Indo-Caribbean Hinduism in America

Indo-Caribbean Hinduism still continues a similar form of worship outside of the Caribbean. This is evident in the sizable diaspora community living in the United States and Canada that also carry many of these same characteristics. The largest Indo-Caribbean population lives in New York.

Bharat and Satya Balroop moved to New York in the late 1980s. Moving to New York required them to recreate their Hindu practices. Initially, in New York, Satya said she had veered off the religious path. Her family regularly attended a mandir in Queens, but she said could not become fully involved because her time was consumed by a full-time job and taking care of her two infant sons. Bharat and Satya became active participants in American Mandir life before moving to Minnesota.

Satya’s re-creation of worship in New York was aided by the strong ties she had to her family and community. Satya and Bharat attended a home temple, and many other temples in the New York area. Several Bharat Sevashram Sangha mandirs emerged or moved locations.

Satya participated in a public Hinduism that did not shy away from involvement in the community. The temples in New York had many celebrations for Hindu and American holidays. These preparations are an example of the public expression of these holidays. Temple life included a strategy for community involvement and fundraising.

Through temple building in New York Satya practiced her tradition in a new location. After about a decade of living in New York, Bharat and Satya became “prominent leaders” in their community. When their community was left without a mandir, due to a controversy that left half the congregation temple-less, they offered their home as a site for the next Sunday’s satsang. Additionally, in their last year in New York they spent much of their time helping set up the Bharat Sevashram Sangha temple in Kendall Park, New Jersey.  Satya built a strong relationship with the swami in residence at the New Jersey temple. While in New York, Satya was also introduced to understanding faith in action.