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South Asia Times Vol.10 I No. 10 I april 2013 I FREE s o u t Editor: Neeraj Nanda


Immigration raid at temple

Celebrating birth of Khalsa

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Novartis looses generic drug case


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Sportsman spirit dominates 26th Australian Sikh Games Melbourne By our reporter


elbourne: The city was witness to the biggest ever sports event by a community from March 29 to March 31. The 26th Australian Sikh Games 2013, were held at the Clayton campus of the Monash University. The sports covered were Basketball, Kabaddi, Soccer, Hockey, Netball, Badminton, Cricket, Athletics, Volleyball, Golf and Wrestling. The games were a collective effort of the Victorian Sikh Association, the Khalsa Loins Club, the Melbourne Punjabi Sports Club and the Melbourne Kabadi Academy. The games were opened by none other than centurion Fauja Singh, who also led the march past during the ceremony. The games then started off after the VIP speeches and lunch. Thousands of people of Punjabi and other communities visited the games. There were many sponsor stalls and eating establishments. A free ‘langar’ was also the highlight of the games. Thousands of free water bottles and cups of Tea were distributed. Community unity and action was visible and families were seen enjoying the Games.

While there were many winners and losers sportsman spirit was the highlight of the three days games called the harmony games. In the Soccer (Seniors) tournament the Khalsa Lions lifted the shield by defeating Brisbane 1-0. In the under 17 Soccer Singh Sabha defeated Khalsa Loins 1-0. In the Soccer (Div. B)

VSA Melbourne defeated Adeliade. The best player of the tournament went to Gurjot Singh (under 13 Soccer). The tournament was sponsored and supported by the Della International College, Sunshine College, MPA Accoutants, TCAP Group, RSW Financial Services, Imperial College of Trades, Pioneer Insurance Group, Punjab Motorworks, Melbourne Print and Design, Sweetmix Roadshow DJ, Chiropractic, The Tyre Professionals, Vision Asia, Bill’s Trailers, Air Universe Travel Nota Motors, Ask Agri- - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

culture, HKB, Satguru’s Restaurant, Bajwa Immigration, The Bottle-O, Coffs Traders, Punjab Sweets & Indian Takeaway, Pala Modern, JMD Computers, Sahara Homes, Saby’s Cleaning, Tandoori Junction, Barlkey College, Imperial College among others. Media partners and sponsors were G’day India, Indus Age, SBS Radio, Sweetmix Roadshow, The Page, The Punjab, Punjab Express, Pardes Express, Radio ZZZ, Harman Radio, Vision Asia among others.


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South Asia Times

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South Asia Times (SAT) is a monthly newspaper published in English (2 pages in Hindi) from Melbourne, Australia. Contributors supply material to SAT at their own risk and any errors will be corrected as quickly as possible. SAT does not accept responsibility for the authenticity of any advertisement, text content or a picture in the publication. No material, including text or advertisements designed by the SAT or pictures may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the editor/publisher. Opinions/ stories/reports or any text content are those of the writers/contributors and not necessarily endorsed by the SAT.


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Indian High Commissioner Mr. Biren Nanda welcomed in Melbourne BY NEERAJ NANDA


elbourne: The High Commissioner of India to Australia, Mr.Biren Nanda,was in here for his first official visit to Victoria after his appointment last year. He was warmly welcomed by the community and many people attended the various functions organised in his honour. The shy looking but vocal diplomat won the hearts with his details of the Indian economic experience and rising relations with Australia. He addressed the business community at a lunch event on March 25 organised by the Australia India Business Council (AIBC) where he was welcomed and introduced by Mr. John Perera and Mr. Ravi Bhatia respectively. Mr. Nanda’s speech focussed on the India-Australia business ties and the recent expansion of Indian investments in the Australian resources sector. He was hopeful of these relations increasing further. Later, in a lively Q-A session he answered many questions from local business persons. In the evening, Mr. Biren Nanda, delivered the annual Alfred Deakin Memorial Lecture on the subject Indian Foreign Policy in a Globalised World at an event hosted by the Australia India Institute. Mr. Nanda’s lecture explored developments in India and the world that are shaping India’s foreign policy, impacting upon its neighbours, and relations with the major powers and middle-ranked powers like Australia. The rise of India, and Australia’s relations with an emerging superpower formed the core of his speech. In his lecture, High Commissioner Mr. Biren Nanda explained how the interplay between India’s domestic situation and changes in the international environment have shaped the contours of India’s foreign policy; how India approaches South Asia and its extended neighbourhood to the east and west, India’s role in the regional architecture in East Asia and the Indian Ocean Region; India’s relations with major powers, India’s Defence and Security Policy and finally India- Australia relations. (The full video of Mr. Nanda’s lecture can be accessed at the Australia India Institute and South Asia Times sites) Prior to the lecture, a mem-

AIBC Victoria committee with Mr. Biren Nanda at the lunch event organised in his honour.(Photo: Neeraj Nanda/SAT)

orandum of understanding (MOU) was signed at the Australia India Institute for the establishment of a new Visiting Chair in Indian Studies at the University of Melbourne. The MOU formalises one of five ICCR Visiting Chairs to be established in Australia following the announcement of the initiative by India’s Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in New Delhi in October, 2012. The announcement coincided with Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s visit to India. The new Visiting Chair will be housed at the Australia India Institute, based at the University of Melbourne. Later, numerous Indian community leaders, spiritual & religious organisations, along with a number of community members got together to welcome Mr Biren Nanda, High Commissioner of India to Australia at a dinner gathering organised by FIAV on 26 March 2013. Initially, a number of community leaders spoke about their organisation and the contribution to Victorian community at large. This included FIAV President Mr. Vasan Srinivasan, Mr. Ravi Bhatia, President AIBC Victoria, Mr. Arun Sharma, President Celebrate India, Mr. Gurdeep Arora, President AISV among others. President of the South Asian Journalists Association of Australia (SAJAA) and Editor South Asia Times Mr. Neeraj Nanda, Mr.Manoj Kumar, Federal Consultative Committee on Multicultural Affairs and Mr. Raj Dudeja, President Indian Media Association and Editor Indian Voice were present among others. Mr Hiren Nanda spoke about the Cultural importance of our Indian community and

Mr. Biren Nanda addressing business people at the AIBC Victoria lunch in his honour.(Photo: Neeraj Nanda/SAT)

From Right: Mr Vasan Srinivasan – President FIAV, Mr Biren Nanda High Commissioner of India to Australia, Mr Raj Kumar Acting Consul General in Melbourne. (Photo: A P Guruswamy).

currently working with Australia in a number of fronts, like Investments in education, mining, skills up-gradation, Energy sector, Automobiles, Aeronautics, Engineering, Construction, Health, research & banking sector. The bilateral trade between India & Australia has grown exponentially over the last few years and this has also seen a number of acquisitions, mergers, transfer of knowledge in various sectors benefitting both India & Australia. This was followed by dinner catered by the Tandoori Junction. Mr. Biren Nanda completed his postgraduate - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

education at the Delhi School of Economics before joining the Indian Foreign Service in 1978. Mr Nanda has served as a diplomat in Indian Missions in Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Jakarta. He was ConsulGeneral of India in Shanghai from 1996-2000, Deputy Chief of Mission in Tokyo from 20002004, and Ambassador to Indonesia from 2008-2012. Prior to taking up his assignment in Jakarta, Mr Nanda was Head of the South-East Asia and Pacific Division, Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. He has served with distinction as High Commissioner of India to Australia since April 2012.


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sat exclusive

A drawing of the cultural center.

Immigration raid at temple in Carrum Downs... By our community reporter


elbourne: On Friday 5th April, 2013 immigration officials visited the Sri Shiva Vishnu Temple, Carrum Downs and are said to have interviewed a person in the Cultural centre’s canteen area. In fact, they were probably looking for two persons who were allegedly in breach of their 428 Visa (religious workers) and working as cooks in the canteen kitchen. One of the alleged person in breach of his visa had some time back had a ‘workplace injury’ in the canteen and the Hindu Society of Victoria (HSV) (the employer) allegedly in various breaches of the Fair Work Act, 2009 in respect of his ‘employment dues and entitlements’. The fellow has gone to the Solicitor and also alleged the HSV’s ‘negligence to follow proper ‘Work Safe Guidelines’. These less than spiritual episodes at a place of worship have sent in shock waves in the Hindu and wider community. In fact, much more has happened and has been happening over the years. The fact that the Cultural centre which was only recently inaugurated has become a big drain on the temple’s wallet is the talk of the town. The original budget of the cultural centre blew up to an estimated more than 11 million dollars from around less than six million dollars. Why did that happen is a mystery? The National Australia Bank (NAB) gave a loan of 5.5

million dollars for the construction of the cultural centre, the Brumby led ALP government gave a grant of one million dollars and around three million or so dollars were dished out of the temple account. Well, that’s not the end of the story because many contractors have not been paid their dues. Things have now come to a stage when the monthly mortgage on the NAB loan is becoming difficult to pay. This also when only interest is being paid on the loan. What happens if a default takes place can be anybody’s guess? Will the bank take over the cultural centre? Scholars find it difficult to define ‘Hinduism’ and so decided to call it a ‘way of life’. But the ‘way of life’ at the Carrums Down temple, a place revered by thousands of devotees in Australia and overseas, has come to such a state that ‘Lakshmi’ (the Hindu goddess of wealth) and in common language meaning ‘wealth’ has been forced to pull out of the temple. This financial morass is undermining the spiritual high ground on which the temple stands. The Board of Directors of the HSV Cultural centre Pty. Ltd. as Trustees for the HSV Charitable Trust, which runs the cultural centre has in a motion alleged serious assertions involving mismanagement of all sorts that ultimately, resulted in the loss of funds, goods and equipment. They feel “these allegations have cast a heavy shadow on the running of the temple and the cultural centre”.

Opening day of the cultural center.

Hence have demanded an external audit to examine all activities including all financial and nonfinancial transactions of the Hindu Society of Victoria (Australia) Inc. Including all Trusts and Trust Funds set up by the Society or by any Trust (s) of which the Society is the main beneficiary. This audit, it demands, should cover the last seven years. Talking to SAT, Dr. Noel Nadesan, former Editor ‘Uthayam’ said, “Our newspaper had a few years back questioned the viability of the cultural centre project.” Well, in the interest of transparency, it looks fair that an external audit will bring out the facts and tell

the community why ‘Lakshmi’ became angry with the HSV. It will also reinforce the confidence of devotees in the temple administration. But it looks an external audit looks difficult as the HSV management committee does not look keen to have such an exercise. So, the cultural centre trust and the management committee are locked in a war of words over the issue. Why the management committee is reluctant for an external audit is not difficult to understand? Also, the community need not remain silent thinking that raising such an issue will give a bad name to their faith. In fact, it is necessary to clean up the mess and call a spade a spade. - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082


Well, in the interest of transparency, it looks fair that an external audit will bring out the facts and tell the community why ‘Lakshmi’ became angry with the HSV. It will also reinforce the confidence of devotees in the temple administration.

