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VOL 26 No.

November 2014

Print Post Publication No. 23572300014

Annual Subscription incl. postage & handling $17


Newsagencies $1 inc GST

Welcome to
Australia,
Prime Minister
Narendra
Modi
Sydney Opera House lit on
October 21 to celebrate
Deepavali

Inside this Issue:

47 Kersi Meher-Homji on Waugh


and Tendulkars induction into
Bradman Hall of Fame

19 Neeru Saluja interviews Brett


Lee and Tannishtha Chatterjee on
the set of UnIndian

8 Dr Nihal Agar on IACF and its


preparation for a community
welcome for PM Narendra Modi

7-15 Modi in Oz - A special issue


devoted to Mr Modis visit to
Australia

The Indian Down Under POBox 99 Thornleigh NSW2120 Ph (02) 9875 2713 Mobile: 0414 155 402 Email: indiandownunder@gmail.com

02 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER November 2014

October - November 2014 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 03

04 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October - November 2014

October - November 2014 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 05

06 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October - November 2014

Editor's Letter

Editorial/Advertising Enquiries: 02 9875 2713


Postal Address: PO Box 99, Thornleigh NSW 2120.
Email: indiandownunder@gmail.com
Website: www.indiandownunder.com.au
EDITORIAL
Principal Editor: Vijay Badhwar
Associate Editor: Neena Badhwar
North America : Parveen Chopra
Correspondent
Sports Editor: Kersi Meher-Homji
Delhi Reporter: Ritu Ghai
WRITERS
Third Eye: Rekha Bhattacharjee
Political Columns: Karam Ramrakha, Mallika Ganesan
Films and Art: Neeru Saluja, Abhishek Sood,
Monica Daswani, Sumi Krishnan, Devaki
Parthasarthy, Neena Badhwar, Rekha Rajvanshi,
Manju Mittal
Body-Mind-Spirit: Dr Sunder Das, Kanaka
Ramakrishna, Faith Harper, T Selva
Sport: Kersi Meher-Homji
Fiji Diary: Karam Ramrakha
Cookery: Promila Gupta
Children Section: Esther Chaudhary-Lyons
Classical Music: Sumi Krishnan, Kris Raman,
Lokesh Varma
Travel: Vijay Badhwar, Kris Raman
Humour: Melvin Durai, Santram Bajaj
Seniors Column: Santram Bajaj
Beauty: Devaki Parthasarthy, Ritu Ghai
Community: Neena Badhwar, Kersi Meher-Homji,
Vijay Badhwar, Sumi Krishnan, Neeru Saluja,
Savitha Narayan, Manju Mittal
Photographers: Neelesh Kale, Raj Suri and Jordan
Anjaiya
Graphic Design: Nayanesh Gandhi,
Dinesh Verma,Dhiraj Kumar,
Bharat Bhushan Chopra/Bhagwati Multimedia

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Riding the Modi wave, BJP


sweeps Maha and Haryana polls
ighting of the Opera House for the
festival of Diwali is a welcome
gesture that recognises the presence of Indian community in Australia,
more so when its underlying meaning is
understood - to dispel darkness of ignorance with the illumination of the thought
that we are all one - that happiness of
one lone individual relates to the happiness of the whole humankind. It has special significance in the context of multicultural Australia that there should be
goodwill among all who share the lucky
country. The lighting of the Australian
icon is also symbolic of the special significance the Australian and NSW governments now assign to developing OzIndian ties ahead of Indian PM Modis
visit for the G20 meet in Brisbane in
November.
PM Modi is a man on the move.
Nationally, as well as internationally, he
has jogged India from a slumber, claiming its rightful place on the world scene.
His successful visits to Japan (except on
the nuclear issue) and the US with its
Make in India slogan have projected an
image of India that is ready to do business. No wonder that Australia now
looks forward to hosting Mr Modi for
the G20 meet in Brisbane that will
extend to his visit to Sydney when the
Indian community will have an opportunity to meet the dynamic Prime Minister.
The Modi Wave in India has
reflected in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
sweeping the State elections in
Maharashtra and Haryana. Doing on its
own (without alliance with Shiv Sena),
BJP has secured 122 seats in
Maharashtra, decimating Congress with
a loss of 40 seats since the last election
in 2009. In a calculated gamble by master strategist Amit Shah, BJP broke away
from its partner Shiv Sena and the 19year-old formula of seat sharing. It was
a vision that paid off as following the
formula BJP could only field its candidates in 119 constituencies in the 488seat State Assembly. Now it can dictate
its own terms to Shiv Sena as, breaking
all norms, the Nationalist Congress Party
(NCP) offered an unconditional support
from outside if the BJP wanted to form a
minority government. This has pulled the
rug from underneath Shiv Senas negotiating power and the dreams of Uddhav
Thackeray to become the chief minister.
In Haryana, BJPs victory is spectacular as it neither had the party base nor
an effective leadership to claim the
results it has achieved to form the gov-

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the swearing-in ceremony of Devendra


Fadnavis as Maharashtras first BJP chief minister. Shiv Sena boycotted the
ceremony, and is still undecided about joining or backing the new BJP government.
ernment in its own right by winning 47
seats from a total of 90. It is a stunning
result gaining a staggering 43 seats from
its previous 2009 tally of mere four
seats, all due to Modi-Shah juggernaut.
Crowning a newcomer Manohar Lal
Khattar as the Chief Minister ends the
legacy of three Lals Bansi, Devi and
Bhajan and their dynasties, one of
whom, Om Prakash Chautala, was out
on bail to be able to campaign for his
Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).
Congress is in dire straits losing its last
bastions in Maharashtra and Haryana.
Now it only has Uttarakhand and
Himachal Pradesh in the North,
Karnataka in the South and Assam in the

East. A leadership change is very much


the call of the day but for a name that
can keep the party unity intact.
While it seems that Mr Modi can do
no wrong, he seems to be a one-man
show, taking on too many responsibilities on policy issues, forming priorities
and dictating key positions. His challenges are to displace the old guard gradually and to keep corrupt politicians
within his own party in check. NDAs
lack of majority in the Rajya Sabha will
also slow down his reforms agenda at
least until 2016 when his recent
Assembly wins will bolster the numbers
and provide him more space to exercise
his vision.

Lighting of the Opera House for the festival of Diwali is a welcome gesture that
recognises the presence of Indian community in Australia.

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 7

Modi in Australia

Message from PM Tony Abbott for TIDU


T
he Indian community has become an
integral part of our
Australian story. Over
400,000 people of Indian heritage now
live in Australia and India is our largest
source of migrants. I pay tribute to the
significant contributions they make to
our country.
We share a democratic heritage, the
same language and have stood side by
side through the global conflicts of the
last century.
Earlier this year, I invited Prime
Minister Modi to the G20 Summit this
year and to visit Australia.
I am delighted that Prime Minister
Modi will make the first visit to
Australia by an Indian Prime Minister
since 1986.
This follows my recent visit to India
and I look forward to continuing our
discussions on strengthening trade and
economic links and our converging
strategic interests.
Importantly, Prime Minister Modi
will address the Australian Parliament

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott met his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in
New Delhi in September.

on Tuesday 18 November. This will be


a historic and important occasion.
As Chair of the G20 this year, I
have made economic growth and

4 cities in 4 days
Nov 15-16, Brisbane: PM
Modi will attend G20 Summit
with other heads of nations.
G20 is a group of major
advanced and emerging
economies and includes 19
countries and the European
Union. The G20 is the premier forum for its members
international economic cooperation. Brisbane is the host
city for the G20 Leaders'
Summit 2014.
The summit will be held
at the Brisbane Convention
and Exhibition Centre, South
Bank. Modi is expected to
meet a host of world leaders
on the sidelines of the summit, including British PM
David Cameron, German
Chancellor Angela Merkel,
French President Francois
Hollande, President Obama
and Chinese President Xi
Jinping.
G20
members
are
engaged in building the
resilience of the global economy by: Delivering on the
G20s core financial regulation reforms; Modernising
the international tax system to
keep pace with the changing
ways people and companies
do business; Reforming global institutions to ensure countries that are reshaping the
global economy have a
greater voice and keep the
institutions
relevant;
Strengthening energy market
resilience, Improving the
operation of global energy
markets for greater efficiency
and transparency; Identifying

how the G20 can help


strengthen the global trading
system, which comprises the
World Trade Organization
and more than 400 bilateral
and regional free trade agreements and sector-specific
agreements. Biggest and the
last of all is Addressing
Corruption as Indians in
India and worldwide have
rallied with Prime Minister
Modi for all the black money
to be brought back to India
from foreign banks.
Modi will also unveil
Mahatma Gandhis statue in a
park in Brisbane. There may
be some functions with local
community, but details not
yet available.
Nov 17, Sydney: Indian
community in Australia welcomes PM Modi in an all
public event at the All Phones
Arena at Sydney Olympic
Park.
Nov
18,
Canberra:
Modis formal address in the
morning at the Australian
Parliament, Canberra.
Nov 18, Melbourne:
CEO Forum organised by
Australia India Institute
Novr
18,
2.30
to
5.30pm:
Governor
of
Victoria The Hon. Alex
Chernov hosts a session with
Modi and business leaders
across the country as well as
AIBC members.
Nov 18: A dinner reception by Prime Minister Tony
Abbott in honour of Prime
Minister Modi at Melbourne
Cricket Grounds.

growth creation the key themes of our


deliberations and efforts.
As countries that believe in private
sector-led growth, both Australia and

India will be in a position to lead-byexample at the coming Brisbane G20


leaders summit.
Both Prime Minister Modi and I
wish to be known as infrastructure
prime ministers and the G20, fittingly,
will focus on mobilising private capital
to address the worlds infrastructure
deficit.
India and Australia want to boost
two way trade and investment and I
hope that the comprehensive economic
partnership or free trade negotiations between our two countries will be
concluded, at the latest, by the end of
2016.
The India of today is the worlds
second most populous nation; for most
of the past three decades its grown at
more than 5 per cent a year and, in purchasing power terms, its already the
worlds third largest economy. India is
the worlds emerging democratic superpower. I salute Indias achievement and
look forward to welcoming
Prime Minister Modi to
Australia.

Another Rock Star event


he
Indian
Australian
Community
Foundation
(IACF) is organising an all
public event at Allphones Arena,
Sydney Olympic Park, to felicitate
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It
has created an overwhelming interest and response from over 300
community associations from
Sydney and other cities of
Australia. While 30,000 people
have registered within three days
when the event was announced by
the foundation, about 15,000,
mainly from Sydney, have been
promised confirmed seating in the
arena. The Allphones Arena is an
indoor stadium which has hosted
concerts of musicians Pitbull,
Ricky Martin, Rihanna and Mariah
Carey in the past. The event
comes on the heels of a similar
Indian diaspora reception for him
at Madison Square Garden in New
York in end September.
In appreciation of Modi's humble beginnings, over 200 fans of
the Indian prime minister will travel 870 km by a special train dubbed
"Modi Express" from Melbourne
to Sydney for a diaspora event on
November 17. The four-carriage
train decorated with tricolour balloons
will
depart
from
Melbourne's Southern Cross station for Sydney at 8.30 pm
November
16,
spokesperson
Balesh Singh Dhankhar of IACF
said. About 1,000 such fans are
expected to arrive from Melbourne
to Sydney. As the train's capacity
is just 220, only that many will
travel, Dhankhar said. Local TV
channels have also decided to
cover this colourful entourage as it
travels to Sydney to meet and greet

8 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

Allphones
Arena in
Sydney is
the venue
for
community
reception
for Modi.

Sydney Reception Programme


4pm 5.30pm Public lines up to enter the arena after being screened
by the security. By 5.30 pm all 15,000 members of the public will be
seated in the arena with 240 degree view of the stage.
4.30pm Prime Minister Modi arrives at the Allphones Arena
4.30pm 6.30pm Modi meets NSW Premier Mike Baird in the
rooms provided at the arena and also the select members of the community and high achievers who have been sent invitation by the Indian
High Commission, Canberra. Dr Agar adds, In this invitation list
IACF is not involved and has not been consulted.
5.30pm 6.30pm: There will be a brief cultural programme as people
wait for Modi to arrive on stage.
6.30pm 7.30pm: A traditional Aboriginal welcome dance will be
followed by the announcement of politicians and leaders present at the
event. And then Modi will be invited to the podium to give a speech.
Modi.
The IACF event has registered
around 15,000 members of the
Indian community which will also
include politicians, community
leaders, media and the business
community. IACF has approached
individuals and businesses for
sponsorship to raise funds for this
event, which is being managed by
a team of dedicated 300-400 volunteers. Says Dr Nihal Agar, It is a
public event and has nothing to do
with one association or an individ-

ual or a business. Its not the Hindu


Council, its not the Overseas
Friends of the BJP (OFBJP) or the
Indian Consulate Sydney. It is a
concerted community effort only
because we felt that since Modiji is
coming to Australia we should welcome him and let all the community listen to a leader of the country
who is a true visionary and a hard
working simple man. There is huge
interest in people and they want to
listen to him, meet him and greet
him in person.

Column
The Third Eye

by Rekha Bhattacharjee

Vale Hon Gough Whitlam, the 21st Prime Minister


By Rekha Bhattacharjee
Hail to Gough Whitlams
memory!
oliticians of all hues are paying rich tributes to the man
who transformed Australia
in a matter of 3 years as the leader
having brought Labor Party into
centre stage from being in the
wilderness for 23 years in opposition. He was a man who was much
ahead of his times, many said as
hundreds of articles flowed since
he passed away at the age of 98
having left an indelible impact on
Australia.
Termed The Whitlam Legacy
the tributes celebrated the famous
icon who changed our country to a
better Australia forever.
It was Whitlam Government
that removed racial discrimination
from Immigration procedures and
developed cultural agreements with
Australian neighbours. Hon.
Gough Whitlam removed the last
vestiges of the White Australia
Policy and laid the foundation of
the concept of Multicultural
Australian society which became
his governments policy.
Whitlam made policies exciting
and relevant smashed cultural
barriers and offered new ideas that
lodged in the nations consciousness. He had the actors flair, a
lawyers mind and a teachers passion. Gough materialised as an
agent of destiny wrote Paul

Former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam (1972-75)


with (left) Bob Hawke, who was PM from 1983-91.
Kelly in The Australian.
Gough was a brilliant orator
and his program was both practical
and idealistic!
He was elected to lead
Australia in 1972 with a slogan Its
Time the most famous pitch
since Federation.
There are moments in History
when the whole fate and future of a
nation can be decided by a single
decision, said Whitlam in his
campaign speech! For Australians
this is such a time.
Whitlam became popular with
his Reformist policies thus Its
Time for a new government
caught the imagination of many
Australians and new Australians
that saw a social change and multiculturalism!

Rekha Bhatta with Gough


Whitlam.

Into two weeks in office he


announced the withdrawal of
troops from Vietnam.
He called for an end to conscription, support equal pay, and a
ban on racially selected sporting
teams from South Africa.
It is his Reforms in Education
and his Health Reform - Universal
Health Care that is now known as
Medicare being his highest
achievement.
He was there just for one term
in office though his reforms
endured many years after him and
kept in place by governments of all
persuasions. That itself makes him
a great leader!
It is said when great democratic leaders pass away, there is an
emotional effect in the population

of the country. People remembered


Whitlam as a great leader for his
ability to mobilise and motivate the
people. He inspired people and
made his vision a reality. He had
the big picture to change Australia.
He thought globally and nationally.
He beat the US President Richard
Nixon in visiting China first and
met Chairman Mao. He saw the
need to redefine Australias place
in the world and Australias position in Asia.
He redefined relations with
Britain and made Advance
Australia Fair Australias new
national anthem.
Many of his policies continued
into Malcolm Frasers, Bob
Hawkes and Paul Keatings governments.
Whitlam brought

tremendous confidence into the


nations highest elected office. He
once said the tradition of optimism about the possibility of
human improvement and human
progress through the means of
human reason.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
described him as A giant of his
time. He established diplomatic
relations with China and was the
first Prime minister to visit China.
China is our largest trading partner. That is an enduring legacy.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten
said The party I lead has lost a
giant and the nation has lost a legend. Gough Whitlam redefined our
country and in doing so he changed
the lives of a generation. Our
country is different because of
him.
Malcolm Turnbull gave a softer touch. He spoke of Whitlams
love of his life and of his wife
Margaret and their extraordinary
love affair. He told Parliament I
think that in some respect one of
it being - we are happiest about is
the fact that old couple is no longer
apart.
The three years of Whitlam
Government can be best described
by quoting
Sir Walter Scott:
Sound the clarion, fill the fife
To all the world proclaim
One crowded hour of glorious life
Is worth an age without a name.

Red carpet awaits PM Modi in Australia


ven though there are still a few weeks
to go before the Indian Prime
Minister's entourage touches Down
Under, the excitement over the visit is
undoubtedly turning into a bit of euphoria.
It looks like as if the Indian PM
Narendra Modi's juggernaut would continue
to roll full steam even in the distant and
sparsely populated land named Australia.
Narendra Damodardas Modi (Narendra
Bhai for his admirers) seems to be on a
dream run as the gigantic Indian economy
has suddenly shrugged sluggishness and is
once again gaining acceleration.
Massive infrastructure projects are getting overdue clearances. The foreign
investors are once again looking at the
Indian investment opportunities with an
unprecedented seriousness.
PM Modi's tough stance against the bullying China and rogue Pakistan has also
been lapped up by the Indian populace.
The ruling party's recent electoral gains
in crucial states like Maharashtra and
Haryana have also added spring to Prime
Minister Modi's step and raised him to the
status of a rock star politician. And now it is
the turn of half a million Indians living in
Australia to experience the Modi effect first
person.
The excitement in the Indo-Australian
community can be gauged from the response

the organisers of a public event in Sydney


are receiving.
Indian
Australian
Community
Foundation (IACF), which is organising a
public event for PM Modi in Sydney on 17
November, has been reportedly overwhelmed by the response from the Indian
diaspora living down under.
"We were pleasantly surprised when we
got 21,000 registrations within a span of
three days, which is quite high compared to
the number of registrations at a similar
event in the US," a spokesperson of the
IACF recently told media.
The magnitude of the response to see
and hear Modi first person looks even more
impressive considering the fact that the
Indian diaspora's size in Australia is just one
tenth of that in the US.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
has also expressed his enthusiasm over the
Indian PM's upcoming visit.
"Prime Minister Modi will make the
first visit to Australia by an Indian Prime
Minister since 1986," Tony Abbott said in a
media release recently. "This follows my
recent visit to India and I look forward to
continuing our discussions on strengthening
trade and economic links and our converging strategic interests," he added. The members of the sizeable Indo-Australian community are also busy to make sure that Modi

gets a memorable reception like at the


Madison Square (New York) event.
Besides his other engagements, Modi
will address a joint session of the Australian
Parliament. He will thus become the first
Indian Prime Minister to get this honour.
Political pundits and business leaders are
also looking at the long-pending visit of an
Indian Prime Minister to the Australian
shores with an added interest. Most of the
experts look at the unfolding bilateral relationship scenario as a win-win story.
India is Australias fifth-largest export
market and the two-way trade stands at
A$15 billion a year.
The growing optimism for the IndoAustralian bilateral relations is fuelled partly by the fact that both the Prime Ministers
of the two principal Indian Ocean Rim countries are pro-business. Narendra Modi and
his Australian counterpart have also reportedly formed a strong bond in their meetings
and telephone calls earlier this year.
"Australian negotiators see massive
opportunities in Mr Modis commitment to
vast new infrastructure for India, which is
expected to add 1.5 to two percentage points
to Indias economic growth, putting it at
between 7 and 8 per cent," a well-respected
columnist Greg Sheridan wrote in The
Australian newspaper recently.
"They also believe that as Indian eco-

nomic growth accelerates under Mr Modis


pro-business policies, the burgeoning Indian
middle class will offer excellent opportunities for Australian services providers, led by
education but ranging across many fields,"
Greg Sheridan wrote.
"India is a force waiting to be
unleashed," says National Vice Chair of
Australia India Business Council (AIBC)
Sheba Nandkeolyar.
"The favourable political and economic
environment is going to fuel the growth
bringing India to the forefront of the worlds
economy. There is immense scope for both
the countries. India plans to invest $123 billion on roads, $55 billion on ports, $300 billion on rail and $13 billion on airports in the
next 5 years," Sheba Nandkeolyar says.
Like so many other observers of the
Indian economy and political scenario,
Sheba sees great future for the business
links between Australia and India.
The Indian Prime Minister is coming to
Australia to attend the G20 Leaders
Summit which will be held in Brisbane on
15 and 16 November. Besides Narendra
Modi, President Franois Hollande of
France, President Xi Jinping of China,
Chancellor Merkel of Germany and Prime
Minister David Cameron of the United
Kingdom will also participate in the
Brisbane Summit.

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 9

Modi in Australia

Qs for PM Abbott on Modi visit

By Neena Badhwar

IDU asked members of the community to put their thinking cap on and ask
Prime Minister Mr Tony Abbott one
thing that they think he should discuss when
he meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra
Modi. After all, all of us who have made
Australia home since the 1970s when it
opened its door to Asian immigration are
affected by government policies and issues
that arise here by living here. Indians in
Australia are a hardworking and a diligent
lot and are still struggling to make themselves at home as India provides the biggest
source of skilled migration to Australia. The
issues and questions raised to Mr Abbott do
resonate with all that arises in the minds of
our community though they are at times off
the mark. Please read on:

Dinesh Srivastava
Editor of Hindi Pushp and a teacher of
Hindi in Melbourne
My question to Prime Minister Mr Tony
Abbott
is:
What
can
Australia do to
i m p r o v e
Australians
knowledge of
Hindi
language and to
i m p r o v e
awareness of
Indian culture
and India generally? How
can India help
achieve this
goal?I would
like both prime
ministers to discuss how India and Australia
can cooperate in making the provision for
learning Hindi in regular Australian schools.
While ACARA has embarked on the task of
selecting curriculum writers for Hindi, Hindi
has not been included in a trial program for
young children to learn a language using latest technological tools. Both countries can
share material and human resources in making this provision effective. China has established a centre at Melbourne University for
training teachers of Mandarin. Consideration
should be given to establish a similar centre
for teaching Hindi.
Due to the vast geographical distances in
Australia and availability of technology,
Hindi courses also need to be available
through distance education at all levels.
Educational exchanges, provision for training Hindi teachers, cooperation with Central
Hindi Directorate, New Delhi, Hindi
Sansthan Agra, National Council of
Education and Training etc. Deputation of
Hindi experts and curriculum developers for
short term assignments, governmental assistance for institutions undertaking teaching of
Hindi and Indian studies and launch of a
national program to emphasize the importance of Hindi are some of the things that
may be considered.

Sarika Gupta
Doctor
My question is central to the proposed
Medicare co-payment. Whilst it is clear that
Medicare is unlikely to be able to sustain the
growing burden of chronic disease in

Australia, it
seems the copay proposition will ultimately transfer
the
responsibility
to public hospital emergency departments. As a
doctor in the
public system
where we are
already battling to meet
service expectations, particularly with
recently imposed '4 hour rules' this concerns
me. How does the government propose to
handle this overflow into the public system?

Kirit Ruparelia
Retired businessman, Sydney
Small businesses are significant generators
of business
and entrepreneurship in
Australia and
India. Both
countries
employ tens
of millions of
people.
In
Australia
there is still a
disparity and
inequity at
policy level
between
large
and
small enterprises. Is this also an issue in India?
How can small businesses be treated
fairly and have access to justice and effective
empowered dispute resolution services. How
can the concerns and needs of this vital sector of economy be heard and lead to
improvement in policies.

Kamini Sahni
Coding Controller A SSA A BLOY
A ustralia Pty Limited and a homemaker
I would like to say something to both Mr
Modi and Mr
Abbott keeping in mind
the welfare of
us migrant
families here:
M r
A b b o t t :
Some of the
parents who
are left alone
in India and
wish to join
their children
and grandchildren are
unable to do so
because the waiting period to get PR is very
long and the fee to get a PR on priority is
extremely high. If the fee is made affordable
for these seniors then they can be with their
children in the last few years of their lives.
You could raise the question of students educational programmes here. Instead
of having agents we could and should
encourage twinning programs where direct

10 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

representatives of the universities get in


touch with students in India. Also the universities should offer hostel accommodation
so that the students are safe and secure.
Some kind of community based affordable housing should be made available for
Indian retirees here. At the moment the aged
care homes are very expensive.
Point for Mr Modi: NRIs are hesitant
to invest in India as they do not get the possession of the properties they have paid for
on time. At times they do not get the properties at all. A policy to be made where
NRIs hard earned money is safe and they
are able to enjoy the fruit of their investments.

Dr Yadu Singh
Cardiologist
Prime Minister Tony Abbott should discuss
with PM Modi
about putting
speed on Free
T r a d e
Agreement
(FTA) discussions between
the two countries. Media
and
films
should be part
of that discussion.
PM
Abbott should
also discuss the possibility of joint funding of
Hindi teaching in at least one University in
Sydney and Melbourne to increase the numbers of India-literate people in Australia,
which will help bilateral relations and trade.
PM Abbott should also talk with Mr.
Modi about facilitating establishment of joint
ventures between Australian and Indian entities in the area of infrastructure and education. He should ask PM Modi to encourage
Indian media to open their bureau/offices in
Australia, which will help improve reporting
about Australia in India. This is important
due to increasing numbers of Indian migrants
and visitors as well as more active trade and
strategic relations.

Sudhir Das
Businessman and Indian classical event
organiser
Mr Abbott,
how can we
work out the
free
trade
agreement
between the
two
countries? How
can we make
the
simple
visa process
for business
people and
artists
and
thus improve
our
cultural
integration?

Avijit Sarkar
A rtist and Editor of Mind Creative:
Mr Abbott, I think there needs to be a
huge focus on joint ventures in science and
art between the two countries. Given the
intellectual repositories in India and the
resources from Australia, this handshake has

the potential
to
produce
amazing outcomes.
On
the scientific
front, joint
research projects between
the two will
be a force to
reckon with
on the international
stage. In arts
what is needed is understanding the cultures
of the two countries coupled with joint sponsorship of larger arts projects. Today, all we
see here are some Bollywood imports. India
has much more to offer in the creative fields.
To make this happen, you need to discuss
with Mr Modi and open new pathways for
study scholarships, student exchanges on a
larger scale, joint exhibitions and very
strong forums/organisations that can build
the infrastructure and support the initiatives
for large joint ventures in scientific research
and cultural exchanges.

Ruchir Punjabi
Founder & Chair, Langoor
I am very interested in Mr Abbott discussing
the
future of the
Indian youth
with
PM
Modi
and
how
the
Australian
education sector can help
India ensure
that the world
reaps the benefits
of
India's demographic dividend. Also if Mr Abbott can
look into how Australia can actually work on
what is a substantial investment and trade
deficit in Australia's favour to have a more
balanced bilateral relationship with India.
That would help create a more meaningful
and sustainable relationship over the long
term.

