INDIA DAY 2016 was a huge success

31st Aug, 2016

Sydney, NSW

INDIA DAY Fair, organised by Federation of INDIAN Associations of NSW Inc (FIAN) at the Parade Ground, Old King’s School, Parramatta on Sunday, 14 August, 2016 was a huge success. FIAN is a umbrella organisation of multiple Indian Community Associations in Sydney.

Approximately 10,000 people attended the Fair throughout the day from 12 midday to 7pm.

Over 60 stalls involving food, businesses, sports and community groups including an NSW  Government department, in addition to kids’ rides and a spectacular firework at the end of the event were part of the Fair.

Entertainment programme was truly top class, and multicultural. Shiamak Davar Group delivered a spectacular segment of entertainment, but other segments including Pacific Islanders’ group, Belly dances and Flamenco dances were no  less mesmerising.

No wonder that the INDIA DAY was covered by SBS TV news, Chanel 7 News and SBS Hindi, Punjabi and Tamil Radio programmes. Indian community media were present there with full strength.

Political leaders  saw it fit and worthwhile to show their presence in the event. They included;

Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Federal Minister for International Development and the Pacific

Hon Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs

John Alexander, Federal MP For Bennelong

Mr Craig Kelly, Federal MP for Hughes

The Hon John Ajaka, NSW Minister for for Ageing, Minister for Disability Services, and minister for Multiculturalism

The Hon David Clarke, NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Justice

The Hon. Geoff Lee MP, NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism

The Hon. Matt Kean MP, NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Treasury

Julie Owen, Federal MP for Parramatta, Representing The Hon Bill Shorten MP, Federal Leader of Opposition

The Hon Michelle Rowland, MP, Shadow Minister for Communications

The Hon. Jody Mckay MP, NSW Shadow Minister for Justice & Police and representing NSW Leader of Opposition

The Hon. Sophie COTSIS, MLC  NSW Shadow Minister for Women, Shadow Minister for Ageing, Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism, Shadow Minister for Disability Services

Mr Hugh Mcdermott, MP, State Member for Prospect

DR Harry Harinath, Chairman, Multicultural NSW

Mr B Vanlalvawna, Consul General of INDIA, Sydney

Clr Dr Michelle Byrne, The Hills Shire Mayor

Mr Raj Datta, Coulcillor Strathfield Council

Clr Gurdeep Singh, Deputy Mayor Hornsby Shire Council

Ms Amanda Chadwick, Administrator,  City of Parramatta

Prof Frank Zumbo, Chief of Staff with Craig Kelly MP for Hughes and a friend of our community

Dr Eman Sharobeem Dr. Eman Sharobeem, National Community Engagement Manager

FIAN was pleased and grateful for the generous support from so many sponsors. It is a big credit to the team that they were able to organise this type of huge sponsorship support.

  • Parramatta Council for being the major sponsor
  • Indian Australian Association of NSW (INDAUS) a member of FIAN and a major sponsor
  • Commonwealth of Australia
  • Castle Group
  • Western Union
  • Bathla Group
  • Square Yards
  • Fly4Less Travel, Harris Park
  • Indian Link Media Group
  • Air India Australia
  • Incredible India, India Tourism Australia
  • Central Equity
  • State Bank of India
  • Bank of Baroda
  • Sharmas Kitchen
  • Union Bank of India
  • Atlas Consultants Melbourne
  • Patel Brothers Group
  • ABC Print Shop
  • Maya Da Dhaba
  • MultiConnexions
  • Cricket Australia
  • Macquari Bank
  • Shiv Saini of Milan Bazar, Seven Hills
  • Mahesh Raj of Go Cool, Harris Park

INDIA DAY 2016 JULY 24 FINAL.jpg

In addition to Parramatta and Blacktown newspapers, INDIA DAY had the support of following media houses;

  • SBS Radio programmes
  • Arti Banga Desi Media for ever so willing and continuous support
  • Pawan and Rajni Luthra, Indian Link for many things including being a sponsor, promotion
  • Jugandeep Jawaharwala, Pardesh Express
  • Harpreet Singh, Punjab Times
  • Rajwant Singh, Punjab Express
  • Prakash and Sneh Chandra, Navtarang Media
  • Ram Khatry, SouthAsia.com.au
  • Santosh Naga, Editor Indiansite
  • Ashok Kumar, The Indian Subcontinent Times
  • Mr MP Singh SBS Punjabi
  • Mr Sham Kumar, Punjabi Radio
  • Mr Vikram and Jagat Sharma, Voice of India
  • Inder Magar, The Indian Telegraph
  • Indian Down Under
  • Fiji Times
  • Divya Gujarat

INDIA DAY Fair has now become a key event of multicultural community in Western Sydney. The team has a track record of delivering top class event of this nature. The team clearly has the clout and goodwill in the community and is able to generate sponsorship and support from all relevant groups and businesses.

