Hindu Priests in Demand in Canada, Priesthood Seen as Means to "Travel Abroad" for Indians

August 18, 2004

Source: The Times of India


On August 18, 2004 The Times of India reported, "Canada urgently needs 54 Hindu purohits to run cash-rich temples in that country. Two Pune priests have already been shortlisted for the Shri Vitthal temple in Toronto. Bhalchandra Inamdar, who is on a 'priest-scouting mission' in Pune for the Shri Vitthal temple, told TNN that there is a tremendous opportunity in Canada for those who can perform religious rituals and undertake ethnic cultural activities. 'I have shortlisted two priests for the Vitthal temple, which houses idols of all Hindu gods and goddesses and saints like Gajanan Maharaj,' he said. Chandrashekhar Ranade, a 61-year-old retired bank employee from Pune, is one of the selected candidates. Interestingly, he did his diploma in priesthood conducted by Jnanaprabodhini 'because I wanted to go abroad.' While he awaits his visa to Canada, Ranade is busy fine-tuning his skills in performing rituals. The requirements from a Hindu priest abroad are, however, far more challenging. 'The priest should be able to speak English, operate the computer, fax machine and the Internet. He will also have to keep accounts of donations, jewellery and other offerings received for the temple, take care of insurance formalities and organise cultural activities on special occasions like Janmashtami or Ashadhi Ekadashi,' Ranade said."