples (Mazumdar,2006). How these differ in comparison to this case study will be discussed in the Conclusion. However, a visit by a revered, prominent spiritual leader from India took place at the invitation by community leaders and was followed by land purification rituals performed by the same person (Owner, 1992). This event witnessed substantial community participation. Acts such as these indicate the religious identity of the community and what are their values on sacredness, which will be explained in Chapter 4.  17    Initially, the land was farmland with an existing chicken coup, a small farm shed and a septic tank. The chicken coup was fumigated and used for the purpose of religious activity, which consisted of rituals and recitation of devotional songs every Sunday for two hours. The format of religious practice adopted was Vedic and not Hindu. This means that fire rituals were the dominant form of worship as compared to the polytheistic version of Hinduism. This type of approach is encouraged by Arya Samaj – a politically defined religious minority section of people in India (Vable, 1983). The founding members of the Society were Arya Samajist. Slowly, with the growth of the community coming to the temple, the activities started to incorporate prayers for revering specific deities of the Hindu pantheon, which were also popular in Punjab, and these were held on specific days apart from Sunday. This is a reflection of the beginning of the transition of religious identity from Vedic to polytheistic Hindu. As the community base grew, the most prominent festivals of India such as Diwali and Dassera also began to be celebrated here and other cultural functions started to take place. A demand for Hindi and Sanskrit classes increased leading to their inception. A separate structure for preparing and serving food to the community was also constructed next to the existing structure. The relation of food with the temple will be explored in chapter 3.   Period of 1995 to 1998: Another small temple structure came to be established around 1995 after the witnessing of a ‘miracle’ event by the people of this community. This event made a particular portion of the land ‘sacred’ leading to the establishment of a small temple. This will be discussed in detail in chapter 4. Due to good political relations between members of the Society and the City of Surrey, 6 acres of Vedic Hindu Society land, which also had the existing temple in the chicken coup and another structure consisting of the kitchen-dining area, were exchanged for a more favorable parcel of land and equivalent funds from the City for the development of a proposed new temple. Part of the 6 acres of land given to the City was developed as a common parking lot for the temple, the adjacent Gurudwara, the church and for the citizens visiting the Bear Creek Park near the temple premise. This development required collaboration of adjacent Societies (Sikh Gurudwara and Church) and is an 18    indication of one of the ways in which integration between different faiths occurs. Because of the land exchange, all religious, social and cultural activities had to be relocated to another structure that was subsequently built by the community. This was called as ‘Shanti Niketan’. The previous chicken coup and the temporary structure of the kitchen were demolished because they resided on the land that was handed over to the City. There was a growth in religious, social and cultural activities and in the number of festivals that were celebrated. All the while, the community base kept on growing.   Period of 1998 to present: In 1998, the Society was able to take advantage of a grant offered by the provincial government for all cultural societies in the City of Surrey. The name of the Society was changed from Vedic Hindu Society to Vedic Hindu Cultural Society. With the procurement of this grant and the capital generated by the donation of funds contributed by the people conversant with this Society’s development, it was finally decided to plan, design and construct a new temple on the piece of land received from the City in 1997. With continued good relations with the City of Surrey, it was possible to rezone the procured piece of agricultural land for purposes fit for the construction of the temple.  The design requirements given to the architect reveal how much the spatial organization of a Hindu temple has changed as compared with its Indian counterpart – multiuse hall (instead of only a prayer hall) for any assembly purpose, an unobstructed view of the sanctum, attachment of an extensive kitchen and dining facility are ways in which a traditional Hindu temple has adapted in Vancouver. Why such changes happened as a social and a cultural response is not new and is covered in different research papers. Nor are these changes very geographically or culturally specific; they have also occurred in other diaspora locations of Europe and the USA, for example (Mazumdar, 2006). However, added to the usual discourse, what will be new here is what these changes say about power structures and symbolic meanings of sacred space. This will be explained in the discussion of the built environment in Chapter 4. Parallel to the activity of designing and choosing agencies for execution, another important event concerning the ground breaking ceremony was organized by the Society, 19    which witnessed the participation of community members and again reinforced the sacred nature of the enterprise. Finally, after the completion of the temple construction activity, consecration of the temple and deities took place, which marked the conclusion of the temple construction activity and beginning of religious practices that would take place in the new temple. Notable is a complete change of religious practice from Vedic to polytheistic Hinduism and it is an indication of change in religious identity that the Society wishes to express.  Since the present religious and cultural activities take place in the new temple, other structures such as Shanti Niketan, are used for other specific needs of the community. For example Shanti Niketan now has a dedicated set of activity for elders. It has a Hindu school for children and a special set of activities concerning cultural education to children. At present, popular festivals can draw crowds to a capacity of 10,000. The list of members has grown, the community base is now predominantly comprised of Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs, but one can see Indians coming from the states of Gujarath, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and other diaspora locations such as Fiji, Mauritius, E.Africa, Sri Lanka and other Canadian cities. A detailed list of activities is included in the appendix section and the discussion of them will follow in the subsequent chapters.    20     CHAPTER THREE: THE COMMUNITY OF THE TEMPLE  In this chapter, I focus on discussing themes by which, the identity of the community can be understood.  Prominent themes include Formation; Seva; Social values; Dining; Faith  3.1: FORMATION  I start this discussion by explaining the reasons for the formation of this registered Society. For practical purposes of land purchase, the registration of a Society is necessary.  However, purchasing land was governed by secular considerations – the political relation of the members of the community with the City of Surrey, convenience of access and size of lot and the economic value of the land. However, how were sacred meanings created after the legal and secular conclusion of plot purchase? And how were these meanings reinforced time and again over a period of 10 years? These themes will be discussed in Chapter 4 on the ‘built environment’. Apart from the secular requirement and the sacred nature of the temple enterprise, the issue of bringing people together for a common cause is important since it is linked with sustenance of the registered Society itself. How was this achieved? The conception of this temple has multiple concerns converging on a single purpose of temple establishment and these concerns collectively start to define a community. Primary concerns were voiced regarding continuation of Hindu culture within the current generation and subsequent generations of Indo-Canadians (Owner, 1991). In effect, the concern seems to be the continuation of shared values that define a community called Hindus. It appears that this concern stems from being in a situation of a minority – i.e. challenges projected by the present context of Vancouver for continuation of values that are important to this community. Collectively these values can be expressed in terms of faith, religious practices, life cycle events and social values about family. Coupled with these concerns, is a practical necessity of 21    resource sharing through intensive social contact. The combination of religious, social and secular requirements makes it necessary for the formation of this temple.   What efforts were taken to bring people together for a common cause?  The first response is expressed in the proper naming of the Society itself and the purpose for which it was established: Vedic Hindu Cultural Society. In analysing the temple newsletters it appears that the meanings attributed to Vedic and Hindu are used as a defining basis for forming a community, despite whatever internal social and cultural differences the people may have experienced.  It should be noted that social differences are very real in the Indian context – when one is living there. Hinduism itself has a lot of religious diversity (Vable, 1983), which makes it extremely challenging to unite Hindus under a common agenda. But to cling on to the differences seems detrimental to the prospect of coming together when already faced with a minority situation here. The approach taken is to illustrate what Vedic and Hinduism essentially mean and understand the nature of Hinduism, which is to realize the Truth that includes all mankind. By combining all Hindu differences within a universal notion of Truth, the call seems to be about acknowledging a common source of identity that includes all differences (Owner, 1994). This approach is illustrated through all temple newsletter articles, which talk about the identity of Vedic, Hindu and how should this identity be cherished or continued. This may be read as an effort to include all perceivable cultural and religious divisions. There were times when the identity of the community was compared with the notion of the ‘west’ and such articulation of difference may have also informed the notion of what it means to be a Hindu.  Finally, the act of coming together regularly at weekends and doing things together (religious practices, sermons, spiritual discourses, counselling etc.) further seems to have reinforced the feeling of a community in a social sense, which has got nothing to do with technical definition of Hinduism or Vedic. In other words, creation of a meaningful place is an on-going process that is formed by community participation and doesn’t necessarily have 22    to do with a proper form of architectural space, since activities used to take place in other temporary structures for the first nine years, before a proper temple was constructed. Continuity of performance of activities and the use of the space by the community add further meanings with the passage of time. Special functions when a significant number of people are involved, also seems to generate a feeling of intense value. Says one Gujarathi elder, who had participated in many functions of the temple from the beginning: When the base of the temple was about to be constructed, at the time of pouring cement, we had also poured our life-force. Meaning that with such intensity have we been involved with the temple, that this involvement has become a part and parcel of our lives. These are the memories of our lives, by which we affectionately remember this temple. However, sustaining the feeling of commitment for a long term presents a challenge in a diaspora context. The definition of community identity that is expressed through temple newsletters does not stay stable and changes depending on the internal dynamics of management priorities, composition of the community and Indo-Canadians. Changes in the management structure and the resultant change in religious activities (idol-less worship to a completely idol worship practices) are a reflection of how the community’s religious identity can change with time. Changes also happen in terms of activities, the scale of events and the crowd that comes to the temple. This represents a continuous process of growth. Says a youth coming to the temple and commenting on it:  There are a lot of activities that take place these days. You wouldn't see India Day happening, or like Dassera....there will be small occasions like here and there - but it is now getting bigger, bigger and bigger every year. Every year you see new faces and [a] bigger crowd of people. The promotional aspect is huge. Over the last 5 years, I have seen it happen.  