Focus of Community associations must be on community’s welfare

Sydney, 7 June, 2019

Every community group and every community leader from Indian Australian community should reflect on what their core responsibilities are.

They should introspect on what they have been doing so far and what they should be doing henceforth.

They should reflect on whether they are focused on and meeting the key needs of the community.

They must go beyond their events and festivals.

Taking selfies with politicians can’t and mustn’t be the end goal.

We mustn’t allow ourselves to become a target for derision in front of the political leadership and the broader community.

What’s being done to cater to the needs of our seniors when they are in their later years of their lives and need placements in aged care facilities? Are there adequate facilities and opportunities available for them to enjoy the company of other seniors while they are reasonably healthy and mobile? Is once a month gathering adequate? Should it be a weekly occurrence? What resources do they need and how can these resources be made available? These are the questions, which we must ponder over as a community. If someone is providing facilities to seniors, including aged care facilities, what we should do to support that work? It should be collaboration, not duplication with unnecessary competition. We should be asking about what we can do to support every good thing and activity.

Talking about community facilities, we don’t have a single place which we can call “India House”, a place with sufficient facilities, where cultural activities can be organized and where community meetings including meetings of seniors can take place. This place can be the hub for a variety of services ie health education, mentoring for settlement and assisting people in other areas. India House can be delivered if we work together. If numerically much smaller communities in NSW can have facilities like this, then there is no way we can’t have a facility like this for ourselves. Here too, we will need to work collaboratively. Btw, it we were focused and were watchful, GOI-funded Indian Culture Centre would have been situated somewhere in Western Sydney, not at the Consulate General of India premises in the Sydney CBD.

Domestic violence is not uncommon in our community, but there isn’t any group in our community, which is involved in genuine work to support the victims. Real work, not just claims, is desperately needed. Women need to come forward and lead this project. Recently, some people were approached by a victim of domestic violence, who has recently arrived in Sydney. Not sure about what they could do, they came to my office. We called around but no help was available. I contacted the Consulate General of India (CGI) in Sydney and organized a meeting between them and the victim there. They too have their limitations, but agreed to provide some legal help. They gave 3 names from the panel of lawyers. One of them does conveyancing work and doesn’t usually do such work. This person would obviously be of not much help. The second one told the lady that they only do work for perpetrators (defence lawyer) and the third one told the woman to go to a disreputable migration agent in Western Sydney. I have made a complaint about it to CGI, and requested them to review and revamp the panel of lawyers urgently.

Even though we are big in numbers in NSW and have numerous associations, nothing should prevent collaboration among us to work together in organizing a common and big Indian Republic Day and Indian Independence Day events. It look crazy to hold multiple fairs of the same type in the same suburb, often only a week apart. Collaboration, not unnecessary competition, is urgently needed.

There are often instances when someone in the community, especially visitors, gets into difficulties of various nature. Fund collections are started haphazardly, with inadequate accountability and transparency. Money has been swindled at times and money thus raised has been misallocated at times. Not only it is wrong in principle and under law, but it also creates negative impressions and perceptions about benevolent activities in our community. We can and should do better. We must deal with it collaboratively.

There is nothing wrong in joining political parties, but not much is right to take leadership roles in community associations to progress their political prospects. Contesting elections while holding key leadership roles in community associations is not a desirable trend. Community associations are meant to be non-political entities. Their leaders should remain non-political. Contesting election is a political activity. The purpose behind taking leadership in community associations must be altruism, benevolence and selfless service, not self-promotion.

Giving awards and recognizing people is good, but giving awards to undeserving people, calling them “role models” or “excellence in community service” is counterproductive and undesirable. It makes no sense and it doesn’t help the community if awards are given to people after taking money for the awards. “Cash for awards” should cease to happen. There can’t be any justification for awards to those, who sell visa sponsorships for cash, fleece people or exploit vulnerable people like new migrants and international students.

The list is big and the work could seem daunting, but we have to start somewhere.

Nothing can be done if we don’t pull our sleeves up and get into the work with determination and optimism.

While doing this, we should seek guidance and blessings from our sensible seniors, who are able to rise above their pet or favorite associations and look at the whole community as their own. To achieve productive outcomes, we do however need to avoid Dhritrashtras धृतराष्ट्र (a blind king who was not able to see or judge the shortcomings of his offsprings) and Shukracharyas शुक्राचार्य (The guru of demons, who supported bad elements despite full knowledge of their bad behavior).

Remember, United we gain strength, and with division, we fail and fall as a community!

Jai Hind. 👌🇮🇳🇦🇺👌

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.facebook.con/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Collaboration is necessary for our community

Sydney, 1 June, 2019

I met a senior government official yesterday and had an opportunity to discuss things about what’s good and what’s not good in our community. This official has deep insight in this area.

