Now, there are more Hindus in Italy than ever, but challenges remain

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Hindus in Italy?

Some 150,000 Hindus reside in Italy and a fifth of them, some 30,000, are Italians, Eurispes declared in a survey translated by  The Hindus of Italy believe that there were two few Temples for them and often have to battle stereotypes on yoga and sacred cows. The report states that despite having some 30,000 Italian Hindus and the rest of the immigrant Hindus, Hinduism is relatively unknown.  Eurispes’ report on “Hinduism in Italy” is the first-ever in-depth study to understand the Italian Hindus and their issues.
The survey was conducted between May 2018 and June 2019 and involved 330 Italian Hindus and 519 foreign-born Hindus residing in Italy, aged 18 years and over. Italy’s Hindu Temples and also places where Indian workers and servicemen often met were the zones where the survey was carried out.

Hindus believed that there was incorrect information about Hinduism in the school textbooks.

Eight out of ten Hindu Italians believed that the school textbooks that speak of Hinduism have correct information only “sometimes” (43.8%) or “rarely” (35.6%); while 11% said that the information is “never” correct.

96.1% of the Hindu Italians stressed upon educating the women while 90.9% believed that women should work and contribute to the family economy.

72.8% of respondents declined that they know of women who were abused by men in the family; however, 27.2% know “few” (16.9%), some (9.1%), many (1.2%).

Almost three-fourth of Italian Hindus,72.6%, said that there are the signs of the divine in everything or being while as per 14.2% stressed on the observance of rites,  the habit of meditation, attendance at Temples.

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87.3% of Italian Hindus said that they enjoy the freedom to dress the way they want while 86.7% felt they have the freedom to express their beliefs and values. Italian Hindus also consider very much important to quite important and just 0.9% attached no importance to it. Women (31.4%) outnumber men (26.5%) in the survey in suggesting that Hinduism is either ‘very’ or ‘very, very’ important. 86.7% of Italians practicing Hinduism practice yoga, 72.5% study the scriptures and sacred texts, 70.7% take part in the celebrations of Hindu
festivals, 67.4% go out of habit in a Hindu temple or at a place used as a temple, 65.6% recite sacred texts, 63.4% volunteer, more than half (51.1%)
practice domestic rituals.

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But despite the increasing Hinduism adherents, the presence of temples remains low: more than half of respondents (52.6%) do not have a temple near their home or workplace.

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Hindus are tolerant

Respect and tolerance are the prevailing attitudes of Hindus towards those who practice other religions: almost 6 out of 10 (58%) indicate respect as a prevalent attitude; 23.6% are prone to mutual exchange; 9.7% are interested in different religious professions.

Hindu Italians with an overwhelmingly 49.8% respect Italian culture, history, and its cultural tradition; the other half is divided between those who appreciate the widespread ideal of freedom (23.3%), the sense of family  (9.7%), the ability to enjoy the pleasures of life (4.2%), the openness to foreigners (1.8%). On the other hand, the lack of civic sense (41.8%),
materialism and the absence of spirituality (24.5%), selfishness (10.9%) are the most annoying of our country’s culture. lack of respect for the elderly (10%), intolerance towards foreigners (5.9%).

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According to half of Italian Hindus (49.8%), the main problem between the Hindu Italians and others is the lack of knowledge and dialogue.