23    3.2:  SEVA    The theme of Seva (selfless service) is an important concept in elaborating the necessity of the temple for individuals belonging to the Hindu community. A temple can also be looked upon as a place of resource sharing opportunities by the people – especially those trying to settle here and who are facing challenging job prospects, finances and residence. One interviewee, aged 45, recalls moving to Vancouver from Singapore: Whereas here, they give you the Permanent Resident status, but you may not get into your field. So that was a shock for us, because we did not know that part……we were quite settled in our home country. And then when you come to here, it was all the other way, right? So, that was the challenge. And that is when you think that your people will be around the temples to help you. For the individual, it has primarily an undeniable advantage of establishing networks within a culturally compatible community during any of the activities that take place in the temple premises – rituals, festivals and other social events. Thus the individual may tend to perceive the temple from the dimension of establishing a social network. Simultaneously, under the legal functioning of the registered Society, the Society can collect non-taxable revenue by means of donations, which are utilized for serving the community’s needs. More social capital affiliated to the temple consequently results in generation of more revenue and more activities. More activities create more opportunities for mixing and interacting.  In a nutshell, an individual needs a temple which offers him/her unlimited access to social capital, resource sharing and the cultural exchange of information. The temple, on the other hand, relies on the growing base of the community to maintain the Society’s activities and sustain the temple financially. These two interdependent identities – of the Society and the individual--I argue, are subsumed under the theme of ‘Seva’ or loosely enacted as volunteering. The definition of Seva is a call for selfless service for a noble cause - to the Omniscient Reality-- and this is regarded as one of the paths of attaining peace. One is not supposed to expect any outcome or take credit for any action. The theme of selfless service and detached 24    action in life is repeated in numerous texts such as Bhagvat Gita. The temple is a place for complete surrendering to the will of God. From the individual’s perspective, no one explicitly talks about self-gratification or hints at performing any action that benefits the individual, since it appears self centered and contradictory to the notions of Seva, although the individual knows the implicit advantage of access to opportunities of social networking and resource sharing through volunteering. Thus, I argue that all actions by the individual are spoken, and acted through the sacred mode of doing service to the temple community to include the benefit of access to resources and social capital. Seva acquires a multiple definition. The same language is used by the Management Committee to appeal for volunteering help to organize complex festivals and other large scale events. Seva seems to offer sanctity to any action performed in the name of service to divinity. Judgement of the success of this theme can  be based on the fact that the process of selecting volunteers has been formalized and streamlined. Every year the Management Committee advertises a Volunteer enrolment period and every year there are people who have to be put on a waiting list once the capacity of volunteers is stretched to the maximum. Apart from such practical intentions, Seva is also an outlet for effective social bonding. The relevance of Seva based on gender and age can be highlighted as follows.   3.2.1:  CHILDREN  Seva is considered an ‘opportunity’ to participate in a complete range of activities taking place in the temple – religious, cultural, social. It is a prominent medium by which cultural education and concepts of shared values/ attitudes are passed on to the younger generation – specially the Indo – Canadians having conflicting views about faith and culture as compared to their parents. Seva offers an active mode of participation – youth learn cultural concepts by doing activities and not just by listening to lectures or hearing what others have to say. Thus, Seva seems to be a practical mode of cultural education for youth. It is also an important generator of the feeling of ‘community’ for youth in a social sense. From the perspective of 25    parents and elders, Seva is a medium of counterbalancing the younger generation’s tendencies to be self absorbed and to make them acknowledge social differentiation based on age and gender (i.e. paying respect to elders and women) and acknowledge social authority (relevance of accepting any outcome or result of one’s action without challenging the status quo). This represents a community value which is different from the definition of community as an aggregate of distinct individuals alone. The importance of duty to one’s community seems to be one of the values defining this community’s identity.   3.2.2: HOUSEWIVES AND ELDERS    Temple can be a good source of employment, especially for housewives and elders. For this group of people, time as a resource is abundant. Elders who have migrated and secured Canadian Citizenship through the Family Reunification system often highlight loneliness and isolation as prime factors of their feeling depressed and anxious. Their concern is to be able to talk to others (when their children and grandchildren go out to work and school). This is related to their language skills and to the educational background of where they have come (either rural Punjab or urban Punjab). The volunteering opportunities offered by the temple are a great source for them to interact and socially bond with others. The work involved in volunteering also keeps the elders physically and mentally active.  Finally, Seva is also linked to the feeling of connectedness with each other. Connecting and establishing community bonds and long term relations is felt valuable. The emphasis is on helping or sharing each other’s ‘burden’. Says one working individual from Tamil Nadu - South India, age 40, who offers volunteering help in the kitchen: I feel happy when I am doing that. I love….I feel happy serving food to people and then talking to them and then working with other people there…..It’s basically sharing other people’s burden, you know. 26    By burden, people do not mean financial burden, but psychological feeling which, I argue, has many points of origin, which include loneliness, isolation, diaspora stress, cultural shock or acculturation stress, generational conflict, identity confusion. Through Seva,  people seem to vent or express their confusion or internal conflicts to others whom they consider belonging to their culture and which result in effective communication. Here the sense of community is psychological, a group of people who seem to understand each other’s concerns extremely well. The aspect of verbally and emotionally sharing concerns by the medium of contact seems to lighten one’s burden. This is, again, a value that is shared across the community and has a different significance to it when compared with the experience of sharing thoughts with people of ‘other’ culture(s). The psychological needs for having such a dialog has been stressed in other research as well (Coelho 1986) and this need seems to get fulfilled in the temple premise.   3.3: SOCIAL VALUES    In the process of defining what the community stands for, there exist social values shared across sub cultures of Hinduism. The concern is voiced around the values of a ‘family’. Concerns of children, working individuals, couples and elders are a matter of discussion in the temple. Such concerns are another way of defining what the community believes in, which is another way of articulating their social identity.  Broadly speaking, this temple boasts of activities that can be categorized as religious (rituals, recitation, devotional songs, religious discourses, life cycle events), cultural and social (festivals, artistic events, celebrations), purely secular events (celebration for promotions, reception parties, birthday parties), childrens’ activities (Hindi Vedic school and 27    Hindu Swayamsevak Sangha) and seniors activities (Vedic Senior Pariwaar1). Each category of activity addresses specific social concerns of the community.   3.3.1:  RELEVANCE TO THE CHILDREN (FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF PARENTS)    I first look at these values from the perspective of working couples who consider the responsibility of ‘correct’ upbringing of their children and ‘welfare’ of their parents. The major point of departure between the first generation of parents and their children is generational conflict. Parents harbour a specific value system by which they had been brought up in India. Among other things, these values define the experience of a relation of the individual to the community. Said one parent of two children, who recalled his experience while growing up in south India: It is like you live in an environment where people are…..very religious, loving, caring and the 2nd part is that there is a lot of festivals going on. So it is a family get together, religious get together…..so which gives you more exposure to interact with people. Interviewees include such aspects as maintaining gender differentiation, respecting social hierarchies based on age, gender, class and values regarding faith. Even the idea of ‘faith’ is inculcated as a matter of habit in the Indian society rather than as a product of informed rational choice. As expressed by a parent about her upbringing in India:  My mother, my grandmother, my aunts, my uncle…..they were quite religious people and hearing from them, every time we go to the temple, we keep on seeing the same                                                        1 Pariwaar (Hindi) = Family 28    stuff again and again and again. So this has been drilled in our minds, that this is this, this is this, this is this…. Other contextual values that were expressed in the interviews were moral discipline and the importance of maintaining family values and social hierarchy.  It is these values that seem to be challenged by a younger generation of Indo-Canadian children and youth. Explains one interviewee about his observation on the Indo-Canadian children: Mostly, they have no direction, there is a disconnect. There is a generational gap between them and their parents. They are taught one thing at the school….Indian culture teaches a lot of inter-connectedness. But this culture teaches individualism. They think that ‘you’ are important. But Hindu thinks that you are not important, your group is important, your family is important. The kids want to marry a girl without the assent of their parents or they do not want to accept the dictates of their elders…..things like that. Lack of faith, constant questioning of religious values, loose character, disrespect for elders or other social norms, casual relations with other genders and self centredness are some of the concerns that get voiced by parents and elders towards young Indo-Canadian children and youth. From that perspective, rituals, festivals and cultural events generate a value system that parents wish to reinforce in their children. Further reinforcement comes from participation in these events, and organizing or doing volunteering work as discussed in Seva. Says one parent about her children: I made them participate in other activities, but they were doing dance and all the patriotic songs and all. So that kind of keeps them what they are. I may be in Vancouver but I cannot become different people, I am an Indian, right? So at least they have that identity, right? That is what this temple is creating. Clearly the temple is considered a place where the cultural Hindu identity is expressed. A temple can also be explained as a place where ‘culture’ gets a visual form. I argue that the visual distinctiveness (from surrounding context) of activities and events that take place in the temple probably assists Indo-Canadian children to understand and articulate a Hindu culture in their own terms. The articulation may not be accurate or conforming to established 29    understanding of religion, but nevertheless at least some impression seems to develop in the youth. Says a 24 year old youth: I really like some of the plays or the cultural dance festivities that happen during the occasions - mainly it gives us a very colourful imagination of what our culture is like, which is what Hinduism is all about - which is full of colours, full of life, full of partying in a very traditional manner! Another feature prevalent in this temple is the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangha (HSS) activity for children. The priorities of this activity are to build character and leadership qualities and moral disciplining in children. Observes one parent, who sends his daughter to the HSS activity that takes place every Sunday in the temple:   They (HSS) teach about recitation, they teach about the values of people, talk about respecting elders, and then playing theme games, you work together and also sometimes take up the social activity, like cleaning the temple or surrounding area and that sort of a thing. Those are all the things they do.  