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Indian Studies Visiting Chair at Melbourne University from May

By our community reporter


elbourne, March 25: A Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of a new Visiting Chair in Indian Studies at the University of Melbourne will be signed with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in Melbourne. The MOU formalises one of five ICCR Visiting Chairs to be established in Australia following the announcement of the initiative by India’s Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in New Delhi in October. The announcement coincided with Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s visit to India. The new Visit-

ing Chair will be housed at the Australia India Institute, based at the University of Melbourne. The MOU was signed by India’s High Commissioner to Australia, Mr Biren Nanda, representing ICCR, and Professor Simon Evans, representing the University of Melbourne. The agreement lays down a framework under which visiting Indian professors will teach subjects in their areas of expertise for a period of one semester each or for longer durations by agreement. ICCR will meet the cost of the visiting scholar’s airfares, salary and allowances. The University of Melbourne will provide accommodation, of-

fice support and space, and a modest honorarium, and may by agreement fund other research, travel and development activities of the Chair. The visiting professors will also deliver at least one “ICCR Lecture on India” during their stay. The rotating ICCR Chair is in addition to the permanent Chair in Indian Studies at the University of Melbourne funded by the Victorian government. The inaugural permanent Chair will commence from May 1, 2013. The Australia India Institute (AII) is also negotiating with India’s Ministry of Culture for the establishment of a Tagore Centre, envisaged as an im-

portant gateway for cultural and scholarly dialogue and exchanges between the two countries. Taken together, these developments represent an important advance in the renaissance currently underway in educational and scholarly engagement between India and Australia. The Visiting Professor, who must have a doctoral qualification and university teaching experience in a relevant discipline, will be chosen by the University from three candidates put forward by the ICCR. Their teaching curriculum will be decided in consultation with the university. Source: AII


The rotating ICCR Chair is in addition to the permanent Chair in Indian Studies at the University of Melbourne funded by the Victorian government. The inaugural permanent Chair will commence from May 1, 2013.

Don’t exclude China: Indian Ocean Report By our community reporter


anberra, March 20: Then Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs the Honourable Richard Marles MP launched the Australia India Institute's latest Task Force at Parliament House in Canberra on March 20th. The Indian Ocean Region: Security, Stability and Sustainability in the 21st Century is edited by Dennis Rumley, Inaugural Professor of Indian Ocean Studies at the University of Western Australia, and the principal contributors are David Brestwer, Sanjay Chaturvedi, Timothy Doyle, Amitabh Mattoo, Dennis Rumley, Swaran SIngh, Ric Smith, and Siddharth Varadarajan. The report traverses the questions of the changing security dynamics of the Indian Ocean Region, the security chal-

lenges, and India and Australia's Indo-Pacific security. China has a legitimate role to play in ensuring security in the Indian Ocean, a task force report produced by Australian and Indian experts have concluded. Approaches that seek to exclude China are unlikely to guarantee long-term regional stability, according to the report, commissioned by the Australia India Institute based at the University of Melbourne. At the same time, the report notes, China among others is using foreign aid as a ‘weapon of influence’ in the region. It describes the northwest Indian Ocean as ‘potentially one of the most insecure areas on earth’. Current security arrangements are seen as ‘fragile’ and ‘incomplete’. The report calls for an inclusive approach to a region which is now home to the world’s most important and sensitive

trade routes. It warns that a host of threats, from piracy to failed states and sea-level rise require more active engagement by both great powers and local Indo-Pacific nations. The task force which produced the report included former Australian Secretary of Defence Ric Smith, and was edited by one of Australia’s leading experts on the Indian Ocean, Dr Dennis Rumley. The report argues that with China and Japan relying heavily on oil imports shipped via the Indian Ocean, there is a compelling need for better security structures. A fundamental shift in the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region, including a decline in the relative military power of the United States, has created significant strategic uncertainties for Australia which are only likely to intensify, the report says.

Australia, India and South Africa will increasingly have mutual significant security interests this century, and these three nations could form the founda- - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

tion for new regional maritime security cooperation arrangements in the Indian Ocean, it concludes. Source: AII



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southSouth asia times 9 Asia Times adjudged best PE/VC backed consumer internet company

M (formerly Consim Info Pvt. Ltd. ), India’s leading internet conglomerate, which owns, was awarded India's best Private Equity backed consumer internet company at VCCircle annual awards 2013 held in Mumbai on February 20th 2013. won the award based on the impact of private equity and venture capital on Indian Businesses and the company has Canaan, Bessemer Venture Partners, Mayfield, Draper Investment as PE investors. VCCircle Awards is instituted to recognise the most outstanding private equity backed Indian companies in 12 categories and the winners are picked by a four member jury headed by Arun Duggal, Chairman of Shriram Capital. The other jury members include Deep Kalra, founder & CEO, Makemytrip, Cyril Shroff, Managing partner, Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co., and Vivek Pandit, Partner, McKinsey & Company. Speaking on the occasion Mr. Murugavel Janakiraman, CEO, said that “We would like to thank our investors who have trusted in our business model through the years and we are very happy to be recognized by VCCircle as one of India’s top PE backed consumer internet company for 2013. Our objective has always been to create an innovative, global product company, and this recognition serves as a reminder that we are on the right path. In the coming years we will contin-

ue to pioneer newer technologies that will benefit our million members” About (formerly Consim Info PVT LTD) is a signature internet conglomerate, managing Marquee brands such as and It is today, one of the fastest growing and profitable organisations in both the digital and offline space, with a reputation for innovation, technical excellence and entrepreneurship.From reaching out to South Asians across the map, in countries such as the UK, US, Dubai, Sri Lanka & Malaysia, to establishing a considerable retail presence with

over 150 self-owned outlets across India.The company has pioneered several new business models (many of them global firsts) such as,, and CommunityMatrimony. com is the world's single largest conglomerate of over 350+ community oriented portals. This track record for constant innovation and cutting edge products has won it primarily millions of customers and also several prestigious global awards, cream of investors such as Bessemer, Canaan and Mayfield. About VCCircle:

VCCircle is one India’s leading news website that tracks the Indian investment economy. Its focus areas includes venture capital, private equity, investment banking, mergers, acquisitions, corporate law, and entrepreneurship. It strives to make the lives of busy executives and entrepreneurs easier by providing relevant information and analysis in a short and crispy manner 24/7. It caters to the information needs of investors of all hues, deal makers, corporate CFOs, and entrepreneurs, who are looking for news, analysis and insights into India’s growing deal economy. —Media Release


The company has pioneered several new business models (many of them global firsts) such as Privilege, EliteMatrimony. com, Community Matrimony.

Get set to win with MoneyGram


oneyGram, a leader in global payment services, has today announced exciting new money transfer prize promotions for South Asia. The competitions, which will run from 1 April to 30 June 2013, give MoneyGram customers the chance to win prizes like iPads and home theatres simply by transferring money home. There are prize draws for India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan sends with weekly winners over the promotional period. The ‘Send to South Asia’ promotion features weekly iPad draws. Melanie Allan, Marketing Manager for MoneyGram's Australia and Oceania region,

commented “We're excited to have the chance to reward our South Asian customers with our new prize promotions. We also get a chance to introduce our new Indian pricing campaign, whereby customers can send up to $2500 to India starting from only $10.” Ram from Lotus Foreign Exchange adds "This is the first time with MoneyGram that we've had a chance to do such a promotion. I love tech and new toys so I know my South Asian customers will want the chance the win." Moneygram’s sponsorship of ICC Cricket tournaments continues with a promotion in June. With the 8 top national cricket teams kicking off the

knockout phase on 3 June with a series of exciting match-ups in the UK, it’s the perfect time to win a home theatre to watch the cricket with family and friends. The new ‘Win with ICC Cricket’ promotion will have a weekly home theatre winner for the month of June. MoneyGram is also conducting free gift and prize promotions in the home countries with India Post and Supreme Securities in India. There are also promotions in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. It's a win-win for customers on both sides of the money transfer. If you want to be in with a chance of winning iPads or home theatres, it’s simple. Just make your way down to any

MoneyGram Agent location anywhere in Australia from 1 April to 30 June and complete a MoneyGram Money Transfer. Promotional terms and con- - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

ditions apply. To find out more, go to your local MoneyGram location or visit —Media release, Melbourne

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Bringing smiles to isolated seniors By our community reporter


elbourne: Over three years Tarneit Gurudwara has been running a support program for Indian elders in the Wyndham council. The voluntary program is run by two dedicated individuals Jasvinder Sidhu and Harneet Karan. The idea of program came from Harneet Karan who is a social worker at the Wyndham Council. Main suburbs in Wyndham Council where the Indian community resides in large numbers are Tarneit, Point Cook, Truganina and Wyndham Vale. Harneet submitted a proposal to the Gurudwara committee who welcomed the proposal and requested Harneet to prepare an operational plan. The aim of project was to reduce isolation of elders in the Indian community. The Indian community has strong and extended family networks and as a result rely less on accessing mainstream Australian social services such as local clubs and senior groups based on social connectedness. As migrant communities, where all family members work full time, Indian elders are at home isolated and limit-

ed by language and funds ( some have no pension) to access social opportunities. Limited access to transport due to Wyndham’s vast geographical spread is another barrier. This has given rise to depression, and other sedentary lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, thereby affecting the well-being of the elders especially for the newly arrived communities. Harneet works at Wyndham council and had identified a number of elders who were isolated and potentially vulnerable. Indian elders have also moved to other countries also tend to suffer from these issues but in countries such as UK and Canada community is centralized into certain pockets only, for example South Hall and Birmingham in the UK and Surrey in Canada. Therefore, elders are not as isolated as they are in Australia, particularly in some areas of Melbourne including western suburbs, Moreover, in Australia and particularly in Wyndham Indian elders do not access services available to them as often as they should. The program has two vans and two dedicated drivers. Jasvinder Sidhu and Harneet Karan identify elders who need support and take their details.