Sumathi Krishnan
Lawyer and founder of blog on classical
music Sydhawaney
Can Countries do more than just business
with
each
other? India
has a lot to
give culturally to the
West.
My
question to
both
Mr
Abbott and
Mr Modi is:
How can our
two countries
open up collaborative cultural centres in India and Australia
to better understand each other? Actually Mr
Modi, you should consider opening Indian
cultural centres all over the world. I am
sure, India can contribute its cultural richness here by talking to the countrys head, in
this case with Mr Abbott while you are
here.

Modi in Australia

Community prioritises issues for Modi


By Neena Badhwar
he Indian community is excited about
Prime Minister Narendra Modis
forthcoming visit to Australia in
November. There is so much hype surrounding the visit, especially the Sydney segment,
that the talk of the town is the public event
on November 17 at the All Phones Arena at
Sydney Olympic Park organised by the
newly formed Indian Australian Community
Foundation (IACF).
On official agenda there are important
matters for the two prime ministers to
engage in, such as the recently signed
nuclear deal during PM Tony Abbots recent
visit to India, bilateral trade, countering terrorism, forging cultural ties between India
and Australia. But the Indian community is
very keen to meet Mr Modi who is proving
not just an ideas person but an action PM
that India has been blessed with after a long
time. It is the same with the NRI community all over the world as was evident at
Madison Square Garden in New York where
Modi vowed the 30,000 audience hands
down. Sydney, too, is preparing for a similar reception, a first time event when an
Indian PM will address a large audience at a
public meeting. Many have already registered with more scampering to get in the
arena just to take a peek at their favourite
leader who will speak to them in Hindi. The
organisers are even trying out for telecast
rights of the event so that the rest of the community also gets to hear Mr Modi live.
The Indian Down Under (TIDU) asked a
few community members, What is the most
important thing you would like to say to Mr
Modi if you got an opportunity to speak to
him in person.
Following are their responses and
queries for Modi corruption in India figures a lot in their concerns:

across the Indian Ocean, what other measure


can you envision that would bring our two
countries even closer?

Surinder Jain

Chander Shekhar Chawla

and
follow them up as most of the times these
type of 'promises' don't see the light of the
day and remain on paper only.
Also, while you are in Australia, I
would like you to talk to PM Tony Abbot
and the NSW Premier about the inclusion of
Hindi in school syllabus. This way you will
be promoting the language we all love.

Raman Bhalla
Liberal candidate for state elections next
year

Malli Iyer
Dear Shri Modi, I commend the priority you have
assigned to
Swachh
Bharat campaign. In my
view,
the
Swachhtaa
needs to be
enhanced and
enlarged to
include
a
clean sweep
of hearts and
minds
as
well as corruption, which has become endemic for the
last 4 or 5 decades. It might seem like a
monumental task, but you have made an
excellent beginning to create the awareness.
I am sure I speak for the large majority of
Indians in India and abroad in wishing you
Godspeed and total success in your endeavours. May Bharat Matas blessings be with
you.

Richard Baxter
Resident of Lithgow, NSW

Modi Ji, every NRI who has visited


India, and every Indian, has more than once
felt insulted, humiliated and got short
changed in India due to corruption. We
applaud the zeal with which you are tackling
head on the problems of garbage and governance. When will we see a similar zeal in
eradicating corruption?

India showcases one of the best cultural


and natural resources in terms of tourism.
However, in export earnings, India ranks
very poorly to attract tourists. The new government has focussed on manufacturing for
jobs creation. It is the tourism sector which
should be the focus point with the aim to provide job opportunities and earnings with such
a natural competitive advantage. What has
the government been doing to make India
No. 1 tourist destination in the world?

Akshay Darji
NSW , HSC Hindi Student 2014, IA BBV
Hindi School
I remember reading somewhere once
Mr Modi Ji had said, Ki achhe din
aayenge. So my questions to him are:
1. In your election campaign you stated that Ill bring back the black money
from the Swiss bank within 100 days. Now
it has been more than 100 days, when will
you bring back the black money so that it can
help India reduce poverty?
2.
In Indian culture girls are given
the status of Devi or goddess. I believe the
girls should have right to education, right to
stand for themselves, to live life as well as
their safety, which is a big concern. Mr

Sheba Nandkeolyar
AIBC President
Dear Prime Minister, You have shown
the light at the
end of the tunnel to millions
of
NRIs
around
the
world like me
who are passionate about
India
and
would like to
contribute in
every possible
way to this
NEW INDIA.
Please do keep introducing radical changes
to fast-track Indias development and make it
a leading nation as it was centuries ago. We
wish you the very best and we will do all that
it takes as business leaders based outside
India to support your initiatives.

Ambika Asthana
I'm an actor based in Sydney for 10
years. I visit
Delhi often
during holidays. If I
had
the
opportunity
to interact
w i t h
Narendra
Modi,
I
would like
to ask if the
new government will be
proactive in
m a k i n g
cities
like
Delhi more safe for women and what steps
they would take to achieve this?"

Gargi Shah

Santram Bajaj
TIDU Columnist
Mr Modi, I congratulate you on what
youve done so far. Campaigns such as
Clean India - including building toilets in villages, Health Assurance for all, Bringing
black money back, 'Make in India' and
improving relations with China and Pakistan
are very good initiatives. You must continue

Based in Norway
"I am an NRI living in Norway for the
last 40 years. I have
been working in the
software industry
for more than 30
years. I see that
India is doing well
in the IT segment,
but feel that there
still is a lot to gain
through people like me. How does India plan
to reach out to me? See me as a long term
asset and give me the initial kick-start to start
a win-win joint venture with India?"

Modi, what
are
you
doing about
it?
3.
A
suggestion:
Modi
Ji,
you want to
make India
skill India,
but if you
really want
to make skill
India you have
to change our ITI Syllabus and use the syllabus from a developed country.
4. Modi ji, how are you going to
improve Indias economy? While I believe
that India is a great country culturally and
multi-culturally, still many people there live
below the poverty line.

Mr Prime Minister, a very warm welcome to our county, Australia. As you may
be aware, Australia has now the largest
migration group, people from your country.
Also Australia's indigenous citizens have
DNA which links them with origins from
India. With our two countries embracing

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October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 11

Modi in Australia

By Karam C Ramrakha
idnight, 14 August, 1947. From
12,000 kilometres away in New
Delhi, Pandit Nehru's voice defies
the statics to give us, in faraway Suva, Fiji,
a faltering reception of his memorable
Freedom at Midnight speech:
Long years ago we made a tryst with
destiny, and now the time comes when we
shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in
full measure, but very substantially. At the
stroke of the midnight hour, when the world
sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.
A moment comes, which comes but rarely in
history, when we step out from the old to the
new, then an age ends, and when the soul of
a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.
Today, I invite you to share that speech
on internet and you will be as moved as I
was when I heard it as a fourteen-year-old.
India, long suppressed indeed! A misunderstood and maligned country which
Churchill decried as geography and not a
nation, a country, nevertheless, which his
Great Britain subjugated and drained of its
wealth to an extent where the Hindi word
'loot" became part of Oxford dictionary.
Before that, wave upon wave of Muslim
invaders, sometimes fighting the Hindu population, and more often fighting each other
on Indian soil, wreaked death, havoc and
mayhem on the populace, some gleeful
extolling in their memoirs: the thousands put
to the sword in the cause of their faith. No
other country in the world has been beset or
suffered so many wars which decimated and
destroyed the ancient heritage of Mother
India. Nalanda University is a glaring example.
But Bharat, that is India, as the India's
constitution describes the country, is like no
other country, with such diverse regions,
peoples, manners, languages and traditions.
Today, despite that, it presents to the world
a shining example of democracy, decency
and above all free speech.
But, India continues to be embattled and
ringed by enemies, or should I call them hostile friends, notably China and Pakistan.
Within, too, all is not well. It is a country,
declared the late Durga Das, a veteran journalist, where elected governments and anarchy (black economy) exist and flourish side
by side.
I first went to India in 1967. In Fiji, we
were urged to fear India as a country with its
teeming population, poverty and pestilence.
But I soon calculated it to be a country
which, despite its problems, appears to run
itself.
Comes the moment, comes the man. So
goes the English saying. Comes the Man
called Modi, a hero and saviour who has
now burst on the scene to fulfil India's second tryst with destiny and fulfil Pandit
Nehru's dream of the country finding, to use
Nehru's quaint phrase, utterance.
India, today, needs more than utterance.
It is not enough that it has survived five wars
with Pakistan or border war with China, or
that it is infested with millions of illegals,
estimated at forty million, or that it has internal security problems from within and without, or that sadly, it is alleged to have been
called a Rape Capital.
The majority Hindu population wants
one Civil Code, wants Hindi as the primary
language of all Indians, and wants all discriminatory practices abolished. A tall ask.

As Modi tours India


and the world we all
hope and pray for a
New Dawn in India,
and that after being
a beacon of
democracy the
country will be a
beacon of
economic and
human
development.
And a leader who has been maligned as antiMuslim with an RSS past has to tread warily.
The Hindu may be the most maligned,
most misunderstood and most denigrated
creature on the earth today. One solitary
killing of a missionary still lingers, one demolition of a solitary unused edifice is endlessly repeated. But, what of Kashmir with
the expulsion of Hindus from their ancient
homeland.
Hindus look on Modi to secure our selfrespect. Modi has his agenda but treads warily. Any upheaval within will be gleefully
supported by the West with modern day
Nixons and Kissingers urging a "tilt" against
India. Modi has been attacked by BBC, by

New York Times.


But will Modi triumph? Will he change
the face and status of India. As he stressed,
most of India's 800 million voters were born
after 1947. Despite everything, India has
flourished and the lot of the average Indian
today is better than in 1947.
Why did Modi get his massive majority?
What motivated the voter to give him that
mandate?
One, the voter was tired of the hypocrisy
of the elected politicians, nepotism and
exploitation of caste and religious differences.
Two, the voter looked at Modi's record
of an economic miracle in Gujarat in the
hope that he will translate that to each corner

of India. Yes, it is Roti, Kapda and Makaan.


But we must not wait for any veni, vidi, vici
outcome. Modi treads warily and he knows
that time could be on his side and that
changes will come slowly as old habits die
hard.
But as Modi tours India and the world we
all hope and pray for a New Dawn in India,
and that after being a beacon of democracy it
will be a beacon of economic and human
development.
Karam C Ramrakha, Barrister and
Solicitor, Notary Public, Putney Chambers,
36 Pellisier Road, Putney NSW 2112
Phone: 02 9808 2760, Fax: 02 9802 5014,
Mob: 0434 986 123
Email: karamcramrakha@gmail.com

Frank prevails in Fiji


turn now to my native Fiji. A coup has ended and a democratic result, even with "we wuz robbed" cries from some
quarters, will endure for the next five years. A raw 50-strong
parliament obliged to function on Westminster lines has incredibly no member with previous parliamentary experience.
The coup leader Vorege (Frank) Bainimarama was heavily
supported by the media and leading Indian businessmen. He
secured 70 to 80 per cent of the Indian vote but secured less than
half of his I-taukei (indigenous) vote. He gained wide acclaim for
introducing free education, and a careful foray into parish pump
politics, roads, electricity and water. For once the man in the
street feels comfortable with a coup leader.
The question is whether Frank will continue to stifle civil
rights, and control the media, subject detractors to military torture. Since my visits to Fiji, I found myself subjected to queries
about my visit to Fiji.
I have been a mild supporter of Frank and enthusiastic about
his one man, one vote, one value and end of discrimination. But
he should be wary. His detractors use an internet forum coupfourpointfive to condemn what they see as his excesses.
On 10 October, 2014, Fiji celebrated 44 years of independence. What I fear is that after 27 years of coups, of military and
civil rights repression, Fiji's history and its past and peoples will
be forgotten - the Girmityas who did the back breaking task of
building roads and farms, the pioneers who sought Independence
for Fiji and those who contributed to a Fiji what it is today.
Past history is sacred. At a party yesterday, I was bemused to
be told that the President Epeli Nailatikau mentioned politicians of
the past who had contributed to Fiji and what it is today. The people at the party were bemused when Coup 4.5 railed against my
exclusion from that list when I am one of the few founder members of Free Fiji still at large.
"Why didn't they mention Ramrakha?" They will need re-education. No nation that turns back on its history can be respected.

12 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

In Fiji, the coup leader Vorege (Frank) Bainimarama was


heavily supported by the media and leading Indian
businessmen. He secured 70-80 % of the Indian vote but
secured less than half of his I-taukei (indigenous) vote.
Yes, Frank has been handed Fiji on a plate. He is basking in
democratic glory. Fiji is a lucky, well-endowed country. Let me
wish him well and see a Fiji as it was in 1970 when we secured
independence from Britain, a free vibrant country widely seen as
a shining example of a third world country and extolled by a visiting Pope, himself, "the way the world should be", not as it now
says, "the world as it is".

Community

What Indians in Australia expect from Modi govt


By Dr Yadu Singh
t is not a hyperbole to say that a
new era has dawned in India with
the swearing-in of the Modi
Government on 26 May, 2014 and
with Narendra Modis visit to
Australia to attend G20 Summit.
Many ideas need to be discussed
since he himself has asked the Indian
community in Australia to send to
him.
Under a decisive, can do
leader in Narendra Modi, Indians not
just in India but around the world are
confident that things will change for
the better and the Indian economy
will grow rapidly.
People have high expectations
from the new government. While
people have a wide variety of expectations, which they want the Modi
government to deliver, there are
some common themes in what they
expect. Based on my interactions
with many Indians in Australia, and
based on my own thinking, there are
a few things that people would want
the new government to consider.

gally occupied and face threats to


their safety when they visit India.
Court cases go on for extended periods of time. IPC should be amended
to tackle this menace.

1. Prime Ministers visit to


Australia: There has not been any
state visit by an Indian PM to
Australia after the late Shri Rajiv
Gandhis visit in the 1980s. It is
great news with Mr. Modi coming to
attend G20 summit scheduled to happen in Brisbane on November 15-16,
2014 that after 28 years an Indian
PM is setting foot on Australian soil.
2. Genuine dual citizenship:
This has been discussed and debated
for long. There is an almost universal demand that overseas Indians be
given a right to hold genuine dual
citizenship with voting and property
rights, if the country of their new citizenship has no issue with this and if
there are no security issues with
granting dual citizenship to any particular overseas Indian. After all,
Australia, USA, UK, NZ and many
other developed as well as developing countries already offer this facility.
3.
Visa on arrival for
Australian citizens: Australian citizens, like many others including
New Zealanders, should get the
same visa-free arrival facilities in
India. If this is not the case at present, it should be implemented without further delay.
4.
Black money in overseas
banks: Genuine, proactive and effective steps should be taken to tackle
this menace and bring the money
back to India within 12 months. No
favour should be given to anyone
irrespective of who they are or what
connections they have. The decision
to constitute a Special Investigation
Team (SIT) for this purpose is good.
5.
Effective anti-corruption
body: A group of 10-15 people from
civil society including judges, eminent jurists and overseas Indians (if
possible) should be asked to review
the Lok Pal Act passed by the Lok
Sabha earlier in the year, and sug-

17. Interactions between GOI


agencies and Indian Australian
community: It is often felt that GOI
authorities in Australia do not interact with people sufficiently, thus
leading to a communication gap. It is
a common experience that there is a
significant gap between what we
expect and what is delivered. Steps
should be implemented to improve
the situation.

With approximately 500,000 people of Indian heritage in Australia, a


biennial visit here of the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs (Sushma
Swaraj) or her deputy should be included in the GOI travel calendar
for better interactions with the community and facilitate overseas
Indians investment in India.
gest steps to rectify weaknesses to
make it an effective corruption fighting body. This should be completed
in the next 12 months.
6. The PMs global Overseas
Indians Advisory body: The PM
should revamp his Global Advisory
Body, constituted by the previous
PM. People in it should be those
who have significant presence and
influence in their countries. The
habit of Indian diplomats recommending non-descript and non-influential people for this body should be
eliminated.
7.
Country specific Overseas
Indian Advisory Body: Countries
with significant overseas Indian population (Australia is certainly one
such country) should have an advisory body of not more than 10 people,
which can be used for consultations
and other advisory purposes, not
only
by
the
local
GOI
authorities/agencies, but also the relevant authorities/agencies in India.
8.
Annual dialogue between
Indian and Australian leaders:
PMs, Foreign Affairs Ministers and
Defence Ministers should hold annual meeting/dialogue, with venues for
such meeting/dialogue alternating
between India and Australia.
9.
Free Trade Agreement
(FTA): The pace of the discussions
and negotiations should be accelerated so that FTA can be concluded by
the end of 2015.
10. Bilateral Nuclear Trade
negotiations: The pace of the discussions and negotiations should be
accelerated with the goal to conclude
it by 30 June, 2015.
11. Bilateral and multi-lateral
defence exercises between India and
Australia: India and Australia should
work actively to enhance their
defence & strategic relations bilaterally and multilaterally in the pattern

agreed prior to the 2007 Rudd


Government in Australia.
12.
Hindi teaching in
Australian Universities: To increase
Indias soft power and increase the
number of India-literate Australians,
India should consider funding Hindi
teaching courses in some select universities in Australia.
13. Facilitating Australian universities and TAFE to have campuses in India: Many Australian institutions are ranked quite highly in
world
ranking
systems.
Collaborations in this field should be
actively facilitated and encouraged,
following a pragmatic and win-win
module.

18.
Minister for Overseas
Indian Affairs visit to Australia:
With approximately 500,000 people
of Indian heritage in Australia, a
biennial visit of Minister of Overseas
Indian Affairs (The Hon Sushma
Swaraj) or her deputy, the Hon Gen
(Retd) V.K. Singh, should be included in the official GOI travel calendar. This will help facilitate interactions with the community and facilitate Overseas Indians investment in
India.
19.
Streamlined grievance
redressal mechanism for Overseas
Indians: Overseas Indian Affairs

ministry has often not been very


helpful and assistance has often not
come in a timely fashion due to
excessive bureaucratic influences.
This should be reviewed and streamlined.
20. Exchanges between academicians and civil society leaders:
We need regular bilateral exchange
visits of academics, journalists, leaders and civil society leaders. This
will help improve relations between
the two countries. The scope and
numbers should be increased.
21. Prepare a data base of NRIs
and their specialties. Ask if they are
willing to volunteer in some programmes. Seeding programmes to
transfer knowledge from the west to
India will help India progress. The
seniors should be encouraged to volunteer to pass on their knowledge in
their respective fields to India.
This is our wish list, which we
believe is doable, not difficult and
will provide multiple benefits to various stake-holders, including India.
The Modi government should be
proactive in considering the interests
and welfare of the Indian community
Down Under.
The author is a Sydney based
cardiologist and community leader.

Grand welcome awaits


Modi in Fiji too

14.
Indian Consulate in
Brisbane: Queensland is an important state for Indian investment.
Indian business houses like the
Adani group have an important and a
significant presence in this state. It is
important to have an Indian
Consulate in Brisbane.
15. India House or Indian
Cultural Centre in major capital
cities: The Indian community has
grown significantly in Australia. It is
increasingly felt that such centres are
required, at least in Sydney and
Melbourne. While some funding will
be raised locally, a significant part of
the funds should come from the
Indian Government. Government of
India Funds, if any, allocated for
something of this nature to be established in the Indian Consulate premises in Sydney CBD should be
reviewed and re-allocated for a centre of this nature in areas like
Parramatta or Blacktown, where the
Indian community has a substantial
presence. Sydney CBD is not a practical or appropriate site for an Indian
Cultural Centre.
16. Overseas Indians property
in India: Many overseas Indians are
seeing that their properties are ille-

New Delhi: Prime minister


Narendra Modi will make a
stopover in Fiji on Nov 19 after
attending the G20 summit in
Brisbane, Australia. With the US
lifting sanctions on Fiji recently,
and the Commonwealth re-admitting it after their elections in
September,
which
Frank
Bainimaramas party won, the
world's interest in Fiji has been
rekindled. India has traditionally
maintained an interest in the country, mainly due to the large number
of Indo-Fijians who, at one time,
were the dominant ethnic community there before many were forced
to emigrate.
Modi is scheduled to interact
with the government of Fiji led by
Prime
Minister
Frank

Bainimarama. He will also be


accorded a grand state reception in
Suva. In the past this status and traditional Fiji welcome was accorded
only to three visiting leaders,
namely Mrs Indira Gandhi (in
1981), Queen Elizabeth and Prince
Charles,
stated
Fiji
High
Commissioner to India, Yogesh J.
Karan. Fiji citizens are anxious to
meet and greet the dynamic,
growth and development focused
Indian Prime Minister Narendra
Modi, he added.
While Indira Gandhi was the
last Indian prime minister to visit,
there has been a steady stream of
Fijian
leaders,
including
Bainimarama himself, to India over
the years. Bainimarama's last visit
here was in 2012.

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 13

Modi in America

Madison Square Garden was the


acme of Modis US visit

The two score top US lawmakers who attended the MSG reception for Modi found him inspirational and
visionary. (Photo courtesy: Indian American Community Foundation.)
By Parveen Chopra
New York: Admittedly, the young
crowd Narendra Modi addressed
at Central Park was much bigger;
the meeting with President Obama
in White House more high profile; the speech he delivered as
Indias prime minister at UN
General Assembly more prestigious. But Modis first visit to the
US as PM will be remembered for
the magnificent and emotional
reception accorded him by the
Indian community at Madison
Square Garden in New York. The
high point of the Sept 28 event
was, of course, his 90-minute eloquence, filling the 20,000 strong
audience with pride for being
Indian,
for
being
Indian

American, inspiring NRIs to do


our bit in helping India achieve its
glorious destiny, making us laugh
and cry alternatively.
No visiting leader of another
nation in living memory would
have received such MSG treatment. Certainly nobody from
India.
Can
you
imagine
Manmohan Singh or Rahul
Gandhi in Modis place at the
MSG show! He was the rock star
and had the listeners eating out of
his hands. The vision for India he
shared, the conviction with which
he spoke, the scope of the smorgasbord of schemes he is launching also mesmerized the thousands
of others watching him live on
video screens in Times Square and
elsewhere and globally millions

watching him on TV.


The emotional underpinning of
the reception was of course the
fact that Modi, denied a visa,
could speak to his growing band
of admirers and supporters in the
US only through video conferencing. Now finally he was face to
face with them.
Modi himself must have been
pumped up by the rapturously
cheering (Modi! Modi!) Indian
Americans who filled the MSG.
He promised to them that he
would deliver on the electoral
promise of a resurgent India and
urged them to join in the mass
movement to work for their country of origin. To suit the occasion,
he also announced relief measures
for the diaspora, including life-

The enthusiasm among Modis admirers inside and outside MSG


had to be seen to be believed.
long visas for Persons of Indian
Origin cardholders and the merger
of the PIO and Overseas
Citizenship of India (OCI)
schemes with a new scheme.
Speaking in his chatty style in
Hindi for almost an hour, and
attired in cream kurtapyjama and a
light orange jacket, Modi praised
the Indian diaspora for its contribution to IT, saying India was no
longer considered a land of snake
charmers but of software wizards.
He said India is at an opportune cusp of circumstances,
blessed with a vibrant democracy,
with 65 percent of its people under
the age of 35, and a market of
1.25 billion people and will scale
new heights in the near future.
The grand public reception

for Prime Minister Narendra


Modi at Madison Square Garden
is to show to the US government
how much public support he
enjoys, said Dr Bharat Barai,
chief coordinator of the Indian
American
Community
Foundation, the nonprofit floated
to organize the community reception for Modi.
In hindsight, Modis five-day
whirlwind US visit further
improved his image in the world
media and the opinion makers,
many of whom had continued to
hark back to his alleged role in the
Gujarat riots of 2002 till at least
the May elections in India. His
avowed development agenda is
winning friends and influencing
people at home and abroad.

Modi and Obama break the ice, warmer ties ahead


Washington: As a fasting Narendra Modi
sipped warm water at a cosy dinner at the
White House, President Barack Obama
wondered how the prime minister kept up
a rigorous schedule on such a diet (Modi
was on Navratri fast).
US point person for South Asia, Nisha
Desai Biswal, who was there at the dinner, told reporters later, I think the
President expressed admiration for the
energy and the vigor with which the prime
minister was able to maintain this rigorous
schedule on a diet of only warm water."
Obama also evinced interest in yoga
that Modi practises.
The fact that Obama went with Modi
to the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial,
"is indicative of just how comfortable they
had gotten to be," said Phil Reiner, senior
director for South Asia at the White
House National Security Council.
Indeed,
the president was "very
pleased with" and "certainly values the
opportunity that he had to visit personally
with Prime Minister Modi", Obama's
press secretary Josh Earnest said .
"It reflects that depth of the strong
relationship between the US and India that
the two leaders were able to come togeth-

er and discuss a broad array of topics,"


Earnest told the media. "Each of those
topics represents an area of important
cooperation between our two countries.
He also pointed to a "pretty detailed list of
the agreements that were reached"
between the two leaders.
During the visit, India and the US
committed to make joint and concerted
efforts to dismantle terrorist safe havens,
including four Pakistan-based groups
LeT, Jaish, the D-Company and the
Haqqanis besides Al Qaeda.
But India didn't join the US coalition
against the Islamic State terrorists.
"On many counts Modis was a very
successful visit," Richard M. Rossow, the
Wadhwani Chair in US-India Policy
Studies at the Centre for Strategic and
International Studies wrote in a commentary.
Rossow noted four key highlights
from Modis visit: a new willingness to
collaborate on a wider set of global issues,
US support for Modi's economic goals,
Modi's "interesting attempt" to engage the
American public directly and Modi's new
willingness to engage with business leaders directly.

14 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

President Obama and Prime Minister Modi traveling by


motorcade in Washington Sept. 30.
"For a leader without national-level
leadership experience, Modi has shown a
deft hand at foreign policy," Rossow said.

"He is quite pragmatic and clearly on a


mission to speed up India's development.

India

BJP forms govt in Maha, Shiv


Sena mum on support
Mumbai: The Shiv Sena on
Sharad Pawar also has promOct 3 remained undecided on
ised to give unconditional supjoining the Maharashtra
port to the new government
administration four days after
from outside.
the new BJP government,
The Shiv Sena-BJP poll
headed by Chief Minister
alliance was severed before
Devendra Fadnavis, was
the elections over seat sharing,
sworn-in.
so Sena sulked till the last
The Sena said talks were
minute. Eventually, Sena chief
on with the BJP to join the
Uddhav Thackeray came to
government but a final decithe swearing in of the new
sion may be taken only before
ministry but looked sullen.
the assembly's inaugural threeHailing from Nagpur
Devendra Fadnavis is the
day special session opens Nov
where he created history in
first BJP CM of Maharashtra
10 where the new minority gov1997 by becoming the state's
ernment has to prove its legislayoungest mayor at 27,
tive majority. The mood in the BJP appears
Fadnavis, 44 is the 18th chief minister and
veering towards accepting the Sena participathe second Brahmin and the fourth from
tion in the new government as Fadnavis did
Vidarbha region to hold the post. He was
not assign the key home portfolio to any of
handpicked by Modi and BJP chief Amit
his cabinet colleagues. Significantly, NCP of
Shah.