Besides so many things, which are good, and bad, one thing is glaringly obvious that our community has too many associations and too many community leaders. Division is a major issue. Our approach and work are fragmented and patchy.

As a result, our community is not achieving things, which are necessary and crucial.

Despite our numbers being 750,000 in Australia, we don’t seem to be able to attract sufficient attention from political parties. Insufficient attention from and traction with political parties also reflect in lack of governmental funding for key community projects.

One example is aged care facility, which can cater to cultural and dietary needs of our elders during later years of their lives.

There are other key issues, which require focus and work. Selfies with politicians alone can’t be sufficient.

In my view, community groups need to collaborate, discuss and evolve strategies to achieve key goals for the community. Egos must be controlled.

We need to seek the support and guidance from some of our community elders, who have the wisdom, knowledge and willingness to help us to move in the right direction.

A few of us can meet informally to discuss the strategy.

At some stage, approximately 25-30 of our wise and bright people, including a few good and community-minded businessmen, should meet over dinner to formulate key goals for the community and relevant strategies.

I have discussed with one of our excellent food businessmen from the community, who is happy to host us at no cost.

It will be helpful if we have the support from some key and thoughtful community media.

More will come later…

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Peace and harmony are noble and necessary

Sydney/25 May, 2019

I attended “Spreading a culture of peace” event by IPYG and spoke at the event at the Centenary Square, Parramatta today.

My speech:

Good afternoon. Namaste!

I acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, where we are meeting today and offer my respects to their leader: past, present and future.

1. Peace within ourselves and peace within the communities are not optional. They are a necessity. Peace provides opportunities for happiness and development of individuals, communities and nations. Today, religious hatred is an important issue, creating mayhem and misery all over the world, latest example of which were in NZ and Sri Lanka. It needs to be dealt with and stopped.

2. Talking about peace, it must be about actions, not just the words because words alone may not mean much and action certainly means something.

3. Unlike many nations, Australia is generally peaceful and we must make sure it stays that way. As individuals and as a community, we need to make sure that Australians can take action together, when peace and harmony are in trouble, side by side, not against one another.

4. If there are issues between nations of our origins, and there often are tensions and issues, and if they involve communities here in Australia, then we must show leadership by reaching out and coming together to discuss and resolve the issues together. We mustn’t allow tensions overseas, in our places of origin, to affect communities in Australia. We mustn’t import tensions and issues from overseas. We mustn’t forget that Australia is a Multicultural, multiracial and multi faiths nation and its success is our joint responsibility.

5. If we have mutual respect for others, and don’t bring race, or religion or Color of skin into it, there is nothing which we can not achieve or resolve for peace and harmony in our communities.

6. Australia is our home. Although most of us have affinity and patriotism towards our country of origin, we firstly must be patriotic to our fellow Australians and our new home Australia. Australia’s interests, ethos and values must remain superior to any other nation. Lack of peace and harmony in Australia will be against Australia. We need to call out those who would divide the Australian community and work together to build better and stronger relationships in within the community and among the communities. We can all be leaders to make Australia a better place. To give an example, few of my friends and I refused to join despicable, objectionable, illogical and unacceptable campaign by some (I call them fake Desh bkakts or patriots) from my own community against businesses from Australians belonging to another community during recent tense period in South Asia. Spreading hatred in that manner or any manner, to me, was, and is, unaustralian, besides being illegal.

7. Peace and justice go hand in hand. Ambassadors and activists for peace must be prepared to stand up and speak against injustice, using dialogue, debates and discussions.

8. Spreading a Culture of Peace within the community is noble and necessary. We need to be proactive, thoughtful and smarter, while working at various levels, but remembering the motto “think global and act local”. Once we build on it at the community and nation levels, We will certainly be able to work at the international level with the Declaration of Peace & Cessation of War and support for relevant instruments like article 10 under the United Nations , the Parliament of the world.

Thank you, IWPG, HWPL and IPYG. Good afternoon

————-end————-

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Congratulations, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi

Sydney, 23 May, 2019

Hearty Congratulations, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for the spectacular victory!

👌🇮🇳👌

PM Modi, Indians everywhere including NRIs have supported you & BJP actively and openly.

They want India to take a much higher position in the world.

It’s possible with you as India’s Prime Minister.

We remember your visit to Australia between 15th and 18th Nov, 2014 with fondness. Your speech at All Phones Arena, Olympic Park was superb and memorable for thousands of Indian Australians.

After your attendance at G20 summit in Brisbane on 15th and 16th November, you had started your state visit to Australia. Indian community was excited with this visit. This was the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister after PM Rajiv Gandhi visited Australia in 1986.