That is the whole thing of going there and besides more of it is like more discipline…I didn’t find discipline part here in school or anywhere outside. HSS created discipline, leadership and knowledge. Leadership qualities are shown by means of documentaries of Indian freedom fighters such as Mahatman Gandhi and by involving children in organizing group activities. The emphasis is also on disciplining oneself. Historically the HSS began in response to the perception that the weakness of the Indian society resided in the social divisions caused by caste, religious complexity and other factors (Anderson & Damle, 1987).  The intention of HSS was to overcome this weakness of character of the individual caused by such divisions and promote a form of discipline and self training, that would build the necessary qualities in the individual to benefit the development of the nation. It aimed in social reformation and breaking the barriers imposed by the divisions within the society thereby leading to a stronger, unified vision of India (Anderson & Damle, 1987). In diaspora situation like Vancouver, the division seems to be expressed as a generational conflict – children’s views 30    being very different from their parents.  Thus the effort of HSS appears to be to reinforce the identity of what it means to be a Hindu to children. Finally as far as children are concerned, the issue is also about understanding their parent’s culture to which they belong and being able to embrace the hybridity of Indo-Canadian experience. Interviews reveal that part of the confusion of self- identity in the children’s minds takes place when they interact with peers of other culture(s). The gap between the expectation of an Indian identity imagined by their peers and the actually expressed hyphenated identity by the Indo-Canadian seems to be a cause of confusion to the children. This is explained by an Indo-Canadian parent born in Canada but actively involved with the temple since last seven years: In so many cases the kids don't have any link to their heritage and they are not accepted as Canadians because they look/ talk like Indians but they don't know anything about India. They are not Indians, so who are they? And it becomes an issue for the kids as they are growing up and they are trying to figure out their own identity. In a way, at a very subtle level, temple is a means of acknowledging and navigating the complex terrain of the hyphenated identity of the individual. Parents hope that the exposure of their child to the temple environment from his/her childhood can help the child to address the concerns about the connection of Indian culture to their present identity born out of present context. By realizing this connection, it is hoped that the response to the context could be more confident.  Complimenting these intentions of exposing children to their root – culture, is the administration of Vedic Hindi School in the same premise. The emphasis is on Hindi language education, script reading and the awareness of cultural meanings through language. As an added advantage, it is hoped that social bridging between children and grandparents will improve. Volunteers drawn from the community to impart Hindi language education consist of housewives or elders who can spare time on weekends to educate children. During field visits, the age of children observed ranged from 6 to 15 years with a capacity of around 100 students. However, this does not mean that generational conflict gets reduced or deflated. 31    Lack of interest by Indo-Canadian youth about Indian culture still remains a major point of concern for the community. The concern for children’s values was mentioned at the start of the establishment of the Society and remains evident even today. This is recurring because the community will always be comprised of immigrants with their value systems and Indo-Canadians expressing different values. Part of the perpetual challenge and adaptation of all activities in the temple is related to the generation conflict, which is going to remain dynamic and unstable.   3.3.2: PARENTS  Habituated social values of immigrant parents themselves get challenged after they start the process of acculturation. The challenge comes from generational conflict, gender roles conflict or challenge to social hierarchies, pressures to maintain a balance between social expectations of care-giving to grandparents and children and the practical difficulties encountered while doing so (Lal, 1998). Apart from social issues, the conflict of identity is felt by encountering the present context which is expressed by the following interviewee, who immigrated from India six years ago:  Coming from India, we have different culture, altogether. When we come here, it is totally the opposite. So not even kids – being an adult also, it is very easy to get carried away….if you try to be like, ‘ok I am an Indian, I am so and so’, and then ‘this looks very fancy, this looks very great, ok I would do that’, next time you see something else, you get carried away to something else. And then you keep on losing your identity and at the end of the day, you don’t know who you are basically. A response to these conflicts seems to be addressed by means of spiritual discourse and counselling – which is a new addition to a diaspora temple.  Spiritual discourses seem to assist in reinterpreting the present context. Says one interviewee who admires the spiritual discourses that happen in this temple: 32    Its basically something that you know, it gives you happiness, one. Secondly you can feel that, ‘ok…am I doing the right job or am I going in the right direction, am I hurting somebody that I am not supposed to do? Is it something that, am I calm in my career, or in my life or in my family or whatever it is? Those sort of things that is, you know, you get a clear understanding what your life is. Apart from the above mentioned points, the services of the priest extend out of the campus of the temple to a part of the community for important auspicious events such as celebration of birth and marriage, purchase of home, car, important birthdays, house-warming ceremonies and so on. The requirement to celebrate such customs in a particular set of religious beliefs or values (as compared to secular ways) is also an indication of cultural distinctiveness of the community, which is possible to maintain through the temple priest service. Thus, the temple is required for a lot of other functions that are considered as important milestones or having auspicious meanings in the individual’s life.  3.3.3: ELDERS   The temple has made a provision to respond to specific concerns of the elders through a set of social activities under the umbrella of Vedic Senior Pariwaar. The term ‘Pariwaar’ (family) indicates the concern of this group – a social need to interact and bond with others due to isolation, loneliness and an inability to communicate effectively with their children and grandchildren and the larger society of Canada due to language barriers. Understandably, the activities emphasized for this group aim for mental and physical fitness of elders. These take the form of discussions, conferences aimed to highlight dietary and physical concerns, social events such as seniors’ group birthday celebrations, occasional trips around Vancouver and surroundings, and yearly trips within Canada, and to Europe and America. Elders express emotional relief when they talk to others from their group and share their ‘burdens’ or anxieties. The effect seems to be similar to therapy or counselling. Says one elder: 33    If we didn’t had that group you know, then probably we would not have celebrated those events and it is…..you see, when you meet people, talk to people, you know – talk to them in family terms you know, we can tell them some problems…..and this is a vehicle where we can talk to people about problems. And that way reduce our isolation. Likewise, if there are personal problems to be discussed about home and family, then pariwar becomes a place to share them – mind becomes less burdened.  3.4: DINING   Comparative research on other diaspora Hindu temples in North America and Europe will highlight that dining (or the concept of food) has become closely associated with the functioning of the temple.  What seems to be the popularity of food?  The concept of communal kitchen and dining has historical origin in Sikh faith based institutions – the Gurudwara. It was intended to be a revolt against the social distinctions (the caste order) prevalent in Hindu society in India and religious Sikh leaders proposed a communal kitchen/dining facility (or Langar) within Gururdwaras where anyone belonging to any class, caste, faith may come, volunteer, mix and share food with other members of the social community. The intention was to breakdown socially constructed barriers of power. Hindu temples in India do not boast of a communal kitchen. They are meant as places of worship primarily, although bigger temple complexes have their own set of kitchen and dining facilities for the community but which are located separately from the main shrine. The association of food in places of worship in India is ideally presented as an act of donating to the needy or the marginalized segments of the society.  In this temple, the provision of kitchen and dining, which is functionally clubbed with religious activity offers benefits in different ways. Dining is one place where concepts of Seva, entertainment, social and cultural dimensions come together. Practically, it offers a 34    source of employment necessary for stocking, preparing, serving and disposing of food. For the individual, it offers opportunities to network and bond with the community. It is a very convenient mechanism to draw families together on Sundays when viewed through the combination of - understanding faith, attending school, socializing with the people,  participating in the temple activities and having lunch and going back home. In short, the provision of dining makes it easier for the entire family to make a visit to the temple, without having to plan anything for lunch. It offers a catering support for social events such as birthday celebrations, marriage celebrations, festivals and other cultural events, which socially demand communal participation. A marriage function in a traditional manner, involves participation of all joint families and their relatives and friends and acquaintances. The figure can easily reach 500. Culturally, marriage is considered as the unity of two families (apart from two individuals). Marriage done in a traditional way is considered as an auspicious event, which is performed in a ritually prescribed way and usually done in the presence of the joint families and the blessings of God for all the people present at the function are sought. The people present for the marriage are invited for lunch as an expression of gratitude and honour. In this respect, the combination of religious services of the temple followed by communal dining is a very convenient and feasible alternative as compared to the provisions offered by secular community centres. Because it is managed by volunteers and with very limited staff on remuneration, the management costs are also highly sustainable. The provision of dining is an important ingredient for the temple to function. Says an elder who was involved with the temple from the beginning: The temple won't run if there is no dining. The people will come for two reasons – ‘O! we will have a get together and we will have food to eat!’ So some people don't even go upstairs (to the prayer hall). But dining is a good gathering place. And that is why food is very important. And also, from a business point of view, if you get married then you will have to cater to your guests so one can pay the temple to do all the work.  Events such as marriage are occasions of cultural expression in terms of the clothes people wear, songs that get peformed and the food that is cooked and served. In such events, the provision of dining becomes necessary. During some field visits, the occasion of dining was 35    also used to promote secular and/ or humanitarian events such as Diabetes Day, Donation drives or outreach information by the Royal Canadian Mounting Police force. Thus, dining area becomes a place to establish community contact for secular purposes also.  3.5: FAITH  What is the character of faith? I will attempt to answer this question by a personal experience of a field visit on one of the popular festivals celebrated in India in February or early March.  One may have thought that religious dimension of the North Indian Hindu community may recede after being subjected to a highly secular environment and being in a visible minority position in Vancouver.  One of my field visits to the temple was on Mahashivratri – a popular festival of Shiva – a Hindu God. The festival was advertised as ‘Amarnath Yatra’. The history of the  Amarnath pilgrimage destination is ancient and every year, with the beginning of the snow melt the interiors of  cave structures in Himalayan ranges open up to ‘reveal’ the iconic form of Shiva in snow. This lasts for a period of four months till the snow melts away. And the cycle repeats each year with the advent and disappearance of the winter season. To a fervent Hindu, it is one of the most popular destinations that he/she undertakes in his/ her lifetime.   