Wisconsin Hindus Hold on to Tradition

September 24, 2006

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


On September 24, 2006 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, "Pamela Arora was a young mother teaching her two children about Hinduism from their home in Franklin before she became a torchbearer to a small community of immigrants striving to do the same.

Teachings about the epic Ramayana, singing devotional songs, and praying were commonplace in the Arora household. Years after her children grew up and moved away, Arora remains steadfast in her commitment to Hindus in Wisconsin. On Saturday, she served as the main organizer of a prayer session at the Hindu Temple of Wisconsin in Pewaukee that marked the start of Navaratri, a nine-day religious festival widely celebrated in India.

'Now, in Wisconsin, we are lucky that we have a temple,' she said. 'We're very Hindu to the core.'

Unwilling to surrender the traditions of their homeland, Hindus in Wisconsin are waging a bet that they can accommodate the customs of their homeland with their adopted culture.

Navaratri was also marked Saturday at Greendale High School, where 400 Hindus were expected to attend. Similar celebrations were planned for Madison, with additional gatherings in Racine and other parts of the state - all a testimony to the growing numbers of Indians in Wisconsin.

The Pluralism Project at Harvard University, which seeks to raise the awareness of religious diversity through research, lists 714 Hindu temples and centers in the United States. According to the most recent U.S. Census figures, 12,665 Indians reside in Wisconsin."