Hindu-Gujarati diaspora in Portugal: the case of Our lady of Fatima devotion, R Cachado, I Lourenço

Tags: Portugal, Our Lady of Fatima, Lisboa, Cachado, R., South Asian, Hindu deities, Fatima Sanctuary, South Asian Diaspora, India, Hindu diaspora, Hindu families, Portuguese society, candles, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Global Indian Diasporas, Portuguese families, Oonk, G., M. Vilar Rosales, Gijsbert Oonk, Van der Veer, Portuguese colonies, Bastos, Marta Rosales, Journal of Comparative Family Studies, Diaspora, Portuguese in Mozambique, temple, Jay Mataji, Portuguese, ritual practice, the Portuguese society, Hindu Mother Goddess, Jay Fatima, Hindu devotees, ritual practices, Hindu temple, Hindu worship, Hindu statues, Shiva Temple Social Solidarity Association, Swaminarayan temple, Hindu place of worship, Hindu temples, Hindu population
Content: Hindu-Gujarati diaspora in Portugal: the case of Our lady of Fatima devotion Rita Cachado (CIES-IUL) Inкs Lourenзo (CRIA-IUL) Abstract South Asian Diaspora in Portugal is diverse in nationalities and religious practices. The most prominent population is Hindu-Gujarati, living in Portugal since the late 70's of the last century. This migration route was boosted by decolonization of Mozambique in 1975 (former a Portuguese colony), where this population migrated before. Anchored in long-term fieldwork (our researches allowed us to access specificities of this group. Particularly, this paper focus on Hindu practices that incorporate elements of Portuguese Catholicism. In domestic shrines, beyond Hindu deities, we often find a representation of Our Lady of Fatima. Moreover, every family visits the sanctuary in Portugal at least once each year. Through the phenomenon of inclusion of Our Lady of Fatima in Hindu ritual and pilgrimage practices, we will present ethnographic results from these religious practices with connections with Mozambique, India and the UK. We will reflect about processes of hinduization of catholic beliefs and its transnational impact, as well as on (in)visibility/visibility strategies (Knott 2016) and integration. With the analysis of these dynamics, specific of the Portuguese context, we aim to challenge dominant views about the Hindu diaspora through perspectives that allow us to observe Indian diasporas, as Oonk (2007) suggested, «with an eye for nuance and variation». 1. Introduction 1.1.The Portuguese Hindu-Gujarati in the literature Gujarati populations throughout the world can be found in diverse East African countries, in the UK, and in other countries. Portugal is often omitted from the literature, although probably around 30 thousand people from a Gujarati origin live there. The amount of literature produced about this vivid population is high considering the small number of researchers committed with Diaspora and transnational studies in Portugal. And the reason for this production is driven by a high dynamic population considering adaptation processes to the host country.
The first known studies represent the first years of Gujaratis in Portugal. They arrived in the late 70s and early 80s from Mozambique, so the first studies are about Indian businesses both in Mozambique and in Portugal. As an East African country, Mozambique is culturally connected with Kenya and Tanzania, countries that sent thousands of families to the UK during the Independence processes. But Mozambique, as a previous Portuguese colony, sent Gujaratis to Portugal, during the Civil War after the Independence in 1975. Anthropologists (Bastos 1990, 2001), Sociologists (Бvila and Alves 1993), Geographers (Malheiros 1996), and Economists (Leite 1996) were interested in the Gujarati population and gave the first impressions about Hindu-Gujaratis in Mozambique and in Portugal. The attention then became focused on specific themes more concerned with representations, cultural practices, social policies. New authors went along with the former, going deeper into the knowledge about HinduGujaratis in Portugal. Influenced by them and by other researchers with their focus in India (e.g. Silva 1994, 2010; Perez 2004, 2012), a new generation of researchers where we are included went on inscribing the work about Hindus in Portugal. Music (Roxo 2010), Gender and Diaspora (Lourenзo 2011), Housing (Cachado 2012), and family (Lourenзo and Cachado 2012), were the main topics of approach. This rather rich literature noted the significant transnational activities of Hindu-Gujaratis in Portugal. They notice the difficulties to find specific numbers due to families that live both in Portugal, in the UK and in India; the cultural practices such as religious music groups (Roxo 2010) and ritual practices that must be performed in Mozambique and in India (Bastos 2001; Lourenзo 2011); and the adaptation processes to social policies such as housing and new waves of migration (Cachado 2014). In addition, an extended study about the History of the socio-economic context of Hindu-Gujaratis was published (Dias 2016), where the author defends the significance of economic aspects over the cultural practices. In sum, the history, economy, and socio-cultural contexts of Hindu-Gujaratis in Portugal and in their other poles of Diaspora (India, Mozambique and United Kingdom), are already documented. 1.2.The Portuguese-Gujarati in context The Portuguese Hindu-Gujarati population lives mostly in Portugal, but also in the other three main poles of their transnationality, the UK, Mozambique and India. As told before, most families living in Portugal came during the civil war in Mozambique, between the late 1970s and the early 1980s. Before that, the Portuguese Hindu-Gujarati are mixed with other Hindu-
