UIA Mela a historic and proud event for Australian Indians

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott at the fair

Nihal Gupta, Hon Phillip Ruddock, Geoff Lee MP Parreamatta, Victor Dominello NSW Minister for Citizenship and Communitites and Dr Hem Chander Rao

Neni Tiwari of Value World Travel with his group promoting value travel

By Vish Viswanathan and Manju Mittal

The Australia India Friendship Fair, an annual event in Sydney at the Sydney Olympics Park organised by United Indian Associations in celebration of the 66th Indian independence day on August 19, turned out to be a historic day with the presence of Australian Prime Minister,  Julia Gillard,  the Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, NSW Premier Barry O’ Farrell, John Robertson , NSW Leader of Opposition, Victor Dominello, NSW Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Mr. Biren Nanda High Commissioner for India and Mr. Arun Kumar Goel, Indian Consul General apart from scores of members of Parliament both State and   Federal to bring about one clear message – that the growing Indian community is not only recognised and respected but also considered to be a partner in building a multicultural Australia.

India Australia Friendship Fair is a shining example of unity, diversity and celebration of cultures, heritage, music and dance from the Indian sub continent. Not only that it demonstrated itself as an important platform for the politicians from both parties to voice their support and help cement the relation between India and Australia in front of the 10,000 strong Indian crowd.

The fair registered more than 15,000 people visit the precinct in the day-long activities starting with community parade led by the Senior citizens, children of Indo-Aus Bal Bharati Hindi school and many other associations proudly walking the ground with officials as crowd gathered cheering at the participants.

It was a historic and proud day being the first time that an Australian Prime Minister ever attended the annual community event. Both PM and Opposition Leader not only stated strongly with one voice  that Australian Indians are contributing to building Australia day by day but also confirmed their commitment to sell Uranium to India  in front of the huge audience at Sydney Olympics Park Athletic Centre. The announcement by both the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and NSW Premier Barry O’ Farrell that they are planning to visit India before the end of the year to promote trade and relations was warmly applauded by the huge crowds at the event.

The day was filled by food, fun and entertainment as various dance groups kept the stage alive with Bollywood songs and dance. Children and youth keenly presented dances, songs and classical items as proud parents, teachers and the crowd watched their performance.

Organiser and president of UIA Amarinder Bajwa and his team have done an excellent job of putting together one of the most comprehensive cultural programs presented at the mela by SBS Hindi radio host Kumud Merani as the elegant MC who kept the audience engaged.

Every year attendance has grown at the Mela which  has allowed wider community to better understand Indian culture, its art, music and food through hundreds of stalls that work hard for this day while the business community uses it as an opportunity to publicise themselves to the largest Indian crowd the day attracts. The UIA Friendship Fair is a great example of true multicultural spirit allowing our community to strengthen bonds and integrate itself into the Australian landscape. The growing Indo-Australian community, the locals, and the UIA committee along with invited guests ”“ politicians, diplomats and community leaders were a witness to this great fair promoting friendship to all.

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