Maa Tuje Salaam: A Multimedia Tribute to India’s brave Hearts, Sydney, 2 April, 2017

Sydney, 27 February, 2017

Maa Tuje Salam – A Multimedia Performance (involving dance, song, music, film and animation), Sydney, 2 April, 2017.

Maa Tuje Salam 27 Feb.png


This is a tribute to India’s brave hearts who sacrifice their lives to the nation.

This is a beautiful concoction of Indian classical and Bollywood dance styles by Kala Ratna Dr.Sanjay Shantaram and his team from Shivpriya Dance School, Bangalore, India.

Maa Tuje Salam is our contribution in our support for National Defence Fund, which works for the welfare of the members of the Indian Armed Forces (including Para Military Forces) and their dependents including assistance to Indian defence martyrs’ families. The National Defence Fund is administered by an Executive Committee, with PM as the Chairperson, and Defence, Finance and Home Ministers as Members. Finance Minister is the Treasurer of the Fund. Accounts of the Fund are kept with the Reserve Bank of India.


Dr Sanjay Shantaram is a talented dancer and actor in Kannada and Telugu film industry. Sanjay was born to, ‘Dr. Shantaram’ and ‘Swarna’. He started to learn classical dance at the age of seven. Sankara bharanam was the inspirational film, which made Sanjay go deep into the classical dance. He started his training at the age of 7 under the coaching of Smt. G. S. Rajalakshmi. He was the first rank holder in the dance examination, which was organized and carried out by the ‘Karnataka Secondary Education Board’. He made his debut as a child actor in 1981 in the film Bhaktha Gnana Deva.

He started to act in Telugu and Kannada films. At the same time, his love for dance did not diminish. He was also a good student in academics too. He scored 80% marks in his tenth standard board exams and in the same year, he ranked first in the senior grade dance competition by the ‘Karnataka Secondary Education Board’. In fact, Sanjay is a dentist too. In the year 1992, he won gold medal in a dance competition conducted in Hyderabad by ‘Navya Nataka Samithi’. He has also learnt Kuchipudi from Smt. Sunanda Devi.

Sanjay is acting in television serials too.

His dance school named ‘Shivapriya School of Dance’ in Bangalore teaches. Bharathanatyam, Kuchipudi and other folk dances to the students.

He is an internationally acclaimed dancer and his team has performed in many cities all over the world. His troupe is also in the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) panel.

It is a “Must Go” and “not-To-Be-Missed” event, with a noble purpose behind it in the support of National Defence Fund. 50% of the money saved will go the National Defence Fund.

All tickets will be pre-booked through a booking system to make it easier for everyone. Details coming.

Dr Yadu Singh

Federation of Indian Associations of NSW

Diaspora Indians should be given a fair go on demonetisation matters

Sydney, Australia, 23 February, 2017

Quite many people of Indian heritage (Diaspora Indians) are concerned and worried about their inability to change demonetised INR notes of 500 and 1000. Diaspora Indians include NRI (with Indian passports), People of Indian heritage with foreign citizenship (without PIO/OCI cards) and People of Indian heritage with foreign citizenship and PIO/OCI cards.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has permitted Indian residents, who were not in India between 8 November and 31 December, 2016, to be able to deposit their demonetised notes at RBI branches in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Nagpur up to 31 March 2017. Non-Resident Indians, NRIs, (who have Indian passports) are able to do so up to June 30, 2017. Overseas Citizens of India (Foreign passports with PIO or OCI cards) or Diaspora Indians with foreign passports, but without OCI/PIO cards, are not able to deposit their demonetised notes at all.

Government of India is making a difference between NRIs and OCIs. This is totally contrary to what is the constitutional position for such people. NRIs and OCIs are supposed to have similar rights in India except that NRIs can vote and hold official positions in India, but OCIs can not. Different rules for different categories of Diaspora Indians is not right or proper.

This matter is being discussed actively among overseas Indians (Diaspora Indians) all over the world. I have been part of numerous such discussions in Australia.

