HUNDREDS of Hindus leading the campaign to bring a temple to the town welcomed a guest speaker to their monthly meeting.
Jay Lakhani, a theoretical physicist with a Masters in quantum physics and a well-known speaker on the subject of Hinduism, visited the Park South Community Centre in Cranmore Avenue.
Around 200 people afrom the community turned out for the talk on the relevance of a temple for a community and the role it can play for youngsters and the Eton College professor of Hinduism’s insights on the deeper ideas of the religion in serving wider society.
Pradeep Bhardwaj, the founder of the Swindon Hindu Temple Trust, said: “It was really interesting to have Jay Lakhani visit the centre and to hear his messages.
“One of the biggest things he talked about and something we will be taking away from it was the sense of welcomeness and wholeness and community and openness.
“It was good to have him speak. We are hoping we will come back and continue to work with us.
“He works with colleges and universities all over the country and we are hoping he will continue to work with us mainly on projects with the young people.”
Earlier this year Pradeep established the Swindon Hindu Temple Trust and is now spearheading a campaign to bring the resource to the town and establish a cultural hub for the Hindu community.
An estimated five per cent of Swindon’s population are Hindus and thousands of practising Hindus visit the town each year on work contracts, and yet there is no temple in the town or in the surrounding areas.
The 46-year-old from Wroughton has been trying to gather momentum and support behind the campaign. He has organised monthly meetings for the community to find out more about the campaign and develop their own cultural identity in Swindon.
He said: “We try and bring the community together every month to build momentum towards the campaign.
“It’s important we have these gatherings. We only pray for about two minutes of it, the rest of it is all about cultural celebrations and bringing the community together.
“There is a huge Asian population in Swindon – Nepalese, Goans, Bangladeshis and many others – and it doesn’t make sense that there isn’t a temple. There are mosques and there are churches but there is no Hindu temple, and it is the third biggest religion in the world.
“It’s really important we have something like this because many in the community, especially the elderly, have nowhere to go to socialise or anything during the day, and a cultural centre like this would be very well received.”