They prepare a pick up schedule which is given to drivers. Pick-up is arranged between 8:30 am and 10:00 am every Wednesday. From 11 am to 2:00 pm elders stay at Tarneit Gurudwara and participate in prayer and have lunch. Mrs. Paramjit Sagoo usually gives motivational talks to elders and also provides counselling service. So far around 70 elders have used the Elders Support Program. At any time 40 members attend this program. On December 5, Elders made a trip to local police station and met with senior police officers Damian Christensen and Richard Dove. Elders were welcomed by Mayor of Wyndham Heather Marcus and Deputy Mayor Marie Brittan with a lunch and educated them about various services that they can use available at Wyndham council. Elders also visited local court and were briefed as how to access free legal support and contact police when needed. Elders were also briefed about their personal safety while they are alone at home. Earlier in 2012 elders made a number of trips. One of the trips went to Shepparton farms and Gurudwara. It was sponsored by Sukhmeet Ahuja of Angad Australian Institute of Technology. Elders also attended Tulip festival, - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

heart and kidney health workshop and made trips to local areas. In April, 2013 all interested elders will take a 30 week Conversational English class delivered at Tarneit Gurudwara every Wednesday. This free class is offered by Wyndham Community and Education Centre. The idea of English class is to equip them with basic conversational skills so that elders can overcome language and communication barriers. The overall aim of project for elders is to provide opportunities to socialise, reduce isolation, learn new information related Australia and their well-being and listen to some religious hymns. The premises and van are being used in week days which would otherwise sit idle. A model that can be replicated by Indian groups anywhere via facilitation and volunteering by younger adults in the community to bring smiles to our lovely wrinkled ones! The concept of ‘sewa’ in our communities needs to expand further into the community rather than just be contained to Gurudwara and Mandir parameters. If any community organization wishes to learn more about activities of this program please contact Jasvinder Sidhu at



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Centurion Fauja Singh’s marathon in Melbourne By Manpreet Singh*


elbourne: Australians were all privileged to be amongst royalty during these past few days, because for the athletics fraternity and indeed for humankind in general, 102 year old Fauja Singh is as royal as they come. He is a person who defies accepted definitions or dictionary descriptions, as he has set an entirely new benchmark for human achievement. He began running at the age of 89, has run numerous marathons in his career in London, Toronto and many other cities, completing his last full marathon (42kms) after he turned 100 in April 2011. In 2004, he replaced David Beckham as the brand ambassador of Adidas, role modelling their slogan ‘Impossible is Nothing’. And what’s most impressive is the fact he has donated, every single cent that has come his way, either via endorsements or otherwise, to charity. It was his dream to come to Australia, perhaps the only continent he hadn’t set foot on, and it was wonderful how the Australian Sikh community came together to make this dream come true…. From the moment he landed here on March 22, Fauja fever gripped Melbourne and Sydney like never before. Even Fauja was excited, refusing to rest after the gruelling 24 hour flight from London, participating in a photo shoot within hours of arrival and even going on to meet the kangaroos and other Australian wildlife straight after! Australia’s national broadcaster Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), had run a special competition for its listeners, asking “if you met Fauja Singh, what would you most like to ask him”. The competition had a great response from local Australians, apart from Punjabi speakers, with three winners getting the chance to meet him in person; even the press conference thereafter, drew a resounding response from local media. On March 24, he participated in ‘Run for the Kids’ in Melbourne city. Inspired by his impending arrival, over 100 members of the Sikh community had registered to run this race for charity, under the name ‘Flying Sikhs’. Fauja Singh was the figurehead of this group, leading them at the start of the run and reluctantly pulling out of the race (on the request of family members) after a token participation. But 70 mem-

bers of Flying Sikhs went on to finish the race, placing as the sixth largest team in the competition, with one of their members placing third over-all. As Fauja Singh attended a function held at the Blackburn Gurudwara Sahib soon afterwards, he said,” I’ve planted a seed for the Sikh community in Melbourne – please ensure that you keep running and participating in charity events like this in the future.” On the same day he visited the ‘Vaisakhi Mela’ at the Sandown Racecourse, especially enjoying the Kabaddi, saying,” Kabaddi was the first ever sport that I competed in…this is how it all began’. The next day, March 25, he went sight-seeing to Phillip Island, feeding the pelicanson the way and enjoying the koala park in the vicinity. The highlight was an antique village in Moe, which has recreated an ancient village, complete with farming tools and machinery used by farmers in the olden days. Being a true son of the soil, Fauja was fascinated by that village, saying that it will be his standout memory of Australia. On March 26th, he flew to Sydney, where he was felicitated at a special function at the NSW Parliament House. He received the Pride of the Punjabis award over there, going on to spend another day sight-seeing, meeting people and visiting the Parklea gurudwara in Sydney. He returned to Melbourne on March 28, driving straight up to the MCG, where he was a special guest of the Richmond Football Club. He was ushered to the Tigers change room, where he met Richmond FC player Alex Rance; when Alex asked Fauja about his warm up routine, the super fit marathoner demonstrated his whole warm up drill, with everyone around stunned at his energy and flexibility! March 29, was the day that the Australian Sikh Games began and Baba Fauja Singh was the star attraction at the opening ceremony. He led the ceremony to great applause, going on to mingle with the crowds, posing for thousands of photos again. Overnight, he stayed at a farm in Kinglake, which had been destroyed by the Black Saturday bushfires, and he returned in amazement at how the farm had been rebuilt after that tragedy. Later on March 30 he was guest of honour at the Sikh Games Cultural night, stealing the show as he took the stage – he shared stories, told jokes and

recounted numerous anecdotes, for well over half an hour, to the delight of the huge audience. March 31, he visited the Craigieburn Gurudwara Sahib, again inspiring the thousands gathered there with his simplicity and sagacity; he went back to the Sikh Games after that to watch the kabaddi again, and in the evening, was a guest of honour at the Australian Sikh Games Gala dinner. Then came his birthday, April 1 – the day he turned 102!! Melburnians are indeed privileged that he chose to celebrate his special day with us and not back home with his family. After meeting countless guests at home and going birthday shopping, he participated at a grand function at Café Saffron, sponsored by the Bedi brothers (Della College). At every step along the way, Baba Fauja Singh met hundreds and thousands of admirers, always pausing to talk to them, posing for countless photographs – never saying “no’ to anyone and always bursting forth with a smile… As he left Melbourne on April 2 with cherished memories of

his own, he leaves a lot of goodwill, inspiration and unforgettable words behind…So here are a few Fauja-sims for you, in case you missed meeting the amazing personality in person: Speak only what others will understand and eat only what you can digest … “bolo oh jo samajh aa jaave, khao oh jo pach jaave…” 2. Moderation – more people die of over-eating rather than those who die of starvation – “loki kha ke marde hain, bhukeh nahi marde”. 3. Special Diet- Happiness… - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

he believes in speaking no evil, hearing no evil, and in surrounding himself with good people who keep him happy. 4. Exercise – even now, he walks for four hours a day. Even when he’s sick, he’d rather go for a run than take any pills from the doctor. Thank you S. Fauja Singh – it was a privilege to be with you during these past few days. * The author hosted Fauja Singh in Melbourne. She is Broadcaster Journalist at the Punjabi program SBS Radio, Melbourne.

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City of Monash supports ‘Ram Navami & Hanuman Jayanti celebrations By Arvind Shrivastava


elbourne: Melbourne: We often hear people say "Pray and you can achieve anything". When we encounter the extreme situations, where all the wealth of the world cannot buy us a relief, health, power and strength can not assist, and wisdom cannot provide any solutions, then only elucidation left for us is - to pray. The prayers in extreme distress give us strength and willpower to face the calamities. The Hanuman Chalisa, a Siddha grantha composed by Sant Tulsidas is a beautiful example of powerful and extremely popular prayer. It has the strength of Siddha mantra, which when chanted with devotion and faith can bestow siddhis or special divine powers and unsurpassable feelings of bliss and attainments. Hanuman Chalisa (Forty verses describing the achievements, powers and glories in praise of Hanuman) is enormously popular amongst the present generation people who believe in faithful service of men kind without any

reservations. It is the story of God and His love for humanity. The story and service of Shri Hanuman is Eternal throughout the whole world. Every verse of Hanuman Chalisa when recited and chanted inspires to remove difficulties from our lives. The more this Chalisa is recited, the more beneficial it becomes. It has the strength to remove suffering, heal sicknesses, give happiness and rid of all calamities. Hanuman the monkey God assisted ultimate in human qualities and

personified God Ram, during his extremely difficult period (Sankat) of Banvas to retrieve Sita ji and kill the demon King Ravana. He is therefore also known as Sankat Mochan (Saviour in extreme calamities). The Sankat Mochan Samiti aims to inspire devotees to gain physical, moral and spiritual satisfaction in extreme needs and then assist others to achieve the same. Sankat Mochan Samiti with financial support from Monash City Council, has organized a Blissful Journey

of Meditational Chanting by reciting Hanuman Chalisa, on Saturday 20th April 2013 for 108 times to celebrate the occasion of Ram Navami (Birth of God Rama falls on 19th April 2013) and Hanuman Jayanti (Birth of God Hanuman falls on 25 April 2013). The program for the Day starts at 9.30 am with pooja followed by 108 times Hanuman Chalisa recitation (Starting at 10 am). The recitation will be over by 5 pm after which Sankat Mochan Path, Arati and Shanti Path will be recited. These meditational activities will be over by 5.45 pm followed by Prasad and Mahaprasad offerings between 6.oo to 7.00 pm. You are most welcome to join the celebrations at any time convenient to you between 9.30 AM to 6 PM. The Venue for the event is Glen Waverley Community Centre, located on 700 Waverley Rd. Glen Waverley, Melway: 71 B4. (Near the intersection of Waverley and Springvale Roads). The entire celebration is free and everyone is welcome. The Mass melodious vibrations of the 108 times recitations of Hanuman Chalisa

Every verse of Hanuman Chalisa when recited and chanted inspires to remove difficulties from our lives. The more this Chalisa is recited, the more beneficial it becomes. (Led by Shri Arvind and Shrimati Sunila Shrivastava) is going to be an experience of life time. Your participation in this event will prove to be a blissful devotional experience. Be a part of this and inform your acquaintances who would like to cherish this enlightenment. For further information please contact Dr. Sunila Shrivastava on 0427 274 462 or E-mail:

One-Stop-Shop for new migrants By our community reporter


elbourne: Some people are new in Australia and feel lost and dejected without proper advice to move ahead. They are not aware of the facilities and contacts to overcome initial settlement hiccups. No more, will this happen! A new and viable service ‘Settle in Australia’ will soon be launched here which will cater to all your needs. It is tailor made for new migrants and will end your frustration of watching numerous official websites which end in confusion rather than information. First service of its kind, it’s a unique one for new migrants, helping them with all their needs and enable them to settle down at the earliest. Right from pre-arrival, on-arrival, post-arrival, job-hunting,

house-hunting and schoolhunting to ongoing settlement services for the first year. This service guides you throughout the process. There are several packages to choose from, depending on your individual needs. This website/service will be launched soon in Melbourne. The consultants who will guide, help and support you, have a wealth of experience of over 12 years, having been actively involved with the community and social circles and participating, organising, coordinating many events, festivals and concerts. Their expertise allows them to answer all the ‘how do I?’ questions. They will speak multiple Indian languages and will be available 24 hours. It’s salient features are: - Aims to provide a OneStop-Shop for all new migrants, guiding them through effective

and efficient consulting on everything from pre-arrival activities to on-arrival tasks to postarrival and ongoing advice and guidance for one year. It will: - Equip new migrants with all the information and tools to help them settle down with ease and make it seamless - Advice on how to learn about Australian culture, values, language, society, lifestyle, entertainment, shopping, media, currency, sports, facilities etc. through books, newspapers, television, radio etc. - Help them find a house, find a job, school, open a bank account, register with Medicare and for other government services, get a drivers’ licence, advise about public transport and about community associations, to feel at home etc. “The sole objective, apart from community service, is to make it easy for new migrants to integrate in society and

assimilate within the larger community at the earliest. The sooner they settle-down the easier it will be for them to focus on living day-to-day like anyone else and will reduce the dependence on government - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

resources, services and facilities,” Aroop Shukla, promoter of the service told SAT. For more information call Aroop Shukla on 0402 409 002 or email