The consensus appears to be as follows:

  • Overseas Indians with Foreign Citizenship, with/without PIO and OCI cards, and NRIs (with Indian passports) should be treated as equal for demonetisation related matters.
  • Overseas Indians with Foreign Citizenship, with/without PIO and OCI cards, and NRIs should be treated as if they are resident Indians. This means that they should be permitted to deposit up to Rs. 250,000 of demonetised Indian currency in the Reserve Bank of India if they can prove that they were overseas between November 8 and December 31, 2016.
  • Current permission to NRIs to deposit amount up to of Rs. 25,000 until 30 June, 2017, if they can prove that they were overseas in the relevant period, should be increased to up to Rs. 250,000. On this matter, NRIs and Resident Indians should be treated equally.
  • As explained below, many diaspora Indians and their families may have more than INR 25,000 because they have been visiting India with their families over many years. They therefore may well have more than INR 25000.
  • Many of the diaspora Indians (NRIs, Foreign passport holders with or without PIO and OCI cards) have old currency notes in their residences in India or overseas for a variety of reasons, which includes holding left over INRs by their family members during travels to India over several years. They should be allowed by RBI and their  Indian Banks, with whom they have NRO accounts, to deposit the amount, provided they can prove that they were overseas between November 8 and December 31.
  • Diaspora Indians (NRIs, Indians with Foreign Citizenship with/without PIO and OCI cards) may not be able to travel to India soon. The last date for such deposits should be extended to  up to December 31, 2017.
  • RBI should consider that it is often not feasible or economically viable for Overseas Indians to travel to India for a variety of reasons including the cost of an air ticket. Tickets costs INR 50,000 to travel from Sydney to India. It will not make any sense to travel to India to deposit a small amount.  It will be worth considering that Diaspora Indians are allowed to deposit their demonetised INR notes at the overseas branches of Indian banks or allowed to bring such money from others, with due authorisation from GOI missions overseas, and be able to deposit this money in relevant banks in India.

Oversea Indians, whose numbers are about 30 million, send FDI of approx. USD 70 million annually, and are often mentioned in Prime Minister’s and other ministers’ speeches, as valuable members of India’s global family. They expect and deserve demonstration of their description of valued members of India’s extended family in the matters related to demonetised currency notes.

It is important that GOI demonstrates its intent by removing the discrimination against diaspora Indians in the matters related to  facilities for demonetised notes not only in comparison to Resident Indians, but also between different categories of Overseas Indians. has details of facilities for NRIs and OCIs.

“OCIs have parity with Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in respect of all facilities available to them in economic, financial, and educational fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.”

Diaspora Indians therefore request GOI to amend RBI notification appropriately.

We urge Prime Minister, Sri Narendra Modi, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister, Smt Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley and Reserve Bank of India to give a serious consideration to our appeal.

Dr Yadu Singh

Federation of Indian Associations of NSW

Privileged to be invited for the welcome event for PM of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu in Sydney

Sydney, 22 Feb, 2017

It was a great pleasure & privilege to be invited to the welcome event for Prime Minister of Israel, His Excellency Benjamin Netanyahu, at the iconic Central Synagogue, Bondi Junction, Sydney. Central Synagogue is the biggest Synagogue in the Southern Hemisphere.

This was the first official visit of an Israeli PM to Australia in 70 years.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described Israel as a beacon of democracy in the Middle East and praised Israelis for their innovative attitude. He described Australia as a great friend of Israel. PM Netanyahu (Nicknamed Bibi) spoke well and outlined Jewish people’s “can do” and “must succeed” instincts. He mentioned his belief, and the fact, of the Jewish people, the Indians & the Chinese being the people belonging to the ancient civilizations, which have survived despite the odds and adversities.

The high profile nature of the event can be gauzed by the presence of Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, former Prime Ministers (John Howard and Tony Abbott), NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and many Ministers and MPs from both sides of politics.

