Maya Malhotra

Born: 27th January 1937

Agra, India

Date of interview: 7th June 2006

Map showing where Maya Malhotra came from

Was it mainly ... you and some friends, or ...

Well, we started four five ladies together and just like a general discussion that we need a place and we haven't got any place, the Sikhs have gurdwara, the Muslims have mosque, why can't we have a temple of our own? So we said 'All right, we will start something.' So we started weekly prayers and finding places where to do it and that ... And then ... gradually we got more people involved in it. Then after retirement we took, both of us took early retirement then we put our whole and full force in it.
We thought now it is time. We got no commitment of the job, we will put our force.

Luckily God help us, so we find this place and ... bought it. That was bought without any help from, without any grant from anywhere. It was just our own fundraising. And, the, well we had to take a mortgage out, to have it from the bank and then from the public. And we managed to do it. So ... that is a very important place for any, any group of people, to have their own place. Like ... community centres serve a different purpose, but the places of worship serve a different purpose. And that is a place where people can meet together and work together and ... It's a two-fold thing, religious and cultural thing. It's not all the time prayer.

I am not believer on those people who want segregation, I've never wanted that. Wherever you are living you must accept the host community and you must adjust and adopt the way. Only thing I always said from the beginning that we must integrate but not at the 'cost of identity. We should keep our identity. That is what ... from the day one, my ... aim being that I cannot lose my identity. I am Indian and I will remain Indian all my life. But I would like to integrate and I think I have done it quite well in this society where I'm living. And no society is perfect. I won't say that all the Indians are perfect, all the Hindus are perfect. We all have our drawbacks, we all have our shortcomings. But if we take the ... what is best for all the society and try to accept it then we will have a wonderful society.