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CELEBRATING 10th YEAR OF PUBLICATION

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READ INSIDE

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South Asia Times Vol.10 I No. 9 I MARCH 2013 I FREE s o u t hasiatimes.com.au Editor: Neeraj Nanda

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Gandhi's granddaughter Ela Gandhi in Melbourne Censorship by Murder Will Not Silence Truth

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Vidhya Balan to sizzle Melbourne at the Indian Film...

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FROM THE EDITOR

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Anger over Ted Baillieu’s big no to Little India By Neeraj Nanda

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elbourne: It was 1st Treasury Place and the atmosphere was sombre but a crowd of ‘multicultural media’ (a word used for the non mainstream media) was in full strength helping themselves with sandwiches, tea, coffee and juice. All was set for the Victorian Premier Mr. Ted Baillieu’s media conference which was taking place after many months. The agenda was unknown but the Premier’s slide down the popularity graph was fresh in the minds. Media fellows from different communities were around and it was a nice opportunity to catch-up with them. Speculation over what could the Premier announce or disclose remained the hot topic. Though, subsequently, the Little India issue cropped up after SAT raised it. Anyway, the spell was broken with the Victorian Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, Nicholas Kotsiras taking over the mike and announcing the ‘multicultural’ instincts of his government and denouncing the visiting Dutch politician infamous for his ‘racist’ views. “We disagree with him and continue to support multiculturalism, he said. The Minister was then asked about the concern of ‘Islamisation’ of Australia, to which he said that “there were individuals in all communities’ with whom we disagree and we “cannot blame a religion for that”. The Premier than emerged and took over to reiterate Victoria’s ‘multiculturalism’ and the determination to continue the

bipartisan approach towards it. About the controversial Dutch politician the Premier said, “You are wrong”. He then shifted to the fiscal discipline he had imposed in Victoria and high rating Victoria has. There was no mention of Victoria’s massive job losses on a day when Amcor announced it will layout 100 workers at its factory in Thomastown and outsource the work to another manufacturer. Workers at the Amcor factory make lids for sports drinks, bottles and jars, and seals for beer bottles. On a question by SAT about the community concern about the future of Dandenong’s ‘Little India’, the Premier said he had already helped them and the” government cannot guarantee the success of any retailer.” “Shopkeepers and the community also have a duty to do things about it. The shopkeepers should stand on their own legs and flourish”, he said. Reacting to the Premier, Brian Tee MP ,Shadow Minister for Planning, Sustainable Growth, Major Projects and Infrastructure said, “"When Mr Baillieu was looking for Indian community support for his trade mission to India assurances were given that Little India would get a fair outcome. Now, with the trade mission finished, it appears that Mr Baillieu does not care about Little India. I think that the Indian community and other Victorians will remember this painful experience." Talking to SAT, Mr.Jude Perera , State Member for Cranbourne District and Parliamentary Secretary to Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs

said the Bailleau Government has treated the Little India traders with contempt by discriminating one against another and squandering tens of thousands of dollars on litigation to avoid paying compensation. “In 2005 two traders bought in to two businesses physically located next to each other sharing the same common wall in Little India. Few years later. one was paid compensation and Bailleau Government refuses to pay the other one. This is a blatant double standard by an incompetent government." "On another occasion, the Little India trader who won his court case to receive compensation was denied by the government by lodging an expensive appeal. This is another example of Bailleau Government's brutal attitude towards small business and the trades of Indian origin in Little India", he said. In her reaction Mrs. Kaushaliya Vaghela, Spokesperson for Little India traders was quite

upset and said, “The Victorian Government has left the Little India traders in lurch after breaking the promise to compensate the traders for their losses occurred due to Places Victoria’s Dandenong Revitalisation project". “The Premier’s remarks are very casual to a serious human tragedy which needs immediate solution". “A government that swears to be multicultural is not interested in retaining the only unique Indian multicultural icon in Victoria speaks for itself. “This month it will be a third trade mission visit from the Victorian government to India travelling thousands of kilometres to attract investors from there. However, the local Indian traders located only few kilometres away, have been completely neglected by the Government despite constantly asking the Premier, the Planning Minister and the Multicultural Minister to intervene urgently since long time", she said.

Raaga Sudha School of Carnatic Music 2013 students concert on April 6-7 By our community reporter

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elbourne: The Raaga Sudha School of Carnatic Music will present its 10th annual students concert over two days: Saturday 6th April and Sunday 7th April 2013 (venue: Chandler Community Centre, Keysborough, Victoria). This year's event will be a celebration of an important milestone in the school's onward journey. It is also an opportunity to remember and pay tribute to the school founder Murali’s Gurus violin vidwan (late) Mr. Kanchi Janarthanan and the legendary violin maestro (late) Mr.M S Gopalakrishnan, both of whom sadly departed for heavenly abode in the recent past.

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The event is free. One of the proud moments for the school was the recognition that Mr. Murali Kumar received the Victorian Multicultural Award for Excellence 2010 from the Governor of Victoria Mr David de Kretser at the Government House on the 21st September 2010. The Raaga Sudha School of Carnatic Music was started by Mr. Murali Kumar in 2002 with a view to fostering the art of Carnatic Music, specifically Violin Music in the South Indian Carnatic Music Style. Raaga Sudha has since become a premier institution, having produced some fine local talent in Melbourne. Mr.Murali Kumar is a celebrated violinist of South Indian Classical Carnatic music with over twentyfive years of concert experience.He

is a virtuoso renowned for his silken touch, deep musical knowledge and versatility. His music emphasises purity and precision in musical notes which enhances melody and is at once soothing, uplifting and delightful to the listener. A resident of Melbourne, Australia, he is today one of the most soughtafter musicians in Australia for Carnatic music and Indian classical dance performances. Mr. Murali Kumar also possesses a keen understanding of North Indian Hindustani classical music, and is a proficient performer of Hindustani music on the violin. Mr. Murali Kumar holds a master s degree in science and works full-time as a senior manager at ANZ. For more information see www.raagasudha. com.au.

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Gandhi's granddaughter Ela Gandhi in Melbourne

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Next generation can be put on the non- violence path: Ela Gandhi

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elbourne, 25 February: Internationally renowned social activist and granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, Ela Gandhi has visited Melbourne to engage with women victims of domestic violence and visit other instituttions aligned with her and her gandfather's belief of non-violence. The eminent South Africabased thinker and advocate of Gandhian non-violent solutions participated in a program of events framed around the theme “Global Problems, Local Solutions” which included a visit to Collingwood Children's Farm, the Hanover Welfare Services shelter for homeless people, and the University of Melbourne’s Early Learning Centre. At the Collingwood Children's Farm, the only farm in the Southern Hemisphere recognised by the European Federation of city farms, Ela milked a cow, demonstrating a skill she gained during 35 years living on the Phoenix Farm settlement in South Africa, and also fed pigs and goats. Farm Manager Andrew Phillips said Ela is the first person of such international social and human rights standing publicly visit the farm. "We’re really honoured and the amazing thing is the connection with the Mahatma and his founding of the Phoenix Farm and our work here building community through farming, which is quite unique.” Ela also visited the Victorian

Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service (WDVCS) at North Melbourne to discuss domestic violence against women and what to do about it, following the recent rape case in India. On non-violence Ms Gandhi believes early childhood intervention is important and spoke of educators setting good examples to ensure children are brought up in alignment with principles of non-violence and that genders are equal. "If our generation has failed (in adhering to non-violent principles), we can set the next on the right path," Ms Gandhi said. Ms Gandhi has spent her life as the custodian of his legacy in South Africa, as well as the caretaker of Gandhi’s farm known as the Phoenix Settlement. In 1893, Mahatma Gandhi arrived in South Africa as a young attorney looking to launch his legal career. However, after he experienced a traumatic incident of racial discrimination in Pietermaritzburg, he dedicated himself to the pursuit of social justice and equal rights. During the 21 years he lived in South Africa, he founded Phoenix Settlement, a communal ashram that served as the location for much of his socio-political and spiritual work. When Gandhi returned to India to join the Freedom Struggle he left behind his son, and Ela’s father, Manilal Gandhi, to run the Phoenix Settlement and edit the Indian Opinion newspaper that his father founded in 1903. Of her grandfather, Ela Gan-

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elbourne: There is a Hindi saying, which means wherever there are two utensils they will make noise when they come in contact. The same applies to human beings, when we spend time together as family, friends, and co-worker or in any situation which brings individuals together. Togetherness involves interaction. This interaction can take different forms starting from very friendly and cohesive at one end to a detrimental argumentative on the other. The arguments representing the difference of opinion and depending upon the mental situation or otherwise can lead to violence resulting in harming and damaging each other, not only physically but to a greater extent psychologically. The violence between two individuals or between groups of people can take different physical, emotional forms and can poten-

tially lead to fatalities. We should aim at living life with full satisfaction, joy and a fulfilling purpose. It is a good paradigm to follow but extremely difficult to practice. Sankat Mochan Samiti (SMS) devotees idealise Param Ram Bhakta Hanuman Ji for spiritual, moral and physical inspiration and guidance.They are committed to provide selfless assistance in critical needs where any amount of wealth and prosperity is of no value, where strength and power appear to be gutless and where wisdom and knowledge fail to provide any solutions. In these situations one can only pray and/ or seek guidance to uplift selfconfidence to courageously go through a devastatingly critical situation. SMS has taken an active initiative to assist individuals, families and communities in and around Melbourne in conjunction with the organisations like Relationship Australia Victoria (RAV) and

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Om Music Group’s tribute to the superstar Rajesh Khanna

Melbourne: Jan 25, 2013 – Om Music Group paid a Musical Tribute, “Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana”, to the Super Star of the Bollywood – Rajesh Khanna – “Kaka”, at Spirit Of India Reception, Preston.

