The Gourmets Of Vomit Series No. 4:
"Catholic Builds Hindu Temple"

Lucio Mascarenhas.
Orthopapism II/Michaelinum | Index of Articles

Mid-Day, Bombay Edition, 23rd June 2001. Report by Shailesh Bhatia. Re-Edited.

Peter Anthony d'Souza had always been a devout Catholic. Then, one day, 30 years ago, he was seized with the urge to build a Hanuman temple. His family and friends were astonished. What did he know of Hindu practices? How would he look after a temple?

Over the years, D'Souza built the temple, a humble dwelling of four walls, brick by brick, under a fig tree on reclaimed marshland behind the Juhu Aerodrome in north Bombay, where he lived.

He started wearing saffron clothes, sporting a Vaishnava tilak but never thought of formally converting. He said, "It was totally unnecessary as all relgions lead to the same path of god."

This temple, built in a predominantly Muslim locality, soon had its set of followers but D'Souza never asked for donations nor did he seek any favours. In 1999, slum rehabilitation authorities evacuated the whole area and D'Souza shifted the temple to a temporary shelter in a building, still under construction.

His eyes moisten as he talks about the temple which he has built with so much love, but he has no complaints and believes the times will change for the better.

His apartment does not have any furniture. He has placed his idols on the floor where he performs his daily pooja (worship). The vermilion covered idol of Hanuman along with idols of Durga and Sai Baba comprise this humble temple.

He also has a special rudraksha (a chain of beads) which apparently has a natural formation of a Shiv ling (Shiva's phallus) and naag (snake), which he claims to have found in the forests of northern India on the banks of the river Ganga. The site workers are often seen in the makeshift temple where they come to spend some time in between their busy schedule.

D'Souza does not claim to have any knowledge of the Hindu scriptures but has travelled to most places of Hindu pilgrimage. At the age of 72, he still hopes to go to Lake Mansarovar in the heart of the Himalayas.
Lucio Mascarenhas.
Orthopapism II/Michaelinum | Index of Articles
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