A Journey Through Thaipusam

A BFM 89.9 podcast interview with writer and Indologist Carl Belle by Ahmad Fuad Rahmat, University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus, 16 March 2017, 21:00

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In A Journey Through Thaipusam, Dr Carl Belle, a noted scholar of the Malaysian Indian diaspora, talks about his journey of spiritual transformation and social scientific enlightenment. He recounts his earliest days in Malaysia in the 1970s, and his profound encounter with Hinduism, which began his life-long love affair with the country. Dr Belle served in the Australian High Commission, Kuala Lumpur (1976-1979) and has maintained a long-term interest in Malaysian social, political and religious issues. His doctoral dissertation, “Thaipusam in Malaysia: A Hindu Festival Misunderstood?” was accepted by Deakin University in 2004. Dr Belle was appointed Inaugural Hindu Chaplain at the Flinders University, South Australia in 2005. During Thaipusam 2017, he provided expert advice to a BBC television team.

His first book, Tragic Orphans, was a frank and compassionate discourse on the plight of the Indian community in Malaysia ― a prickly issue that the multiracial government often glosses over or disingenuously ignores. His second book, Thaipusam in Malaysia: A Hindu Festival in the Tamil Diaspora, closely examines the popular festival from the “inside” and attempts to trace the layers of meaning and the recondite vocabularies of this multifaceted and complex celebration in terms of its continuing relevance to Malaysian Hindus.