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02 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER May - June 2013

02 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER May - June 2013

Editor's Letter

Editorial/Advertising Enquiries: 02 9875 2713 Postal Address: PO Box 99, Thornleigh NSW 2120. Email:
Editorial/Advertising Enquiries: 02 9875 2713 Postal Address: PO Box 99, Thornleigh NSW 2120. Email:

Editorial/Advertising Enquiries: 02 9875 2713 Postal Address: PO Box 99, Thornleigh NSW 2120. Email: Website: EDITORIAL Principal Editor: Vijay Badhwar Associate Editor: Neena Badhwar North America : Parveen Chopra Correspondent Sports Editor: Kersi Meher-Homji

Associate Editor: Neena Badhwar North America : Parveen Chopra Correspondent Sports Editor: Kersi Meher-Homji
Delhi Reporter: Ritu Ghai WRITERS Third Eye: Rekha Bhattacharjee Political Columns: Karam Ramrakha, Mallika Ganesan

Delhi Reporter: Ritu Ghai WRITERS Third Eye: Rekha Bhattacharjee Political Columns: Karam Ramrakha, Mallika Ganesan Films and Art: Neeru Saluja, Abhishek Sood, Monica Daswani, Sumi Krishnan, Devaki Parthasarthy, Neena Badhwar, Rekha Rajvanshi, Manju Mittal Body-Mind-Spirit: Dr Sunder Das, Kanaka Ramakrishna, Faith Harper, T Selva, Dilip Mahanty Sport: Kersi Meher-Homji, Dilip Mahanty Fiji Diary: Karam Ramrakha Cookery: Promila Gupta Children Section: Esther Chaudhary-Lyons Classical Music: Sumi Krishnan, Kris Raman, Lokesh Varma Travel: Vijay Badhwar, Kris Raman Humour: Melvin Durai, Santram Bajaj Seniors Column: Santram Bajaj Beauty: Devaki Parthasarthy, Ritu Ghai Community: Neena Badhwar, Kersi Meher-Homji, Vijay Badhwar, Sumi Krishnan, Neeru Saluja, Savitha Narayan, Manju Mittal Photographers: Neelesh Kale, Raj Suri and Jordan Anjaiya Graphic Design: Nayanesh Gandhi, Dinesh Verma,Dhiraj Kumar, Bharat Bhushan Chopra/Bhagwati Multimedia

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NSW 2120 Visit us at : Race is on for PM post in India and

Race is on for PM post in India and in Oz

Race is on for PM post in India and in Oz Rahul Gandhi has denied that
Race is on for PM post in India and in Oz Rahul Gandhi has denied that

Rahul Gandhi has denied that he is in the race for Prime Minister, while Narendra Modi is behaving as a PM-in-waiting.

while Narendra Modi is behaving as a PM-in-waiting. It is surprising that despite the low rating
while Narendra Modi is behaving as a PM-in-waiting. It is surprising that despite the low rating

It is surprising that despite the low rating of Tony Abbot as the preferred Prime Minister, there is not a Malcolm Turnbull push to replace him.

C hange in the political climate is in

the air for Australia and India, the

two countries of interest for the

Australian Indians. The current ruling parties in both the countries are expected to change with the focus of discussion being on the leadership. There are frequent opinion polls in Australia on how far the Labor party will fall in the September elections and who is the preferred Prime Minister. It is virtu- ally a two-party system in Australia with some scatter to minor parties. Although the Labor Government has not done a bad job, the infighting has ruined its chances, the worst being that there are no signs of the infighting going away. Otherwise, the carbon and mining taxes along with health and education reforms (without the university cuts and with some tweaking of taking away gains to independent schools) would be feathers in the cap for any government. The Greens are set to benefit from Labor losses. It is indeed surprising that despite the low rating of Tony Abbot as the pre- ferred Prime Minister, there is not a Malcolm Turnbull push to replace him. After all, Turnbull had lost only by a sin- gle vote when Abbot became the Leader of Opposition. Turnbull is well-liked for his balanced approach in politics, not roughcast, and more acceptable to women who may have been prejudiced by Julia Gillard’s manoeuvres in parlia- ment. Malcolm Turnbull’s recent propos- al as shadow communication minister for a slower NBN, however, may save some dollars but is retrograde, to say the least. The political scenario in India, how-

ever, is far from simple. A coalition of many parties is ruling the country and coalition rule will continue even after the 2014 elections as no single party will have the requisite majority in the next Lok Sabha. Each party, whether in the ruling front or in opposition, has its own agenda and personal interests of its lead- ers that are not too altruistic. The corrup- tion in India is at an all time high and without anyone in sight who can reform the system. Those who come in power see it as an opportunity to fill their per- sonal coffers with utter disregard to pub- lic outcry. The UPA Government led by Congress is indifferent to all the scandals that have come out in the open recently – 2G, Coalgate, Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s complicity in a land scam – have all been conveniently pushed under the carpet. CBI, it is alleged, is unleashed to silence those who dare to speak against the Government. Is this the reason we hear no more of Anna, Ramdev or Kejriwal? A recent Wikileak expose has brought the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi again into focus for his possible involvement in Swedish Company Saab-Scania’s bid to sell fighter aircraft to India. His name pops up again and again in scandals although his involvement in Bofors was not fully substantiated. From the Congress party, Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly said that he was not interested in the PM post, only in serving people and strengthening the party. This has not stopped statements from other party leaders that they all

want the No 2 man in Congress (Sonia Gandhi being party head) to lead the country. As for the 80-year-old Manmohan Singh, he has kept specula- tion going on a third term for him. Asked by the media on April 5, Singh said he neither ruled himself in or out in the PM sweepstakes. And if there is a change in govern- ment after the polls, there are a few con- tenders for the top job. Foremost among them is BJP’s most popular leader, Narendra Modi whose performance as Gujarat chief minister has catapulted him on the national scene. There are many like Nitish Kumar, Bihar Chief Minister, who disagree that Modi could befit the PM’s role seeing his inflexibility towards India’s diversity. Although Modi has been a very successful and progressive chief minister, Nitish Kumar has a point that bringing about consensus is of utmost importance to run a coalition gov- ernment at the centre. It is this factor which has prevented BJP from projecting Modi as their prime ministerial candi- date. That has not, however, stopped the Modi factor from causing a rift between BJP and Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (U), two key parties in the opposition NDA front. Significantly, American intelli- gence and think tanks have been predict- ing a Rahul-vs-Modi fight for PM post in India. On the local Sydney scene, have you noticed the proliferation of giving away awards to every Tom, Dick and Harry? It has become commonplace in the commu- nity functions to fill up chairs or attract sponsors. But very boring, indeed!

nity functions to fill up chairs or attract sponsors. But very boring, indeed! May-June 2013 THE



Divided we fall

While we Indians in Australia have achieved much as individuals, there is something amiss as a community, lacking a vision and foresight for the future. TIDU solicited views of four leaders about their vision for the Indian community for years to come.

United we can take long strides

By Neena Badhwar


Subbarao Varigonda President, Council of Indian Australians (CIA)

5) We need to take a look at a number of Indian associa- tions and

5) We need to take a look at a number of Indian associa- tions and see the governance of processes within such organisa- tions, reporting to the Fair Trading and other aspects. It is my understanding that there are a number of organisations which are created to promote an indi- vidual’s interests. 6) We are all aware that we as a community have done well – be it as doctors, comput- er professionals, engineers and

business entrepreneurs. It is time that we provide leadership and provide this talent to emerging communities 7) We need to stop over/think and act on issues related to the next generation – in particular what we are leaving behind. Surely one or all the above issues are related to this critical issue. Today we are not making much effort to involve the next generation into matters/ issues affecting the Indian com- munity of NSW. 8) Today the balance of trade between India and Australia is 1:7 in favour of Australia. Each one of us has a role to play in balancing this ratio and make it a “win-win”

‘Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people’ --Eleanor Roosevelt, US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)

Amarinder Bajwa

as community The unity in the


community The unity in the




Associations (UIA)

The Indian community


My vision for the

A majority of Indian migrants, who have settled in Australia, came to this country without realizing at the time

that one day they will become the citizens of this very country, their immediate aim at the time being economic betterment and not issues related to a long term settlement. It was a long road that Australia traversed before it opened its doors to Asian immigra- tion in the late 1960s after reluctantly shed- ding its White Australia policy. With a few exceptions (such as students coming to study under Colombo Plan), there was only a trick- le that came through a tight sieve of regula- tions in the early seventies. But a lot more migrants of Indian origin started entering Australia in the eighties and the following decades, being highly qualified and in profes- sions of high demand. A large number among them were also joining their families who had arrived earlier. The Indian community in Australia prides itself as the very best in the country, highly paid, well educated, and virtually trouble free. While they have achieved much as indi- viduals, made names in their professions and erected Macmansions for themselves, there is something amiss as a community, lacking a vision and foresight for the future. Everyone wants to be a leader; so there is plethora of associations. Everyone’s ego has to be massaged; so there are nights after nights of award ceremonies. But all this sounds hollow, merely a photo opportunity rubbing shoulders with dignitaries and politi- cians and to piggyback on the contacts for their own businesses. As the earlier migrants come in the fold of old age, they find suitable community services lacking. Besides temples and gurdwaras there is not much else as com- munity support. In spite of there being nearly a hundred Indian associations of various hues and shapes, there is not one that has made real efforts for a community place. There are many instnaces that real opportunities have gone abegging just because the associations have not represented as a unit. Indian seniors are worried about aging and what is available for them to live and die with dignity. There are concerns such as food in nursing homes; whether we would have workers speaking our language. Seniors who are retiring do not know where to spend their time with like minded people. There are half hearted efforts to form groups but they are divided and do not carry enough critical mass to buy or set up a place where they can mix and mingle with friends and wider communi- ty members. Where does one go and seek help lurks in many a heart. There is no infra- structure or organized avenue available. Bigger associations that claim themselves as umbrella organizations have only been busy doing fairs; other associations falling into the same competitive trap and ideas while valu- able time passes by. The Indian Down Under has spoken to some of the leaders - elected and self styled… all who are active in the Indian community, about their vision for the Indian community for years to come:

future of Indian community is harmony, cohesive and pro- gressive community. Development of the Indian diaspora and much more recognition of the contribu- tion made by various individ- uals of Indian background in the multicultural framework. More opportunities and more acceptance of the people of Indian origin. No racism and

of Australia has gone past the 400,000 mark. In particular, the number of Indians living in NSW has more than doubled

since 2006. My vision for the Indian community of NSW is as follows:

1) The Indian communi- ty still does not have a place which we can call as our “HOME”. We need to push for an India House project as early as possible.


very healthy relationship

community is very important to achieve any shared goals

2) We need to see more representation of the Indian community at the Local/State and Federal levels of Governments. While our com- munity has done well in their respective professions, we have not been able to make our pres- ence felt at the Government lev- els. We can achieve this only through our united efforts rather than being fragmented. 3) Today the Indian com- munity is fragmented with more than 80 Associations. We also have three ‘Umbrella’ associa- tions. It is important we need to consolidate and have minimum number of associations. I am happy to use the good offices of

the Council of Indian Australians (CIA) to address this issue. Without this happening, the outside world sees the Indian community as a fragmented society. 4) In spite of the diversi- fied nature of our community, we must express as a “SINGLE VOICE” on matters of common interest – in particular when we deal with the Government of Australia.

between all the communities



such as Indian community centre, old age homes, MPs of Indian origin and many other social, economic and political objectives between India and Australia. I am proud of the highly educated professionals of Indian origin

who are in Australia -they are the face of Indian community.


am hopeful of the unity,

I want to see our kids grow with more knowledge of where they come from, learn their mother tongue and be connected with back home. We value our culture and would like it to be available to our future generations. We are already part of Australia and are proud of new heritage and new begin- nings. We enjoy the glass of lassi as much as we enjoy the cup of coffee. The communi- ties must join hands together for the growth and progres- sion of any individual as well

coherence and hence the best

outcome for the communities


the near future. The ethnic

diversity and the beauty of

diverse yet a united communi- ty for the betterment of our

society should be our goal


Dr Yadu Singh President of Indian Australian Association of NSW

  Dr Yadu Singh President of Indian Australian Association of NSW  

With about 400,000 people of Indian heritage in Australia, we are indeed important in the electoral poli- tics but it gets diluted signifi- cantly because we are hope- lessly fragmented into groups based on regional and religious backgrounds. If that was not bad, we have groups based on castes as well. We have too many asso- ciations and too many leaders, many among them have no clue about conflict of interest, accountability, decent behav- iour or why they have the asso- ciation. Many are into giving out useless awards to people, and at times to those too who simply cannot be given any awards. What we need is some understanding and a debate, probably organised by Indian media, regarding the needs of our community, decent behav- iour, decent community work and some consolidation of community groups. Community leaders and groups need to be asked about what outcomes they have delivered

situation for both countries.

Mrs Neera Shrivastava President, Federation of Australian Indian Associations

they can contribute in a positive way. I am sure Indian commu- nity needs to

they can contribute in a positive way. I am sure Indian commu- nity needs to open up a bit more than what it is at the moment

At the moment I am aware that there are many Indian asso- ciations that claim to be umbrel- la organizations. Yet we can work together in a cohesive manner with Indian communi- ties’ benefit at heart. We can move forward, help it to assim- ilate into the wider milieu rather than making just Indian groups. I am on the NSW’s Multicultural Advisory Committee team. We are look- ing into various aspects of mul-

so far. Some “chronic” leaders who have been around for year after year, often decades, should be nudged to retire. Nobody can do this better than our media, provided media understands its role and responsibility for the commu- nity. Doing something in regards to mentoring of newer migrants and helping them set-

tle, in addition to encouraging

pan-Indian identity will be


ticultural society we live in and its issues with the motive how

and make its mark in more broader sense.

my suggestions. A community Hub i.e.,

India House, just like many other communities have done,

Dear readers, we leave you to reflect and discuss this as an issue and send your feedback to: indiandow-


badly needed for our social or visit:

and community binding, inter- or discuss on Facebook – on The Indian Down Under page.”

actions and growth.




The Third Eye

by Rekha Bhattacharjee

Dismal Labor poll ratings

The great Australia disconnect between facts and public perceptions.
The great Australia disconnect between facts and public perceptions.

By Rekha Bhattacharjee

‘Prudent macroeconomic policy management has supported Australia’s strong economic per- formance and contributed to its

resilience in the face of the global financial crisis’ – International Monetary Fund survey (November


T he excellent management of

the Australian economy

continues to get ticks from

the world’s highest financial regu- lators and rating organisations but Julia Gillard led Labor govern- ment is looking at an unprecedent- ed electoral rout if the elections are held tomorrow. It is ironic that in spite of pro- viding one of the best managed economies in the world, Julia Gillard and her team get blamed for ‘poor performance’. Clearly, there is a detachment between the Australian public’s perceptions and the facts about our healthy economy. The failure to highlight its high dividend yielding policies has led to the situation

where Labor, instead of getting

the pole position it so richly deserves, is looking for a long time in the political oblivion. If we are to believe the former Julia Gillard Minister Simon Crean, Labor has been distracted by the internal feuds and has failed to sell its “merits”. Citing the proposed media reforms, the veteran Labor warhorse has recently expressed opinion that the party had failed to effectively sell its policies. "If you want to advance a cause, you've got to frame a debate - don't let anyone else frame it for you,'' Simon Crean told reporters after the farcical mid-March spill. Simon Crean believes that Labor had pitted itself in a diffi- cult position because of its obses- sion with the budget surplus but seems to have freed itself from the millstone around its collective neck. "Obviously they have shaken themselves from the shackle of the surplus,'' he said in a media con- ference after the above-mentioned highly-damaging Labor leadership

Julia Gillard authors ‘deal of the decade’ with China Prime Minister Julia Gillard with the
Julia Gillard authors ‘deal
of the decade’ with China
Prime Minister Julia Gillard with the
Chinese premier Wen Jiabao in 2011.
I n a major foreign policy tri-
umph, Julia Gillard has man-
aged to grab the attention of
world’s second largest economy as
China has agreed to a strategic
partnership with Canberra. Julia
Gillard’s Chinese counterpart,
Premier and Prime Minister, Li
Keqiang has also agreed to annual
meetings between the two coun-
tries. Only three other countries --
Britain, Germany and Russia --
and European Union have man-
aged to get such annual audience
with Australia’s largest trading
newspapers have lauded Julia
Gillard’s achievement in Beijing
by calling it the “deal of the
decade”. The strategic alliance
would ensure unhindered access
for the Australian mandarins and
their political bosses to the top ech-
elons of the Chinese hierarchy.
The Sun Herald has gone to the
extent of calling Gillard’s achieve-
ment as the “most significant
breakthroughs since Gough
Whitlam's courageous step 40
years ago to establish diplomatic
links with China”.
Even highly-biased News Corp
Rekha Bhattacharjee can be
contacted at

fracas. "Why is it that we allowed our economic credentials to be framed just by the measure of the surplus?” the veteran posed the question. "People want jobs, low infla- tion and low interest rates,” Crean rationalised. "They've got all of those,'' the recently axed Julia Gillard Minister concluded. Simon Crean, the former Julia Gillard confidante was spot on in pointing out the absurdities of the current political situation where the achievers are being penalised for their globally-acclaimed eco- nomic prudence and cushioning Australia against the shockwaves from the global financial crisis. Where does a battered Labor go from this low position where they are like sitting ducks waiting for the Australian voters to deliver that nauseating killer blow? Instead of an indulging in incessant internal bickering, Labor should be focussing on addressing the above-mentioned serious dis- connect between the facts and the Australian public perceptions. After all, what do they have to lose from this dismal, depressing position where the Opposition is all set to record a gigantic elec- toral victory in September? Just five months separate Labor Party from a demoralising defeat and handing the Kirribilli House keys to an Opposition leader who is disliked even by the Conservative voters. A victory Liberals do not deserve in the first place as they, unlike the proven track record of Labor economic planning machine in the last two terms, have even failed to spell out their economic policies. It is a fact that the highly-priv- ileged Australian voter has grown used to the prosperity delivered by over two decades of continued growth in the GDP. Why blame Australian voters in general when even the Labor diehards are not ready to give any credit of smooth-sailing through the turbulent economic crisis to the economic prudence of their Party. According to a recent Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) survey of the committed Labor voters, only 11 percent of the respondents said they would vote for Labor for pro- viding a good government. A whopping 35 percent would, according to the survey findings, vote for Julia Gillard led Labor as they do not want to see Tony Abbott as the Kirribilli House ten- ant. A similar number of Liberal voters covered by the ABC survey wanted to sack Labor government for its ‘poor performance’. While

it seems to be the true reflection of the voters’ sentiment, it is a rather sad commentary on the political (and economic) prudence of the everyday Australians. The political maturity of the Australian popu- lace becomes even more doubtful when we look at the results of a survey conducted by an online portal Essential Vision a few months back. According to the survey, 70% of the respondents think that Australia’s economy has performed better than other coun- tries over the last few years. The chances of getting Essential Vision getting the survey wrong are really slim as the find- ings are supported by hard facts such as low inflation rate (2.20 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012), low budget deficit (3 per- cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product in 2011/12 fis- cal year), low interest rates (Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate – 3 percent), low unemploy- ment rates (5.40 percent), consis- tent GDP growth (expanded 3.10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012), etc. These figures look meaningless till we compare them with other OECD countries. These are the figures which make Australian economy the most enviable among the 34 OECD countries. Any of these developed countries would like to trade places with Australia but here we are whingeing about the ‘poor per- formance’ instead of lauding the

prudent economic managers of Labor. The Conservatives have been pinching themselves for the chance of successfully bagging one of world’s best managed economies. Joe Hockey’s task has been made much easier by the Treasurer Wayne Swan’s inexplicable com- ments about the Australian fami- lies going through dire straits. A typical example of the art of political hara kiri perfected by Julia Gillard’s Treasurer came after ABS made an announcement of low CPI figure announced last year. Joe Hockey somehow man- aged to criticise the welcome news claiming the data showed essential household items were outstripping average incomes. Instead of Wayne Swan claiming points for his good work, he declared that the government knew that families were still “doing it tough”!! Various handouts announced by Labor governments have been sending message that the Australian battlers are facing unprecedented “tough” times. The reality is in total contrast to this widely held misconception as the Australian families from every economic strata never had it this good.