Gujaratis in both Gujarat and Eastern African countries. We may fabricate the idea of a single population who migrates from former Portuguese Diu (which was annexed to the Indian Union in 1961) to Mozambique and then from Mozambique to Portugal. But actually, Portuguese Gujaratis come from several cities in Gujarat to Mozambique, Tanzania and also Uganda, and from there to Portugal and then the UK. What we wish to state here is that the Portuguese HinduGujarati population has a single story not only because of the colonial history. A group of singularities have been found among Portuguese Hindu-Gujaratis. Some of them can and should be compared with other Hindu-Gujarati populations throughout the world, and other seem to have no ground for comparison, such as the Our Lady of Fatima devotion. On the one hand, Portuguese Hindu-Gujaratis seem to perform a type of transnationality which is ­ if not rare ­ at least deserves attention from both Diaspora and transnationality studies. They live not only in two countries, which is the common place for most migrants and well documented in the literature, sometimes they live in three or four national territories. And this case deserves attention because it shuffles the academic need to have exact numbers of the population ­ we never know if we're dealing with 30 thousand or 50 thousand hindus in Portugal ­ which leads to question migration studies literature about the real need to count immigrants or, in the first place, why do we need to call these families migrants anyway, if, as in this case, they live in the country for the last 35 years. While living in "two or more countries", this transnational population is also a population that lives more in urban areas than in countries, which means that the national paradigm to study transnationality is living a crisis (Schiller and Зaglar 2011) The urban paradigm is important because they choose big cities to live, they are under urban policies that are defining the places where they live and where their sociabilities are thriving. Specifically in Lisbon, Portuguese Hindu-Gujaratis live in three recognized areas, Santo Antуnio dos Cavaleiros (North Lisbon), and two in West Lisbon ­ Armador neighborhood and Portela. In Santo Antуnio dos Cavaleiros, the families bought and rented houses at low prices, because it is a suburban area and back then the accesses to the capital were very few (s. Lourenзo 2011). Hindu families living in Armador came mostly from Quinta da Holandesa (s. Bastos 1990) shanty town and those living in Portela also come from a shanty town called Quinta da Vitуria (s. Cachado 2012). Beyond these two clustered populations, there are hundreds of families living throughout the Lisbon metropolitan area.
1.3.Public temples It's difficult to define the number of Hindu public temples in Great Lisbon. Recently (March 2017), one of our interlocutors said that there were 5 temples, where she included the Hare Krishna (ISKON) and the Swaminarayan temple. The other three are well known by the families who live in Portugal since the early 1980s. In 1983, in addition to their small domestic shrines, the Hindu population from an informal settlement, Quinta da Vitуria, began the construction of the Jay Ambй Temple at the same time as they were building their own homes in this neighbourhood. The family who manages the temple brought a statue of the goddess Ambй from a previous temple in Mozambique. This was the first Hindu temple built in Lisbon and until 1998 remained as the only public temple. This temple was relocated to a nearby social neighborhood, where many Hindu families have been rehoused in 2004. The temple was recognized as a place of Hindu worship only by that time, but this has been a recognized place of worship in Portugal. In 1985, the Hindu Community of Portugal was formally set up and immediately embarked on building the Radha-Krishna Temple in Lumiar, completed in 1998. This is the most high-profile Hindu place of worship in Portugal, located in central Lisbon. This temple is located not in a Hindu residential area; Hindu families come from various points in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area to attend ceremonies. The temple complex houses a big room which can be rented to perform marriages and other ceremonies. Finally, and completing this overview of Hindu religious diversity, the Shiva Temple was opened in Santo Antуnio dos Cavaleiros in 2001. Santo Antуnio dos Cavaleiros is a suburban area with hundreds of Hindu families. The process to build the temple began in 1991 when the Shiva Temple Social Solidarity Association was officially recognized as representing the Hindu residents of Santo Antуnio dos Cavaleiros. About ten years later it had fulfilled its mission of building its own place of worship. 2. The Devotion to Our Lady of Fбtima 2.1.Devotion and consumption The religious depth found in this community's cultural reference ­ Hinduism ­ is not limited to Hindu deities' worship and following the Hindu-Gujarati calendar. Portuguese Hindu-Gujarati families have also approached the Catholic calendar and are particularly devoted to a Portuguese