I was in the venues where you interacted with the community in Sydney and Melbourne, in addition to your address of a Joint session of Australian Parliament.

With your image as a decisive and a “can do” leader, Indians, not just in India but around the world, are optimistic that things will change for the better and the Indian economy will grow even more rapidly.

When I wrote a post in June, 2014 (https://yadusingh.com/2014/06/13/what-indians-in-australia-expect-from-the-modi-govt/) I mentioned many things which people expected. Many of those things have either been delivered or getting delivered. Prime Ministerial visit to Australia was one of them. Nuclear trade deal has already been signed.

Based on my interactions with many Indians in Australia, there are a few more things that people expect the new government to deliver.

1. Genuine dual citizenship: This has been discussed and debated for long. There is an almost universal demand that overseas Indians be given a right to hold genuine dual citizenship with voting and property rights, if the country of their citizenship has no issue with this and if there are no security issues with granting dual citizenship to any particular overseas Indian. If USA, UK, Australia and most of developed and democratic countries as well as some countries in the region see no issues in granting dual citizenship to their citizens, then people argue that there is no rational basis for India to deny dual citizenship to Indians. PM Modi, you and your government have the political capital to deliver this long-standing demand.

2. With Lok Pal coming in effect, it’s vital that the anti-corruption body is strengthened and resources to do an effective job.

3. The PM’s global Overseas Indians Advisory body should be revamped. People in it should be those who have significant presence, influence and interactions among Indians in their countries. The practice of Indian diplomats recommending their sycophants to become members of this body should be done away with.

4. Country specific Overseas Indian Advisory body: Countries with significant overseas Indian populations (Australia is certainly one such country) should have an advisory body of not more than 10 people, which can be used for consultations and other advisory purposes, not only by the local GOI authorities/agencies, but also the relevant authorities/agencies in India. Its term should be for not more than 2 years.

5. Annual consultation between High Commission and Community: Previous High Commissioner of India in Australia, Smt Sujatha Singh, started a novel, and productive, mechanism to meet the community representatives in Canberra on a yearly basis. Representatives from Indian community from all over Australia would assemble on a weekend to discuss and suggest things to Indian diplomats. Later High Commissioners did not continue this practice. The communication from High Commission and community has been limited and confined to a small group of people, who are close to HCI and their hangers-on. Previous practice of community consultation needs to be reactivated.

6. Free Trade Agreement (FTA): The pace of the discussions and negotiations should be accelerated so that FTA can be concluded soon. This will accelerate bilateral trade which is about $16 billion. This is important as Australia already has FTAs with Japan, South Korea and China.

7. Hindi teachings in Australian Universities: To increase India’s soft power and increase the numbers of India-literate Australians, India should consider seriously funding such teaching courses in at least one University each in Sydney and Melbourne. Discussions should be had between relevant authorities to explore equal sharing of cost between Australia and India.

8. Facilitations of Australian Universities and TAFE to have campuses in India: Many Australian institutions are ranked quite highly in various world Universities ranking systems. Collaborations in this field should be actively facilitated and encouraged, following a pragmatic and win-win module. Indian regulations to facilitate this should be considered.

9. Recognition of TAFE diploma in India: Many Indian students come to Australia to train in TAFE institutes. Many then move on to Universities to complete degrees. In addition to the diplomas not being recognised to the extent that the students wanting to pursue this study in Australia do not even get the education loans, Association of Indian Universities (the peak body responsible for recognising foreign degrees) does not recognise even Bachelor degrees that may have resulted from a credit transfer after a diploma resulting in the degree component being lesser than 3 year duration. (Diploma to Degree). This is a unique feature of Australian Qualification framework and so should be understood by Educational authorities. Quite a good numbers of Indians in Australia have earned their degrees through this pathway. TAFE institutes are a unique institution and it will be beneficial for India to consider recognizing diplomas from TAFE.

10. Bilateral Internship positions for Australians and Indians: Institutes and Universities of repute in both countries should be encouraged to develop mechanisms to have short term (3-6 months) placements for students and researchers to enhance collaboration in science and research.

11. Indian media’s bureau/representatives in Australia: During 2009-10, Indian media reported issues involving Indian students in an exaggerated way, erroneously attributing racism in literally every incident. They did not interact with local long-term Indians. It was harder for media to have a grasp of the ground realities. It will be helpful if key media outlets consider basing their representatives in Australia to cover Oceania. With increasing trade related activities between Australia and India and with increased number of Indians here, there could be sufficient justification for such decisions. Indian Govt can encourage media houses to take up this matter. A good beginning could be of a posting a full time Press Trust of India (PTI) reporter in Australia.