In the conclusion, the time is running out for the “indestruc- tible” Julia Gillard and her team. Instead of focussing on the ‘nega- tives’ or individuals, Labor would be far better off to sell its truly

Council of Australian Governments Meet

O n April 19, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) held its 35th Meeting in Canberra where Prime Minister Gillard initiated a Big Reform for the future which needs

bipartisan support to succeed. Gillard's negotiating skills will surely come in handy. 62% approve and 18% oppose. The Opposition is catching up on Gillard’s plan to make Education her ‘catch cry’ for the September 14 polls – thus their strategy is to create as much trouble and uncertainty as possible between now and the deadline in June. The Opposition does not want ‘school funding’ to be a big issue in the run up to the elections. Although none of the states signed up to the reforms at that meet- ing – the PM had a significant victory when NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell signed up a few days later. Victoria and Queensland have still to come on board. Tasmania – a Labor state -- will and if WA decides not to – it will not matter much. The NSW Premier said, “This is once in a generation opportunity for NSW schools.” Victorian Premier is happy to negotiate – although Queensland is holding out, wanting the PM to meet half way. After NSW signing, the pressure is on all states – just as it was for “National Disability Insurance Scheme”. “Why should Queensland kids miss out?” asks the Treasurer Wayne Swan who represents Queensland in Parliament. -Rekha Bhatta



India, China to resolve border stand-off

New Delhi: Indian and Chinese local military commanders held a flag meeting for the second time to resolve the stand-off over incursion by Chinese troops into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh even as New Delhi said it has asked Beijing to maintain the status quo that existed before the April 15 intrusion. Army Chief General Bikram Singh met Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and dis- cussed the Chinese incursions into Indian territory. Gen. Singh assured Vohra and Abdullah that the situation would

be tackled. His visit comes in the wake of Chinese troops setting up

a post inside Indian territory,

of Chinese troops setting up a post inside Indian territory, Beijing has denied any incursion across

Beijing has denied any incursion across the Line of Actual Control, which is a notional line

no need for diplomatic-level talks to resolve the issue. "There is no need for diplo- matic-level talks," Khurshid said, and added that local military commanders from both sides

about 10 km from the LAC, the de-facto border between India and China. The Chinese had set up the post April 15. External Affairs Minister

Salman Khurshid said there was

would hold discussions "to work out a solution at flag meetings, as they have been doing in the past". The external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said India and China had "differ- ing perceptions" of the Line of Actual Control in the Depsang area of the western sector of the India-China boundary and the incursion by Chinese troops had led to a "face-to-face" situation between their troops. "We see this as a face to face situation between the border per- sonnel of the two sides due to dif- ferences on their alignment of the LAC. We have asked the Chinese side to maintain status quo in this sector, by which I mean status quo prior to this incident," exter- nal affairs ministry spokesperson

Syed Akbaruddin said. The term "face-to-face" is referred to the 2005 protocol for implementing CBMs along the LAC. According to the protocol, when border personnel of the two sides come face to face, they are to exercise self-restraint and take all necessary steps to prevent the situation from escalating, he said. Terming the incident as a "localized event", the spokesper- son said that "overall, the India- China border area continues to remain peaceful". Both sides have peacefully resolved similar inci- dents in the past "and we hope to resolve this incident too peaceful- ly", the official added. Beijing has denied any incur- sion across the Line of Actual Control, which is a notional line.

Indian-American attorney to prosecute Boston bomber

Washington: Two veteran anti-terrorism prosecutors, including an Indian American attorney Aloke Chakravarty, are leading the case against the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Assistant US district attorneys Chakravarty and William Weinreb from the Massachusetts district's Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit were both key players in the prosecution of Pakistani-American

Faisal Shahzad. Shahzad was sentenced to life in prison for the attempted bombing of New York's Times Square three years ago. Chakravarty, 39, was also the lead prose- cutor on the case against Tarek Mehanna, a Boston pharmacist, who was convicted of providing material support to Al Qaeda, and conspiring to commit murder in a foreign country. Last year Mehanna was sentenced to

to Al Qaeda, and conspiring to commit murder in a foreign country. Last year Mehanna was

Aloke Chakravarty

Reddit sorry for witch-hunt against Indian student for Boston

Reddit sorry for witch-hunt against Indian student for Boston Body of missing Sunil Tripathi has been
Reddit sorry for witch-hunt against Indian student for Boston Body of missing Sunil Tripathi has been

Body of missing Sunil Tripathi has been found. (right) the actual Boston bombing suspects Tamerlan (killed) and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (captured).

UP CM calls off Harvard trip protesting insult to minister

Lucknow: Amid criticism that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav should not have cancelled his lecture at the Harvard Business School to protest "extended frisking" of Urban Development Minister Azam Khan at a Boston airport, his Samajwadi Party (SP) said April 27 that the stand was "correct, justified and in line with socialist ethos". In a statement, Prisons

justified and in line with socialist ethos". In a statement, Prisons UP Urban Development Minister Azam

UP Urban Development Minister Azam Khan faced

true colours, specially against Muslims, by humiliating our minister," Chowdhary added. Azam Khan was part of a delegation invited by the prestigious business school to deliver a lecture on organiz- ing the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad early this year and the challenges faced by the administration in managing millions of people from across the world who attended the mega event.

Providence, RI: The body of a man pulled from the Providence River is that of missing Brown University student Sunil Tripathi. The medical examiner said Thursday the cause of his death is still under investigation but no foul play is suspected. Tripathi, 22, was last seen on March 16, and his family had been desperately search- ing for him. His body was found in the water at India Point Park late Tuesday afternoon. Police said the body had been in the water for "some time." Sunil Tripathi was falsely identified on social media as possibly being one of the Boston Marathon bombers, after

the FBI released images of the two suspects. Reddit, a popular social news and enter- tainment website, apologized for posts on the site that had led to speculation that Tripathi could be one of the Boston bombing sus- pects. "The crowdsourced, more criminal inves- tigation was very volatile and fraught with problems, and, obviously, wrong," Reddit general manager Erik Martin told CNN. The moderator of a subreddit, or comment thread titled findbostonbombers, which had been set up to crowdsource the identities of the bombers, also apologized, the channel said.

Minister and party


extended frisking at Boston airport.

The BJP, however, lashed out at Azam Khan for show-

ing immaturity in his reac- tions to his frisking at the airport in Boston. "I find this silly. Azam Khan should learn to respect law and security concerns of the other country and should take lessons from former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who behaved in the most humble manner in sim- ilar situation some years back," said state

BJP chief Laxmikant Bajpayi.

spokesman Rajendra Chowdhary said that the chief

minister has done the right thing and taught


prejudice towards Muslims". India, he added, was a land where its visitors are treated as gods and in contrast, US humili- ated people from other countries. "We have

amply demonstrated during the Kumbh how good hosts we are but the US has shown its

lesson to "arrogant America who has

shown its lesson to "arrogant America who has   Pune Warriors India cheerleaders during the match

Pune Warriors India cheerleaders during the match between the Pune team and Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 23. Elsewhere in some other IPL matches too cheer girls in traditional Indian dance costumes have been seen.



Pak military protests treatment meted out to Musharraf Islamabad: A group of Pakistan's military officers
Pak military protests treatment
meted out to Musharraf
Islamabad: A group of Pakistan's military
officers have protested, before a parliamen-
tary panel, the treatment being meted out to
former president Pervez Musharraf, a media
report said Saturday.
The delegation of 75 officers from
Command and Staff College, Quetta, led by
Col. Saqib Ali Cheema, met the chairman
of the Senate Standing Committee on
Defence and Defence Production Mushahid
Hussain Sayed at the parliament house to
express concern over Musharraf's arrest,
reported Dawn.
“The military officers were of the opin-
ion that under the constitution, the armed
forces cannot be criticised,” a source was
quoted as saying.
Hussain said: “We are all proud of pro-
fessionalism of our armed forces and in the
constitution, judiciary and armed forces are
national institutions which should not be
subject to any kind of criticism.”
He later told the daily that the officers
had asked him if there was anything in the
constitution which allowed anyone to humil-
iate any institution, and he answered that
there was no such provision.
Musharraf, who returned to Pakistan
March 23 after over four years of self-
imposed exile in Dubai, was keen to contest
the May 11 general elections. However, his
nomination papers were rejected from four
An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has
granted to investigators custody of
Musharraf in the assassination case of for-
Former president Pervez Musharraf
mer prime minister Benazir Bhutto, lawyers
said. Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from
1999 to 2008, has been accused of failing to
provide adequate security to Bhutto when
she returned to Pakistan from exile in 2007.
Musharraf has already been arrested in
the case of keeping judges in illegal con-
finement when he imposed Emergency rule
in 2007.
The former president is also facing
charges of high treason for the abrogation
of the constitution, that paved the way for
the declaration of Emergency.
Five people have filed petitions for pro-
ceedings related to high treason in the
Supreme Court. However, the interim gov-
ernment has refused to pursue the case
because of its limited role, and petitioned
the apex court to leave the case to the next
elected government.
Bangla factory collapse toll over 350
was owned
by a leader
of Prime
Dhaka: More than four days after the
horrendous tragedy, Bangladeshi rescuers
on April 27 pulled 29 more people alive
from beneath the rubble of the collapsed
building that has left over 350 people
dead so far.
The rescuers who managed to reach
the ground floor of the eight-storied build-
ing which crumbled like a pack of cards
April 24, believed that many more are
still alive in the wreckage, reported
In one of the worst tragedies in
Bangladesh's history, officials say res-
cuers have so far pulled alive more than
2,500 people including several lucky sur-
vivors, keeping alive the hope that more
lives can be saved as the rescue operation
"352 bodies have so far been pulled
out of the collapsed building," Badrul
Alam Khan, a police official at a control
room set up to provide information about
the disaster fatalities, told Xinhua
Saturday night.
Of the bodies, 341 have been handed
over to their relatives, he said.
Following the cracks which were
detected just one day before the accident,
the workers were evacuated and the gar-
ments authorities declared a leave for
Tuesday. But nobody bothered about the
cracks when officials of the factories
forced the workers to join workplaces in
the building on the next morning.
Rescuers reportedly came up with a
list of 761 people who are still unaccount-
ed for.
According to the sources, almost all
the fatalities are workers of the five facto-
ries -- Phantom Apparels, Phantom Tac,
Ether Tex, New Wave Style and New
Wave Bottoms -- which make clothing for
many major global brands.
The building is owned by a leader of
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's ruling
Bangladesh Awami League party who
reportedly constructed it without permis-
sion from relevant authorities, and
assured the owners of the factories that
there was no problem despite cracks



Legendary singer Shamshad Begum passes away TRIBUTES Mumbai: Shamshad Begum, renowned playback singer of yes-
Legendary singer
Shamshad Begum passes away
Mumbai: Shamshad Begum,
renowned playback singer of yes-
teryears who gave voice to classics
like "Mere piya gaye Rangoon"
and "Kabhi aar kabhi paar", passed
away here, family sources said on
April 24. She was 94.
Shamshad Begum, who had
been ailing for the past few
months, died Tuesday evening. A
widow since 1955, she lived with
her daughter Usha Ratra.
"She had no regrets. She lived
her life like a tigress. I am proud to
be her daughter," Usha said.
Among the first woman play-
back singers in the Hindi film
industry, which has turned 100
this year, Shamshad Begum was
born in 1919 in Amritsar.
Interested in singing from a
young age, she got her first break
with Peshawar Radio, Lahore, in
December 1947.
Later, her voice with a nasal
tinge became a hit and she sang for
top heroines of the era, leaving
behind a rich legacy of her soulful
Some of her famous songs
include "Kajra mohab-
bat wala", "Leke
pehla pehla pyar",
"Kahinpe nigahen,
kahinpe nishaana",
"Chhod babul ka
ghar", "Saiyan
dilme aana re"
and "Teri mehfil
me kismat ajmaa
kar hum bhi
was a
retirement decision, Usha said:
"One fine day she packed
her bags and came to my
house and said she has
left the film industry.
She never looked
"Because of the
politics in the indus-
try, she didn't want to
work anymore.
This is one of the
reasons why
she did-
Indian 'human computer'
Shakuntala Devi no more
favourite of music directors like
Naushad Ali and O.P. Nayyar.
Besides Hindi, Shamshad
Begum also sang in Punjabi,
Bengali and other Indian lan-
Shamshad Begum turned off
her microphone somewhere in
1970s, and recalling her mother's
n't let me be a singer. I told her, let
me sing for my self-satisfaction,
but she said if you will learn to
sing, you will directly enter the
industry. So, she didn't let me do
so." "She felt earlier artists used to
come on merit basis, but later there
were too much of politics in the
industry," added Usha.
Violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman passes away
Chennai: Legendary violin maestro Lalgudi
Gopala Iyer Jayaraman passed away in a
private hospital in Chennai Monday
evening, a student of his said. He was
"He was admitted in the hospital
this morning for chest congestion. At
around 6.30 p.m. he breathed his last,"
Shreya Devnath, Jayaraman's student
told the media.
He is survived by his wife
Rajalakshmi, daughter Lalgudi
Vijayalakshmi and son Lalgudi
G.J.R.Krishnan, said Devnath.
Born into a musician's family, the violin
maestro popularly known as Lalgudi Jayaraman, was
a child prodigy and had begun performances from the
age of 12.
He went on to invent a whole new style designed
to suit the needs of Indian classical music popularly
known as "Lalgudi Bani" or Lalgudi style.
"For a very large number of music
lovers across the world, Lalgudi
Jayaraman was the musician of the centu-
ry and not merely a violinist of the cen-
tury. He was great composer giving
beautiful shape to a large number of old
kirtanas, thereby embellishing the beau-
ty of ragas in which they were known,"
R. Thyagarajan, founder chairman,
Shriram Group said.
Jayaraman, a recipient of several
awards, was also conferred the Padma
Bhushan. He was also awarded the title
"Sangeeta Kalanidhi" by the Music Academy in
Chennai, the center for Carnatic music in Tamil
Jayaraman also composed music for Tamil film
"Shringaram" which won him a national award in
Bangalore: Indian mathemati-
cal genius and astrologer
Shakuntala Devi, who was
dubbed "human computer" for
her swift numerical calculation
abilities, passed away in
Bangalore April 21 after brief
illness. She was 83.
She is survived by her
daughter, son-in-law and two
grand daughters.
"Madam breathed her last at
8:15 a.m. today (Sunday) due
to heart failure and renal prob-
lem," Shakuntala Devi's long-
time associate Kavita Malhotra
told the media.
Born in 1929, Shakuntala
Devi moved to London in 1944
when she was 15 years old with
her father, who worked in a cir-
cus company as a trapeze artiste
and tightrope performer.
She returned to India in the
mid-1960s and married Paritosh
Bannerji, an IAS officer from
The couple, however,
divorced in 1979 and
Shakuntala Devi returned to
Bangalore in early 1980s and
started offering astrological
advice to hundreds of people,
including celebrities, politicians
and anyone who approached
As a toddler, Shakuntala
Devi was discovered to be a
born genius by her father when
he was showing her some card
According to the Guinness
World Records, Shakuntala
Devi displayed her mathemati-
cal skills when she was six
years old at a public function in
Mysore, about 150 km from
Bangalore and two years later,
proved to be a prodigal wizard
in number games at Annamalai
University in Tamil Nadu's
Chidambaram, about 200 km
from Chennai.
In 1977, Shakuntala Devi
discovered the 23rd root of a
201-digit number mentally.
Three years later, in June 1980,
she answered in 28 seconds
when she was asked to multiply
two 13-digit numbers picked at
random at the Imperial College
in London.
She wrote a number of
books on mathematics and
astrology including "Fun with
Numbers", "Astrology for
You", "Puzzles to Puzzle You"
and "Mathablit".
She had also set up an edu-
cational foundation public trust
to promote studies in maths,
astrology, philosophy and

Sikhs in Queensland needn't wear helmet while cycling

Sydney: Sikhs in the state of Queensland will be exempt from wearing a helmet while rid- ing bicycles, it was announced Tuesday. Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson said the exemption has been made under new laws to accommodate religious beliefs, adding that it was a "common sense approach", media reported. "But let's be very clear. Just because someone is going to come out there and claim they don't want to wear a helmet for religious reasons, they have to do more than that, they have to demonstrate there is a real, long standing religious belief there," the Brisbane Times quoted Emerson as saying. At the same time, he stressed that helmets do make

a difference and significantly reduce brain damage. The change in the law came after a Sikh

man, Jasdeep Atwal, successfully moved court after receiving an A$100 fine last year for riding a bicycle without a helmet. His contention was that his religion required him

to wear a turban and it woudn't fit under a

helmet. Emerson said that he waited for the outcome of the case before putting the law in place. On his part, Atwal welcomed the change.

"The Sikh community has been working for a long, long time on this," the report quoted him as saying.Over 70,000 people in Australia practise Sikhism.


practise Sikhism. 12 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER May-June 2013 Indian origin surgeon to stand trial in

Indian origin surgeon to stand trial in Australia

Sydney: An Indian origin former surgeon in an Australian hospital will stand trial in September for causing grievous bodily harm to a patient. Jayant Patel, who worked in the Bundaberg Base Hospital in the Australian state of Queensland, has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm during a colon surgery of a 65-year-old patient, Ian Rodney Vowels, in 2004. Patel was then the director of surgery at the hospital. Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller asked the Brisbane Supreme Court Friday that the trial should be listed in August or September this year with a time-frame of three weeks, the Courier Mail reported. But Ken Fleming, appearing for Patel,

contended that several matters would need to be resolved before the trial started and said Patel would seek to poll a prospective jury panel. Justice Glenn Martin, who was hear- ing the case, proposed that the trial be listed in the week commencing Sep 23 before Justice Jean Dalton, adding that it should be listed for 10-15 days. Patel, who was born in Jamnagar in Gujarat, had a controversial tenure at the hos- pital from 2003 to early 2005, during which over 80 deaths were linked to him and 30 patients died in his care. After that he left for Portland, Oregon, in the US. He was, however, extradited to Australia in 2008 to face trial.

India - Business

More reforms coming in 2-4 months: Chidambaram

New Delhi: Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has ruled out the possibility of early elections and said the government will take more reform initiatives in the next two-four months in a bid to boost economic growth and con- tain deficit and inflationary pres- sure. "We will continue to take small significant steps. We will also take forward some big ideas. India's economy will continue to reform," Chidambaram said at The Economist's India Summit organised here by the UK-based economic magazine in end April. Chidambaram said the gov- ernment will push for the passage of major reform regulations, like land and insurance bills, in the ongoing budget session of parlia- ment. The finance minister said the government would need support from the main opposition party to get the bills passed in parliament. "There are many more execu- tive actions that have to be taken, some of these executive actions

we will take in the next 2-4 months," Chidambaram said. In the last one year, the gov- ernment has taken several initia- tives to push forward reform process. The steps include cutting subsidies on petroleum products

and liberalising overseas invest- ment norms for retail, aviation and some other sectors. The finance minister said he was hopeful to keep fiscal deficit below 4.8 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the

Economy to grow at 6.4 pc in 2013-14: PM panel

New Delhi: The Indian economy is expected to grow at 6.4 per- cent in the current fiscal against the estimated 5 percent expan- sion registered in the previous year, the prime minister's eco- nomic advisory panel said. "The economy has bottomed out and we will achieve higher growth of 6.4 percent in the current financial year," Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council chairman C. Rangarajan said at a media conference here. He said agriculture sector growth is likely to increase to 3.5 percent 2013-14 as compared to the estimated 1.8 percent growth in the fiscal ended March 31, 2013. The growth of manufacturing sector is likely to increase to 4 percent in the current financial year as compared to 3.1 percent in the previous year. The services sector is estimated to expand by 7.7 percent in 2013-14 as compared to 6.6 percent growth projected for the previous fiscal.

current financial year. In the union budget presented in February, Chidambaram set a target keeping the fiscal deficit at 4.8 percent of the GDP. He said the budgetary target was a red line that would "never, never be breached." The fiscal deficit of the cen- tre for 2012-13 is estimated to be 5.2 percent of the GDP. Referring to the high current account deficit (CAD), Chidambaram said it was more worrying than the fiscal deficit. "CAD is indeed high, it is more wor- rying than fiscal deficit," he said. He said the current account deficit was esti- mated to be around 5 percent of the GDP in the financial year ended March 31, 2013. The finance minister said India's economic growth would be in the range of 6.1 to 6.7 per-

cent in the current financial year. The country's economic growth has slumped to the lowest in a decade. It is estimated to be around 5 percent in 2012-13.

