Why we don’t have India Cultural Centre (India House) in Sydney?

Sydney, NSW

29th April, 2016

I wrote a Blog post on India House on 4th May, 2013. https://yadusingh.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/india-house-in-sydney-what-is-this-about-why-do-we-need-it/.

Then I posted an update on this subject  on 31st Aug, 2014. https://yadusingh.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/india-house-in-sydney-update/

We backed out of this project because every group wanted to make India House. We therefore decided to let them do it and promised to support them. Nothing has happened, and nothing is likely to happen, unfortunately. Its a sad situation.

People I speak with agree that it will be great to have Indian Cultural Centre (India House) in Sydney. They all feel that it has not happened because of division in the community. We have too many associations and too many leaders, most of whom do not have substance, capability, networking and vision. Everyone wants to do the same things- in parallel, not together. To make it worse, we have too many “senior” and several “very senior” leaders (75 years plus) who have been around for 3-4 decades, without much productivity. They have become a big hindrance. They must be persuaded to retire and allow a fresh start. “Me too” syndrome is harming us all as a community in more ways than one.

Let us do a quick review.

The Indian Australian community in Australia comprises of about 500,000 people, out of which about 160,000 reside in New South Wales. Ours is a growing community and about half of our people have migrated to Australia during the last ten years.

Every community is unique and has its special characteristics and requirements.  In this sense, we are no different from the other multicultural communities in Australia.   Many of these requirements can be fulfilled by a Community Centre (India House), which acts not only as the centre for all community/social interactions and mentoring/guiding services, but also for entertainment activities.  Private family occasions like weddings and other events can also take place there.  Any such centre should have sufficient space and facilities to cater to a range of activities.  This Centre should be able to self-sustain financially, and should be run professionally.

Despite being a major community, we do not have this  community Centre, which is in total contrast with other communities like Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Serbian, Croatian and others, many of which are smaller than ours, but do have such community premises.

India House has been talked about for more than 25 years but nothing obviously has happened. Talks and visions should have moved to something realistic and something fruitful by now, but it is yet to happen. We believe that it did not happen only because serious and sincere efforts were never made, and people who talked about it lacked the vision and leadership. “Me too” syndrome  among associations and “leaders” have been the biggest obstacle.

Indian Consulate General in Sydney has a place where smaller events can be done in some circumstances but its space is limited and its situation in CBD is not all that convenient. It can not substitute India House. This place should be in the Western Sydney, where most of Indian Australians live.

Projects of this nature require huge capital to make it happen.  We strongly believe that finances can be raised if there is a group of dedicated & committed people in our community who have integrity, vision, determination, perseverance, willingness and capacity to work on the plan for 5-7 years. The fund raising components must have multiple components, and it should include fairs, charity drives, direct contributions from the community, and also sponsorships from governments and businesses.

Our initial spadework informs us that there is sufficient goodwill for this huge venture in our community. We recognise that the biggest hurdle in this huge task is the distrust community members have towards community groups/leaders because they have not been transparent, accountable and result oriented, and in fact, some have used their groups for financial benefits. To make it worse, some have become branches of political parties. It is a common knowledge that finances generated from events, small and large, have often been mismanaged and possibly misused. The fund sourcing process therefore must remain ethical, transparent and must be supervised by at least three reputed finance professionals. This fund-raising must have the charity status and tax concessions.

As I see it, there is a need for a nodal group of 20 key people who will do the initial work, using the expertise in law, planning, project work, finance, Real Estate, accounting and marketing among others. They will work without charging any remuneration.

This project would need meetings with community representatives/leaders, key members of Indian community and businessmen, and members of media with the purpose of brain storming, exchanging ideas, revising and fine tuning the project. Media is so essential for this project and this project will have to be an “inclusive” work as far as practicable.

The Project should be super headed by a management committee, Board of Trustees and Advisory Council, and will have membership with defined benefits of such membership. The guiding principle will and must always be transparency, accountability and proper governance with an added motto of “service with integrity”.

Can we expect our community groups to take this project earnestly and start the process afresh?  Can we make a fresh start?  Can we collaborate? My friends and I are happy to support a group of this nature and their work, provided this group has people with integrity, ability, capacity, networking and vision.  This is a project for the whole community. 

Leadership is open and available here.

Please come forward and show us the leadership.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/29th April, 2016

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

http://www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

India House in Sydney: an update!

Sydney, 31st Aug, 2014

I wrote a post on India House last year. Link is here.

https://yadusingh.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/india-house-in-sydney-what-is-this-about-why-do-we-need-it/

We had several meetings with well-meaning people. We were on to it.