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"" dhi, now aged 72 but still full of energy, recalls “He had time for me as a granddaughter and listened to me seriously.” Her grandfather went on to inspire world leaders such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, as well as ordinary citizens of the world. During South Africa's struggle against apartheid, Ela Gandhi spent nine years under house arrest. Today, she is a prominent peace activist and served as a Member of Parliament in South Africa from 1994-2004. In 2007, she was conferred the Padma Bhushan award from

the Government of India, which is India's third highest civilian award. Ms Gandhi also gave a talk at the Australia India Institute on the subject "If Gandhi were alive today". Listen to the podcast (http://soundcloud.com/ aiinstitute/ela-gandhi-lecture-ifgandhi), or read the transcript (http://www.aii.unimelb.edu. au/sites/default/files/GandhiTranscript.pdf) and Power Point Slides(http://www.aii.unimelb. edu.au/sites/default/files/ElaGandhiPP.pdf) SOURCE: Australia India Institute

On non-violence Ms Gandhi believes early childhood intervention is important and spoke of educators setting good examples to ensure children are brought up in alignment with principles of non-violence and that genders are equal.

‘Sankat Mochan’ tackles family violence in Eastern suburbs By Arvind Shrivastava

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The violence between two individuals or between groups of people can take different physical, emotional forms and can potentially lead to fatalities. We should aim at living life with full satisfaction, joy and a fulfilling purpose. It is a good paradigm to follow but extremely difficult to practice.

InTouch, in Family Domestic Violence (FDV) situations. These organisations provide social welfare, legal and physical support services through experts, to the sufferers of FDV. SMS is a partner agency in a two year FDV project initiated by InTouch specifically for Indian Community in the Eastern region of Melbourne.To carry out this project a Task Force Committee (TFC) has been set up. TFC comprises of community representatives and has been named as “ Hum Tum”, meaning “me and you”. It has a mission of, “CREATING AWARNESS ABOUT RESPECTFUL RELATIONSHIP AND GENDER EQUALITY WITHIN INDIAN COMMUNITY”. Hum Tum will assist Indian Community to: 4 Change attitude and behaviour towards Family Violence 4 Promote mutual trust 4 Encourage effective commu-

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nication - “break the silence-let’s talk” 4 Provide help in building self esteem 4 Promote access to helpful resources Hum Tum is involved in organising several activities to achieve these objectives. For example, on 25 November 2012, Hum Tum celebrated “White Ribbon Day” when peace prayers were recited by different faith leaders for the departed victims of family violence. On Friday 8 March 2013 Hum Tum is going to celebrate International Women’s day. Details are as follows: Refreshments shall be provided and audience will be invited to discuss the FDV issues based on the movie and their own personal experiences. Please contact SMS on 0427 274 462 or through e-mail sankatmochansamiti@gmail.com, for details about other SMS activities, and on issues related to the FDV.

he evening program had an introduiction by Amitabh Singh followed by 1.5 hours of nonstop music hits from the movies of the superstar. A presentation made by Priya Singh on the life of the Superstar Rajesh Khanna ji, was played a few times during the show. Amongst the singers were, Amitabh, Priya, Tilaka, Dr Saratchandran (Guest) and Neela (winner – best singer from the audience). Several hit songs such as Kuchh to log kahenge, Ye jo mohabbat hai, Pyar diwana hota hai, Ye kya hua, Chala Jaata hun, Chanda hai tu, Jis Gali Mein Tera ghar na Ho, Aao Na Gale Lagaao na, Diwana Le Ke Aaya Hai, O Mere Dil Ke Chain, Wo sham kuchh ajeeb thi, Chingari koi and Roop tera Mastana were rendered. The enthusiasm of the audience was fantastic to observe as they danced, hummed and sang along with the singers. There was a short break for Entrée and mingling around. The samosas and kebabs were tasty tea and coffee were on sale too. The tribute show continued after the break with the song, Hamein Tumse Pyar Kitna, Gulabi Aankhen, Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye and many more. Several stories and incidents from the Superstar’s life were shared. A lot of pictures and videos were taken. A sumptuous buffet meal was provided during the dinner break for the audience to buy as per their choice. As everyone from the audience were enjoying their meals the songs continued from the stage. Tilaka and Amitabh sang “Kora Kagaz tha” while Priya sang the sizzling number “Aao Na Gale Lagaao Na”. This was the conclusion of the Tribute segment of the event. After the dinner on special demand of the Audience it was time for dance session. Amitabh and Priya presented a medley of the latest hits which included, Tumhin ho Bandhu, Chinta -ta, Munni, Chalao na Naino se and an evergreen old songs’ medley which included, Ina Meena Dika, Tumse achchha Kaun hai, Badan pe sitaare, O Haseena Zulfon Waali. Each and everyone from the audience participated in and enjoyed the dance session. On special request Dr K P Saratchandran sang, “Dil Jalta Hai to Jalne De”, Dr Om & Dr. Asha Pahuja sang, Ai Maalik tere Bande Hum and Mrs Neela Unadkat sang Hum the jinke sahare. A couple from London who have come to visit their friends in Melbourne and another couple (parents) from India who are visiting their children here, thoroughly enjoyed the show. Super Star Rajesh Khanna’s popularity knew no borders and boundaries… audience for the Tribute nite were from the various parts of India, Fiji, Bangladesh, UK, Malaysia, Pakistan and obviously Australia. The event concluded with Indian and Australian National Anthem to respect and acknowledge Indian Republic Day and Australia Day on 26th Jan 2013 (the next day). Om Music Group, Australia thanked the audience, the venue (Spirit Of India Reception) & the media partners, India @Melbourne, Santa Banta Media and South Asia Times. Also the

announcement of the upcoming shows were made as follows: Thu, February 14, 2013 – Valentines Day & Parents’ Day – Candle Light dinner with Live Singing Venue: Spirit Of India Reception, Preston – call 0422028076 or email: amitabh_om@yahoo.com.au ;Time: 6pm; Entry per Couple: $70.00 (Bottle of Red/White Wine/Beer & Rose included);Entry per person: $35.00 (Singles’- Table) 1 Rose pp Included. Fri, February 15, 2013 - Melbourne Sangam Netball Team in Conjunction with AAICE Inc. Presents Valentines Dinner Dance Fund Raiser; Venue: Spirit Of India Reception, 1 Oakover Road Preston; Date & Time: Friday 15 Feb 2013, 0730pm – 1130pm;Entry: $50.00 pp (food & soft drinks included); Door Prizes, Best Dressed Couple, Best Dancing Couple and many more surprises Fri, March 22nd, 2013 – R D Burman Nite 730pm onwards; Venue: Spirit OF India Reception, 1 Oakover road, Preston; Ticket: $20.00 pp Food & Bev on Sale; Or $50pp – Food & Bev included. Sun, 24 March, 2013 – Harmony Fest Ballarat; Entry: FREE;Time: 12pm onwards;Place: Ballarat Wed, 27 March, 2013 – Holi – The Festival of Colors – Live Holi Songs and DJ – Rang Gulaal & Dhammaal; Entry: $10.00; Venue: Spirit of India Reception Centre, 1 Oakover road, Preston; Time : 6 pm onwards. For more information on these events, please call,Amitabh Singh at 0422028076, Raghbir: 0432182633, Jas: 0402077330, Piyu: 0413156139, email: amitabh_om@yahoo.com.au Please subscribe to us on youtube at our channel: www.youtube.com/user/ amipiyu —Supplied www.southasiatimes.com.au - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082


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GOPIO award for Manpreet

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Tarneit Sikh Temple to help Wyndham homeless kids

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ast month in India, Manpreet from the SBS Punjabi program received a special award “in recognition and appreciation of her commendable service to Indians in Australia and India”. The award was bestowed by the Governor of Kerala, Mr Hansraj Bharadwaj, on behalf of GOPIO (Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin), along the sidelines of the 11th Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas in Kochi. Manpreet is celebrating 20 years of broadcasting at SBS ,this award and all others she's picked along the way, are dedicated to the community, she says.

AIII donates four chairs to Sports Disability Australia

By our correspondent

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elbourne: The Australian Indian Innovations Incorporated (AIII) recently donated through the ‘Friends of the Children’ led by Mr. Shashi Kochhar, four chairs to the Disability Sports Australia. Mr. Yogen Laxman, Mr. Vernon Da Gama, Mr. Soni and Mr. Sunil Kumar were present on behalf of the AIII. The donation is part of the AIII’s Give the Community program.

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elbourne: The Indian community living in the Wyndham Council has initiated a community welfare move with the help of Wyndham Councillor, Bob Fairclough. Councillor Bob Fairclough brought together community members, local Sikh Gurudwara (also known as the Tarneit Gurudwara) and the Open Family Australia to share their resources to support homeless children in the area. After initial meetings between various stakeholders finally Jasvinder Sidhu (representative of Tarneit Gurudwara) and Jeff Hamilton, Regional Manager for Western Region of Open Family Australia discussed and executed the idea of providing food for needy and homeless children. Jeff Hamilton came up with the idea of NOSH (Nutrition Outreach Support and Health) Van which will operate through the Youth Resource Centre at 86

OAM for Mrs. Krishna Arora By Arvind Shrivastava

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elbourne: Mrs. Krishna Arora, Indian community activist is being honored by the Oz government on Australia Day 2013 with an OAM, for her services to the community. Born in Bangalore, she arrived in Australia in 1992. Mrs. Krishna has led a full life devoted to good food and

teaching young people about cooking. She was the founder and the principal of the Pusa Institute of Hotel Management in Delhi for many years and has written a number of cookery books. Mrs.Krishna came to Australia to be with her daughter and her husband. Her son-in-law Dr Mukesh Sharma, who worked as a hotel chef for the Hyatt group for

many years decided on a career change and completed an MBA and PhD. in Marketing. He decided to come to Australia after a chance meeting with two Australians on a train in Germany where he was working as a chef: “They were wonderful guys and they just gave me a great feeling for this country,” says Mukesh. Mrs. Krishna studied in a British

Derrimut Road, Hoppers Crossing. The NOSH Van will reach those children who are homeless and live in deserted buildings known as Squats. Children as young as the age of 10 leave their homes due to abusive parents, family breakdown and neglect of children, mental health problems and substance use. They tend to drop-off school and cut-off from the mainstream society. Often parents don’t care or cannot look after their children or make an effort to search them due to various reasons. At any time there can be a few dozen young children (aged 1015) living in deserted buildings in the Wyndham Council. The Indian community has come forward to support the initiate and will provide both cooked and uncooked food to the NOSH Van Program. Particularly the Sikh Gurudwara and its volunteers are excited to spread the message of Guru Nanak who gave three directives: • Kirat karo – Making a living with honest means of earning

• Vand chakko – Sharing of earnings and resources with those who are in need. • Naam japna – Remembering God at all times Program coordinator is Paula Heaarnden who can be contacted at phearnden@openfamily.com.au if any one wishes to know more details of this initiative. If community members wish to donate long life food they can contact the Indian Community Coordinator Jasvinder Sidhu at sidhu.jasvinder@ hotmail.com. The NOSH Program will be launched soon and will be attended by the Shadow Treasurer and Member of Parliament for Taneit, Tim Pallas, Mayor of Wyndham City Council, Heather Marcus, Deputy Mayor of Wyndham City Council, Marie Brittan and other Councillors, representatives of Indian community and other stakeholders. This program will not only assist children to connecting them back to society but would also prevent them from getting involved in anti-social behaviour.

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AISV celebrates India’s R-Day & Australia Day By our reporter

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elbourne: The Australia India Society of Victoria (AISV), celebrated India’s Republic Day and Australia Day recently at the Metropol Receptions, Clayton. Victoria’s Multicultural Minister Mr. Nicholas Kotsiras, MP was the chief guest with many other important guests including Mr. Hong Lim, Member of Parliament, Clayton and Mr. Raj Kumar Indian Consulate. The guests were addressed by the President AISV, Mr. Gurdeep Arora, the Multicultural Minister and the MP for Clayton. Mr. Arora announced the big news of the AISV getting the ‘Pravasi Bhartiya Samman’ (PBS) at the Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas 2013 at Kochi, Kerala (India). He then announced the award has been dedicated to the Indian community. All the speakers congratulated the AISV for getting the PBS and wished it continue to do the good work which it has been doing over the years. Mr. Hong Lim in his speech spoke about the lack of Asians being honoured by the government. This he thought needs to be addressed in the Asian century. Senator Helen Kroger, Chief Opposition Whip in the Senate also

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Mr. Arora announced the big news of the AISV getting the ‘Pravasi Bhartiya Samman’ (PBS) at the Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas 2013 at Kochi, Kerala (India). He then announced the award has been dedicated to the Indian community.

spoke on behalf of leader of opposition Mr. Tony Abbott. There were Indian classical and Bollywood dances to mark the day and the quests danced on DJ music after the dinner. Manpreet Singh (SBS Punjabi radio) and Mrs. Lamba (Secretary AISV) did a good job as MC’s. The evening was full of entertainment with lots of networking with community leaders and members of the AISV.

school and had never thought of becoming a chef, but she found she just had a natural affinity for cooking: “I love cooking and it gives me great satisfaction to see people enjoying food!” she says. In Australia Krishna also founded the Indian Senior Citizens Association and is active in the Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria (FIAV). —SAT News Service

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Lecture on Buddhism by Monk Venerable Vinayarakkhita Thera

Indian Parliamentary delegation in Australia

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By our community reporter

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elbourne: Monk Venerable Vinayarakkhita Thera from Bangalore gave a lecture on Buddhism/meditation at the Buddhist Temple in Berwick on 10 th Feb, 2013. A large number of people including

Mr. Jude Pereira MP, FIAV President Mr. Vasan Srinivasan, Mr. Manoj Kumar, ALP activist attended the lecture. The monk spoke in simple language about issues facing the world in the light of Buddhist philosophy and how to mediate to attain peace. Those attending heard the monk in pin drop silence and subsequently he

conducted a meditation session. This was followed by a lively question answer session where the guest monk answered many questions on Buddhist philosophy and practice. Temple contact: Buddhist Vihara Victoria,125 Homestead Road, Berwick, Victoria 3806; Phone: (03) 9702 6275

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elbourne: A good will delegation of Indian Parliamentarians recently visited Melbourne, led by Minister for Planning Rajiv Shukla. The delegation visited Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Perth. The delegation consisted of

Mr.& Mrs. Rajiv Shukla. Mr. Shantaram Laxman,Mr. Vilas Baburao Muttemwar, Mr. Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Mr. Ramen Deka, Mr. Neeraj Shekhar, Mr. Jagdish Sharma, Mr.& Mrs. Banyopadhyay, Mrs.& Mr. J.Halen Davidson, Mr. T.K. Rangarajan, Mr. & Mrs. Bhartruhari Mahtab, Mr. Anant G.Geet, Mr. Jagdish Kumar,Mr. Rajesh Kumar Singh and Mr. Mukesh

Kumar.The delegation was given a big reception at the Indian Consulate where the MPs met the Indian community and had dinner with them. The event was addressed by Mr. Rajiv Shukla, Mr. Raj Kumar and Victorian Praliamentarians. A lunch event was also organised by the FIAV for the delegation at the Desi Dhaba Indian restaurant in the city.

Melbourne Vedanta Centre opens By our community reporter

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he Vedenta Centre of Sydney, Melbourne Chapter held a function on 23rd February supported by the Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria (FIAV) to introduce the new Vedanta Society Centre in Ringwood. The event

was addressed by Mr. Vasan Srinivasan, FIAV President who introduced the Centre to those present. The gathering was then given a short lecture on the tecahings of Swami Vivekanand and the centre’s role in Sydney and Melbourne by Swami Sridharanandaji of Sydney. Others who addressed the gatheringincluded Mr. Raj Kumar, Indian Consul-

ate, Councillor for Maroondah Mr. Norah Lemont Christimne, Mayor of Whitehorse Mr. Andrew Munroe Sukkar, Councillor of Whitehorse Mr. Bill Bennett and Councillor Michael Sukker among others. A short video film on the life and times of Swami Vivekanand was also shown. The Centre is visited by members of the Centre from all over Melbourne.