Finance Minister

P. Chidambaram
P. Chidambaram

India receives $69 bn in remittances; tops global list

Washington: India received $69 billion remit- tance in 2012, the highest in the world, fol- lowed by China with $60 billion and the Philippines $24 billion, World Bank data showed. Other major recipients of foreign remit- tances were Mexico with $23 billion and Nigeria and Egypt with $21 billion each, according to the latest edition of the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief released here in April. “India remains the largest recipient country in the world, receiving $69 billion in 2012. In addition to large numbers of unskilled migrants working mainly in the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, India also has a large skilled diaspora the US and other high-income countries,” the World Bank report said. Flows to Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal have also been robust, helped by strong eco- nomic growth in the GCC and India. Remittances to the region are projected to remain buoyant in the coming years, reaching $140 billion in 2015. Officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries increased by 5.3 percent to $401 billion in 2012. “Given that many migrants send money and goods through people or informal channels, the true size of remittances are much larger than these official figures,” the World Bank said. According to the report, remittances to developing countries are expected to grow by an annual average of 8.8 percent for the next three years and are forecast to reach $515 bil- lion in 2015. Officially recorded remittance flows to South Asia are estimated to have increased sharply by 12.8 percent to $109 billion in 2012. This follows growth averaging 13.8 percent in each of the previous two years.

averaging 13.8 percent in each of the previous two years. Jet's stake sale to Etihad to

Jet's stake sale to Etihad to raise Rs 2,000 crore

You are 'manipulating' courts:

apex court to Sahara

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has sought to know how the Sahara Group was refund- ing money directly to investors while warning against attempts to override its order. On August 31, 2012, the court had asked Sahara - whose business interests range from realty to retail - to return Rs 24,000 crore within three months to investors in two schemes via Sebi. These funds had been collected by two

group firms. Sahara later approached another bench of the top court, headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and received a further extension of time to deposit the money. In an order issued on December 5, 2012 that bench had told Sebi to accept a sum of Rs 5,120 crore. Two installments of

Sebi to accept a sum of Rs 5,120 crore. Two installments of Sahara Group chairman Subrata

Sahara Group chairman Subrata Roy

Rs 10,000 crore each were to be paid by Sahara to Sebi by the first week of January and February, respectively. Sahara, however, failed to meet this deadline. It is seeking more time to deposit this amount, but the original bench, com- prising Justices KS Radhakrishnan and JS Khehar, has not allowed this so far. "You are manipulating the court,"

this so far. "You are manipulating the court," Mumbai: Eight months after the Indian government permitted

Mumbai: Eight months after the Indian government permitted inter- national airlines to invest in domestic passenger carriers, Jet Airways announced a 24 percent stake sale to Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways to raise Rs.2,000 crore ($370.30 million). "The board of directors has approved, subject to compliance with applicable laws and regula- tions, the issuance, by way of a

preferential allotment

27,263,372 (2.73 crore) equity shares of the face value of Rs.10 to Etihad Airways at a price of not less than Rs.754.73 (including pre- mium of Rs.744.73 per share) per equity share," the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). The deal is expected to garner around Rs.2,000 crore ($370.37 million) for Jet Airways, which reported a net profit of Rs.85 crore in the third quarter of 2012-13, after a net loss of Rs.101.22 crore in the similar period of the previ- ous year.


Justice Khehar told Sahara. Sebi also pointed out that Sahara had also moved the Allahabad High Court as well at one point against an order to attach the properties of Sahara owner Roy and accused it of resorting to various ruses to avoid complying with the top court order.

Sri Lanka posing a challenge to Kerala ayurveda

Sri Lanka posing a challenge to Kerala ayurveda

Guruvayoor (Kerala): Its decades long eth- nic conflict over, Sri Lanka is steadily emerg- ing as a major competitor to Kerala's ayurvedic system of medicine, a leading industry expert says. But officials are quick to point out that as long as Kerala sticks to its pristine form of ayurveda school, no challenge from anywhere can upset what is clearly the biggest tourist draw to the southern state. "Sri Lanka has slowly come up as a threat to our market," said Sanjeev Kurup V., Secretary of the influential Kerala Travel Mart Society who also runs the Paithrukam Hospitality Group. "I was in Sri Lanka only last week, and I estimate they have taken away 30-40 percent of our business," Kurup said at the Perumbayil Ayurveda Mana, an idyllic centre located near the famed Guruvayoor temple.

Ayurveda plays a key role in attracting close to one million foreign and over one crore domestic tourists every year to Kerala. Almost 70 percent of the foreigners and 30- 40 percent of Indian tourists come to Kerala for ayurvedic treatment. Thanks to ayurveda, the average stay of a foreigner in Kerala is 18 days - one of the highest in the world. According to Kurup and others in the industry, even earlier Sri Lanka was doing well in the business of ayurveda. But the long running conflict between Colombo and the Tamil Tigers did cast a shadow on tourism in general. "After the war ended in 2009, ayurveda business is picking up rapidly in Sri Lanka," said Kurup, who saw for himself that ayurve- da clinics had sprouted along the island nation's southwestern coast, the tourist hub.



Winters Down Under are truly the time to dress up à la mode. Ritu Ghai
Winters Down Under are truly the time to dress up à la
mode. Ritu Ghai catches up with the season’s spirit.
C ome
and it’s time to dress up in
style. Also time to adorn your long
coats, soft woollies, tussar silks
and pashmina shawls. Time to
make a statement with dark
colours and deep shades with a tint
of colour thrown in, to bring out
the brighter element.
But Indian women are often
faced with a dilemma when sport-
ing a Sari in winters. They don’t
know which woolen piece of cloth-
ing to wear with it to brave the
chill. Shawls are the first choice
women reach out for. But with the
fashion world opening endless pos-
sibilities for the trendy generation,
there has to be something other
than just shawls, to go with this
Indian attire.
Indian Designer, Ratna Jain,
the creative entrepreneur behind
the successful label, “TANTRA”,
has an enviable range of winter
friendly saris in velvet and pash-
mina. She has designed a collec-
tion of short and long jackets,
exclusively for the sari wearers.
over Sarees are
perfect wear for the sari wearers.
They give a smart, formal and tai-
lored look to this drape wear. Also
the sari pallu can be played around
with them. Jackets can be left
unbuttoned and the sari pallu can
be wrapped around your neck or
style the jacket fully over the pallu
in narrow pleats. Jackets can be
easily removed if it gets warm.
Jackets in wool, velvet and zardozi
work are best for the winter sari
wear. The range starts from Rs
30,000 to 60,000 for the exclusive
collection. I also have lots of pash-
mina and velvet saris for winters
in different hues and price rang-
ing from Rs 15000 to Rs 1.5
lakhs. The trick is to look
smart, colourful yet maintain
the essential traditional ele-
ment. Also long sleeved
blouses with saris look good
in winters. There are 2 piece
saris with shawls that function
as pallu for the women who
like the coordinated look. Then
there is velvet,
Designed by Ala & Rajan Madhu
oxidised brocade and crushed raw
silk , all being worn by the women
in love with the vintage and ele-
gant look”, opines the designer.
Winters sees an influx of heir-
loom saris being worn such as
Kanjivaram silks,
Designed by Asha and Gautam Gupta


Benarasi brocade, woven Jamdani saris, Zari work saris, textured Tussar and Silk Saris coordinated with
Benarasi brocade, woven Jamdani
saris, Zari work saris, textured
Tussar and Silk Saris coordinated
with embroidered shawls, Paithani
stoles and pallus, and quilted silk
jackets and waistcoats. Dark and
vibrant colors like navy blue, deep
greens, rich reds and profound
purples, saris come with a con-
trasting border, pallu or blouse
offset the monotonous tone
of dark shades.
To wear in style…
One can leave the left
front half of the jacket
unbuttoned, beneath the
pallu. The sari pallu can
also be wrapped around
the neck and brought
down in a straight line
towards the front just like
pigeon front. Pallu can
also be pleated and pinned
to the jacket for a non fuss
Plain saris with pattern
shawls or embroidered for the
designer element, is also a popular
choice among women. A well-
coordinated shawl can be
to profuse a
sense of style
in the sari.
The shawl can
fall from a sin-
gle shoulder
for the straight
line look and
also wrapped
around later if
the mercury
dips further.
Catering to
the woman
who wants to
chill out in the
chill wearing a
sari, designers
are creating
high neck and
full sleeve
blouses to
match with
their attire. As
the weather
gets colder,
sleeves go
longer and
heroines are
covering their
arms with some
sleeves to keep
Three-fourth sleeves, full
length sleeves, puffed full length
sleeves, ruffs at the wrists, long
sleeves with fitted cuffs, , sleeves
that have a bunch of cloth accumu-
lated at the cuff area just like a
churidar, bell sleeves that are
either long or short but flare
towards the wrists creating the
shape of a bell. Blouses that make
you look soft, very feminine and
elegant. There are also the netted
or lace type long sleeves for the
delicate look to the wearer.
Coupled with textured and satin
petticoats, the woman is all set to
make a style statement to match
the season.
Sometimes high-neck blouse
with long sleeves worn with a long
chain makes a smart statement.
One can wear leggings for the
lower part of the body.
Designers are exploring with
new designs and shapes like never
before. They know that this
seraphic dress of Indian women is
a fashion statement because of the
innovative way it’s being worn
today - a knot here, a tuck in there,
a different style of the pallu, a
unique placement of the pleats and
much more.


Roopa’s creations are getting noticed

At the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia 2013, Roopa’s Autumn/Summer collection had quite an impact.
At the Mercedes-Benz
Fashion Week
Australia 2013,
collection had quite
an impact.
Roopa’s Autumn/Summer collection had quite an impact. Fashion designer Roopa Pemmaraju uses Aboriginal paintings
Roopa’s Autumn/Summer collection had quite an impact. Fashion designer Roopa Pemmaraju uses Aboriginal paintings
Roopa’s Autumn/Summer collection had quite an impact. Fashion designer Roopa Pemmaraju uses Aboriginal paintings

Fashion designer Roopa Pemmaraju uses Aboriginal paintings as designs in her creations, worked on by Indian craftsmen.

By Neena Badhwar

T IDU has always tried to

cover Indians doing inspir-

ing work in their new

homeland. Roopa Pemmaraju is one of them - a young fashion designer who wanted to do and show something based on her Indian sense of colours, textures and styles, yet quite modern. Struggling to find her niche, Roopa has worked hard and in the course of six years she has come a long way. It can be a frustrating exercise to showcase one’s creations which take a lot of hard work, imagination, coordination with artisans and designs that manifest the way a designer perceives. When Roopa modelled her clothes first on Sydney’s presti- gious Australian Fashion Week catwalk, it was hard as every- thing was new. Getting to know the ropes of how things work in Australia was a learning curve for Roopa. Yet, she survived. In fact, thrived.

Roopa learnt that she must be unique in her own way. She knew she was to present her designs by finding a novel way to make connections with this land. And she did as she started to con- tact Aboriginal art galleries and approached them with her designs using Aboriginal paint- ings as designs in her creations. The art galleries were skepti- cal at first but they saw her gen- uine interest and zeal to connect to the artists here and use their art on her clothes. The concepts would go back home in India and artisans would create designs through embroidery, weaving and prints. Now, Roopa’s fashion is finally getting the recognition it deserves. At the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia 2013, Roopa’s Autumn/Summer collec- tion had quite an impact as mod- els came on the catwalk. Simple, practical, sensible and contempo- rary styles created interest in the fashion world. Says Roopa, “Initially it was difficult to find a gallery that

shared our vision, and could trust that we were not out to exploit anyone but rather support indige- nous art. By bringing together two of the world’s most ancient cultures to create wearable gar- ments, we’ve seen exciting fusions of cultures.” Coming to Australia and mak- ing a contribution in a way that both the cultures not only com- municate but also prosper, form a bond and create, enrich each other through those creations can be an exercise which can be quite satisfying for Roopa, as she quips, "We are delighted to facil- itate this exchange of artistic ideas and cultural heritage between two ancient ways of life." Roopa believes in fair trade and ethical dealings with artists and their communities, both here and in India, as she says, “Royalties from the sale of each garment are returned to artists’ communities.” These are the qualities which Roopa has, that make a real dif- ference.

Raj helps you achieve your Bollywood dreams!

W ho doesn’t know Raj Suri by now in

Sydney as some of the famous

Aussie Indian girls in Bollywood

would vouch for him and look up to him for all the advice, training, grooming and the ability to handle the glitz and the glamour the industry demands. Raj’s impressive lineup includes Vimala Raman who has by now done close to 30 films in the south; Pallavi Sharda who is now acting in ‘Besharam’ against Ranbir Kapoor; Ankita Ghazan who has danced in ‘Heroine’ with Kareena Kapoor and the list goes on. Says Raj, who has been running Miss India Australia contest, “If you think that just by winning a beauty title one can land a role in Bollywood, just forget it. There can be a long queue of people who may be auditioning on any one day, at times 150 of them, and if you muck up your lines you are out, which is quite possible.” “Mumbai can be daunting to the newcom- ers from abroad. Places such as Australia where kids have had a cushy life and are not used to the rough and tumble of Bollywood as thousands of hopefuls come looking for a break,” Raj continues. “I try to train the girls in acting, audition- ing, dancing that they know what a screen test is like and how to go about when they land in the extremely competitive world of Bollywood. We line them up with acting

schools, agencies which can promote them to the right people and are there to help them in every way from finding accommodation to handling daily life from traveling to fending for themselves. I sit and explain to them in front of their parents of all that is involved. “I tell them ‘give your best shot’ and wait and see whether you succeed. Bollywood is not for all and all don’t make it big. It’s not the title, or the talent, the beauty, the height or how you carry yourself. It’s all that and a bit of luck that goes a long way.” Raj says that he puts his name behind them and lines them up with casting agencies that will organize work for them. “Now just knocking on doors or cold calling will not work. There are these agencies that pick peo- ple from the ground and give them training in diction, tutoring them in script reading and dance classes while helping them to achieve a level of confidence that is needed to be in Bollywood.” Raj has a sharp eye for talent as he has seen many girls compete in his Miss India Contest which he runs now as a ‘Talent Search’ from across Australia. On April 17 Raj Suri announced the winner of Talent Search 2013 in Sydney when Zenia Starr from an impressive line up made it to the top. Zenia has recently acted in a couple of Sydney films which are soon to be released as she won a trip to Malaysia with a photo shoot with Raj.


shoot with Raj. 16 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER May-June 2013 Raj Suri (Founder, Miss India Australia)

Raj Suri (Founder, Miss India Australia) with Vimla Raman (Actress, MIA Winner 2004), Zenia Starr (MIA 2013), Olivia Rose (winner 2012), Ankita Ghazan (winner 2011), Zinnia Jarif (Miss Photogenic 2013). Photo courtesy: Raj Suri.

No wonder many of the girls selected by him have been able to get a break. Up until now many from down under tried and came back disappointed but with Raj on your side any- thing is possible. “I try to look for in them that special quality that is needed. These are girls who are quite special in their own unique way. They are modern Australian women, some from NRI families, others of mixed heritage, they want to reach the stars and I try my best to

help them with their dreams. I advise that it’s not always that one can strike lucky, yet it is best that they give their best. If they succeed, well and good, if not then at least they tried. They still learn a lot in the process which can help them anyway in their overall growth as a person.” Oh well! If you want a break in Bollywood you have a guide and a mentor right here in Australia. And his name is Raj Suri!


TIDU interviewed former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally in her role as Ambassador for microfinance provider
TIDU interviewed former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally in her role as
Ambassador for microfinance provider Opportunity International Australia.
Meet an ambassador for microfinance
Former NSW Premier Kristina
Keneally during her visit to India.
K ristina Keneally is well
known in our local Indian
community. Not only has
she wooed us by wearing Saris
and Shalwar Kameez whenever
she attended community functions
as NSW Premier, Kristina also
quite delicately yet deftly dealt
with the sensitive Indian student
issue during her tenure.
Not resting on the sidelines as
Premier I was able to publical-
ly speak about social justice.
For me it has been a jour-
ney of faith and my hus-
band also likes this kind of
work and holds similar val-
ues. Personally I was influ-
enced very early, at 22
years, with my experience
at the World Youth Day
where I met him. From poli-
past Premier, Kristina quite
readily got into charity work as
she visited India twice having
taken up challenging role as
ambassador for microfinance
provider for Opportunity
International. Says she, “Like the
characters in the Best Exotic
Marigold Hotel, I found myself
overwhelmed by the colours and
smells, the vibrancy and density
of people and by the country
itself. India is so wonderfully,
incredibly foreign and so alive.”
Kristina talks to The Indian
Down Under about her visit to
India and the work she is doing on
behalf of Opportunity
tics to working for the poor
in India it has been a step in
the right direction. I have in
my own way experienced
moments of grace, death of
my mother-in-law, then baby
daughter and to see poor
women in India living in
squalor to help them become
self reliant and help them
make their future is quite
remarkable really.
Opportunity International
is doing great work in India
From NSW Premier to
working for the poor in India as
ambassador of Opportunity
International, how has the tran-
sition been for you?
Kristina Keneally: It’s self-
with micro financing poor
women and helping them train
as community health facilitators,
not only skilling themselves but
also enabling others to help pre-
vent illnesses and improve nutri-
tion of children, of people around
them and thus save lives is really
serving to be able to give a hand
You were the first woman
premier who wore Indian
clothes and mixing with local
my senses in a way that
is hard to explain. Number of peo-
ple, sights, sounds can be quite
unfamiliar to a westerner. I wasn’t
sure about visiting a slum yet
when I saw women whose life had
been transformed with micro
financing. I left India with great
sense of positive feeling. I could
see that people can help them-
selves if helped.
Opportunity International in a
small way the generous work they
are doing in India. It has been
quite an incredibly humbling
experience really. As a former
Indian community. How was
your experience when you first
visited India?
Kristina: India was over-
whelming, so vibrant. It assaulted
How would you like Indian
community to get involved in
your pursuit of helping Indian
women make their lives better?
Kristina: By helping train a
woman through Opportunity
International which takes six
months of training a girl in health
hygiene, child health and nutri-
tion. India has good medical facil-
ities and doctors, yet there are
limits to health care insurance,
clean water. Education can help
bring sustainable change and sup-
porting that vision will be a terrif-
ic way for the Indian community
to help build healthy communities
in India. It only costs $165 to train
one woman as health educator and
facilitator for six months. I would
like the Indian community here to
actively participate, donate and
help make a lasting change as
there are as many as 1600 death
per day due to poor hygiene, lack
of clean water, poor nutrition and
lack of basic health treatment
amongst the poor. Education
starts from home with women and
Opportunity International is tar-
geting young women who can
help them help make a long term
tangible impact in their lives.
Visit Opportunity
International's website and find
how you can help in various ways:


Age is no bar for

living full life

By Ritu Ghai

S urpassing the vicissitudes of old age, two youthfully

aged persons talk about having no time to think and pon-

der about how old they are. Krishna Sharma, 79 and

Krishna Arora, 85, have probably tasted the fountain of youth. They are busy, happy and living life on their own terms. However, their first names are purely coincidental.

These two abhi-toh-main-jawaan-hoon people have shown us that time clock does not stop but ageing can be delayed. Their mantra for living is they enjoy what they are doing. A few tips to live long and healthy are:

• Be active

• Be optimistic

• Do not oversleep. More than eight hours is


• Eat well and add antioxidants to your diet like blue-

berries and cinnamon;

• Exercise regularly and lose weight;

• Start saving or investing wisely as you will need that

cash to not only sustain yourself but also enjoy life and chill

out with friends;

• Socializing, emotional stability and openness to learn

new things can actually redefine the concept of old age.

Krishna Sharma – Age with no side effects

and you come across a sensitive, caring and social person who likes to attend parties and get-togethers, travelling to

new places and spending time with his grandchildren.

my friends and feel indulgent warmth towards our school days memories. As we take a trip down memory lane, a

youthful spirit infuses into me and I actually start feeling

younger. I believe that interact-

ing with friends reverses

aging,” says Krishna Sharma.