After this, literally every Indian community association in Sydney started to announce that they too want to build an “India House”, but without any attempt to network with others. This “Me too” disease is very prevalent with associations and “Community Leaders”.

One of such associations is the one which collected money for “India House” during one of its major events a few years ago. There is unfortunately no record or details of this money anymore.  They have mismanaged their funds, thus having a massive hit in their reputation in our community. Community knows about it and has nothing but disdain for them.

Another one is the one which gave “Role model of the community” medals to those who deserved shunning, not medals. People wonder about ethos and principles guiding this association. Everything seems to be Naqli (Fake) there.

There are others too, who claim to be an Umbrella body but without any group with them, justifying their claim of being an “Umbrella” association.

Any smart person should always analyse and review the current circumstances, while keeping the past examples and factors in mind.

It is clear to me that the best option for us is to take a back seat and let others, who have put their claims to build “India House” out in public, take the responsibility and leadership for this matter. There is an undeniable fact that there can’t, and will not, be multiple India Houses in Sydney.

As far as I am concerned, I am getting out from my plans for “India House” in Sydney. I hope others will do what needs to be done and what they have claimed. I will support them with whatever I can do, when they indeed do something in this regard. I know for sure that our community will need to take a structured, co-ordinated and unified approach to deliver this project. We can not have multiple groups trying (or at least claiming) to work on this project.

I understand that “India House” will be one of the topics which will be discussed in a meeting of some “select” Indian community members, organised at the Indian Consulate General in Sydney next week. I am one of the invitees to this meeting. I will post an update on this and any other relevant topic.

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

http://www.facebook.com/dryadusingh

 

India House in Sydney: what is this about & why do we need it?

INDIA-House2

(See an important update at the end of this post)

The Indian Australian community in Australia comprises of about 400,000 people, out of which about 150,000 reside in New South Wales. Ours is a growing community and about half of our people have migrated to Australia during the last ten years.

Every community is unique and has its special characteristics and requirements.  In this sense, we are no different from the other multicultural communities in Australia.   Many of these requirements can be fulfilled by a Community Centre, which acts not only as the centre for all community/social interactions and mentoring/guiding services, but also for entertainment activities.  Private family occasions like weddings and other events can also take place there.  Any such centre should have sufficient space and facilities to cater to a range of activities.  This Centre should be able to self-sustain financially, and should be run professionally.

Despite being a major community, we do not have this  community Centre, which is in total contrast with other communities like Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Serbian, Croatian and others, many of which are smaller than ours, but do have such community premises.

India House has been talked about for more than 20 years but nothing obviously has happened. Talks and visions should have moved to something realistic and something fruitful by now, but it is yet to happen. We believe that it did not happen only because serious and sincere efforts were never made.

Projects of this nature require huge capital to make it happen.  We strongly believe that finances can be raised if there is a group of dedicated & committed people in our community who have integrity, vision, determination, perseverance, willingness and capacity to work on the plan for 3-5 years. The fund raising components must have multiple components, and it should include fairs, charity drives, direct contributions from the community, and also sponsorships from governments and businesses.

Our initial spadework informs us that there is sufficient goodwill for this huge venture in our community. We recognise that the biggest hurdle in this huge task is the distrust community members have towards community groups/leaders because they have not been transparent, accountable and result oriented, and in fact, some have used their groups for financial benefits. To make it worse, some have become branches of political parties. It is a common knowledge that finances generated from events, small and large, have often been mismanaged and possibly misused. The fund sourcing process therefore must remain ethical, transparent and must be supervised by at least two reputed finance professionals. This fund-raising must have the charity status and tax concessions.

We wish to take this project earnestly and start the process by donating the entire amount saved after expenses from the INDAUS FAIR on Sunday, 11 August 2013, which will take place at Rosehill Gardens, Rosehill Race Course, Rosehill, NSW. We will outline our detailed plan and the process of fund raising soon.

Our plan is to have a nodal group of 10 people who will do the initial work, using the expertise in law, planning, project work, finance, Real Estate, accounting and marketing among others.

This will be followed by a meeting with community representatives/leaders and members of media with the purpose of brain storming, exchanging ideas, revising and fine tuning the project. Media is so essential for this project and this project will be an “inclusive” work as far as practicable.

The Project will be super headed by a management committee, Board of Trustees and Advisory Council, and will have membership with defined benefits of such membership. The guiding principle will and must always be transparency, accountability and proper governance with an added motto of “service with integrity”.

More info from dryadusingh@gmail.com, www.yadusingh.wordpress.com  and www.indaus.org.au

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/2nd May 2013

President, Indian Australian Association of NSW Inc

————————————- UPDATE: 31st Aug, 2014 https://yadusingh.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/india-house-in-sydney-update/ ————————————-