popular deity, Our Lady of Fatima. This feminine saint is adopted as an image to Hindu domestic shrines and worshiped daily, along with Hindu deities. Moreover, Hindu families go at least once a year to visit the Sanctuary in Fбtima, both in excursions for a large group or in family journeys. Statues of Our Lady of Fatima are converted into murtis (Hindu statues believed to contain the divine essence) and they can be seen in domestic Hindu temples. Our ethnographic data shows that statues of Fatima are not only found in domestic Hindu temples in Portugal, but also in other contexts with which this population establish ties. The same phenomenon was observed in Diu, India, as well as in the United Kingdom and in Mozambique. Advantage is often taken of trips between the various poles of the Diaspora, going through Portugal, to purchase representations of Our Lady of Fatima in varying sizes, preferably bought in Fatima but also from shops selling Portuguese products in either Portugal or the United Kingdom. During our ethnographic fieldwork, we noticed over the years that families and sometimes large groups of 30 to 50 people go to the Fatima Sanctuary to worship Our Lady of Fatima in its original place. Along with other devotees, they purchase candles in various sizes to offer to a permanent fire; they drink the water from the water spring in the Sanctuary; they take the opportunity to walk around and buy souvenirs. The most important souvenirs are the Lady representation. Families also buy the third, water from the Sanctuary, and other souvenirs. Material culture is, as we know, a central axis through which communities construct, reconstruct and reproduce their identity references, often associated with symbolic objects of extreme relevance. The relationship between migratory processes and material culture is clear, and the movement of populations according to the most diverse circumstances is inevitably associated with issues of materiality. Basu and Coleman (2008), analysing how migrant worlds constitute fragile and fragmented sets of immaterial and material resources, demonstrated how mobility affects the symbolic value of travel objects and how they can also assume different values in migration processes: renegotiation, agency and ambiguity (Basu and Coleman 2008: 326). Along with the process of identity maintenance through certain symbolic objects are the appropriations of cultural and religious elements by the diasporic groups. The processes of adaptation to the host societies sometimes lead to changes. As Williams demonstrated (1992), the strategies of adaptation to the host societies developed by the Hindus in the USA were characterized by a maintenance and simultaneous adjustment of religious beliefs and practices.
These phenomena, however, are often visible in the transformations of Hinduism itself, such as the adoption of pan-Hindu perspectives, such as the adoption of the Bhagavad-gita as a central text, or discourses around the universalist notion of Sanatana Dharma. These are examples of what Williams called the "ecumenical strategy" (1992). The case presented here, however, refers to an adoption of a Catholic cult ­ with specificities of Portuguese popular Catholicism ­ by the Hindu practices such as the daily cult and the pilgrimage. In this sense, we present an inclusion of Our Lady of Fatima in the temples and in the pantheon of the Portuguese Hindus. The links between the Diaspora and this consumption and transactions of Our Lady of Fatima representations are easy to find. On the one hand these items are, as other items, such as Hindu deities' representations and national specific food items, part of the material culture that the Hindu Diaspora displays [see Rosales 2010]. The United Kingdom and India provide cloths and deities representations to the other poles Mozambique and Portugal. Mozambique is known for national specific food items, such as cooked peanuts, raw cashews, and African material culture devices (Capulana cloths; ivory crafts, among other). Portugal is known for our Lady of Fatima devices. Before the years 2000s, when the open market gained a new impetus, there were more specific items from each of these countries, but recently the national specific items transacted between families in different Diaspora countries have become less in quantity. 2.2.Public consumption of Fatima by Hindus As is known by many scholars, and as we also witnessed in the field, excursions are very common among Hindu families. It is part of a religious life, to make religious journeys ­ yatra. It was impossible to avoid the parallel between Yatra and the Fatima excursion. Moreover, it is significant the value attributed to the Pope, any Pope (the Hindu-Gujarati population in Portugal knows 3 since the 1980s), especially if they visit the Fatima Sanctuary. And, as in yatra, Hindu devotees wish to meet the guru, which, in Catholic church, the pope is the utmost example of guru. This is of course a comparative interpretation from fieldwork and lacks more reflection, which we wish to make during this summer with further fieldwork and theoretical insights. But what can be already stated is that this phenomenon should not be thought of as a conversion to the Portuguese cultural patterns. Other authors alert for this pitfall: «Fatima can thus be incorporated into the daily lives of Portuguese-speaking Hindus, without requiring a
reorganisation or transformation of the referential symbolic organisers of her non-Catholic devotees» (Bastos, 2005: 192). Nevertheless, the adoption of Our Lady of Fatima as a manifestation of the Hindu Mother Goddess is certainly the most emblematic example of Hinduism's adaptation process to the Portuguese society and this adaptation found in ritual practices suggest the flexibility of Hinduism that is more evident in a Diaspora situation. Let us read a description of one of this pilgrimages: «Today is amas, the last day of the month Sravan, the most auspicious month of the Hindu calendar, and it is also the day chosen for a pilgrimage - yatra - to Fбtima. The bus departs at 8:30 am from Portela de Sacavйm. The departure begins with lives to the gods and Our Lady of Fatima: "Jay Ambe ma! Jay Mataji! Jay Fatima mataji!". The trip is very lively. Religious chants are played and candy is distributed to the children. Only three men accompany the large group of (mostly older) women and children. When we arrive at Fatima one of the men announces to the microphone that it is time to do "Fбtima darshan"1. The first step is to go and buy candles. M. looks for a place that sells body parts in wax to fulfill a promise she made. Then they go to the huge place where the devotees light up and deposit candles. After throwing the candles into the fire, the flames rise. The temperature is high but the devotees stay close to the place, venerating the fire that comes out. Apart from the holy water they buy, along with many images of Fatima, everyone wants to drink water from a drinking fountain that is in the Sanctuary, near the Capela das Apariзхes (Chapel of Apparitions)» (September 7th, 2002) As we have seen from the above passage, Hindu devotees adopt elements of Portuguese popular religiosity associated with Fatima (candles, promises, holy water), while developing a process of Hinduization of these Catholic practices. The flames that emanate from the place where the candle is placed are a manifestation of Agni (sacred fire, the Vedic fire god of Hinduism): 1 Darshan means looking and receiving the divinity's gaze. This exchange of looks implies a deep relationship between the deity and the devotee resulting in blessings received by the devotee, such as well-being and prosperity.
Image: Hindu devotee by the candle pyre at Our Lady of Fatima Sanctuary, September 2002 In the same way, water, one of the central elements of Hindu ritual practice, has to be consume. The referred drinker, which for devout Catholics only serves to quench their thirst, is for the Hindus a source of what is considered sacred water, because it is natural from an equally sacred place. Another passage from a family visit to the Sanctuary, also illustrates the type of steps given during a visit: "We arrived at Fбtima by 10.30h (...). I went with C. to buy a full body wax doll (1f. tall), which N., her mother, wanted to give as a promise. We went to buy candles. Presently you can only buy 1 candle per person. The full body or parts of body are left in another area. After the candle burning, we went to the water spring to drink water and C. also filled a bottle. Following the example of other devotees, N. knelt down and gave 7 steps in this body position. After that, we went to the shopping area." Fieldnotes, June 4th, 2007 This process of adaptation to the Portuguese context goes further than those described in other contexts of the Hindu diaspora, studied by authors like Williams (1992) or Hinnels (1998). Such as the frequent translations of Hindu terms from Gujarati into Portuguese such as padre (priest) for pujari or sashtriji, or igreja (church) for temple, ideas are culturally translated, manifested in expressions such as "We also have many of Our Ladies: Our Lady Of heaven, Our Lady of the sea ... this [I am talking about] was Our Lady of destiny, the goddess of destiny, Vidhati, who writes our destiny with a hand behind her back » or « I asked for the help of the santinha (diminutive of saint, in the feminine), referring to both the Goddess and Our Lady of Fatima. These adaptations and translations result from the contact with the Portuguese society, whose popular religiosity where Portuguese Hindus found affinities were adopted and transformed through a process of Hinduization, in common practices of popular Hinduism. We could also mention the inclusion of the image of Jesus Christ, crucifixes or various Catholic
saints in Hindu domestic temples. However, the example of Fatima is more emblematic since it presents elements that go beyond the inclusion of new gods in the pantheon and relates to devotional and ritual practice itself. The pilgrimage described above was complemented by a stop, back to Lisbon, on a beach where devotees bathed in the sea, considered purifying and performed different rituals on the beach, which include the use of coconuts, incense and flowers and ending with religious chants. Image: Puja at Sгo Martinho do Porto Beach, Excursion to Fбtima Sanctuary, Setember 7th, 2002. These are also the specificities of the Hindu diaspora in Portugal, a common phenomenon that evokes the nuances and variations (Oonk) which are often omitted by the unifying versions of the diaspora concept. This phenomenon also allows us to reflect on issues such as religious pluralism in Portugal and, at the same time, on the processes of (in)visibility (Knott) through which the Hindu community in Portugal has gone through the last decades. 2.3. Pluralism and its facets