Father to three daughters, Krishna Sharma has always been

taken care of by his children, especially after the death of his

wife in 2001. “I have a daughter

settled in Melbourne and two are in India. So it’s home for me in

both the countries. I love inter- acting with my eldest grandson, Ashish, a Yale

“I meet

old time

with my eldest grandson, Ashish, a Yale “I meet old time Krishna Arora taking cookery classes

Krishna Arora taking cookery classes at 85 years of age

time Krishna Arora taking cookery classes at 85 years of age Krishna Sharma with grandsons Shubham

Krishna Sharma with grandsons Shubham and Shaurya

graduate and my only granddaughter, a doctor in Singapore. Back home in India, I spend my time playing brain games with my grandsons, Shaurya in class 12 and Shubham in class 9. My eldest daughter has a son with slow learn- ing abilities and I devote time in making him learn new things of his level of understanding. An inner satisfaction is felt, each and every time he responds,” explains Mr Sharma. Sharing his old age experience with his chil- dren and grandchildren, he is shaping their per- sonalities and trying to inculcate values of

family and culture in them. Probably this is where his zest for life comes

from. Also the fact that he admires the evergreen hero of Indian cinema, Dev Anand, has something to do with Krishna Sharma’s penchant for living life to the fullest. “Enjoying working is the secret of staying young. I know that genes affect your health and longevity but a lot depends on lifestyle and an optimistic attitude. I adhere to 'Satvik' and controlled (fibrous) bhojan and working hard with a relaxed mood,” he says. I always remember one poem by poet Walter D Wintle:

A t the age of 79, he holds a responsible post in the

office, lives in Yemen and greets every day with a new

spirit and more work. Whatever free time he gets, he

enjoys Internet browsing, reading his emails which are most- ly work related and a few inspirational ones from his friends. Before leaving for his office, he updates his Facebook status and never forgets to throw in a comment or two on his daugh- ters’ pictures. Still actively working, Krishna Sharma is presently based in the Republic of Yemen on a water resources development project under the World Bank guidelines. With 45 years of experience in water resources planning, design, management

and development of water resources projects, he is actually a storehouse of knowledge on water related solutions. Having worked in Iraq, Nepal, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and extensively in India, Krishna Sharma has a work experience that can be better explained in a biography than in an article. But dig beneath this always-at-work facade of his

“If you think you are beaten, you are. If you think you dare not, you don't. If you'd like to win but think you can't, It's almost certain you won't. Life's battles don't always go To the stronger or faster man, But sooner or later, the man who wins Is the man who thinks he can”. Krishna Sharma believes in the verse from Bhagwat Gita –

“Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana - Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani” which means - You have the right to perform your actions, but you are not entitled to the fruits of the actions. Do not let the fruit be the purpose of your actions, and therefore you won’t be attached to not doing your duty.

Hall of Fame for this ‘lady’

W e take a look at the humming life of Krishna Arora

and find that there is nothing boring or expected

about this 85-year-young lady. Settled in

Melbourne, Krishna Arora has never been so busy as she is now. She came to Australia in 1992 as her daughter wanted her

to join the family in Melbourne. “Before coming here, I had

taught in The Institute of Hotel Management on Pusa Road in New Delhi for several years and joined the Asian Memorial Institute of Hotel Management and Catering in Chennai as their Founder Principal. After working there for six years, I moved to Australia and have been here ever since. “When I came here, I found that a majority of the migrants were lonely and to get rid of this loneliness they did commu- nity work. I thought it was a great idea and embarked on the same. I even worked in an Op shop for six years voluntarily.

Having led a busy life in India, I was equally determined to be active here. Soon enough I was able to adjust here with ease and élan, happily working with my community work. I also started tele-cooking services and writing food recipes for a monthly community paper. “I am happy that the seniors here seem to be enjoying themselves. The Australian Government takes good care of them,” she says. Krishna Arora has been an active participant of communi- ty events and she has even organized catering services for 29 days continuously for 1,100 people in Melbourne. Krishna Arora is also a co-founder of the Indian Senior Citizens Association. Into community service for two decades, Krishna Arora has always been appreciated for her work. And the accolades have continued to flow in especially after she was honoured with the Shilling Wall Tribute award by the multicultural commission of the Australian state of Victoria for her outstanding contribution to the community. With her name engraved on Queen Victoria’s Women Centre (QVWC) Wall, Krishna Arora refuses to slow down or even stop for a while and ponder over her age. “Ha! It’s just

a number. I have so much to do still,” she laughs it off and dashes off to yet another task.



Coming to light through Dance India Dance and Indian Idol, the two young men reflect
Coming to light through Dance India Dance and Indian Idol, the two
young men reflect on the road to stardom via TV reality shows.
Prince and Amit Sana do a
jugalbandi for Sydney
By Neeru Saluja
talent. The only difference is that I used to
dance for two hours, now I dance more!
A mit Sana and Prince Gupta have
become household names in India,
thanks to TV reality shows. Amit
Sana was the first runner-up at the Indian
Idol (Season 1) and Prince, popularly
known as Prince of popping and locking,
ruled everyone’s hearts with his groovy
dance moves. As they came to Sydney to
perform for the Holi Dhoom Mela, TIDU
interviewed them to learn more about the
young budding stars of an emerging India.
What are your views on young chil-
dren participating in talent shows?
Prince: It’s fine until they are not miss-
ing out on their studies and it’s not obscene.
The rules are quite strict and the age limit
is monitored from time to time. I was
recently a mentor and choreographer at
Dance India Dance – Little Masters and it
was a huge responsibility on me.
Tell us about your journey - how did
talent shows make you stars?
Amit Sana: I participated in the first
Indian Idol (Season 1) and was declared the
first runner-up. Since then, there has been
no looking back. It has taken me through a
musical journey. I was a classical singer
and now I have started singing contempo-
rary songs for Bollywood movies and have
even made some of my own albums.
Prince: I was a participant of Dance
India Dance Season 1. No one performs
locking and popping style of dance in India
which I learnt from YouTube. I was deter-
mined to do something unique which people
had not seen. I have done many shows in
India and this is my second overseas show.
For us viewers, we only see the action
happening on the stage. What happens
behind the stage? Is there a lot of compe-
Amit Sana: There is a lot of pressure.
We have ongoing rehearsals starting from
song selection to choosing the right instru-
ments. Every contestant wants to prove
himself or herself; so the competition is
tough. On top of that, we have to handle
media which makes it very tough.
Amit Sana
Have you two ever performed togeth-
er before?
Amit Sana: No, never before. In fact,
I’m very fond of dancing; so I may learn a
few new steps from Prince!
Prince: This is the first time I’m per-
forming with Amit Sana. I have always
done solo shows. A jugalbandi will be a
fantastic idea!
Amit Sana: Singers should concentrate
on Indian music. I have a strong Indian
classical background. You maybe from
Australia, but always remember you are
going to make India proud. Everyone wants
to be cool but in contests there is always a
pressure to pursue your dream.
Prince: I have been very lucky but you
need to work hard to know how to dance. I
practice everyday and you need to continue
practising and keep yourself update with the
latest trends.
As Amit Sana started off the press con-
ference by singing the song ‘anjaani rahein
anjaani manzil’ from his first album, we
couldn’t resist asking Prince to end the con-
ference by showing off his ‘locking and
popping’ moves. Both of them entertained
us with their fresh talent.
We wish them the best for their future.
If you didn’t end up winning the real-
ity shows, would you have reached the
platform where you are right now?
Amit Sana: With reality shows, no
doubt, the process is faster. I belong to a
small town called Chhattisgarh and have
had classical training for 12 years. But
without Indian Idol, I wouldn’t have had the
Nowadays lots of young artists use
social media to promote themselves.
What are your views on it?
Amit Sana: I use Facebook and have a
page dedicated for my fans. I believe social
media is an excellent platform to convey
latest news about yourself and the events
happening. There are a few people who
post fake IDs, but even that promotes us!
Social media is also about promoting your-
self and then people promote you.
Prince: Social media is free and has lots
of benefits. I learnt my dance style from
YouTube. If I write today that I’m in
Sydney, everyone will be interested. It’s
also good for chatting with friends from all
over the world. I also like people fighting
over me when I participate in contests!
same exposure. Now I’m a known face,
thanks to television. I didn’t win the compe-
tition, but I’ve got love from my fans all
over the world. I was an introvert, but
thanks to Sony and Indian idol, in three
months I had good training, grooming and
now I’m confident and have a better under-
standing of the world.
Prince: I was a normal kid who used to
play cricket and football. I was very good
at and have represented Gujarat at the state
level. But once my school timings changed,
could not attend coaching classes and then
What are your future plans?
Amit Sana: I’m currently working on
three music albums in collaboration with
Planet M. I have always played the key-
board and am now learning the guitar. I
idolise Sonu Nigam and would like to be
like him one day. Showbiz is not an easy
business and I continue to reflect on myself.
Prince: I was recently selected as a
dancer in the latest 3D movie ABCD. It
was a great experience to work with Prabhu
Deva. Dance is my life; it always will be an
important part of my life. One day I would
love to become a dance director. Though
nowadays, if once you enter the showbiz
industry, you can be a dancer, choreogra-
pher and then diversify by changing profes-
sions. Many TV actors are entering films
and singers are becoming actors.
joined dance classes. After two years I par-
ticipated in the Dance India Dance contest.
was just 16 when I participated in the con-
test and got fame. If not for the talent show
What advice would you like to give to
budding Australian Indian artists who
participate in the talent shows here?
would have never been able to show my
Prince Gupta


Devinder Dharia’s ‘Meri Jhanjar’ a YouTube hit Devinder Dharia drives a taxi, has organized ‘Vaisakhi
Devinder Dharia’s ‘Meri Jhanjar’
a YouTube hit
Devinder Dharia drives a taxi, has organized ‘Vaisakhi
Mela’ in Blacktown for 10 years, talks in rhymes and has
released a video with help from his son.
By Neena Badhwar
‘chutkale’ in rhymes and my Punjabi teacher
always found them funny. She used to come
D evinder Singh Dharia is someone I
know in Sydney who makes me laugh
whenever we meet. He just makes
school on a bicycle and once when she saw
these Indian limericks on the spot. Driving his
taxi he keeps his customers happy and enter-
tains them with his take on English as he is
just a natural rhymester- that is whatever you
say Dharia is quick to match it with a word
mostly funny. He won’t just say hello to a
person, he will add a few rhyming couplets
too. Supposing he meets someone named
Mary …He will say…Hello Mary…Eating
me after school I must have said something
that she dropped the bike and there she was
cacking away lying on the ground with feet
“So I spent my time making
Chhand/Bandh…singing Puran Bhagat’s story
and very soon I went on All India Radio hav-
ing auditioned for it and was on Jalandhar
Doordarshan as well.”
When Dharia came here in 1989 he start-
Bhangra Academy and his Punjabi Sangeet
Cherry? If going to city take ferry…want
another job then see Harry. To someone
Dharia helps while teaching them to
drive…and very nicely he will say: O Dear!
put second gear and don’t fear! To a passen-
ger in taxi: The passenger says do you mind
if I drink…Dharia sees a Coke can in his hand
Centre that he formed to promote Punjabi folk
and dance is now 21 years old. During
2000 Sydney Olympics Dharia and his fifteen
mine more modern, hiphop/RNB etc I want-
ed to make an album and show dad how we
can give a lift to his music.”
Pav went ahead, conceptualized the idea
of ‘jhanjar’ and built a story around it which
almost took him a year to do. Pav’s own
video ‘Bewafa’ has been viewed over 500,000
times, and another ‘Pol Teri’, has had around
couple of lakh views.
Pav’s video albums are beautiful as he is
a great story teller, not only have they a cer-
tain special quality to them that you keep on
watching, one can see that Sydney has pro-
duced a talented guy in our midst. Obviously
Pav’s interpretation of Dharia’s Jhanjar is
also making waves on the net. Like
father like son!
students were selected to present Bhangra to
part of the main ceremony. Dharia has also
and will answer – ‘you can drink but don’t get
drunk’. The passenger answers but its only
Dharia replies ‘no it’s just a joke’.
Dharia has kept Sydney entertained with
his jovial nature and his philosophy is very
simple, ‘Life ji badi vadiya guzar rai ai’ he
says. Always in the front to help, always
ready to sing, Dharia came to Australia in
1989 and made sure he had his instrument
‘Tumbi’ with him. He had spent 8 years train-
ing under his guru Ustad Yamla Jat. He says
during his childhood years he would hear
Ustad’s renditions and remembers his ‘Sat
guru teri leela badi pyari ai’ morning and
evening. Says Dharia, “I had listened to his
geets so many times that his voice was in my
blood. I would try to sing like him while
going to school and while coming back. And
‘tukbandi’ that is rhyming became my pas-
sion. Even at school I would always say
performed for NSW Art Gallery, Diwali
Mela, Parramasala and has organized
‘Vaisakhi Mela’ in Blacktown which is
now in its 10th year. He has also per-
formed in Gurdwaras all over
Australia, in Renmark, in Woolgoolga.
And it does not just stop there, Dharia
has even performed at Helensburgh
Temple, Minto Mandir and many
other places. Believing in teachings
of Sadguru Ramdev, Dharia’s
is for all and transcends all
boundaries of religion, caste or any
other differences.
Well coming to this March I
ring up Dharia when he says,
“Neenaji have you seen my ‘Meri
Jhanjar’ on YouTube…” Obviously I
have not. He excitedly says, “My son
Pav used to say – Dad there’s no value
Suppose Dev
Dharia meets
named Mary…
He will say…
‘Hello Mary…
Eating Cherry?
If going to city
another job
then see
geets as only Video can give weight
your passion. Pav made video of
my song whose lyrics are by
Ustadji, it’s liked so
much that it has been
viewed by over
20,000 peo-
check the
has been
Dharia was
so excited
that he told
you see
Pav Dharia, his son
who is a trained pilot, has
made many video albums which
he self learnt as photography
has been his passion. “Making
video albums for some of my friends and
my own I thought I must do something for
dad as he has had big influence on me.
Although his style is quite old school and
Pav Dharia, like father like son


Starting in his eighties, Fauja Singh has run many marathons and set many records, inspiring
Starting in his eighties, Fauja Singh has run many marathons and set
many records, inspiring us all. He was honored in Sydney in March.
By Neena Badhwar
T here is a Bollywood movie which is
Run, Fauja, run
due to be released, ‘Bhaag Milkha
Bhaag’, based on the great Indian run-
ner Milkha Singh, starring Farhan Akhtar.
He was a great runner who won many gold
medals and represented India in Olympics as
Sydneysiders honoured another Punjabi
hero, Fauja Singh, the oldest Punjabi
marathon runner from London, who visited
Australia in March. He was present at the
Vaisakhi celebrations at the NSW Parliament
House when he was honoured by the Punjabi
Council of Australia in the presence of many
The Punjabi Council of Australia also
organised a community dinner for him along
with Deep Dhillon, a well known Punjabi
Fauja Singh, a sprightly old man with a
captivating broad smile, of seemingly gentle
persona captured everyone’s attention as he
sat quietly, perhaps reflecting on times past.
The centenarian was detached from the
world yet was a part of it. Born on April 1,
1911, a whole 100 and two years had passed
him by. Fauja Singh is a walking history of
two great wars and much more. He has very
little to say when he uttered ‘Sat Sri Akaal’
to the audience. At 102 years of age he
seems to be a young 70-years-old athlete,
although in an autobiography by Khushwant
Singh, the writer goes further saying Fauja’s
bone mass is that of a 40-year-old.
Remembers Fauja his childhood: “My
legs were so spindly and weak that the vil-
lage folk used to call me ‘danda’,” and he
recalls his Toronto marathon when the
blonde masseurs, seeing his legs with hardly
any flesh on them, were baffled.
His family brought Fauja Singh to UK in
1995 after his son in India had died in a freak
accident and he had gone into severe depres-
sion. It was only after his second trip that he
acclimatised and decided to make London
home. Though illiterate, Fauja Singh carried
a card with his details and learnt to travel on
his own to his favourite haunts and even
learnt to recognize buses and their companies
which took him back to his house. He knew
the importance of family members working
abroad and he became self sufficient by vis-
iting gurdwaras either by bus or by walking.
‘For an old man to pass his time, he
needs good company’ – said Fauja when he
met a kabaddi player who introduced him to
jogging. And there was no looking back
since. Soon, Fauja Singh saw a marathon on
local television which intrigued him and a
lucky opportunity arose when in 1999 Fauja
ran 20 miles for the benefit of cancer
Simpleton Fauja Singh lives in a world of
his own, describing BBC, in Chandigarh
based journalist Khushwant Singh’s biogra-
phy on Fauja titled ‘Sikhs Unlimited’, as a
‘company that has loudspeakers all over the
world’. Numerous articles have since been
written on this old man who has been hon-
oured, invited by Punjabi community all
over the world, even in US where he met
former US president George Bush.
Fauja Singh is a very determined young
old man as he wanted to enter ‘Flora
Marathon’ for which he went around himself
asking people to nominate him. He
approached community and religious lead-
ers, and politicians as he put his appeal by
pressing a thumb impression.
One Harminder Singh came as a messiah
who helped Fauja enter the marathon by rep-
resenting a charity called BLISS which
works for premature infants. BLISS was too
happy that an 88-year-old man was keen on
running for them, giving them the punch line
‘oldest running for the youngest’ for their
charity, provided he donated 1400 pounds to
Fauja Singh was put through a rigorous
routine to get ready for the 26.2 km
marathon as his son dutifully took him for
practice to ensure fitness as he ran the 2.5
miles route and back along with other exer-
cises as his coach helped him with hill train-
ing, adapting his running style and helped
regulate his breathing.
At the race Fauja met an American
marathon runner older than him but Fauja
managed to finish the race in 6 hour, 54 min-
utes and 42 seconds,
full one hour ahead of the American.
The American runner had given him
a few helpful hints before the race
which, of course, Fauja did not
understand and only nodded his
head. This was the start of
Fauja’s new career at the age of
Since this first marathon.
Fauja has run in many marathons
in the UK, USA and Canada and
has set many records in the 90
plus category, at times beating
his own records. No one
else of his age bracket has
completed the marathons in
less than 7 hours and 52 min-
Fauja even completed the toughest
marathon of all – the Great North Run
Marathon from Newcastle to South
Shields in just 2 hours and 39 minutes
while in Toronto he ran the Scotia
Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 5
hours and 40 minutes, becoming the
only 90 plus man on the planet to
have finished it in less than six
hours. It was the proudest moment
of his life.
Says Fauja who started to run
at the ripe old age of 89, “I want the
young to be inspired to take up
physical activity and maintain it
through their lives. Hopefully they
will see the folly of taking drugs. I
also want the elderly to embark on
getting fitter – if I can run my first
marathon so late in life, no one should
use the excuse of old age as a barrier."
when he finally reaches
home. This is his daily
routine. Fauja loves man-
goes, which he believes
help him from constipa-
tion. His dinner is light
which is lentil soup
heavily granished
with fresh gin-
ger. He says,
“It’s the
sealing of
my lips
to cer-
tributed to
Singh is the
Punjabis and
wins every-
one with his
smile as if
he is bless-
ing every-
one. He is a
true inspira-
tion to us
Fauja ran his last official race in
Hong Kong on February 24 this year – a
10 km event. He has this advice, “Balance
your exercise of different muscle
groups, use specialists such as chi-
ropractors, train every day for at
least half an hour, as you get
older, adjust your attitude to
accept slowing down and still enjoy
it and run in competition.”
Fauja is so adamant on running
that he has this attitude about ‘daud’
meaning ‘marathon run’, ‘Ki kadi
tan mukegi’ though his longevity
stems from strict discipline and diet
and a certain kind of detachment.
His diet is very simple. Unlike
typical Punjabis, Fauja is quite picky
and fussy about foods. At 5 feet 8
inches, he only weighs 53 kg, and has
relaxing heart beat of 52 beats per
second and bone density of a 40-year
old. His mantra is ‘eat to live’ as
opposed to ‘live to eat’. He does not
like cauliflower, refrains from eat-
ing bhindi and rice and recom-
mends lentils and bitter gourd
(karela) which are his favourites.
And obiviously ‘Chaa’ – Indian
tea which he takes on rising at 6.30
Age no barrier
Fauja Singh with Moninder Singh, President Punjabi Council of Australia and Sumati
Advani, Aruna Chandrala, Vrinda Kumar and Mala Mehta
am. He takes with tea, a ‘pinni’ made
of alsi (linseed) and a bowl of home
made yoghurt and two glasses of
water. The total round being 8 miles
Fauja Singh honoured at the NSW Parliament


Meet Marlene Kanga, the National President of Engineers Australia

Kersi Meher-Homji interviews a dynamic Indian engineer

D r. Marlene Kanga is one of the most influential engineers in Australia. An Indian, she

has resided in Sydney for over 30

years. In late 2012 she was elected as

the National President of Engineers

Australia. This is a huge honour. Engineers

Australia is the national professional association for engineers in Australia with over 106,000 members. As National President, Marlene Kanga will be one of a small group of women who have become national leaders of the engineering profession

in the country, a significant achieve-

ment in a profession which continues to have less than ten percent repre- sentation of women. “I obtained my first degree in Chemical Engineering from the IIT, Mumbai. They have awarded me with

a Distinguished Alumni Award this

year for my achievements in the engi-

neering profession, a first for a

woman engineer,” she said. All-rounder Marlene is a Chartered Professional Engineer and

a Fellow of Engineers Australia (one

of 100 women) and Engineers New Zealand (one of 16 women). So it is a rare achieve-

New Zealand (one of 16 women). So it is a rare achieve- Marlene Kanga presenting the

Marlene Kanga presenting the Innovation Taskforce report at NSW parliament house

a woman to be recognised as Fellow of




both profes-

sional organi-

sations. She







neering and is registered on the Board f Professional Engineers Queensland.