Here, in this temple premise, on this auspicious day that coincides with this season, temporary structures were constructed. Such installations consisted of a ‘cave-like’ opening followed by a series of internally connected spaces meant to replicate the pilgrimage experience, where one can go and seek Shiva’s blessings.  36     Figure 5: The temporary cave structure imitating pilgrimage site of Amarnath in the Himalayan range Used by the permission of Vedic Hindu Cultural Society The idea of Shiva formed in snow is replicated in Surrey too. Here I discovered in an eight foot tall Shiva lingam carved in ice and which probably melts after a week. The installation and the natural melting of lingam are reminiscent of the seasonal occurrence of this pilgrimage event.                    Figure 6: Shiva Lingam on the festival day Used by the permission of Vedic Hindu Cultural Society 37    The visual cue of the lingam led further to another passage built of snow blocks and to another space where one individual actually personifies Shiva in terms of attire, posture, weaponry and a python around his neck!               Figure 7: The personification of Shiva  Used by the permission of Vedic Hindu Cultural Society The picture would have been perfect but for the unavoidable provision of heaters in order to make the python comfortable and to keep it warm! As I spoke with people who had managed this event, I became aware of the collaboration with Canadian agencies such as the ice factory to get the idol erected, or the endangered species agencies to supply and manage the live python! People came, bowed and took ‘Shiva’s’ blessings and I couldn’t quite place what was to be made of all this, for personally, I couldn’t relate to anything that was going on around me. Why be so explicit? Why should a need be felt to actually personify an abstract concept of God Shiva?  Further along, I finally came to the old Shiva temple that was built on a spot that was declared ‘sacred’ by the community after it witnessed the drinking of milk by Ganesh idol on September 1997 in that location. There too, there was a huge line of people offering milk and water to Shiva’s consecrated idol. The atmosphere was reverberating with 38    devotional music, songs and other spiritual discourses. As I made my way back, the last stop was at the food stalls which had quite an exquisite variety of food and which also displayed banners of builders and related aspects of home loans and mortgages and other things.       Figure 8: Food Stalls Used by the permission of Vedic Hindu Cultural Society What do you make of all this? How do you describe faith in an event where you come across other dimensions thought to be political and secular?  This looked like an attempt to make God alive, who would be able to talk and relate to you in a human form, so that the idea of faith is made believable.  The Punjabi Hindu community has managed to create a universe of faith – displayed as a cocktail of grand festivals (more than 12 in number) and celebrations annually.  This universe of faith is expressed by several things: the appropriation of secular events and regenerating them through a visual language of religious character; recurring visits by Saints from India; recurring visits or personifications of Gods through plays, performances, installations according to the Hindu calendar. Creation and, more importantly, sustenance of the idea of faith seems to be a critical issue. The idea of faith seems to have been made very explicit; otherwise, subtleness would not 39    stand a chance in a diaspora and secular environment. The management committee, with its power to create a religious spectacle using the donations received from countless individuals, is also expected to “perform” faith in newer, bigger and spectacular dimensions. The spectacular-ness has grown to the extent that mere religious symbols do not seem to be sufficient to bring the crowd together, as was seen here. Over the years, the magnitude and the variety of religious events have increased wherein expressions of power, business, entertainment and faith are at work simultaneously. Perhaps the celebration of religious events at recurring cycles of the Hindu calendar might also be a necessity to sustain the concept of faith in the community and the next generation of Indo-Canadians. The continuous practice of faith in whatever form perhaps keeps the Gods from being challenged and reduced to a state of oblivion. Interestingly, the autonomy of the workings of the Society granted under the Society Act seems to make it possible for the community to express faith unhindered by any outside scrutiny. The Society Act seems to be their best bet to sustain the idea of faith or, for that matter, the existence of God at a bigger level in a diaspora context.    40     CHAPTER FOUR: THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT  In this chapter, I will focus on the character of the built environment, which should be considered a development that takes place parallel to the definition of this community.  As previously noted, the Society Act was necessary for the incorporation of the Vedic Hindu Society and for actual purchase of the land and the related management of funds. The choice of land for the purpose of establishing a temple was primarily dictated by political will, financial considerations and convenience to the community located in the City of Surrey. Further developments in terms of the construction of ancillary structures leading to the final structure of the temple also indicate strategic political planning by the managing committee with the City of Surrey.  However, an enterprise such as a temple is an indication of values of faith and by extension – sacredness. Therefore, how are meanings of sacredness socially constructed in the prevailing environment of Surrey and through secular decisions of plot selection and subsequent development? I will answer this through a discussion of three distinct phases of development.   4.1:  BUILT ENVIRONMENT BETWEEN 1991 TO 2000   From 1991 to 1995: Referring to temple newsletters and ethnic newspaper articles at the time of land purchase and subsequent events in 1991, learned Saint(s) from prominent ‘sacred’ regions from India were called to visit the site and give their spiritual discourse to the community. 41     Figure 9: Visit by a revered Saint Used with permission from the Owner Such gestures of approval by Saint(s) served to authenticate or validate the purpose of building the temple and seem to generate a common sense of drive within the community for developing the land for its intended purpose. The sacred meaning of the land seems to have been created by the authentication given by a person invested with high value. Vedic rituals performed by the same dignitary in the presence of the community followed this authentication.   Figure 10: land Purification Rituals Used with permission from the Owner 42     The rituals signified land purification. Such rituals (repeated acts confirming faith) seem to bestow additional layers of sacred meanings to the land and the community participation for such events further seems to build social bonds. Group participation such as this, can create shared memories leading to a sense of community. The sense of community is enforced time and again by extensive group participation for cleaning and conversion of an existing chicken coup to a ‘temple’, provision of a temporary shed for dining and cultural activities. It should be noted here that the essentials for creating an appropriate space are to be found in values that the community holds to be essential. In this case, it means performance of rituals and some kind of deity representation – either as idols or as pictures. Nowhere upto the year of 2000 was any formal temple architecture in existence on the site, yet people continued to maintain feelings of religious, social and cultural community. This suggests that the values of the community precede any considerations of an appropriate built form and it is through these values that any built form will be conceived.   From 1995 to 1998: How is a sacred space created? I will take one example. On 21st September 1995 Hindus claimed to have witnessed a miracle wherein one of their favourite idols – Ganesh, was seen drinking milk which was offered to Him (Pascuser76, 2011). This incident occurred in different parts of Hindu diaspora locations and was broadcasted in the media. The event also seemed to have been received with enthusiasm in the Surrey community at that time. The community had to designate a portion of land on the present temple site, where the idol of Ganesh was consecrated and a provision to offer milk to this deity was made. Says one elder woman, age 70, who was witness to that incident: You won’t believe how much there was a crowd on that day. We had a duty there when people had come to offer milk. All that happened where there is Shiv mandir now. Now that place has become religious – because God was seated there. 43    The designated spot acquired a ‘sacred’ status after the witnessing of the miracle and during the subsequent years was converted into a temple housing another deity of the Hindu pantheon, Shiva, who is popularly revered in Punjab (and the rest of India as well).     Figure 11: The interiors of the Temple established on the 'sacred' spot Used with permission from the Owner Incidents such as these highlight the socially defined meanings of sacredness, depending on beliefs – it is not my intention to doubt its relevance, but just to highlight how such an incident can lead to the transplanting of the sacred in a new geographic location. It is up to the community to believe what events constitute their definition of sacredness, which is a socially constructed idea. It is a socially constructed idea, if one refers to the multitude of ways in which the sacred is defined by different cultural societies of the world (Tuan, 1977).Thus, I do not see it necessary to challenge the community’s belief of the miracle and the transformation of that space into a sacred quality, for what might seem strange to me maybe perfectly acceptable to the community. Defining a sacred meaning for a space itself represents a unique identity of the community and this was one of the incidents that did so. However, meanings don’t necessarily appear stable within the community. Increased exposure to the surrounding context, good educational background presents challenges to established notions of faith. Says another elder interviewee having a post graduate degree and expressing a different opinion about rituals in this temple: 44    I look at it differently, that here in the temple, I see a lot of superstition. And I think sometimes that people waste a lot of time there and all. Offering oil and milk and those things to please them – this is silly! Scientifically it is zero you know, it doesn’t stand there. And as I said I have a scientific background and I don’t believe in many things. I mean it is too much sometimes.  Yet such notions of sacredness can’t be brushed aside and do not seem destined to go away as is seen in a random search through the internet that highlights the occurrence of such miracles between 2000 and 2010 again.    1998 to present: The prospect of constructing the temple involved again a grand display of ritual involving priests from all the Hindu temples in Vancouver and inviting political dignitaries from the City at the foundation laying ceremony.     Figure 12: Land Purification Ritual Used with permission from the Owner  45    The sense of pride and of belongingness to the community was further reinforced by participation and a ‘certificate’ to the members of the community for this event. The certificate explicitly acknowledged the individual’s participation “for our temple and community centre” (Italics used by the author for emphasis).  In another occasion during the planning and designing of the temple, one pamphlet displayed a vision of the proposed temple against the backdrop of the surrounding Canadian landscape expressed by innumerable tiny bungalows and maple trees. The grand temple stands out in contrast with the rest of the landscape. It seems to make the statement that the community’s hope and aspirations have finally arrived and have found a place in the Canadian space. Another event that added to the meaning of sacredness was the consecration of deities that were installed in the temple. The performance of rituals at various stages of the site development is instrumental for introducing the sacred character to the existing site. The ritual adherence is a method that is believed to generate a sacred dimension to the space by this community and therefore, illustrates this community’s one dimension of identity.  4.2: SYMBOLIC MEANING OF TEMPLE ARCHITECTURE    In order to highlight the scale of difference in the functioning of this temple with respect to its Indian counterpart, some elaboration of symbolic meaning is necessary in explaining what a temple stands for and how the idea of the divine is created through architecture.  