2 minute read

Unlearning first is the key to learning the Aussie way of life

To most of us who migrated to Australia, a common advice from ordinary Australians has been to ‘bring the good things with us and leave the bad things behind’. It is a very sound and well-founded advice, which not only applies to the Indian community, but also to other communities who have come from all corners of the world and made Australia their home. In this context the recent Harris Park brawl between two Indian groups, allegedly triggered by a TikTok spat over the Khalistan issue, has come as a brute reminder of our inability to shed our prejudices and historical baggage after we leave India. Who all are involved in the incident, and who instigated the brawl are all issues of police investigation. We should have full faith in the law enforcement agencies and judicial system and allow the law to take its course.

In the meantime, it is time for a collective reflection on the incident and how it impacts the Indian community at large. Initial, fallout suggests that the incident has had an impact on ‘Brand India’ in the Harris Park business precinct where Little India Australia brand has been nurtured and built by a large number of Indian businesses and community leaders for a long time. For many years, the local businesses and community leaders have been pushing for the Little India Australia to be declared formally, something which would be put on the backburner for sometime after the incident. Questions would be posed by the local government and Australian community stakeholders over the rationale behind Little India Australia if the community members display such outrageous conduct in public. There is no denying the fact that incidents like these certainly have an adverse impact on the image of the larger Indiancommunity members who have been working hard for decades in various positions as hard-working, law abiding and happy-go-lucky Indian- Australians. It will also have an impact on the future of Indian students, many of whom are still back in India and dreaming of coming to Downunder for studies. These incidents also reflect poorly on India itself, whose stature and soft power in the international system has been widely respected and acknowledged due to the contributions Indians have made in various sectors inter alia, politics, education, business, sport, philanthropy, defence, arts, culture and more.

Chinese soldiers seen carrying spears and other sharp edged weapons near Mukhpari hill north of Rezang La (IANS)

In Australia, Indians have for decades worked tirelessly and made their way to the top in various fields and earned immense respect for their contributions to the Australian system, way of life and multicultural ethos. This should be preserved at all costs, and such incidents cannot be allowed to tarnish the image of the community. The community must play its requisite role in working with the law enforcement agencies and the government in cracking the incident and bringing to book all those responsible. Perhaps there was never a more appropriate time to emphasize for the students and the Indian community members who have arrived not so long ago in Australia that before learning the Australian way of life it is important to unlearn a number of things which impede becoming a vibrant, responsible and law-abiding member of the Australian society. After all Advancing Australia Fair requires we all walk together, leave no one behind, and not let our individual identities, prejudices and historical baggage undermine the core values and foundation on which this multiculturally thriving country rests.