Marlene is the first Chemical Engineer to be a National President as well as the first who is Asian-born and a mother. These char-

acteristics embody the diversity of the engineering profession and demon- strate that it can be a rewarding and fulfilling career for anyone. She was first elected to the National Council of Engineers Australia in 2007, where she has strengthened governance and process-

es to ensure equal opportunity for all

members and continues to ensure that

the members are served effectively

and every member has an opportunity for professional development and to

make a contribution to the profession. Marlene was Chair of the Innovation Taskforce which prepared

a report on Innovation in

Engineering, which was launched at the Australian Parliament House last June. “The aim of the report was to make Australians and the community more aware of the importance of engineering innovation and to engage pro-actively with the government in

influencing relat- ed policies. “I believe that it is important for all Australians and especially young people to understand that engineering is a dynamic, creative and innovative profession,” Marlene said. “Engineering innovation is vital

to modern life and for Australia to maintain its com- petitiveness as the 12th largest econo- my in the world,” she said. Besides, she is an advocate for women engineers and was Chair of the National Committee for Women

in Engineering, Engineers Australia, during 2008-2009 and Deputy Chair during the very successful Year of Women in Engineering in 2007,

which also won a National Engineering Excellence Award. Her strategic initiatives to “Attract, Retain, Support and Celebrate” women in the engineering profession has resulted in ongoing support for women engineers with membership growth being the fastest segment in Engineers Australia. She was Co-Chair of ICWES -- The International Conference for Women Engineers and Scientists which was held in Adelaide in July 2011, the first time such a conference was held in Australia. Is there anything Marlene Kanga cannot achieve in the field of Engineering? As a National Councillor, she has implemented many changes which are significant to the engineering profes- sion. She has strengthened the organ- isation’s support for diversity via the Career Break Policy, increasing the number of women engineers on the Institution’s Engineering College Boards and implementing programs to increase the number of women who become Fellows and Honorary Fellows in the organisation. Her efforts in 2011 and 2012 have increased the number of women who are Honorary Fellows by 100 per- cent. She is also a Board member of the International Network for Women Engineers and Scientists (INWES)

and a founding member of the Asia Pacific Nation Network (APNN), which mentors other women engi- neering organisations in the Asia Pacific. She hosted the first INWES APNN meeting in Adelaide in July 2011 and this has gone on to support the development of networks for

women in engineering in other coun- tries in Asia including Mongolia and Taiwan. Marlene represents Australia at the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) and is a mem- ber of its Committee for Women in Engineering. She is also a member of

Committee for Women in Engineering. She is also a member of Marlene (third from left) honoured

Marlene (third from left) honoured by the United Indian Association Women’s Committee on International Women’s Day, March 2011 in Sydney.

the Committee for Disaster Risk Management and is Chair of a Sub- Committee for developing resources for increased resilience against natu- ral disasters, especially in developing countries. The expertise of members of this Committee will go a long way in assisting developing countries to prepare for and recover from natural disasters. There is more! She is co- founder and Director of iOmniscient Pty. Ltd., which is the leading sup- plier of intelligent surveillance sys- tems internationally. The company has developed patented software tech- nology, based on Australian research and has won multiple awards interna- tionally. The system has been installed in large airports, transporta- tion and public infrastructure in Australia, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The company has more than 30,000 software licenses installed in more than 20 countries. Major cus- tomers include Qantas, Disneyworld and BP. International sales account for 90% of revenues. As National President of Engineers Australia, Kanga’s priority will be to demonstrate that engineer- ing makes an invaluable contribution to modern life. Young people espe-

cially need to understand the exciting possibilities that engineering offers as

a career. She also believes it is impor- tant to engage with government, the media and the broader community to influence the decisions which involve engineering such as resource utilisa- tion, water management and sustain- ability. Marlene was on the cover of

a recent issue of Engineers Australia

magazine. In that magazine, Dr Tim Kannegieter describes her strong per- sonality accurately: “She has strong views and is not afraid to let them be known to good effect… She has a long history of driving change at Engineers Australia. She facilitated development of the first risk manage- ment framework for Engineers Australia which is now being used to guide internal auditing processes.” Apart from her engineering excel- lence, Marlene is a friendly person who oozes charm. She and her hus- band Rustom (a PhD) are proud par- ents of Zubin, a pianist of interna- tional fame and Jehan who conducts Madrigal and other concerts. Music and engineering must have

a genetic link!


BOOK REVIEW The Average Indian Male by Cyrus Broacha, Random House India, 246 Pages, Rs
The Average Indian Male by Cyrus
Broacha, Random House India,
246 Pages, Rs 199.
T he book is anything but average. In parts it is
witty, in parts it is repetitive and full of exaggera-
tions. Mostly it is written tongue-in-cheek. Taken
in small doses it is funny with intelligent “take-offs”
when describing the average Indian male.
It is amusing to read
the author’s random
thoughts and flights of
fancy on frailties of
Prakashes, Kapoors,
Dalals, Dariuses,
Paramjits, Himanshus,
Dhirajes, Swaminathans
and a host of others who
colour the book with their
body odours, flatulence
and onion-worship. Not to
mention their love (and
fear) of their mothers,
holding hands of another
male, nodding their heads
non-stop and their pave-
But is it accurate for today’s IT-oriented modern
Indian male?
Cyrus Broacha is a stand-up comic of repute in India
but some of his spoken jokes do not translate well in writ-
ten essays. With an effective spoken delivery, lifting of
an eye-brow and pregnant pauses, a stand-up comic can
arouse the audience to laughter and prolonged applause.
For a book, this is not always possible. A naughty
joke with a raised eyebrow and pursed lips can animate
the listeners into a frenzy of clapping. The written word
does not have eyebrows and lips. It has to have something
extra to retain the readers’ interest.
Repetition is the hallmark of good comedy, written or
oral, but at times the author’s repetitions stretch too far,
especially when he exaggerates his exaggerations. To use
cricket terminology, he lofts many sixes but going for
more he gets caught in no man’s land.
The book is divided in two parts: Book 1 starts with
questions from readers -- mostly non-Indian females -- on
how to deal with the average Indian male. The question-
answer format is entertaining if you read two chapters at
time. But more is not merrier.
enjoyed the following amusing lines in the book:
“The [Indian] wife’s job is absolutely parallel to a
trampoline artist’s. She has to bounce around the dinner
table attending to each and every person’s need
She has
to jump from chair to chair like a bunny rabbit on speed
serving hot food.”
“A flurry of wrists and fingers and the comb would
be returned to the back right pocket barely visible to the
naked eye (although I see no sense in the phrase because
eyes, as you all know, are almost always naked as a
“The male would have to answer to his mother-in-
law, his second cousin’s step-daughter, his son, his own
maternal grandmother, all at the same time. A few of our
ancestors, like the legendary Ravan, could cope with this
as he had on good authority, ten heads (one shudders at
his dentists’ bills).”
“And never forget Kim Jung’s dying words, ‘A vice
may well be vice, but it’s better to be greedy than
Book 2 is more philosophical, deciphering the inco-
herent thoughts of -- you guessed it – the average Indian
male. I enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek chapter on
Aryabhatta’s concept of zero and how his “nothingness
philosophy” explains Indians being always late. I thought
the originator of zero-concept was former Indian Test
spinner BS Chandrasekhar!
better submit this review for TIDU readers right
away before I am accused of suffering from Aryabhatta’s


GOPIO takes seniors on a memorable cruise

GOPIO takes seniors on a memorable cruise President of GOPIO, Sydney Lucky Singh talking to seniors

President of GOPIO, Sydney Lucky Singh talking to seniors on the cruise

GOPIO, Sydney Lucky Singh talking to seniors on the cruise all sponsors, seniors, guests and families

all sponsors, seniors, guests and families while Hemu Negi cap- tured beautiful moments on his camera for memories of a wonderful day. GOPIO (Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin) Australia has earned itself another feather in their cap for organising and making many seniors smile. While everyone went back home happy they are already talking of the cruise next year.

home happy they are already talking of the cruise next year. Sydneysiders enjoy a wonderful day
home happy they are already talking of the cruise next year. Sydneysiders enjoy a wonderful day

Sydneysiders enjoy a wonderful day at the cruise

By Manju Mittal

A Great Day Out for seniors organised by GOPIO on Sunday, April 7 - a really nice three-hour cruise starting

from Woolwich wharf. The boat was packed with people but there was plenty of space and time to take great pictures. The weather cooperated and that made it much better. Elderly people enjoyed sunshine and sat on the upper deck to enjoy the magnificent

views across the harbour. Seniors were looked after very well by GOPIO members, serving food, drinks, excellently chosen old music, musical games, sharing poetry and other activities. Three hours passed quickly as people mixed and mingled, bonding with each other and enjoying wonderful views and Sydney skyline. Volunteers helped to make this day a great success, especially the ones who pro- vided transport for those who could not

drive. Sponsors donated not

only their time but also several gift vouchers. The delicious catering was courtesy of Maya da Dhaba and their kheer and gulab jamuns were rel- ished by all. DJ Upkar Mandy entertained with his excellent sound and music as local artist Anand Arora kept his audience enthralled by his beautiful songs. Usha Bariya’s dance was the highlight of the day. Lucky Singh, president of GOPIO, thanked

Community mourns loss of Minhas Zulfiqar

of GOPIO, thanked Community mourns loss of Minhas Zulfiqar Minhas Zulfiqar (third from left) with Premier

Minhas Zulfiqar (third from left) with Premier Barry O’Farrell, colleague Ajay Khanna and NSW MP David Elliott at an award cer- emony at the Crowne Plaza Norwest Hotel

attending to shops they own in Pakistan. They were due to fly back to Australia on the night he was killed.

Well known in the community and with local politicians, Minhas was a fine example of multicultur- al success story with whose help

many charity groups benefited as he supported their charity fund raisers. He was known for his sup- port of Inala - a local organisation that provides services and support for the disabled. He had been run- ning his business successfully for the past 10 years as his hotel won many business awards under his stewardship at Crowne. Hills Shire Mayor Dr Michelle Byrne said she enjoyed Mr Zulfiqar's company and his loss would be felt through- out the Hills business community. "I always enjoyed talking to Minhas. He was a gentle giant and a truly wonderful man," she said. David Elliott, State MP said, “Minhas was a larger-than-life identity. I cannot recall a local event or charity that has not bene- fited from his generosity.” A memorial Service was held for Minhas Zulfiqar at his hotel

By Manju Mittal

Crowne Plaza Norwest on the afternoon of March 22 when many of his friends, community mem- bers and associates gathered to pay condolences to the family. Minhas Zulfikar will be greatly missed as the community has lost a great supporter and a benevolent mem- ber. Our heartfelt condolences go to his wife Razia and two adult sons and their families. On April 5, in another memo- rial meeting, Julie Owens, Federal Member for Parramatta, said, “I wish to express my deepest sorrow to the family and friends of the late Mr Minhas Zulfiqar, a highly respected and successful member of the Australian community who we, all of us, are very sad to have lost under such tragic circum- stances.” Our prayers are with the Zulfikar family in their time of deep grief.

A prominent Sydney busi-

nessman Minhas Zulfiqar

(CEO & Owner of Crowne

Plaza Norwest) passed away in tragic circumstances in his home city Karachi on March 20. The news has been a shock to the com- munity having lost a very generous man who was always ready to help those in need. Minhas Zulfiqar was shot dead in Karachi after he refused to hand over money he had just withdrawn from an ATM. The 55-year-old was shot multiple times in the upper body and was pronounced dead at hospital a short time later. After shooting Mr. Zulfiqar, the bandits robbed him of his money. Minhas Zulfiqar and his wife Razia had been on a working holi- day, visiting family in Karachi and



By Manpreet Kaur Singh

M ost of us think that Sikh or South Asian migra- tion to Australia is a recent phenomenon, spanning just the past few decades. But not

many of us know that our Sikh forefathers first came to Australia more than 150 years ago - at a time when the dust was yet to settle from the fall of Ranjit Singh's empire. Displaying their true enterprising spirit, they crossed the seven seas to come to the land Down Under in search of a better lifestyle and wages and quickly endeared themselves to the local population here. Country towns all over Australia are dotted with memories of these brave Punjabi migrants who seem to have been welcomed by the locals despite the official "White Australia" policy. Sadly, they are also forgotten in the annals of his- tory. Initially, the migrants from India were inden- tured labourers who worked on sheep stations and farms around Australia. Some adventurers followed during the gold rush of the 1850's. A census from 1861 indicates that there were around 200 Indians in Victoria of whom 20 were in Ballarat, the town which was at the epicenter of the gold rush. Thereafter, many more came and worked as hawkers - going from house to house, town to town, traversing thousands of kilometers, making a liv- ing by selling a variety of products. A record of shipping arrivals of the day shows that SS Clitus and SS Jullundur arrived in Melbourne in 1898 car- rying many Punjabis, some of whom like Nutta Singh, Hurman Singh, Indur Singh, Isur Singh, Sundi and Sunda Singh went on to become hawkers. (Please note that the names were written phonetically by a clerk on arrival, so the spellings are as recorded, not necessarily as they are meant to be spelt). There is enough anecdotal evidence from local Australians that the Sikh hawkers were much loved mem- bers of the community. The womenfolk loved them because they provided a welcome break from their mundane exis- tence - the hawkers brought beautiful clothes, goods, all things exotic, and a fleeting glimpse of the big wide world beyond their farmlands. The Australian men liked the hawkers because they were tough - they knew how to survive in difficult bush land and, more importantly, they played cricket!

The Aussie kids adored the hawkers because of the sto- ries they told of another world, because of their playful spir-

it and their wonderfully aromatic curries.

Now meet Len Kenna, an Australian historian, play- wright and poet who has been commissioned by the Victorian government to write the official history of Indian migration to Victoria. His brief is to ‘research and preserve

anything of Indian cultural significance' in Victoria. Although the subject matter of his research can't be released yet, he is convinced that Indian migration to Australia began

a long time ago. He personally remembers a hawker by the


Sikh pioneers of Australia
pioneers of

name of Gunter Singh (proba- bly Ganda Singh), who came to his house in Hamilton (in county Victoria) where he grew up in the 1940's. Says Kenna: "The Indian hawkers were better educated than most others in those days, they were polite and well- cultured. They spoke English, so we had great conversa- tions. I used to hop into Gunter Singh's horse wagon, mar- vel at his goods and listen to his stories all night. I shared some scones with him and he cooked absolutely wonderful curries for us. That smell is still fresh in my mind, so many decades later!" Kenna says his mother and her friend used to take turns to wash Gunter Singh's turbans and Singh cooked for them in return. "I remember those bright turbans on our clothes- line, flapping wildly in the wind," recalls Kenna. He adds, "The country women loved the Sikh hawkers. They were such a wonderful change from the Aussie farm men who were stuck knee-deep in cow manure for most of the day and still treated their women with an air of Victorian superiori- ty. The women loved the way the hawkers respected them and treated them like ‘ladies'!" As a tribute to these hawkers, Kenna penned a play, ‘It

happened in Heywood', which has been staged in Melbourne and many country towns of Victoria. At the end of many shows, peo- ple from the audience have come up and shared their own memories of the Sikh hawk- ers and Kenna is hoping to preserve all of these stories for posterity. ‘It Happened in Heywood' revolves around a true story of three Sikh brothers, who were all hawkers near the country town of Heywood around the year 1900. One of the brothers was burnt alive while sleeping in his wagon overnight - apparently these horse wagons were extremely flammable being made of wood and canvas, and would burn down completely in a matter of seconds, leaving someone sleeping inside with no possibility of escape. The second brother Kahn Singh died in an accident when a tree-branch fell on his head. The third surviving brother Ganda Singh wanted to cre- mate Kahn's dead body. But crema-

tion was illegal in those days (although it was legalized thereafter). The play shows how the whole coun- try town rallied together to make sure that Kahn Singh received a befitting funeral in accordance with his own traditions. The play essentially captures the spirit of the local Australians who almost felt a sense of cama- raderie with Sikh hawkers, something that the Chinese and hawkers of other nationalities rarely enjoyed. The countryside of Victoria is now dotted with crema- tion sites and headstones marking the spot where a hawker's ashes were buried after cremation. Apparently, if a hawker died and had no other relatives here, his horse, cart, goods and wagon were auctioned off. With the money raised, the hawker would be cremated, the site marked with a memorial, and the remaining money would be sent back to India along with the ashes. Many death notices published in newspapers of more than a centu- ry ago indicate relocation of ashes to India, ‘to be dispersed in the Ganges', or according to the last wishes of the deceased. Gunga Singh's headstone has a lengthy inscription in Punjabi and, beneath it, the English portion reads: "In lov- ing memory of Gunga Singh, beloved son of Dava Singh, native of Poloolla, Punjab, India. Died 6th Sept 1901, aged 45 years." Hawking in those days was a lucrative business, but required a lot of grit and hard work. The sheer distances between towns in Australia could prove prohibitive for some people, but Sikh hawkers seemed to thrive on it. According to the records, 213 country licenses were issued for hawk- ers in Hamilton alone, which is just one of the country towns

There is enough anecdotal evidence from local Australians that the Sikh hawkers were much loved members of the community. The womenfolk loved them because they provided a welcome break from their mundane existence - the hawkers brought beautiful clothes, goods, all things exotic, and a fleeting glimpse of the big wide world beyond their farmlands.

exotic, and a fleeting glimpse of the big wide world beyond their farmlands. 24 THE INDIAN
exotic, and a fleeting glimpse of the big wide world beyond their farmlands. 24 THE INDIAN



of Victoria. It is mind-boggling to think of what the actual population of Sikh hawkers might have been Australia-wide, especially since there were many more Indians in New South Wales compared to Victoria. According to the Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages, 377 people with the name ‘Singh' died in New South Wales during the period 1898 - 1939. Therefore, it is anybody's guess how many were alive and working in that same period. Typically a hawker would have to pay a bond of nearly $100 upon entering the country. Then, before they began hawking, they had to go to court to obtain a permit, had to prove that they were of good char- acter and needed to be debt-free. Then, they would either begin hawking on foot or on horse-drawn carts and pay an annual hawking fee.

A wagon would have a large

canvas hood, and the shelves would be stacked with wares to sell. There would be an elevated bed right in the middle of the wagon and more goods were stored under it. Goods included dress

material, laces, buttons, threads, perfumes, footwear, jewellery, jewellery boxes, spices, utensils and even indigenous medicine.