12. Indian Consulate in Brisbane: Queensland is an important state for Indian investment. Indian business houses like the Adani group have an important and a significant presence in this state. It is important to have an Indian Consulate in Brisbane.

13. India House in major capital cities: There are more than 750,000 people of Indian heritage in Australia, with a big concentration in Sydney and Melbourne. People believe that there should be Indian cultural centers (India House) in Australia, at least in Sydney and Melbourne. While some funding will be raised locally, a significant part of the funds should come from Indian Govt. Govt of India (GOI) Funds, if any, allocated for something of this nature to be established in the Indian Consulate premises in Sydney CBD should be reviewed and re-allocated for a center of this nature in areas like Parramatta or Blacktown, where the Indian community has a substantial presence. Sydney CBD is not a practical or appropriate site for an Indian Cultural Centre.

14. Overseas Indians’ property in India: Many overseas Indians are seeing that their properties are illegally occupied and face threats to their safety when they visit India. Court cases go on for extended periods of time. Indian Penal Code and relevant laws should be amended to tackle this menace.

15. Interactions between GOI agencies and Indian Australian community: It is often felt that GOI authorities in Australia do not interact with people sufficiently and respectfully, thus leading to a communication gap. It is a common experience that there is a significant gap between what we expect and what is delivered. It is also felt that GOI officials often get embroiled in local community politics and play “favoritism” games depending on who they like or dislike. It is quite irrational and subjective. Steps should be implemented to improve the situation and GOI agencies instructed to be more helpful and to improve their networking with the community.

16. Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs visit to Australia: With approx. 750,000 people of Indian heritage in Australia, a biennial visit of Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs or the Minister of State should be included in the official GOI travel calendar. This will help facilitate interactions with the community and facilitate linkage between the GOI and the community.

17. Streamlined grievance redressal mechanism for Overseas Indians: Overseas Indian Affairs ministry has often not been very helpful and help has often not come in a timely fashion due to excessive bureaucratic influences. This should be reviewed and streamlined.

18. Exchanges between Academicians and civil Society leaders: We need regular bilateral exchange visits of academics, journalists, leaders and civil society leaders. This will help improve relations between the two countries. The scope and numbers should be increased.

In summary, it will be of mutual benefit to the community in Australia and India if the Indian government is proactive in considering the interests and welfare of the Indian community down under.

 

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/23 May, 2019

http://www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

previous posts:

1. https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/yadusingh.com/2014/05/16/with-bjpnda-govt-led-by-narendra-modi-a-new-era-dawns-in-india/amp/

2. https://yadusingh.com/2014/06/13/what-indians-in-australia-expect-from-the-modi-govt/

ANZAC DAY 2019: Lest We Forget

Sydney, Thursday 25 April, 2019

Today is Anzac day, a day of reflection and commemoration, when we remember the sacrifices, dedication and spirit of our diggers in Australia and New Zealand.

Let’s express our gratitude to them for the freedom we have today.

Lest We Forget!

Check your local guide for ANZAC Day activities, but two events 👇 are of special significance.

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

We condemn terror attacks in Sri Lanka

Monday, 22 April 2019

Sri Lanka witnessed despicable terror attacks on its churches and hotels on Easter Sunday, 21 April, 2019. Based on latest information, 290 people, including 35 foreign citizens from India, The US, Britain, Netherlands, Turkey and Australia, have been murdered in cold blood and more than 400 have been injured. An Islamist group, based in Sri Lanka, is suspected to be the perpetrator. https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/world/2019/04/22/sri-lankas-bloody-easter-puts-spotlight-new-terror-threat/

https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/sri-lanka-bombings-live-bomb-detonated-on-road-to-colombo-airport-20190422-p51g12.html

Tragic, devastating & shocking. 290 killed in cold blood, scores injured. Coordinated attacks on Churches and hotels in Colombo on Easter Sunday. Sound like terrorists attacks. Very dispiriting. Unable to comprehend what will be achieved by killing people. Heart goes out to everyone affected in the massacre. RIP. https://www.facebook.com/100001687146269/posts/2306048516128031?sfns=mo

We, as part of humanity, are with Sri Lanka. Our solidarity is with Sri Lankan community in Australia.

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Happy Easter

Sydney, 20 April, 2019

Happy Easter!

It’s on Sunday, 21 April, 2019.

Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb on the third day after his crucifixion. Easter is the fulfilled prophecy of the Messiah who would be persecuted, die for our sins, and rise on the third day. Remembering the resurrection of Jesus is a way to renew daily hope that we have victory over sin. According to the New Testament, Easter is three days after the death of Jesus on the cross. 

Above paragraph and more info about Easter is from the article below. 👇

https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/undertanding-the-history-and-symbols-of-easter-1256039.html%3famp=1

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh