Sydney celebrates Pravasi Bhartiya Divas and Vishwa Hindi Divas

Students of IABBV with Ekta Chanana, Kusum Chaudhary and Rekha Rajvanshi

By Neena Badhwar

Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was celebrated in Sydney on January 9, 2018 with around 80 people at the Consulate General of India. We are in Sydney around 200,000 in number but to see a function so sparse did not reflect the strong NRI community which makes one of the top skilled migration to Australia. One only has to travel from Parramatta and westward right up to Ponds where a huge Gujarati community has settled with local public school swelling with enrolment.

The Indian Consulate General needs to tap into this huge community and organise a PBD gathering on a larger scale than what it was on January 9 at the Consulate.

Anyway it was proud to see some enthusiastic young students of the IABBV Hindi school proudly reciting poems, some written by the students others of great poets such as Subhadra Kumari Chauhan who penned ”˜Khoob Ladi Mardani woh to Jhansi wali Rani thi’ which was fervently recited by the young Pavani Chanana. Guests sang along with her as she jogged their well kept memory based on the the struggle that helped free the motherland India. PBD conveniently aligns with Vishwa Hindi Diwas that gets celebrated worldwide on January 10 with an aim to promote Hindi language as an international language by the Government of India.

Master of Ceremonies Neha Rebello welcomed the guests and invited Consul Mr S. K. Verma to read Prime Ministser’s Modi’s message to NRIs worldwide who are more than 5 million in number. Neville Roach,  AO, Chairman Emeritus, AIBC and Chairman of the Advisory Board for Australia talked about the total dispossession of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders and the need to make up with them on issues of health, education helping to improve their life in Australia. He remembered how Prime Minister Modi spoke about the first residents of Australia first in All Phones Arena and also in the Australian Parliament House in 2014 when he asked NRIs to act in a positive way and focus and remain loyal to the country of their citizenship, “In terms of mindset he wants us to promote India to Australia in a positive way,” Mr Roach said.

Dr Harinath OAM, Chairman Parramasala and Chair Advisory Board Multicultural NSW said that we should make our Karmabhoomi as proud as our Janambhoomi.

Ms. Sheba Nandkeolyar, chair AIBC  mentioned that PM Modi considers NRIs not a ”˜brain drain’ but ”˜brain gain’ and that NRIs repatriate more than the Chinese non-residents.

Mohit Kumar, President of Council of Indian Australian of NSW Inc. emphasised the fact that as NRIs it is imperative that we stay rooted to India and important for us to give back to India by being truthful in promoting India to Australia.

Acting Consul General Chandru Appar appreciated the engagement of overseas Indians reminding that that there was over 2 billion dollars worth of remittance from Australia. He also outlined the achievements of Modi government and requested that all the NRIs here should visit Consulate’s home page on Facebook, “Please bring your kids on occasions such as 15th of August and 26th of January as it is important to inculcate youngsters and involve them.”

Ex-president of GOPIO, Australia, Harmohan Walia, talked about his journey as a migrant in Australia. Rekha Rajvanshi of Indian Literary and Arts Association recited a poem specially written for the occasion of PBD. Rekha mentioned though the interest in it was growing but Hindi as a subject needed to be available in more NSW schools. She welcomed Kusum Chaudhary, a senior Hindi teacher at IABBV to speak about teaching at the school.

Shaizy Singh read her poem ‘allow and unfold’ expressed beautifully by her recitation

Mrs. Chaudhary also recited a poem, an alumni of the school Shaizy Singh read a poem in English, ”˜Allow and Unfold’. The session followed with poetry recitation from Jayesh Nauriyal ”“ ”˜Koshish karnewalon ki kabhi haar nahi hoti’;  Aryan Jatyan ”“ ”˜Sapne’, Neha Sahni ”“ ”˜Ma’;  Ronen Gupta ”“ ”˜Hausla’; Stuti Doshi with her ”˜Nar nirash na karo man ko’; Arya Wadhwani with his ”˜Unche Utho’ and Hritwik Nauriyal ”“ ”˜Lagan hi humko jitati hai’.

Mr. Appar distributed certificates of appreciation to the children with snacks and tea served to guests as they mingled.

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