If a buyer couldn't get what

they wanted, they could place an order and receive what they need- ed within a day or two. Some hawkers made so much money that they bought sheep stations, land and property, while others were content with sending the money back to Punjab. But the hawkers led very lone- ly lives - tramping repetitively on country roads where the nearest town would be at least 100 km away. Hardly any of them had their family here and they rarely inter-married locals. Letters were their only source of contact with family back home and they could go for a long time without speaking or hearing their native language since each hawker had a specifical-

ly marked territory to work in. They tended to form friendships

with local country people and twice

a year, all the hawkers converged

at a pre-arranged spot where they spent a few weeks of holidays together, typically during Christmas and Easter. Sadly, there are some records of hawkers being assaulted or mur- dered and also of some crimes committed by hawkers themselves out of sheer frustration and loneli- ness. Many were even admitted to institutions in later life since they had no immediate family to take care of them. But happily, the personal anec- dotes and memories of good times with these Punjabi pioneers out- number the sad ones. Locals all over country towns recall innumer- able stories about individual Sikh hawkers with great fondness. Eileen Tierney distinctly remembers Lucca Singh (probably

Lakha), who had a very highly pol- ished van, well fitted-out with shelves along each side and along the back. One section was for women's wear exclusively, with a

built-in, lift-out box for jewels and scents. Recalls Tierney, "I can remem- ber Lucca coming to our home at Wando Vale when I was a child -

it was a red letter day as everybody

waited in great anticipation for Lucca to open his van on arrival. He was the bearer of good news

and bad. He traveled extensively and heard of all the district's hap- penings. He would stay some weeks in each district and always had his special places where he would stay for up to a fortnight at

a time. He was a great old fellow

and as children, we loved him. He loved to play cards, liked to win and would play all night if neces- sary until he finally won." Lucca Singh spent his last days in a tent close to the Peach family of Edenhope around the end of the Second World War. Says Tierney, "Lucca lived a very long life. I think he must have had a lot of herbal remedies to back up his

he must have had a lot of herbal remedies to back up his health. He had
he must have had a lot of herbal remedies to back up his health. He had

health. He had a brother in India. I can't remember Lucca ever hav- ing to go to hospital until near the end of his life when he just became ill."

He died in Casterton Hospital in 1943 and his ashes were spread in a nearby river on his request.

Then there was Sunda Singh (probably Sunder), who started his hawking career on foot, with his goods strapped in a bundle on his back. Soon, he saved enough to buy a wagon and two horses, which gave him greater reach. After many years, he bought a farm near Allestree. He paid for the local hospital at Portland to be

painted, as a gesture of his grati- tude to the people for the love they had given him. He died in Ballarat Hospital leaving behind his wife and family in Raipur in India. By all accounts, he was dearly loved in the whole of the district. Another hawker, Indar Sondhu, was so wealthy that he donated land for the construction of Coleraine Shire

offices - that was his way of say- ing thank you to the people of the area. He set up a business in Coleraine and later owned shops and a sheep station. There are also stories about a famous Punjabi wrestler by the name of Bagshot Singh. He wres- tled at the Hotspur Show every year and it is said that he had a great rivalry with a local wrestler called Mr. Edge. Bagshot Singh died at the age of 39 at Hamilton Base Hospital and his ashes were sent to India. So, as the stories and anecdotes abound, it's truly amazing to sense the fondness with which these Sikh hawkers are remembered, despite the deep-rooted racism that was institutionalised in Australian soci- ety during those days. The White Australia policy, although preva- lent in spirit during the late 19th century, was officially adopted by the Australian government in 1901, which precluded migrants on the basis of their colour and race. Although the basis for exclusion

was more subtle - prospective migrants were asked to take a lan- guage test and only those who passed were allowed to migrate - the idea was to stop the influx of Asian and even central European migrants to Australia. Despite this, hundreds of Sikh hawkers continued to operate all over Australia, providing essential services to many country towns. Their wagons carried goods both mundane and exotic; their conver- sation carried the news of the day, both good and bad; their hearts bore goodwill that created long lasting friendships and their vibrant personalities brought colour into boring lives. Above all, they pro- vided the country people a life-line as well as a dream of the mystique of lands far beyond the shores of Australia. We owe much to the enterprise and free spirit of these Sikh forefa- thers, and hope that they are accorded their rightful place in his- tory.

[Courtesy: India Today]

According to the Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages, 377 people with the name ‘Singh' died in New South Wales during the period 1898 - 1939. Therefore, it is anybody's guess how many were alive and working in that same period.

it is anybody's guess how many were alive and working in that same period. May-June 2013
it is anybody's guess how many were alive and working in that same period. May-June 2013



Punjab Engineering College alumni celebrate India Australia Day

By Manju Mittal

T he Castle Grande hall in Castle Hill

is buzzing with excitement on

March 16, as all the women are

dressed to dazzle while their husbands are hotly conversing and meeting each other as long lost friends. It was the night of entertainment organised by PECOSA – an alumni association of Punjab Engineering College (PEC). It was a night of Bollywood extravaganza, a bit of classical music mixed with fun and food. PECOSA Australia was started in 1991 in Sydney with 70 strong members who are providing scholarships to the engineering students and sponsoring edu- cational and R&D projects in PEC, Chandigarh, to help students to overcome their financial obstacles. Since then it has established itself as a leading scholarship body that also receives funding from USA Alumni for

the scholarship disbursement. The function started with opening speech by Arunesh Seth welcoming the gathering. He said, “The aim is to acknowledge our services, encourage future good work and motivate our young- sters to follow the good path.” Many inspiring words were spoken on the night by speakers to encourage and give students motivation to succeed in

to encourage and give students motivation to succeed in their future career paths. Guest of honour

their future career paths. Guest of honour Mitchell Byrne and Dr. Marlin Kanga acknowledged PECOSA’s contribution and role in helping the community. Kumud Merani, broadcaster, SBS Hindi Radio, was honoured by PECOSA with the award for her contribution towards Australian and Indian cultural integration. Dr. Robert Costa and Dr. Himanshu Desai received the award for

PECOSA night was a packed event

Compassion & Fair Go. Samarpan Support Group’s work for families with children and adults with disability was recognised on the night with an award for serving humanity. Master of ceremonies Nitin Madan, radio host Sur Sangam and charming Sukum Saini kept everyone engaged throughout the night. The audience enjoyed a great dance performance from

dance group Behind the Scene, well directed by Mrs Jatinder Saini. Shikha Agarwal and her group per- formed a classical dance. Bollywood music ended the night with a closing speech by President of PECOSA Reena Sood who thanked all sponsors, guests, families and awardees who made the night a memorable event. All that for a good cause!

New strategy to grow business between NSW & India

M arkets like India stand to benefit

from the NSW International Engagement Strategy, the state’s

first whole-of-government approach to growing international trade and investment activities in NSW, Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade & Investment Andrew Stoner said. The International Engagement Strategy expands NSW’s priority markets from six to ten, reflecting key sources of foreign direct investment, as well as the main buy- ers of NSW merchandise and services exports. Mr Stoner visited India in April as part of a trade mission and met with represen- tatives of NSW companies that export to India to discuss the opportunities and chal- lenges of doing business in this market, as well as senior government and business leaders to promote bilateral economic ties. “In order to make NSW the first place to do business in Australia we need to effectively engage the global economy and that includes places like India,” Mr Stoner said.

“India is a key trading partner for NSW and a major priority when it comes to our plans to boost the state’s trade and

investment activities. “NSW is an outward facing State with

activities. “NSW is an outward facing State with an increasingly internationally-linked economy, but this

an increasingly internationally-linked economy, but this presents its own chal- lenges, including the high Australian dol- lar and continuing global economic uncertainty. “The NSW International Engagement Strategy responds to these challenges and clearly sets out how and where we must focus our efforts and resources.” Warwick Smith, Chairman of ANZ Bank (NSW & ACT) and Chair of the NSW Export and Investment Advisory Board, led the high level steering group which conducted the review. Mr Stoner said NSW must identify promising markets, establish and build relationships and strategically apply available resources to attract new investors, work with existing investors to reinvest and help innovative NSW com- panies to export. Priority sectors identified in the strat- egy are professional services, construc- tion/infrastructure, advanced manufac- turing, education and research, informa- tion and communication technology, clean technology, mining, agribusiness, and tourism.

NSW’s Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade & Investment Andrew Stoner


Andrew Stoner 26 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER May-June 2013 Did you know ? Customers have rights
Did you know ? Customers have rights against pressure sales Are you constantly harassed by
Did you know
Customers have
rights against
pressure sales
Are you constantly harassed
by telemarketers. You
should know that they must
leave or hang up immediate-
ly if that is the consumer’s
wish and they are not
allowed to contact the con-
sumer again for at least 30
Door-knockers and tele-
marketers are subject to
national laws governing
unsolicited consumer agree-
ments that give consumers a
10-day cooling off period in
which the seller can not
demand payment and that the
consumer can change their
Door-to-door sellers must
clearly explain upfront the
purpose of their visit and
provide identification. Rules
about unconscionable con-
duct also apply in these cir-
cumstances – when traders
fail to properly disclose key
contractual terms or use
high-pressure tactics.


A poster of the film ‘Midnight’s Children’ that will be a highlight of the SFF

A poster of the film ‘Midnight’s Children’ that will be a highlight of the SFF program.

Children’ that will be a highlight of the SFF program. 6 0th Sydney Film Festival will

6 0th Sydney Film Festival will

run from June 5-16 and

screen feature films, docu-

mentaries, short films and ani- mations across the city at the State Theatre, Event Cinemas George Street, Dendy Opera Quays and the Art Gallery of NSW. The festival is a major event on the New South Wales cultural calendar and is one of the world’s longest-run- ning film festivals. Says Nashen Moodley, fes- tival’s direc-





gramme comprising around 160 films, will reveal a real

cross-section of

here first."

Deepa Mehta’s adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s acclaimed novel ‘Midnight’s Chidren’ is one of the highlight of the SFF program. Australian premiere of the highly anticipated, neo-Gothic thriller Stoker, directed by Park Chan- wook and starring three Australian actresses: Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Jacki Weaver. Other award- winning films include The Act of Killing, the winner of the Audience Award at the 2013 Berlinale; Prince Avalanche, winner of a Silver Bear for best direction at the 2013 Berlinale; Blancanieves,

the winner of Best Film at Spain's prestigious 2013

Goya Awards; and Stories We Tell one of 'Canada's Top Ten' films at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. For more information and tickets visit

more information and tickets visit Nashen Moodley, the festival’s director the range and

Nashen Moodley, the festival’s director

the range and quality of features and documentaries which

are some of the best productions from all over the world, the films Australia will be hearing about, talking about and arguing about over the next year. You'll see them

"In the end we found how identical our lists were," said Rushdie describing Mehta as the "perfect" director to take his book to film. "It was Deepa's passion for the book that attracted me, as well, of course, as my admi- ration for her work." Turning a 446-page novel into a 130-page screenplay was "an immense challenge," he said. But since he was looking at it after more than 30 years, he could do it more dispassionately. The idea for Rushdie to also do the narration/voiceover for "Midnight's Children" was also entirely Mehta's. First, they did not want to have any narration, but then found it necessary to string it together given its range and scope. "We tried a couple of professional actors at first, but were not satisfied. So finally Mehta asked me to try it." So what's Rushdie's verdict on the fin- ished product? "Well, I am very biased. But I think it's good," he said looking at the response to the film at the Toronto, Vancouver and the BFI London film festivals. Luckily they did not have any run in with the Indian censors over the depiction of the 1975 emergency or any other issue. "They passed it without a single cut. They had, in fact, called a historian, who said it depicted an accurate picture of an unfortunate phase of Indian history."

"You may disagree with one's interpreta- tion, but you are entitled to it," they said. "But then the problem with the Indian censors is, they are so unpredictable," said Rushdie referring to the issues faced by Kamal Haasan's spy thriller "Vishwaroopam." It was indeed true that he gave away the film rights of "Midnight's Children" to Mehta for just one dollar! It makes an interesting story, but it's not unusual for independent filmmakers, who find it hard to raise money, to sign up someone with a token amount and then pay them later, said Rushdie. Rushdie is currently developing a TV serial for Showtime called "Next People" - a kind of "paranoid science-fiction series, people disap- pearing and being replaced by other people." "There is a pilot I wrote for Showtime. They were happy about it. But we are still awaiting that little green light!" So which one of his works would one see on the big screen next? "Right now there's a project to make a film of my memoir 'Joseph Anton,' but I am absolutely not planning to write the screenplay" because unlike "Midnight's Children" he was too close to it. "If we are lucky, if it goes really fast then it may be ready at some point next year. But it may take longer, I don't know," said Rushdie.

'Midnight's Children' a collaborative affair: Rushdie

The allegorical tale on the partition of India told through mysteriously intertwined lives of two
The allegorical tale on the partition of
India told through mysteriously
intertwined lives of two babies switched
at birth as India attains freedom at
midnight on August 15, 1947 will be
showing at the Sydney Film Festival.

Celebrated writer Salman Rushdie and Indo-Canadian director Deepa Mehta, who directed the film adaptation of his acclaimed novel “Midnight’s Children”.

C elebrated writer Salman Rushdie is all over the film version of his acclaimed novel "Midnight's Children". He has

himself done the screenplay and also serves as the film's all-knowing narrator. Yet he says it's Indo-Canadian director Deepa Mehta's film. She "absolutely" took over once the script was done, Rushdie said in an interview on phone from New York, where both he and Mehta came for the special kickoff screening of the film in conjunction with the New York Indian Film Festival. "A film can be only one person's film and not two," he said. But they talked often on the telephone during the shoot. He went to Mumbai to help with casting, and from Sri Lanka, where much of the shooting took

place, Mehta sent him pictures every day, and he talked with the actors over Skype. Though the book is set in India and Pakistan, they chose to shoot in Sri Lanka as the cities depicted have changed beyond recognition. In many ways, Colombo made a better Mumbai than the real city does as more of the century-old architecture has survived there,Rushdie said. But some scenes were shot at the Dal Lake in Kashmir, Mumbai, Karachi and Agra too. "How else can you show a man cycling past the Taj Mahal if not shoot in Agra?" he asked. The allegorical tale on the partition of

Cast: Satya Bhabha, Shahana Goswami, Rajat Kapoor, Seema Biswas, Shriya Saran, Siddharth Ronit Roy, Rahul Bose, Samrat Chakrabarti, Kulbushan Kharbanda, Charles Dance, Soha Ali Khan, Zaib Shaikh, Shabana Azmi, Anupam Kher and Darsheel Safary.

India told through mysteriously intertwined lives of two babies switched at birth as India attains freedom at midnight on Aug 15, 1947 will be released in the US beginning with New York on April 26. It will be followed by Los Angeles and Washington DC (May 3), and other cities over the next weeks. Rushdie said at first he was hesitant about doing the screenplay adaptation himself as "I am a novelist and not a professional screen writer". But Deepa was very persuasive and convinced him to do it as she feared no one else could do it justice given its almost intim- idating pedigree - having won both the Booker of Bookers and the Best of the Bookers. In the end he was glad that he did it. Screenplay writing was a very collaborative affair. First both Mehta and Rushdie made separate lists of what to keep and what to dis- card from the novel with a staggering scope, from 1917 to 1974, and 62 locations from Karachi to Kashmir to Old Delhi to Bombay.


Dazzling Deepa recreates Mughal-e-Azam

By Kersi Meher-Homji

from all nationalities are interested in kathak and would like to learn it as a form of expression. Australia is a young country and there is a potential to be tapped.”

passion and experimenting with various art form to include them in my dance. I have performed at various platforms in Sydney and at the Parliament House in Canberra.

admire all artists who in their respective fields have been able to create a fusion between classical and modern forms and cater to the requirement of modern day, fast-paced audience.”

T here is always something different

when India Club organises Mehfil-e-

sham in Epping, Sydney. This time


the theme was Golden Moments as Suhas Mahajan, Vinod Rajput and Reena Mehta made us feel nostalgic with songs from the 1960s and 70s. The icing on the cake was stunning kathak dancing by Deepa Arora whose daz- zling footwork mesmerised the audience. She started off with the spectacular dance from Mughal-e-Azam as she mimed Lata Mangeshkar singing Jab pyar kiya to darna kya. Dressed in a shimmering cos- tume, Deepa exhibited bold facial expres- sions with kathak dance steps to match. The effect was breathtaking. This was followed by delicate dance steps in the Umrao Jaan number Dil Cheez kya hai and as a climax, a song from Dil Hi to Hai (Nigahen milane ko jee chahtaa hai). The final dance item needed versatile free- flowing body movements along with fast music and rhythm. It was a pleasure interviewing her after the Mehfil. “My initiation in kathak was totally the result of my mother’s encouragement and dream to see me on an international plat- form since I was born. I started learning dance from a private tutor at home at the age of four, who, within a year, noticing my talent recommended that I join Kathak Kendra, New Delhi to pursue formal educa- tion in this field. I was associated with this institute for nine years and completed my Masters in Lucknow Gharana. During these nine years, I had dance classes every evening which made me a disciplined dancer and a disciplined person. During my training years, I gave several stage per- formances in India.”

Any music/dancing in your family? “Both my parents had keen interest in classical art forms and would not miss to

“Along with dance, I have persued my passion for event choreography. Recently I choreographed the Miss & Mrs India Australia and am official choreographer for the Mr India Australia competition which will be held in July. “With not much spare time on hand, I love to spend it with my family and experi- ment with cooking which they absolutely love.”

Your favourite singers/dancers? “Having grown among renowned dancers, musicians and artists, I have

When did you start Sanskriti? “My main aim is to keep kathak as an art form alive among present and future generations. Over the years I have been able to infuse kathak with a modern touch which has caught the attention of students and audience who are keen to learn this classical art form. I have been imparting the knowl- edge through classes and workshops in India and Australia for the last six years. However, I have been getting many requests from parents and I felt that I needed to start an organised and sequenced methodol- ogy of teaching which would be interesting and thus Sanskriti was born. I am really encouraged by the level of interest it has generated and am taking classes with stu- dents ranging from school kids to adults. Having years of experience and per- forming with various artists, I have created compositions using this art form in both its traditional and modern form. Sanskriti aims to impart modern-dance training to its stu- dents and teach them the concepts of Nritta (technique aspect), Abhinaya (emotional aspect) and Mudra (artistic representation of hands and fingers) which put together con- stitute dance. My main objective is to polish and produce dancers who can, through their performances, create different moods in the minds of spectators and make a mark for themselves.

Anything else you would like to add? “Dance is not merely a physical activity; it involves strong mental focus and discipline. Dancers cannot express themselves unless they are tuned towards their goal to learn and express. I like to share my experiences and expertise with students who are keen to learn kathak in its original and modern style which is used not only in Bollywood but in other art forms as well to portray expression and feel- ings. I thank everyone who has given me the opportunity to showcase my passion and tal- ent in India and Australia.” Thank you, Deepa. May you spread your wings fur- ther and higher!

been in awe of their contribu- tion to Indian culture. Pandit Birju Maharaj, Yamini Krishnamurty,
been in awe
Khan, Ustad Zakir
are just

Is dance teaching your sole profes- sion? “Dancing is not my sole profession but is my biggest passion since I was a child. I have a commerce degree and am also a fashion designer (from NIFT, New Delhi). At present I am working as an Office Manager with a Swedish Multinational corporation. I like to utilise my free time in following my

watch famous dancers performing on stage. They never compromised on providing me with the best training. Similarly, my hus- band Vikram does not come from an artistic background but he has always appreciated my talent and was the main driving force for me to continue my passion for dance in Australia. He is confident that I will be able to fulfill my aim to spread our tradition (Sanskriti) to young kids from all communi- ties who have a passion to dance.”

At India Club organised Mehfil-e- sham, Deepa Arora, a trained Kathak dancer, started off with the spectacular dance from Mughal-e-Azam as she mimed Lata Mangeshkar singing Jab pyar kiya to darna kya. This was followed by delicate dance steps in the Umrao Jaan number Dil Cheez kya hai and as a climax, a song from Dil Hi to Hai (Nigahen milane ko jee chahtaa hai).

in the Umrao Jaan number Dil Cheez kya hai and as a climax, a song from

Your gurus, mentors? “Pandit Birju Maharaj, the leading exponent in kathak, was the Director of Kathak Kendra when I started learning. I was very fortunate to be mentored by him along with my guru Bharti Gupta and Reba Vidyarthi who were my main source of inspiration. I constantly improved and matured under their guidance as they taught

me not only to enjoy dance but to use it as


medium to bring out my own individual

style, using my imagination and creativity.”