The sanctum and the tower are regarded as the heart of the temple and have been an essential element of temple architecture from the beginning (Before 400 ADE). The physical presence of the tower above the sanctum is meant to indicate a symbolical axis for the support of the universe (George Mitchell). It is symbolically named Shikhar (the mountain peak) and the sanctum is reminiscent of the ascetic experience of the cave (Mitchell, 1977). The apex of the tower is meant to indicate the point of contact for the transformation of formless energy to a definite form of the temple and vice versa. The sanctum has intentionally a dark interior. The 46    darkness within the sanctum is a symbolic representation of an introverted experience of the cave – where the attention is diverted inward to realize the communion with God (Rao R. S., 1997). Hindu thought expresses no distinction between the individual and the formless nature of Reality. External differences and appearances are regarded as an illusion (or a social construct) and the entire effort is meant to realize this illusion, to strive to go beyond the obvious and to reach a state of total bliss (Mitchell, 1977). The attempt to do so is by means of the individual encounter with the dark space of the sanctum. The meaning to be taken from darkness is that of the Unknown or the formless. That which is formless, how can it be given any form? Taken in this way, the polytheistic representations are to be regarded as just manifestations of the same formless Reality.  Ritual movements around the sanctum (circumambulation) reinforce social meanings of the sacred nature of the sanctum. According to the research by George Mitchell,” But the most significant aspect of devotional dynamism in Hinduism is the circumambulation, which proceeds around a clockwise direction around a sacred person, image or an object and even around the temple itself. The circumambulation is a rite constituting a bodily participation in movements and prayer” (Mitchell, 1977, p. 66). The sacredness later took the form of power relations within the community. To maintain the sacred or the pure nature of space and the idol housed within the sanctum, only the priest is allowed to enter (Rao R. S., 1997). The paraphernalia of items and clothing kept for the idol involve a ritual process of purification. The priest is the whole and sole communicator between the community and God. The rest of the community is supposed to only have a glimpse of the activities within the sanctum. The definition of power is so pronounced at times that it has been incorporated as a Law by the Supreme Court of India authorizing only designated people to enter a sanctum, although the actual practice does vary in the temples depending on the management priorities (Shukla, 2013). In some Indian temples, the power difference is further accentuated in terms of gender – women are allowed to only see the sanctum from a distance, are supposed to observe certain customs of purity and maintain certain standards of spatial use. Caste distinctions complicate matters further. All these 47    examples are to say that social differentiation is prevalent in Indian society and it has repercussions on the design and the use of the temple space. Therefore, the experience of the built environment, whether good or bad, is subject to such social differentiations.  The recitation of rituals by the priest is in the language of Sanskrit and is considered auspicious, even though the community may not understand the meaning of the recitation. Not understanding the meaning is not taken as a sign of ignorance – but enforces a distinction of the concept of sacredness from profanity. Whoever has access to the sanctum and can chant or undertake rituals exhibits sacred power. Whoever does not understand or cannot access is considered profane. The distinction is a social construct and sets the power relation between God and the rest of the community. The priest is the mediator. The prayer hall with the sanctum is strictly dedicated to religious activity, which heightens the mood of divine contemplation.  The transition from the outdoor to the indoor environment is very porous – there is no sharp distinction. Therefore what goes on inside the temple in terms of recitation, singing, the ringing of bells is heard from outside and vice versa. This has a bearing on the changing of the mood as one approaches the temple from a distance. One’s mind is drawn gradually to spiritual thoughts as one hears the singing and the recitation as one is approaching the temple from a distance. Depending on the resources available, the temple can be additionally decorated with sculptures and paintings complimenting the theme of the relevant deity housed in the sanctum. Thus, architecture can offer a narrative depending on the resources that are available for construction.  The detailing of the external form of the temple has varied considerably throughout India. The towers of the temple are one of the prominent elements that can be considered for classifying styles of constructions. Architectural styles of North Indian temples and South Indian temples are perceivably different (Hardy, 2007). However, despite the variety in detailing and the scale of constructions, the basic elements of temple architecture (the 48    sanctum, the tower placed above the sanctum and the prayer hall in front of the sanctum) remain the same (Mitchell, 1977) .   4.3: BUILT ENVIRONMENT IN EXISTING TEMPLE   Considering the above characteristics of sacredness as a reference, I now proceed to highlight key observations about the manner in which these symbolic meanings seem to have been challenged or changed in the Surrey Hindu Temple.  4.3.1: SANCTUM      Figure 13: The Sanctum Used by permission from Vedic Hindu Cultural Society  49       Figure 14: Marriage function in the multipurpose prayer hall of the temple Used by permission from Vedic Hindu Cultural Society The sanctum of this temple is a direct reflection of the extent to which changes have occurred in the relation of how people relate to divinity and social power structures. The emphasis is on direct visual contact with the deities kept on the raised plinth with bright light and exquisite decoration. In other words, the symbolic enclosure engulfing the sanctum and producing the introverted feel of darkness is not there. The social construct of the power relation between the priest and the community is extremely diluted. And the gender differentiation concerning access to sanctum and participating in rituals is as good as nonexistent. Each individual, upon entering the temple porch is assured a direct visual contact and physical access with the deities. Says one female participant: In Kutch, Gujarath we were not allowed to enter the sanctum. We could only capture a glimpse of deity from outside. If we had to do some chanting, that was also to be done by standing outside. But over here, the big difference is that we can participate in rituals by being inside the temple and close to the deity. We experience satisfaction for being able to be close to God. Whatever we want to do, we can do it by being physically close to God.  The priest does not seem to hold any special or distinct status. The Unknown is now accessible to everyone. Explicit visual contact with the deity was also a chief consideration while planning the design of the temple and this priority itself speaks of the power of the 50    management committee to decide the symbolic relations of sacredness and access (as compared to the traditional default hierarchy of spaces associated with the temples in India regardless of whoever plans it). One member involved during design process states: I wanted to see a minimum of 1000 people sit in the temple up and down. Then we did not want any pillar in between.  So visibility should be that - as you go there, you should be pleased to see that, with all the lights and all that, looks like God Himself has come there, you know. Briefly stated, the merging of the sanctum with the surrounding multipurpose hall can be read as a reflection of changes in socially constructed power structures of God head, priest and the community and dilution of gender norms. That the experience of satisfaction is pronounced for women who were subjected to gender differentiation in previous temples in India is notable. Thus, character of built environment has changed for them. The manner in which the temple used to be perceived by women in certain regions of India and how it is perceived here – is different and this seems to give immense satisfaction to women.  4.3.2: GENDER   Gender norms regarding the use of space seems to have become diluted. Says another female participant, age 45: I like that they are not strict about - like you cover your head, wear this kind of clothes, sit separately from men.....I like that. Like you can sit anywhere, you don't have to cover your head here....nobody will stare at you. I feel peaceful by sitting there. Here, peace is felt as a realization of freedom to be what and who you are, instead of being concerned about confirming to gender roles and a strict system of use of space.  For participants such as these, the opportunity to ‘just be’ is an important factor for feeling peaceful – perhaps even more than the idea of communion with God. Feedback such as this is an indicator that the experience of space is dependent on gender experiences and power 51    structures. In this temple, the changes in the power structures and gender differentiation norms have had a corresponding positive effect on spatial experience.  What may have seemed inconceivable to a fundamentalist Hindu from India, is very much achievable here. The difference in this character of space highlights the adaptation of the temple to the present context.  4.3.3: CHARACTER OF SPACE  The character of the space also seems to have changed because of its multicultural and multi-functional use. The space is not strictly religious. It is normal to see a wedding taking place and another group of people undertaking ritual activity at the same time. Or at other times, a secular event of an Annual General Meeting can take place whereas rituals might be going on near the sanctum area. However, this multipurpose use may compromise the character of the religious space as indicated by a 22 year old female interviewee: You are not supposed to bring  food, or your shoes, or whatever you are doing - dancing around like that…..Here everyone just doesn't care. Everyone just walking around with the shoes everywhere they go. It appears that God doesn’t seem to be the only priority since multiple activities do take place at the same time. The focus seems to be on the people rather than the sole purpose of communion with God.   4.3.4: MOVEMENT WITHIN THE TEMPLE  The priority of religious activity is also affected by the introduction of choice in the sequence of movement to the different spaces within the temple. The kitchen and dining space/room, located below the prayer hall, offers independent access rather than a single sequence of movement commencing from the religious space to other secular spaces.  One can go directly to dining without attempting to go to the prayer hall and totally skip the socially expected 52    requirement of praying and contemplating. One can come and socialize or participate in cultural events or volunteer without the social pressure to partake in religious activity. Therefore, the temple can be described as a cultural community centre as well, where the requirement of participation in religious activity is not mandatory. One goes to the temple not necessarily for God’s contemplation – which is fundamentally a different outlook as compared to why one goes to a Hindu temple in India. The reasons for these are various. The temples in India exist in an Indian context. They do not have to cater to social and cultural activities – there are separate spaces and institutions taking care of those requirements. The social and cultural education of people (and children) happens at home, within the family, other social circles and through formal educational systems (in terms of history and languages). The temple thus exhibits a prominent religious character and that is what it is associated with. The temples in diaspora, on the other hand, are trying to create the complete social, cultural and religious environment. However a singular religious dimension cannot sustain the community’s requirements pertaining to social, cultural needs and other practical needs of acculturation.  It is because of this that the characteristics of the temple seem to have been altered. The temple represents a hybrid identity of the community – trying to transplant the religious dimension and adding layers of cultural and social meanings which they try to apply in the new context.     53     4.3.5: FORM OF THE TEMPLE     Figure 15: Vedic Hindu Cultural Society (Lakshmi Narayan Temple), City of Surrey Used by permission from Vedic Hindu Cultural Society An attempt to replicate the traditional tower of the North India Hindu temple is seen in Surrey, although the intention was only to resemble a North Indian temple form. Technical details about materials, construction, proportion are dictated by practical and local concerns, such as the availability of labor skill and other resources.  