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Shabana Azmi to stage ‘Broken Images’ in Melbourne on 6 April By our community reporter

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elbourne: Shabana Azmi, actress, activist and an alumna of the Film and Television Institute of India of Pune, is a leading actresses of the parallel cinema, an Indian New Wave movement known for its serious content and neo-realism. Daughter of famous leftist Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi and married to poet and screenwriter Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi will be in Melbourne to receive the inaugural “ACHRH Human Rights Champion’ Award after the staging of her world famous play “Broken Images”. She will be accompanied to Australia with Producer Alyque Padamsee and Director Raell Padamsee. The play and the dinner cum award ceremony will be held here on 6th April, 2013. The event is being jointly backed by the ACFRH and the Australia India Institute (AII). The event was announced recently at the Punjabi Masala Indian Restaurant on 16th February, 2013. Dr. Manjula O Connor on behalf of ACHRH will honour Ms. Shabana Azmi with the inaugural ‘ACHRH Human Rights Champion’ Award. Dr. O Connor said “We are humbled and honoured at the same time that an actress and social activist in human rights, Ambassador for United Nations

Population Fund and of the stature of Shabana Azmi will grace us with her presence and performance. She has graciously agreed to our invite. I cannot think of a better opportunity for our inaugural award to be bestowed on Mrs. Azmi, who has inspired so many particularly women around the world”. ACHRH was founded in September 2012 by Founding Directors Dr Manjula O Connor, Mr Vivian Prasad and Dr Jonathan Harrison. ACHRH is a think tank that proposes innovative solutions to women’s health, human rights and aiming to strengthen family units. It was formally launched on 16 February 2013 at Punjabi Masala Restaurant with 80 invited guests in attendance. All of the three founding Directors and the inaugural chairman Prof Ian Howie were present including the ACHRH advisors and community ambassadors. VIP s included MP Elizabeth Miller, MP Neil Angus, MP Jude Pereira, VMC commissioners Srini Chidambaran, Elizabeth Drozd, Ministerial Advisor Nitin Gupta, Ms Melba Marginson, Mr Deepak Vinayak, Mr. Neeraj Nanda, SAT Editor and Film Maker Anupam Sharma. Global Indian Talent, which is hosting the play and Ms. Azmi in Australia, is generously supporting ACHRH. For help related to Family and Domestic Violence please contact Dr Manjula O Connor

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We are humbled and honoured at the same time that an actress and social activist in human rights, Ambassador for United Nations Population Fund and of the stature of Shabana Azmi will grace us with her presence and performance. She has graciously agreed to our invite.

and her team. Tel – 03 96545600; At 2/ 100 Collins Street Melbourne, Victoria. Email -manjula@achrh.org; reception@100collinsstmedical. com.au All Information about the play, the invitation for dinner and ACHRH can be found on www.achrh.org or www.globalindiantalent.com. www.southasiatimes.com.au - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082


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Female journalists face unique challenges in Sri Lanka By Amantha Perera

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OLOMBO, Feb 14 2013 (IPS) - The year was 1998 and porters at the wholesale vegetable market in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo had gone on strike, virtually suspending vegetable distribution in the city and its suburbs. A national news channel, Sri Lanka Maharaja Television, had dispatched a crew of reporters to cover the porters’ union general meeting; the atmosphere was charged and tension was palpable. “Suddenly,” recalled a female journalist who was just a young cub reporter at the time, “I was surrounded by hundreds of bare bodied men, some holding metal hooks and sweating profusely, all wondering what the hell this young woman was doing there”. She told IPS that she soon realised the throng of men “wanted only one thing: they wanted the attention of my team, all of them wanted to tell the story.” The incident, memories of which have stayed with her throughout her entire career, is just one example of how even a relatively mundane assignment can turn out to be a dangerous encounter for a female journalist, she said. A decade and a half later, women continue to tread on eggshells as they navigate an incendiary media landscape in this South Asian country of 20 million people. The island’s overall press freedom indicators are not glowing. A recent compilation of global statistics by the Parisbased media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (which goes by its French acronym RSF) ranked Sri Lanka 162nd out of 179 countries on its press freedom index, sandwiched between Rwanda and Saudi Arabia. According to the New Yorkbased Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 19 journalists have been killed in the past two decades, nine of them in the last eight years. To date no one has been convicted for the crimes. On Jan. 28 over 100 journalists gathered in Colombo to protest against assaults on the media. The ‘Black January’ commemorations have become an annual event to remember assassinations, attacks and intimidations of colleagues. Though attacks against the press have been on the decline, the bleak forecast for the future

A female journalist working in the eastern city of Batticaloa told IPS that she has now limited her work to stories involving women and development, because she felt unsafe reporting on incidents of a more political nature.

is that those responsible for violence, disappearances and even murder will continue to roam free. “A Black January 2014 seems almost inevitable,” according to a blog post by CPJ’s Asia Coordinator, Bob Dietz. Within the general climate of fear and repression of the media, women face a unique set of challenges. The latest protests were a grim reminder to female reporters that they are walking on thin ice. “Sometimes the threat levels become more severe because you are a woman,” a female foreign correspondent with over two decades of working experience in Sri Lanka told IPS. Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema, associate editor of the weekend newspaper ‘The Sunday Leader’ shares this view. The mother of a young daughter, Abeywickrema feels that female journalists face even more pressure when they have families to consider. “I am a mother and a wife — what will happen to my family if something happens to me?” she asked. “Many female journalists walk down the safe path, and may not touch sensitive stories that they would have done in the past,” she said, because of concerns for their families’ safety. Dilrukshi Handunnetti, senior deputy editor at the daily ‘Ceylon Today’ believes the intimidating environment has led to “a change in our newsrooms over

the past few years, a collective (decision) to practice self-censorship”. Abeywickrema and Handunnetti are intimately familiar with the fatal consequences of disregarding personal safety. Both were senior journalists at ‘The Sunday Leader’ when its founding editor, Lasantha Wickrematunge, was killed in broad daylight, just five minutes from their office, on Jan. 8, 2009. Abeywickrema drove past the site of the attack – which involved four armed men on motorcycles – minutes after it had taken place. No one has been charged so far for the gruesome murder. Wickrematunge’s widow, journalist Sonali Samarasinghe, and his successor at the newspaper, Frederica Jansz, both now live in exile due to threats on their lives. Jansz in particular received several death threats after she took over the paper in mid-2009. She complained that unidentified motorcyclists followed her home just a few days before her flight out of the country. In exile, she told media that she valued her role as a mother to her two sons more than that of a “hero journalist”, which prompted her decision to leave. The current editor of the newspaper, Sakunthala Perera, is also a woman. It is not uncommon for women to hold senior positions in newsrooms. Many female journalists agree that women have

gained ground in the Sri Lankan media scene, especially in English-language and electronic formats. “One positive indication that women are breaking ground in Sri Lanka is the (presence) of female sports reporters in our news team,” Ceylon Today’s Handunnetti told IPS. “That is something that was unheard of when we joined newspapers.” But she sounded a cautionary tone about gender equality in the field, explaining that while women have made huge advances as professional newsgatherers, they continue to be largely excluded from some niche areas. She stressed that women rarely receive training on reporting from hazardous areas such as post-disaster sites or conflict zones, adding that few newsrooms take precautions against the specific dangers women face in the field. Abeyawickrema recalled that when she covered the aftermath of the 2004 Asian tsunami in Sri Lanka, she did so without any formal training, entering potential high-risk zones without any knowledge on how to ensure her personal security. Another female reporter who worked at ‘The Sunday Leader’ in 2004, but has since left, told IPS that she once spent the night in a camp set up for tsunami victims where she could “feel men moving near my tent all through the night”. “I was completely vulner-

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able,” she said, adding that neither her colleagues nor her editors at the time understood the trauma of that experience. According to Abeyawickrema, female journalists are constantly reminded of their vulnerability to attacks, especially of a sexual nature, during field assignments. “I am experienced enough to know when to stop pushing the envelope,” she said. “But I don’t think many juniors are aware of the risk.” A female journalist working in the eastern city of Batticaloa told IPS that she has now limited her work to stories involving women and development, because she felt unsafe reporting on incidents of a more political nature. “Once (in 2011) members of an armed political group crowded around me when I went to report on an incident involving one of their members and a village woman who rejected his advances. Some of them were so close that I could feel their breath — the silent message was: ‘You know what could happen, right?’” One positive development, Abeywickrema said, has been an outburst of peer support in response to the murky media environment for women. She said female journalists are diligent about looking out for each other and offering advice to juniors. “I think we are a lot more conscious about the environment we operate in than we were in the past,” Handunnetti concluded.