When did you arrive in Australia? “After my first visit to Australia in

2000, I fell in love with Sydney and perma- nently moved here in 2003 with my family.


was in my late 20s and a full time mother

to my 2 year-old daughter Khushi. I have travelled extensively to explore this beauti- ful country. Making Sydney my home, I realised that not only Indians but students





Indian Seniors laugh, sing and connect during Seniors’ Week

By Neena Badhwar

I s there any stopping for members of Indian Seniors Group Hornsby (ISGH) to do things amidst the technological

revolution the world faces today? Not real- ly, as The Indian Down Under found out at the Pennant hills Leisure and Learning Centre during the Seniors’ Week. The members were being given a detailed presentation on how the young as well as the older seniors could stay in touch with each other through technology and interact through social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, My Space and YouTube. The presentation given by Mahesh Trivedi of True Blessings, who also teach- es at UTS, Sydney, introduced the audi- ence to the joys of Facebook and Twitter and Blogging – so that they feel connected to the world and “not just sit and chant the name of God as you are just about to go up in the heavens since you are old…,” said Mahesh. “You may be old…but you are not out…as the world is your oyster. Do not be afraid, as nothing gets destroyed or dam- aged in computers. Be bold and go ahead and join the social media which is now quite active with seniors as more than 50 per cent among them are now either blog- ging, Facebooking and are on LinkedIn where they are able to find part time work in the area of their expertise,” says Mahesh. He adds that he could never ever imag- ine publishing a book, but he did, with the help of Kindle and now has his eyes set on making it the most sold book. Mahesh says that all the material came from the people who connected to his blog – Esatsang and True Blessings – which gave him enough

That was not all as Kylie Willows, a trained teacher from Laughter Yoga Australia, did
That was not all as Kylie Willows, a
trained teacher from Laughter Yoga
Australia, did a Laughter Yoga session
with the seniors. Kylie believes that laugh-
ter yoga is about getting in touch with your
natural and healthy desire to laugh freely
and that the exercises help seniors to
release stress and help achieve overall
physical and mental well being. Isn’t that
what we want to achieve in our old age –
stay active, laugh a little and socially inter-
act with our friends…the ISGH, during the
Seniors Week, achieved all these.
I am sure, all the seniors went home
Kylie Willows, a trained teacher from
Laughter Yoga Australia, did a Laughter
Yoga session with the seniors.
book ‘True Blessings’.
President of ISG, Hornsby, Dave
Passi, also of IT background, is slowly yet
surely guiding all the members of the asso-
ciation towards the technological era and
says, “It is important to be part of the
social network rather than isolating oneself
during the aging years. We must stay
active not just physically but mentally as
well as there is a lot more to learn from the
net and stay connected to the world out
there, your friends and family.”
As members mixed and mingled over
lunch there were other activities planned
such as ‘who will be able to make the best
‘mummy’ – not the Indian type but
Egyptian - of their partner using toilet
paper rolls’. In two rounds of the game
there were two winners – Mr and Mrs Behl
and Santosh Verma and her friend Lalita.
Maritime Museum commissions a film on Indian Australians T he Australian National Maritime has commissioned
Maritime Museum commissions
a film on Indian Australians
T he Australian National Maritime has
commissioned a film on Indian
Australians to share their stories in a

short film to be screened in its major new exhibition East of India – Forgotten trade with Australia opening in June. Sydney based filmmaker Anupam Sharma of Film & Casting Temple is directing and producing the film as his crew got busy with shoots all over Australia of Indians playing Holi at Darling Harbour and at Indo Aus Bal Bharati Hindi School, life at NSW Uni, a Mundan ceremony in South Australia and talking to a family of three generations of Indians in Australia and many more interesting aspects of Indians settled here. The film is intended to present the con- temporary relationships between India and Australia, with a focus on the personal stories of Australians with Indian heritage. Exhibition Curator Michelle Linder said, “We are very excited to be working with Anupam Sharma in developing and producing

an entertaining and informative short film. The film will play an important role in our forthcoming exhibition. The team at Film & Casting Temple has brought their knowledge of Indian culture and links with the Indian community across Australia to the project.” Anupam Sharma said “To be commis- sioned to direct such an important film about life today for Indian Australians is both a great honour and a great responsibility. My team and I are excited to be involved in this project, as we demonstrate the multilayered and multi faceted relations between India and Australia”. East of India - Forgotten trade with Australia tracks Australia’s colonial links with India, the power and monopoly of the English East India Company, and its inevitable decline. It's a tale of ships and shipwrecks, rice and rum, officers and offi- cials, sailors, soldiers and servants and will run 1 June - 18 August 2013. Indian Australians from all walks of life

Anupam Sharma

are asked to contribute their experiences of life in Australia – both good and bad - to the film. For further information and to register

your interest to be interviewed email the






Holi Hullad raises funds for 351 cataract eye operations By Ananya Soni P hilanthropy ‘is
Holi Hullad raises funds for 351
cataract eye operations
By Ananya Soni
P hilanthropy ‘is a desire to improve
the welfare of humanity’. In
Australia, philanthropic collections
Holi Hullad has in the last three years
collected and donated funds for 16
Rickshaws, $1000 to Queensland Relief
Fund, 57 Sewing machines and Sewing
Certificate Courses for slum girls in
Delhi helping them to empower them-
selves, $1100 to Cambodian Children
Trust, $9,200 to Vision Beyond Aus and
$2,750 to Diabetes Council Australia. It
is not the effort of three individuals but a
united community that has come forward
and has generously supported Holi
Hullad and helped raise over $24,000 in
these three years the amount duly passed
on to the nominated charities in India and
Australia and receipts issued to everyone
who have donated.

amount to around $11 billion annually and volunteers contribute some 836 mil- lion hours annually, according to a 2005 report by the Department of Families and Community Services. This represents significant social investment in Australia that is independent of investment by gov- ernments. An analysis of data from a recent Gallup WorldView poll has shown that Australia, along with New Zealand, is the most generous of the 153 countries surveyed, based on the proportion of population giving money to charity, vol- unteering time and helping a stranger. We contribute a drop in the ocean as far as the Indian community Down Under is concerned, in spite of being at the fore- front of being well off in Australia. Holi Hullad 2013 on April 12, organ- ised by ILASA, The Indian Down Under newspaper and Voice of India – Monika Geetmala helped collect 351 Eye Cataract Surgeries for the eye camps by Vision Beyond Aus run by Australian Indian doctors in India. Vision Beyond Aus has done enor- mous amount of work conducting over 2,000 eye operations through Camps they have held in Rishikesh, Tughlakabad in Delhi, Garvadi in Tiruchirapalli and also Ayodhya and in Burma,. In future they plan to go to Cambodia and Kolkata and are looking at a target of 400,000 eye operations in the next five years. “In Rishikesh and some of the areas we have worked in have a high incidence of treatable cataract and vision impair- ment amongst the poor. We need volun- teers, doctors, equipment or simply money which is as little as $28 for a cataract eye operation to help achieve the goal we have set out for ourselves,” says Dr Singh. This year Holi Hullad also collected funds for the Diabetes Council of Australia. Dolly Soni and Shikha Natasha worked hard to bring sponsors, support- ers and the community for the cause as Indian community rank quite high as dia- betes sufferers in Australia both in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Besides charitable work, the evening was also to celebrate Holi. And indeed it was a fun-filled night at the Parravilla Function Centre in Parramatta, with plenty of singing and dancing and a pro- fessional fashion show choreographed by Deepa Arora of Sanskriti School of Dance. In the end there was an entertain- ing song quiz hosted by Vinod Rajput and Shailja Chandra. The program was emceed by Amit Grover who kept all entertained throughout the evening. Holi Hullad highlighted everyone’s altruistic nature as they all chipped in by

Dr Shailja Chaturvedi, doing great work in Rishkesh committing to one, two, some 10 and
Dr Shailja Chaturvedi, doing great work in Rishkesh
committing to one, two, some 10 and
others 20 eye operations. Chandru Tolani
topped it all with a pledge of 101 eye
operations. Kamal Athwal of Parravilla
Function centre has been a strong sup-
porter of the event making sure plenty of
food was available and has not only
donated himself for the last three years
but also brought in his friends to commit
to charity. Patel Brothers bought the
pearl necklace auctioned on the night.
Tuli Jewelers donated two pearl neck-
laces for auction, Australian Opal Cutters
donated opal set, Milan Bazaar Thandai,
Curry Masters their curry mixes, Sabzee
in Harris Park offered fruit for fruit plat-
ter, Royal India dinner for two, Jack
Tolani gifts for participants and Radio
Dhoom sound system and DJ. It was a
concerted effort by all the community,
business community and artists for Holi
Hullad to have been a success for three
years in a row.
Holi Hullad not only has helped
enable an annual platform to help people
in need but also brought together com-
munity members and the business com-
munity to achieve its goal. In the past it
has helped Delhi University students to
provide for rickshaws, empowered poor
women in slums by distributing sewing
machines and organizing lessons in
sewing. Holi Hullad has every year
picked a local as well as an Indian chari-
ty which is doing genuine work. Holi
Hullad team personally delivers to
these charities the money collected mak-
ing sure the programs promised are exe-
cuted as well. If one person donates it
helps a little bit but together the impact
can be manifold. The team at Holi
Hullad invites people to come forward
with genuine charities they have come
across in India, in their hometown where
they have been personally involved or
even here who are doing work like the
Sydney doctors of Vision Beyond Aus.
People who donated eye surgeries
are: Chandru Tolani, Kamal Athwal,
Sheba Nandkeolyar, Sue Advani, Aruna
Chandrala, Amarinder Bajwa, Usha
Puri, Mala Mehta, Rekha Rajvanshi,
Manbir Kohli, Shailja Chandra, Madhu
Chaudhary, Dr Prabhat & Neena Sinha,
Preeti & Dinesh Thadani, Sneh Gupta &
Dr Vijay Gupta, Piush & Sarika Gupta,
The Indian Down Under newspaper,
Sanjiv Raja, Global Women Network,
Dharminder Singh, Lalit & Neelu
Anand, Aruna Gupta, Geeta Gupta,
Meena Mahanty, Cheeky Bites, Crowne
Enterprises, Sanjay Deshwal, Maya Da
Dhaba, Kamini Shani, billu’s Indian
Eatery, Sharma’s Kitchen, Giner
Restaurant, Kamlesh Chaudhary, Best &
Less Travel, Poonam Bali Chibbar,
Lata, Kiran Asija, Janki Advani
Bhandari, Dr Mehta, Murali Bhojwani
and Sol Voron.
In all 351 Eye Surgeries were donat-
ed while $2,500 went to Diabetes
Council of Australia.
Vison Beyond Aus’ benevolent work
does not end with once a year evening by
Holi Hullad Charity Night as we need to
increase community awareness and col-
lectively help the team of doctors at
Vision Beyond Aus who have spent valu-
able time in helping restore eye sights for
people who cannot afford. Many people
in India and other countries are so poor
that they cannot afford even an eye check
up. When these Eye Camps are held,
they walk miles and even sleep outside in
the open waiting for their turn to get
checked up and operated. It is only $28
for a cataract operation and it will go a
long way for a person who will get a lost
vision back. Pledge of 350 cataract oper-
ations is still a long way away from the
set target.
Vision Beyond Aus have a website
that provides more information: . You can
also pledge support by calling 1300 554
409. And do spread the word!
Dr Indie Singh giving an audio visual presentation about Eye Camps in India



Community May-June 2013 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 31
Community May-June 2013 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 31
Community May-June 2013 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 31
Community May-June 2013 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 31
Community May-June 2013 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 31



Multicultural leaders honored by Premier A lthough the Indian community made its presence felt at
Multicultural leaders honored by Premier
A lthough the Indian community made
its presence felt at Premier’s
Harmony Dinner with opera singer
Heather Lee looking gorgeous in a sari as
she sang Australian national anthem in her
beautifully trained soprano voice, not even
one Indian member made to Premier’s hon-
our list this year.
On April 10, NSW Premier Barry
O’Farrell honoured five citizens for their
exemplary service to the multicultural com-
munity in NSW.
Mr O’Farrell presented the inaugural
Premier’s Multicultural Community Medals
at the annual Premier’s Harmony Dinner in
“NSW has one of the most culturally-
diverse communities in the world – it’s our
diversity and harmony that makes us the
envy of the world,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“Our multicultural community is also
one of our biggest assets – with a population
coming from more than 180 countries, there
is no language or culture that is unfamiliar
when NSW businesses engage with the
Minister for Citizenship and
Communities Victor Dominello described
the five medal recipients as “heroes of mul-
Some Indian guests at the Multicultural Dinner posing with Minister Victor Dominello.
“We are all indebted to each of these
heroes of multiculturalism for their service
to community harmony and their assistance
in the successful settlement and integration
of thousands of people who have chosen to
make NSW their home.”
More than 700 people attended the
Harmony Dinner at Doltone House in
Pyrmont as the Premier presented
Community Medals to: Ms Maha Krayam
Abdo, OAM, for her extensive service to
the Islamic community and support for
women of many cultures. She works tire-
lessly to promote inter-cultural and inter-
faith dialogue; Mr John Caputo, OAM, for
outstanding service to the Italian community
and broader Australian community, includ-
ing serving as patron to numerous commu-
nity and sporting organizations; Mr Hudson
Chen, OAM, for his leadership in the
Chinese and broader Australian communi-
ties. He has helped raise more than $1 mil-
lion for disaster relief and community char-
ities; Mr Ernie Friedlander, OAM, for serv-
in 1970 and served 18 years in the
Legislative Council, and Wadim (Bill)
Jegorow AM MBE: foundation president of
the Ethnic Communities Council of NSW
and contributed to the establishment of
“The recipients of the Premier’s
Multicultural Community medals and those
inducted into the state’s Multicultural
Honour Roll all have something in common
– a dedication to building harmony and
unity in our community,” Mr Dominello
“With one-quarter of our citizens born
overseas and about 260 languages spoken
here, tonight’s Harmony Dinner has been a
magnificent celebration of the importance
of our cultural diversity, one of our state’s
greatest assets.
“This annual event is now a permanent
part of our calendar of significant events in
NSW and it will grow to become one of the
major events of the year in this state”, Mr
Indian community workers who have
actively participated and worked for multi-
cultural community in a positive way.
The world
sprints but
Liberals crawl
with NBN
A s the world moves ahead and
Internet becomes our mainstay
in daily lives with networking,
ices to the Jewish community and for being
a driving force in creating community har-
mony through organising events connected
Dominello said.
And to our Indian community! Next
year make sure to put in nominations on
behalf of selfless
to Harmony Day; Mr Jon Soemarjono for
his commitment and provision
of extensive welfare services to
Heather Lee singing the national anthem
at Premier’s Harmony Dinner
the Indonesian community, the
promotion of its culture and
promotion of inter-faith dia-
Dinner the Premier also
announced that three more
names were inducted
posthumously to the
Multicultural Honour Roll
established in 2012. They
are: Ulla Bartels: formed
the South-East Asian
Community Assistance Centre
which then grew in size and
scope to become the
Cabramatta Community
Centre; Francesco (Frank)
Calabro AM: the first Italian
born member of the NSW
Parliament. He was elected
socializing, seeing movies at home on
those big screens, streaming, down-
loading music, talking on Tango, Viber
and Skype, Liberals have come up with
a limiting proposal for the Broadband
Network at 100 Megabytes a second, a
mere two times faster than the present
capacity. Now compare that to
Singapore and South Korea which are
aiming for 80X…yes 80 times faster at
one Gigabyte per second speed. Are we
moving forward or going ‘down
At least the Gillard Government is
proposing 8X times faster speed at 100
Mega Bytes per second for the National
Broadband Network (NBN), although
lagging our Asian neighbours’ future
plans but not ridiculously retrograde as
the Liberal’s plan.
More and more Australians are
reading news as it happens, playing
games, shopping online, studying
through virtual class rooms, using
smart phones. Do we want to be left
behind the rest of the world as it moves
into an era of talking cars, fridges,
microwave ovens and holographic
images and 3D image projection in our
family rooms. We have to move for-
ward with futuristic technology which
is bound to surround us whether we
like it or no
Hindi Language teachers at the Multicultural Dinner


A charming singer, Shreya Ghoshal Though famous as a Bollywood singer, Shreya is the only
A charming singer, Shreya Ghoshal
Though famous as a Bollywood singer, Shreya is the only singer I know whose
diction and pronunciation in regional languages is impeccable.
She was on a whirlwind Australia tour recently.
By K. Raman
S hreya Ghoshal was in town recently
intonation, diction and next to perfect pro-
nunciation of words in various Indian lan-
guages in which she sang with merit.
Shreya is the only singer I know whose dic-
tion and pronunciation in regional lan-
guages is impeccable. She took this compli-
ment humbly and said if one puts in hard
yakka it is not too hard to achieve success.
Commenting upon the perceived deteri-
oration of musical standard in Indian films
lately, Shreya attributed the change in
musical taste to listeners which is bound to
occur, she said. She did not forget to single
out Lataji as her favourite singer and said
that in her stage concerts she always makes
it a point to sing one or two of her favourite
Lata renditions.
Shreya has sung well over three hun-
dred songs in Malayalam, where she is
known as ‘Malayalthinde Kuyil’ (the
Nightingale of Malayalam). Malayalees
love her and believe sincerely that she was
supposed to be born in Kerala, but by some
error in God’s planning she landed at
Berhampur of West Bengal. Whatever it
may be, Keralites regard her as their own
Malayalam, Shreya said, was a hard
language to tackle because it is Sanskrit
based and clarity of word pronunciation
is achieved by the conglomeration of
numerous precise sounding words. She
seeks finer details on word intonation
from the Music Directors and works
hard on it till she attains perfection.
Touring, according to her, is hectic,
for example, she did three concerts on
three consecutive nights in three cities of
our sprawling country.
Speaking on her future, Shreya said,
she was pestered by her mum non-stop on
get married and settle down. She agrees to
that concept but currently, there was no
room left in her mind except music and so
be it, no changes in the status quo. “One
day it will happen,” she said.
Speaking on her good looks and chis-
(her third trip in three years) on her
last leg of a well-planned whirlwind
Australian tour. Her show held at The Hills
Centre on March 2 was a house full affair.
Accompanied by a male singer and a seven
member Orchestra, she presented 25 lilting
melodies, predominantly recently released
sensational numbers.
Shreya tried her best to sing in all
Indian regional languages but, as expected,
Hindi medium and Bollywood songs domi-
nated her repertoire. Her stage presence
was impeccable as she used the stage well
and maintained her rapport perfectly with
her backing group. She managed to keep
her audience under wrap, though they were
screaming with all sorts of requests as and
had no act-
all. The
her acting (that too in threatening
and embarrassing situations) was
her mother.
Shreya speaks with eloquence
and logic, with good choice of
words and has a pleasing disposi-
tion. In the cut throat and mud-
slinging singing field of
Bollywood, she remains untar-
nished and free of unpleasant gos-
sips. That itself is a Houdini act.
Keep it up Shreya.
she has,
when she finished a song. But very tactful-
ly she managed the show in her own way.
A very important feature of her presenta-
tion was her liberal use of ‘Manodharmam’
(improvisation) all through her rendition,
not an easy act to follow.
Earlier, on February 27, she met the
local media at Bavarchi Restaurant along
with her father Biswajeeth Ghoshal and
Tablist turned concert organiser Abhinav
Upadhyaya. Though experts correctly say
that Shreya is highly gifted, she said the
credit went to her mother, Sarmistha, and
her father. Shreya’s mother is a highly
trained and celebrated classical musician
and she did not leave any stone unturned to
inspire and instil in her daughter the intri-
cacies of classical music. Her father, a
Nuclear Physicist by profession, a loving,
caring and disciplined gentleman, played
his role as an ideal father to bring up his
daughter enriched with Indian values. She
also said, during the interview, that her
father was an exceptionally good cook.
As a keen music follower I was always
fascinated by Shreya Ghoshal’s gifts in
judicial use and perfect play with Tonics,
Both audiences and awards love her
Shreya Ghoshal
receiving the
National Award for
best Playback Singer
in 2009 from then
President Pratibha
G hoshal has been recognised with
multiple awards and nominations
for her work in music.
She won the National Film Award for
Best Female Playback Singer four times,
5 Filmfare Awards and 7 Filmfare
Awards South. Her hit songs include
Chikni Chameli (Agneepath), Ooh la la
(The Dirty Picture), Teri meri
(Bodyguard), Jaadu Hai Nasha Hai
(Jism), Agar Tum Mil Jao (Zeher), and
Dola Re Dola (Devdas).
Shreya Ghoshal is all set to judge reality show Indian Idol Junior 2013 along with music
composer duo Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani.


