Spiritual journey of Carl Vadivella Belle

Carl Vadivella Belle is a former Australian career diplomatic officer who, during a posting in Malaysia, became a Hindu pilgrim and participated in the Hindu festival of Thaipusam and later was terminated on the account of his devotional activities in Malaysia and Australia.

In his own words, it traces his inability to find solace or meaning in the philosophies of the Western world, describes his experiences in Malaysia, his adoptation of Saivite Hinduism, and the power of spiritual transformation.

Carl Vadivella Belle received his primary and secondary education in rural South Australia, He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree at the Australian National University, Canberra.

He joined the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, and between 1976 and 1979 served in the Australian High Commission, Kuala Lumpur.

He has maintained a long term interest in Malaysian social, religious and political issues, especially Hinduism in Malaysia and the histories and traditions of Malaysia’s Indian community.

His doctoral dissertation, “Thaipusam in Malaysia: A Hindu Festival Misunderstood?” was accepted by Deakin University in 2004.

He was appointed inaugural Hindu Chaplain at the Flinders University of South Australia in 2005.

Belle was also Deputy President of the Hindu Society of South Australia from 2004 to 2007.

He has lectured extensively on both Malaysian politics and society, and on South Indian Hindu traditions, as well as wider religious issues, and has published numerous papers on these topics.

He has also acted as principal consultant to several television and radio productions focussing on the festival of Thaipusam as it is practiced at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur.

He is currently a visiting professor at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore and recently completed a book, “Indians in Malaysia.”