The structure was completed in 2002 but the towers were installed only in 2012 and 2013. The time gap between the completion of the temple structure and installation of the towers made it possible for interviewees to articulate the importance of the presence of the tower and its symbolic significance. There is no common consensus regarding the importance of the tower. For some, the tower is a mark of Hindu identity. Says one interviewee coming from Bangalore, South India, age 45: Before the towers were installed, it did not resemble that it was a temple, pretty much. It was just a worship place. Now it is resembling as a temple. You can now correlate just by the outside look – you can identify...if I just pass through, I can easily identify that is a temple. There is no doubt, no questions asked. 54    The differentiation of the temple from other building types for some people is required. Clarity of identity is required, which seems to be reinforced by the tower’s presence. Absence of the tower may be taken as a loss of the community’s identity, which is trying to differentiate itself from the surrounding landscape. Persistence in collecting funds and installing the towers is an indication of its importance. The intellectual symbolic meanings may not be known, but the physical presence is necessary. Thus, changes in the form, proportion and detailing are not considered a matter of compromise as long as there is a tower. The representation of an Indian identity through architecture may be a crucial education for the Indo-Canadian children, otherwise, how would they know the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’ through architecture? Yet for others, the tower represents a waste of resources. It seems to be an unnecessary addition, if the temple was functioning perfectly fine for 10 years despite the tower’s absence. For people voicing such opinion, the emphasis seems to be on the purpose of the temple and the activities that take place within and not the physical representation in terms of architecture. One participant, age 50, who has been coming to the temple for more than seven years puts it this way: I have been hearing that since almost a year now. People over there are very excited about it that they need to raise money for the dome. Honestly speaking, I think it is an over kill to give so much of significance to the dome. You can use the same money for another good cause, for example for people who need winter clothing or who need food or who need scholarships and things like that for education. You can use that money to put in those things like that.     55     CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION  I now present the following concluding points and identify some limitations of the study, based on the previous chapters:  5.1: IDENTITY AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT  This study taught me about some influential parameters affecting the concept of identity. I wish to state that the perception and the understanding of the built environment are connected to the concept of identity. I will first talk about what I have come to understand by the term ‘identity’ through this research study and then proceed to explain how this concept is related to understanding the nature of the built environment in a general way and with respect to this temple.  Identity, I argue, is always with reference to a context – which includes the parameters of place and time. The connection of the individual with the surrounding context informs the individual’s identity. By context, I mean the total environment that an individual perceives and which informs his/ her identity. Some of the factors that define the previous context of India as perceived by the interviewees, included: religious preferences and families that became ingrained as the interviewees’ ‘habit’; intense social and cultural exposure to social customs which develop the sense of community and how one starts to relate to others; the religious norms followed in Hindu temples in India; the relative uniformity in the religious attitudes of parents and children; gender relations; meaning of sacredness and hierarchy and its expression of power between God, priest and the community.   There might also be other parameters affecting the individual, but this research is not concerned with identifying those in this research. These shape one’s values which I term identity.  Diaspora represents a situation wherein the individual perceives a change in the surrounding context, forcing one to 56    relate oneself to changed circumstances or to generate some kind of a response. The changed environment, at least for people within this community, was felt in terms of ‘loneliness’, inability to relate to others effectively, economic challenges, the generation gap and the gender conflicts that arise within the community and the conflicting social, cultural and religious values as compared to the host society, among other things. I argue that the encountered context (in this case – Surrey, Greater Vancouver Region) was never seen as a neutral template, but was mediated by one’s sense of identity or what one had acquired or learnt from the previous context (in this case – India). Terms such as identity adaptation, transplantation, and acculturation are ways of illustrating the individual’s effort to establish or evolve a relation with the new context. In the process, whatever values that had informed the individual’s sense of identity – be they religious, social or cultural values, were called into question since they were not always compatible with the encountered diaspora context – in this case Surrey or Vancouver. The questioning and evolution of these values, I argue, can be said to express the individual’s (and by extension – the community’s) identity.  As far as this North Indian community is concerned, the expression of identity in a context like Surrey or Vancouver can be summarized as: acculturation stress; nostalgia; concerns about cultural continuity to subsequent generations; practical economic concerns; and the internal challenges concerning social, cultural and religious values and achieving balance in some way. The community needs a place to express their concerns – social, cultural, religious and practical, and therefore, this Hindu temple becomes important to them:  it becomes their place to redefine these values. This is what makes this temple meaningful to its community. These values define the temple’s built environment and also the built environment is perceived by them through these values. However, values are general across the community and also vary across individuals. Thus, there is no uniform way of perceiving a temple, although certain perceivable values can be found to be uniform (such as the social and practical concerns). Also, as the dynamics of the community changes, their priorities may change. Past incidences reveal the complete transition of religious identity from Vedic to polytheistic. Thus, the corresponding expressions in the built environment undergo change. Hence, the built environment of this temple will remain in a state of flux, as the community 57    base grows immigrants from different states of India and diaspora locations continue to join and as subsequent Indo-Canadian generations mature. A separate research considering a temporal study may highlight this change in identity and the built environment, although this study has preliminarily indicated the evolution of this built environment during its initial years from 1991 to 2000. Briefly stated, the perception and expression of the built environment of this temple is based on this community’s identity, which itself is evolving. The study of the visual form of this temple is incomplete if one does not understand the social, cultural and religious dimensions through which it is perceived by the individual and the community. What makes a space perform as a ‘temple’ is not just the form – but the value it holds to the person, which the individual is defining continuously. Thus, I argue, that the meaning of the temple is a function of the community’s identity influenced by places of India and Surrey and in different time scales.   5.2: HINDU TEMPLE AS A PLACE ASSISTING IN INTEGRATION  Talking specifically about the temple, its establishment at least creates an opportunity to exercise a collective cultural identity or a concept of what it means to be a Hindu (from the individual’s and the community’s perspective), wherein the values associated with religion, social relations, culture and morality are reinterpreted. The temple offers this opportunity – a ‘place’ where one constantly questions one’s roots, identity and tries to see how this makes sense here. The question is, why does this become so critical here? It seems to be an indication that the context of Surrey is very different from the context of India and therefore the perceivable conflict in relating to the surrounding environment. The numerous activities that take place in the temple facilitate this introspection. Every element in the perception of the temple architecture – from the symbolic to physical components -- is a result of this identity expression. That is to say, the meaning of the given space is subject to the community’s (and the individual’s) evolving identity. This is important for immigrant 58    integration, since a place like the Hindu temple is formed through the understanding of the contexts of Surrey and India. The Hindu temple responds to both contexts and therefore is useful for making the immigrants feel at home in Vancouver. In the process, all aspects of the creation of a built environment seem negotiable for this community at least. Notions of sanctum, sacred, profaneness, external form are incidental to the basic requirement that the given place should principally be successful in meeting the tangible needs (and values) of the community in the new context. Therefore, the presence of such institutions is important for immigrant integration.   5.3: SITUATING THE TEMPLE  How do we particularize this temple? I argue that to particularize this temple would mean to compare its behaviour with other ethnic institutions and also with other practices of Hindu temple construction. In the vicinity of this temple located in Surrey, Vancouver has a variety of Hindu temples, each with its own trajectory of history and evolution, and with some of them catering to different communities within the Hindu faith. Apart from that, there are at least two locations in Richmond (Road no. 05) and Surrey (140th Street) that include various faith institutions along the same road.  Although such comparison is a vast topic, some findings based on the literature review, field visits and transcripts can be stated as follows. Firstly, I highlight differences between the South Indian temple and this particular temple. This temple is ecumenical in catering to popular pan-Indian deities and having a community base from several states of India, but especially from Punjab. This temple has the economic strength to experiment with a variety of social, cultural and religious events that may be felt as pan-Indian. Although prominantly being of Punjabi Hindus, it is not uncommon to see people from other linguistic backgrounds and even from other diaspora locations participate in the events sponsored by this temple. The temple is multicultural. The Murugan temple along  River Road or Ganesha temple on 21st avenue and Fraser Street by comparison, can be said to be  very specific to a particular South Indian communitiy having a very specific 59    (localized) family of deities, which are not known in other regions of India and thus, these temples are community specific. These have repercussions on cultural and social events that the temples support and, therefore, the outward expression of each temple becomes different. However, the cultural boundaries as defined through these temples in Vancouver are socially constructed, not legally defined; neither are they rigid. Therefore, in totality, Hindus staying in the Vancouver area get to choose from approximately ten temples to satisfy their cultural expressions. A comparative research of these temples would offer a detailed articulation of the diversity of cultural expression of a Hindu community that, at present, constitutes a visible minority. This can eventually throw more light on the fluidity of the identity that Hindus construct and it would therefore be wrong to assume that Hindus have a fixed notion of identity. This research is important to challenge any kind of stereotyping that gets voiced in the popular media about visible minorities (Mahtani, 2001). A research such as this, at least offers a starting point to have a better understanding of the concerns of this community and how they proceed to respond to their concerns. Identity is not fixed and it is with the understanding of the fluid nature of identity, that inter cultural tolerance can grow. As regards to the entire conception and building of the temple, it differs markedly by comparison with a typical traditional diaspora South Indian temple, for example that of Malibu Temple in the States (Mazumdar, 2009). The developments leading to the construction of the temple of my case study, from 1989 to 2000, can be said to be gradual and propelled by political rapport with the City of Surrey. Only some fixed events in the process of construction were ritually based. Even the choice of land, methods of construction, the construction technology and detailing, the actual agencies involved in construction and the collaboration with agencies were influenced by practical and secular considerations. Negotiations were involved at each and every step. In comparison, these parameters seem to be extremely ritually undertaken for the Malibu temple. In fact, the faithful following of ritually defined processes made the temple ‘authentic’ according to the management committee at Malibu. These differences also highlight ways in which the sacred is believed to transplant itself to a new context and to what extent the idea of sacred is negotiable.  