Colors of Holi Mahotsav L argest Holi Mahotsav in Australia is celebrated at Tumbalong Park
Colors of Holi Mahotsav
L argest Holi Mahotsav in Australia is
celebrated at Tumbalong Park at
Darling Harbour, Sydney where not
only thousands turn up from the communi-
ty, it is equally shared and celebrated by
local Australians as well as travelers from
around the world. Organised by Bhavan
Australia, on April 7, over 15,000 people
turned Sydney into a riot of colours and
enjoyed ceremonies, entertainment and
Now in its 11th year, Holi Mahotsav is
a 3-day event which Sydney can’t have
enough of, performing, participating,
cookery, meditation -- it is a cultural jour-
ney of India which has become a pride of
community – a showcase of everything
Indian in Sydney.
Suman Pruthi got a pleasant surprise on her 60th birthday from her
family. Here she is with her sisters Babli Khera and Kusum Sehgal.
Sonia Sadiq of GoWyld Events married Sohum Gandhi when guests were taken to a national park as a surprise location celebrity style



Tourism council to promote Aust-Ind travel

O ld passions die hard. A few former stalwarts in the travel trade have joined hands to promote networking

and tourism between Australia and India and have launched the Australia India Travel & Tourism Council (AITTC) on March 20 at the Grace Hotel in Sydney. The Council is the idea of Sandip Hor (AITTC Chairman), Shankar Dhar, former Regional Director India Tourism, Dale Woodhouse, Arnold De Souza, KK Gupta, former Air India manager, and Sanjeet and Asgar Ali from India. Following the launch, the Council’s immediate task will be to for- mulate a strategic plan, outline future direc- tion and identify initiatives to add value to both the industry and its members, Sandip Hor said. AITTC is a voluntary organisation that

has a vision to positively influence the bilat- eral tourist traffic between the two nations. It

is envisaged that its members will come from

a wide spectrum – from airlines, hotels, tour

operators, travel agents and media. The launch was attended by India’s High Commissioner Biren Nanda who commented that India-Australia relations stood at a happy juncture. There were strong people to people relationships, growing business opportunities and student representation. He said that there was a time when under Colombo Plan Indian students studied in Australia. The trend should now reverse with Australian students going to India, he said. A message from the Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson, read at the launch, said that the Australian government was committed to growing visitor numbers from India. “Organisations such as AITTC, which aim to provide travel and tourism between Australia and India, will play an important role in increasing the number of visitors. Through travel, we can increase cultural exchange and understanding between Australia and India and the economic bene- fits that accompany tourism,” the message

said. NSW government’s Member from Baulkham Hills, David Elliot, recognised the fact that Indian soldiers fought along side Australians in World War I. “Our relation- ship is on shared heritage,” he said. He high- lighted Premier Barry O’Farrell’s regular visits to India to build up a strong business relationship. The presence of award-winning film- maker Madhur Bhandarkar at the launch made the evening more interesting. He said that he and his team were in Australia to look at some suitable shooting locations in Sydney, Gold Coast and Perth. It was his first time in Australia and he absolutely found the scenic beauty of Australia amaz- ing, he said. In a short message, Madhur proposed an Australian tie-up by offering subsidies to Bollywood film makers to mutually benefit from the large potential the industry offers. The evening ended with a number of pre- sentations by sponsor Sumo Global.

with a number of pre- sentations by sponsor Sumo Global. (From Left): Bollywood film director Madhur

(From Left): Bollywood film director Madhur Bhandarkar with Vijay Kumar, Sandeep Hor and Indian High Commissioner Biren Nanda

Kumar, Sandeep Hor and Indian High Commissioner Biren Nanda (From Left): Nihal Gupta, Sandeep Hor, Indian

(From Left):

Nihal Gupta,

Sandeep Hor,

Indian High


Biren Nanda,

Member for


Geoff Lee,

and Phillip


Survey confirms strength of Australia-India ties

F oreign Minister Bob Carr welcomed a major opinion poll out on April 17 which

has confirmed public support in India for a strong and growing rela- tionship with Australia. The survey by the Lowy Institute for International Policy and the Australia India Institute indicates Indians see Australia as good place to visit, live, work and study. Australia is viewed as a country that is friendly to India, with attrac- tive values, strong educational insti- tutions and a sound political sys- tem. Foreign Minister Bob Carr acknowledged the contribution both organisations had made towards the bilateral relationship between Australia and India. “This report focuses on our shared values and interests which have seen Australia’s relationship with India develop into one of our key strategic and economic partner- ships in the region,” Senator Carr said. “It is gratifying to see positive results of Indian feelings towards

Australia, Indian judgments of the quality of Australia’s education sys- tem, and Indian views on working with Australia in our shared neigh- bourhood. “Building on the ties between both our peoples is an integral com- ponent of that partnership – in our relations with India, and in the Australia in the Asian Centre White Paper as a whole.” Senator Carr acknowledged there were elements of the relation- ship where Australia needed to do more. The report noted lingering con- cerns regarding the issue of safety for Indian students in Australia but showed the overall perception that Australia’s education standards was strong, with 75 per cent of Indians seeing Australia as a good place to be educated. Australia’s Indian community of more than 450,000 is our fastest growing migrant community and India is our second-largest source of international students.

The report is available at:

students. The report is available at: Australian Foreign Minister Hon. Bob Carr speaks to media

Australian Foreign Minister Hon. Bob Carr speaks to media at a press conference with Indian Minister for External Affairs, Salman Khurshid after a bilateral meeting during Mr. Carr's visit to India early this year. (Picture by Graham Crouch)


Children’s Corner

By Esther Chaudhry-Lyons Children's Corner

By Esther


Children's Corner


Emperor Ashoka

T he grandson of

Chandragupta – the founder

of the Mauryan dynasty –

and the son of Bindusara, came to the throne in 268 B.C. He died in 233 B.C. Ashoka was a brave sol- dier. He was the most famous of the Mauryan kings and was one of the greatest rulers of India. During his father's reign, he was the governor of Ujjain and Taxila. Emperor Ashoka extended the Maurya Empire to the whole of India except the deep South and the south-east, reaching as far as Central Asia. After eight years of rule, he waged a fierce war against the kingdom of Kalinga (Orissa of today). Ashoka succeeded in con-

quering Kalinga after the bloody war in which 100,000 men were killed, 150,000 injured and thou- sands were captured as slaves. The sight of the slaughter involved in his conquest deeply distressed Ashoka. This was a turning point in his life. He was so horrified at the carnage he had caused that he gave up violence and turned to Buddhism. He renounced war and started follow- ing the Buddhist preachings of love and ahimsa (non-violence). He gave up hunting and slaughter- ing of animals and became a strict vegetarian. He sent missionaries to countries as remote as Greece and Egypt; his own son, a monk, carried Buddhism to Sri Lanka,

Emperor Ashoka

to countries as remote as Greece and Egypt; his own son, a monk, carried Buddhism to


O n a bright sunny day a host of doves

decided to fly in search of food. They

flew over cities and villages till they

came to an open space with rich green grass between banyan trees. “Hey, look down there! I can see some food-grains scattered amongst the grass,” cried the youngest dove in the flock. “I am hungry and tired of flying. Let us get down and enjoy the grains now.” And he flapped his wings with joy while trying to descend down to the ground. “Wait!” shouted the leader of the flock. “There may be some trap laid down there for us. Why should anyone throw grains for the birds in this isolated area, far from the city and village?” “Stop being suspicious. This must be a picnic area, and someone must have thrown the left overs,” one of the young doves from amongst the flock said. “Let us waste no more time. I am hungry too,” said another dove. “Well, if you all insist and are so hungry that you do not mind risking your lives, we shall get down to the earth and feast on those grains,” said the leader, an elderly dove. Soon the flock of doves was on the ground enjoying the grains. It tasted great after long tiring flight and hunger. Suddenly, as if from nowhere, a net came down on them and they were all trapped under it. “We are caught in a trap! Oh Lord save us,” cried the flock of doves in great anxiety. “I told you to be careful, didn’t I,” said the leader, “anyway, don’t panic. God helps those who help themselves. Our freedom is in our hands. Unity is our only hope and strength. Stay calm and let me think fast.” After a little thought he said again, “I have an idea. We must all act together. We shall all

fly up, carrying the net with us.” Each dove picked up a part of the net in its beak and then, all together they fluttered their wings and flew up. The hunter who was coming to get his catch stood amazed at the sight of the flying doves with the net and all. He tried with no success to chase after them with the hope that the net and the doves would fall down. But the doves flew higher and higher when they saw him running after them. The leader took his companions to the top of a small mountain and over the bank of a river where his friend mouse lived. As soon as the net with the doves was down on the bank of the river, the leader called out to his friend. “What has happened?” the mouse called as he came out of his home. “Why are you yelling so desperately?” “We are entrapped by a cruel hunter. Now only you can save us from our captivity by chewing the net off us,” the leader said plead- ingly. The mouse called out to his other friend mice and soon they cut the net with their sharp teeth and freed the birds one after another. The leader preferred to be freed last as he said that the leader has to think of the others first before his own self. He said his duty was to protect those under his responsi- bility before he was to be protected and saved from the danger. The doves all thanked the mice and then with great flapping sound of wings rose into the sky towards their homes, happy and safe. Unity and team work is always the greatest strength of all, not muscle and material gains. One must have friends and trust each other so one can work in unity and harmony to get peace of mind and strength.

gains. One must have friends and trust each other so one can work in unity and
Map of Ashoka Empire It was because of Ashoka that the idea of non-violence (Ahimsa)

Map of Ashoka Empire

It was because of Ashoka that the idea of non-violence (Ahimsa) was established in India. In 1947 Gandhiji was able to bring about the independence of India through the philosophy of Non-violence. Ashoka built the Grand Trunk Road running from the north to the south of India. He built rest houses and wells, planted trees for shade on the sides of the road for the travellers. In spite of Ashoka's vigorous exertions of faith, he was tolerant of other religions. The empire enjoyed remarkable prosperity

of other religions. The empire enjoyed remarkable prosperity The Ashoka Chakra, featured on the flag of

The Ashoka Chakra, featured on the flag of the Republic of India

during his reign. To his ideas Ashoka gave the name Dharma. The capital atop of Ashoka pillar in Sarnath, inspired the use of back-to-back lions as India’s national emblem. The 24-spoked Ashoka-chakra, "Dharma Chakra" on the Ashoka Pillar has found its way into the Indian national flag. The name "Ashoka" means "with- out sorrow" in Sanskrit. In his edicts he is referred to as "Devaanaampriya" or "The Beloved of the Gods of Heaven”.

You Can't Please


O ne day a man was going to market with his son and his ass. They met a couple on

the way. "Why walk when you have an ass to ride?" called out the husband, "seat the boy on the ass". "I would like that," said the boy, "help me up father." And the father did that willingly. Soon they met another couple. "How shameful of you!" cried the woman, "let your old father ride, won't he be tired?" So, the boy got down and the father rode the ass. Again they marched on. "Poor boy", said the next person they met, "why should the lazy father ride while his son is walking?" So, the boy got onto the ass too. As they went on, they met some trav- ellers. "How cruel of them!" They are up to killing the poor ass," cried one of the travellers. Hearing this, the father and the son got down. Now they decided to carry the ass on their shoulders. As they did so, the travellers broke into laughter. The laughter frightened the ass. It broke free and galloped away.

frightened the ass. It broke free and galloped away. where it is still the major religion.

where it is still the major religion. Under his reign Buddhism spread to Syria, Egypt, Macedonia, Central Asia, and Burma. For spread of Buddhism, he started inscribing edicts on rocks and pillars at places where people could easily read them. These pillars and rocks are still found in India, spreading their message of love and peace for the last two thousand years.


and peace for the last two thousand years. 36 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER May-June 2013 MORAL:


You cannot please everyone

Santram's Grey Page

Just for Seniors By Santram Bajaj M arch was a busy month with vari- ous
Just for Seniors
By Santram Bajaj
M arch was a busy month with vari-
ous community associations,
Councils and the Government of
NSW celebrating ‘Seniors Week’ during
March 17-24 March.
I spoke to SBS Radio Hindi programme
presenter Kumud Merani as the President of
‘Australian Hindi Indian Association’
(AHIA) about the contributions of our asso-
ciation and other Indian associations in
Sydney. It gave me an opportunity to inform
SBS listeners about AHIA activities to help
the seniors in their social, cultural and emo-
tional needs as monthly meetings, picnics,
cruises, seminars, specialists’ talks and other
activities are regularly organised for them.
Members come from all corners of Sydney
to attend these meetings.
This is being done without any govern-
ment financial help to us.
During Senior’s Week, there were talks,
seminars, IT workshops, stage events, enter-
tainment, walks with family members, pic-
nics and Premier’s three Gala Concerts at the
Sydney Entertainment Centre.
Seniors from different organisations
were given Achievement Awards by the
Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC)
With ‘Live Life!’ as the official motto of
the ADHC, an estimated 250,000 seniors
attended more than 900 events throughout
NSW during the Seniors’ Week; no wonder
age is not an hindrance in living gracefully.
The Federal Government, too,
announced some good news in the form of
pension increases for the seniors who are
From 20 March 2013 pension rates will
not only increase in line with cost of living
increases, but will also benefit from the
introduction of the Clean Energy
Supplement. This will result in an increase
of $35.80 per fortnight on a single Age
Pension and $54.00 a fortnight for pensioner
couples combined on the maximum rate. The
Clean Energy Supplement (CES) is “an
ongoing payment to help eligible households
with any impact from the carbon price on
everyday expenses… provided you are resid-
ing permanently in Australia,” according to
Federal Government guidelines.
The new maximum pension rates are
$733.70 (single) and $1106.20 combined for
pensioner couple.

Health & Well-being

Why fish oil should be a part of your diet

I t has omega 3 that reduces the risk of heart diseases. It reduces the levels of LDL cholesterol, which is bad

cholesterol, and increases the HDL lev- els or the good cholesterol. To protect the heart, one should eat food containing fish oil. Fish oil is good for hair, skin and can also combat diseases. A research in Australia has proved that fish consumption can be used to cure hypertension and obesity. The study has discovered that a weight-loss diet which includes a regular amount of fish consumption can be quite effective. People who are suffering from respi- ratory problems like asthma should eat food containing fish oil. Omega 3 fish oil can help prevent three of the most common forms of can- cer — breast, colon and prostate. Fish oil enhances the lustre of your hair. Omega three has properties that helps faster hair growth and prevents hair loss. Since most fish are rich in pro- tein, eating fish helps in keeping hair healthy. Fish oil helps in improving the con- dition of dry skin by making it shiny and glowing. It is useful in treating various skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, itching, and redness of skin, skin lesions and rashes.

Home remedies to cure indigestion

M ost people are known to overeat, especially when the food is irre- sistibly delicious.

Here are some remedies for digestion:

One of the most common remedies is to take two spoons of lime and ginger juice, and honey mixed in a glass of warm water, after your heavy-duty meal.

after your meal, will provide relief.

Another effective remedy is to have

a teaspoon of ajwain seeds along with a pinch

of black salt.

Mix a teaspoon of roasted cumin

(jeera) powder in a glass of water and drink it.

Drinking green tea or herbal tea

after your meal is a great way to aid in diges-

Add a teaspoon of roasted and


ground coriander seeds to a glass of butter

milk and have it. Munching a teaspoon of aniseed

Drink a glass of water to which a

few drops of peppermint extract has been


Add about two teaspoons of corian- der juice to a glass of buttermilk. Drinking this will provide relief.

If you know that you are planning to

pig out for a meal, chew on some fresh ginger slices with a pinch of salt. Doing this will help stimulate the digestive juices.

ice over your

stomach to seek relief. Add about a teaspoon of baking soda to half a glass of water and drink it. This is known to provide instant relief.

Place a packet


Turmeric/Curcumin: This is the king of spices when it comes to dealing with cancer dis- eases, besides it adding a zesty colour to our food on the platter. Turmeric contains the pow- erful Polyphenol Curcumin that has been clini- cally proven to retard the growth of cancer cells causing prostrate cancer, melanoma, breast can- cer, brain tumour, pancreatic cancer and leukemia amongst a host of others. (However, Cancer patients: Do not load your diet with turmeric or Curcumin supplements without doc- tor's consult or prescribed dosage). Fennel: Armed with phyto-nutrients and antioxidants, cancer cells have nothing but to accept defeat when the spice is fennel. 'Anethole', a major constituent of fennel resists and restricts the adhesive and invasive activities of cancer cells. It suppresses the enzymatic reg- ulated activities behind cancer cell multiplication Saffron: A natural carotenoid dicarboxylic acid called 'Crocetin' is the primary cancer- fighting element that saffron contains. It not only inhibits the progression of the disease but also decreases the size of the tumour by half, guar- anteeing a complete goodbye to cancer. Cumin: A portent herb with anti-oxidant characteristics, cumin seeds contain a compound called 'Thymoquinone' that checks proliferation

Goodness of Indian spices with cancer-fighting properties

of cells responsible for prostate cancerYou can rediscover the magic of cumin in your regular bowl of tadka dal and rice too! Cinnamon: A natural food pre- servative, cinnamon is a source of iron and calcium. Useful in reducing tumour growth, it blocks the formation of new vessels in the human body. Some of the effective ways of including cinnamon in your diet are:

Start your day with a cup of cinnamon tea (in leaf or sachet) Oregano: More than a pizza or pasta top- ping, oregano confirms its worth as a potential agent against prostate cancer. Consisting of anti- microbial compounds, just one teaspoon of oregano has the power of two cups of red grapes! Phyto-chemical 'Quercetin' present in oregano restricts growth of malignant cells in the body and acts like a drug against cancer-centric diseases.

Cayenne Pepper/Capsaicin (Chilli pep- pers): A promising spice with anti-cancer prop- erties, an overdose of chilli peppers however should be restrained. Capsaicin induces the process of apoptosis that destroys potential can- cer cells and reduces the size of leukemia tumour cells considerably. It can be concluded that apart from setting our tongues on fire, chilli peppers can scare cancer pathogens off too. Ginger: This humble spice boasts of medicinal qualities that help lowering cholesterol, boost metabolism and kill cancer cells. Easily added to vegetable dishes, fish prepa- rations and salads, ginger enhances the flavour in cooking. Chew on fresh parsley if the odour bothers you. Others: Cloves, anise, basil, garlic, car- away, fenugreek, mustard, mint leaves, rose- mary, Limonin (fresh lemon), virgin olive, vine- gar and avocado are other cancer-fighting diet components.

(Disclaimer: The Health tips in the article are taken from vari- ous well established and reliable sources and are given to you in good faith. However, readers are reminded to take care and con- sult their doctor if not sure, as no responsibility can be accept- ed by the writer of this column or The Indian Down Under).

ed by the writer of this column or The Indian Down Under). Top six salty foods

Top six salty foods you must NEVER have

T he American Heart

Association has revealed six

common foods that are major

sources of salt in our diets, includ-

ing bread, cured meats, pizza and sandwiches. Surprisingly the "salty six" doesn't include snack foods like chips, the association said. The Excess sodium could poten- tially raise blood pressure, thus increasing the risk for stroke and heart disease.

The "salty six" foods are:

1. Bread and rolls - One piece

of bread can have as much as 230

mg of sodium that adds up quickly if bread is consumed at every meal.

2. Old cuts and cured meats -

Cured meats have lot of sodium, and a serving of deli or pre-pack- aged turkey can have as much as

1,050 mg of sodium.

3. Pizza - One slice can have up

to 760 mg of sodium. 4. Poultry - Frozen breaded

chicken nuggets contain about

600 mg of salt, while even packaged raw chicken often contains added sodium. 5. Soup - A bowl of soup