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Facing the gag in India

By Sujoy Dhar

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EW DELHI, Feb 21 2013 (IPS) - “I am godless. I am an artist. I will find another country that is secular and will take me…” These are the emotional words of one of India’s most famous and critically acclaimed actors, Kamal Haasan, who ran from one court to another to get his 17 million dollar trilingual film Vishwaroopam (Universe) released in his home state Tamil Nadu in south India last month. Kamal Haasan, who is not just an actor but an iconic star with a huge fan following, faced the ire of fringe Muslim groups. The screening of the film on terrorism, called Vishwaroopam in Tamil and Vishwaroop in Hindi, is set in Afghanistan and the U.S was stopped. As the 58-year-old thespian spoke, in capital New Delhi sociologist Asish Nandy awaited police interrogation for remarking that corruption as the great social leveller in a caste-ridden society. Nandy spoke at the Jaipur Literature Festival Jan. 26. Last year India-born British writer Salman Rushdie was barred from the festival on grounds of security for him. This year Asish Nandy entered new controversy after some Indian groups and politicians representing the ‘lower’ castes – who are mentioned in the Indian Constitution as the Schedule Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes asked for jail for Nandy. They said his remarks suggested they were more corrupt than others. Nandy, who has been charged under a law that protects the rights of the ‘lower’ castes, faced up to ten years if convicted. Nandy says he never called the lower castes corrupt but had defended their rights by suggesting that the corruption of the rich now finds a match in the ‘lower’ caste groups indulging in similar practices.

A police complaint was filed against Nandy in Jaipur. Festival producer Sanjoy Roy could leave town only after police questioning. India’s free speech advocates say they are appalled that his words at a literary festival could land him in jail. “There is an Olympics of intolerance going on in India now,” Javed Akhtar, one of the foremost Bollywood scriptwriters who wrote the lyrics for the songs in the Hindi version of Haasan’s film told IPS. “There is a competition to be intolerant where every group is going for the gold medal. The moment you express your mind you are branded unpatriotic, communal, pro-Pakistan, a Kafir and what not. “The whole issue over Vishwaroopam is ridiculous since the film was first passed by the Censor Board,” said Akhtar. “There is now a premium on advocating intolerance and many are also spreading it from the anonymity of social media.” Kamal Haasan, who only managed to have his film released in Tamil Nadu after several edits, says he is a victim of cultural terrorism. “I believe that along with my Muslim friends I have been an instrument in a political game. I do not know who is playing it and I am not even hazarding a guess.” Civil liberty groups say there is a growing tendency in India to criminalise disagreement. “I would appeal to the authorities to not criminalise disagreement. It is terrible the way politics follows each such incident,” Kavita Srivastava of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) told IPS. Dancer Leela Samson, chair of the Censor Board, says the new curbs on freedom are scary. “I feel very badly about it, both as an artist and as CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification]) chairperson,” she told IPS. She said the protests and the legal charades undermined the

authority of a body like the Censor Board. “The controversies distract from the main issue and that is the creativity of artists and the freedom required to be creative.” But as Indian intellectuals speak out, more incidents follow. On Jan. 30, Salman Rushdie had to cancel his visit to eastern city Kolkata for promotion of the film Midnight’s Children adapted from his book, and to attend a literary meet at the city’s iconic annual book fair. Some Muslim groups in Kolkata decided to stop Salman Rushdie, who had angered the Muslims decades ago with his controversial book The Satanic Verses.

A Muslim leader said they were happy the state government did not provide Rushdie security, and that their wish to stop him prevailed. “We led a protest at the airport and later found that he is not coming. We will not allow a person here who had written blasphemous words,” said Idris Ali who heads the All India Minority Forum. V.Kumaresan, general secretary of The Rationalists’ Forum in Tamil Nadu says the Indian state must remain neutral and non-aligned. “But the prevailing position is not like that. The State suffocates due to rise of intolerance.”

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Nandy says he never called the lower castes corrupt but had defended their rights by suggesting that the corruption of the rich now finds a match in the ‘lower’ caste groups indulging in similar practices.


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“Censorship by Murder Will Not Silence Truth” N "" By Kanya D'Almeida

EW YORK, Feb 19 2013 (IPS) - It was almost four o’clock in the morning on Feb. 18, 1990, when Dr. Manorani Saravanamuththu pulled into the driveway of No. 42 Castle Street, an old Portuguesestyle home located in a suburb of Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo. “They’ve taken Richard,” she said, when her niece and her husband opened the door. “The Black Cats have taken him.” The young couple needed no further explanation. Both were intimately aware of the plainclothes death squads that drove around in black jeeps, arresting, abducting, abusing and assassinating at will. Their quarry – members or suspected sympathisers of the left-wing People’s Liberation Front (the Janatha Vimukti Peramuna or JVP) – were usually poor university students, whose bodies would either be found the next day, burning in rubber tires atop piles of other corpses, or would never be seen again. And although this period in the country’s history was even then referred to as the ‘bheeshana kalaya’, or the reign of terror, no one expected that one of its victims would be Richard de Zoysa: the progeny of two powerful Colombo families, star of the English-language stage, a well-known newscaster and bureau chief of the Rome-based Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency, whose dispatches on Sri Lanka throughout the 1980s earned him a reputation at home and abroad as an exceptionally prolific writer. The days following de Zoysa’s abduction were – for his family, his comrades and, especially, for the government of then-President Ranasinge Premadasa of the ruling United National Party (UNP), which was engaged in what has been described as a war to “root out” the JVP – marked by utter uncertainty. Day and night, phones rang: desperate calls to police stations and influential lawyers, urgent offers of asylum and amnesty from abroad, incessant requests for government statements from international media, all essentially asking the same question: where is he? On the third day after de Zoysa had been bundled into a jeep by six armed men (one of whom his mother would identify as a high-ranking police officer in the president’s detail), wearing nothing but a sarong around his waist, a fisherman bobbing about on the Indian Ocean just off the coast of Moratuwa, a seaside suburb south of Colombo, hauled a floating corpse into his narrow boat and rowed it ashore. And although bullet wounds and three days in salt water had

eaten away at the handsome 30-year-old, his mother, called in by a magistrate defying government orders to “dispose” of bodies without due process, recognised him. The news sparked a massive public outcry among Colombo’s elite: louder, even, than the collective fury over the roughly 40,000 deaths that had preceded de Zoysa’s in that black decade. Just days after the funeral, the media received a directive from the government: no more mention of Richard de Zoysa — not in print, not in pictures, not on the radio. If murder would not suffice to silence him, then censorship would have to be the next best thing.

A life in writing Though speculation about the reasons behind de Zoysa’s murder ran a wide gamut – from his artistic involvement in theatre to his sexual involvement with members of the JVP — IPS has maintained that de Zoysa’s greatest contribution was in the field of journalism, awarding him, posthumously, its annual International Achievement Award “for his news accounts of the killings of students by death squads (in Sri Lanka).” In fact, de Zoysa was corresponding for IPS during possibly one of the most complex moments in Sri Lankan history – a time of total war on more than one front. According to de Zoysa’s report entitled “Pride Stalks Beneath a Full Moon”, published on the IPS wire on May 22, 1989, “Pride stalks Sri Lanka today, in a variety of guises. There is the racial pride of the Sinhalese, who make up 70 percent of the island’s 17 million people (mostly Buddhist), as well as the pride of the 1.4 million-strong Tamil minority. “There is also the pride of two fierce militant groups, one Sinhalese and one Tamil; the pride of two armies, one Sri Lankan and one Indian; and the political pride of their governments in Colombo and New Delhi.” He was referring first and foremost to the thousands of youth in the south and centre of the country who had joined a Marxist insurgency that preached “nationalist revolution for Sri Lanka’s largely-Buddhist Sinhalese peasantry”. The second group of militants, located in the north and east of the tiny island, were the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a separatist organisation comprised of rebels drawn from the country’s minority Tamil population, demanding independence and a “homeland” for the Tamil people. Thus the Sri Lankan army, as de Zoysa would report in great detail, was fighting two wars: dis-

patching soldiers into the “economically-underprivileged southern belt” to crush the JVP and terrorise any possible recruits, while simultaneously ordering troops to the northern jungles to do battle with the seasoned guerillas of the LTTE. Meanwhile, the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF), pressed into service by former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was tasked with dragging the Tigers to the Indian-backed negotiating table to agree on a devolution plan outlined in the 1987 IndoLankan accords. According to de Zoysa’s monthly features, the peace deal itself split the island still further: with the JVP and the shadowy organisation suspected of being its armed wing (known as the Patriotic People’s Movement or DJV) “implacably opposed to Tamil separatism or anything remotely approaching it”; while the LTTE held out for full separation against a tide of Tamil political parties pushing closer to an official agreement with the government for regional autonomy. On Dec. 21, 1988, de Zoysa sketched a vivid picture of the delicate “triangle of power” that then governed the island, predicting, “(If) Premadasa, a shrewd self-taught professional politician, wants his presidency to get off the ground, he will have to deal swiftly with two men who, like him, have simple origins – Tamil Tiger guerilla leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and JVP supremo Rohana Wijeweera. “The actions of this trio,” de Zoysa noted, “will determine Sri Lanka’s immediate future – as well as the fate, in life or death terms, of the country’s 16.4 million people.” His writings elegantly pieced together the bits of this wartorn story, bringing in a range of voices from government insiders to children in JVP-strongholds who, as a result of curfews and a climate of terror, stayed home

from school and played at violent revolution instead. In this way, he exemplified the IPS ethos of raising the “voice of the voiceless” at a time when testimony in all its forms – whether written, whispered or even insinuated – was deemed worthy of death at the hands of any number of armed parties. He picked his way across the corpse-strewn island, stopping at coastal towns like Tangalle, 110 miles south of Colombo, to speak with fishermen like Ranjith, put out of work by a thinning flow of tourists; and mothers like Siriyawathi who had traveled hours from her remote village to file a complaint that her brother — “an electrician, not a militant”, she assured De Zoysa – had been blindfolded and led away by the police, not seen or heard of since. He spent many hours in this town, at the headquarters of the Human Rights and Legal Aid Organisation where Mahinda Rajapakse – then a little known lawyer and secretary of the rights group, now president of the country, wielding an unprecedented degree of power – met with one bereaved woman after another, all begging for news of their ‘disappeared’ sons, husbands, nephews. This kind of work is called humanitarian but ultimately makes one inhuman,” de Zoysa quoted Rajapakse as saying back in 1988. “From the time I open my door there are these women weeping and wailing. Eventually one gets desensitised and just concentrates on offering practical advice.” In uncovering little-known stories, and prying snippets of information from those worst affected but least visible in times of conflict, de Zoysa put his finger on the grisly point the government hoped most would go unremarked: that the late 1980s marked a turning point in military strategy, away from the