60    Another particular dimension of the Surrey temple is the presence of the Sikh community (and also as members who have a legal right to vote for the management committee). There are a number of festivals and Gods common to North Indian Hindus and Sikhs. The temple is highly appreciated by Sikhs also. Says one Sikh woman who visits this temple: Because the Lakshmi Narayan temple and the Gurudwara are side-by-side and they do many things collaboratively....they share their parking space when there is any festival - like in Dassera, they don't have enough parking for Lakshmi Narayan Temple. They use the Gurudwar's parking and that any celebrations in Gurudwaras, Lakshmi Narayan Temple gives way for them and like - I have seen Lakshmi Narayan Temple all lightened up and like they are celebrating Sikh festivals too. And on Guru Nanak Day, "Guru Purab" on the birth of Guru Nanak Dev, Lakshmi Narayan Temple was looking so beautiful. They had actually decorated the whole temple for this reason. So we wanted our kids to see all that too. That is the main thing - culture and those celebrations in those festivals. Because the kids don't have any exposure to these activities here, so we want them to be exposed to this environment and get to know that we have Hindu Gods and festivals and their background. We want them to know the significance of these things, we want them to have these values in their lives. Time and again, when challenges or strained relations between Hindus and Sikhs resurface based on past wrongdoings such as the AI bombing incident of 1986, an attempt is made to discuss such sensitive subjects in the temple. The temple is also vigilant to stop any hate crime incidents from flaring up (http://www.voiceonline.com/vandalism-at-surrey-mandir-condemned-by-all/). Another point noteworthy of mention is also the moral support given to the Sikh community for hate crimes against them in their Gurudwaras located in other diaspora locations (http://www.thenownewspaper.com/surrey-worshippers-pray-for-victims-1.514695).  Given this background, it is commendable to see efforts taken by this community to create a good intercultural bond between Hindus and Sikhs which is bound to challenge any distorted perception about the tensions between the Hindu and the Sikh community in Vancouver. 61    Lastly, concepts of profaneness and sacredness do not have a strong distinction in Lakshmi Narayan Temple. Neither is the socially constructed hierarchy between God and the community very strict, which is reflected in the use of space, nor is the use of space gender specific. This is very different from the experiences voiced by interviewees about their perception of Hindu temples in some regions of India. The difference in the above concepts leads to change in the perception of the built environment by the individual.  It should be noted that principally, a diaspora temple such as this one, caters to social, cultural and religious dimension of the community. Thus, additions of physical spaces are a reflection of those needs. I argue, that the additions of other dimensions itself constitutes the community’s response to the encountered context. The temple is as much a statement of the encountered context (from the community’s perspective) as it is about the community’s expression of itself. A temple in India, usually, has a dominant religious dimension with other needs satisfied by other secular institutions within the society.   5.4: THE ROLE OF YOUTH  The temple seems to be more relevant to immigrant Hindu youth (aged 18 to 30 years) for keeping in touch with their cultural identity, participating in events and creating a social network with peers belonging to the same culture. Cultural diversity is enjoyed and participation in any activity offers them an opportunity to engage with ‘faith’ in an active way, instead of passively receiving knowledge (which their parents did). By engagement, I mean to question, reject, accept or interpret – all modes are actively pursued. The temple is looked at as a medium of cultural education and cultural consumption. Some of the youth are aware of a dichotomy between faith and power structures exercised through management strategies and during social, cultural events, which again seems to challenge their beliefs in matters of faith.  62    The lack of involvement by the youth is generally conveyed as a phase of life – due to other commitments of their jobs, education priorities and their subsequent stay in universities located outside Surrey or Vancouver. However, a more comprehensive understanding will only be possible by conducting narrative case studies highlighting the relation of the temple to the lives of youth as they grow and mature into the Canadian workforce. No Indo - Canadian youth (born here) was accessible to interview. 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American Quarterly, 56(3), 531-543.     69     APPENDIX 1: SUMMARY OF DATA  TABLE 1: SUMMARY OF DATA COLLECTED Sr. No. Information  Sources of Information 1 History of Temple formation, Society Act and related photos Temple newsletters Interviews Temple website Field visit 2 Temple drawings and temple calender Temple management committee    3 Brochure activities and online on-going activity details Temple management committee Interviews Temple website Field visit 4 Temple activities (Puja)  Newspaper  Temple website Field visit 5 Vedic Senior Parivar Kendra Newspaper Interviews Temple website Field visit 6 Seasonal Activities   Temple website  7 Festivals of the year Newspaper Interviews Temple website Field visit 70    Sr. No. Information  Sources of Information 8 Language classes – Sanskrit, Gujarathi, Hindi Newspaper  Interviews  Field visit 9 Yoga classes Newspaper   Field visit 10 HSS activity for kids every Sunday 10 to 11:30 pm   Interviews   11 Priest services taken for following activities as reported by participants:  Interviews   12 People’s opinions about the temple  Interviews   13 Newspaper articles, videos, photos   Urls and temple website     71     TABLE 2: SELECTED DATES OF FIELD VISITS  Field visits Activities/ events observed 1 8/10/13 Nepali Festival and members of NSBC had visited the temple.  2 13/10/13 Ram Leela festival and interview 3 25/10/13 Wedding ceremony in the main hall 4 27/10/13 Ganesh Chaturthi/ Puja/ volunteering 5 30/10/13 Interview with senior member 6 03/11/13 Kali Puja – Bengali Community  7 04/11/13 Deepawali – deepotsav and fire crackers 8 08/11/13 Shiv mandir and interview 9 12/11/13 Vedic Hindi School and interview 10 15/12/13 Volunteering and field visit 11 22/12/13 Volunteering and field visit 12 29/12/13 Volunteering and field visit 13 26/01/14 Republic Day of India celebrations 14 27/02/14 Mahashivratri Celebrations   72     APPENDIX 2: DETAILS OF DATA COLLECTED   PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS   Age: Variation in age considered: Student: 28-25 years; Working couples: 35 to 50 years; Elders: 65 to 85 years  Country of origin  o Participants coming directly from India as immigrants and (some of them acquired Canadian Citizenship) o Participants who are born here and are Canadian by birth and whose parents are of Indian origin o Participants who have stated coming from Punjab province (maximum from states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh) and Gujarath, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bengal, Tamil Nadu o Participants, whose mother tongue are different – Hindi, Gujarathi, Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, Bhojpuri – Hindi, Punjabi o Faith or religious beliefs of participants – Hindu, Sikh, Christian o Participants who have stated coming from other diaspora locations: Fiji, Mauritius, E-Africa, Singapore, USA and other parts of Canada  Languages encountered: English, Hindi, Marathi  Interviews taken: 27  73     PHOTO SOURCES   India Day 2013: http://hindumandirsurrey.com/gallery/picture-gallery/   Volunteer appreciation Day: https://www.facebook.com/LaxmiNarayanMandirSurrey (accessed on 20/12/13)  AI Commemoration Day https://www.facebook.com/LaxmiNarayanMandirSurrey (accessed on 20/12/13)  Dassera 2013 https://www.facebook.com/LaxmiNarayanMandirSurrey (accessed on 20/12/13)  Garbha 2013 https://www.facebook.com/LaxmiNarayanMandirSurrey (accessed on 20/12/13)  Karwa Chaut https://www.facebook.com/LaxmiNarayanMandirSurrey (accessed on 20/12/13)  Diwali celebration https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=445659005544490&set=a.212214005555659.42465.212204328889960&type=1&theater (accessed 20/12/13)  Krishna Janmashtami Video (accessed 20/12/13)  VIDEO SOURCES   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lREwCtDQMKw (republic day, 2013 )  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vgJ-dFCqSQ (independence Day, August 23, 2013)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCahLxHhyTs (independence Day, August 18 2013)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZowbwYerMU (holi day, April 23, 2013) 74     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HGhDHwVshQ (vaisakhi surrey temple, April 21 2013)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B42r4O8rNu0 (dassera, October 14, 2013)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEJepSSQVX8 (garbha/ navratri, October 27, 2013)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxixIZF_ojs (mahashivratri March 16, 2013)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5-4pF6O8ok#t=27 (Krishna janmashtami, Nov 10, 2013)  http://www.ninagrewal.ca/news.asp?fxoid=FXMenu,6&cat_ID=18&sub_ID=143&NewsID=1442   TEMPLE NEWS LETTERS FROM EX- EDITORS (PERIOD 1991 – 1995)   Vivek August 1991, Vivek May 1992, Vivek Holi Issue 1994, Vivek June 1994, Vivek Diwali Issue November 1994, Vivek Diwali Issue 1995  OTHER NEWSPAPER ARTICLES   Voice Dec 14, 2014: What’s Up Section advertisement by Vedic Seniors Parivar Centre for a ppt on Laughing yoga and nidra meditation  The Voice: 29 May, 1992, Page 3, Result of Annual Elections of the Committee  Link: 3 June, 1992, Page 5, Announcement of Mahayadnyas in Vedic Hindu Society  Link: 27 June, 1992, Page 24, Call for donations for construction of temple by Bhimsen Nair, president  The Voice, Friday, 17 July, 1992, Page 5, Letter to the Editor on reply to disturbance cause by Hindu Temple 75     Now, 29 July, 1992, page 7, Discourse report of Swami Satya Mitra Nandji Giri, who had attended Bhumipujan after VHS purchased 10 acre of land (3 pages)  The Voice, 31 July, 1992, Page 12-13, ‘Vedic Hindu starts new temple’  Link, 29 May, 1992, ‘Vedic hindu Society Officials for 1992-1993’  Photo collage of times during 1992-2000 period.  