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southSouth asia times 13 Asia Times

Big Holi celebrations in Melbourne

Bundoora Park Holi 2013

AIII-Mika Holi 2013 PHOTOS: Neeraj Nanda/SAT - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

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John Howard to address Indian Executive Club Awards 2013


elbourne: On 9 November, at the Melbourne Town Hall, John Winston Howard, the nation's second longest serving Prime Minister, will speak at the third annual Indian Executive Club Awards. Australia's Prime Minister between March 1996 and November 2007, a member of Parliament for 33 years, and previously Treasurer in an earlier government, under John Howard’s leadership Australia enjoyed continued economic growth averaging 3.6 per cent per annum. His government delivered major economic reform in the areas of taxation, workplace relations, privatisation and welfare. $96 billion of government debt was repaid during the time in office of the Howard Government. When it left office in November 2007 the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia had no net debt, and its

budget was in surplus. This strong fiscal position was a major reason why Australia suffered relatively few consequences from the global financial crisis. Under John Howard's leadership Australia strongly supported the United States and other nations in the fight against terrorism. Australia contributed military forces to operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Australia also led the United Nations sanctioned Interfet force following East Timor's vote for independence. The Howard government strengthened bilateral ties between Australia and many nations in Asia. During Mr Howard's time as Prime Minister China became Australia’s largest export destination. Mr Howard is a Companion of the Order of Australia and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States by President George W Bush. In January 2012 Queen Eliza- - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082


Mr Howard is a Companion of the Order of Australia and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States by President George W Bush. In January 2012 Queen Elizabeth II appointed Mr Howard to the Order of Merit.

beth II appointed Mr Howard to the Order of Merit. Ticket sales for the evening will begin 30 April. Price: $220 (per person); $1999 (for a table of ten). Call Sid: 0424 934 804/ Malvika: 0433 283 836. Source: Indian Executive Club Awards, Melbourne.


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southSouth asia times 15 Asia Times

Keysborough Sikh Temple celebrating birth of Khalsa (7 April, 2013, Dandenong)

PHOTOS: Neeraj Nanda/SAT - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

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Acid victims in India: Long road to treatment & justice By Sujoy Dhar NEW DELHI, Mar 31 2013 (IPS) - Her face covered with a maroon scarf and with large old -fashioned goggles hiding her eyes, Sonali Mukherjee lived one of the most cherished moments of her life when she earned a jackpot on a show hosted by Indian film star Amitabh Bachchan. Chaperoned by Bollywood actress Lara Dutta, she went on to win the prize money of 2.5 million rupees (46,000 dollars) on the Indian version of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’. But almost blind, she could not see Bachchan. Her eyes were severaly damaged in an acid attack in 2003. She was a sociology student in Dhanbad in eastern India when three men whose advances she had spurned threw acid on her face. The fate of the 27-year-old is similar to that of many Indian women assaulted by sex offenders in gang rapes and vicious acid attacks. The London-based Acid Surviors’ Trust International puts the figure of such attacks worldwide at 1,500 a year. But in India it can be a long road to treatment and to justice. “What my sister is undergoing should not be faced by anyone,” her brother Debasish Mukherjee tells IPS. “What angers us is that the guys who did this got bail and are free. Why are they not arrested and punished? “People should come out and protest. Society has to awaken.

We want to see justice done,” says Mukherjee, whose sister is under treatment in a Delhi hospital now. “She might be able to see with one eye perhaps after these surgeries. She has had 22 surgeries already and about ten more are to be done.” Following the gang rape on a Delhi bus in December, acid attack on women has been included as a sex crime. Stronger punishments are now set out for stalking, voyeurism and acid attacks. In October last year four men threw acid on 19-yearold Chanchal Paswan and her 15-year-old sister after they protested the sexual advances the men made. “Four men from our district in Patna (in eastern India) had been harassing her for months. One night they got into our house and threw acid on Chanchal and her sister. The four accused have been arrested, but their trial hasn’t started yet,” their father Sailesh Paswan tells IPS. In an online petition for justice through, the father writes: “I’ve seen how public pressure forced the authorities to take action during the Delhi gang rape case and I want your help to ensure justice for my daughter. “That’s why I started a petition on telling the district magistrate of Patna to ensure speedy justice and provide adequate compensation. Chanchal narrates this brutal

incident to me everyday as she struggles without proper treatment and compensation.” Women’s rights activist Varsha Jawalgekar says that for the last nearly five months the Paswan family has been going from one court to another. Moyna Pramanik, 29, of West Bengal state has been living with a scar for a decade now. Her husband and in-laws poured a mixture of acid and kerosene on her over dowry. “I remember the day they pinned me down, and three of them – my husband, my sisterin-law’s husband and my mother-in-law, poured acid and kero-

sene oil on me,” Moyna tells IPS. According to Acid Survivors Foundation India (ASFI), there is no proper record of acid victims. A Right to Information (RTI) petition in the state of West Bengal elicited a figure of only 56 recorded cases from 2006 to 2012. “We found 53 recorded cases, 77 victims and 19 victims just in Kolkata. We believe there could be 700 to 800 recorded cases across India in the past six years,” says Dr Subhas Chakraborty, executive director of ASFI. The group works in association with the London-based ASTI. “An acid attack in most cases is no less than a sexual crime. It

is because the offender could not physically assault the victim that he throws acid on her,” Dr. Mukherjee tells IPS. “When the Verma Commission (a panel under former Indian apex court judge Justice Verma formed after the Delhi gang rape) was drafting the new anti-sexual assault recommendations, we requested the panel to include acid attacks under sexual crimes,” says Dr Mukherjee. Mukherjee says easy availability of acid in the retail market needs to be checked. “You can get a bottle of acid for just 50 rupees (a dollar) from the market.”

More phones in India’s eastern state of Bihar than toilets! By Arup Chanda


OLKATA, India, -- More than half of the population of the eastern Indian state of Bihar live below the poverty line and have no toilets but around 56 percent of families have either a mobile or landline telephone. It is a paradox that while the state has made great leaps in infrastructure development such as building roads and bridges, it has lagged behind in providing basic necessities for its population since 77 percent of the residents in the state lack toilets, according to the latest census report. The report released by the Census of India said that until 2001, only 2.2 percent families were using any kind of telecom facility in Bihar whereas now over half of its population own phones and around 9.8 million

mobile phones are in use in the state. Bhaskar Mishra, Deputy Registrar General of India said, "Bihar is full of paradoxes. Millions are living in the lantern age and have no access to toilets, but millions are using banking services and chatting over phones." "It is amazing to note that nearly 56 percent of the total 18. 9 million families in Bihar have mobile or landline telephone connections but a majority of them lack toilets," he said. The census report says that like the rest of India, Bihar is developing at a fast rate but millions are without electricity, safe drinking water and basic sanitary amenities. According to the report, Bihar had recorded a remarkable average growth rate of 11.3 percent over the last six fiscal

years and has improved its educational and health facilities. In primary health care, the state has increased immunization and reduced infant mortality rate in the last few years, for which it was infamous. These are some indicators of change and development in the state. Central government records showed that last year Bihar was the worst performer in the national sanitation program campaign. It said one out of every six people without access to sanitation in India lived in Bihar. Bihar's Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) Minister Chandra Mohan Rai said that the department planned to provide toilet facilities to more than 10 million families, but now just over three million households had been covered. Only 16.4 percent of Bihar's 18.9 million families have the

luxury to have electricity, the remaining 83.6 percent families don't have, the census report stated. Majority of the people, 82.4 percent of Bihar's 105 million - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

population of Bihar still use kerosene for their lighting needs. The report said electricity as the source of lighting had increased only by six percent since the 2001 census.


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Novartis looses generic drug case

By AJ Correspondents


OHA, Apr 1 2013 (Al Jazeera- IPS) - India’s highest court has dismissed Swiss drug maker Novartis AG’s petition seeking patent protection for a cancer drug, a serious blow to Western pharmaceutical firms which are increasingly focusing on India to drive sales. In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court said that the drug Glivec failed to qualify for a patent according to Indian law. Since 2006, Novartis has been challenging the Indian government to give protection against Indian companies copying its drugs. But the court ruled that the drug for which Novartis was seeking a patent “did not satisfy the test of novelty or inventiveness” required by Indian law. In 2009 the company took its challenge against a law that bans patents on newer but not radically different forms of known drugs to the Supreme Court.

Al Jazeera’s Sohail Rahman, reporting from New Delhi, said the ruling is a “huge disappointment” for Novartis, as it allows Indian companies to continue producing cheaper generic medicine for domestic and international consumers. Rahman said the ruling could raise questions about India breaking rules set by the World Trade Organization. The case is the most highprofile of several patent battles being waged in India and could have far-reaching implications in defining the extent of patent protection for multinational drug firms operating in the lucrative market. ‘Dangerous precedent’ The Swiss firm threatened to halt supplies of new medicines to India if the court did not rule in its favour, London’s Financial Times reported. “If the situation stays as now, all improvements on an original compound are not protectable and such drugs would probably not be rolled

out in India,” said executive Paul Herrling, who is leading the company’s handling of the case. But Leena Menghaney, a lawyer with medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), said a legal victory for Novartis could “set a dangerous precedent, severely weakening India’s legal norms against evergreening” – the name given to the industry practice of seeking new patents after making small modifications to existing drugs. It would “be dire for people in the developing world

who depend on generic drugs made in this country. It could seriously curb access.” Generic drug firms in India – long known as the “pharmacy to the developing world” – have been a major

supplier of copycat medicines to treat diseases such as cancer, TB and AIDS for those who cannot afford expensive branded versions. The cost difference between generic and branded drugs is crucial for poor people around the world, MSF says. It points out that Glivec – often hailed as a “silver bullet” for its breakthrough in treating a deadly form of leukaemia – costs 4,000 dollars a month in its branded form while its generic version is available in India for around 73 dollars. In the case of Glivec, Al Jazeera’s Rahman also said that most of the consumers in India could not even afford the drug given the average wage is only 120 dollars. But Novartis and other global drug makers say India’s generics industry inhibits pharmaceutical innovation and reduces commercial incentives to produce cutting-edge medicines. * Published under an agreement with Al Jazeera

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In India mining is a bad word, says Nik Senapati, MD Rio Tinto India


elbourne, March 26: Dr Nik Senapati, Managing Director of Rio Tinto India, headed a roundtable at the Australia India Institute to discuss the Indian resources sector. Dr Senapati gave good insight into the challenges of working in the resources sector in India, as well as the geographical opportunities India presents. Senapati is a geologist by training and his experience with Rio Tinto spans over 29 years in a wide range of exploration, mining, strategy, business improvement and operating roles. The roundtable, which was attended by various experts including a representative from the Grattan Institute, economists, legal experts, and former journalists, took place under Chatham House rules, meaning reporting on what was discussed is permitted with no attribution. The panel discussed the simi-

larities between Australia and India geographically – in that the two countries share most of the same natural resources, however there is a large difference in utilising these resources. “If Australia is 80% explored, then India is 5% explored,” “India lacks resources and focus, and hasn’t done much in terms of exploration,” it was said.

