Indians make up a powerful diaspora in the world that is 30 million strong

By Neena Badhwar

Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 2020 was celebrated in Sydney at the Indian Consulate General of India along with ‘Vishv Hindi Divas’ on January 9. Indian diaspora turned up to listen to panel discussion ‘Indian Diaspora – A bridge between India and Australia’ moderated by Dr. Neville Roach, chairman Emeritus, AIBC and advisor to Tata Consultancy Services; Dr. G. K Harinath OAM, chairperson Multicultural NSW; Sheba Nandkeolyar, Past President AIBC and Board Member Australia India Council and Dr. Raju, Post Doctoral Fellow, School of Mechanical and Manufacturing engineering, UNSW.

Before the panel discussion Manish Gupta Consul General of India in Sydney praised the achievements of Pravasis in Australia when he said, “We have a very powerful diaspora in the world, almost 30 million strong, that brings skills and expertise to the country they settle in and feel proud in passing on to the next generation through the umbilical chord that is rooted in India.”

He said in one of the PBD Celebration in India the government of India thought of inviting all the parliamentarians from the diaspora from all over the world when almost 200 turned up who were in parliament at the federal level.

He did mention the unfortunate fires that have engulfed Australia almost as big as the land mass of South Korea and that he is proud the way the Indian community has come forward to help.

Neville Roach in his address mentioned how the government had used diaspora as partner in helping develop by bringing our skill and values to the home country as well as act as honest brokers, a win-win situation for both “Our challenge is to promote both countries – India to do business in and provide Australia the skill shortage it has and Australia to provide study to Indians – a highly advanced country that has produced 13 Noble laureates.”

Dr. Harinath added that Cricket diplomacy with India can stand in good stead, “I suggested that with cricket in India, the second most populated country in the world, Australia is sitting on a gold mine. I said forget England and that Australia should consider India on its own rather than in the backdrop of China.”

His advice to the Indian community is, “Stop asking, give this, give that from Australian government, best way is to contribute and offer what we can. Then only you become part of the place.”

Sheba Nandkeolyar opined that migrants contribute by creating jobs thus feeding 1.3 trillion into the economy, “We can connect the youth of the two countries as the start-up culture is expanding in both the places, connecting the two will be good for both the countries.”

Dr. Raju talked about start ups in India around 20,000 of them that bring in five billion with a potential to go up to 5,000. He talked about start ups in Australia which are university based and are available that people are not aware of.

Vishv Hindi Divas was also celebrated a little later after the Bhartnatyam performance and poetry recitation by young students of IABBV Hindi School. Master Aditya Paul read a Dinkar poem on ‘Chuhe, Billi’; Stuti Joshi read ‘Apnepan ki chali hawayein’; Hritwik Naurial read ‘Na Ho Udaas’ followed by poems by Kusum Chaudhry and Varsha Daithankar. Varsha also read her piece on ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’ where she recounted her own process of going inward, thinking and acting on it by helping to make cup cakes for Leukemia Foundation, cleaning the world meant starting with cleaning her own room first, helping to recycle home waste and promising herself to not get angry by counting to five first. She said she is still trying to achieve that but has to, at times, count more than five.

The second panel session topic was – Hindi’s growing impact in Australia. Panel members who sat to discuss this topic were Mala Mehta OAM, Founder of IABBV Hindi School; Councillor Reena Jethi, Deputy Mayor, The Hills Shire, West Ward; Mrs. Kumud Merani, Head of SBS Hindi Radio and Rekha Rajvanshi, writer and Founder of ILASA (Indian Literary and Art  Society of Australia).

Mala Mehta moderated the panel when she talked about the first Hindi school set up over thirty years ago only to help teach her children as well as other children Hindi which she said could not have been possible without the support of parents who turned teachers, “Now that the curriculum has been set up at the NESA level, it is up to us how we take it forward. Our efforts have helped to introduce Hindi in seven public schools and it is also taught in five schools after school time by the IABBV teachers.”

Reena Jethi said that she invariably meets people, in her shire, 20 to 30 at a stretch of a kilometre who speak Hindi and that her council’s effort is always to stress the public schools in her area to take up Hindi as a subject. “Catch them early, catch them young,” she is proud how well the students have performed in this year’s HSC results.

Kumud Merani said that Hindi like us Pravisis is also a ‘Pravasini’ and that it incorporates in it 48 languages. She demonstrated it by reading a piece and then described how each word had originated from language other than Hindi.

Rekha Rajvanshi talked about Pravasi literature which is in a league of its own that it is expression of the experience of the people settled abroad and their struggles. She talked about the literature in Hindi that is coming out of Australia and how ILASA has acted as a platform to gather the writers from here, “Boomerang 1 and the latest edition Boomerang 2 – a compilation of forty poets and their poems in it is an effort to promote Hindi in Australia.” She also talked about all the the literary work being done on individual as well as collective level by the writers here. “We need support by the Consulate as well as Multicultural NSW in these literary projects which will become part of our history here. The first book was where the poets had pitched in $100 each and this second one is from the funds of ILASA and supported by Gambhir Watts of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan”

The newly published book ‘Boomerang 2 – Kavitayen Australia Se’ was then inaugurated by the Consul General Manish Gupta who cut the ribbon to open the book edited by Rekha Rajvanshi.

Indophile an Aussie Pravasi in India Bihari Babu Charles Thompson said he is amazed at the Hindi spoken overseas where India and Indians there were still proud to speak in English

Guests were finally able to mingle on snacks and tea, the proud pravasis we all make here in Australia.

Pics. by Harmohan Walia

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Posted by on Jan 9 2020. Filed under Community, Hindi. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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