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His journalism has been described as activism, but a reading of his collected writings for IPS reveals that these stories had no agenda: rather, they are the work of one who wades into murky and murderous waters to fish out the flotsam of stories found floating there.

Tamil “other” in the north and onto the Sinhalese “brother” in the south. With unwavering accuracy, de Zoysa uncovered how the draconian anti-terror laws – implemented through arbitrary arrests, detention, torture and murder — that had once been used to crush the Tamil rebellion, quickly became the favoured means of stamping out the JVP, a sleight of hand that did not go unnoticed among the Sinhalese peasantry. His journalism has been described as activism, but a reading of his collected writings for IPS reveals that these stories had no agenda: rather, they are the work of one who wades into murky and murderous waters to fish out the flotsam of stories found floating there. And while he fitted together the jigsaw of the present, he also – perhaps unwittingly – prophesied the future: his last dispatch for IPS, entitled “Sri Lanka: Nearing a Human Rights Apocalypse”, contained none of the stoic analysis that had hitherto characterised his reports. Rather, the story flew hastily across a series of killings, with passing reference to “bodies smoldering on public roadways” and the death squads that came knocking “with a licence to kill”, adding that, in the past month, over 1,000 youth had fallen victim to such assassinations. He ended by echoing the words of former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, who told Parliament shortly before his death, “(If) you have no answer except to meet indiscriminate killings with equally brutal reprisals…you will build up a monster no one will be able to control.” www.southasiatimes.com.au - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082


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Vidhya Balan to sizzle Melbourne at the Indian Film Festival Melbourne 2013

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elbourne: Bollywood diva and legand Vidhya Balan, is all set to sizzle Melbourne. She is coming back this year again as Brand Ambassador of the ‘Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2013’, likely to be held in May. The festival dates and details will be announced by the Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu in Mumbai during his visit next month visit to Mumbai as leader of the Super Trade Mission to India 2013. Festival organisers are tight lipped about the schedule and the high profile film stars who will take part in the festival. Brand Ambassador Vidhya Balan who recently got married will be accompanied to Melbourne by her husband or not remains unknown. The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne showcases the diversity and breadth of Indian film culture to Victorian audiences and will once again be delivered

by Mind Blowing Films led by Bollywood’s leading face in Melbourne, Mitu Bhowmick. The inaugural Indian Film Festival of Melbourne was held in 2012, delivering on the Victorian Government’s election pledge to develop an Indian film festival and bring the best of Indian cinema to Victorian audiences and screen practitioners. Western Union Short Film Competition Like no other competition of its kind, the Western Union Short Film Competition returns for its fourth year seeking out fresh, filmmaking talent from Australia, India and New Zealand. The theme this year is 'FREEDOM'. What does Freedom mean to you, tell us in 10 minutes or less. The registration form can be downloaded from www.indianfilmfestival.com.au . Guidelines: To be eligible for the Western

Union Short Film Competitions all shorts must be 10 minutes or less in length, films to have been completed within 2 years of our closing date, all films should be in English or have English subtitles, as this is a competition the organisers prefer that films that haven't been previously broadcast are submitted. Registration form can be emailed to info@indianfilmfes tival.com.au The winners from Australia and New Zealand will be flown to India. The winner from India will be flown to Melbourne to showcase the winning film at the festival. If you wish to send the DVD copy of your film, please post it to: Mind Blowing Films PO Box 6148 St Kilda Road Central VIC 8008 Australia Source: Mind Blowing Films

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Tourism Australia targets India as key market By Natasha Chaku

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elbourne: The year 2012 was said to be a good year for Tourism Australia. Even though Australia saw a big jump of over 7 per cent in Indian travellers, its booming tourism market has largely remained off the radar of an Indian traveller. Inadequate promotional efforts in recent years, stricter tourist visa rules, lack of availability of Indian food and high dollar cost has remained few of issues in the past that hamper any Indian tourist to pick Australia as its next tourist destination. However, Tourism Australia (TA) is targeting Indian travellers in a big way. It has now identified India as an important market to be tapped for its growth by promising a unique and world class experience that will give them value for their money. Here is what Tourism Australia's managing director Andrew McEvoy feels when he talks about it. "India has been identified as a key market in helping Australia to achieve its Tourism 2020 goal of growing the overnight expenditure generated by tourism to as much as USD 140 billion by the end of the decade." "As such we have a dedicated long term strategic plan for India, which is about harness-

ing the opportunities to build continuous steady growth." "Currently, India is Australia's 8th largest inbound tourism market, with over 159,000 visitors generating 716 million Aus Dollar in spend last year." "Longer term, visitor numbers from India to Australia are estimated to reach up to 300,000 and potentially generate as much as Aus Dollar 2.3 billion annually by 2020." "We also understand that Australia can be considered a high cost destination for travellers, however, we feel the world class experiences we have to offer are worth the investment in time and money for travellers when they are here." "Alongside our incredible nature and city experiences Australia offers excellent food with Indian and vegetarian meals widely available," the official said. "In terms of the business events market, the high desirability of Australia is a motivating factor for organisations looking to reward and motivate employees through corporate incentives or boost delegate attendance for their corporate meetings or events." "From a business events perspective, Australia not only provides world class convention and conference facilities in a pristine modern urban environment, but it also works very hard to prepare customised programs for Indian groups."

"Such customisation can include offering Indian cuisine (including vegetarian options), complimentary service and high-end experiences, attractive night-life options, value added experiences including room upgrades and hotel poterage and money can't buy experiences such as interaction with local celebrities such as Australian cricket personalities. ''Word of mouth advocacy was all powerful in destination marketing, McEvoy felt. "Tourism Australia works closely with well known identities and celebrities to share their stories and passion for Australia with others. It also underpins our global marketing campaign - There's nothing like Australia - and brings it to life with rich and compelling testimonies of why people should travel to and through Australia," he said adding that The approach was very effective in reaching potential travellers and inspiring them to take action to experience Australia first hand.'' Tourism makes up 5.6 per cent of Australia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which equals that of the mining industry-another super-profit sphere, responsible for the greatest coal exports in the world. Some 874,400 people are employed in the tourism sphere, making up almost 8 per cent of the total employment in Australia.

MoneyGram adds PFG Money to Growing Agent Network South Asian remittance market growing: Ashok Mathew

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YDNEY, Australia (Dec. 19, 2012) – MoneyGram (NYSE: MGI), a leading global money transfer company, announced it has added PFG Money, a leading distributor of remittance services in Australia, to its agent network. The addition of PFG Money brings the total number of MoneyGram locations in Australia to more than 1,000. PFG Money’s locations will complement the already strong MoneyGram network in Australia, a country which according to Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, resettles the third largest number of refugees of any country globally, with more refugees per capita than any other nation in the world. With the migrant population on the rise in Australia, convenience is essential when sending and receiving money to family and friends abroad and in helping to bring families closer together. “The remittance market in Australia continues to grow with the www.southasiatimes.com.au - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

migrant, and particularly South Asian, population,” said Ashok Matthew, PFG Money managing director. “PFG Money applies global knowledge to our local presence, helping to make the most of the outward remittances from Australia. We currently operate in more than 250 agency outlets, and we are aiming to increase our network span to more than 2,500 outlets by 2015.” “The addition of PFG Money to the MoneyGram network will help strengthen MoneyGram’s position as one of the leading money transfer networks in Australia,” said Robert Walls, regional director for Australia, MoneyGram. “PFG Money outlets are well located in suburbs with high ethnic populations. PFG Money’s ambition to expand their network into the rural and non-urban second tier cities in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland, will serve us well for incremental growth in 2013 and beyond.” Since

the country’s last census, Australia’s ethnic population mix has increased significantly throughout the country, with the percentage of Punjabi and Hindi speakers spiking by more than 200 percent and 60 percent, respectively. According to the World Bank,

www.southasiatimes.com.au - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

more than five billion dollars in remittances flowed into Australia in 2011. To meet the growing demands for a reliable money transfer service, MoneyGram continues to expand its network locations that offer money transfer services across Australia.