Here are a few pics.

 

Events like INDIA DAY require a lot of work and can not be done without a fantastic team. Everyone in the team deserves a “thank you”, but special “thank you” is reserved for Satish Bhadranna, secretary, Kumar Madappa, vice president and John Niven, Fair director.

Dr Yadu SIngh

President, Federation of Indian Associations of NSW Inc

http://www.fian.org.au

http://www.facebook.com/FianInc

http://www.twitter.com/Fianinc

 

 

 

 

 

Australia race debate:The enemy within! Hindustan Times [HT] article.

http://tinyurl.com/ycj47cs

This is the article in one of the top newspapers in India [Hindustan Times] by one of the Indian Australians, who lives in Melbourne and is the anchor of the Punjabi programme in SBS radio. Ms Manpreet Singh has done a wonderful write-up. Similar write-ups have been done by me and others through Blogs previously.

This is worth reading.

We need to do introspection to figure out what is happening, where we are going and what we need to do.

Indian students’ matter and its coverage in Indian media [which has often been very imbalanced and hysterical] has created a situation which has been very unfair for the image of Australia. We will need to take an open, assertive and bold stand in this matter as unfair portrayal of Australia by anyone affects all of us including Indian Australians.

We will have to deal with Indian media, specially TimesNow TV channel, and its main contacts in Australia, specially Gautam Gupta, to ensure Indian media stops the nonsense reporting about Australia. It is likely that we will need to interact openly and intensively with the Indian Gov leaders in New Delhi and Indian Gov officials in Australia on these matters.

We can not allow the unfair, injurious and imbalanced portrayal of Australia in India to go on unchallenged!

Best regards

Yadu Singh/Sydney/13th March, 2010

Indian Australians:are we relevant in Australia & its systems?

There are about 300000 people of Indian heritage in Australia. About 100000 Indian students are in Australia too. Our numbers are probably more if we take Indian people from Fiji, Malaysia, South Africa and other countries into account. Basically, we have a significant mass of people from Indian background in Australia.

We are nicely represented in Medicine, law, teaching, accounting, IT and banking but not so in the higher level of administration and politics. Talking about the politics, there is not even a single person from Indian heritage in the state parliament or Federal parliament. This is not going to change in the near future either. This is so despite several of us in the major political parties, usually as cheer squad members.

Is it so because people with questionable calibre are in the political parties and such people do not have what a leader must have- the capacity to lead or is it because political parties are happy to take support from us but not willing to give us a share in the power? There are merits in both arguments.

I for one believe that we will not get what we should unless we do certain things. We have to “arrive” at the scene. We have to become politically active and smarter. We have to participate in the process, rather than just being happy with some photographs with  the ministers. We have to become demanding.

To achieve something in the political arena, we have to identify people among us who can lead. We have to unite our community too. “Unite our community” does not mean ghettoing ourselves however as we are very much a part of the broad Australian community. We have to achieve many things as part of Australian community.

Someone can ask  whether it is important that we have one or more Indians in the political power. It is really not that important if you think about it superficially. It is however important when you think about it more deeply. We are part of Australian community and must be part of Australian political systems. Politics affects us from all the angles and we need to participate in it.  If we participate in it, then we must get our share in the power too. Remember the ultimate justification for us to be in the political power. This is what we say “why not?”.

You may not agree with me but that is my view. I welcome your view point.

We will achieve many things in this country and be more relevant in the processes here if we;

1. join political parties in bigger numbers

2. participate in the political processes and are willing to take leadership roles in the systems/parties

3. become more supportive of right type of people from any community but do not hold it against a person if that person is from our community. We need to rise above our region/language based identities and take our “Indian” identity.

4. unite our own community which has hundreds of associations, often in the same community.

5. we persuade assertively/actively those “leaders’ who have been in their positions for years without any real productivity or outcome, to move aside.

6. work for a genuine umbrella group/organisation which can represent all of us. The constitution, membership, agenda and leadership of such group/organisation should be transparent and dynamic with potential for required changes to fit with the prevailing circumstances. United Indian Associations [UIA] falls sort of these goals significantly. UIA can however reform itself if it is honest to its published goals. The Jury is out whether UIA can reform itself though. I have seen two examples recently which do not give me lot of hope however. High Commissioner of India had a meeting with Indian community leaders in Canberra last Wedbnesday. Everybody who is anybody in our community from all over Australia was there but no body from top 3 of UIA office bearers [President, Vice president and secretary] was there. Similarly, in the meeting with NSW Premier yesterday, neither the president was there nor the vice president. UIA secretary was there but the person who “spoke on behalf of UIA” was Raj Natarajan who is not in UIA executive committee [EC] currently. This is indicative of a dysfunctional organisation. This is sad but true that UIA is not able to lead us. Our community needs lot more than what UIA is able to deliver. It is the capacity issue. UIA  needs to shape up or ship out! Oh yes, UIA leaders need to keep in their mind that they are not particularly popular in our community and they can’t blame any one else except themselves for this situation. UIA leaders, please remember that our community needs lot more than a “MELA” [fair] to show as the output from UIA. I ask you to lead all of us but do you have what you need to have to lead us? We need the honest answers! I do not believe in criticising for sake of criticising only. To prove this, we are willing to help you and work with you with all the integrity and honesty, recognising that our community does not need one more association as we already have too many.