Khattar is CM of BJP's first


govt in Haryana
New Delhi: Manohar Lal
Khattar, a low-profile organization man with RSS background, was sworn in as
chief minister of Haryana Oct
26, where BJP has formed
government for the first time
on its own.
60-year-old Khattar, a
first-time MLA from Karnal
and a non-Jat leader known
to be close to Prime Minister
Narendra Modi, was administered the oath along with nine ministers by
governor Kaptan Singh Solanki at a function

attended by a galaxy of BJP


leaders including the PM,
party chief Amit Shah, Union
ministers, chief ministers of
BJP ruled states and veterans
L K Advani and Murli
Manohar Joshi. Punjab chief
minister Parkash Singh Badal
wsas also present on the occasion.
Contesting the Haryana
assembly polls on its own for
the first time, the BJP attained
a majority by bagging 47 of the 90 assembly
seats.

Delhi heading for election, BJP upbeat


New Delhi: Delhi was set for a fresh electoral battle after leaders of the BJP, the
Congress and the AAP on Nov 3 told Lt.
Governor Najeeb Jung that they wanted elections to end months of political uncertainty.
Their leaders told Jung that fresh balloting
was needed as no party was in a position to
form the government in the hung 70-member
assembly.
A Raj Bhavan statement said Jung would
write to President Pranab Mukherjee giving
his recommendations. He is most likely to
suggest fresh election -- the second since
December last year.
That election threw up a fractured mandate, with the BJP refusing to form the government despite winning 31 seats. The Aam
Aadmi Party came a close second with 28
seats, an electoral performance that stunned

the nation, and formed a minority government with Congress backing. But the government collapsed after 49 days as chief minister Arvind Kejriwal resigned after failing to
pass a Jan Lokpal Bill. Kejriwal, who later
lost the Lok Sabha election in Varanasi to
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said later
that he erred by quitting.
The AAP, which has repeatedly accused
the BJP of trying to poach its legislators to
form the government in Delhi, reiterated that
it wanted a new election.
The BJP won all the seven Lok Sabha
seats from Delhi in May this year but the
AAP overcame great odds to finish second
everywhere.
Now, BJP, riding on the Modi wave, is
hopeful of getting a majority on their own in
fresh polls and rule Delhi.

Jaya granted bail


Bangalore: Taking former
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister
Jayalalithaa on her word that
there will be no attempt to
delay criminal appeal proceedings in the Karnataka
High Court, the Supreme
Court in late October suspended her four-year sentence in the disproportionate
assets case and granted her bail.
Jayalalithaas lawyer and senior counsel
Fali S. Nariman argued that continued incar-

ceration of the accused at a


crucial stage when her appeal
was pending in the High Court
would cripple her valuable
right of appeal against conviction and reduce it to an exercise in futility.
After Jayalalithaa was sentenced to four years imprisonment in late September by a
Special Court in Bangalore, O.
Panneerselvam, her staunch loyalist, was
sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 15

Noble Prize

ndian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi was awarded


the Nobel Peace Prize on October 10, which he shared
with Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai who had survived after being shot by the Taliban.
Satyarthis relentless struggle against child trafficking
has recently borne fruits as Delhi and Jharkhand police in a
joint operation on October 19 has nabbed the mastermind
behind alleged trafficking of 10,000 girls. Panna Lal
Mahto and his wife Sunita Devi have been running several domestic help placements and have been on police
watch list following details provided by Satyarthis
Bachpan Bachao Andolan. A former Jharkhand state minister, Yogendra Sao, is also allegedly complicit in child trafficking.
Mr Satyarthi gave up his career as an electrical engineer
more than three decades ago to start Bachpan Bachao
Andolan, or Save the Childhood Movement. Today, the nonprofit organization he founded is leading the movement to
eliminate child trafficking and child labour
in India.
The Nobel Prize committee commented that the Prize motivation on
Kailash Satyarthi and Malala
Yousafzai and their selection for
the most coveted prize in the world
was for their struggle against the
suppression of children and young
people and for the right of all children to education.
In a statement, the committee
said: Despite her youth, Malala
Yousafzai has already fought for
several years for the right of girls
to education, and has shown by
example that children and young
people, too, can contribute to
improving their own situations.
This she has done under the
most dangerous circumstances.
Through her heroic struggle she
has become a leading spokesperson for girls rights to education.
Satyarthi, the Nobel committee said, had maintained the
tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of
peaceful protests.
Showing great personal courage, Kailash Satyarthi,
maintaining Gandhis tradition, has headed various forms of
protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the
grave exploitation of children for financial gain, the committee said. He has also contributed to the development of
important international conventions on childrens rights.
The Nobel committee said it regards it as an important
point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani,
to join in a common struggle for education and against
extremism.
There were a record 278 nominations for the Peace
Nobel this year, 19 more than ever before including US
whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning,
Russian president Vladimir Putin, and Pope Francis. Also on
the list of nominees was an anti-war clause in the Japanese
constitution and the International Space Station Partnership.
Following are some edited excerpts of an interview with
Mr Satyarthi in 2011 by the Wall Street Journal:

WSJ: Whats your inspiration behind the Bachpan


Bachao Andolan?
Kailash Satyarthi: I was personally concerned and
involved in child rights-related activities right from my
childhood. Then, over a period of time, I realized that it is
not possible that one person can make substantial change; so
it is necessary to build an organization of like minded people

Kailash Satyarthi (left) and Malala Yousafzai. The Nobel


committee said it regards it as an important point for a
Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani,
to join in a common struggle for education
and against extremism.
and sensitize other people to join. I knew right from the
beginning that child labour was not just a technical or legal
issue and also not merely an economic issue. Its a combination of several things. Its a deep-rooted social evil and to
wipe it out we have to build a strong movement. Bachpan
Bachao Andolan has never been a typical NGO but it has
emerged as a movement over a period of time.
WSJ: How is the child trafficking situation in India
right now?
Mr. Satyarthi: Child trafficking is a serious problem
and I think its growing fast. Intra-state trafficking within the
country, for instance children who are trafficked from say
Bihar or Jharkhand to Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata to big cities
and towns, has been increasing. So its a serious problem.
Not hundreds of thousands, but I am afraid millions of children are trafficked within the country every year. We can
say about 50 million children are working as child labourers,
according to estimates of NGOs. Out of this, 20 per cent or
about 10 million are bonded child labourers. Most of the
bonded child labourers are the trafficked ones. Some of the
bonded child labourers are born in bondage which means
their parents were bonded labourers. In cases of children
working as bonded labourers outside their hometowns and
villages, they are mostly trafficked children. So at least five
million children out of 10 million are trafficked and in
bondage.
WSJ: Which Indian states are sources and which are
destinations for trafficked children?

16 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

Mr. Satyarthi: Almost all major cities are destinations,


including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad.
These are the places where a large number of children end
up. In terms of source areas, Bihar is still on the top and
Jharkhand is also another place. Chhattisgarh, Madhya
Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal are also source areas. Actually
its everywhere. Most of Rajasthani children are trafficked to
Ahmedabad, Mumbai and other places. Most of Jharkhandi
children are trafficked for domestic labor. Boys from Bihar
are trafficked for newly emerging industries like the garment
industry.
WSJ: Where is India positioned on the South Asian
and global map in terms of controlling child trafficking?
Mr. Satyarthi: India doesnt have strong laws on child
trafficking. They have a law on immoral trafficking and that
is basically for adult trafficking for commercial sexual
exploitation and so on. There are some laws here and there,
but there are no strong and clear laws. Secondly, because of
social taboos and so-called image, most local administrations
and state governments dont admit [to the problem], they
keep on denying that they have a serious problem of child
trafficking. But when we or someone else is able to rescue
trafficked children from bondage and child labour, then only
they admit. So the denial is still a big problem in many cases.
Thirdly, the enforcement of laws has always been a serious
problem. Whatever laws are there, theyre not implemented.
Overall, we dont see that political will which is needed for
the largest democracy in the world to combat this kind of
social menace and crime.

Bollywood

By Neeru Saluja
inger Shilpa Rao is on a
high note. Her latest
song 'Meherbaan' from
'Bang Bang' is topping the
music charts. She has struck
the right chord once again
with her soulful voice. The
girl who became an overnight
singing sensation with 'Khuda
Jaane' is now becoming
Bollywood's most sought
after singer.
Whether it was the high
energetic track 'Malang'
from 'Dhoom 3', 'Ishq
Shava' from Jab Tak hai Jaan
or
the
soulful
'Manmarziyaan'
from
'Lootera', Shilpa Rao sings
every song from her heart.
Despite tasting success at a
very young age, she has her
feet firm on the ground. She
moved to Mumbai from
Jamshedpur to make a career
in singing and has found her
niche with starting from
singing jingles to forming her
own band. The Indian Down
Under interviewed the singer
where she leisurely tells us
about her journey, working
with AR Rahman, style of
singing and what sets her
apart from others.

You came to Mumbai


from Jamshedpur - all away
from the stardom of
Bollywood. How did you get
your first break?
Jamshedpur is a small
town but it's full of enterprising people. I grew up learning music from my dad.
Music was always a part of
our home and he used to take
me to concerts. Music didn't
become a part of my life but
became me. I never thought
I'll become a musician! I met
Hariharan uncle and my life
got reconfigured. I got my
break with musician Shankar
Mahadevan. He mentored me
and guided me on how to start
off. After singing advertising
jingles for three years, he
gave me a song for Salaam-eishq.
You've been in the news
for singing 'Malang' from
Dhoom 3 which is a very
high energy track. What
inspired you to bring out
that kind of energy?
Malang was quite a combination. It's got a Sufi grip and
is very energetic. The whole
energy of the song has an

emotion attached to it. I felt a


direct connection to the pace
and energy of the song which
inspired to bring out the best
in me. Hats off to Pritam for
Malang, it was fantastic
working with him.
Besides working with
Pritam, you have also
worked with the music
maestro AR Rahman. How
was the experience?
It was real fun working
with Rahman. I used to hear
that he is very quiet. When I
met him I was surprised to
find him chatty and engaging.
It was quite a memorable picture, once I entered the room,
it was Rahman, Yash Chopra,
Gulzar, Aditya Chopra all sitting together. I thought these
guys are legends, but they
were still working so hard on
this song. I took back so
much from the room. It was
not only the song Ishq shava
from Jab Tak Hai Jaan!
How do you define your

style of singing? What's


your USP?
It's actually quite simple. I
let the song take over me.
Once you understand the
song, you emote it accordingly. As long as you understand
the song and it's got good
lyrics, it's easy to sing. My
USP - I have never sung for
myself, I always sing for
someone; each song is very
personal for me.

have changed. There is a


change in the music, genre
and a big shift in the type of
movies being released. You
have to talk to the director
about his conception; you
have to stretch your imagination and relate yourself to the
song. The human emotions
are the same, the difference
lies in the production and
packaging of the song these
days.

What's
your
riyaaz
regime like?
I used to do more riyaaz
when I was learning. Now its
more of adapting. So much is
happening with the vocal and
production that you need to
keep yourself updated. We
have to travel, record, perform we need to keep our
vocals preserved.

Tell us about your band


Cloud Nine. How does it
differ from Bollywood
singing?
I started my band, Cloud
Nine, years ago. I have also
featured in MTV Unplugged
and Coke Studio. This is
beyond my Bollywood work.
I'm happy with the response
from people. You can't compare as both of them have a
different reaction from fans.
Both are overwhelming. It's
different when you are
singing for Bollywood. When
you are doing work on your

So do you think the way


music is created has
changed now?
Music has changed the
same way people and movies

own it has to inspire you.


In your seven year career
of playback singing what
would you term your highs?
The best part about my
work is I don't even feel as
it's my work. I've done 2-3
songs a year and have
received more than what I
dreamt of. Thanks to social
media you can get your fans
messages and that's what
keeps you motivated. You
suddenly feel as someone is
expecting something from
you. I have definitely
received more than what I
ever imagined. I have worked
with a lot of people I have
ever dreamt of.
Would you like to say
anything to your fans in
Australia?
I love Australia and would
love to perform there one
day. I want to thank all my
fans. If it wasn't for them, I
wouldn't have been where I
am.

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 17

Bollywood

The brainchild behind the Miss India Australia


pageant which has been the launching pad for
actresses like Vimala Raman and Pallavi Sharda
is all set to don a new cap
By Neeru Saluja
ydney's famous talent spotter has
been talent hunted himself. Raj Suri,
the brainchild behind the Miss India
Australia pageant which has been the
launching pad for actresses like Vimala
Raman and Pallavi Sharda is all set to don
a new cap. Photographer Raj Suri has
been selected for a role in an upcoming
film called 'Shab'.
Besides shooting all over the world,
Raj also dabbles in filmmaking through
his film and media company 'Karigaar'.
He is the Australian co-producer of the
film 'I am Megha' which was recently
screened in Parramasala. His film
'Chauranga' recently won the 'Gold India
award' at the Mumbai Indian Film festival.
The Indian Down Under couldn't
resist to know more about his upcoming
role and how it feels to be on the other
side of the camera. Raj was very excited
to tell us all about his latest achievement
in Bollywood.

Raj, how did you get this role?


It's a small character role (smiles), but
exciting! Early August, I was in India for
my shoots when my good friend Onir (the
director of Shab) called me to know if I
wanted to play "Rohan". I was pleasantly
surprised as Onir had briefly spoken with
me (when he visited me last year in
Sydney) about this role of a fashion
designer of his new film Shab. He had a
few people in mind from the industry. We
had left it there. In Delhi, Onir's direction
team auditioned me and I was confirmed
shortly after (within two days) for the
part!

Bisht (the male lead) and myself got along


very well on the set. I have worked with
Raveena Tandon few years ago (as a photographer for Anita Dongre's 'Timeless'
fashion collection). It worked out well
when we met again on the sets.
I have worked with Onir and Sanjay
right from the early days of 'My Brother
Nikhil' ...spent days on the sets of Sorry
Bhai in Mauritius as a photographer for
publicity stills and also in the studio in
Mumbai. The only difference this time
was that I was given a role of an actor.
Normally you are behind the lens.
How was it to be in front of the lens for
a change?
Yes, normally I have worked on the
Bollywood film sets as a creative or a photographer. This time it was my turn to
deliver as an actor in front of the camera.
It was a great experience for me - really
enjoyed reading the script, improvising
with my co actors, chatting with the technical team on set and being looked after
by the whole direction and production
team of Shab. And loved it!
How did you train yourself to act as a
fashion designer?
I have photographed fashion and
worked with fashion designers for many
years. There was no difficulty when it
came down to understanding 'Rohan fashion designer character'. I think one
trains with practice, rehearsals observing,
continuity of the overall script and most of
all that actor in me was guided by Onir,
who I trust as a film director.

Will you be
going back to
Mumbai for the
rest of the shooting?
Yes, we have finished two schedules of
the film. There are two
more remaining. I will be
travelling to India/Delhi to
complete the rest of my
scenes in the next 1-3
months.
Will you be looking
into other acting opportunities?
If the opportunities
arise and the industry
notices me - why not! I
have no hesitation in taking up different roles at
different times, whether as
a photographer, actor, producer, creative or technical.
Film is all about understanding each department of the
process. I believe it makes you
better in your craft as a real
professional in the industry.

Tell us a bit about the story of this


film.
I am not allowed to give away the
story yet (as we are still in the middle of
production). What I can say is that Shab
(meaning night) is set in South Delhi
exploring strong relationships, modern yet
emotional relationships in a contemporary
setting of stylish South Delhi. Like the
mysterious night, Shab unveils its characters slowly.
How was it working with Onir,
Sanjay Suri, Raveena Tandon and the
rest of the team?
It was wonderful! It's like working
within a family. The film is set in Delhi it was very comfortable for me doing the
acting rehearsals, learning with the team
and, most of all, Onir's direction of putting the 'character' across for me with
great clarity. Sanjay, who I respect as an
actor, was very encouraging (though we
don't have much scenes together). Ashish

18 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

Shab poster and the films lead actor Ashish Bisht, director Onir and Raj
Suri, who is in the cast of the film under production in India.

Bollywood

Maya Sathi, Brett Lee and Director-Producer Anupam Sharma

By Neeru Saluja
ut Brilliant take! comes
the call from behind the
monitor, But lets go for
another just in case. A mix of
exuberance and calculated risk
emanates from Anupam Sharma,
on location at Hoyts in the
Entertainment Quarter of Fox
Studios, directing his debut feature film UnIndian, starring
Tannishtha Chatterjee and former
Australian fast bowler Brett Lee.
Written by Thushy Sathi and
funded by the Australian Indian
Film Fund established by
Devendra and Yateender Gupta in
2013, UnIndian, a light-hearted
romantic comedy in which
Australian-English teacher Will
(played by Lee) falls in love with
divorcee mother Meera
(Chatterjee), looks at the various
tags Indians place on themselves
and their take on Australia and
Australians, says Sharma.
Sharma, an Australian of Indian
origin, is best known for producing Bollywood films filmed in
Australia, including Dil Chahta
Hai and Heyy Babyy.
Sharma has brought together a
unique combination of individuals, from budding AustralianSouth Asian talent in Sarah
Roberts, Arka Das, Pallavi
Sharda and Nicholas Brown, community figures such as Kumud
Merani, Indian screen stalwart
Gulshan Grover, and award-winning crew in director of photography Martin McGrath (Muriels
Wedding) and editor Marcus
DArcy (Babe). The production of
UnIndian is bearing witness to a
dismantling of division between
the fresh and the experienced,
community and industry, local

and international. While Indiancentric stories on international


screens have grown from humble
fare - Bhaji on the Beach (1993),
East is East (2000) and Monsoon
Wedding (2002), to the largerthan-life The Darjeeling Limited
(2007), Slumdog Millionaire
(2009) and Life of Pi (2012) -UnIndian may mark a maturation
of the Indian face of Australian
cinema. Whether Sharma and his
crew will see Brett Lee bend a
ball like Beckham did for the
British film industry will be keenly anticipated when the film hits
screens mid-2015.
Neeru Saluja caught up with
the lead cast of the film,
Tannishtha Chatterjee and Brett
Lee, on location. Heres what
they had to say in between takes.
Tannishtha, you have made
your mark in offbeat cinema.
What made you sign up for the
romantic comedy UnIndian?
Tannishtha Chatterjee: In
many films the female character is
fluffy and insignificant. My character Meera is a strong person
who has a mind of her own. Her
character wouldn't have changed
if her meeting with Will (played
by Brett Lee) did or didnt happen. It's a progressive film and
it's been great shooting with Brett
and Anupam Sharma. Anupam is
a very special person and he
thinks out of the box.
You have never been the
'dancing around trees' type
since you entered the film industry. Do you think it's easy to get
stereotyped in Bollywood?
TC: In Bollywood they fail to
recognise you as a female lead.
It's very easy to get stereotyped. I
chose UnIndian as it was not an
art-house film and was a really

Nicholas Brown, Brett Lee, Anupam Sharma and Pallavi Sharda

exciting offer. I once did a


Bengali film where I played the
role of a cigarette-smoking, highsociety call girl. In all the films I
was offered after that I was smoking a cigarette! I promised myself
that the next film I do will be different. After three months I got
Brick Lane where I played a shy
girl. I've been lucky since to get
diverse roles. Since then, I have
played various roles, from a lesbian to a physics professor.
You have travelled the world
with your films and have portrayed all kind of characters.
Which character do you feel
close to?
TC: I actually feel quite close
to Meera. She has a fierce independent streak that I relate to.
She's not Indian enough to be
Indian. She is calm, settled and
deals with every situation in a
mature manner. I think in every
character you play there is something about you.
Within a short span of time
you have been lucky to work
with award winning directors.
Are there any other directors on
your wish list?
TC: There are lots of people I
want to work with. Theres so
many, I can't mention all their
names! I have enjoyed working
with directors like Anupam
Sharma, Dev Benegal, Partho
Sen-Gupta, Richie Mehta, Onir
and Leena Yadav. I enjoyed
working with Leena as a female
director. In fact, I would love to
work with any of them again.
While parallel cinema is
gaining as much attention as
mainstream films do, what
future do you see for female
character-based films?
TC: In the black and white

Brett Lee with Tannishtha Chatterjee

era, films often revolved around a


female protagonist. Actresses like
Nargis, Madhubala, Meena
Kumari and Waheeda Rehman
carried films on their shoulders.
In Guide the story was not about
Dev Anand, but about Waheeda
Rehman. Something strange has
happened in the last fifty years. I
think our generation is going to
change that. We are not here to
look pretty and feature in catchy
songs.
How has it been shooting
UnIndian for you, Brett?
Brett Lee: It's been a blast so
far! I've been lucky to work with
a stellar cast and crew. It's a
wonderful opportunity to work on
an Australian film with Indian
culture.
Your love for Bollywood is
growing by the day. What's so
special about Bollywood that
attracts you?
BL: It's not my love for
Bollywood per se. This is my
love for India. Both of them are
incomplete without each other.
Saying this, I'm a big fan of the
colour of Bollywood, the great

storylines, the Indian culture and


the western touch shown in the
films.
Can you reveal a bit about
your role in the movie?
BL: I play the role of a
teacher. I'm looking after overseas students by teaching them
about western culture. This role is
close to my heart as I do care for
overseas students and the community and have always welcomed
them with open arms.
How has it been working
with Anupam?
BL: He's on the top of his
game! I've been working with
Anupam for ten years on different
opportunities. I've been lucky to
work with the best.
Besides being a cricketer and
actor, you also have a band and
write songs. Will your next
music venture have a touch of
Bollywood?
BL: As we speak my band is
in the process of writing songs.
I'm looking forward to launch it
very soon. The genre will be
commercial though it will be
spiced up with Indian flavours.

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 19

Community

Dr Harinath heads CRC


ormer
Chairman
of
Cricket NSW, Dr Hari
Harinath, OAM, has been
named the new Chair of the
Community
Relations
Commissions (CRC) Advisory
Board on September 10.
Minister for Citizenship and
Communities Victor Dominello
announced
Dr
Harinaths
appointment along with seven
part-time
Advisory
Board
Members.
The make-up of the new
Advisory Board truly reflects
the changing face of multicultural NSW and for the first time
includes representatives from
across Aboriginal, AngloCeltic,
Indian,
Korean,
Chinese, Jewish and Egyptian
backgrounds, among others,
Mr Dominello said..
The newly appointed board
members are Devpaal Singh,
Steven Widders, Ken Hong,
Cathy Guo, David Knoll AO,
Margaret Piper AM and Dr
Eman Sharobeem.
Dr Harinath is a distinguished individual who has been

a leader within the Indian


Australian community for many
decades. He has been a medical
practitioner in Sydney for nearly 40 years and has served as a
senior cricket administrator for
30 years.
He is a current CRC
Advisory Board Member as well
as Chairman of Parramasala and
an NSW Centenary of Anzac
Ambassador. He will make an
outstanding
Chair,
the
Minister said.
Mr Dominello said the
appointment of a new Chair
came at a pivotal moment, with
the CRC soon to become
Multicultural NSW under a new
three-year
strategic
plan,
Harmony in Action launched
last
month.
Legislative
changes will see the organisation placing a stronger emphasis
on the beliefs and values which
unite all Australians including
our volunteering ethos, our
Aboriginal heritage and our
commitment to commemorating
those who have served in
defending our freedoms.

Dr Hari Harinath (third from left ) with Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello,
Premier Mike Baird, and CRCs Chief Executive Officer, Hakan Harman at the
Diwali lighting ceremony of the Sydney Opera House.

AIBC launches Media &


Entertainment chapter
By Manju Mittal
ustralia India Business
Council
(AIBC)
launched
its
NSW
Media & Entertainment Chapter
at the MLC Centre on
September 17 followed by a
presentation recognising the
importance of the Council that
plays a pivotal role in showcasing business opportunities in
India. A group of like minded
community and media representatives and AIBC members got
together and made the much
needed commitment to establish
the Media & Entertainment
Chapters vision and to start a
conversation about further
developing a strong cultural and
creative relationship between
Australia and India.
Chapter Chair Ana Tiwary
welcomed the guests and introduced the new committee of
Sonia
Gandhi
(Gandhi
Creations), AIBC Vice Chair
Sheba
Nandkeolyar
(MultiConnexions),
Kartik
Mohandas (Zee TV), Nicholas
Brown
(actor/writer)
and
Barbara Harvey (Aardvark casting).
Keynote speaker, Martin
Brown, one of Australias wellknown producers (Moulin
Rouge) said that the Australian

Film Industry was starting to


turn attention to India and realizing the huge cultural potential
that existed between the two
countries. He also spoke about
the importance of the Australia
India Co-production Treaty to
be signed by both countries and
said, In a very real way, films
are the ambassadors for a country.
Special guest speaker Mitu
Bhowmick
Lange
(Mind
Blowing Films) flew to Sydney
from Melbourne for the launch
celebrations. She shared her
inspiring journey as a distributor
of Indian films in Australia and
encouraged the AIBC Media
Chapter to engage with both
sides of government, as well as
the screen industry to provide
better incentives for stronger
ties
between
India
and
Australia.
Sonia Borella, partner at law
firm Holding Redlich, said,
We support the aims of the
AIBC
NSW
Media
&
Entertainment Chapter to forge
strategic links and develop business
connections
between
Australian and Indian governments and Industry bodies, companies and practitioners operating in the areas of media and
entertainment. The Media &
Entertainment Chapter was offi-

Dipen Rughani, Sheba Nandkeolyar, Sonia Gandhi, Ana Tiwary, Nicholas Brown
and Barbara Harvey at the launch
cially launched by Trade
Promotions Officer of the Indian
Consulate, Sydney, Mr Rao
Palagummi, who congratulated
AIBC NSW on this new endeav-

20 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

our. AIBC National Chairman


Dipen Rughani and AIBC NSW
President John Cox took the
opportunity to thank the guests
and offered the chapter AIBCs

full support. The evening ended


with entertaining Bollywood
singing performances from
Priyanka Pripri and Nicholas
Brown.

Community

Yet another classy show by


Samskrithi school of dance
By K. Raman
ydney witnessed a show
titled Noopur - a collective effort of a large group
of talented artists under the
stewardship of Samskrithi
Schools director, choreographer and a dance teacher of
repute Hamsa Venkat. The
show was presented by Rashee,
a non-profit organisation that
strives to raise money for
deserving charities, this time it
is Unnati of Bangalore.
Noopur is the story of the
dancing bell. Lord Sivas dancing bell broke and came to
earth. To avoid taking the heavy
thud, the lord took the impact
on his head, and it made a feather bed landing.
(This segment was presented
as A ananda Tandavam)
After this incident It led
young girls to take to dancing as
a form of worship, living in
temple surroundings and do
dance worship. They became
known as Dev Dasis. The art
patronising kings invited Dev
Dasis to be part of the team of
court dancers, and called them
Rajanarthakis
thus
Dasi
Attam, Sadir etc began taking
shape. Around this time the
renowned Tanjore quartet, disciples of Dikshithar did some
commendable service to enrich
and propagate dancing. But
change of fortune degraded
dancing from its divine form to
courtesan mode of dancing and
even the godliness was lost to a

Noopur staged by
a group of
talented artists
under the
stewardship of
Hamsa Venkat was
presented by
Rashee, a
non-profit
organisation that
strives to raise
money for
deserving charities. The beneficiary this time was
Unnati of
Bangalore.

degree.
(A Padam explaining the
Devikas requesting Krishna to
marry them highlighted this segment)
In its onward march the
dancing bells began tinkling in
Sabhas, thanks to Rukmini Devi
Arundale, E. Krishnaiyer etc. It
brought repute and status to
dancers and gained them status
in dance circles with large
patronage following them everywhere.
(This segment is highlighted
in two dances; Natanam aadinar glorifying Sivas celestial

dance and Suppada a folk style


dance.)
Cinemas began popularising
classical, folk and other forms
of dance, popularised by
Kamala Laxman, Padmini,
Vyjayanthimala and others of
their ilk.
(This filmy dance segment is
depicted by dance classic of
V anjikottai V aliban..Kannum
Kannum Kalarnthu..)
Dance is like a sweet flowing
mighty river going at its own
sweet will. Here in Sydney our
choreographer Govind Pillai
took
an
experimentation

Padhathi still adhering to traditional dance form and presented


this Noopur special dance.
In my count 48 dancers of
varying levels and skills took
part in the show. What I admire
is the level of perfection these
dancers have attained. It is a
feather in the cap of Hamsa and
her able team and I mean every
bit of it in my writing here.
Musicians made a big contribution to the overall majesty of the
show.
A standout feature of the
show was the well written,
informative and nicely present-

ed commentary script by
Hamsa.
Hamsa gave credit to three
choreographers for their creations incorporated in this show;
Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale
(The Revival), Braghe Bessell
(The courtesans Padam) and
Govind
Pillai
(Experimentation). Many people were involved in the production aspect and their work was
exemplary to say the least.
As usual this production was
a classy one that will stay in the
viewers mind for ever. Well
done!

Govt streamlines skilled migration intake


ustralian Government will
reform the 457 visa programme
for
skilled
migrants, while maintaining
strong safeguards against abuse.
This follows an independent
review of the programme that is a
means of filling genuine skills
gaps in the local labour market
while not placing unnecessary
administrative burdens on business.
The skilled migration programme ensures foreign workers
supplement rather than substitute
Australian workers.

in relation to English language


testing and skill requirements for
457 applicants, to ensure that the
standards required are appropriate for the industries and occupations being sought; and

The Government will:


streamline the processing of
sponsorship, nomination and visa
applications to reward low risk
applicants and refocus compliance
and monitoring activities on high

Australian Government will reform the 457 visa programme for


skilled migrants following an independent review of the programme
that is a means of filling genuine skills gaps in the local labour market while not placing unnecessary administrative burdens on business.
risk applicants;
increase the sponsorship
approval period from 12 to 18
months for start-up businesses, to

give start-ups more time to make


their businesses sustainable;
provide greater flexibility

retain the Temporary


Skilled
Migration
Income
Threshold at $53,900, ahead of a
review within the next two
years.
Safeguards will remain in
place to ensure that the 457 visa
programme is not rorted. It will
continue to be a requirement that
a foreign worker receives at least
the same market rates and conditions that are paid to an
Australian doing the same job in
the same workplace.
The Government will also
expand
and
improve
the

Significant Investor Visa (SIV)


programme. At present, SIVs are
available for applicants having an
eligible investment in Australia of
A$5 million, for a minimum of
four years.
The Government will task
Austrade to become a nominating
entity for the SIV (complementing the current State and Territory
governments role as nominators)
and to be the sole nominating
entity for the PIV.
A Premium Investor Visa
(PIV) will be introduced offering
a more expeditious, 12 month
pathway to permanent residency
than the SIV, for those meeting a
$15 million threshold.
The changes to the SIV will
take effect during 2014-15, with
the Premium Investor Visa to be
introduced from 1 July 2015.

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 21

Community

Pink Sari Parade organised by SAHELI at Parramasala


adies in pink saris made
this years Parramasala
opening parade not only
colourful but also curious and
interesting as they walked from
Prince Alfred Park to the
Parramatta Town Hall. The pink
group was trying to create awareness about Breast Screening in the
Indian and Sri Lankan community.
In
September,
NSW
Multicultural
Health
Communication Service (MHCS)
in partnership with the NSW
Refugee Health Service through
the Cancer Institute NSW
Evidence to Practice Grant proudly launched the Pink Sari Project
at the Indian and Sri Lankan
Community Leaders Breast
Screen Forum held at Thornleigh
Community Centre. The Forum
revealed that in NSW, only about
one in five women of Tamil or
Hindi speaking background participates in breast screening. This
compares with screening participation of about one in two women
in the general population.
There was an audiovisual
presentation as well as a documentary on breast screening and
how it has saved lives of some of
the Indian women who were
detected for breast cancer early
enough.
Studies have identified a number of factors as influencing
and/or mitigating attitudes among
South Asian immigrant women

Ms Julie Owen, MP with SAHELI group at the Pink Sari Parade


during Parramasala
including those from India and Sri
Lanka in relation to breast screening. These include: Lack of
knowledge about breast cancer
and health matters; Fear and
superstitions; Family honour;
Lack of time; Modesty and misunderstanding and lack of English
language proficiency in some
cases.
Indian and Sri Lankan community leaders were encouraged
to pledge their support to the Pink
Sari Project, a community based
initiative to raise awareness and
increase breast screening rates in
women to save lives in the Indian
and Sri Lankan communities.
MHCS Pink Sari Project
would like everyone in the community to help increase awareness
through various programs, publications and websites and social
media to promote the importance

of breast screening in women


from the Indian and Sri Lankan
communities.
Pink Sari Project is doing an
extensive survey asking Indian
women questions to help raise
awareness of Breast screening
program which is free. MHCS is
even ready to come and conduct
screening with their mobile vans
if there are group bookings.
Do
visit
the
website:
www.pinksariproject.org and like
the Facebook page:www.facebook.com/thepinksariproject as
well as register your support to
the Pink Sari Project.
Another community information session on breast screening
has been organised on Sunday,
1.30PM
to
3.30PM,
16
November 2014 at Ermington
Community Centre, Ermington,
NSW 2115. It will discuss: Why

Community members at the Pink Sari Project launch

Ladies at Thornleigh Community Centre


do we have low rates? What can
be done? What is the current
understanding of breast cancer?

And what are the myths and more


importantly facts about Breast
Screening/Mammograms.

Splendour of dance with Sri CVC


By Sumathi Krishnan
adma Bhushan CV Chandrasekhar who was brought to
Australia by his students Suresh and Shobana of the
Samarpana School of Dance presented his creation 'The Splendour of Creation' at Lennox Theatre as an
umbrella event of Parramasala Festival 2014 and it was an
instant success.
Despite being such an accomplished artist-teacher-choreographer and a multitalented singer and dancer, Sir CVC as
we all call him touched every one with his humility. Firstly,
agreeing to perform at such short notice and secondly agreeing to perform with local artists.
The orchestra consisting of three amazing local artists
under the guidance of Sir CVC flourished, adding the right
musical nuances to The Splendour of Creation as Sir CVC
took the audience into the lap of nature, the beauty of life,
the sadness, torment and fear that paralyses humans. Yet the
human spirit remains undying, ever flowering despite manmade miseries.
Sir CVC's bhavam, emotive perfect postures, and exquisite choreography were a treat to behold. His expression
stays with me even today. Every student of dance in the
world should spend at least some time with this awesome,
humble and great teacher, guru and dancer.
Pallavarajan Nagendran provided accurate and aesthetically pleasing rhythmic support on the mridangam. Kranthi
Kiran Mudigonda on violin provided that emotional impact
to Sir CVC's bhavam as he danced like the love birds or the
swimming creatures of the sea. Chidambaram R Sureshs
choreographic nattavangam added amazing soundscape
whether it was necessary either to show the slow roll of the
oncoming dark clouds or the chatter of birds. The three
musicians made up for a complete orchestral act for Sir
CVC.
Thanks to Samarpana School of Dance, which had

Padma Bhushan CV Chandrasekhar demonstrated


that with practice and dedication, even at a very ripe
age dancers can continue to enthrall audiences.
worked hard to organise all his travel arrangements, lecture
demonstrations and a show called Svanubhavam held the
following week.
In 'Svanubhavam' Sir CVC was also accompanied by a
singer from Melbourne named Siva Ahilan. This event was
held at Wentworthville Redgum Theatre, a modest beginning
for Samarpana School of Dance. However, the entire dance
fraternity graced the occasion with friends and family.
Commencing the evening with a Ganesha Kauthuvam in
Ragam Saveri Adhi thalam Sir CVC set the mood for a treat
- perfection in execution.
He followed this piece with a Varnam in Khambhoji
ragam in a composition of Nataraja Sundaram Pillai in
'Naadhanai Azhaithe Vaa Sakhi (please bring my Lord
Muruga to me oh Friend !). Expression-laden with dynamic
footwork and choreography, the varnam was interspersed
with interesting nadai's - rhythmic structures in various
speeds crisply portrayed. Pallavarajan Nagendran on mri-

22 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

dangam, Kranthi Kiran Mudigonda on violin, and


Chidambaram R Suresh nattavangam and most of all the
melodious and powerful voice of Siva Ahilan from
Melbourne dressed the dance, the dancer and his story with
beautiful nuances. Defying every dancer, teacher, guru and
student with his immaculate presentation and physically
challenging movements, Sir CVC demonstrated that with
practice and dedication even at a very ripe age dancers can
continue to enthrall audiences.
In workshops held in Sydney the previous week leading
up to the event when dancers asked him how he maintains
his aramundi, his simple explanation was, 'If it hurts why do
you stand up, why not go down further?'
At yet another class he said, 'I am not interested in
teaching students pieces - I am interested in fixing and correcting posture and positioning, movement and placement most of all I am teaching dancers Awareness'.
He followed the varnam with a well known padam,
'Vandha
Kaaryam
Yeh
Dhaiya?'
in
ragam
Sankarabharanam. The heroine asking the Lord, 'Now what
is your business with me?' He expressed the padam in different ways:
'Now what is your business with me?
'Now what is your business with me?
'Now what is your business with me?
'Now what is your business with me?
The final item was about the pranks of Little Muruga, a
delightful piece rendered much like a grandfather would love
his grandchild - in the composition of Pillai tamizh.
Followed by a Thillana in Poorvi Kalyani, a composition of
Sir CVC himself.
Some of the comments from educated Bharatanatyam
dancers in the audience were that they were amazed that his
performance that evening did not compromise on any aspect
of the true format of structure and quality of a very authentic kind of Bharatanatyam.

Community

India Australia education partnership


conference ushers in a new era
he joint conference between
The IITians Association of
Australia
(IITAA)
and
Australia India Business Council
(AIBC) Education Chapter on
Education Partnership with India in
the New era took place on October 7,
2014 at the NSW Department of Trade
and Investment, MLC Center,
Sydney.
IITAA successfully facilitated an
active participation by the directors
and deans from selected IITs to travel
to Sydney to attend the conference.
Similarly, AIBC NSW Education
Chapter coordinated participation of
VCs, deans and professors from NSW
universities.
The key aim of the conference was
to explore education partnership
between Australia and India in the
new era.
Mr Ramesh Karnani, Chairman,
IITAA Conference Committee welcomed the participants and introduced
speakers and guests, urging all to take
advantage of the marvellous surroundings and enjoy a fabulous conference.
The conference got off to a lively
start with the chief guest Mr Sunjay
Sudhir, Consul General of India in
Sydney, who pointed out the opportune timing of the event, bracketed
between the visit of Mr Tony Abbott
to India and
next months G20
Summit in Brisbane, to be attended by
Indian PM Narendra Modi.
Prof. Mary OKane, NSW Chief
Scientist and Engineer, spoke of the
scope for collaboration between the
IITs and the State of NSW with its 8
major Universities and several
research hubs.
Professor Barney Glover, Vice
Chancellor, University of Western

IITAA and AIBC representatives


with Indian Delegates.
Sydney, confidently proclaimed
Western Sydney at the Infrastructure
hub centre of the world with projects
of cardinal importance set up for
Road, Rail and Airport links in the
current decade. In the midst of this
maelstrom of economic activity were
170 different Ethnic communities,
over 4,000 international students,
approximately 24% of whom were
Indian.
Two expert panel discussions were
held to address the role and power of
IITs in India and how Australian
Universities could harness them in
partnership.
Prof. Uday Desai, Director, IIT
Hyderabad, explained that in the IITs
the shift towards PG courses and
Research only began in the 90s - IITs
were seen as teaching institutions up
to that point; the new trends would
perhaps inhibit Academic Arthritis
which may have set in.
Prof. Aloke Ghosal, Dean of
Academic Affairs, IIT Guwahati,
exhibited a video showcasing the

Expert Panel: IITs Open for Global Connections (Left to Right): Aloke
Ghoshal (IIT Guwahati), Amar Samanta (IIT Kharagpur), Uday Desai
(IIT Hyderabad), Dheeraj Sanghi (IIT Kanpur) and
Sandeep Singh (IIT Roorkee)

Institutes campus, its blend of top


class facilities and natural beauty,
leading to its nomenclature of a
Happy Campus.
Prof. Dheeraj Sanghi, Professor of
Computer Science and Dean of
Academic Affairs, IIT Kanpur, spoke
of how IIT-Knp had been the vanguard of Computer Science in India
since the 60s and collaboration was in
its very DNA through the nature of its
creation alongside some of the Silicon
Valley Universities.
Prof. Amar Samanta, Dean of
Research and Prof. of Chemical
Engineering, IIT Kgp, also stressed
the transition towards Research at the
Institute, referred to as the Mother of
the IITs since its inception in 1951.
Prof Sandeep Singh, Professor
Earth Sciences and Dean, Alumni and
International Affairs, IIT Roorkee,
traced the ancient roots of the academy, starting from the Thomson School
of Civil Engineering in the colonial
days (1847) to its current august status
with a large pool of PhD scholars.
Mr James Keane, Head of
Partnerships, Macquarie University,
shared the sentiment that the key word
in
working
with
India
was

PATIENCE, in a place where the


truth is often that the opposite is also
true. The recent grant of A$20M by
the Abbott delegation presaged well
for bilateral Research funding.
Prof. Judy Raper, Deputy Vice
Chancellor,
University
of
Wollongong, drew on her extensive
research experience to highlight areas
such as Materials, Steel and Science
where large numbers of trained professionals would be called for in
future years.
Prof. Veena Sahajwalla, UNSW
Scientia Professor and Associate
Dean, also an IIT-Knp graduate, elucidated how her celebrated invention
in green steelmaking was embraced
by the steel industry, while providing
a bonus for the environment at the
same time.
Prof. Joseph Davis, University of
Sydney and Chair of Regional
Advisory Group for South Asia, provided some incisive remarks on the
nature of collaborative projects. He
advocated the organising of Joint
Workshops with the IITs in the manner of the IIT-Bombay and Monash
University collaboration.
Following presentations by the
Panel members, the Conference
opened to discussion of a wide variety
of questions and ideas from the participants. The session was resolutely
managed by Mr Murali Dharan,
Chairman AIBC NSW Education
Chapter.
Following the conference, IIT delegation from India were facilitated to
have one on one conversations with
their counterparts from selected universities in Sydney, Melbourne and
Canberra. Both IITAA and AIBC
Education Chapter hope to make this
conference bigger and better next
year. The conference was supported
by NSW Govt. Department of Trade
and Investment.

Expert Panel: Partnerships- Lessons from the Trenches (Left to Right):


Veena Sahajwalla, James Keane, Judy Raper and Joseph Davis.

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 23

Body-Mind-Spirit

Navaratri in the south where


traditions abound
By K. Raman
avaratri means nine
nights. It is much in
vogue in Tamil Nadu
and Karnataka - a season of
festivities consisting of Kolu,
Sundal, dressing in style, visiting friends and relatives,
Ayudha Pooja and
Vijaya
Dashami.
Little girls attired in attractive eye catching silk Pavadai
and blouse wind their way to
Kolu houses accompanied by
mothers wrapped in flowing
silk sarees, matching blouses
and head full of Jasmine garland, a common sight in the
twilight time during the nine
day season.
While this is on, boys
dressed in trailing Dhotis
move from house to house rattling a money box, collecting
Ayudha Pooja donation, something akin to Halloween in the
West.
The yearly ritual of
Bomma Kolu (doll display)
is the highlight of Navaratri
season. Instead of the ritualistic celebration, these days it is
all pomp and pageantry. The
best Kolu gets big cash and
material rewards and publicity
in the media.
Navaratri falls in the Tamil
month
of
Purattasi
(September-October).
The
nine day festivities are dedicated to three Goddesses - first
three days to the powerful
Durga, followed by Laxmi,
and finally, Saraswati.
Goddess Durga was born
with the combined power of
the Trinity and other Swarga
Devas and Devathas. She was
born destined to annihilate the
allconquering
demon
Mahishasura. In a nine day
battle Durga killed the demon
Asura and Navaratri is in
remembrance of that nine day
incident.
Having recovered his lost
weaponry from the hollow of a
tree trunk, Arjuna and
Pandavas overcame Kauravas
in the epic battle of Kuru
Kshetra. It was on the same
day that Sri Rama killed the
demon Asura Ravana and
Durga
Devi
annihilated
Mahishasura. All these battles
lasted nine days and culminated on this auspicious day, so
we believe.
The gods and goddesses
dolls are displayed on a 7, 9,

11 (odd numbered) tiered


stand. The story goes like this:
when the Gods gave their
power to Durga Devi, they
became good for nothing - doll
like objects. So they are displayed as dolls in Kolu. After
the killing of Mahishsura, the
individual gods regained their
power from Durga and the
dolls are taken away for storage.
In earlier eras Abhisheka
was performed daily on Durga
with coconut water to cool her
down from her ferocious condition to normalcy.
Visitors who come to see
Kolu are given eatables. It
signifies gaining blessings and
good will to the householder
from them, just as the kings
used to give alms to the needy
seeking their good wishes and
blessings.
The specific foods Kolu
organisers give to the visitors
are:

Day 1
Mochakottai Sundal
(Lima beans)
Day 2
Black eye bean Sundal
Day 3
Brown Chic pea Sundal
Day 4
Green gramSweet- Sundal
Day 5
Groundnut Sundal
Day 6
Horse gram Sundal
Day 7

The annual ritual of Bomma Kolu (doll display) is the highlight of Navaratri season in Tamil Nadu
and Karnataka. In Sydney, there is genuine Kolu celebration at Sri Sreenivasan Varadaraja Iyer and
Sharada Mamis (Blacktown) residence.

Puffed Rice, Honey


Urundai (balls)
Day 8
Bengal gram Sundal
Day 9
Green gram (Pacha
payaru) Salted Sundal.
Sundal means cooked item
seasoned with oil, chilli, mustard seeds, curry leaves and
freshly shredded coconut.
These are all high protein,
energising and healthy food
items, so intended that Durga
has to regain her strength lost
in the fight.
Modern day Prasadams are
totally different to the ancient
items quoted above. All sorts

of sugar and ghee coated delicacies are given as Prasadam


with a blind eye to the nutritional and health giving
aspects of the food consumed.
The end of Navaratri is
marked as the Ayudha Pooja
day. It is a day of worship of
the day to day tools used to
earn a living. On the next day
is the Pooja Eduppu day
when everyone bathes and
after a prayer to Goddess
Saraswathi, the tools are taken
out for use.
It is on this Vijayadashami
day that youngsters are initiated into learning. It takes place
at home supervised by an elderly person, whereas many go

24 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

to the Saraswathi Mandapam


in Mooksmbika shrine at
Kollur to do the initiation ceremony.
On Vijayadashami day
taxis and autos, spic and span,
decorated with banana stems
with banana kola (bunch) and
draped with floral garland ply
around the city, some blaring
latest hit songs via loud speakers mounted on top of the
vehicles. It is more of a noise
pollution and nuisance value
than the celebration side of the
day.
People distribute Avil
Pori among themselves and
exchange pleasantries. Avil
Pori is a tasty mixture of

Puffed rice, roasted pea nuts,


Dhal and crushed Jiggery.
Vijaya Dashami is the final
Hurrah of Navaratri celebration. Vijayadashami is the
marking of a new venture to
all. People postpone important
jobs to begin on Vijaya
Dashami day.
In Sydney, there is genuine
Kolu celebration at Sri
Sreenivasan Varadaraja Iyer
and
Sharada
Mamis
(Blacktown) residence. He
creates beautiful paper based
floral patterns and enhances it
with clever lighting.
It is, indeed, a pleasure to
see the customs and rituals
continue.

Community

Rithvik Raja & Co present Carnatic


concert at Parramasala
By Sumathi Krishnan
eld as an umbrella event at
Parramasala 2014 on a Sunday
morning, 19 October 2014 at the
Lennox Theatre, the Carnatic concert of
three young and vibrant musicians in their
mid to late 20's from Chennai was the first
modest attempt at bringing Carnatic concert
into the platform of a mainstream
Australian festival in Sydney this year.
The three musicians are Rithvik Raja,
Rajeev and Tanjore Praveen Kumar.
Unassumingly simple and pleasant, these
artists are well rounded, easy to deal with,
and represent a generation that is keen, able
and eager to fast close the existing gap
between the East and the West.
No challenge is too little for them.
Whether it is taking trains or buses to travel to studios, theatres, cities and university
campuses, mixing in with festival chaos,
understanding the ethos that organisers are
attempting to grapple with, or working
with music technicians and low paying and
yet highly demanding audiences that may
compare them to musicians and stalwarts
who have left their impressionable mark on
this style of music.
The concert at Parramasala commenced
with a modest audience that grew and eventually filled the intimate confines of
Lennox. Rithvik's well trained voice
accompanied by the lilting sounds of
Rajeev's violin and the ever present albeit

Rithvik Rajas well trained voice was accompanied by the lilting sounds of Rajeev's
violin and the ever present albeit subtle drone of Tanjore Praveen Kumars mridangam.
subtle drone of the mridangam was a welcome respite from the loud excitement and
rocky beats of the festival.
Providing a soulful, introspective and a
balanced performance, the trio presented a
captivating Karaharapriya in Senthil
Andavan in talam rupakam. The ragam
tanam pallavi in Ragam Kanada in thishra
thriputa thalam 'Then Pazhani Malai
Muruga Vaa Vaa Velavaa !' embellished
with ragamalika swarams, the main piece of
the performance was rendered effortlessly.
Keeping the theme of Muruga, what fol-

lowed by a natural progression was Ka Va


Va, the great composition of Papanasam
Sivan in Ragam Varali. The concert concluded with the sweet pourings of Kalki
Krishnamurthy in 'Poonkuyil Koozhum
Pooncholayil Ore Naal' - "The koo koo
chirping sounds of the flower bird shall
resound in the flower beds one day!"
The concluding piece, also a composition of Papanasam Sivan, was Karpagame
in Madhyamavati and a Poorvi Thillana in
Rupakam, NRGR GMGMGRS !.
What an enjoyable pleasant morning in

a quiet unassuming corner - "Inimai


Kanden"!
At a concert held earlier during the
week in Ryde Civic Centre to raise funds
for Sri Venkateswara Temple, the trio commenced their concert with the navaraga
maligai varnam followed by Entharo
Mahanibhavulu in Sri Ragam. Perhaps
keeping in the concert style being established by his Guru TM Krishna, Rithvik
Raja presented a detailed elaboration on
Thodi with swara improvisations in Raaju
Vedala.
This was followed by the soothing
Chetashree in Dwajaawanthi composed by
Swathi Thirunal followed by Sarasa
Madana in a beautiful rendering of Sarasa
Madana in Kapi Narayani. The Mukari and
Jhonpuri that followed were rendered with
strict adherence keeping in mind the text,
the ragam and the thalam.
Finishing with Chinnan Chire Kiliye in
a ragamalika and the popular thillana of
Geetakuni in Dhanasri, the young musicians received a standing ovation for their
systematic aesthetically pleasant concert.
Rithvik Raja's forte is his ability to
explore his imaginative flights with requisite pauses so that every little examination
of a variation is pronounced, neat and systematic. As the trio leave the shores of
Australia after successful performances in
Melbourne, one is hopeful that the future of
Carnatic music rests in good, able and competent hands.

A Kanjoos whod even suck a fly for success!


By Neena Badhwar
anjoos, a play directed by
Saba Abdi, was a thrilling
success for the artists of
Adakar groups debut presentation
under the Parramasalas prime
attraction this year.
Amitava Goswami as Mirza
Sakhawat Baig, a miser to his
bones, was hilarious yet proved to
be an accomplished actor who not
only dangled the carrot of his gold
sovereigns to all the other characters running amuck around him
that included his son Farukh
played by Asif Ghafoor Khan and

his lady love played by Ambika


Asthana. Aparna Vats as Azra,
Baigs daughter, tried her hardest
to woo her dad to part with his
treasure and her boyfriend as Nasir
played by Vikas Sehgal pretended
to act as the servant to win the old
mans heart. But nothing made the
Budda Baig budge from his socalled illusive treasure, which all
his servants looked around to find
in every nook and corner of the
Baig household. Nabbu the servant
played by Nisar Sirguroh was irritatingly inquisitive, hawaldar
played by Pankaj Yadav was good
at snoring away while Alfu played

by Satish Mathur and dalal Aslam


by Shashi Dandekar took the mickey out of the Kanjoos Goswami.
To top it all, Mirza Baig shocks
everyone when he announces that
he will actually marry Mariyam
played by Ambika Asthana conveniently and craftingly arranged by
Saba Zaidi Abdi who proved to be
an excellent actor along with the
rest of the cast.
What can one say except that
Kanjoos was a class act as actors
worked hard for months, to finally
present a polished comedy by the
Sydney Adakar group.
Rajiv Mainis sets provided the

Aparna Vats, Saba Abdi, Asif Ghafoor Kahan and Ambika Asthana

perfect backdrop with costumes


provided by Roshans Fashions.
Actors were dressed and their
make-up applied by Kulwinder
Kaur and Mala Mehta.
Lighting by Dhruajyoti Ghosh
was superb whereas lyrics of the
Qawaali written by Ashraf Shad
and sung by Pupinder Mintu and
Sarshar Party eased the audience
into a mood ready to see every
hilarious act that turned Kanjoos
into a perfect drama and a comedy.
One can say that Sydney has
matured to produce plays right
here by its own local actors, directors and script writers. Surely

some scripts based on local experiences can be encouraged to be


staged.
A suggestion. At times the
script felt that it had used pakka
Urdu expressions here and there,
which could have easily been made
simpler by translating a few difficult words into Hindustani dialect
to make it easier for many in the
audience who came from the north
Indian Hindi speaking belt. In all
other aspects, watching Kanjoos
was thoroughly enjoyable and an
evening which we are sure that
Adakar will present many more in
the future to come.

Vikas Sehgal listening in to what Amitav as Baig has to say to


his servants played by Nisar and Satish

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 25

Community

Along the Silk Road with Parramasala 2014


By Sumathi Krishnan
or a majority of Sydneysiders,
Parramatta the city holds the reputation of almost being the 'boring
west!' for it lacks the glamorous landscape of the iconic Sydney Opera House
or the Sydney Harbourside.
The perception of Parramatta as the
poor cousin is, however, changing. For
it now represents the multi-culturally
diverse face of Australia. The Mayor of
the City of Parramatta John Chedid has
risen to harness and nourish the varied
cultures brought into the region by its
myriad migrant communities. The
Council works hard to ensure the
Parramasala Festival runs smoothly.
This year Parramasala 2014 was held
between October 17-19 to coincide with
the celebrations of Deepavali in
Parliament House with Di Henry as its
Festival Director. The events of the festival were offered free to the entire community.
Free shows were held at the indoor
intimate Lennox Theatre in the Riverside
Theatres; at the outdoor stage of Harris
Park - a street which Shah Rukh Khan
playfully coined 'Harish Park'; the

Alfred Park Stage immediately next to


Riverside and a quaint chai tent called
the Chai Temple.
The Festival started with the long
python like parade of colours, sounds,
sights led by the NSW Police Band.
Different community organisations,
artists and floats paraded along Church
Street of Parramatta joined by the temple
nagaswaram and thavil players. With the
welcome to country, speeches by Dr G.K
(Harry) Harinath, MBBS, DTM&H
(OAM), Chairman, and Mayor John

Chedid and a blast of the nagaswaram,


the festival officially opened.
If the outdoor events celebrated
Bollywood flash mobs, rap, bhangra,
bands and drums, poetry slam, Eqyptian
and Persian dance blends, foot tapping
afro drumming and multicultural musical
orchestra, the soul of Parramasala rested
in the inner confines of the Riverside
Theatre where Kanjoos the Urdu play
directed by Saba Abdi, Padma Bhushan
CV Chandrashekhar's Splendour of
Creation along with Sufi Qawwali nights

called Chants of Love were an enormous


hit.
The festival spread this year to the
popular street eat in Harris Park where
Bollywood figures like Anupam Sharma
and upcoming Triple J singer Priyanka
Pripri livened the atmosphere. Fire
eaters, Cook Island dancers, more flash
mobs, giddha and bhangra and
Bollywood got the party rolling. All
restaurants were able to sell their food in
trolleys especially imported from India.
The atmosphere livened up this quaint
suburb and was a massive hit.
A major part of this years festival
was also the South Asian Film Festival
curated by Gary Padmanathan.
Movies that were commissioned by
Parramasala were Ashok Roy Story by
ABC freelancer Oonagh Sherrard, Her
Inner Voice by Indu Balachandran,
Chindian Diaries by Kevin, to mention a
few.
All in all Parramasala had everything
to offer from face painting, mehndi,
stalls selling various products from every
country along the Silk Road. Talking of
which, would the Silk Road be complete
without camel rides -- the popular haunt
for families with young children.

Hindi poets at Parramasala Poetry Slam


T
his year, Parramasala Festival
encouraged local talents, be it
drama, dance, songs or poetry, the
festival had it all. The Parraslam poetry
event was organised by the Word Travels
and Indian Literary and Art Society of
Australia (ILASA) Inc. On October 19 the
Parramasala Slam Poetry competition saw
eight talented poets reading or reciting
Hindi and English poetry on various topics. Eight poets were allowed to register
half an hour before the event started.
Being a multilingual event, age and language were no bar. Parraslam attracted
contestants from across Sydney and the
Blue Mountains, who used local, social
justice and South Asian migrant themes, to
inspire and share with the crowd.
Eight poets who registered were
Cheenu, Swati Tiwari, Rajeev Kapoor,
Gaurav Kapoor, Sumathi Krishnan, Jenny
Huynh, Ekta Sharma and Eden Riley. Out
of the 8 poets four poets recited their
poems in Hindi. Judges were chosen from
the audience, and by chance they all were
English speaking people. For non-English
speaking poets the criteria was how well
they expressed their feelings through poetry recitation coupled with acting in the two
minutes allocated to each poet.
Miles Miller of Word Travels started
the program. He introduced Omar Musa
the guest poet and other poets one by one.
It was interesting to see how Miles kept the
audience engaged with his witty comments
and musical moves. After Omar Musas
mind blowing recitation started the first
round.
All 8 poets performed well but four
best poets were selected to recite poems in
the second round. The third and the final
round was the most challenging task for
the judges when two poets recited their
third poems. Finally the winner of
Parraslam poetry was announced, the win-

The Parraslam poetry event was organised by the Word Travels and Indian Literary and Art Society of Australia (ILASA).
ner was Eden Riley and the runner up was
Ekta Sharma. The winner got $200 cash
prize and was invited to perform at
Customs House in 2015. Co-host Raj
Paul Sandhu recited two pieces of poetry,
one in English and the other in Hindi, and
the audience enjoyed listening to both.
The special guest appearance and poetry inspiration came from famous rapper
poet Omar Musa, of Malaysian background from Queanbeyan, who recently

26 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

published a book of his poems, "Here


Come the Dogs", having earned praises
from actor and poetry lover Russell
Crowe.
Rekha Rajvanshi said she was proud
that Rajeev Kapoor, Swati Tiwari and
Gaurav Kapoor took part in the
Parramasala Poetry Slam and proved to be
quite skillfull at poetry recitation. Sumathi
Krishnan recited one of Rekha Rajvanshi's
poems. Rekha adds, "It was a challenge

for these poets. Poetry slams are not just


about excellent poetry writing in metre,
more important is how we convey it to the
audience. At the end, all went well, I am
happy that Gaurav Kapoor made it to the
semi-final round. Perhaps Indian Aussie
audience and some Hindi/Urdu speaking
judges would have helped. Indian poets
enjoyed the experience and learnt a lot
from others including the winner Eden
Riley who was really good.

Community

HSA Committee people posing.


iwali Mela at Parramatta Park on October
19 was a great success attended by over
15,000 people. There was food, fun, fair,
rides, Ravan effigy and fireworks and families and
friends enjoying the sunny atmosphere. One can
see happy faces lighting up as the costumes stall run
by Kulwinder Kaur was a hit. It brought a smile on
everyones face as they dressed up in a studio and
shot for Rajesh Kumar Photography.

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 27

Community

By Manju Mittal
t was a historic long weekend
in October for the Hindu
community in Sydney. Close
to a hundred enthusiastic devotees with determination, faith and
bhakti congregated to participate
in a 65km walk for the annual
event -Pada Yatra from
Westmead Sri Murugan temple
to
Helensburgh
Sri
Venkateswara temple.
It is a Hindu tradition to walk
to a pilgrim place on special
events and occasions during the
festive seasons.
The tradition of foot march
(Pada Yatra) in India going back
thousands of years. In many
other countries too the practice
of religious pilgrimage is very
much alive (think of the annual
Hajj! Which every able Muslim
is required to take at least once in
a lifetime).
Introducing Pada Yatra in the
Western world was a natural
development. People participate
in Pada Yatra for many reasons for political purposes, to get
away from stress, to find peace
of mind, to go back to the basics
or simply to get some exercise in
a natural environment. I feel the
real purpose of Pada Yatra is to
get closer to God. Walking is
also an intimate activity and the
conversation tends to flow easily
with any walking companions.
For the first time in 2012, Lets
Give Hope nonprofit Sydney
organisation Walk2Temple team
organised a Pada Yatra event
which proved to be quite popular.
This year the event was held
in Sydney on October 4 and
which
I
witnessed.
The

Padayatris with Ms Julie Owns MP at


Sri Murugan Temple, Westmead
Westmead temple was especially
opened early morning to welcome the pilgrims. There was
special aarti and abhishekam for
the Pada yatris performed by
priests to kick off the walk. The
event was attended by Ms. Julie
Owens MP.
The Pada Yatra began at 6.30
in the morning from Sri Murugan
temple at Westmead after the
blessings offered by the priest.
After a short walk, the padyatris
stopped at BAPS Swaminarayan
temple in Harris Park for a short
break. The walkers continued to
Sai temple in Strathfield.
After a long 14km walk, the
walkers reached Strathfield Sai
Temple at 10.30 am. They were
served breakfast at the temple.
There was a stall put up by Sai
devotees to serve hot Upma and
tea to Padayatris.
Some pilgrims concluded
their yatra at Sai temple while

some other walkers joined the


walk from Sai temple for the last
leg of the pilgrimage, which
went
all
the
way
to
Helensburghs Sri Venkateswara
temple.
The volunteers were amazingly helpful and encouraging they provided cold water, fruits
and hot meal for the walkers at
set intervals. Mantra repetition
and chanting gave pilgrims luminous energy. They had strong
faith in God leading them
towards their holy destination.
They reached their final destination
late
evening.
Sri
Ventakeswara
temple
Helensburgh provided transport
to pick up and drop them to
Lawrence Hargrave Road.
The Padayatra - Temple to
Temple Walk was organised by
registering the event with NSW
Premiers department, Road
occupancy license taken from

Stopping and taking a break at Sri Sai Temple

28 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

Volunteers of Walk2Temple
RMS, permission from NSW
police and local councils and
covered first aid requirements
and public liability insurance for
the day. It was supported by all
local Hindu temples and the
Hindu Council of Australia.
Sydney devotee and walker
Renga Rajan said, The walk is
divine, walk of faith that is a
good cause that makes you humble and it is a great tradition to
make new friends with the Pada
Yatris.
Another Pada Yatra supporter
and participant Aruna Chandrala
added, We want to make the
Pada Yatra Temple to Temple
Walk grow in the future and promote it as a big Hindu religious
event of importance for the
Sydney Indian and South Asian
Community.
Walk2Temple had devotees
who walked to 4 temples and pilgrims came from 7 temples that
included BAPS Swaminarayan

Temple, Swaminarayan Temple


Blacktown, Sri Mandir
Auburn, Durga Temple Regents Park, Sri Ayyappa
Temple, Karpaga Vinayakar
Temple Flemington, and Shirdi
Sai Mandir - South Strathfield.
The organizing team of
Walk2Temple included Sai
Paravastu, Ravinder Etikala,
Rajesh Arshanupatti, Murli
Konneru and Ravi Ananthuala.
Participant Paul Mackenzie
says, I thoroughly enjoyed Pada
Yatra. It was wonderful, rewarding while I also wanted to lose
weight. It also gave me meaning
and a sense of purpose. I felt
happy and healthy walking with
others with an added feeling of
devotion.
For me personally the experience was quite unique and helped
overcome the normal tensions of
modern day life as it opened up a
new dimension in my life. And I
am sure others felt the same.

All pilgrims ready to go for the 65 km walk

Community

IABC Awards celebrate community achievers with glitter and glamour


By Vish Viswanathan
here are many things which
the Australian Indian community can be really proud
of in the multicultural Australia -their skill sets, high energy, ability to integrate in a multicultural
environment and most importantly
not forgetting their roots and making both India where they came
from and Australia where they live
very proud of their high achievements.
Events like the India Australia
Business and Community Awards
(IABCA) night held on Friday 31
October at Sydney Town Hall provide a window of opportunity to
learn about individuals involved in
community service or notching up
business achievements.
IABC
Awards night was attended by over
300 invited guests, including finalists in different categories of
awards,
politicians,
Consul
General of India Mr. Sunjay
Sudhir,
NSW
Government
Ministers Victor DominelloMinister for Citizenship and
Communities,
and
Dominic
Perrottet, Minister for Finance and
Services and Andrew O Keefe,
White Ribbon Ambassador and
popular media personality. Janice
Peterson, Presenter SBS World
News was the very lively Master
of Ceremonies for the entire
evening lasting nearly six hours.
Winners of the night were:
Young community achiever of the
year Mohit Tolani, community
leader; Community Arts and
Culture Award Kumud Merani,
SBS
Radio;
Community
Association of the year United
Indian Associations Inc (UIA);
Education Institute of the year S

Sonia Gandhi, organiser of the awards, with community members


P Jain School of Global
Management; Travel Agency of
the year Gaura Travel; Indian
Restaurant of the year Urban
Tadka; Technology Solutions
Provider of the year Gov
Reports; Young Professional of
the year Ajay Mukesh Khandhar;
Small Business of the year Indus
Valley Designs; SME of the year
Time Out Australia; Indian
Australian Ambassador of the year
Manjit Gujral; Special award for
Best Dressed Couple Lucky
Singh and Balbir Singh.
In his opening address, Consul
General Sunjay Sudhir congratulated organiser Sonia Gandhi and
the IABCA team for the excellent
thought of organising such an
awards function to honour high
achievers from the community. He
stated that the contribution from
the younger generation is very significant. He announced the date of
the next years IABCA awards
Friday the 30th of October 2015.
Mr. Dominello said that the
dynamics, innovation and contribution of the Australian Indian
community reflected in the recognition of high achievers. He con-

Dancers entertaining the guests

Urban Tadka, set up by (from right) Mandeep


Rana and Dimpy Singh, bagged Indian Restaurant
of the year award.
gratulated Sonia Gandhi and stated
that such high energetic individuals are capable of enhancing the
community spirit.
Andrew O Keefe, the White
Ribbon Ambassador, highlighted
the importance of tackling the
complex issue of domestic violence in Australia in his spirited
speech and there was a charity auction raising a few thousands of dollars for the White Ribbon Charity.
A lot of hard work must have

Indian Consul General Sunjay Sudhir,


with Victor Dominello and Matt Keane

gone in organising an event such


as this, yet there are suggestions.
The awards should be publicised
extensively in the community so
that more people apply to be fair to
the awards and to capture more
candidates in every category.
Judges will only go by what is presented to them, yet some kind of
independent survey from within
the community can be included to
help judges make their final decision. Definitely honouring a quiet

achiever should also be a part of


the ceremony even without an
entry or a nomination. And finally
it should be a regular annual event
than just one or two time exercise
as has happened in some award
ceremonies that have happened
before.
Sonia Gandhi and her IABCA
team deserve all the accolades and
she herself deserves an award for
raising the profile of the Australian
Indian community.

Music world mourns Mandolin Seenu


By K. Raman
ruly a musical genius, Mandolin
Srinivas (Seenu) passed away on
September 19 at a young age of 45.
Though short lived, U. Srinivas moved
in his chosen music field like a typhoon, performing in most prestigious venues throughout the world. He produced more than 40
albums in diverse genres, established a
music school in Chennai, named Srinivas
Institute of World Music (SIOWM), besides
being an integral part of the world renowned
Shakti
orchestra,
which
included
McLaughlin, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Zakir
Hussain, Sivamani, Vinku Vinayakaram,
Flautist Ramani, Shankar Mahadevan and
some other music greats.
Mandolin Srinivas was well and truly a
prodigy of the top order. More than three
decades ago, he was scheduled to perform at
the Bridge Theatre (Sydney) and I remember
the organisers were struggling to sell his
concert tickets. No one here knew who
Seenu was?
The preteen Srinivas was nowhere to be
seen, even at the start of the show time. His
father and show organisers were running
around looking for him. And there he was
playing cricket in the backyard ground of the

U. Srinivas had stormed the music world


as a child prodigy
venue with a flock of kids of similar age.
Finally he appeared on the podium and
the concert began. His father was clearly
upset seeing his son arriving at the podium
late and covered in sweat and dirt all over
his white dress that would soon go under the
spotlight for the eagerly waiting audience. In
fact, during the interval he repeated the act
being a cricket nut, but, this time, his father
ignored it altogether.
When the concert started, in the first few
minutes we pinched ourselves to convince
ourselves that what we saw and heard so far

was real. His flourish, knowledge of musical intricacies, presenting complicated


Sangathis in gay abandon, manodharma
and grasp of ragas were far too mature for
his age and he was giving a tough time to his
accompanists.
During the break, overjoyed Dr (late)
Dorai Swamy took the precious diamond
ring he was wearing, wiped it clean, gave a
quick polish and handed it over to Seenu,
who received it casually and handed it over
to his father seated behind him supporting
him with thalam. His father whispered to his
son to wear the ring and be graceful. Being
too big for his young and slender ring finger,
he put it down next to his fathers feet.
Mandolin Srinivass most memorable
concerts for the Sydney community have
been at the late Dr Govindans home and at
another instance at the home of Jayendran,
when he and Kishan (talented son of
Jayendran and Jaya) were having a long session on Mandolin, preceding Kishans
arangetram the same evening.
Seenus attachment to his dad, his
teacher, friend, philosopher and guide was
something special and sublime. I remember
on a couple of occasions, just as he was
about to eat, he repeatedly asked whether his
dad had eaten.

Mandolin is an Arabic musical instrument belonging to the Mandolino Lute


family, or, to be more precise, a descendant
of Mandore family. It has four courses of
doubled strings. Because it is hard to coax
for South Indian classical music, heavily
packed with complicated Raga sancharas,
laden with heavy Gamaka usage, Srinivas
found a method to achieve his objective by
getting rid of three strings (making it a fivestringed), four strings to function normally
and the fifth one was to be the Manthra
sthayi.
Not everything was hunky dory for
Srinivas, especially in his personal life. He
married U Shree, a Veena player and daughter of an IAS official, in 1994, and a son was
born to them. Rift between the two developed early in married life and she moved out
with her son after four years.
Mandolin Srinivas was shy, affectionate,
and gentle in nature. He was a fan of action
movies. He was also a keen follower of Sri
Satya Sai Baba and performed many times in
his presence.
His favourite guru like figures were
MLV, DKP, and, of course, Semmangudi
Mama.
Though he made an early exit, his music
will live for a long time to come.

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 29

Bollywood

Sydney! Get ready for a selfie with


Bollywood stars at IFEFA
ollywood heat is on as
Sydney warms up to
International Film and
Entertainment Festival Australia
(IFEFA)s debut initiative to celebrate world cinema in the southern
hemisphere. The festival will provide an opportunity to showcase
movies from around the world that
may not be shown in the normal
mainstream cinemas. IFEFA is an
attempt to celebrate cinematic art
and awards that recognise the most
original and creative films and
efforts in the entertainment industry.
From November 7 16 IFEFA
celebrates 100 years of cinema in
India as its main theme and
attempts to create synergies with
its exceptional program to infuse
and inspire new talent. With an
aim to nurture, encourage, inspire
and intrigue the cinematic experiences of the diverse and multicultural
communities of Australia and create a
cinematic dialogue forming social,
cultural and artistic connect between
them.
IFEFA 2014 has five major events
spanning over two weekends. The
opening of the festival is on
November 7 at Reading Cinemas in
Auburn from 6.30 PM and will be
attended by Esha Gupta, Gulshan
Grover, Ragini Diwedi, Vipin
Sharma, Sandeep and Reshma
Malani, Olga Assbgy, Maria Tran
and many other artists.
On November 8 IFEFA is showing an elaborate musical drama on
100 years of Indian Cinema directed and produced by Sandeep Malani
from India and will be shown from
6.30 PM at Sydney Bahai Centre in
Silverwater. Many stars will attend
the event from Bollywood.
November 9 will bring another
nostalgic tribute to the singing legend
late Mohammed Rafi sahib by his son
Shahid Rafi. Shahid plans to do an
interactive session with the audience.
Local artists also participate in
remembering the legendary singer.
Many Bollywood stars will grace the
occasion with their presence.
IFEFA has conducted extensive

Sandeep and Reshma Malani with


Sahil Multy Khan

IFEFA team taking a selfie before the stars arrive

Video mobile billboard of Bipasha Basu advertised by IFEFA

auditions for a dance competition and


male/female pageant for months, it
being one of the major highlights.
Finals will be held on November 15
at C3 Conference Center in
Silverwater from 5.30pm onwards.
Bipasha Basu will crown the winners
next day at IFEFAs closing ceremo-

30 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

ny. Jury includes stars Zarine Khan,


Rekha Rana and Subh Malhotra.
The Grand Closing ceremony will
be held on November 16 at Whitlam
Centre in Liverpool. Over 1500 people are expected to turn up for the
mega star event. Bipasha Basu,
Prakash Raj, Vipin Sharma, Sandeep

Prakash Raj well known Bollywood villain

and Reshma Malani and a line-up of


many more stars will walk the red
carpet and attend the awards ceremony with an elaborate show of a grand
scale that Sydney has never witnessed
before. So Sydney! get ready this
coming November the 7th when it all
starts.

Childrens Corner

By Esther
Chaudhry-Lyons

Children's Corner

HISTORY OF THE TAJ MAHAL

he Taj Mahal of Agra is one of the


Seven Wonders of the World, for
reasons more than just looking magnificent. It's the history of Taj Mahal that
adds a soul to its magnificence: a soul that
is filled with love, loss, remorse, and love
again. An example of how deeply a man
loved his wife, that even after she remained
only a memory, he made sure that this
memory would never fade away. This man
was the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who
was head-over-heels in love with Mumtaz
Mahal, his dear wife. She was a Muslim
Persian princess (her name Arjumand Banu
Begum before marriage) and he was the son
of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir and grandson of Akbar the Great. It was at the age of
14 that he met Mumtaz and fell in love with
her. Five years later in the year 1612, they
got married.
Mumtaz Mahal, an inseparable companion of Shah Jahan, died in 1631, while giving birth to their 14th child. It was in the
memory of his beloved wife that Shah Jahan
built a magnificent monument as a tribute to
her, which we today know as the "Taj
Mahal". The construction of Taj Mahal
started in the year 1631. Masons, stonecutters, inlayers, carvers, painters, calligraphers, dome-builders and other artisans
were requisitioned from the whole of the
empire and also from Central Asia and
Iran, and it took approximately 22 years to
build what we see today. An epitome of
love, it made use of the services of 22,000
labourers and 1,000 elephants. The monument was built entirely out of white marble,
which was brought in from all over India
and central Asia. After an expenditure of
approximately 32 million rupees, Taj

Mahal was finally completed in the year


1653.It was soon after the completion of
Taj Mahal that Shah Jahan was deposed by
his own son Aurangzeb and was put under
house arrest at nearby Agra Fort. Shah
Jahan, himself also, lies entombed in this
mausoleum along with his wife. Moving
further down the history, it was at the end
of the 19th century that British Viceroy
Lord Curzon ordered a sweeping restoration project, which was completed in 1908,
as a measure to restore what was lost during the Indian rebellion of 1857: Taj being
blemished by British soldiers and government officials who also deprived the monument of its immaculate beauty by chiselling
out precious stones and lapis lazuli from its
walls. Also, the British style lawns that we
see today adding on to the beauty of Taj
were remodelled around the same time.
Despite prevailing controversies, past and
present threats from Indo-Pak war and environmental pollution, this epitome of love
continuous to shine and attract people from
all over the world.

Birth of
Lord Ganesh

On one occasion, she needed someone to


guard the house when she was going for a
bath. Unable to think of an alternative, she
used her powers to create a son, Ganesh.
She instructed Ganesh to keep strict vigil on
the entrance to the house and not to allow
anyone into the house. Ganesh agreed and
stayed on the strictest of strict vigils.
In the meantime Lord Shiva returned
happy after a glorious victory for the gods,
only to be stopped at the entrance by
Ganesh. Ganesh, acting on Parvathi's
orders verbatim, did not allow Shiva to
enter the house. Lord Shiva was enraged
beyond control and in a fit of rage slashed
the head of Ganesh. In the meantime
Parvathi came out from her bath and was
aghast at the scene. She was very angry at
her lordship for what had happened and
explained him the situation.
Lord Shiva wanted to make it up to
Parvathi very badly and agreed to put life
back into Ganesha by putting the head of
the first sleeping living creature that came
in sight which was sleeping with its head to
the north. He sent his soldiers to go in
search of the creature. The first creature
which came in sight was an elephant. So
Lord Shiva re-created his son with the head
of the elephant. Hence the trunk of Lord
Ganesha.
Parvathi was still not totally happy with
the deal and wanted more. Then Shiva
granted Ganesha a boon that before beginning of any undertaking or task people
would worship Lord Ganesh. Lord Ganesh
has to power to remove any obstacles that
come in the way of all true devotees. So
before starting any new project or work it is
good to pray to Lord Ganesh with all shradha and bhakthi for the successful completion of the task undertaken.

home in the folds of the milk-white sheets


of linen spread on the king's ornamental
bed. One day, the bug saw a flea drifting
into the king's bedroom and told the flea
that he had come to a wrong place and
asked him to leave before somebody
noticed him.
The flea, whose name was Agnimukha,
said, Oh venerable sir, it is not proper for
you to ask a guest to leave even if he is a
wicked person. You must welcome him,
ask him about his health, say words that
comfort him and request him to take rest.
That is how good hosts treat their guests.
Besides, I have tasted the blood of a variety
of men and animals. Never did I taste royal
blood. The king's blood is a compound of
rich foods and is bound to taste rich. Please
permit me to relish this delicacy.
The flea continued, Everything we do
in this world we do to slake our hunger. I
have come to you in search of food. It is not
proper for you to siphon off the king's
blood all alone. You should share it with
me also.
The bug told him, oh, flea, I suck the
blood of the king when he is fast asleep.
You are impatient. You have to wait till I
finish my job. After me, you can have your
fill. The flea agreed.
Meanwhile, the king entered his bedroom to sleep. But the impatient flea began
feasting on the king's blood even before he
went to sleep. Stung by his bite, the king
rose from his bed and asked his servants to
look for what was in the bed that caused
him discomfort.
The king's men pulled the linen off the
bed and examined it closely. Before they
could him, the flea sneaked into a recess of
the bed. The servants found the poor bug
and killed him at once.

The Bug and The


Poor Flea

A JOKE

Once upon a time a bug named


Mandavisarpini made for itself a small

TEACHER: What is further away,


Australia or the Moon?
PUPIL: Australia, you can see the
Moon at night!

He is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess


Parvathi...
Lord Ganesh is the son of Lord Shiva
and goddess Parvathi. The story of creation
of ganesh is a very fascinating one.
Long time ago when Lord Shiva, was
away fighting for the gods, the lady of the
house, goddess Parvathi was alone at home.

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 31

32 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October - November 2014

Matrimonials
Nov Mat 1. Wanted a suitable professional
match for a beautiful, homely girl, 5' 3", 26 year old
living in Delhi. She is a graduate in English (Hons)
and will be completing MBA in December. Close
relatives live in Sydney and can be contacted for references. Please send full details to 'indiandownunder@gmail.com'.
Aug 2014 Mat 2. Match for slim, attractive 27
years old daughter; postgrad medicine, working in a
hospital in Sydney. Boy must be tall and handsome.
Professionally qualified and earning well. Punjabi
Brahmin, Khatri, Arora or Sikh backgroud.
Australian Citizen. Apply with brief details and
phone number Ganpati_Om@hotmail.com
Aug 2014 Mat 3. Seeking suitable bride for
Punjabi Brahmin Boy 31 years 59 well settled
Australian Citizen working in Global Bank Sydney,
Caste no bar. Please email particulars including photograph to: account8888@gmail.com or contact
0401 954 390.
Aug 2014 Mat 4. MATCH required for my
daughter, we are a Punjabi Brahmin family, settled
in Australia. Education: LLB, Grad Dip Legal
Practice, B Business MGMT, working in Qld govt,
earns $90K. Elegant girl with pleasing nature. 5-3,
34, lives a balanced lifestyle, fit and fair. Looking for
a handsome Hindu boy, intelligent and accomplished in a good career. Caste no bar.
kumarpd07@yahoo.com.au
Aug 2014 Mat 5. MATCH required for a
Licensed Building Practitioner (Builder) Rajput boy,
NEVER MARRIED, very fair, athletic, handsome,
5'-11", June 1982 born, High six figure package,
Caste no bar. +61-431-059-703. matrimony2031@yahoo.com.au
Aug 2014 Mat 6. Well settled parents looking
for suitable matches for their daughter, 32 years old,
working for a multinational company in Sydney in a
senior corporate position, pretty, 163cm tall; brought
up in and values both Indian and western culture.
North Indian, Punjabi, from other regional background, professional boys from well settled family
background preferred. Please contact by email:
sur6958@gmail.com or mobile: 0404 147 744.
Aug 2014 Mat 7. Match for Australian born
28year old Sydney based Punjabi Bhardwaj girl,
Master of law, working for NSW goverment. Pretty,

tall, fair, homely yet modern girl blends in both


Indian and western cultures easily, wants a professional, educated and outgoing match. Contact:
vk5454@hotmail.com
Aug 2014 Mat 8. SEEKING match for my
brother, Hindu, Gujarati - Patel, 32, 6 ft, vegetarian,

MATRIMONIALS

Masters in Computing Studies, working and living


in USA (American citizen). Looking for a loving
Gujarati girl, caring with good family values, well
cultured settled or trying to settle in USA or
Australia, preferably with a PR/Citizenship. Email:
bluepools2012@gmail.com
Aug 2014 Mat 9. Seeking suitable match ( from
Australia ) never married, for Hindu Girl 34 yrs,
Chartered Accountant (non veg) living in Australia
over 25 yrs with eastern and western family values.
Please
email
with
all
details
on
ganesh2011v@gmail.com
Aug 2014 Mat 10. Seeking a Hindu boy, non
vegetarian, preferably Gujarati with good family
values for my daughter. She is 33 , divorced, 5'2" and
well-built. She is an Australian citizen, works as an
IT team leader and is well settled in Sydney. If you
are interested please contact us on 0404 595 182 or
r.chandra2012@hotmail.com.
Aug 2014 Mat 11. Parents settled in Australia
looking for a suitable professional match for their 30
years old daughter, height 165cm, smart, pretty and
working as a clinical psychologist, well brought up
and respects Indian cultural values. Professional
boys from well settled family background preferred.