There were a few representatives from Australian multicultural community, which included Indian (myself), Greek, Chinese, Armenian and South Korean. The crowd of approximately 2000 people gave standing ovation and a round of prolonged applause to Australian PM, Israeli PM, and Former Prime Ministers, Abbott and Howard.


Dr Yadu Singh

Fake & false anti-Air India campaign: Unnecessary and uninformed

Sydney, 15 February, 2016

I am concerned with this fake, unproductive, uninformed and unworthy campaign against Air India by a few groups from Sydney. Many of these groups are not known to do anything worthwhile for our community, and are doing it for their cheap publicity at the cost of Air India.


This campaign is motivated by baseless assumptions and is  without facts. I live in Sydney and know that these groups, listed in the newspaper, are uninformed and disconnected with our community.

Where does it say that Hindu non-Veg or general non-veg meal in Air India has Halal meat? The obvious answer is in negative.

I travelled with Air India recently and enquired about it as a matter of curiosity.. My meal was of my preferred non-Halal type. Air India does serve Halal food to those who request it (like other airlines), and there is nothing wrong in it, but does not thrust it on the throats of anybody else. Their food otherwise is of non-Halal type.

Labelling Halal meal as Halal is appropriate, but you can’t expect Air India to write “This meal is a non-Halal meal” on the non-Halal meals. It’s not a practice in any business either. Go and see Woolworths or Coles shop where non-Halal products are not labelled as “Non-Halal”, which is practical and sensible.

Please read the Article carefully. Air India public relations officer GP Rao told TOI that “they had been serving ‘halal’ meat only when requested by a passenger. Otherwise, the non-vegetarian food was normally ‘non-halal’.”

In regards to the groups mentioned in the article, some of them do nothing useful for our community except clicking pictures with political leaders to promote themselves. One of them was not even prepared to speak up against firings at the the Sri Mandir temple in Auburn a few years ago. We spoke against that attack forcefully. One of them has recently given a “role model of the community” award to someone who exploits vulnerable people, many of whom approached us for help not long ago. I doubt these guys even travel with Air India, and have any direct experience or knowledge about the matter. I do wonder whether these groups have some repressed hatred for India, and are using Air India as a surrogate for that hatred.

I ask these guys to stop playing their unproductive, unnecessary & worthless politics. While I can understand some may have some concerns about Halal and Halal certification industry, but dragging Air India into this is contemptible.

SBS Punjabi has modified its article after receiving our concerns and views.  Thank you SBS Punjabi team for your work and journalism. Our respects for your work stays undiminished, but we have serious concerns about the fake and false anti-Air India campaign by these uninformed groups.

Mr IP Singh (@ipsinghTOI) from Times of India should please take note of our concerns and amend the report on this fake and false campaign against Air India.

PS: **I have spoken with the main campaigner just now. Some of the associations quoted in the article have not even agreed to have their names there. They didn’t even respond to the draft letter sent by the campaigner. Mr Jaydutt Nayak and Mr John Kennedy, leaders of the groups which are mentioned in the article, are yet to respond about the basis for their anti-Air India campaign. The president of Punjabi Council did not know full details of what he was consenting for, and some of the executive committee members of this council have never heard about this campaign or have consented for it. I have also spoken with Mr Noel Lal, Vice President, GOPIO International, who is based in Sydney, today. GOPIO has not consented for this campaign. They ignored the email from the campaigner. Their name is also mentioned in the articles. The one who consented for GOPIO name was the one who is not in GOPIO anymore.**

Fake and false anti-Air India campaign stands totally exposed.

Dr Yadu Singh

Freedom of Speech Cannot be a Freedom to Racially Abuse

6 December, 2016


18C Racial Discrimination Act complaint-handling procedure should be improved but no need to repeal or tamper with 18C.

Racial Discrimination Act 1975, section 18C is in news again, and is creating quite a bit of debate, discussion and disquiet in Australia.