Hind Samachar, 13 Jan 2012: Full page ad for donation request for dome on the temple   Indo-Canadian Voice, 14 Dec 2013: What’s Up: Vedic Senior Parivar: Ad regarding Laughing yoga and nidra meditation  Indo-Canadian Voice, 21 Dec 2013: What’s Up: Vedic Senior Parivar: Ad regarding Vancouver Christmas Lights bus tour  Asian Journal, 9 August 2013, India Day celebration advertisement   OTHER NEWSPAPER WEBLINKS   http://www.voiceonline.com/vedic-hindu-temple-celebrates-maha-shivratri-in-surrey/   (mahashivratri festival, February 2012)  http://www.voiceonline.com/vandalism-at-surrey-mandir-condemned-by-all/   (Vandalism/ hate crime in Surrey temple – June 2013)  http://www.voiceonline.com/vedic-hindu-cultural-society-surrey-to-celebrate-holi/   (holi festival, March 2013)  http://www.voiceonline.com/thirty-thousand-visit-surreys-laxmi-narayan-mandir-on-maha-shivratri/   (Mahashivratri, March 2013)  http://www.voiceonline.com/surrey-temple-holds-candle-light-vigil-to-honour-new-delhi-rape-victim/  (December 2012)  http://www.voiceonline.com/surrey-temple-celebrates-holi/ (March 2012) 76     http://www.thenownewspaper.com/surrey-worshippers-pray-for-victims-1.514695 (August 9, 2012 – Condemn of Attack on Sikh Gurudwara at Wisconsin)  http://thelinkpaper.ca/?p=30396 (the link newspaper, June 29th 2013 – vandalism attack on Surrey temple)  http://thelinkpaper.ca/?p=31697 (independence day celebrations, August 24th 2013)  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/surrey-hindu-temple-vandals-caught-on-camera-1.1385319 (June 23, 2013)  http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2012/04/12/vaisakhi-primer-how-hindu-spirituality-dovetails-with-western-philosophy/ (Vaisakhi in Surrey, October 13, 2011)  DATA FROM INTERVIEWEES   Surrey Official Community Plan report 1983  Vedic Hindu Society of BC – The Constitution and Bye Laws – June 7, 1991  Vedic Hindu Society of BC – Donation Card for temple construction (for year 2000)  Registration Copy of HHS under Society Act, July 5, 1993  Participation Card for Yadnya ceremony at the time of new temple construction, 8 April, 2000  PAMPHLETS COLLECTED DURING FIELD VISITS   Understanding youth and gangs by SACCAYV  Tips for 9-1-1  BC 211  Home Security  Identity theft  RCMP newsletter on safety 77     Stop Bullying  Spousal and Partner Abuse  Metal and Wire theft  Taxing  Drugs  Victim Services  Canada Care Heating Services  Windows and Patio Doors  Insurances Services Group  Pro Ace Heating  Rice Platter  Flyers in Punjabi language  ONLINE BROCHURES FORWARDED BY THE TEMPLE SOCIETY   Happy Diwali   AI bombing condolences June 25, 2013  Dassera Mela – October 16 to October 24, 2013  Happy Father’s Day – June 16, 2013  Holi Celebration, March 27, 2013  India Day, August 18, 2013  Shri Krishna Janmashtami, August 28, 2013  Karwa Chauth, 27th October, 2013  Discourse, September 12, 2013  Happy Mother’s Day, May 12, 2013  Classical Indian Music, August 20, 2013  Virasat Foundation Indian classical music, 27 August, 2013  Ram navami, April 10, 2013 78     Vaisakhi Mela, April 21, 2013  Sita Navami, May 19, 2013  Shirmad  Bhagwat Katha, July 27 to August 3, 2013  Discourse, June 30 to July 4, 2013  Mahashivratri, 26 Feb, 2014  Volunteer Appreciation Day     79     APPENDIX 3: ACTIVITY CHART OF THE TEMPLE  RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY  Every Day: Morning Aarti 8 am and Evening Aarti 8 pm  Every Monday: Shiv Abhishek at 7:30pm at Shiv Mandir   Every Tuesday: Hanuman Chalisa and Bhajan Kirtan at 7:00pm + Preeti Bhojan Served After 7:00pm   Every Wednesday: Bhajan kirtan  Every Thursday: Gujarathi Samanj Bhajan Kirtan  Every Saturday: Shani Puja at 6 pm  Every Sunday: Bhajan Kirtan Katha and Parvachan at 10:30am + Preeti Bhojan Served After 12:00pm  FESTIVALS THAT ARE CELEBRATED IN THE TEMPLE  Jan 14 Makar  Sankranti Feb 13 Ganesh Jayanti Feb 17 Ratha Saptami Mar 10 Maha Shivaratri Mar 27 Holi   Aug 28 Shrikrushna  Jayanti           Aug 29 Gopal Kala Sep 09 Ganesh Chaturthi Sep 10 Rishi Panchami Sep 18 Anant Chaturdashi 80    Mar 27 Dhulivandhan Mar 31 Rang Panchami Apr 11 Gudhipadwa (Hindu new year) Apr 19 Shriram Navmi Apr 25 Hanuman Jayanti May 13 Akshaya Tritiya Jun 23 Vata Savitri July 22 Guru Pournima Aug 11 Naag Panchami Aug 20 Narali Purnima Aug 20 Raksha Bandhan  Oct 04 Sarva Pitri Shraddha Oct 05 Navratri (Ghat Sthapana) Oct 13 Dassehra (Vijaya Dashami) Nov 01 Dhan Teras (Diwali) Nov 02 Narak Chaturdashi (Diwali) Nov 03 Diwali (Lakshmi Pujan) Nov 04 Balipratipada (Diwali) Nov 05 Bhaidooj (Diwali) Nov 14 Tulasi Vivah Dec 16 Datta Jayanti     VEDIC SENIOR PARIWAR ACTIVITIES   Monday 10:15 am to 12 noon yoga taught by Yoga instructor o After 12 noon – free English class  Wednesday 10:15 am to 12 noon yoga taught by Yoga instructor o After 12 noon – Special Lunch for seniors i.e only veg and light meal items 81     Saturday 11 am to 3:30 pm – potluck, bus tours, picnics  Sunday 2 pm to 4 pm for special talk/ conference on matters related to health care and overall well being  Every two months – celebration of group birthdays starting from 11 am with special lunch  Other events advertised such as – Diwali Get Together[ Lunch ]; presentation by Dr. Gulzar Cheema on Stroke, risk factors, prevention & treatment; come and play Bingo; Carpet Bowling; Laughing yoga & Nidra Meditation; Recreation bus tour to see the Christmas Lights  LANGUAGE CLASSES AND OTHER PROGRAMS FOR KIDS   National Language - Vedic Hindi School – Sunday 11:30 to 12:30 pm   State language - Gujarathi Class: Sunday 2 pm to 3 pm  Religious language - Sanskrit Class: Sunday 11 am  HSS for kids: Explained in newspaper ad as Hindu Dharma for kids, teachers and parents: Sunday 10 am to 11:30 am (not functioning at present)  PRIEST SERVICES TAKEN BY PEOPLE INSIDE OR OUTSIDE THE TEMPLE    Life Cycle Rituals: o Marriage functions within or outside the temple o Thread Ceremony 82    o Christening of child o Important milestones in marriage anniversaries and birthday events o Performance of Death Rites  Rituals performed outside temple premises in individual homes: o Gruha pravesh (rituals performed when the new bride enters the house) o Vaastu Shanti (rituals performed after the purchase of new home) o Purchase of a new car o Any important festival that is to be performed at home – Satya Narayan, Ganesh Puja, Diwali  Counseling and general advise on: o Family Counseling o Child counseling o Horoscope   ASSISTANCE FROM TEMPLE NETWORKING   Help with legal problems  Help with housing  Help with job finding, employment  Help with Immigration Laws consultation   83     SEASONAL ACTIVITIES  For August:  o Summer Hindu youth camps for ages 7 to 17 years – (cultural programs, yoga, arts, games, prayers, Hinduism lessons) o Bhagwat Katha o Classical Indian Music  SECULAR AND POLITICAL EVENTS   India Day (August 15th)  Commemoration of AI bombing  Republic Day (26th January)  New Year (Night long rituals, devotional songs)   Any other secular event beneficial to the community such as RCMP introduction, Cancer Day Foundation    84     APPENDIX 4: INTERVIEW GUIDE  (I) Questions to the participants (members of the temple) A) Background information of the participant: 1. Were you born in Canada? If yes, go to question (7). 2. It you are not born in Canada, what part of India did you come from? Please name your city of origin and state. 3. How many times in a month did you go to a typical Hindu temple in your hometown and for what occasions? Please tell some of the things you saw and appreciated in your visit to the temple (regarding rituals, festivals, architecture and social events). 4. If you were going to several temples, did you prefer any particular temple or a deity? Why? 5. At what age did you leave India? How old were you when you arrived in Canada? 6. Had you lived in other countries before moving from India to Canada? If yes, how long had you been in those countries? 7. Please state your area of residence(s) here? What changes or challenges, if any, did you experience in religious, social and cultural terms here?  B) Social, Cultural and religious activities of the temple: 1. When did you become aware of this temple? For what reason(s) did you start going to this temple? 2. Did you go to any other Hindu temple before this temple was constructed in Surrey? Why and which were those temples? 3. How far is this temple from your place of residence? How do you commute to the temple? 4. Did the Hindu temple assist you in addressing any of the challenges that you described in A7? Through what activities did you get this support and how? 5. What are the activities that you like to attend in this temple and why? 6. How do you compare these activities with the ones you attended in the temples in India? 85    7. Did you meet any people in the temple, who have come from other regions of India and who speak languages different from your hometown in India? Through what activities did you come to know them in the temple? Did you continue to meet them outside the temple also? 8. Did you meet any non- Hindus that visit the temple? When? Do you meet them outside the temple also? 9. How frequently do you go to the temple? Has this changed over time? Why? 10. Is there anything that you would like to comment about the activities that take place in this temple and what it makes you feel or experience and also how it has impacted your immediate family, relatives and friends?  C) Architectural Dimension: 1. Does this structure resemble your idea of a Hindu temple? How is it the same or different from your ideas? Please explain. 2. Has this idea changed over time, after you settled in Surrey, or has it remained the same? 3. Do any of the architectural attributes not conform to your idea of a Hindu temple? If yes, why not? 4. What elements in this temple give you feelings of sacredness? What architectural elements make you remember the idea of Divinity?  5. Are you aware of any symbolic ideas associated with the architectural form of the temple? What are they? 6. Has the architecture of the temple in any way compromised the manner in which, you perform rituals or how you think of Divinity or feel sacred? How? And if so, is it ok? 7. How do you compare this temple architecturally with any other Hindu temple in Vancouver or Surrey? What is your observation? 8. How do you compare this temple architecturally with any other Hindu temple that you have seen in India? What is your observation?   86    D) Questions pertaining to other faith based institutions and Community Centre: 1. Do you go to any other Hindu temple in Vancouver! Surrey or your place of residence? Why? 2. Have you visited any other faith based institution in the vicinity of this temple? Why? 3. Do you think this Temple is an important factor in your stay in Surrey or the Vancouver area? Why? 4. Do you go to any other Community Centre? Do you think all your needs are met in this Hindu temple?   (2) Questions to Managing Committee: 1. How has the temple grown or evolved in its functioning over the years in terms of social, cultural and religious activities? 2. What are the greatest challenges that you encounter while managing the Hindu temple for your community and how would you like to address those challenges?  (3) Questionnaire to Past Managing Committee members: 1. What was your intention for constructing a Hindu temple in Surrey and what were the challenges that you faced at that point in time? How did you address those challenges? 2. How many people from the Temple were involved in the decision making process of the temple design? 3. How was the present location decided? 4. Was there any acknowledgement of the presence of Gurudwara, which is located on a neighboring site? How was this aspect addressed? 5. What was the design brief given to the architect? What were your requirements? Do you think these requirements were different from a typical Hindu temple in India? If yes, how? 6. How was the current design solution finalized? Were there any other alternatives discussed? 7. How was the ‘form’ of this temple decided? Why was this form finalized? 87    8. Were any traditional principles of design considered such as Vaastu Shastra for site selection, site consecration, construction, temple consecration? 9. Did any constraints (for example financial, time, bye laws) have any bearing on the design? What was the consequence? 10. Do any of such constraints that altered the architecture of the temple affect your feeling of sacredness? 11. Do you think that the architecture of the Temple satisfies your idea of a North Indian Hindu temple? 12. Were any symbolic meanings associated with the temple taken into consideration for any aspect of design? 13. How were other details such as the selection of deities undertaken? What were the considerations? 14. What were the factors for deciding the finishing items of the temple such as external paint shade, internal paint shade, window treatment, choice of curtains, carpet etc.?  (4) Questions to the Architect: 1. How did you heat about the proposal to build this temple? 2. What were the key considerations for design? Explain. 3. Were any traditional design rules considered? 4. Were there any points of contention as the design evolved? 5. Were any design alternatives given to the client? 6. How was the design finalized? 7. What rules and building bye laws were considered for planning purposes? Did these rules accommodate or not the symbolic architectural requirements of the temple? 8. Were any architectural symbolic meanings of a Hindu temple taken into consideration in the design process? 9. Were any references to the temples in India taken into consideration for the design? At whose suggestion? 88    10. As an expert, what are your comments about the architecture of this temple and its relation to the community?  (5) Questions to the priest: 1. How long have you been associated with this temple? 2. Where do you stay and come to the temple? 3. What is your daily routine regarding temple rituals? 4. When do you perform rituals and tot what occasions? Do you perform rituals as per Agamic traditions? 5. Apart from rituals are you involved in any other activities? 6. How many priests take care of the religious requirement of the temple? 7. What kinds of rituals are performed here — Priestly rituals, devotee rituals and congregational rituals? 8. Are the rituals adapted here? Are they performed differently as compared to where you have performed them in India? How are they different? If they are not different, go to question (10). 9. Do people mind that the rituals have been altered? 10. Do people ask for any spiritual advise from you or any other kind of religious guidance? Can you state the reasons people come to you for seeking spiritual guidance? 11. Which all communities come to the temple for rituals or in festivals? 12. What do you think about the architecture of this temple? Does it resemble your idea about a North Indian Hindu temple?   

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