Comparisons were made between Australia’s and India’s mining history; in 1980, it was said, India and

Australia were thought to have the same amount of Iron ore and similar amounts of coal. Today Indian Iron ore remains at the same level, whereas Australia has exploited all of the Iron ore stores it was thought to have had in the 1980s and has since discovered four times that of India. The panel discussed reasons for this lack of progress in mining and resources in India. Current legislation was seen to be partly at fault, but more so, it was decided, is the lack of implementation, understanding, and policing of the legislation. “Nobody understands what exploration and mining is…in India mining is a bad word.” There was agreement on the panel that the resources sector in India can and will improve, it just requires “general consensus of what needs to be done.” -Alexandra Hansen, AII

Business opportunities in the Middle East & Africa By SAT Business Desk


elbourne: The Middle East and North Africa region rates as the third largest regional market for Victoria’s commodity exports and in 2011-12 Victorian firms exported A$2.5 billion worth of goods to the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region The Middle East is now Victoria’s largest market for food and beverage. In 201112, food exports to the region totaled approximately A$1 billion- greater than those to China, more than twice the size of exports to India, and significantly higher than exports to Malaysia and other ASEAN nations. Several prominent MENA companies currently operate in Victoria across a wide range of sectors. Companies focused on food & beverage, information & communication technology (ICT), education & training, infrastructure, cleantech, tourism, defence, racing & airlines continue to strengthen ties with Victoria. Airline services from the region, including Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines all have presence in Victoria. Dubai is still global business connecting hub. Almost every day, there are many business teams visiting Middle East from part of the world highlighting potential opportunity for all types of

businesses. Following business trade success of last year, The Victorian Government decided & led a super trade mission for more than 170 Victorian organizations to Middle East from 20th Feb. -1st March 2013. Hon. Victorian Minister Louise Asher led the trade mission along with her two cabinet colleague, officials and business leaders. The mission aimed to generate more than A$240 million (Last year trade mission expectation) of new trade opportunities over the coming two years. This Victorian Governmentled trade missions also accompanied some of reputed business leaders having expertise of doing business in Middle East market to maximize benefit of mission. The mission aimed to open a gateway to a new market for firsttime participants, provided a platform for existing exporters to build on. One of the trade delegate Manoj Kumar, a well known business leader and expert of engaging business in Middle East said, " Trade mission to Dubai, Abu Dhabi & Turkey was great for first timer to see opportunities & plan for further engagement strategy for their respective business." Also, there must be a second follow up mission in these regions with small groups of particular industry sector to reach next level of business engagement. Mr. Kumar is International business manager

at world renowned company Ecotech Australia and President of Cleantech Business sector at Australia India Business Council Victoria, Australia. Mr. Kumar had worked in reputed organizations in Oman & Dubai before migrating to Melbourne in 2005. Mr.Kumar said, “There is an opportunity for everyone in Middle East; we are not the last, only we have to act fast.” During trade mission,

Mr. Kumar also signed a MOU of partnership between his organization Ecotech Australia with Referans,Cevre Tek. Ltd,Sti,Turkey in presence of Hon. Louise Asher, the Victorian Minister & leader of Trade mission. The MOU between both companies commit to work together to supply world class air quality monitoring systems in Turkey. In reply to SAT, Mr. Kumar said, there is a requirement of - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

more specific missions of Victoria to Middle East & African region to target growing prospects and we would like to organize such trade mission in future with the support of Victorian as well as Australian government. If anyone needs information on trade engagement with Middle East & African region, please contact: Manoj Kumar, Email: manojkr1212@



2 0 1 3

southSouth asia times 29 Asia Times

Indian High Commissioner visits Ecotech

By SAT Business Desk


elbourne: Mr. Biren Nanda, High Commissioner of India to Australia paid a visit to Ecotech, the cleantech company that is a big exporter of environment monitoring equipment to many countries including India. The visit came during his recent first official visit to Victoria. A power point

presentation on the company’s facilities and export performance to India was conducted by Mr. Manoj Kumar, International Business Manager, Ecotech. Others present included Mr. Raj Kumar, Indian Consul General in Melbourne, Mr. Tarun Kumar, Indian High Commission, Canberra, 2. Simona Price – Business Development Manager, VGBO Eastern, Vic Govt., Mr. Nicholas Dal Sasso – MD Ecotech,

AIBC at Sikh Games 2013

By SAT Business Desk


elbourne: Australia India Business Council Victoria, a peak organization of trade ties between Australia and India proudly supported the three days Sikh Games 2013 at the Monash University grounds & engaged with the community,

Mr. James Agius - Ecotech operation & Int.Sales Manage, Mr.Hemal Bhavishi, Chief Financial officer Ecotech and Mr.Neeraj Nanda – Editor South Asia Times, Melbourne. Mr. Nanda was taken around the company premises and shown the different departments that manage and produce the company’s environment monitoring equipment. The Indian High Commission was shown

the production process of the high tech equipment which was being produced in an environment friendly atmosphere. Mr. Nanda took keen interest in the tour and asked many on the spot questions. This was the second visit to Ecotech by an Indian diplomat. Earlier, Ms Anita Nayar, visited Ecotech when she was the Indian Consul General in Melbourne.

Gaura Travel Expands Its Presence to The Subcontinent


social and business people during the game. Talking to SAT, AIBC Victoria president Ravi Bhatia said “Sports is an important part of our community and Sikh games is one of the biggest South Asian events in Australia & Pacific region. We must come forward to make the event success & enjoyable.”

uoyed by its success in the Australia-India sector, Gaura Travel, has launched its operations in the Indian subcontinent with destination countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka added to the list. Gaura Travel is now offering: 1300 FLY DHAKA (1300 359 342), 1300 FLY NEPAL (1300 359 637), 1300 FLY PAKISTAN (1300 359 725), and 1300 FLY SRI LANKA (1300 359 774) . The ticketing operations have been expanded to these countries to make travel more viable and easy for those wishing to fly these sectors. The expansion comes with Gaura Travel’s innovative technology introduced when 1300 FLY INDIA was introduced 5 years ago. The idea was to help passengers remember the number and identify the 1300 number easily. Gaura Travel takes prides to see the vision and be the first company in travel to adopt 1300 concept five years ago. Other services available through its offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide and also through our 24X7 call centres are: * Hotel booking in multiple destinations such - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

as Thailand, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, etc. * Travel Protection and Insurance which includes protection from all unforeseen circumstances at a nominal price of only $50. * Excess baggage facility in conjunction with DTDC Courier and Cargo, an Indian delivery company that offers both domestic as well as international services. Again Gaura Travel is the first travel company in Australia offering 24X7 convenience to the customers thru their call centre since 2011 For more information visit —Supplied

south asia 30 South Asia Timestimes



vWR 9 a'k 9




vcnbõt;² sev;² aih's; tq; Ty;g

”s mhIne² tIn mh;pu¨Wo' kI jy'tI hw) ye mh;pu¨W hw' pu¨WoÊm r;mcN{² ijNho'ne m;nv j;it ke sm= Ek a;dxR pu¨W kI .Uimk; in>;;é² hnum;n jI² ijNho'ne sev; k; Ek a;dxR åp hm;re s;mne r%; a*r jwn /mR ke 13ve‹ tIq|kr² mh;vIr jI² ijNho‹ne aih‹s; v Ty;g ke a;dxo| se hme' pirict kr;y;) sm[;$ dxrq ne kwkyI ko jo vcn idye qe² ¬nko ¬Nho'ne in.;y;) .le hI ¬ske k;r,² ¬Nhe' apnI j;n se h;q hI Kyo' n /on; p@¹;) kh;vt p[isõ qI - ®r`ukul rIit sd; cl a;é² p[;, j;é pr vcn n j;é®) r;mcN{ jI ne .I apne ipt; k; a;dex m;n; a*r 14 vWR

vnv;s me' guj¹;re) hnum;n jI ne tn-mn se jwsI ÅIr;m jI kI sev; kI² Sv;mI.iKt k; vws; ¬d;hr, aNy] imln; duãkr hw) ”sI p[k;r² mh;vIr jI ne aih's; v Ty;g k; jo ¬d;hr, hm;re s;mne r%;² vh anukr,Iy hw) ”n s.I mh;pu¨Wo' ke jIvn se hm bhut kuz sI% skte hw') ”s mhIne² bws;%I k; Tyoh;r tq; ihNdU nv-vWR k; a;rM. .I hw) s.I p;#ko' ko ”n Tyoh;ro‹ kI xu.k;mn;E\) ¾ihNdI-puãp¾ ke ”s aû ke ¾k;Vy ku'j¾ StM. me' holI² tq; mihl;ao‹ se sMb‹i/t ivWyo' a;id pr kivt;E\ hw') b;rhvI‹ k=; ávI³sI³é³â kI prI=; me' ¬ÊI,R ihNdI v;le iv´;iqRyo' ke anu.vo' ke b;re me' le%o' kI ê'%l; k; dUsr; le% hw) ”ske aitirKt Ek l`ukq;² s'i=Pt sm;c;r² ab h\sne kI b;rI hw² mhTvpU,R itiqy;\ v sUcn;E\ a;id inyimt StM. .I hw') ili%yeg; yh aû a;pko kws; lg;) —idnex ÅIv;Stv

p[k;xn sMb'/I sUcn;E\ ihNdI-puãp k; ¬ýeXy a;ŽS$^eily; me' ihNdI k; p[c;r-p[s;r krn; hw)

p[k;ixt rcn;ao' pr koé p;irÅimk nhI' idy; j;t; hw) ihNdI-puãp me' p[k;ixt rcn;ao' me' le%ko' ke ivc;r ¬nke apne hote hw'² ¬nke ilye

sMp;dk y; p[k;xk ¬Êrd;yI nhI' hw') hStili%t rcn;E\ SvIk;r kI j;tI hw' prNtu ”leK$^^;Žink åp se ¾ihNdI-s'SkOt¾ f¹;\$ me' rcn;E\ .eje' to ¬nk; p[k;xn hm;re ilE ai/k suiv/;jnk hog;)

kOpy; apnI rcn;E\ ákh;iny;\² kivt;E\² le%² cu$kule² mnor'jk

anu.v a;idâ inMnili%t pte pr .eje'-

Editor, Hindi-Pushp, 141 Highett Street, Richmond, Victoria 3121 é-mel se rcn;E\ .ejne k; pt; hw-

apnI rcn;E\ .ejte smy² apnI rcn; kI Ek p[itilip apne p;s avXy r%e')





2 0 1 3


ap[wl² 2013

k;Vy-ku'j @;Ž³ k*xl ikxor ÅIv;Stv² idLlI

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”N{/nuWI spne

p[git ke n;m pr

avs;do' ke `ne s;ye me²' jb %o j;tI hw' sb a;x;ye²' x;m ke surmé a'/re o' me²' jb mn det; hw sd;ye²' to xu.-cN{ ikr,o' ke rq pr sv;r ho kr² iZl-iml² iZl-iml t;ro' kI s*g;t ilye² ¨phlI-sunhrI y;do' ke isrh;ne bw# kr mn ke iksI atIt kI y;d idl;te hw²' ye spne) ye ”N{/nuWI spne)

mhl jo %¹b U sUrt k;\c k;

-xIl ingm² yU³ke³

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sb ko id%;y; hw)

ikse m;lUm merI kb[ pr tum ne bn;y; hw)

nhI' p=I ko r;ht hw²

n imlt; cwn pe@o¹ ' ko)

p[git ke n;m pr tum ne

p[kiO t ko Kyo' st;y; hwÀ pt; kwse cl; muZko²

n pUzo n;m tum ¬nk; hme' a'$;kRi$k ke

jlcro' ne sb bt;y; hw) hm;rI kb[ pr mele lg; kr² kh rhe ho tum

cmn b'jr me' de%o

a;j mwn' e Ky; i%l;y; hw) igre b;dl se jo motI² vo bUd' o' ne ign;y; hw)

kuz mUk p[Xn² kuz anuÊirt p[Xn² bse a'tStl me²' %ojte ¬Êr² b'd plko' me' m*n nyno' ke .Itr ic]ilip kI .;W; b;\cte ansulZI pheily;\ sulZ;te² a*r .I rhSymy bn j;te ye ”N{/nuWI spne)

bhe /rtI ke jo a;\s²U

a'ts ke tm ko hrte² k.I h\s;te² k.I ¨l;te² k.I ijD;su mn ke k*tUhl pr m'd-m'd muSk;te ye spne) sTy-asTy kI sIm;-re%; pr zo@¹ j;te av;k mn ye spne² ye ”N{/nuWI spne)

¬NhI' ne k;$ kr j'gl²

-r;jn .'@;rI² b'glu¨² .;rt ve Ky; l;j bc;ye'geÀ suno {*pdI² xS] ¬#; lo² ab goiv'd n a;ye'ge) kl tk kevl a'/; r;j;² ab gU'g;² bhr; .I hw ho'# sIl idye hw' jnt; ke² k;no' pr phr; .I hw tum hI kho-ye aÅu tuMh;re iksko Ky; smZ;ye'geÀ suno {*pdI² xS] ¬#; lo² ab goiv'd n a;ye'ge) - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

vo s;gr ne bt;y; hw)

nhI' p@¹t; f¹kR muZ pr

ab ”n jJ¹b;tI b;to' k; jb se jJ¹b;to' ko mer²e tum ne n;$k bt;y; hw) hk¹Ikt se pre rhte h'w

jo :¹v;bo' kI duiny; me²' ”se j„t s; bn;y; hw)

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/rtI jws; bn;n; hwÀ hw if¹trt me' tuMh;rI²

tum .l; Kyo' b;j¹ a;aogeÀ c;\d .I %od kr tumne to ab sbko id%;y; hw) cwn se rhn; hw agr²

cwn se rhne do a*ro' ko .I kro tum vhI jo

ved-x;S]o' ne bt;y; hw) vrn; /rt;I to Ky; a;k;x y; p;t;l sb pr hI²

jh;\ .I ”'s;n phuc \ ; hw vhI' ¬Tp;t a;y; hw)


southSouth asia times 31 Asia Times

2 0 1 3

vI³ sI³ ”R³ ihNdI ke mere anu.v

Ek piv] l@¹kI¡

p[Iit xuKl; mwKr;b$Rsn gLsR h;é SkUl ák=;-11â Glen vevlIR h;é SkUl keN{² vI³Es³El³ák=;-12â

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jb dsvI‹ k=; me‹ M*‹ne ihNdI p!‘n; a;rM. iky; tb M*‹ ”s .;W; k; pU,R mhTv nhI‹ j;ntI qI) ihNdI me‹ b;t krn; to a;s;nI se a;t; q; leikn p!‘n; il%n; M*‹ ibLkul nhI‹ j;ntI qI) aŽ;S$^eily; me‹ Ek dxk rhkr M*‹ ”s dex ko apn;ne lgI leikn jb .I M*‹ apne ivStOt pirv;r ko imlne .;rt j;tI tb do sPt;ho‹ me‹ hI ifr se .;rtIy bn j;tI) dsvI‹ k=; me‹ M*‹ne ty iky; ik mw‹ apnI .;W; ko pU,R åp se sI%n; c;htI hU\) M*‹ yh jår khn; c;hU\gI ik mer; sf¹r a;s;n nhI‹ q;) leikn kuz logo‹ kI vjh se M*‹ ”s sf¹r pr akelI nhI‹ qI) mere m;t; ipt; a*r merI ihNdI a?y;ipk; ÅImtI #e#I kI sh;yt; se hI ”s ix%r pr phu\c p;é hU\ a*r ¬nke ibn; M*‹ ihNdI me‹ sflt; p[;Pt krne me‹ ki#n;é k; s;mn; krtI) mere ilye yh a;s;nI se kh; j; skt; hw ik ihNdI mere sbse ip[y ivWyo‹ me‹ se Ek hw) ”s ivWy se mw‹ kevl ”s .;W; ke b;re me‹ hI nhI‹ biLk .;rtIy s‹SkÕit² m;Nyt;ao'² p[q;ao' tq; .;rtIy s>yt; tq; .;rtIy ”ith;s ke b;re me‹ .I bhut kuz sI% p;é hU\) ihNdI p!‘kr mw‹ne aCze im] .I bn;ye hw‹) Eese im]² ijNho‹ne muZ pr ivXv;s iky; a;wr ki#n piriSqityo‹ me‹ .I mer; s;q idy;) a;x; hw mere jwse .;rtIy a;wr a.;rtIy z;] ihNdI .;W; p!‘kr apne a;p ko a;wr dUsro‹ ko id%;ye‹ ik koixx krke koé .I t;ro‹ ko zU

skt; hw) mere ivc;r se ihNdI p!¹ne ke ké l;. hw‹ 1³ mw‹ .;rt j;kr apno' ke s;q ihNdI me‹ a;s;nI se b;tcIt kr p;tI hU\) 2³ apne vI³ sI³ é³ ke ivWyo‹ me‹ ihNdI ivWy cunkr mw‹ne koé g¹ltI nhI‹ kI Kyo‹ik yh ivWy prI=;ao‹ ke b;d .ul;y; nhI‹ j; skt;) 3³ apnI m;tO.;W; p!‘ne se mw‹ .;rt se Ek anmol b‹/n jo@‘ p;é hU\) ab mw‹ gvR se kh sktI hU\ ik mw‹ ihNdI ko pU,R åp se j;ntI hU\ a;wr yh avsr a;ŽS$^eily; me‹ rhne v;le hr .;rtIy z;] ke sm= ¬plB/ hw) 4³ do vWR pUvR mw‹ Ek a;ŽS$^eilyn qI ijske m;t; ipt; .;rtIy hw‹ ab mw‹ Ek .;rtIy aŽ;S$^eilyn hU\) a't me' mw' s.I iv´;iqRyo' se anuro/ kå\gI ik ve a;ŽS$^eily; me' ihNdI sI%ne ke suavsr k; l;. ¬#;ye' a*r vI³ sI³ é³ me' ihNdI ivWy avXy cune')

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Ek =, ke ilE g*tm .I dhl gy;) Ky; kheÀ ¬se kuz .I nhI‹ sUZ rh; q;) ifr ¬sne r‹jn; ke a;\suao‹ ko po‹zte huE sv;l iky; -® Ky; ¬s bhxI dirNde ne tere xrIr ke s;q ter; mn .I lU$ ily;À ®mw‹ to qUktI .I nhI‹ ¬s kuÊe pr³³³³)® subktI hué r‹jn; Ekdm guSs; ho gé) qo@¹; x;‹t ho kr bolI - ® mer; mn to a;pke isv; iksI a*r ke b;re me‹ soc .I nhI‹ skt;)® g*tm ¬# kr r‹jn; kI kusIR ke pIze %@¹; ho gy;) ¬sne r‹jn; ke cehre ko apne h;qo‹ me‹ le ily;) ifr ¬sne r‹jn; ke b;lo‹ ko cUmte huE kh; - ®agr merI j;n k; mn ”tn; piv] hw to ¬sk; sb kuz piv] hw)® r‹jn; ne isr èpr ¬#; kr g*tm kI Py;r .rI a;\%o‹ me‹ Z;\k;) vh iktnI der Ek$k de%tI rhI) ifr vh kusIR se ¬#I a*r ¬skI b;\ho‹ me‹ sm; gé)

¡l`ukq;³k;m se s;.;r

vI³ sI³ é³ ihNdI me' ¬Cc a'k p[;Pt krne v;le iv´;qIR sMm;int 4 m;cR² 2013 ko ivK$oiryn SkUl a;Žf¹ lw'Gvejej¹ Ã;r; meLbnmR ivXviv´;ly me' a;yoijt Ek ¬Tsv me'² ihNdI tq; aNy .;W;ao' me' vI³sI³é³ kI prI=; me' ¬Cc a'k p[‘;Pt krne v;le iv´;iqRyo' ko sMm;int iky; gy;) ”s avsr pr mu:y aitiiq² ivK$oiry; srk;r ke ix=;-m']I m;i$Rn i@Ksn qe² ijNho'ne iv´;iqRyo' ko p[m;,-p] p[d;n ikye) ”ske aitirKt² meLbnR ke .;rtIy k*o' keNsl;v;s ke ÅI r;kex k;v@¹; ne ihNdI tq; p'j;bI .;W;ao' ke iv´;iqRyo' ko puStke' .I ¬ph;r me' .e'$ kI) ”s avsr

pr ihNdI iv´;iqRyo' ke s;q lI gé Ek f¹o$o nIce dI gé hw² ijsme' áb;E\ se d;ye'â h'w" ÅI F[w'k mlIRno ávI³Es³El³ ke p[/;n;?y;pkâ² ÅImtI m'jIt #e#I áihNdI

s'i=Pt sm;c;r

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aSpt;l ko a;# hj¹;r @;lr kI cek .e‹$ kI

