Indians in the Queen’s Birthday Honour List

Australia Day Honours - Brij_Lal


Professor Brij Lal was made a Member of the Order of Australia, Member in the General division (AM) for his work on Pacific history and culture when the Queen’s Honours List was announced this Sunday on  June 7, 2015.

Other Indians who received Medals (OAM) in the General division are: Dr Ashim Kumar Majumadar for service to the Indian community in Queensland; Mr Hiro (Harry) Pamamull, Late of Toorak Victoria for service to the Indian community of Victoria and Dr Shiva Prakash, Kingswood NSW for service to medicine as general practitioner. Another illustrious Indian academic  Dr. Kamal Puri from Vermont Victoria received Public Service Medal for outstanding public service in meteorological science particularly Numerical Weather prediction.

Professor Lal was deported from Fiji in 2009 for his outspoken views when he condemned the Military coup d’etat  which deposed the government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase    on 5 December 2006. He said he was highly honoured and that it was tremendous to be recognised in such a way after being hounded out like a common criminal from the land of his birth.

Currently a Professor of Pacific and Asian History at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies  (RSPAS), Australian National University, Lal has previously lectured at The University of the South Pacific  in Suva, the University of Hawaii in Manoa  , and at the University of Papaua New Guinea. He is also a Visiting Professor at the University of the South Pacific and simultaneously, Head of the Centre for Diasporic Studies at the university of Fiji.

Among his many books are an autobiography,  Mr Tulsi’s Store: A Fijian Journey  (2001), which won the San Francisco-based Kiriyama Prize  in 2002. He is also the author of  Chalo Jahaji: On a journey through indenture in Fiji  (2000) and editor of Bittersweet: The Indo-Fijian Experience  (2004), the latter two recounting the history of the trials and triumphs of the Indo-Fijian  community. He is the present Editor of the Journal of Pacific History  and the Founding Editor of the literary journal, Conversations.

On 3 November 2005, it was announced that Lal had been awarded the inaugural Distinguished PAcific Scholar Award  by the UNESCO  -sponsored International Council for the Study of Pacific Islands  , in recognition of his research into Fijian and Pacific history. He has also written widely about the Indian Diaspora, including the history of indentured service.

Brij V. Lal has been honoured by the Fiji Millennium Committee for distinguished scholarship. He has also been named as one of the seventy people who have helped shape Fiji’s history    in the 20th century.

In the 1990s, Lal served as the nominee of the Leader of the opposition, Jai Ram Reddy  on the three-member Constitutional Review Commission, whose work culminated in the adoption of the present constitution  in 1997-1998.

Lal condemned the  military coupwhich deposed the government of Prime Minister Qarase    on 5 December 2006.  Lal was quoted  as saying that the coup was not different in essence from the two coups    staged by Sitiveni Rabuka  in 1987, or George Speight’s coup of 2000  . This time, however, race was not seen to be a factor, he said, unlike the previous occasions when ethnic issues were used, he claimed, as a scapegoat for other interests.

In November 2009, Lal discussed the ongoing political situation in Fiji after the expulsion of the Australian and New Zealand high commissioners, in an interview with Radi New Zealand  . Shortly afterwards he was taken into custody and questioned about his comments. During the questioning, Lal reported that he was subjected to foul language and advised to leave the country within 24 hours, which he did. Lal has subsequently clarified that he was expelled rather than being deported.

Australia Day Honours - Kamal Puri









Dr Kamal Puri is the Research Programme Leader of the Earth System Modelling Programme at the Bureau of Meteorology Research and Development section. Dr Puri has a PhD in Physics awarded by the University of Manchester (UK). As Programme Leader he has the responsibility for development of the Australian Community Climate and Earth System Simulator (ACCESS) which is a fully coupled earth system model developed in collaboration with CSIRO and support from the Australian Universities. The Bureau uses ACCESS as its operational numerical weather prediction model.

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