Please contact by email: fame46213@gmail.com


or mobile: 0452 227 920
Aug 2014 Mat 12. Parents seeking match for
beautiful, multitalented Medical Doctor daughter
(age 27) with wider interests in life. Correspondence
requested from medical doctor/ dentist (preference
vegetarian)
with
exclusive
profile
:
oasis1556@yahoo.com
Aug 2014 Mat 13. Parents seeking match for
fair, slim Hindu Sindhi girl 32 years/ 156 cm working as Lecturer in leading University. Permanent resident of Australia with dual degree M.com
(Accounts and Finance), fond of sports, traveling
and cooking. We are a well knit professional family.
Please mail proposal with education, job details with
recent photo to : mohri1324@gmail.com and
Contact no. 0431 842 458
Aug 2014 Mat 14. Well settled Indian family
looking for a suitable match for their 25 year old
medico daughter, 5 5 tall, born brought up and educated in Australia. Keen in outdoor and sport activities, travel and wants a like-minded Australia educated
medico
boy.
Write
to:
wedding2519@gmail.com
Aug 2014 Mat 15 Seeking a Hindu girl, vegetarian, preferably Gujarati, with good family values,
for my son. He is 36, divorced, no children, fair,
58, well-built, non-smoker, light drinks. He is an
Australian citizen, works as a tax consultant and
lives with his parents. His two sisters live separately.
We have lived in Sydney for 19 years. Contact 0423
328 800 or syda u714@hotmail.com.
Aug 2014 Mat 16. Seeking a well qualified
Hindu male, aged between 49 54, for a very fair,
young looking Hindu lady, aged 54 and an
Australian citizen. He should be a non smoker and
should have strong moral values. Caste no bar. She
is an eggetarian, divorced and has a 19 year old
daughter living with her. Contact lifepartner@hotmail.com.au.
Aug 2014 Mat 17. Hindu Punjabi business par-

ents invite alliance from a beautiful educated girl for


their highly qualified son 30/6'3", a very well placed
financial consultant with a leading multinational
company in UK. Will be in Australia in July, Caste
no bar. Send BHP to ukshaadi@hotmail.com
87. Well settled family in Australia inviting
alliance for 27 year old, 5"11, Sood Punjabi boy,
B.Software Engineer(honors) and is working as a
senior IT Consultant for the Australian government
on high income. Seeking Indian girl, caste no bar.
Please
call
0414-518-312.
Email
aumohindra@gmail.com
Aug 2014 Mat 19. Seeking compatible well
educated, employed professional/ business match,
with Indian background, broad minded/ mature outlook, independent, divorcee, age 47 years onward,
For caring, honest, friendly, Indian Christian
divorcee Australian citizen, 48 yrs 5'3" tall, much
younger looking than age, attractive, graceful looking graduate nurse, employed. Caste no bar. Email
details to emily.lotus@hotmail.com
Aug 2014 Mat 20. Local born Melbourne
based turbaned Sikh boy with trimmed beard 33
years old 6 feet tall from established family masters
graduate working as finance manager looking for a
likeminded professional Sikh girl who is locally
born or grown up in Australia with mix of western
and Indian culture and values. Send interest with pix
to sikhm10. Well settled, Punjabi khatri family,
looking for a professionally qualified match for
their beautiful, slim, 30 years, 5'5" tall daughter,
raised and educated in Australia. She is working as
a senior associate in a Law firm in Sydney. Mail
proposal with education, job details and a recent
photo to: pk212014@hotmail.com or contact 0430
281 175.
Aug 2014 Mat 21. Seeking alliance for Hindu,
37 yrs, girl, unmarried, charted accountant, simple,
with Indian values and well tuned to western values.
Please reply with all details to dknm10@gmail.com

PROFESSIONAL AND
PERSONALISED CONVEYANCING

Are you planning to buy or sell a house or a business?


Do you need someone proactive and helpful,
Someone friendly, who will go the extra mile?
For all your conveyancing needs, whether residential or commercial

With reasonable rates:

Please contact:Meena Kumar


Phone: 0413087208

October - November 2014 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 33

34 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October - November 2014

Travel

Katherine river

Natures Window at Kalbarri National Park


full of stars.
In Perth, we headed straight
towards an Indian grocery store to
pack our van with lentils and
spices, frozen chapattis and besan
to be at home while travelling,
thanks to the refrigerator also to be
able to stack on cold beer. The gas
stove always being handy, it later
turned out to be fun making pakoras at rest places, also a respite
from everyday diet of fish and
chips.
As it was our first time in a
hired motor home from Britz, it
needed a bit getting used to the
vehicle being taller than a normal
car, heavier and with a larger turning circle. We were also apprehensive in the beginning to park in
normal parking areas but it fitted
well into the designated spaces,
except under the covered areas for
its height. After only a few hours
we were quite adept and at ease
driving normally. Every time we
moved, we reminded ourselves to
lock the refrigerator and all the
cupboards so that these did not

flung open when the foot went to


the brakes.
The relocation cost for motor
homes is a lot less than a hired 4wd
or a car. It can cost twice if the
vehicle is to be relocated. But for
motor homes, perhaps due to
increased traffic between Perth and
Darwin, it does not cost that much
extra. It cost us just $116/day
including all insurance and relocation costs and unlimited kilometres.
From living in a house into a
motor home needs getting used to.
Although called a four-bed vehicle
(two in a loft for contortionists), it
needed a lot of adjustment where
to put all the luggage, whether to
make time consuming beds each
day, a jig-saw puzzle in itself.
After a day or so, things get on
the move and we start loving the
vehicle that, earlier, seemed like a
nuisance. On the road its a different scene compared to the metropolitan cities as there are caravans
of caravans driven by seniors and
the youngsters flying past in

motors homes or converted fourwheel drives.


Perth is a beautiful city for its
Swan River and views from Kings
Park, whereas Freemantle is more
inviting for its outdoor cafes and
casual
setting.
Throughout
Australia, gaols are its main attractions and there are several to see,
the one in Rottnest Island having
lot of prehistory before Captain
Cooks arrival in Australia.
The beautiful Australian visage
is in its out of towns. Perth is now
stretching its boundaries, thanks to
the mining boom. The rich suburbs
are now appearing with its
Mcmansions along the beautiful
west coast, the azure of the endless
ocean merging with the clear blue
of the skies. It is so lovely and
carefree that you are forced to
lament on the fuss about everyday
routines of our lives.
We have a friend in Geraldton,
Glenn Vardy, a former colleague
from work who has been on road
for almost three years after his
retirement. He keeps guiding us

Vijay and Neena Badhwar in front of pinnacles of Nambung National


Park limestone structures formed 25,000-30,000 years ago
By Vijay Badhwar
here are whole mountain
ranges of iron in the Pilbara
region
of
Western
Australia. The late John Hancock
saw its potential from a joy plane
ride over it. There is a folklore that
one could weld pieces of rock
found in the area. And thats no
exaggeration as the commonly
found rock constitutes nearly 60
per cent iron.
Its an astonishing sight to see
the giant trucks at the Rio Tinto
site weighing some 240 tonnes,
their wheels towering over a bus
load of wide-eyed tourists.
There are many amazing sites
along the West Australian coast,
features so unique that belie

description. Even the lifeless


spread of the monotony of desert is
awe inspiring, so unusual is the
landscape.
We started from Perth having
flown there from Sydney, braving
much advice from community
friends against the long journey
from Perth to Darwin in a motor
home at our age, wouldnt it be
dangerous being alone in the outback; what if the motor home
breaks down, they said, even
recalling news of tourist murders
which, they said, were commonplace in that part of the world.
But there we were, foolhardy,
may be, chasing every retirees
dream of going walkabout in real
Australia, away from the city
lights and under the gaze of a sky

Rio Tintos iron ore mine

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 35

Travel

Karijini National Park water hole


along as we leave towns and provides valuable hints on must-see
national parks.
Just 230 kilometres north of
Perth is Nambung National Park
known for its limestone pillars that
jut out of the moonscape of a
desert, the ground around them
eroded away over millions of
years. Called the Pinnacles, the
pillars of varying shapes and sizes
of up to four metres in height and
spread over several square kilometres are a photographers delight.
Geraldton is a busy port for its
shipments of iron ore and its proximity to where HMAS Sydney
sank in 1941 with a loss of 645
lives. The Dome of Souls with the
sculpture of a lady looking towards
the sea has an eerie feeling to it as
it was built before the ship wreck
was located years later at the exact
spot where the ladys eye gazed.
North of Geraldton is Kalbarri
National Park known for its rugged
beauty of red cliffs eroded by the
pounding waves of the Indian
Ocean. There is also a Pink Lake,
a small detour from the highway,
where the waters are tinged due to
an algae, an amazing sight for
tourists.
The town of Denham, and a
short distance away, Monkey Mia,
are major tourist attractions as dolphins from sea are used to be fed
by tourists twice a day.
On the way towards the most
western point of Australia, marked
by the township of Exmouth, there
is Shell Beach, an extraordinary
sight where instead of sand there
are sea shells up to nine metres
deep lining the water edge. We
marvel at this unique quirk of
nature and also a close by colony
of the earliest form of life,
Stromatolites.
In Exmouth, itself, the communication antennas invade the natural beauty of the coastline. A long
distance away from the highway,
its highlights are a lighthouse and a
river cruise along the gorges where
rock wallabies can be seen.

The rest areas every 70-80 km


along the highway are not only
refreshing but also a load of information on hidden treasures on and
off the road. The people are very
helpful and wonder why we pay at
caravan parks to stay and not in
these areas. They seem to be in no
hurry to reach anywhere. The
areas are safe, they assure us, and
have bar-be-que and dry toilet
facilities.
They show off their caravans
with leather reclining chairs and
double beds. These are air-conditioned and while some have noisy
diesel generators, the modern ones
are solar-powered. When they
arrive in the areas, out come their
TV antennas as they set up for several days or weeks.
At their advice we turn off
from the main highway to
Karratha, choosing instead to go
towards Karijini National Park, an
excellent choice we realise later
and it qualifies as the highlight of
our trip.
On way to the national park
there is the township of Tom Price
known for its Rio Tinto mine with
its gigantic operations 240 tonne
trucks loading kilometre long
trains with iron ore heading
towards Port Headland for China.
It is worth taking the conducted
tour.
Karijini Parks deep gorges
with pools of azure water make a
dream setting. There is no power
or supply of drinking water in the
park but parking is allowed at a
nominal charge where nature in its
pristine setting is experienced.
There are long stretches of
road between townships. Driving
after dark is a hazard not only due
to wild animals coming on the road
but also cows, especially brown
ones, who merge into the dark
landscape and wander from the
unfenced farms. They are hard to
see and stopping suddenly is hazardous, especially when a road
train (some 55 metres long!) is
behind you. In one stretch of road,

approximately 50 kilometres long,


we counted 14 cows lying along
the roadside hit by vehicles.
There are roadhouses where
one can spend the night as all facilities are available, including hot
shower or cooked meals. There is
some premium on prices as also on
fuel that can be around $2/litre, but
that should be expected considering the remoteness.
The next town on our itinerary,
Broome, is prominent on the
tourist circuit for its beautiful
beaches (Cable Beach) and pearl
harvesting. There is a special event
when we are there staircase to
the moon when moon rising from
the watery horizon is reflected on
the waves as a staircase and
Broome is abuzz with people.
Katherine near Darwin is
absolutely wonderful and does not
deserve to be overshadowed by
Kakadu National Park. There are
free to public hot springs in idyllic
surroundings and also its gorge

36 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER Octobe-November 2014

Sculpture of lady looking out at the sea


where HMAS Sydney drowned
that has unparallel natural beauty.
Beware of crocodiles signs
menace tourists everywhere in
Northern Territory, directing the
traffic to tour operators. There can
be limit put to the croc territory
which will make the State more
tourist friendly but then it is
unfashionable to say that.
It gets very hot in this part of
Australia and at least a fan is a
must in all seasons to avoid sleepless nights in the van.
Kakadu National Parks standard attractions include river cruises and watching overgrown crocodiles basking on the river banks.

Shell beach near Exmouth

There are many others sites of


beautiful gorges and wetlands but
the one not to miss is a visit to
Jabiru area. Its a good place to
learn about aboriginal history, see
rock paintings and art and craft.
Viewing sunset from top of the
mountain is also a major tourist
drawcard.
The end of our 7000 kilometres
drive through the western coast
comes in Darwin. And we are
pleased that we did it in the freedom of a vehicle of our own and at
our own pace. There is no better
way to see and experience the real
Australian outback.

October - November 2014 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 37

38 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October - November 2014

Also Mothers Classes


at Baulkham Hills

October - November 2014 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 39

Body-Mind-Spirit

The milk of human kindness


When it comes down to brass tacks, all the religions, all the teachings, all the
practises, distil into the simple capacity to be kind to the other, says the author.
By Aparna Sharma
So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
W hile just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.
-Ella Wheeler Wilcox
ri Ramakrishna Paramhansa had been
appointed the priest in the garden temple of Kali in Dakshineshwar in West
Bengal. One day, he fed a cat with the food
that was to be offered to Goddess Kali. This
was too much for the manager of the temple
garden, who considered himself responsible
for the proper conduct of the worship. He
reported Sri Ramakrishnas insane behaviour
to the owner of the property.
Sri Ramakrishna has described the incident: The Divine Mother revealed to me in
the Kali temple that it was She who had
become everything. She showed me that
everything was full of Consciousness. The
image was Consciousness, the altar was
Consciousness, the water vessels were
Consciousness,
the
doorsill
was
Consciousness, the marble floor was consciousness all was Consciousness. I found
everything inside the room soaked, as it
were, in Bliss the Bliss of God. I saw a
wicked man in front of the Kali temple; but
in him also I saw the power of the Divine
Mother vibrating. That was why I fed a cat
with the food that was to be offered to the
Divine Mother. I clearly perceived that all
this was the Divine Mother even the cat.
That is the only state where true compassion, true love, true karuna ever resides.
Compassion, kindness, karuna, maitri,
metta, empathy, love they are all different
names for the same thing. The thing that
caused a drunken, man-killing elephant let
loose on the Buddha to suddenly quieten and
go down on its knees as the Buddha calmly
touched it. It is what caused a raging mad
bull running through a narrow lane to go
back the way it came as Swami Vivekananda
stood still. It is what caused a deadly cobra
to go back when Ramana Maharishi merely
looked at it calmly. It is what causes an
enlightened being to come back to the earth
again and again to remove the suffering of
all sentient beings.
Osho calls compassion the ultimate
flowering of love. When your love is not
just a desire for the other, when your love is
not only a need, when your love is a sharing,
when your love is not that of a beggar but
that of an emperor, when your love is not
asking for something in return, but is ready
only to give to give for the sheer joy of
giving then add meditation to it and the
pure fragrance is released, the imprisoned
splendour is released. That is compassion;
compassion is the highest phenomenon.
In the absence of self-realization, the
practise of kindness, generosity, or selfless
seva, is a doing. But once we realize our true
self, then kindness is not something we do, it
is something we are.
Then kindness flows inward-out. It is our
very nature. It is no longer addressed to anyone in particular; it simply overflows in all
directions and all dimensions. Every action
one then does is in service to that wholeness,
from self to self. Nobody is excluded from

it. And it is so vast, it can contain the whole


universe.
The word kindness has a gentle sound,
says Irish poet, John ODonohue. When
someone is kind to you, you feel understood
and seen. There is no judgment or harsh perception directed toward you. Kindness has
gracious eyes; it is not small-minded or competitive
It makes people open up and relax. It
gives the sentient being a faith in the gentleness of life. It softens the glance, lightens the
heart.
When someone is kind to us, non-judgemental, caring, not harming in any way, we
can, for once, drop the armour, drop the
mask. Have you ever thought why your
room is the only place you can be with your
hair uncombed?

with them. It may be as trivial as treating a


beggar with dignity by placing a coin carefully in his hands, or it may be as huge as
sacrificing your life for the sake of the
other. Without kindness, this world would
have been too cold, cruel and selfish for
anyone to survive.
The spiritual teacher, Mooji, says that in
any moment, especially in a moment of
calamity, if only we could see how many
angels surrounded us, we would not be so
anxious.

What is kindness?
Kindness is what leads God to give us
green pastures, quiet waters, and the restoration of our souls when were weary, says
The Holy Bible. And In kindness He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them
close to his heart; he gently leads those that
have young.
Kindness is the capacity to step out of
our own head, out of the narrow confines of
the ego, and feel for the other, to put ourselves into the others shoes, and to connect

How many angels


The very first validation of kindness is in
our being born. Nowhere does the gentle
sway of kindness become more visible than
in the existence of a newly born infant. The
infant is swaddled with love and tenderness
from the moment of its birth. How it is
adored and looked after. Its helplessness, its
beauty, and joy draw the very best out of

even the worst of us.


In its very existence, the baby inherits all
the love, all the kindness of the universe, for
To be born is to be chosen. Some primal
kindness chose us.
Compassion and quiet wisdom is present
all around us. There is a gentle hold of kindness to support us in the very earth beneath
our feet as is in the immenseness of existence
within us. As Rilke says, to be here is to
be immense.

Our very nature


Kindness is the very root of our nature.
It is not something we need to acquire. Yet
it is obscured by the thick crust of ego and
conditioning that keep us locked in selfishness, insensitivity, or fear and hurt.

The art of giving

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa found no difference between feeding a cat and


offering prasad to the Goddess

40 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

Since it is the ego that conceals our natural kindness, one way to wear it down is
through practicing generosity. By actively
giving up on what we have hitherto accumulated, we counteract the insecurity, fear and
selfishness that keeps us isolated from the
rest of our kind.
Our society trains us to be acquisitive, to
accumulate, insure, protect and hoard. We
tend to grasp and hold on to everything we
come across houses, vehicles, valuables,
mates, children, pets, educational qualifications, skills, careers, experiences and travels. And there we miss the point. For spiritual living is not about accumulating but
about giving up, letting go.
You may protest that you dont have
enough energy or enthusiasm to give anything away. That you are already feeling
overwhelmed, or impoverished.
In that case, Professor Emeritus,
University of Massachusetts Medical School,
Jon Kabat-Zinn, advises, Perhaps most of
all, you need to give to yourself first for a
while. Then you might try to give to others
a tiny bit more than you think you can.
Consciously noting and letting go of any
ideas of getting anything in return, give.
Initiate giving. Dont wait for someone to
ask. See what happens, especially to you.
You may find that you gain a greater clarity
about yourself and your relationships as well

Body-Mind-Spirit
as more energy rather than less.
You may find that rather than
exhausting yourself or your
resources, you replenish them.
Such is the power of mindful selfless generosity.
Says Indira Rao, a lawyer
based in Bangalore, My maid and
I share a close relationship, and I
always give her breakfast. Yet I
found that when I made upma or
poha, I carefully picked out all the
cashew nut pieces for myself, and
left very little for her. Ashamed, I
am now training myself to give her
generous amounts of anything I
cook. I feel my love for her has
increased by this.

The role of pain


It is not to say that kindness or
compassion will shield us from all
suffering. Rather, the opposite may
sometimes be true. For only a heart
that has known the deepest suffering can open up to the pain in the
eyes of the other.
There are Tibetans who have
spent 20 or 25 years in solitary
confinement, tortured almost every
day by the Chinese, who have been
able to transcend it in some
extraordinary ways. They have
seen the challenge as an incredible
vehicle for their own transcendence.
The Dalai Lama tells a story
about an older monk who escaped
Tibet, and he came to see him in
Dharamsala. He started to talk to
him about his experiences in
Chinese prisons. The monk said, I
was in great danger. His Holiness
asked, In danger of what? And
the monk said, In danger of
becoming angry.

wired up his skull with 256 sensors, and discovered that while
meditating on compassion, his
brain produced gamma waves that
trigger happiness, consciousness,
attention, learning and memory.
His was a level of gamma rays
never reported before in the neuroscience literature.

Reaching out

How kindness helps

In 1992, when Yugoslavia was


being bombed, there was a man in
the streets of Sarajevo whod sit in
a corner, dressed in full formal
attire, as if for an opera, playing a
cello every evening, creating music
amid the blood, bone, and rubble.
That was Vedran Smailovic, the
principal cellist of the Sarajevo
Opera. All around him, mortar
shells and bullets would fly. Yet he
would play on regardless. He
played to ruined homes, smouldering fires, scared people hiding in
basements. He played for the
human dignity that was the first
casualty in war. Ultimately, he
played for life, for peace, and for
the possibility of hope that exists
even in the darkest hour.
Asked by a journalist whether
he was not crazy to be doing what
he was doing, Smailovic replied:
You ask me am I crazy for playing the cello, why do you not ask if
they are not crazy for shelling
Sarajevo?
In Donohues words, The
world can be harsh and negative,
but if we remain generous and
patient, kindness inevitably reveals
itself.
Another happy person, in fact,
dubbed the happiest person in the
world is the French biochemistturned-Buddhist monk, Mattheiu
Ricard. He is H.H. Dalai Lamas
French translator. Neuroscientists
at the University of Wisconsin

Dr Rashmi Menon gives free online course in emotional healing

When you do voluntary work,


the reward centre of your brain
pumps out endogenous opioids,
the natural versions of morphine
and heroin, which in turn produce
the mood-elevating neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine and the
hormone oxytocin give you a natural high, often referred to as
helpers high
As an antidote against Forbeslike lists of the rich and famous, the
UK newspaper, The Independent,
released its seventh annual Happy
List this June. The list contains
100 people who, without thought
of personal gain, give back and
help others, rather than themselves.
Dr. David R. Hamilton, scientist and author, has charted out
many benefits of performing acts of
kindness. The resulting emotional
warmth produces the hormone,
oxytocin (the love molecule)
which, in turn, lowers the blood
pressure, decreases depression, and
helps in reducing obesity, heals
wounds, and reduces pain levels.
Oxytocin also reduces levels of free
radicals, and inflammation in the
cardiovascular system, and so
slows aging at source. So this is
also another reason why kindness is
good for the heart.
A 2013 review of 40 international studies suggests that such
volunteer work can actually
increase your life span. Seniors

who gave 100 hours or more annually were 28 per cent less likely to
die from any cause than their lessphilanthropic counterparts. A study
on pain management found that
when chronic-pain sufferers helped
others with the same ailment, their
own pain levels dropped. On a
scale of 0 to 10, peoples average
pain ratings dropped from nearly a
6 to below 4 after volunteer training. Psychology and Aging journal
reported that adults who volunteered at least 200 hours in the year
were 40 per cent less likely to
develop hypertension. Those with
the least self-centred lives had
healthier biomarkers in their blood
than those whose lives were pretty
much all about me.
When we choose to live in
kindness, we are aligned with the
Divine flow of principles (cause
and effect). The more we love, the
more we understand; the more we
understand, the more we love.
There is a story of a ripe Zen
student, a fisherman, who completed his studies and came down from
the mountain to mix with the
world. He was not easy to find for
he was somewhere among the common folks, in the marketplace, with
other fishermen. The only way to
know him, was that wherever he
went, withered trees burst into
bloom.

Goodness goes viral


There is a growing movement
of people offering to do kind acts
for strangers. In the year 2000, a
novel, Pay it forward, by Catherine
Ryan Hyde started a movement of
giving. Catherine thought of it
when her car caught fire, and two
strangers came to her assistance,
but left before she could thank
them.
Author Ann Herbert coined the

phrase Random Acts of Kindness


which popularizes the idea of
anonymously doing something nice
for strangers. They advocate activities like paying anonymously for
another person at a coffee shop,
leaving hampers of food on neighbours doorsteps, picking up litter,
or just doling out free hugs. They
say that there is no such thing as a
small act of kindness. Every act
creates a ripple which spreads outwards, with no logical end.
And now, goodness has gone
viral. The hundreds of videos of
real-life random acts of kindness on
the net are a testimony to that. The
New England Journal of Medicine
reported a domino effect, whereby an anonymous 28-year-old person had walked into a clinic and
donated a kidney.
This set off a pay it forward
type ripple effect where the spouses or other family members of
recipients of a kidney donated one
of theirs anonymously to someone
who might need it. Across the US,
at least 10 people received a new
kidney as a consequence of that
anonymous donor.
The Random Acts of Kindness
Foundation founded in Denver,
Colorado, has counterparts in other
parts of the world. The World
Kindness Movement branched out
to 23 organisations in different
countries. The movements have
gone way past the level of community endeavour, they have
enveloped the globe.
Sri Chinmoy says, The very
nature of kindness is to spread. If
you are kind to others, today they
will be kind to you and tomorrow
to somebody else.
Karen Armstrong, a former
nun, and author of books like The
Spiral Staircase, is a passionate
advocate for restoring compassion
to the centre of all religious, moral
and political life. She launched a
worldwide movement called The
Charter for Compassion on
November 12, 2009, soon after she
won the Ted prize on February 28,
2008, and made a wish for help in
creating, launching and propagating the charter.
Among those who have already
given the charter their backing are
Richard Branson, musician Peter
Gabriel, Sir Ken Robinson and the
Dalai Lama. The charter defines
compassion as the principled determination to put ourselves in the
shoes of another. It adds,
Compassion impels us to work
tirelessly to alleviate the suffering
of our fellow creatures, to dethrone
ourselves from the centre of our
world, and put another there, and
to honour the inviolable sanctity of
every single human being, treating
everybody, without exception, with
absolute justice, equity and
respect.
Over 41 cities have labelled
themselves as compassionate cities,
while many schools and universities too have taken on the commitment to be compassionate. More
than a lakh people have signed the
charter.