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south asia 32 South Asia Timestimes



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Re-Redefining Hinduism By Ram Puniyani


hile defining religion is a theological exercise, many a times the tribunals and judges are pontificating on the nature of Hindusim on the basis of common sense and their own perceptions of it. Many of these perceptions are dictated by the contemporary politics, which wants to present Hinduism in a different light. It was a great surprise that a recent Income Tax Tribunal held that Hinduism is not a religion and stated that Shiva, Hanuman or Goddess Durga are "superpowers of the universe" and do not represent a particular religion. (March 2013). The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Nagpur, in a recent order, said the expenses on worshipping Hindu deities and maintenance of temple could not be considered as religious activity. They went on to declare that "Technically, Hinduism is neither a religion nor Hindus form a religious community.” Shiv Mandir Devsthan Panch Committee Sanstan' had argued that the temple run by it was open to everyone, irrespective of caste and creed and so "the temple does not belong to a particular religion and that installing idols is not a religious activity". This is fairly hilarious. Idol worship is a major part of Hinduism, while religions like Islam and Christianity don’t resort to worship of idols. It is a Hindu religious activity, that’s how the whole Ram Temple issue could be built up and Babri mosque was demolished on the pretext of fulfilling a religious obligation of restoring Ram Temple, where the idols of Ram Lalla could be installed. Then, what is this new definition of ‘*superpowers*’ in the form of Shiva, Hanuman and Durga? Contemporary times mired in the world of politics regards the United States of America as the global superpower. In tribunal’s verdict we are being told about the Universal superpowers, Durga, Hanuman and Shiva amongst others. The learned tribunal needed to know that in Hinduism the concept of supernatural power goes through different stages. It begins with polytheism with Gods and Goddesses looking after one faction of the power. So you have Gods and Goddesses taking care of rains (Indra), air (Marut), power (Durga), knowledge (Sarswati), and even sex (Kam Devata) and wine (Som Devata). From here one goes to trithiesm where one God creates (Brahma), one

maintains (Vishnu) and one destroys (Shiva). From here, one goes to the concept of monotheism (Ishwar). As such Hanuman is a mythological character, servant of Lord Ram and also referred to as God. All this is a part of Hindu religion, to think that this is universal, applicable to all religious beliefs is a travesty of truth. Different sects of Hinduism worship different of these Gods. Some of these Gods are a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu like Ram and Krishna. In Greek mythology one does see a parallel to polytheism. In Christian tradition tri-thiesm of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit is very much there. These are religion specific beliefs and don’t apply to other religions. In contrast to the verdict of the tribunal one knows that some religions like Jainism and Buddhism don’t have faith in supernatural power. Some traditions, which developed in this part of the globe like Charvak also did not have faith in supernatural power. Coming to the conclusion of the tribunal that Hinduism is not a religion because there are diverse trends, this can be rejected right away. True, Hinduism has diverse trends but that is because this religion is not based on the teachings of a single Prophet. It has evolvedbeen constructed over a period of time. So the diversity is very much there, still all this does fit into the criterion laid down for understanding a religion. Defining Hinduism in such is a difficult task for sure. The reasons for this are multiple. One, Hinduism is not a prophet based religion, it has no single founder and two, religions developing in this part of the world have been lumped together as Hinduism and three; there are so many diversities in the practices of Hinduism that all streams cannot be painted with a single brush. To this one may add the the practices and beliefs originating at different times continue to exist side by side. Lord Satyanarayn and Santoshi Maa do exist along with the concept of Ishwar (God) and a Nirankar Nirguna Ishwar (God beyond the attributes of qualities and form at the same time. The major point of departure for Hinduism is the imprint of caste system on the ma-

jor aspects of Hinduism, the religious sanctity for social inequality, caste system being the soul of its scriptures and practices. The conditions under which the terms came into being also tell a lot about the real meaning of those terms. Aryans who came in a series of migra-

tions were pastorals and were polytheists. During the early period we see the coming into being of Vedas, which give the glimpse of value system of that period and also the number of gods with diverse portfolios, the prevalence of polytheism. Laws of Manu were the guiding principles of society. This Vedic phase merged into Brahminic phase. During this phase elite of the society remained insulated from the all and sundry. At this point of time caste system provided a perfect mechanism for this insulation of elite. Buddhism’s challenge to caste system forced Brahmanism to come up with a phase, which can be called Hinduism. During this the cultic practices were broadened and public ceremonies and rituals were devised to influence the broad masses to wean them away from Buddhism. It is interesting to note that till 8th century the so called Hindu texts do not have the word Hindu itself. This word came into being with the Arabs and Middle East Muslims coming to this side. They called the people living on this side of Sindhu as Hindus. The word Hindu began as a geographical category. It was later that religions developing in this part started being called as Hindu religions. Due to caste system there was no question of prosetylization. On the contrary the victims of caste system made all the efforts to convert to other religions, Buddhism, Islam and partly Christianity and later to Sikhism. Within Hindu religion two streams ran parallel, Brah- - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

manism and Shramanism. Shramans defied the brahminical control and rejected caste system. While Brahminism remained dominant, other streams of Hinduism also prevailed, Tantra, Bhakti, Shaiva, Siddhanta etc. Shramans did not conform to the Vedic norms and values. Brahminism categorized religious practices by caste while Shramanism rejected caste distinctions. Brahminical Hinduism was the most dominant tendency as it was associated with rulers. Sidetracking the Hindu traditions of lower castes, Brahminism came to be recognised as Hinduism in due course of time. This phenomenon began with Magadh-Mauryan Empire after subjugating Budhhism and Jainism in particular. Later with coming of British who were trying to understand Indian society, Hindu identity, based on Brahminical norms was constructed for all non Muslimsand non Christians. Vedas and other Brahminical texts were projected as the Hindu texts. Thus the diversity of Hinduism was put under the carpet and Brahminism came to be recognised as Hinduism. So Hinduism as understood as a religion is based on Brahminical rituals, texts and authority of Brahmins. Hinduism as prevails today is a religion in all sense of the sociological characteristics. It is dominated by Brahminism is another matter. To say that Hindus are not a religious community is a wrong formulation to say the least. —Pluralindia,March 2013.


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southSouth asia times 33 Asia Times

nerable Muslims”, he told them. His efforts brought fruit. The Sikhs allow Muslim groups to pass through Amristar without any fear, and reach Pakistan. As the first home minister of Independent India, Urvish says, Sardar took such drastic steps such as imposing collective fine in areas where communal riots had taken place. During those days such fabricated stories – like Sardar allowed a train full of dead bodies to reach Pakistan – were afloat. However, few know that he organized a special train for Delhi-based Muslims belonging to Rampur to go to their home town in the western part of Punjab, now in Pakistan. The Nawab of Rampur wrote, on September 13, 1947, that he was “immensely grateful” to Sardar for showing the special gesture towards “my people”. In fact, Sardar ordered steps like setting up “special village security teams” in eastern Pakistan to ensure that the trains carrying Muslims to Pakistan are not harmed. “Immediate collective fine should be imposed if these trains are harmed or the railway tracks are damaged”, he instructed. Referring to a letter by Rajendra Prasad, who had written about how, as a result of

chi port”, Urvish says. The Mahatma’s solution would perhaps have been different – to ensure that Hindus and Muslims lived together. But a “practical” Sardar seemed to think otherwise. Far from being anti-Muslim, Sardar wanted someone from the Muslim leadership to act in the same way as Gandhi had in Bihar. “One should see how he has deeply involved himself to save the life of the Muslims in Bihar. Yet, it is regrettable that there is no one from the Muslim League has come forward to save the minorities in the Muslim-majority areas”, Urvish quotes Sardar as saying. Even if one assumes for a moment that Modi was not involve in the Gujarat riots of 2002, there is nothing to suggest that he followed Sardar’s ways of governance to save minorities, who were the chief target. To quote Urvish from one of his blogs, “It is in Modi’s reign, and under his watch, that the Hindus in the Sabarmati Express and thereafter, during the riots, Muslims and others got mercilessly butchered. For both these acts, the moral responsibility rests solely with the chief minister. If instead of mouthing platitudes such as ‘It’s natural for every action to have a reaction. Neither does one want action, nor a reaction’, he could have chosen to act as an elected leader should, and dealt with the rioters firmly. That would have been enough to send a strong signal to the lumpen elements everywhere, that no one was above the law.” During one of the early days of the riots, I went around with Modi’s mentor Shankarsinh Vaghela, a former BJP leader who joined had the Congress three years earlier. He was visiting the affected Muslim regions of North Gujarat. All through, Vaghela advised Muslim leaders to buy up land and form separate Muslim localities, away from their original place of living. “This alone would ensure your future safety”, he told them everywhere. Not a Gandhian approach, but, one is tempted to say, it was somewhat nearer to the “practical” solution Sardar once came up with! *As The Times of India representative in Gandhinagar, Gujarat’s capital, Rajiv covered state government between 1997 and 2012. Before he joined TOI in 1993, he was in Moscow, covering Gorbachev's rise and fall between 1986 and 1993 for Patriot and Link.. —True Lies, TOI, 3 April, 2013.