In 2014, the debate on it became quite intense after Federal Attorney General, Senator George Brandis, said in the Senate that “People do have a right to be bigots, you know,” and “People have the right to say things that other people would find insulting, offensive or bigoted.”

After an uproar from various groups, the plan to repeal 18C was canned by The Abbott Government in 2015.

I wrote on this matter in 2014 and my submission to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights is attached right at the bottom of this post. 



There is a fresh campaign to repeal 18C now, particularly after the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) students’ case and Bill Leak’s cartoon in The Australian newspaper.

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has been tasked to inquire and report to Parliament on the matter specified in the Term of reference as below.

I must admit that I am not comfortable with either the QUT students’ case or Bill Leak’s Cartoon case. The former case was dismissed by the Federal Magistrate with a comment that it did not have merits (I agree with the conclusion) and the latter complaint has now been withdrawn by the complainant(s). I believe both cases had no real merit and should not have been initiated in the first instance.

This is where I believe, and agree with, the suggestions from Julian Leeser, an MP from the Coalition.


He said:

” Repealing s 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act would throw the baby out with the bath water”, Mr Leeser said.  “The real problem is the process of the Australian Human Rights Commission which forces 18C complaints into an almost compulsory conciliation process, regardless of the merits of the complaint.”

Mr Leeser recommended that the Australian Human Rights Commission Act be amended so that the Commission must initially determine whether a complaint under 18C has little prospect of success.  In the event that such a determination is made, the complaint would be terminated.

The complainant could have such a determination reviewed by the Federal Court on grounds limited to jurisdictional error only. The complainant would also need to provide security for costs before exercising their right to judicial review.

“Many of the cases which have drawn wide public discussion – the Bill Leak case and the QUT Students case – may have been more swiftly determined if the Commission had been able to terminate them on the basis that they had little prospect of success”, said Mr Leeser.  “The new process I am proposing would lead to greater public confidence in the handling our racial discrimination laws and, at the same time, maintain Australia’s strong protections against racism.”


Let us see what exactly is section 18C and what is exempted from 18C (Section 18D).

Offensive behaviour because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin:

(1) It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if:

(a) the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and

(b) the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), an act is taken not to be done in private if it:
(a) causes words, sounds, images or writing to be communicated to the public; or
(b) is done in a public place; or
(c) is done in the sight or hearing of people who are in a public place.
(3) In this section:
“Public place” includes any place to which the public have access as of right or by invitation, whether express or implied and whether or not a charge is made for admission to the place.

Exemptions: Section 18C does not render unlawful anything said or done reasonably and in good faith:

(a) in the performance, exhibition or distribution of an artistic work; or
(b) in the course of any statement, publication, discussion or debate made or held for any genuine academic, artistic or scientific purpose or any other genuine purpose in the public interest; or
(c) in making or publishing:
(i) a fair and accurate report of any event or matter of public interest; or
(ii) a fair comment on any event or matter of public interest if the comment is an expression of a genuine belief held by the person making the comment.
In summary, Section 18C of the Act makes it unlawful for anyone to do an act that is reasonably likely to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” anyone because of their race colour or ethnicity. Section 18D of the Act outlines exemptions with the purpose of protecting freedom of speech. Thus, artistic works, scientific debate and fair comment on matters of public interest are exempt from section 18C, provided they are reasonable and are in good faith.

Freedom of speech vs Freedom from racial vilification:

Freedom of speech is important in a free society, but it must also be emphasized that people have a right to be free from racial vilification too.

Freedom of speech can, and is, never an absolute right. Laws applying to defamation, advertising and national security do restrict the right of freedom of speech.

Australian courts have repeatedly held that for conduct to be covered by section 18C, the conduct must involve “profound and serious” effects, not “mere slights”.

Having said that, Andrew Bolt, a conservative Journalist, was found to have breached Section 18C in regards to his article on fair-skinned Aborigines. It led to statements from Coalition leaders, promising before the 2013 Federal election to repeal section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act “in its current form”.

