The History Of The Hindu Samaj
The Origins of our Community
The known origins of our community started in the late 1950’s.
From what we could find among the early settlers were Dr. Chandrakant Amin, a psychiatrist working at the local psychiatric hospital, and Mr. Ravi, an IBMer.
In 1957, Mr. Van Bakshi joined the IBM Research Laboratory on Boardman Road in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
In 1958, Kanu Ashar joined IBM and pursued his Ph.D. degree through IBM’s Graduate Work Study Program. Later on, he was known to many in our community as Dr. Ashar, who managed IBM’s advanced technological work in East Fishkill. Dr. Ashar and Mr. Bakshi met one another during IBM’s lunch time movies and decided to get together socially.
In the following few years, Dr. Hiten Ghosh and Mr. Arvind Patel joined the community. Arvind also received his Ph.D. through the IBM Graduate Work Study program and was named an IBM Fellow in 1986, a major accomplishment.
As the community grew, more IBMers came on the scene, including the writer of this article, Vikram Tolat. Vikram joined IBM Kingston in June 1962, the first known Indian in IBM Kingston.
In the early 60’s, a handful of members decided to establish a formal group of the community to share cultural and religious interests. The question was “what should be the name of the group?” Some thought it should be “Dutchess India Association“, while others thought it should be “Western Dutchess India Association“.The final decision was to call it “Mid-Hudson India Association” or “MHIA‘.
One of the by laws of the association was to hold quarterly meetings which started out in a member’s home, and as the community grew, public places were rented. Other than family picnics at Bowdoin Park, and other state parks, the first movie show was held at the IBM Country Club as one of the cultural activities. Musical events, Indian festive day celebrations, with cultural programs and religious activities like Saibaba bhajans, followed. After a heavy influx of several community members in and around 1968, religious subgroups formed with worships held at a member’s home. As the groups grew and became very active, public places for worships were sought by the groups locally.
Hindu Samaj emerged in the early seventies with a dedicated group of people determined to build a temple. With major donors like Dr. Krishnamurthy, the temple project took off and the well known temple at Pye Lane in Wappingers Falls came into existence in 1972.
The rest is almost a history well known to most of the current community members. However, for the sake of completeness of this write-up, the writer feels obliged to summarize the recent past.
If it was not for Dr. Sunil Khurana’s leadership, this grand ceremony of the new temple opening may not have materialized. Just like the pioneers of MHIA and Hindu Samaj who played a major role in uniting many members of the community with common interests, Sunil very articulately united many of the community subgroups under one organization.
This organization of latest Hindu Samaj membership will not only nurture worship by Hindus in this holy place, but also by Jains. This is a great step in the right direction to unite the people of this community.