Urvish Kothari's Sardar By Rajiv Shah*


hmedabad: It was August 20, 2009 forenoon. I barged into the small cabin of a senior home department babu, an IAS bureaucrat who is currently working in the general administration department of the Narendra Modi administration, seeking to humbly “advise” the government on IAS postings. I found him “busier than he was”, to quote from one of Geoffrey Chaucer’s characterizations. The babu was too engrossed in scanning through BJP leader Jaswant Singh’s book, “Jinnah: India – Partition – Independence”, banned by the Gujarat government a day earlier for allegedly casting aspersions on Sardar Patel’s supposed role in partitioning India. “I am too busy. I have been given the task of finding out the objectionable references which are critical of Sardar Patel”, the official said, frantically looking into the index pages on the backside of the hard cover book. Why now? I wondered. The book had already been banned! “So was the book banned without reading it? And when did you receive the book?” I inquired. And his answer said it all: “We received its first copy today by the morning flight…” A thought came to my mind: how casually Sardar was being treated by those who claim to live up by his legacy. Modi ordered banning late on August 19, sitting in Shimla. The home department, operating under him, just followed the order, without even having a copy of the book. It’s quite another thing that, based on a PIL, in less than a month’s time the Gujarat High Court set aside the Modi order, saying it curtailed “fundamental rights”. Expectedly, the effort to capitalize on Sardar continued. Exactly a year later, Modi came up with a fresh idea – to give India’s Iron Man the tallest iconic stature. He approved a proposal for constructing a 182-metre high statue of Sardar Patel, 10 metres higher than the highest Crazy Horse Memorial sculpture being carved in Mount Rushmore in Black Hills, South Dakota. While the proposal has been pushed by hiring a consultant, Turner Project Management, which conceptualized the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, none in the powerdom is able to fathom – from where will the money required for it come, an estimated Rs 2,500 crore! Many still live under the delusion that Modi is the

true follower of Sardar. But gone are the days when he was nicknamed “Chhote Sardar”. Now, he is supposed to no less than Sardar. In fact, state Cabinet minister Bhuprendrasinh Chudasma, a long-time Modi protégé, seems to believe that Modi is one step ahead. Chudasma told me once that Modi has gone beyond acting like an ordinary human, acquiring “superhuman” characteristics. “Sincerely, you must believe me. You can quote me”, he insisted. It is in this context that I am tempted to refer to a book by my friend and virulent writer Urvish Kothari, “Sardar: Sacho Manas, Sachi Vat” (Urvish translates it as meaning "The truth regarding a fair man"). Its second edition is about to be released by the publishing house he and two other colleagues have just founded, Saarthak Prakashan. Some of its chapters lay bare at least one fact: that even though Sardar may have developed a little attraction towards Hindutva, he was a “practical” Gandhian, whose governance didn’t suggest an iota of antipathy towards any particular community. The chapter on misconceptions about Sardar is especially interesting. It’s a must read for all those who are critical of Sardar as also those who seek to use him for political ends. Urvish writes, “One of the biggest misconceptions about Sardar is that he was anti-Muslim… Sardar’s attitude towards Muslims can be summed up by saying that he was not Gandhi. But surely was a disciple of Gandhi.” Urvish gives one instance after another to prove his point. During the Bardoli satyagraha, the British rulers, in an effort to break Hindu-Muslim unity, hired a few Pathans to ensure that at least Muslims pay up a higher land revenue tax, against which the farmers had protested. “Sardar didn’t let the Hindu-Muslim unity break. He ensured that Muslims became the chief complainants against the Pathans’ divisive tactics”, Urvish recalls. Even as recognizing that there were differences between “Gandhi’s idealism, Nehru’s secularism and Sardar’s beliefs”, Urvish recalls how, during the communal holocaust in the wake of the Partition, Sardar personally reached Amritsar to convince the Sikhs to allow vulnerable Muslim groups to pass by. “Brave-hearts do not massacre innocent and unprotected men, women and children. You must pledge to ensure security to the vul-

a Meo Muslim protest, there was a sense of insecurity among non-Muslims in Delhi, Sardar hit back, “I am attaching newspaper clippings. You can see, the attack in Delhi is one-sided. The attackers are mainly Hindus and Sikhs. The reports suggest fear complex among Hindus is ill-founded.” He also said that a rumour was being spread that the government had granted Rs 5 lakh to Meo Muslims, and this would, if anything, only “incite the Hindus.” Urvish believes, it is in this overall context that one should assess a statement by Sardar in Lucknow in January 1948, cited by many, including socialists and communists, as his communal bias. He advised, as a “real friend of Muslims”, that those who are not faithful to India should leave for Pakistan. It was a special situation, demanding particular kind of action. This was needed in order to avoid bloodshed. Quoting an instance, Urvish cites how riots broke out in Mumbai, affecting the livelihood of Muslims and Pathans working at the port. “He instructed Morarji Desai to work out ways to exchange these Pathans and Muslims with the Hindus working at the Kara- - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

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south asia 34 South Asia Timestimes

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Rajdoot Indian Restaurant 144 Boronia Road, Boronia, Ph: 97624410

Music Groups/DJ/Cultural Om Music Group (Amitaabh Singh), Mobile: 0422028076 Email:

Punjab Cafe 143 Carnish Road, Clayton 3168 Ph: 95444218, Mobile: 0432536683 Haldirm’s Indian Restaurant Shop 28, Stuart Ave., Hampton Park 3976, Ph/Fax: 97994790, Mobile: 0433259369 Email: Sinage & Printing Sign*A*Rama Box Hill 895B Canterbury Road, Box Hill 3128Ph: (03) 98988564, Mobile: 0412639703 Mobile Car Mechanic Tony Zahlan (Repairs all models), Mobile: 0402466599 Bollywood Mandaps Office: Nunawading, Showroom: Dandenong North, Call: 1300 851 137 Email: Site: au/

INDIAN CONSULATE (MELBOURNE) Address : 344, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia , P.O. Box No: 33247 Domain LPO Vic 3004 General phone: +61-3- 96827836 Fax No: + 61-3- 96968251 Web site: PHONE NUMBERS Phone Number for General Consular Enquiries(operational only during Consular Working Hours i.e. 0930 hrs to 1230 hrs, Monday to Friday) For PCC and PCC and Driving License Verification enquiries 03- 96825800 02 8223 9908/ 1900 969 969 Email ID for General Consular Enquiries Visa enquiries: Passport/Police Clearance Certificate/ Driving License Enquiries passportinfo., OCI/PIO Enquiries CONSULAR SERVICES (Passport, Visa, OCI, PIO & Miscellaneous) Please note that all these consular services are handled by VFS Global (Indian Passport and Visa Service Centre) The Consulate General of India in Melbourne will continue to provide to residents of Victoria and Tasmania the following consular services, for which applications would have to be lodged directly with the Consulate: Miscellaneous OCI Services • Miscellaneous Consular Services (such as attestation of documents, transfer of visas from old to new passport, affidavits, birth certificates, life certificates, certificate required to transport ashes or mortal remains to India etc) IMPORTANT: The Consulate does not accept credit cards, EFTPOS, personal cheques or company cheques. Please send only money orders or bank cheques with applications sent through the post. Cash payments are accepted only at the counter. WORKING HOURS General Working Hours 9.00 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Friday, Consular Working Hours 09.30 am to 12.30 pm Monday to Friday, (except on public holidays observed by the consulate) International Students International Student Care Service (ISCS) Ph: 1800 056 449 Emergency Services Police, Fire, Ambulance............................000 Crime Stoppers......................1800 333 000 Property st Property PL, Suite 110, Level 1,672 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn Vic 3122

PHOTOGRAPHY Video/Photography/Marriages Hot Chilli Media Kamal (Still,Video,Event,Catering) Ph: 1300851137;(03) 80806616 Mobile: 0435075447

Join SAT @

Kumar’s Photography John Kumar (Still Photography) Mobile : 04122453321 Rupali’s Mandap 13 Coco Circuit, Point Cook, Vic 3030 Rupali: 0412410890; Deepesh: 0401664516 Email: Marriage Celebrant N. R. Wickiramasingham, 37 James St., Dandenong 3175, Ph: 97947942; Fax: 97945527, Mobile: 0404059231 South-Asia-Times-SAT - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

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Amitabh Bachchan to grace IFFM 2013 By our film correspondent


elbourne, May 5 : Bollywood maga star & legend Amitabh Bachchan will be here next month. He will be gracing the Indian Film Festival Melbourne 2013 with his presence. This will be his first visit to Melbourne and will join his Bollywood mates Vidhya Balan, Prabhu Deva, Pamila Chopra (wife of Yash Chopra), Farah Khan, Simi Garewal, Kabir Khan (Director) Onir (Director), Avtar Panesar, Vice president of Yash Raj Films and others. The Festival will take place from May 3-22. Australian filmmaker Penny Vozniak is bringing her documentary, Despite The Gods. Masterclasses with festival guests are a not to be missed opportunity for local filmmakers to learn from these remarkable film industry figures. IFFM opens on May 3 with a screening of the silent film Raja Harishchandra 100 years to the day since its first screening marked the birth of Indian cinema, “We are really delighted to open the festival with a screening of this treasured film”, said festival director Mitu Bhowmick Lange. The centenary celebrations continue with ‘100 Years of Indian Film’ a program of 15 classic films at new screen partner, ACMI opened by Farha Khan on March 4 and including Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali, Sholay, which spawned the “curry western” genre, Achut Kanya, made in 1936 and based on India’s caste system, the comedy drama 3 Idiots and Palme D’or nominee, Garam Hawa. This year IFFM pays a special tribute to legendary filmmaker and festival patron Mr Yash Chopra in recognition of the unique contribution he has made to Indian and world cinema. It is an honour to have Mrs Pamela Chopra, visiting Melbourne to accept a lifetime achievement award for her late husband. The award acknowledges his contribution to film and his special relationship with Victoria. The festival will pay rich tribute to the legendary filmmaker, includ-

ing screening his final film Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Mrs Chopra will officially opening the newly renovated cinema at La Trobe University, now renamed Yash Chopra Cinema. Turning its focus to contemporary India, IFFM presents three dynamic program streams of new films from India and the subcontinent. “We set out to take viewers on a journey from the beginning of Indian filmmaking through some of the century’s highlights and arriving at a selection of the finest new films made in the last 12 months,” said Bhowmick-Lange. ‘Hurrah Bollywood !’ features the best mainstream Hindi cinema from the last 12 months including Barfi starring Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Talaash and Kabir Khan’s Ek Tha Tiger; ‘Beyond Bollywood’ features arthouse and cinema in regional Indian languages. Not to be missed highlights include Kurmavatara (Kannada) / Anhey Ghorey Da Daan (Punjabi), Delhi In A Day, Kai Po Che and I.D., the feature debut of Collective Phase One, a six-strong col-

Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. Closing the festival is the Australian premiere screening of The Reluctant Fundamentalist, directed by Mira Nair which was selected to open the Venice Film Festival. IFFM offers a window into the future of filmmaking with screenings of winners and finalists in the Western Union short film competition open to filmmakers from India, Australia and New Zealand. The colour and rhythm of Bollywood is expressed most clearly in its dancing. Audiences

lective of filmmakers and producers and part of India’s new wave. A program specially curated for the Festival by acclaimed New Wave filmmaker Onir, features films from the sub continent including - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

can take a break from the cinema and join in the Bollywood Dance Competition at Federation Square on May 4, judged by legendary choreographer and filmmaker, Farah Khan and chief guest, the Indian god of dance, Prabhudeva. For bookings and information go to Facebook www. and Twitter!/ IndianFFMelb. All Hoyts screenings can be booked at and at the box office. All ACMI screenings can also be booked at ACMI. and at the box office.


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southSouth asia times 37 Asia Times - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

south asia 38 South Asia Timestimes - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082


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southSouth asia times 39 Asia Times - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

south asia 40 South Asia Timestimes - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082


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SAT APR 2013  

SAT APR 2013

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