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business

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AIBC supports Victoria’s Super Trade Mission to India 2013

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elbourne: The Victorian chapter of the Australia India Business Council (AIBC) is all set to participate and support Victoria’s Super Trade Mission to India 2013, March 11-15, 2013. AIBC, Victoria, President Mr. Ravi Bhatia and committee member Mr. Manoj Kumar were present recently at a special briefing for those going to India. The representatives of participating companies were welcomed by Mr. Howard Ronaldson, Secretary, Department of Business and Innovation, Victoria and Mr. Wayne Lewis, Special Advisor, Department of Business and Innovation (former Victorian Commissioner to India) detailed the ‘Cultural aspects of doing business in India’. Mr. Robert Bell, head of Super Regional Business development Corporate and Commercial ANZ explained the banking procedures in India and the role of ANZ presence in Mumbai. The highlight of

his power point presentation was ‘India’s Urban Awakening’, which he described as ‘an astounding scenario’. The 91 million middle class households in India could not be ignored, he felt. But, his advice was, “Don’t be detracted by numbers.” The briefing was wrapped off with a panel discussion with previous trade mission delegates and industry experts. In the panel were Mr. Darren Harrison, Fidelia Systems, Manoj Kumar, Ecotech, Mr. Cameron Abbot, K & L Gates and Mrs. Mitu Bhowmick Lange, Mind Blowing Films. There were many questions about business practices and issues confronting those doing business for the first time in India. Mr. Manoj Kumar informed about his experience of developing contacts and taking cultural aspects into consideration. His company Ecotech is a major supplier of environment monitoring equipment to India. Mr. Manoj Kumar said, “There is an opportunity for everyone in India; we are not

the last, only we have to act fast.” Talking to SAT, Mr. Kumar said, “there is a need of more specific missions of Victoria to India to target related prospects and we would like to organize such trade mission in future with the support of the government.” Mr. Ravi Bhatia and Mr. Manoj Kumar also participated last month in Vibrant Gujarat 2013 as delegates from the AIBC and were instrumental during the signing of MOU between Victoria and Gujarat. Mrs. Mitu Bhowmick Lange, Mind Blowing Films revealed the cool and friendly nature of doing business in India. She was confident anyone planning business in India is welcome to do so. Her own experience with Bollywood, she said, has been smooth and successful. The Premier of Victoria Ted Baillieu will lead the Super Trade Mission to India. The Trade Mission will start in Mumbai before moving on to Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune

and Kolkata. More than 150 Victorian organisations from the automotive, aviation and aerospace, biotech, cleantech, education, food and beverage, ICT, infrastructure and tourism sector are encouraged by the Victorian Government to participate. According to Export Victoria, the initiative provides a platform for existing exporters to build on, and new markets will consequently open up for first time participants. Mission participants will be introduced to potential qualified customers, business partners and investors, and have the opportunity to showcase their organisational expertise and capabilities in many sectors needed to support India’s future growth. India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. It is Australia’s fourth largest goods export market in 2011, with total goods exports valued at $15.3 billion and services exports worth $2.1 billion. In 2011, Victorian goods exports to India were worth $401 million.

""

More than 150 Victorian organisations from the automotive, aviation and aerospace, biotech, cleantech, education, food and beverage, ICT, infrastructure and tourism sector are encouraged by the Victorian Government to participate.

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southSouth asia times 27 Asia Times

Business groups, government differ over 457 visa tightening By our business correspondent

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By Neeraj Nanda

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elbourne: Business groups have slammed the federal government’s tightening of temporary 457 skilled – worker visas. The Coalition has alleged union pressure and the unions have branded the 457 visa as an easy route to permanent residency. The 457 was seen as a life line for the resources boom and its tightening industry group’s suspect will harm growth. The temporary skilled work (subclass 457) program will be reformed in response to the changing needs of the Australian economy and domestic employment market, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Brendan O'Connor announced in a media release on 23rd February. The move aimed at stimulating the local labour market has been described by the Minister as “...a set of changes to the 457 program to ensure employers give Australian workers a fair go.' 'It has become clear, however, that the growth in the 457 program is out of step with those skills shortages, and the government has evidence that some employers – and I emphasise that word, some – are using 457 visas to discriminate against locals. This cannot continue, he said. Meanwhile, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) secretary Dave Oliver supporting the 457 visa changes

says, “ unions had long-standing concerns that the 457 visa system, used to import temporary workers was being over-used by unscrupulous employers at the expense of local workers. “We do not support 457 visas, and have serious questions about the number being granted in recent years, given the slowdown in the Australian economy, particularly in the construction sector,” Mr Oliver said. The seven changes in 457 visas are as follows: 4 Employers must demonstrate that they are not nominating positions where a genuine shortage does not exist 4 The English language requirements for certain positions have been raised 4 The enforceability of existing training requirements for businesses that use the program will be strengthened 4 The market salary exemption will rise from $180 000 to $250 000 4 On-hire arrangements of 457 visa workers will be restricted 4 Compliance and enforcement powers will be beefed up to stop employers who have routinely abused the 457 system 4 Stakeholders will be consulted to ensure market rate provisions more effectively protect local employment. The differing views on the 457 visa changes between business and the government are quite wide. This is evident

from the Business Council of Australia’s media release on 29th February titled, “Red Tape Not the Answer on Skills”. “The changes to 457 visa arrangements announced by the federal government today are a classic regulatory overreach that risks damaging the competitiveness and viability of important projects and businesses,” Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said. “Where is the evidence of widespread and systematic abuse of the system that warrants new red tape being imposed on all businesses – businesses that are investing in Australia’s economy, but needing short-term migration to help

Snapshot of Institute of Charted Accountants of Australia’s 60,000 members By Melbourne Business Bureau

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elbourne: The Institute of Charted Accountants of Australia membership recently broke the 60,000 mark. A snapshot of who does what, where they do it, and how much they earn has been published in the ‘Charter’, the Institute’s monthly February 2013 issue. Sixty five per cent members are male and 35 per cent female. The largest number (36 %) are in NSW, followed by Vic 23 %, Qld 12 %, WA 9 %, SA 5 %, ACT 2 %, Tasmania & NT have less than one % and Overseas

members are 12 %. Of the 7314 members who are base overseas, the five most popular destinations are the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, The USA and Malaysia. What do they do is interesting. 35 % work in business, 28 % practice, Big 4 10 %, government 3 %, Overseas 12 % and other 12 %. As for their roles – 29 % are manager, 25 % Director/Partner, 20 % Accountant, 11 % Senior Manager, Executive level 6 % and other 9 %. How much do they earn – less than $ 60,000 6%, $ 60,000 to $ 100,000 26 %, $ 100,000 - $ 140,000 23 %, $140,000 - $180,000 12 %, More than $ 180,000 16 % and 16% did not answer, the ‘Charter’ reveals. www.southasiatimes.com.au - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

www.southasiatimes.com.au - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

them do that by filling temporary skills shortages? “We acknowledge the importance of the integrity of the scheme for its longevity and that enforcement is a necessary part of that. “Nevertheless, unwarranted red tape and restrictions on the scheme only serve to work against business investment and economic growth and shouldn’t be a recourse to pacifying those who are against temporary migration,” she said. Temporary work (skilled) (subclass 457) visa details are available on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's website www.immi.gov.au


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business

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INDIA BIZ BUZZ / Ramesh Kumar