On April 19, 2004 a group of Hindus from Lisbon visited the sanctuary of Fatima and the event was reported by Portuguese broadcaster SIC. In the report the rector of the sanctuary, Father Luciano Guerra and the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, Serafim de Sousa Ferreira e Silva, reinforced an image of Fatima's ecumenism, based on openness to interreligious dialogue. Although there were no negative reactions from the Portuguese society, international conservative Catholic groups launched an international campaign to charge the responsible for the sanctuary, accusing them of heresy for hosting other religious groups. The Catholic Youth Movement of France, and the Fatima Crusader magazine, led by the Canadian Father Gruner, opened a campaign with strong dissemination in the Internet, criticizing the ecumenical activities of the sanctuary of Fatima, being the tensions intensified with the visit of Hindus to Fatima. Still, there was no negative reaction by the Catholic Portuguese regarding the Hindus visit to Fatima, which may be understood as an example of religious pluralism in Portugal, but, as the example above can easily demonstrate, can be easily be jeopardized. The question of public visibility is particularly interesting to analyse the phenomenon of Hindu pilgrimage to Fatima in Portugal. We may think of these processes as Knott called them: "tactics of visibility [as] a key method of obtaining a measure of agency in an alien millieu, and, - in a limited way ­ of rebalancing power from the bottom up" (Knott 2016: 52). In addition to public aforementioned performance, Portuguese Hindus travel regularly to Fatima, whether on organized pilgrimages, or in family or small groups. The referred event was broadcasted by a large television channel by the fact that this was an official visit of the Hindu Community of Portugal (based in the temple Radha Krishna) to the sanctuary. However, Hindus regularly travel to the Fatima, where they make promises, light candles and invoke our Lady of Fatima, establishing a parallel with the great Hindu goddess Mahadevi, usually called mataji, that means mother. Hindus distinguish from other pilgrims by their traditional clothing, particularly women, wearing coloured saris or salwar kameez. In addition to their presence in the public space, whose clothing clearly draws attention, is their devotional practice, by the veneration of fire and the Hindu ritual gestures that they perform when depositing the candles. In these moments, they go from (in) visibility to visibility, a concept widely discussed by Kim Knott, according to which these tactics are developed by the groups themselves as they encounter "renewed vigor to practice and share their beliefs in private [...] until it again it becomes safe to emerge and deploy the tactics of visibility" (idem: 64). In fact pilgrimages to Fatima are becoming more frequent
and have intensified in recent years, along with the process of visibility tactics to which they felt welcomed. This happens particularly at a time when India has become a global fashion, a symbol of cosmopolitan consumption and has boosted to the Portuguese media communities that have been in Portugal since the late 70's. 3. Final Remarks The «complexities and contradictions of the South Asian diasporic experience» (Van der Veer) are present in the discussed subject of Hindu cult of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal. As the quoted author demonstrated, it was the different and divergent historical backgrounds that contributed to the fragmented nature of this population and to complicate the use of South Asian diaspora as a transparent category as well (idem). Thus, the dynamics presented contribute to challenge dominant views about the Hindu diaspora through perspectives that allow us to observe Indian diasporas, as Oonk (2007: 24) suggested, «with an eye for nuance and variation». In this paper we presented a branch of the Hindu-Gujarati Diaspora, which has a strong attachment to Portugal. They are known as the Portuguese Hindu-Gujaratis because of their national identity and because of their history related with the former Portuguese colonies in Mozambique and in India. With no certainty about its origin, most Hindu Portuguese families are also devotees to a Portuguese Catholic "deity", Our Lady of Fatima. A representation of this Saint may be found in eventually every Hindu house. The devotion is extended to a public domain, through organized excursions to Our Lady of Fatima Sanctuary. Our goal in this paper was to present an ethnographic situation that has been observed in the last 17 years, and which should be inscribed in the profuse literature on South Asian Diaspora for its specific character. Beyond its peculiarity, it can contribute to discussions on cultural consumption and religious pluralism. References Бvila, P. and M. Alves (1993). Da Нndia a Portugal ­ trajectуrias sociais e estratйgias colectivas dos comerciantes indianos. Sociologia ­ Problemas e Prбticas, 13, 115-133.
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R Cachado, I Lourenço

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