How to share
There are umpteen ways to

share, or to be kind. Read to the


elderly, be with a friend in their
time of need, spend time in homes
for the aged, run a marathon for a
cause, contribute to a cause. It is
not just about money or material
possessions, rather it is about sharing the fullness of your being, your
best self, your enthusiasm, your
vitality, your spirit, your trust,
your openness, above all, your
presence.
Like Gibran says,
You give but little when you
give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself
that you truly give.
Krishna Das, born Jeff Kagel in
New York, reminisces about the
time he spent with his guru, Neem
Karoli Baba, in India.
Maharaj-ji never told us to
meditate. When we asked him how
to find God, he said, Serve people.
We didnt understand. So we
asked, How do we raise kundalini
(spiritual energy that rests at the
base of the spine)? He said, Feed
people and remember God.
In His book, A Bird on the
Wing, Osho says, Go deeper and
deeper into meditation so you can
go higher and higher in compassion. The deeper the roots of a tree
reach, the higher the peak. As
deep as your meditation is, the
same depth will be achieved in
compassion. So compassion is the
criterion.
In the Buddhist practice of
metta meditation or loving kindness, we send such waves of love
outwards. Here we deeply meditate
on, trying to relate to a variation of
the words:
May I be safe
May I be happy
May I be healthy
May I live at ease of heart.
Our first love needs to be to
ourselves, since we ourselves are
our own worst critics. Selfloathing, lack of self-love, that
negative talking voice within are
familiar to nearly everyone.
Once we learn to truly give
love to ourselves, we gradually
soften and silence that incessant
voice in our heads.
Then we can gradually extend
that feeling of loving-kindness to
others
May you be safe
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you live at ease of heart.
Starting with someone we love,
going on to someone we are neutral
about, and furthering it onto our
worst enemies, we wish them well.
We expand our heart of lovingkindness and allow our love to
expand and radiate outward to the
entire world.
We cannot tell the precise
moment when kindness becomes a
way of our heart, says Ray
Bradbury. As in filling a vessel
drop by drop, there is at last a drop
which makes it run over; so in a
series of kindnesses there is at last
one which makes the heart run
over.
It just happens!
Courtesy: Life Positive

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 41

Cookery

Recipes from Modi land


By Promila Gupta
romila Gupta welcomes Shri.
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of
India on his maiden visit to
Australia. There is so much common
between our two great nations and hope
that the bilateral relations between our
two countries reach their optimal level in
the next few years. We are sure Modiji
will like to taste dhoklas, handvo, theplas, Gujarati kadhi, khandvi, undhiyo,
shrikhand, chunnda, khatu athanu and
chutney made by local Indian community
while he is here, a tradition of food which
has been brought to Australia by the
Gujaratis and is quite popular with us all.
Promila
would like to share her
favourite Gujarati dishes with TIDU readers on this happy occasion.

BAAFLO
Ingredients:
2 small raw mangoes
2 cups water
4 tabs sugar
1-1/2 tsp roasted cumin seeds
ground to powder
Salt to taste
Method:
Roast the mangoes in an open fire or
over the gas stove. Keep aside to cool.
Remove the skin and scrape off all the
pulp into a bowl.
Blend the pulp. Water, roasted cumin
seed powder, sugar and salt in a food
processor. Put the mixture through a fine
sieve into a jug to remove any lumps.
Place the lid on the jug and place the
jug in the refrigerator. Serve chilled.

Khandvi

Khandvi is a popular snack amongst


Gujaratis. This is a delicious savoury
made of gram flour and curds, tempered
with mustard seeds. This recipe is made
in the microwave which is easier, quicker
and is equally tasty than the normal one
where one has to constantly stir the curd
and besan batter on stove.
Preparation Time: 10 mins Cooking
Time: 12 mins Makes 4 servings
Ingredients
1 cup besan (bengal gram flour)
1 cup fresh curds (dahi) mixed with
1 1/2 cups of water
2 to 3 drops of lemon juice
2 tsp ginger-green chilli paste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
Salt to taste
3 1/4 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds ( rai / sarson)
5 to 6 curry leaves (kadi patta)

1/2 tsp finely chopped green chillies


(optional)
For The Garnish:
2 tbsp freshly grated coconut
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
(dhania)
Method:
Combine the besan, curds-water
mixture, ginger-green chilli paste,
turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt in a
microwave safe bowl, mix well and
microwave on high for 4 minutes, stirring twice in between with help of a
whisk after every 1 minutes.
Spread the mixture on a smooth
kitchen platform or surface. Allow to
cool for 2 to 3 minutes.
Cut the khandvi lengthwise at a distance of 37 mm. (1) in width to make
equal sized strips.
Carefully roll out each strip from
one end to another end to form cylindrical rolls. Keep aside.
Combine the oil, mustard seeds and
asafoetida in a microwave safe bowl and
microwave on high for 2 minutes.
Pour the tempering on top of the
khandvi.
Serve immediately garnished with
coconut and coriander
Method
Combine the besan, curds-water mixture, lemon juice, ginger-green chilli
paste, turmeric powder, asafoetida and
salt in a deep non-stick pan and mix well
to make a smooth batter (taking care that
no lump remains).
Cook on a slow flame, while stirring
continuously till it becomes thick
(approx. 8 to 10 minutes).
Grease a thali (approx. 10) on the
reverse side using tsp of oil and spread
a spoonful of the batter on a greased thali
and wait for a few seconds and try to roll
up. If it doesnt, then cook for a few more
minutes, and check once more till done.
Divide the batter into two equal portions. While the batter is still hot, spread
each portion evenly using a spatula, on
the reverse greased side of 2 thalis evenly to make a thin uniform layer using a
spatula (refer step 1).
When cool, cut the khandvi on each
thali lengthwise (approx. 1" in width)
into equal portions (as shown in the
image) and roll up each gently (refer to
step 2 and 3).
For the tempering, just before serving
heat the remaining 3 tsp oil in a small
non-stick pan and add the mustard seeds.
When the seeds crackle, add the
asafoetida, curry leaves and green chillies
and saut on a medium flame for a few
seconds.
Pour the tempering over the khandvis.
Serve immediately garnished with
coconut and coriander.

SURATI PATTIES
Ingredients
500 grams of potatoes boiled,
peeled and mashed to a smooth paste
Salt to taste
2 tabs Maida (plain flour)
Oil for deep frying
Ingredients for the filling

42 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

Divide the dough into about inch


balls. Grease the steamer pan and place
the balls there. Steam the balls till
cooked.
Add the cooked balls to the gravy and
cook for another 5 minutes.
Serve hot with fresh roti (chapati).

KHICHU
1 cup fresh coconut grated
 cup fresh coriander leaves finely chopped
2 green chili finely chopped
1 tsp garlic paste
10 to 12 cashews coarsely chopped
1 tabs sultana
1 tabs sugar
Salt to taste
Method
Add salt and flour to the potato paste
and knead. Add water as required to
make soft dough. Keep aside covered
with a moist cloth. Mix in the filling
ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Divide the dough into small portions.
Make a ball of the dough and then flatten
between palms to make a patty shape.
Now place 1 tabs of the mixture in the
centre of the patty. Lift the sides to
enclose the mixture. Flatten between
palms of the hand to make a patty shape
again. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
Deep fry the patties till golden brown
on both sides.
Serve hot with tomato chutney.

METHI MUTHIA

Ingredients
1 cup rice flour
1-1/2 cup water
 tsp cumin seeds
 tsp red chili powder
 tsp Hing (asafoetida powder)
1 green chili chopped
Salt to taste
 tsp soda bi carb
2 tabs oil
 cup coriander leaves freshly
chopped
Method
Boil the water in a pan. Add the cumin
seeds, red chili powder, Hing, green chili
and salt. Mix well. Then add the rice
flour, soda bi carb and stir vigorously
with a wooden spatula to avoid lumps.
Cover and cook on low heat for 10 to 12
minutes.
Splash the oil on the cooked Khichu
and decorate with coriander leaves.
Serve hot with ghee, crushed papad,
pickle and yoghurt.

SHRIKHAND
Ingredients
1 cup Besan (Chana dal flour)
 cup dry fenugreek leaves
1 green chili finely chopped
1 tabs oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
Ingredients for the gravy
1 tabs oil
1 onion chopped
2 tomatoes chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
Salt to taste
Method
Sieve the Besan flour to remove any
lumps. Then add the dry fenugreek
leaves, baking powder, green chili and
oil. Knead adding water as required to
make soft dough. Keep aside covered
with a moist cloth.
Heat the oil in a non-stick wok. Add
the chopped onion and fry till golden
brown. Add the tomatoes, cumin seeds,
garlic paste, ginger paste and salt. Reduce
heat and fry till oil starts to separate out.
Add a little water and cook for another 2
to 4 minutes till the gravy is thick.

Ingredients
2-1/2 cup natural yoghurt
3/4 cup sugar
A few strands of saffron soaked in
milk
 tsp green cardamom powder
1 tabs silvered almonds
10 to 12 pistachio, finely chopped
Method
Hang the natural yoghurt in a cotton
cloth wrapped tightly around for about 2
hours. Add the hung yoghurt with, sugar,
saffron, cardamom powder, almonds and
pistachio. Mix well so that all the sugar is
dissolved and mixed well.
Place in the refrigerator. Serve chilled
garnished with silvered almonds.

Body-Mind-Spirit

Never have a bad hair day

Beauty without
Tears
part from mixing two different oils like castor and
olive or almond, you can
also add vitamin E capsules to it to
arrest hair fall.
Make sure that you massage
your hair with this mixture for at
least 20 minutes.
Never use hot water to wash
your hair as it will make it rough
and dry eventually.
You can also go for a conditioning mix of yoghurt and eggs
before washing your hair.
This mixture is one of the best
natural conditioners; it adds
instant shine to your mane. It will
make it manageable.
Make a hair mask by mixing
honey and curd. Honey moisturizes your hair deeply and conditions it.
Mash two ripe bananas till
smooth. Add two tablespoons of
mayonnaise and one tablespoon of
olive oil. Apply and leave on hair
for an hour. Wash hair with lukewarm water. Since bananas are
known for their softening effects
on the hair, this mask is excellent

Oiling your hair is one of the most


important steps of hair care regime. Going
for a hot oil hair massage before taking a
bath is always a good idea. It not only adds
shine to your hair, but also helps in
improving its health. Here are a few steps
that you should keep in mind
before going for a hair wash.
for those who have dull and rough
hair.
Soak three tablespoons of black
gram overnight and grind it to
paste next day. Mix it with one
beaten egg, one tablespoon of
lemon juice and one cup of
yoghurt. Apply to hair and leave
on for half an hour before washing
off with cold water.

For strong hair


Use almond oil to treat dry and
damaged hair. It is a very simple
procedure, pour some almond oil
in a bowl and heat it for 40 seconds. Then evenly distribute on
your hair. Leave it for 30 minutes

Hair and diet

and then rinse normally with


shampoo and conditioner using
cold water.

Say bye-bye to dull hair with


lemon juice
After the final rinse, apply 1
tbsp lemon juice to your hair.
Simply towel dry your hair and
style as normal to get rid of dry
hair.

Use protection before you


jump into the pool
Pools can do great damage to
your hair as it contains harsh
chemicals - says Dr Suttar. He
says, prevent your hair from the
pool damage by simply applying a

little conditioner to your hair


before you swim. This will protect
your hair before it comes in contact with the pool water.

Treat sun damaged hair


Make a mixture of cup
honey, 1-2 tbsp olive oil and 1-2
tbsp of egg yolk. Apply this mixture on your hair for 20 minutes
and then rinse with warm water.
This treatment will help to replenish keratin protein bonds - says
Dr. Suttar.

Like everything else about true,


lasting beauty, healthy hair begins
within your body. Start with your
diet. Include lots of green leafy
vegetables and sweet juicy fruits.
Dairy products such as milk and
fresh yogurt will also help. Fresh
coconut is also considered excellent "hair food" -- sprinkle grated
coconut over salads, diced fresh
fruit, or rice.
Cut down on refined, processed
and canned foods. Ayurveda considers foods with artificial preservatives and chemical additives
stripped of their inherent "intelligence" and therefore not helpful in
supplying nutrition to your body
and mind. Ice-cold beverages also
hamper the process of digestion
and assimilation of nutrients.
Drink lots of water and eat a
healthy diet of raw fruits and vegetables. The most effective home
treatment for hair care is a healthy
diet.
You are what you eat, and what
you put into your body will be
reflected on the outside.

Lao Tzus mythical legends


but legendary sayings
Inner Space
By Faith Harper
part from writing the Tao Te
Ching, founding Taoism, writing
poetry and being a philosopher,
a fabulous legend surrounds Lao Tzus
birth.
Like most prophets unbelievable stories are handed down. Here is his, and
all I could think of was, blimey, his
poor mum.
Legend has it that he was conceived
when his mother gazed upon a falling
star. Supposedly he remained in her
womb for 62 years before being born
while his mother was leaning against a
plum tree. He emerged as a grown man
with a full beard and long earlobes.
Wow, what a guy!
Here are some of his quotable sayings:
Health is the greatest possession.
Contentment is the greatest treasure.
Confidence is the greatest friend.
Non-being is the greatest joy.
--Be content with what you have;
Rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing
lacking, the whole world belongs to
you.
--In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don't try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

Lao Tzu, author of Tao Te Ching, the


basic text of Taoism.

--I have just three things to teach:


Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
--Simple in actions and thoughts, you
return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
You accord with the way things are.
Compassion towards yourself,
You reconcile all beings in the
world.
--Knowing others is intelligence;

Knowing yourself is true wisdom.


Mastering others is strength;
Mastering yourself is true power.
If you realize that you have enough,
you are truly rich.
--Watch your thoughts; they become
words.
Watch your words, they become
action.
Watch your actions, they become a
habit.
Watch your habits, they become
character,
It becomes your destiny.
--If you are depressed, you are living
in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in
the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in
the present.
--They best fighter is never angry.
--Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them as that
only creates sorrow.
--Let reality be reality. Let things flow
naturally forward in whatever way they
like.
--The journey of a thousand miles
starts with the first step.
--Be careful what you water your
dreams with.
Water them with worry and fear and

you will produce weeds that choke the


life from your dream. Water them with
optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always look for ways to
turn a problem into an opportunity for
success. Always look for ways to nurture your dream.
--If you care about what others think
you will always be their prisoner.
Because you believe in yourself, you do
not try to convince others.
Because you are content with yourself you do not need others approval.
Because you accept yourself, the
whole world accepts you.
--Silence is the source of great
strength.

Ying-Yang from Taoism is the most recognisable symbol and represents the cyclical
nature of change.

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 43

Column
THE HUMOR OF MELVIN DURAI

Important Questions on the Mars Program


Time to Outsource the Presidents Security
was stunned to hear that an armed security contractor with a
criminal record recently rode an elevator with President Obama.
According to news reports, the Secret Service didnt do anything
about the man until he started taking photos with his cellphone and
acting unprofessional. Im not sure what acting unprofessional
means, but if I were in an elevator with the president and his bodyguards, the last thing Id be doing is taking selfies.
My pal, Barack, and I riding an elevator would be a great
Facebook post, but Id be afraid of the follow-up post: Just spent
eight hours in the interrogation room. Please pray for me.
Tomorrow is the deportation hearing. The elevator incident is hardly the first time Obamas security has been compromised. Just a few
weeks ago, a man carrying a knife jumped over the White House
fence and managed to enter the presidents home through an
unlocked front door. Reacting quickly, the Secret Service stopped
the man and directed him to the kitchen, believing he was there to
cut a pot roast for the presidents dinner. Actually, they chased him
around for a few minutes and managed to capture him, thanks to a
solid karate kick to the backside by Michelle Obama.
No, thats not true either, but you get the point: the Secret
Service bungled their job and compromised the presidents safety.
Who knows what this knife-wielding fence-jumper would have done
if he had run into Obama? Thankfully, the president wasnt home;
otherwise it could have been a huge tragedy. America is prepared
for a lot of things, but Im not sure its ready for President Biden.
Given the seriousness of these security breaches, I was pleased
to hear that the U.S. Congress called Secret Service Director Julia
Pierson before the House Oversight and Government Reform
Committee, whose duties include directing important questions at
government officials while drinking massive amounts of coffee.
Soon after that, Pierson resigned from her position and the Secret
Service announced that it will implement three major changes to better protect the president:
1. From now on, members of the Secret Service will be required
to screen all people who ride in elevators with the president, making
sure that they are either unarmed or wearing nice suits.
2. Anyone who attempts to climb the White House fence will
immediately be asked to stop what theyre doing and fill out a questionnaire about their motives.
3. All doors to the White House will be kept locked whenever
the presidents dog, Bo, is taking a nap.

he Mars One Astronaut Selection


Program recently asked people from
all over the world to submit applications to become the human settlers on Mars.
More than 200,000 people submitted applications, eager to make a one-way trip to the
red planet. About 25 percent of the applicants were Americans, each paying a $38
application fee. One middle-aged, divorced
man from New York paid $380 to submit
10 applications, hoping to increase his
chances of going. He called it a small
price to pay for a once-in-a-lifetime chance
to go as far away as possible from my exwife.
After conducting some in-depth research
on the Mars program, I decided to answer
questions from readers about it.

Question: How much will the first


Mars mission cost and who will pay for
it?
Answer: The first mission will cost $6
billion. Organizers hope to sell broadcasting
rights for shows and movies about the colonization of Mars. If that doesnt work, they
will sell naming rights to Mars. In a few
years, it might be called the 5-Hour Energy
planet.
Q: Before sending humans to Mars,
shouldnt they first send monkeys there?
A: They tried to do that, but couldnt
find any monkeys willing to pay the application fee.
Q: If we are called earthlings, what
will people who live on Mars be called?
A: They will be called marsupials.
Q: I heard that Mars does not have a
Pope yet. Do you think I could go there
and become Pope?
A: No, Mars already comes under the
jurisdiction of Pope Francis. But the
Vatican is accepting applications for
Archbishop of Mars. The application fee is
$38.
Q: What happens if I go to Mars, do
not like it there and want to come back to
earth?
A: The Mars program, unfortunately,

does not have a return policy. The application fee will not be returned and neither will
you.
Q: Is it true that people on Mars will
live longer than people on Earth?
A: Yes, scientists believe that people on
Mars will live 20 years longer than people
on Earth, largely because they will have far
less exposure, on a day-to-day basis, to Bill
OReilly.
Q: What if the Mars rocket ends up
taking me to another planet by accident?
Or worse, what if it lands on another
part of earth, like North Korea. I do not
think I could survive in North Korea.
A: Dont worry. North Koreans do not
bite. Unless you happen to be South
Korean.
Q: I heard that Mars does not have
oxygen. Will I have to breathe another
gas, like fluorine?
A: While oxygen does not exist naturally on Mars, it will be produced there (by
splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen)
and sold at special oxygen stations. The
price of oxygen will be controlled by OPEC
(oxygen-producing exploitation cartel).
Q: What will people on Mars do for
food and entertainment?
A: Details are still sketchy, but its
believed that they will eat lots of Earth bars
and listen to music by some guy named
Bruno Earth.
Q: If I go to Mars, will I have to pay

44 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

These changes will certainly help, but I dont think theyre quite
enough. I think its time for a drastic change: President Obamas
security needs to be outsourced to China.
Why China? Well, China leaves no stone unturned in its security
measures. When 10,000 doves were released recently in Beijing to
celebrate Chinas National Day, they served as symbols of peace as
well as the countrys airtight security. Prior to being released, every
single dove went through a screening process, its legs, wings and
anus checked to make sure it wasnt carrying any dangerous material
or a banner that might open mid-flight saying, Communism
Sucks.
If Chinese workers can check every doves anus, just picture
what theyd do to anyone who attempts to get into an elevator with
President Obama.
I can only imagine what those doves were saying.
Dove 1: Hey, what are you doing? Stop ruffling my feathers.
And dont look down there! Were not that close. I dont even know
your name.
Dove 2: Dont make such a fuss. Theyre going to set us free
after this.
Dove 1: So what? We shouldnt have to go through this
undovelike treatment.
Dove 2: If thats how you feel, express your feelings later
while youre flying over them. Drop them a message or two.
Dove 1: What would I be saying?
Dove 2: Screen this, you idiots.

taxes there? What will happen to my tax


debt in America? Will it be forgiven?
A: You will not have to pay taxes on
Mars, at least until Mars has its own government. As for your tax debt in America, I
asked an IRS agent if it will be forgiven and
he responded with the Internet slang FCOT,
which stands for fat chance of that.
Q: Is it possible that the Mars program is a total scam? Are they just trying
to make money from all the application

fees?
A: I checked with the FBI. They advise
you to exercise caution when dealing with
individuals who are eager for you to leave
earth, whether its the Mars One organizers
or the people in your will. They also warn
you not to give money to a Republican
organization that has been collecting millions of dollars for a space mission, calling
itself MARSBOM (Movement of Americans
Rallying to Send Barack Obama to Mars).

Santram's Grey Page

Just for Seniors


By Santram Bajaj
he month of October is a month of
very important Indian festivals,
among them Diwali and Durga Pooja.
The festivals cannot be complete without
sweets and that means lots of sugar, which
naturally is a forbidden item for most of the
people of our age. Dont you touch that
gulab jamun and dont eat that rasgulla,
has become the favourite warning by our
sons and daughters. We should be thankful
to them that they are concerned about our
health and therefore watching our diet. But
what is the reality? Dont we resent that
interference and try to cheat from time to
time. Come on! Be honest.
Well, let us not feel guilty about it. I
dont think that sky is going to fall for these
minor incidents. However, we must watch
our intake of anything resembling sugar.

down the absorption of sugar in the blood. It


is rich in fibre and is helpful for diabetics.
Guavas are beneficial in regulating blood
pressure. One guava contains almost a similar amount of potassium thats present in
bananas. Potassium reverses the effects of
sodium, thereby regulating the balance of
blood pressure. Skin ailments like scurvy
can be dealt with due to the high Vitamin C
content in guavas.

Natural remedies for


Alzheimers disease

Ashwagandha

Alzheimers disease (AD) is part of a set


of brain disorders called dementia. It is
named after the German doctor Dr. Alois
Alzheimer who first associated the symptoms of decline in memory, language and
thought with physical changes in the brain of
the affected individual. AD is a dreaded condition because there is no way to cure it or
even to reverse the symptoms. However,
researchers have found that some remedies
do help to prevent its development or at
least, slow down the degenerative process.

Omega-3 fatty acids


Make your daily diet healthy and balanced by adding some must-have food items.
Blueberries: Blueberries are rich in
fibre and vitamins A and C and boost cardiovascular health Carrots: Most red, yellow, or orange vegetables and fruits are
spiked with carotenoids - fat-soluble compounds that are associated with a reduction
in a wide range of cancers, as well as
reduced risk and severity of inflammatory
conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid
arthritis
Tomatoes: There are two things you
need to know about tomatoes: Red are the
best, because they're packed with more of
the antioxidant lycopene; and processed
tomatoes are just as potent as fresh ones,
because it's easier for the body to absorb the
lycopene. Studies show that a diet rich in
lycopene can decrease your risk of bladder,
lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancers, as
well as reduce the risk of coronary artery
disease.
Yogurt: elps boost your immune system.
Spinach: It is a rich source of plantbased omega-3s and foliate, which help
reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and
osteoporosis. Foliate also increases blood
flow to the nether regions, helping to protect
you against age-related sexual issues.
In addition, include some fruit.
Recently poor mans fruit in India- guava
has been found to have the highest concentration of antioxidants as compared to other
fruits. Consumption of guavas helps slow

Coconut oil
The brain cells of a person with AD cannot utilize glucose for energy; providing an
alternate energy source can therefore help
reduce the severity of the symptoms of this
condition. This is where coconut oil better
known for its use as a cosmetic comes in.
Coconut oil contains a medium-chain triglyceride called caprylic acid which our body
can metabolize into ketone bodies and the
latter can be used by brain cells to meet their
energy requirements.

Ayurveda has made use of the almost


magical properties of Ashwagandha for thousands of years. Research now shows this
herb to have not just adaptogenic properties
that is, an ability to help the body cope
with stress but also the potential to deal
with the effects of AD such as memory loss.
Interestingly, animal studies have shown that
Ashwagandha does not act directly on the
brain; rather, it increases the production of a
liver protein that helps to clear the amyloid
plaques that develop in the brain of the ADaffected individual.

Health & Well-being


The food pyramid
for seniors

els of important neurotransmitters and thus,


has a positive effect on brain function.

Omega-3 fatty acids were initially


believed to reduce the risk of heart disease;
later, they were found to be protective
against AD, too. These fatty acids belong to
the class of polyunsaturated fatty acids which
are found in the membranes around the nerve
cells of the brain. They are believed to have
an anti-inflammatory action that plays a protective role against cognitive impairment.
Consuming salmon and tuna, flaxseed,
edamame, beans, nuts such as walnuts and
almonds, soaked or sprouted whole grains
and oils which are rich sources of omega-3
fatty acids can therefore help in dealing with
the effects of AD.

Dark Berries
Dark berries such as black berries, blueberries, goji berries and strawberries are rich
sources of antioxidants. Since AD is associated with oxidative damage to the brain cells,
consuming these berries can help to slow
down the oxidative process and have a protective effect on the nerve cells. Add a handful of dark berries into your daily diet and
you are likely to notice and improvement in
brain function.

Ginkgo biloba
A traditional remedy in Chinese medicine, Ginkgo biloba is receiving a lot of
attention from researchers studying AD.
Ginkgo is a plant extract and contains many
different compounds that together exert an
antioxidant and therefore, anti-inflammatory
action on nerve cell membranes; it is also
believed to play a role in regulating the lev-

Turmeric
Say turmeric and the first thing that
comes to mind is its antiseptic and digestive
action. Research has shown it to have a protective action against heart disease and some
types of cancer. However, the pigment curcumin in turmeric is now also being accepted as a notable antioxidant with the ability to
prevent the clumping of beta amyloids in the
brain a process that is associated with AD.
Thus, adding turmeric to ones daily diet can
help slow down the degenerative progress of
Alzheimers disease.