7. do everything to enhance the reputation of our community. Indian Australians have had a great reputation but it has been damaged recently. Some from our own community were exploiting Indian international students in all sorts of ways. Some of them did facilitate false work experience certificates, pay below-award wages, take bribes for work certificates and even arrange false IELTS certificates after taking some money. Some students have come to Australia, not to study but to have PR at any cost, often using fraud/false certificates. We need to demand the cleaning of rorts/scams and punishment for those who are involved in these rorts/scams.

8. have the Indian ethnic media which is committed to the restoration of our image. Publishing good reports or the photographs of such people [rorters/scammers] for whatever reason-friendship or advertisement dollars- should not happen.

9. network effectively among ourselves and other relevant people when it comes to the core issues in regards to our community. Uranium sale to India, more time in SBS TV/radio for India/Indian culture based on our numbers, statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a prominent place in Sydney, reception of the Indian community of NSW by the Premier of NSW as is the case for Chinese community of NSW and culturally appropriate/conducive nursing homes for our seniors are some issues which I can mention but there are many more.

10. learn to respect/support our people and shun the so called “Tall Poppy Syndrome” when we find that one of us is doing well. We should not have any problem if Neville Roach gets nominated to be a member of Indian PM’s Global advisory council or Susai Benjamin gets nomination for a membership in Multicultural advisory council of Immigration minister or Dr Yadu Singh gets interviewed by all the newspapers/TV stations on students’ issues. We need to curb our envy and not start attempting coups against our own people. I was disgusted to see hundreds of people, claiming leadership role on students’ issues during the peak of students’ trouble, forgetting that they were the ones who were exploiting these students. Even the “CHORs” [thieves] and looters from our community became leaders. Such below-standard people only made our work more difficult and gave us lots of anguish even when we were doing things for students without any personal benefit or conflict of interest. Thankfully, they have all disappeared. I did not see them in the meeting with NSW Premier yesterday. I was happy to note their absence, partly because they are good for nothing but more importantly, we are able to do lot more for our people without their insincere/harmful meddling. I would be meeeting VETAB/Ministry of education, NSW Gov on Thursday, 5th Nov in reference to Flying school students [School guys and students will be there too] and then chief of the NSW task force next week.

I am exhorting the Indian Australians to think over the issues we have and do introspection about where we are and where we are headed to as a community.

We need to work as a team if we want to achieve anything for any one we claim to serve for. Having said that, such team can not and will not have these “CHORs” [thieves] though.

I am ready and many of my friends are too but I am asking a question, “are you ready too?”

Yadu Singh/Sydney/03-11-09

Indian student commits suicide in Australia:Who is accountable and what has to be done to prevent such incidents?

I was extremely saddened to hear the news of an Indian student who had committed suicide in Melbourne recently.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/indian-student-commits-suicide-in-australia/519725/

Mr Gurjinder Singh was a student of La Trobe University, doing accounting. He was in Australia only for 3 months. From the newspaper reports, I read that he was depressed about not finding a job in Australia. As we know, international students are allowed to work for 20 hours a week.

He was in his early 20s.

I have been thinking about him ever since I heard about his death. I feel for him and his situations before he committed suicide. I feel for the grief and loss for his parents in India. I have been trying to analyse what went in his mind before he came to this extreme point and took his life.

What happened here? How can a person become so severely depressed within so short time after arriving in Australia? Why his flat-mates and class-mates did not know about his situation? Why nothing could be done to prevent this tragedy?

Obviously, a lot of people failed here in averting a tragedy of this nature.

As I see it, following things come to my mind;

1. his classmates failed in their responsibility by not noticing his situation and turmoil and doing something about it,

2. his flat mates failed in their responsibility by again not noticing his situation and turmoil and doing something about it,

3. his University’s support system also could not do much to prevent this tragedy [may be they did what was needed to done but we are not aware of it],

4. his close relatives could not do anything to prevent his death. A young man felt this desperate and committed suicide and close relatives did not have a clue of his situation! Was this young man pushed into coming to Australia and had lots of expectation from his relatives but he was not helped with the essential things ie money which he needed to succeed in Australia?,

5. the education agents in India who did not inform him about the situation and ground realities re the jobs and the required money for his tuition etc,

6. his University system which could not prevent such a devastating tragedy by informing him at the orientation time about the health matters/systems including the psychological health issues which he could have accessed . There are help lines available which are very useful and are known to prevent suicides.  I recognise that his University might have informed him about all this at the time of orientation but he did not use the information. He could have gone to a GP. He had access to the health system in Australia as all students are required to have a health insurance. Alas, nothing of these happened!

