The First 40 Years
The Hindu Sabha, the forerunner of the Hindu Samaj, was established in a small nouse on Wang Burapha Road. The first office bearers were Mr Jagatram Pawa Jagatram Chunilal), president; Mr Shivram, vice president; Mr Chunilal of Sohdra, Secretary; and Mr Melaram Pawa, treasurer.
The executive committee comprised Messrs Mohan Lal Ghogar (Giansingh Amarnath), Jaganath, Maghar Singh (M D Ramchand & Co), Master Hansraj, Amarnath Sachdeva (Moolamal Amamath), Nandlal M D Ramchand & Co), Barkat Ram Pawa (Ram Store), Tarachand (Paknampho), Harnam Das (Chiangmai), SevakT Mehtani Karachi Stores), Kundanlal Bajaj (Divanchand Kundanlal), Thakur Singh Thakur Singh Ladha Singh), Mangal Das M D Ramchand & Co), and Khazan Chan Knatri.
In the beginning, the Hindu Sabha’s weekly meetings were held every Monday evening, when in addition to the singing of hymns (Bhajan or religious songs), sermons based on the Bhagawad Geeta were delivered. Every now and then, religious dignitaries from India were invited to deliver lectures in order to enlighten the members.
With the growth that took place in subsequent years, the need arose for more space and the Hindu Samaj expanded into three more houses, from its original one, on Wang Burapha Road.
Bharat Vidyalaya, an educational institution, which was opened in 1930 on Lang Wang Burapha Road, had for its first Head Master, Mr Raghunath Pawa who taught Urdu and Arithmetic.
As the school progressed, there was a need to recruit more teachers. With the arrival of Mr Somdev Chopra and Mrs Vedvati Chopra from India, the school underwent a metamorphosis into a co¬educational establishment with both boys and girls being taught under the same roof. Mrs Chopra was put in charge of the girls’ education.
Some years later, all schools came under the jurisdiction of the Royal Thai Ministry of Education. So did Bharat Vidyalaya which tutored pupils up to Mor Sor 3 level, equivalent to the third form in high school. With the permission of the Ministry of Education, Bharat Vidyalaya continued to teach English and Hindi. Today, the students are not only those of ethnic Indian origin, but also Thais as well as ethnic Chinese.
The Dev Mandir
The Dev Mandir which was inaugurated on the 11 th of June 1969, fullfilled a long-cherished dream. With the completion of the Hindu Samaj Hall, it was decided to build a temple and its most enthusiastic supporters were Messrs Amarnath Sachdev. Darshan Singh Bajaj, and Tarlok NathPawa.
Mr Amarnath Sachdev of Moolamal Amarnath volunteered to shoulder the entire financial burden of a small temple. However, since the members were of the unanimous opinion that the temple should be a large imposing structure, it was finally decided It would indeed be so.
The very first donor to the Temple Building Fund was the late Mr Mangaldas who donated 100,000 baht, followed by the Mr Kundanlal Bajaj who donated 50,000 baht.
Mr Desraj Sachdev undertook the responsibility of collecting money for the Temple Building Fund, but his good intentions were stymied by the cruel hand of death.
Thereafter, Mr Amarnath Sachdev M R Amarnath, agreed to take over the responsibility and set a target of two million It was, thereupon, decided to go ahead the building of the temple. Messrs Darshan Singh, Tarlok Nath and Amarnath Sachdev were in charge of planning and designing the temple.
Money for the Temple Building Fund collected not only in Thailand but was solicited from abroad, and funds contributed by Mr Amarnath Sachdev’s Japanese friends went towards the purchase a carpet used in the Temple’s inner.
The total cost of the ground floor, the first floor, the hall with a stage and the school building, came to around three million baht and but for the generosity and assistance of all concerned, this sum of money could not have been collected.