Rosemary
The essential oils in Rosemary have been
found to have a vital role in the brains cognitive function. This can be attributed to the
oils strong antioxidant action as well as its
ability to improve supply of blood to the
brain. Rosemary is therefore one of the most
vital herbs that can help to slow down the
memory loss associated with AD.
Alzheimers disease is a devastating condition because the physical changes in the
brain produce symptoms that cause an irreversible decline in the mental function of the
affected person. Often, this takes a greater
toll on the caregiver than the patient. Using
the natural remedies mentioned here can help
deal with the degenerative process of AD
and their regular use by normal persons may
also have a protective action that prevents
the development of this dreaded condition.
Disclaimer: These are only home remedies and should not be used in place of a doctors advice. Please visit a qualified doctor
for proper diagnosis and treatment. We cannot take any responsibility about the effectiveness or otherwise of these remedies.
Tips to keep Healthy and Enjoy Life,
after Retirement.
1.
Keep Active
Try to find another income-generating
job if you can. Travel and bond with true
friends, play a sport, learn a new hobby and
volunteer in your community or parish.
Solve crossword puzzles, play Scrabble,
write your memoirs, and above all, read
...this will keep you alert and keep

Alzheimer's at bay
2. Live in your own place
Stay in your own house to enjoy independence, privacy. If you move in with your
children, your rank or degree of importance
is reduced to that of a bed spacer.
3. Hold on to your nest egg like Bank
deposits and assets.
Money is important. If you want to help
your children, do give, but not to the extent
that you wipe out your life's earnings. You
will sleep better, you will not be afraid to
express your opinion and you will be confident about yourself. If your children are
grateful and they take care of you, you are
blessed. But, never take it for granted. In
this fast changing world of relationships,
there are many children who are not guiltridden or filled with a sense of moral obligation when the wife and offspring take top
billing in their lives.
4. Forget and forgive
Don't be bothered too much about others' mistakes. We are not spiritual enough to
show our other cheek when we are slapped
in one. But for the sake of our own health
and happiness, let us forgive and forget
them. Otherwise, we will be only increasing
our blood pressure.
5. Expand your circle of friends
Include young ones and remember that
when you mix with the young, you also open
a fresh avenue to channel your thoughts,
experiences and values so that the lessons
you learned are not lost, forgotten or buried
with you.
6. Health is wealth
If you really love your kith and kin, taking care of your health should be your priority. Thus, you will not be a burden to them.
Have an annual health check-up and take the
prescribed
medicines
regularly.
Do take health insurance coverage.
7. Do not meddle in the life of your
children.
If they ask for your counsel, give it, but
be ready to accept that they may not take it.
Their situations in life cannot be compared to the situations that you experienced
in your life. The playing field has changed
and they need to develop their own set of
survival skills. If you raised them to be street
smart, they can handle themselves in tough
situations and be able to read people.
Champion and encourage their dreams and
desires but on their own terms.
8. Do not use old age as your shield as
justification for turning grumpy.
A positive attitude and optimistic thinking is more helpful.
9. Listen to what others may say.
Do not throw your weight around just
because you are a septuagenarian or a nonagenarian. Even if the roles have been
reversed, make growing old a fun-filled,
pleasant experience.
10. Overcome the fear of death
We all know that one day we have to
leave this world. Still we are afraid of death.
We think that our spouse and children will be
unable to withstand our loss. But the truth is
no one is going to die for you; they may be
depressed for some time.

HUMOUR
A man of 70 walks in with a new bride
of 30. Friends are surprised and ask, How
did you manage this?
Simple! I lied about my age
Did you say, you are 40 or 50?
No, I said I am 90.

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 45

Body Mind Spirit

The healing serenity at Lourdes


Lourdes in France obtained its reputation as a place of healing in 1858 after shepherdess Bernadette
Soubirous started seeing visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Reports of the curative powers at
Lourdes started attracting people and the spring water was channelled into a reservoir built below
the basilicas to feed 20 taps from which pilgrims draw the water to drink, wash and collect.

VasthuSastra
By T. Selva

acred sites in the world have certain


healing properties and, drawn by the
energies of such holy places, I made a
trip to Lourdes in France last week. My journey was to satisfy my wish in primary school
Catechism class to set foot in this major place
of pilgrimage for the Catholic faith.
I sat in contemplation and silence when I
boarded a fast train from Paris to Lourdes and
arrived six hours later at the picturesque shelter of hope dotted with a majestic castle, a
Devotees stroking the wall of the grotto
church and houses.
where Virgin Mary stands
The fatigue and jet lag from my long jourGrand church that gives hope of healing to pilgrims in Lourdes, France.
to tap into the healing energies.
ney disappeared immediately at the peaceful
sight of the quiet country town, which dates glass-plate casket at the convent where it still started attracting people and the spring water there are millions of candles of various sizes
back to Roman times. The sanctuary lies today. The first healing recorded in the was channelled into a reservoir built below and heights; candles have been burned here
emanates peace and there was no hint of the book was of a mason who was blinded by a the basilicas to feed 20 taps from which pil- continuously since 1858. A clergyman
war, conquest, plunder and destruction it had stone splinter 20 years earlier. After he grims draw the water to drink, wash and col- informed me that the fire and smoke reprewashed his eyes with water from the grotto, lect. According to devotees, whether you are sents millions of prayer intentions and wishexperienced in 406 AD.
Goose pimples appeared all over my body his right eye was completely healed on Feb ill or healthy, touching it is an invitation to es. I lit several candles for my family and
spiritual purification. I washed myself and friends as an offering and a gesture of apprethe moment I set foot on the sprawling church 25, 1858.
On
March
1
that
year,
Catherine
Latapie
drank some water, which was cold and ciation. I also attended a Mass in Spanish at
grounds in the evening; devotees, many
plunged
into
the
spring
and
her
paralysed
arm
refreshing. Before I left the space, I collected the Upper Basilica, and later observed
wheelchair-bound, were arriving nonstop
was immediately healed. In 1948, an some water in several bottles for my family throngs of visitors taking photographs of the
from all over the world.
church. One moving moment was when I parLourdes obtained its reputation as a place International Medical Committee made up of and friends.
A marble statue of the Virgin Mary stands ticipated in the candlelight procession with
of healing in February 1858 after shepherdess 32 doctors from 11 countries was established
Bernadette Soubirous started seeing visions of to examine the healing instances and conclud- at the grotto. People come by the hundreds more than 2,000 devotees at 9pm, singing
ed that they were of a "scientifically inexpli- daily to seek her grace with the hope of expe- hymns which transformed the atmosphere
the Blessed Virgin Mary.
riencing some form of miracle. I joined into one of bliss. The church grounds became
According to the book Lourdes Sanctuary cable character".
To
date,
the
church
has
officially
recogdozens of devotees to walk under the rocky a luminous wonderland which you would
Of
Hope, the Virgin Mary entrusted
Bernadette with numerous messages over the nised 69 miracles attributed directly to Our mass, all stroking the wall with our hands, to either want to visit regularly or stay at percourse of her 18 appearances. In one appari- Lady of Lourdes. The names of those healed, capture the energy it generated. When I manently. Many came to Lourdes with expection, Bernadette was told to build a chapel at the dates of healing, nature of disease/afflic- walked below the statue, a drop of water from tations, and left with satisfaction. As for me,
the site and have the people come there in a tion, their respective districts and the dates of the cave fell on my hand and I was elated by I left in contentment because I had fulfilled
this sign of blessing. Many expressed their my childhood desire to experience the healing
procession. In another apparition, Bernadette recognition have been recorded in a book.
Reports
of
the
curative
powers
at
Lourdes
devotion with their hands clasped or open in powers of the Virgin Mary. I have now added
discovered a spring at the spot and was told to
prayer; some knelt, several cried and every- Lourdes as one of the top three must-visit
drink and wash herself.
one sat for hours to experience some form of sites in my annual pilgrimage calendar.
Bernadette died at the
T. Selva is the author of the bestseller
connection through sight and silence.
age of 35 after an asthCalm and tranquillity prevail in the area, book V asthu Sastra Guide for good health,
ma attack and her legacy
where candles burn constantly in a grand peace and happiness. To get a copy of the
was summarised on a
cone-shaped candelabra located at the banks book, contact Devi at 0412 623 017. He can
scrap of paper found in
of he Gave de Pau River. Following this, I be contacted at tselvas@pd.jaring.my
her room which read:
arrived at a row of candle chambers where W ebsite: www.vasthusastra.com
"To obey is to love!
Suffering in silence for
Christ is joy! Loving
sincerely is giving
everything! Above all,
suffering."
She was buried in
the small chapel in the
garden of the Nevers
convent. Thirty years
later the official process
for her beatification,
sanctification and her
miracles became necessary to examine the
body which was found
in a perfect state of
preservation. Her body
was later covered by a
thin film of wax to
ensure its preservation
Candle light walk by pilgrims at the
and laid in a bronze and
Lourdes church in France.
A view of Lourdes town from the grand church and pilgrimage site in France.

46 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

The Kersi Meher-Homji Column

When Sachin
Tendulkar comes
to town being one
of the best cricketer in
the world who is not
just revered in India
but the whole world
and is inducted along
with Steve Waugh to
be Bradman honouree, TIDU's Kersi
Meher-Homji feels
honoured to report a
proud moment in the
history of cricket
had been waiting for weeks to see my
heroes Sachin Tendulkar and Steve
Waugh being honoured as Sir Donald
Bradman honourees. And the day finally
arrived on Wednesday the 29th October.
It was at the SCG, which stands for
Sydney Cricket Ground. According to
some of his fans, it also stands for Sachin
Cricket Ground!
Why? In five Tests in Sydney, Sachin
amassed 785 runs at an astounding average of 157.00 hitting three unbeaten centuries with a top score of 241 not out in
2003-04. His sequence: 148 not out in
1991-92 as a teenager, 45 and 4 in 19992000, 241 not out and 60 not out in 200304, 154 not out and 12 in 2007-08 and 41
and 80 in 2011-12.
At the press conference, the well-suited and smiling Sachin said, The SCG is
my favourite ground. I have always maintained that. It brings back all the memories, speaking publicly in Australia for
the first time in six years. I was just outside in the car and I said it feels great to
be back. It's been a very special venue to
me. Right back to 1991, which was the
first time I played here.
It's just the feel of the ground.
Whenever I walked in I felt I could go on
and on batting. I just enjoyed the atmosphere, and the pavilion especially. It's a
fabulous pavilion with a lot of history. It

is the heritage and the impact all the players have left on this ground. Performing
against Australia always gave me a lot of
satisfaction because I knew if you perform
against the leading side then everyone
takes notice of your performance. It is a
different kind of satisfaction.
Bradman and Tendulkar are universally regarded as two icons of cricket. Sachin
recalled that when he and Shane Warne
visited Sir Donald in Adelaide for his 90th
birthday they were so daunted they couldnt decide who should speak first.
I remember Warnie was with me in
the car and we were discussing who was
going to ask the first question, Sachin
recalled on Wednesday evening. I said,
You are from Australia, so you should
start. And he shot back, No, you're a
batsman, so you can relate to him much
better than what I can.
The terrific trio of Don, Shane and
Sachin had an enthralling evening 16 years
ago. One thing was just to be able to
meet the great man but also to know the
funnier side of him, Sachin remembered.
I asked him a question: What would
you have averaged in today's cricket? He
thought about it and said Maybe 70. To
my question why only 70 and not 99? he
replied, C'mon, that's not bad for a 90year-old man!
Both Sachin and fellow Bradman honouree Steve Waugh recalled the January
2004 Sydney Test which was Waughs
last. Sachin scored 241 not out and Steve
80 in his final innings. I took the catch
when Steve was on 80 and then rushed to
congratulate him on his magnificent Test
career.
Steve recalled that in Sachins innings
of 241 out of Indias score of 7 for 705
Sachin did not hit a single cover-drive. If
he had he would have probably reached
400! he said with a smile. He described
Sachin as probably the modern day
Bradman.
Steve also remembered his own dramatic final ball century against England on
the SCG in January 2003. It was one of
those balls where it just came off the bat
perfectly, it didnt feel like I hit it hard,
and all of a sudden it was like someone
turned the volume up, the former
Australian captain said. It was an amazing experience.
Sachin concluded that while he had not
missed the game after his retirement nearly a year ago, he had always worshipped

Dipen Rughani, Steve Waugh and


Indian consul General Sunjay Sudhir

Sachin Tendulkar and Steve Waugh with Indian cricket fans at the
Sydney Cricket Ground
cricket. After a gala dinner at the SCG,
the honourees flew to the Bradman
Museum in Bowral by a helicopter the
next morning.
Over there Sachin advised the next
generation of young boys and girls to give
to the game their best without demanding
success.
It should be like your temple, he
said. Just go and pray. Be in that space
because it is a beautiful space.
Hal Canute, a nine-year-old Bowral
Public School student, said not all his
classmates had heard of the town's guest
[Sachin]. However, coming from a mad
cricketing family, Hal remembered
Tendulkar's positivity and graciousness
after matches.
He's one of the nicest cricketers in
the world, he said, before correcting
himself: One of the nicest people in the
world.
Coming from a 9 year-old Australian
boy, it could be termed the highest compliment a human being can receive.
Below is the complete list of
Bradman honourees:
2006 Norm ONeill OAM (Australia)
2007 Neil Harvey MBE (Aus), Sam
Loxton OBE (Aus)
2008 Bill Brown OAM (Aus), Arthur
Morris MBE (Aus)
2009 Alan Davidson AM, MBE, (Aus),

Sachin with Gurnam Singh of Swamy Army

Dennis Lillee AM, MBE (Aus)


2010 Sunil Gavaskar (India), Adam
Gilchrist AM (Aus)
2011 Sir Richard Hadlee (New
Zealand), Bob Simpson AO (Aus)
2012 Rahul Dravid (Ind), Glenn
McGrath AM (Aus)
2013 Mark Taylor AO (Aus)
2014 Sachin Tendulkar AM (Ind),
Steve Waugh AO (Aus).
Gavaskar is the first non-Australian to
be made a Bradman honouree.
The 2014 Bradman honourees Steve
Rodger Waugh and Sachin Ramesh
Tendulkar share the same first two initials
(SR), used the same brand of bat (MRF),
made ten scores of 90s in Test cricket and
scored ducks in the first innings of the
first Test in Brisbane in 2003-04. Each has
scored over 10,000 runs at an average of
over 50, hit over 30 centuries and took
more than 110 catches in over 160 Tests.
Tendulkar scored 15,921 runs at 53.78
with 51 centuries (highest score 248 not
out) and 115 catches in 200 Tests; Steve
Waugh stroked 10,927 runs at 51.06 with
32 centuries (highest score 200) and 112
catches in 168 Tests.
Tendulkars 15,921 runs and 51 centuries in 200 Tests is still a world record.
In 2010, another Aussie - Indian duo
of Gavaskar and Gilchrist were made
Bradman honourees, followed by Dravid
and McGrath in 2012

Sachin with Manu Spartan Singh

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 47

The Kersi Meher-Homji column

Chappell tried to remove Dravid as captain: Tendulkar


ropping
a
bombshell,
Sachin Tendulkar has disclosed that the then India
coach Greg Chappell had made a
shocking suggestion to him to
take over Indias captaincy from
Rahul Dravid months before the
2007 World Cup in West Indies.
Together, we could control
Indian cricket for years, the
Australian told Tendulkar during a
visit to his home when he offered to
help me in taking over the reins of
the side from Dravid, Sachin
writes in his autobiography,
Playing it My Way due for
release on Nov 6.
Tendulkar is scathing in his criticism of Chappell who was the
national coach from 2005 to 2007,
describing him as a ringmaster
who imposed his ideas on the players without showing any signs of
being concerned about whether they
felt comfortable or not.
Elaborating on the coachs bid
to replace Dravid, Tendulkar
writes, Just months before the
World Cup, Chappell had come to
see me at home and, to my dismay,
suggested that I should take over the
captaincy from Rahul Dravid.
Anjali (Tendulkars wife), who
was sitting with me was equally
shocked to hear him say that
together, we could control Indian
cricket for year, and that he would
help me in taking over the reins of
the side.
I was surprised to hear the

paign ended in a fiasco with the


team winning only one of the three
group matches against lowly
Bermuda, and losing to Bangladesh
and Sri Lanka.
Lashing out at Chappell,
Tendulkar says that the Australian
must take a lot of responsibility for
the mess resulting from Indias performance in the World Cup. I
dont think I would be far off the
mark if I said that most of us felt
that the Indian cricket was going
nowhere under Chappell.
Chappell was publicly questioning our commitment and instead of
asking us to take fresh guard, was

making matters worse, writes


Tendulkar in the book co-authored
by noted sports journalist and historian Boria Majumdar.
Tendulkar cites the coachs attitude towards Sourav Ganguly which
he describes as astonishing. He
writes, Chappell is on record as
saying that he may have got the job
because of Sourav but that did not
mean he was going to do favours to
Sourav for the rest of his life."
Frankly, Sourav is one of the
best cricketers India has produced
and he did not need favours from
Chappell to be part of the team.

Not privy to private conversation


between Sachin and Chappell: Dravid

Sachin Tendulkar with Greg Chappell who was India coach 2005-07,
(inset) cover of master blasters autobiography
coach not showing the slightest
amount of respect for the captain,
with crickets biggest tournament
just months away, Tendulkar
writes.
He says that he had rejected
Chappells proposition outright.
So disgusted was Tendulkar
with Chappells suggestion that a
few days after the episode I suggested to the BCCI that the best
option would be to keep Greg back

in India and not send him with the


team to the World Cup.
Tendulkar had suggested to the
Board that senior players could take
control of the side and keep the team
together. That is not what happened, of course, and the 2007 campaign ended in disaster, he writes
in the book, excerpts of which were
made available exclusively to PTI
by publishers Hachette India.
Indias 2007 World Cup cam-

Former India captain Rahul


Dravid said he was never
privy to any private conversation between two individuals
about Sachin Tendulkars revelation in his upcoming autobiography about Greg Chappell
wanting to remove the
Karnataka stalwart from captaincy before 2007 World Cup.
I havent really read the
excerpts of that book. Also I
am not privy to any private conversation between two individuals. I have not heard about this
before and I have no idea what
happened and I would not want

to make any comment, Dravid


told ESPN Cricinfo.
However, Dravid said that
it has been seven years since
that World Cup and it doesnt
make much of a difference to
him. However on a different
note when asked if he was looking forward to reading the book
after this sensational revelation,
Dravid said, Not looking forward towards reading this but
yes anything that Sachin writes
on batsmanship and things like
what made him the best in the
world. I am more interested in
reading those parts.

Indian hockey team India wins 57 medals at


qualifies for 2016 Incheon Asiad, finish 8th
Rio Olympics

MC Mary Kom, now immortalized on celluloid with Priyanka Chopra


playing her, won another boxing gold at Incheon.
he medal count went down but
Indian sports still had lots to celebrate with the men's hockey team
coming good after a long time to strike
gold even as the legend of MC Mary Kom
got bigger in a mixed Asian Games campaign for the country's athletes in
Incheon. Pistol shooter Jitu Rai and
freestyle grappler Yogeshwar Dutt were
among the other heroes of the Games,
where the Indian contingent entered with
the aim to better or equal the record medal
haul of 65 fetched in 2010. The huge
Indian contingent fell short of the target
and emerged with a diminished tally to its

T
The victorious Indian team at the Asian Games hockey final in Incheon, South Korea.
ndia, the former world champions and
Olympic gold medallists, has qualified
for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The team ended a 16 year Asiad gold
medal drought by beating Pakistan 4-2 via
shootout in the Incheon final this month.
The final was a thriller and it went into
penalty shootout after being tied 1-1 at the

end of the regulation time. Indias captain


Sardar Singh appeared relieved after the
cliff-hanger and said, This is the best
moment of my career over the last eight
years.
Our aim was to win the gold and qualify for the Olympics and we attained
that.

48 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October-November 2014

credit in this growing South Korean business hub.


India secured 11 gold medals, three
fewer than what they collected in China
four years ago, 10 silver (including the
upgraded one of Manju Bala in women's
hammer) and 36 bronze for a total haul of
57. Four of those gold medals came in
athletics (two) and kabaddi (two) while
archery, boxing, hockey, shooting,
squash, tennis and wrestling accounted for
the rest. The gold medal haul also placed
India in the eighth position on the medals
table, two rungs below where they had
finished in China.

The Kersi Meher-Homji column

Anandji Dossa was a


statistician extraordinaire
By Kersi Meher-Homji
nandji Dossa, the internationally
famous cricket statistician who
passed away last month aged 98, was
my Guru. The success I have achieved in
cricket writing is thanks mainly to his inspiration and guidance.
Our friendship started in 1968 and lasted
for 46 years till he breathed his last this
September. From 1970 till a few months ago
it was only through letters that we kept in
touch but whenever I visited India I would
make a point of visiting him in Santa Cruz,
Mumbai. Once when I could not, he came to
meet me travelling many miles in train even
though he was 88 then.
To quote Haresh Pandya, Blessed with a
computer-like brain and an elephantine memory, Anandji Dossa was a pioneer in compiling cricket statistics and scores.
Anandji Jamnadas Dossa was born in
Mumbai on September 15, 1916. He became
a cricket fanatic when at school. He was a
talented right-hand batsman, an adequate
medium-pacer and on occasions wicket-keeper. He captained New Era School and won a
prize for the best batsman in inter-collegiate
cricket when representing Wilson College.
He came close to playing first-class
cricket when he figured as a reserve for the
Hindus in the Pentangulars and Mumbai in
the Ranji Trophy in 1941-42.
In 1954, his batting won a thrilling match
for his team Fort Vijay Cricket Club in the
Kanga League. Batting first on home ground
in Mumbai, the opponents were bowled out
for 130 at tea, leaving his team Jolly
Cricketers two hours to bat. They lost nine
wickets and needed seven runs to win off the
last two balls. Anandji, known for his defensive batting, surprised all by lifting former
Indian medium-pacer GR Sundaram for a
six.
With the scores level and only one delivery remaining and a run required to snatch a
sensational win, Anandji and V P Shah stole
a cheeky single, a bye, as the wicketkeeper
was too far behind.

Anandji Dossa, the internationally famous cricket statistician who passed away last
month aged 98, was my Guru. The success I have achieved in cricket writing is
thanks mainly to his inspiration and guidance.
That was my proudest moment in cricket, he told me with a smile.
However, Anandji will be more remembered for his statistical knowledge and amazing memory.
I remember meeting him at the Kanga
Cricket Library near Brabourne Stadium in
Mumbai in 1968. I was searching for the
Souvenir of my hero Vijay Hazare, which
was released a year ago. I looked despondent
as I failed to find it when a stranger came to
my aid.
Do you need any book in particular?
he asked. He was Anandji Dossa whose
expertise as a scorer-statistician on Air India
Radio along with Vijay Merchant (Indias
great batsman) and Dicky Rutnagar was leg-

endary. Soon we started discussing cricket as


if we were old friends.
I asked Anandji a question which was
puzzling me. During a match in Mumbai in
April1968, commentator Merchant wondered
as to how many run-outs Rusi Surti claimed
in Test matches. As run outs by fielders are
not recorded in score books it appeared an
impossible question to answer. But Anandji
could reply this the next morning much to the
astonishment of Merchant and thousand listeners. In the current computer and web-site
days, it is possible but this was in 1968.
How Mr Dossa, how did you find out?
I asked.
He revealed that he would keep clippings
of all matches in scrapbooks. Thus nothing

worthwhile would escape him.


This was the beginning of our friendship.
He invited me to his house in Mumbai and
we spent hours discussing the golden age of
cricket. My wife and I were frequent visitors
at his home where he and his lovely wife
Gunvanti offered us tea and home-made
refreshments galore.
He was sad when I told him about my
migration to Australia in 1970 but gave us
best wishes.
There are many other incidents of
Anandjis amazing knowledge of the game.
Pearson Surita was one of the commentators broadcasting the proceedings of the first
Test between India and Pakistan at the
Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai in 1960-61
for All India Radio.
Can you tell me how many runs has
Pankaj Roy scored in Test matches with his
spectacles on and how many without? he
asked Anandji.
It was a challenge but Anandji gave him
the correct answer the next morning.
Similarly Vijay Merchant queried Anandji in
the middle of commentary, Is there any
incidence of a cricketer who may have celebrated his honeymoon during a Test series?
Anandji replied straightaway, Kumar
Shri Ghanshyamsinhji of Limbdi during
India's tour of England in 1932.
Anandjis favourite cricketers till 1970
were CK Nayudu and Vijay Merchant followed by Vijay Hazare, Rusi Modi and Polly
Umrigar. Among bowlers he singled out
Amar Singh and Vinoo Mankad.
In 1997 an Anandji Dossa scholarship
was inaugurated for the best scorer / statistician of the year. In 2004, the Cricket Club of
India in Mumbai honoured him by naming its
reference library after him.
He passed away in New York last month
missing his century by two years. He was
more than a cricket statistician and a historian. He was a loving caring human being.
A life devoted to cricket is how one
would sum up Anandji Dossa. He made cold
statistics breathe life. May his soul rest in
peace!

Money is the root of all evil as Windies cricketers leave India mid-tour
here was a time when, with few
exceptions, cricketers played for
glory theirs and their countries. It
has all changed in a hurry. Nowadays it is
dollars first, centuries and hat-tricks later.
No one doubts that money is important in
all fields. I also believe that the West Indies
and Sri Lankan cricketers are poorly paid by
their Cricket Boards who are not loaded with
money. But many of them are compensated
by playing in dollar-rich IPL, Big Bash
league and their cousins.
My first question: Why did BCCI invite
the West Indies twice in 13 months? Did
they not play two Tests and three one-day
internationals (ODIs) in India last
November? The Indian cricketers after their
pathetic performance in England two months
earlier deserved rest from international
cricket before they start their important tour
of Australia next month (November).
Instead of playing a wishy-washy international series against a second-rate West

Indians they should have concentrated in


playing domestic cricket.
Back to the abandoned tour of India by
the West Indians. Whatever their monetary
problems, cricketers once selected nay honoured to represent their countries are duty
bound to complete their tour. If they had any
grievances they should have worked it out
with their Board before the tour started.
I realise that Anil Kumbles men had also
threatened to leave Australia during the
Harbhajan Symonds bollyline hoohah in
January 2008. But that was not for money
but for being wrongly accused of using a
racist word by the match referee. It was on
principle and not on financial gains.
The West Indies had agreed to play five
ODIs, a Twenty20 and three Tests in India
but pulled out after the fourth ODI in
Dharamsala, due to the players being displeased over a revision to their payment
structure. This meant that the BCCI lost out
on revenue for 17 match-days. Though Sri

Lanka agreed to fill in for West Indies and


play five ODIs in India in November, the
BCCI will still lose income for 12 matchdays for the 2014-15 season. The BCCI is
likely to claim those damages from the
WICB (West Indies Cricket Board).
We have referred the matter to our legal
cell and asked them to let us know by 21st
about how we can pursue the issue legally,
the BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told
Cricinfo, declining to elaborate on the numbers since he said they were still being computed. They [WICB] entered into a bilateral agreement with us, and they abandoned
the tour due to their internal issues, so we
will have to seek compensation. But,
depending on the legal advice, the working
committee will decide the future course of
action.
What next? The BCCI is likely to claim
damages of at least Rs 400 crore (approximately US$65 million) from the WICB for
West Indies having pulled out of the tour to

India. The BCCI's working committee will


decide whether to go ahead with the claim at
a meeting on October 21 in Hyderabad.
According to Cricinfo, the WICB has
stated that it was left with no option but to
discontinue the tour of India after the
players had informed the Board through the
team management that they would be returning back to the Caribbean.
It is a lose-lose situation for Windies
cricket, said the noted West Indian writer
and commentator Tony Cozier. He added
that West Indies could fail to send a squad to
their upcoming tour of South Africa as well
as the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia
and New Zealand if the standoff between the
West Indies Cricket Board, West Indies
Players Association president and CEO
Wavell Hinds and the West Indies players'
movement spearheaded by ODI captain
Dwayne Bravo remains unresolved.
A sad day for cricket. Bye-bye West
Indians, welcome Sri Lankans.

October-November 2014 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER 49

50 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER October - November 2014

November 2014 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 51

52 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER November 2014