7. I am sorry to say this but this young man also failed himself and his parents by taking this extreme step when he could have done many things to get him out of his situation. This could have been about calling help lines, speaking with his class mates/flat mates, speaking with counsellors, speaking with his parents and even returning to India if things were not going to change. Every thing would have been preferrable to the extreme step of committing suicide. A degree from a Uni in Australia and a possible PR in Australia are nothing when we compare them with the “Life”. By saying this, I am not minimising the grief/sadness which his near and dears ones are going through right now. I have a great deal of empathy with every one who is going through this grief but…….

 Life is always full of challenges and we need to face the challenges rather than taking the self-harm steps. Most times, we can deal with them ourselves but some times, we would need help from others and we must seek it from them.

Parents and students must be aware of the possibility that a job may not be available in Australia. Arrangements for ongoing living expenses and tuition fees must be made before travelling to Australia. Aus Gov authorities in the relevant Embassy/High Commission must make it amply clear that students can work for upto 20hours/week but jobs in Australia can not be the main or the only source of funding the expenses during their stay in Australia.

To be honest with you, I believe that students should not come to Australia if they do not have a capability to arrange funding for their fees and living expenses without a job in Australia.

Depression is a common problem and people from all age groups, ethnicity and circumstances can suffer from depression. Indians are no exception. It is eminently treatable. No body needs to suffer without the help, support and treatment for it. We of course need to let others know what is going on inside us. Many a times, others would not know about the turmoil inside if we do not seek help, talk about it or let them know what is going on inside us. 

 Unfortunately, there is a stigma attached to the mental health issues and anecdotally, this may be more true in the Indian community.

In this regard, I admire the courage which was shown by Jeff Kennett [former Vic Premier], Andrew Robb [Liberal Front Bencher] and Geoff Gallop [ former premier of Western Australia] when they came out with their depression and sought help.

To prevent any loss of life in this manner, we all must show compassion and look after our friends, class mates, flat mates, relatives or any one whom we know if we find that they are having difficulties in these matters. We need to talk with our close ones and share with them the difficulties we are experiencing.

It does not help and it is not correct if we point a finger of blame, to the premier of Victoria, Mr John Brumby by making him responsible for this suicide as has been done by a non-student “leader” in Melbourne. This is ridiculous. This “leader” is talking nonsense and is playing useless politics. He should be ashamed of himself.

A very sad situation has happened and we all including the Gov agencies need to think about the preventive measures which must be in place to avert such deaths, knowing that International students are under lots of pressure, do not have the traditional support mechanism for them in Australia and some of them may not be able to cope with the circumstances. Schools, TAFE and Universities must review their orientation systems to make sure there is information on health including mental health issues in their orientation programmes.

The education providers must have a system of “student co-ordinators” who should have a close interaction with the students. Pastoral care is a service which is extremely essential in relation to International students.

 State Governments must ensure that the education providers in their territories do have enough information on these matters in these programmes and have adequate pastoral care mechanism.

Indian associations must review what they can do to help Indian students when they are having difficulties in dealing with the situations/circumstances in Australia.

There is a significant role for the media in India and in Australia to take up the issue of mental health among International students. Many of them go through a very difficult environment. As Indian students do access the ethnic Indian media in Australia regularly, it can and should do a significant job by making people aware of the mental health and help system available in Australia. Kumud Merani [SBS Radio], Pawan Luthra [Indian Link], Rohit Revo [The Indian] and Dinesh Malhotra [Bharat Times] have the instrument which can be very effective in this regard. After all, we do have the great systems like LIFE LINE and BEYOND BLUE in Australia but this may not be known to our students.

We all have to work together to save lives of those who are going through a difficult time in their lives!

We all need to work together in all sorts of manners to help our students!

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/23rd Sept, 2009.

Students’ Issues:My interviews on SBS Radio

http://media.sbs.com.au/audio/kannada-090920-95c.mp3

http://media.sbs.com.au/audio/kannada-090711-4c7.mp3

http://media.sbs.com.au/audio/kannada-090711-ca8.mp3

http://media.sbs.com.au/audio/hindi-090530-d23.mp3

Indians’ assault in Melbourne:My SBS Radio/Kannada interview [English] on 20th Sept 2009.

Here is my Interview on SBS Radio-Kannada

Topic: Indians’ assault in Epping, Melbourne

Interviewer: Mr Chandra Devudu

http://media.sbs.com.au/audio/kannada-090920-95c.mp3