Parramasala, The Australian Festival of South Asian arts, is a milestone in multicultural NSW!

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Parramasala, the Australian Festival of South Asian Arts, was initiated by Premier Kristina Keneally, then Premier of NSW, in 2010. It was held in 2011 and 2012 too. I and my friends have enjoyed it every year. Thousands of people from all backgrounds have enjoyed it too.

There are some question marks over whether it will continue in 2013 and beyond .

The budget of the festival is approx $1.5 millions, out of which approx $300,000 is contributed by Parramatta Council.

I attended a meeting, called by Parramatta Mayor recently. There was a discussion regarding the direction Parramasala should be taking from now on.

There was a discussion regarding whether one segment of Parramasala should happen in the neighbouring Harris Park suburb where there are many businesses from Indian/South Asian community.

There was a discussion whether “Curry & Spice festival”, focused on Harris Park should be included in the Parramasala.

There was a discussion regarding what Parramatta Council should do to get Harris Park included in Parramasala event. There was also a discussion regarding what Parramatta Council should do if Parramasala does not include Harris Park in the event.

After this meeting, we, the members of the community and businesses from Harris Park, had some further discussions among ourselves. I had some further discussions with many people on this.

This is what people think/feel about Parramasala and related events:

1. Parramasala is a significant event for NSW and South Asian communities.

2. Parramasala should continue to happen in 2013 and beyond.

3. Parramatta Council should continue to be a partner in Parramasala, contribute its share of money and should have a significant role in organising the event.

4. It will be nice if Harris Park event-Curry & Spice festival- is a part of Parramasala.

5. Parramasala should still continue to be held, even if Harris Park event-Curry & Spice festival- is not a part of Parramasala.

6. If Harris Park event-Curry & Spice festival- is not a part of Parramasala, it should still be organised and it should happen separately. Money aspect for Harris Park event should be worked on separately and should not be mixed or confused with anything to do with Parramasala. Contribution in advertisement and other related costs should be based on some fair formula. Contribution share based on number of seats in the restaurants is one such formula. Non-food businesses need to be involved in the festival and their contribution will need to be reasonable and fair.

7. Harris Park event- Curry & Spice festival- should be organised with participation from local businesses, community reps and Parramatta Council, as it is not only about local businesses.

Parramasala Board should have only those people who have vision, ability and capacity to organise an event of this nature. This is important to help this event grow , make the event more popular and have bigger participation of not only South Asian communities, but also general community. This has not happened and this needs to be reviewed why it has not happened.

Nomination of  people in Boards of events of this nature should be guided by quality and ability, in addition to vision of such people, not who the Govt leaders like even if such members do not have the required quality and ability.

Parramasala Board should be reviewed and reconstituted. Details of the festival:www.parramasala.com

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/15th March, 2013
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7 thoughts on “Parramasala, The Australian Festival of South Asian arts, is a milestone in multicultural NSW!

  1. Some very noteworthy points Yadu especially about the board! Personally, if Parramasala is to continue with the pathetic programming & lack of any kind of relevance or vision that has haunted it from its start, it is best put to bed! What a colossal waste of money. What’s required is a true cultural showcase with meaningful workshops that engage a good cross section of the community.

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  2. Dr. Singh,
    A name like Curry and Spice festival, parra”masala” and similar names engender fixed stereotypes of Indians. I think we are more than what we eat. The change should start with these names. If we define Au and Indian relationship as curry and cricket, then we should not expect any significant deep relationships to develop.
    Hasnain

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  3. I agree. The “curry” and “masala” flavours are things of the past and do not represent a mature equallty based partnership focus .The programme should reflect the current state of Indian phyche and should promote reasons why India and Australia should come closer through cultural ties. It must try and negate the stereotyping on both sides.
    Vish

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  4. From what my understanding is, Parramasala came about after the unrest between the Indian student bashings that occurred around 2009/10. The Event was to create a better understanding of the Indian Culture within the Parramatta Community where the population of Indians has increased dramatically and consistently. The Parramasala Event creates a wonderful buzz around the community. They should maybe consider just one weekend maybe instead of the one week duration that it normally runs for. It is a powerful tool to create harmony and balance within a community.

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