Australia is a success story of multiculturalism, where almost half the population was either born overseas or has a parent who was born overseas.

This is in danger, if section 18C and 18D are tampered with, repealed or diluted.

With any change with 18C and 18D, the clear line between legitimate public debate and hate speech will be removed. “Anything goes’ will become the law.

We need protection from hate speech and racial vilification because not everyone is in a position of parity to speak back to those who denigrate them on racial grounds. Not everyone is Adam Goodes, Ben Barba and Ali Abbas, who can stand up for themselves, when racially attacked or vilified.

It is important that the average person had a way of holding others accountable for racial abuse and harassment.

I did not believe that the Federal Court’s ruling in the case involving Andrew Bolt in 2011 (which was never challenged by the way of an appeal to a higher court) provides sufficient cause for dismantling part of our system and laws of racial tolerance and harmony in 2014, and despite the QUT case and Bill Leak’s Cartoon case, I still do not believe there is sufficient grounds for repeal or dilution of 18C now.

There is however the pressing need for amendment of the Australian Human Rights Commission Act on the lines of what Julian Leeser MP has suggested. 

We need to promote civility and tolerance, not bigotry, racism, racial abuse, racial vilification and racial intimidation. If Section 18C and 18D are repealed, tampered with or diluted, this is exactly what is going to happen.

I therefore do not want Section 18C repealed, tampered with or diluted, but I do not want misuse of 18C mounting cases on frivolous and trivial reasons either. “The Leeser” suggestion is a perfect method to deal with this matter.

I have had a discussion with many from various communities including Indian Australians, and know for sure that they too are opposed to the proposed repeal of Section 18C.

Freedom of speech, while important, is not absolute, superior to or nobler than protection from racist abuse and hatred.

I will be sending my submission with my opposition to the campaign to repeal or dilute 18C of RDA to; 

Committee Secretary

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights

PO Box 6100

Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600

By email: 

I encourage you to do your submission by FRIDAY, 9th December 2016.

Friday, December 9 is the last day for this submission.

I have attached my submission below, which will give you sufficient guidance to create your own submission by either accepting it as your own, or modifying it. 


Dr Yadu Singh

Air India’s ‘Fly to Europe the Indian way’ is a great campaign for travellers to India and Europe

Sydney/2 December, 2016

I had an opportunity to discuss various things with AIR INDIA management in Australia recently.

It is obvious that they are proactive and have a clear vision about where they want Air India to be placed at. CEO Ashwani Lohani-led Air India management is on the roll.

I was very impressed to hear about their “Fly to Europe the Indian Way” campaign, which is great for those who are travelling to India and also to those who are travelling to Europe.

If they are travelling to India from Australia, they have an option to extend their travel to 8 destinations in Europe with quite an economical package.

If they are flying to Europe from Australia, they can easily do so via India (Indian way) and see icons like Taj Mahal, without needing too much to spend on their air journey.

European destinations included are London, Rome, Milan, Frankfurt, Vienna, Madrid, Birmingham and Paris. Air India destinations in India are most major cities.

Stop over in India can be either during inbound or outbound journey. It is quite flexible..

Starting fares from Sydney or Melbourne to Europe via India are from $966 to $1272 (inclusive of all taxes). Details from Air India on 02 92833370 (Sydney number) and Travel professionals of your choice.

This offer is for limited sale until all allocated seats are sold off.

This package is quite innovative and is going to be quite attractive.

I am aware that Australia-India-Australia segment of Air India business is growing and is already profitable. This new package is going to add to Air India’s profitability. It might be worth mentioning that almost all Air India planes are the latest variety and have advanced facilities for passengers’ comfort.

I am optimistic and confident that Air India will be going strength to strength, if its management continues to come out with innovative and passenger-friendly airfares and routes.

It will add to, and multiply, the success of both Air India and India Tourism, if they can interact and work together for campaigns like this.

Dr Yadu Singh