Scholar HC Dr. Gondane concludes his Oz sojourn

By Vijay Badhwar

Na manjil ko, na rahguzar ko dekhte hain,

Ajab safar hai ke hum humsafar ko dekhte hain

This is Indian High Commissioner Dr A M Gondane summing up his three-year term (that he calls ”˜journey’) in Australia.

“All of us are travelers in this world. Our journeys are what we make of them, which, in my case, was very pleasant due to all of you. I forgot to see what was my destiny as I (only) saw the beauty while travelling,” he said in his farewell speech to community representatives on September 17 at the Indian Consulate in Sydney.

“(In) The companionship I got everywhere travelling throughout Australia – capital cities and remote places like Alice Springs and Bundaberg, I wanted to share your thoughts, insights, your wisdom. This gave me energy,” Dr Gondane said.

Well known for his humility and easy approachability, Dr. Gondane said that public servants like him are to serve people, not masters. He quoted from the Indian Constitutions, that is the lodestar, the four basic principles of liberty, equality, fraternity and social justice.

He was hopeful for a sterling future for India. “Seventy two years is not a long time for a nation,” he said, “starting from extreme poverty and post-partition blues that affected body politics and ideologies”.

“With whatever resources we commanded, we have now hope. There was hopelessness, frustration in the 70’s that we have overcome. Now we know where we’re heading, (but) it’ll take time,” he said, adding that one resource we have in abundance is our people, their brainpower.

Dr. Gondane, then, shifted over in Hindi – ”˜Dil ki baatein nahin kahi ja sakti’ in English, saying tongue in cheek, that English bhasha in India, ”˜Aisi deeth hai, na jaati hai, na aati hai’.

He complimented the Indian community that everyone had the feel of the soil they came from, its flavours and were keen to do something for the country.

Dr. Gondane said that he asked for community’s time, their expertise, wisdom, which they gave, citing an example of doctors in Brisbane and Gold Coast, that their input in value-adding in Indian health system was much appreciated.

Earlier, many people reminisced their journeys with Dr. Gondane, how they had benefitted from his companionship.

Indian Consul General in Sydney, Manish Gupta, remembered that his association with Dr. Gondane went a long way back. He remembered the walks they had together in New York, but lamented that the High Commissioner was leaving as he had just arrived in Sydney.

Dr. Gondane had a stirling career, Mr. Gupta said, the highlights being PM Turnbull’s visit to India in 2017 and the Indian President’s visit to Australia in November 2018.

On personal front, he remembered Dr. Gondane as a calm, composed and a jovial personality. He personified ”˜Zindagi jinda dilli ka naam hai’, Mr Gupta said.

Community leaders were effusive in their praise for Dr. Gondane: Neville Roach remembering him as a gentleman and a scholar, Sheba Nandkeolyar recalling him as a seeker of knowledge and outcome driven, and Dr. Agar complimenting Dr. Gondane for his support for Bhartiya Sanskriti.

Kumud Merani struck the right chord with Dr. Gondane with an Urdu couplet: ”˜Dil se mar kar bhi nahin niklegi vatan ki ulfat, Meri laash se bhi khushboo vatan ki aayegee’.

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