Progressing despite roadblocks

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ew Delhi, March 17: When I flew out of Delhi around Indian Republic Day on a 24-day whirlwind tour of a couple of western and southern states, it was a sheer coincidence most were non-Congress ruled states. Barring Maharashtra, chaperoned by Sharad Pawar’s Congress and the Indian National Congress, rest were AIADMK-ruled Tamilnadu, BJP-ruled Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. My mission was more business-oriented with a special focus on passenger and commercial vehicle manufacturing activities and the status of highways/roads in these states. My first halt was Pune, the country’s main automotive hub, in Maharashtra. You name the automotive giants and they are there. Just not the manufacturers but all those who support this massive industry: auto components, logistics service providers, transporters and fabricators. Between my maiden visit in 1990 when trade union Rajan Nair was a nightmare in and around Chinchwad and now, the city has undergone tremendously. Massive industrial clusters, excellent roads and prosperity. Barren agricultural lands quietly got themselves converted into state of the art manufacturing plants that trundle out world class – meaning, export worthy – passenger and commercial vehicles for the global market. Drive through the State Highway 50 (Pune-Nagar Highway)

and you cannot miss the din and bustle. If it was a kutcha road (imperfect road) three decades ago, today, a sleek road passes through. You cannot miss SUVs parked precariously on the highways at every single village dotting the highway. By and large, most of these SUV owners were once upon a time, farmers toiling and tilling their arid lands. When opportunity knocked on their doors in the form of auto makers seeking land to build their facilities, these farmers hard bargained and moved away from farming. How many of them wisely invested that money and ensured long term prosperity I have no idea. However, one thing is sure, they become proud owners of big cars. “We are happy that they have made it. But they are a big cause

for concern as well,” tells Suhas Padte, working for a MNC at Ranjangaon. If he is to be believed, these ex-farmers, literally nothing to do during daytime, drive down to the highway to spend time over tea and chatting for hours together. In the process, they block the smooth passage of innumerable factory-bound vehicles carrying materials from Pune non-stop by parking their SUVs. Given the fact that almost all auto makers have embraced Just In Time (JIT) manufacturing practice, delay of components of body shells automatically lead to heart burns of plant heads and their team. If there is just one such trouble spot on this Pune-Nagar highway, it is tolerable. However, the 60 km PuneRanjangaon stretch has more than half a dozen villages. This

automatically translates into that many spots of SUV challenge. One scratch on SUVs and hell will break out. Normally, a vehicle can cover this distance in less than an hour. But around peak time – remember, a majority of workforce live in Pune and commute to Ranjangaon by company buses – travel time balloons up. “Sometimes, we spend more than two hours in the return journey,” confesses Mrinali Bandarkar, working in a component firm. Monsoon adds its own challenges on these Maharasthra roads. Another challenge erupts during marriage seasons. With some temples dotting the highway, long wedding processions throws the entire traffic movement out of gear. You just cannot do anything. Many of these long processionists also happen to have political leanings and none can dare to question or touch them. “What is the point of declaring Rajangaon MIDC as a five star manufacturing facility if we have to face this kind of hurdles on a daily basis?,” asks a senior executive in one of the Rajangaon firms. Valid point. Job for locals is another emotive issue. Today’s automotive plants are high tech and scope for deploying unskilled labour in huge numbers is difficult. Still, a lot of accommodation takes place. What is significant is that the attitude of those who get employment in big companies in this belt. Some feel and behave as if they are doing a ‘service’ to

BUSINESS BRIEFS

Melbourne Convention Bureau

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he Melbourne Convention + Visitors Bureau has ditched the word ‘visitors’ from its name and adopted a new logo as part of a complete brand overhaul. Now dubbed the Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB), the changes come as the firm looks to distance itself from the leisure market and step up its commitment to business events. Revealing the changes, MCB chief executive Karen Bolinger said the rebrand will allow the bureau to “adequately reflect its core business of attracting business events

to the state”.“The term ‘visitors’ was taken out to disassociate ourselves with leisure tourism, as MCB’s sole responsibility is for the procurement of business events that attract delegates to Victoria,” she explained. “Our new brand now clearly aligns us with our vision, mission and values, and reflects MCB’s status as one of the world’s premier convention bureaux.” The new look logo has retained the bureau’s ‘M’ silhouette but added a new design and colours to “modernise” the bureau’s brand identity. SOURCE: TheNibbler

Vodafone faces class action

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odafone could potentially face "tens-of-millions" of dollars in compensation claims from disgruntled customers as part of a class action suit. The law firm has only just launched its bid to formally recruit customers for the class action suit and says it won't be able to put a definitive figure on the sum being sought until it knows how many customers want to join the action, reports The Australian. Patrick Coote, a spokesman for the action's newly secured financial backer LCM, said he believed that the claim could reach into the tens-of-millions of dollars. "LCM is happy funding the class action against Vodafone. We think many customers didn't receive full value for the service that they paid for and they're entitled to claim their losses against Vodafone," Mr Coote said. The long-awaited class actions follows widely publicised allegations of major problems with Vodafone's mobile service since 2010 and a grassroots campaign by web-based consumer action group, Vodafail. Since then the Vodafone's network has been under scrutiny by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, The Australian said.

www.southasiatimes.com.au - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

the company that hired them

""

Places Victoria has been working to resol

in the first place. “You learn to live with it,” points out someone in a plant. Politicians also play a big role, surreptitiously – as is to be expected. Companies are compelled to hire vehicles that do not strictly adhere to laid down guidelines. “Our objective is to eliminate pilferage and theft en route and for this we demand fully covered vehicles for movement of goods. But, transporters insist on using their uncovered vehicles. It requires a lot of political string pulling to straighten things out,” admits officials in Talegaon, another industrial belt. What is surprising, tells a senior executive in Pune, is that India is progressing despite such roadblocks. Yes, indeed.

Luxperience wins over Tourism Australia

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ourism Australia has pledged its support to luxury travel show Luxperience, with the event's cache of high profile international buyers behind its decision to get more involved. The tourism body, which decided against participating in the show's debut last year, will become a "key supporter" of the second show, using it to promote a range of luxury experiences to buyers from around the world. It will also implement a media familiarisation program and supply social and digital e-marketing support. In addition, TA revealed that feedback from the show will help shape its future marketing campaigns aimed at high-end travellers. Tourism Australia general manager destination development, Craig Davidson, said the show had proved itself as a "strong platform" to promote Australia's "increasingly highend" travel experiences to global buyers. SOURCE: TheNibbler

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southSouth asia times 29 Asia Times

INDIA BIZ BUZZ / Ramesh Kumar

INDORE DESERVES MORE

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ndore, the business capital of Madhya Pradesh, was a surprise package for me. Of course, it was my maiden trip. All my notion of Indore as a small town went for a six no soon I landed at the deserted but modern and sleek airport made of steel and mirror mostly on a weekday afternoon. Approach road into the city needs a lot more work. B S Sastry, Consultant working for an American company, a regular visitor to Indore from Hyderabad pointed out that Indore has undergone a major change over the past 10 years. He ought to know well because he has been visiting Indore almost every month on business. However, he has one big grouse. “Why there is no direct flight from Hyderabad?” he asks. Businessmen like him have to travel to Indore via Raipur which consumes extra time and almost the first half of any working day is wasted. “Indore deserves such a service,” adds he wistfully. It is altogether another matter that the airport also provides ‘free mosquito service’. Why not they spray some repellent and save passengers is a mystery. The visit to Indore was also to touch base with Vandana Laddha, Director of Shivani Carriers. What is so great about her? Good question. She has just returned from a fortnight long special session at Indian Institute of ManagementAhmedabad. Incidentally, she is one of the few chosen candidates by Mahindra Navistar under its recently launched MPower programme whereby the company selects young and second generation transporters region wise and sends them to the prestigious management institute to get them exposed to better management techniques. By the way, Vandana – mother of two school going children and assisting hubby Hemant in running the business – was chosen as Lady Transporter

of the Year by Mahindra Navistar from the western region in January this year. How was her ‘back to school programme”? “When many of us were put together in an educational institution environment, it was a novel experience. Yes, we learnt a lot. At times, some things went beyond our ken. Overall, it was worth the time spent,” she said. One major outcome of this initiative is that this team decided to float Forum of Indian Transporters (FIT) under which they will tackle some common issues. Excellent, collaborative effort. Dayal Singh, editor of Transport News (weekly tabloid), is another friend I bumped into. His grandparents (from maternal and paternal side) came from Patiala three centuries ago and settled in Indore to service as ‘personal bodyguards’ to the Holkars. His own father was instrumental in setting up a Transport Bank where loans were given to transport operators exclusively because others were reluctant. The bank that began with 200 members has more than 6000 members today. Though many cooperative banks folded up in Madhya Bank, Transport Bank has grown by leaps and bounds. The biggest challenge for transporters in Madhya Pradesh, according to Dayal Singh, is “mall cutting”. I never heard of this term till I met him. On the Madhya Pradesh roads, hooligans quietly drop onto moving trucks to loot stuff and scoot. Of course, these hooligans work in groups. That reminded me of ‘tarpaulin Mani’ group which use to operate on the ex-sandalwood dacoit Veerappan’s territory near Mysore-Sathyamangalam ghat section. It is heard that Mani and his gang used to drop onto slow moving trucks covered with tarpaulin, slice open and steal white goods etc. Highway looting is a big time business due to poor security. Needs more focus.

HARD WORK PAYS

W

hen you are in Chennai, meet Senthil Natarajan,” advised Capt. Pawanexh Kohli, the global cold supply chain stalwart and Chief Advisor to Ministry of Agricuture, Govt of India. During his recent visit to Chennai, he had met him and was quiet impressed with what Senthil was upto. By the way, what is this guy upto? Senthil owns and runs a fresh fruit and vegetable outlet under the banner of Pazhamudhir Stores. Through his 40 outlets (19 in Chennai alone and rest across TamilNadu), he sells fresh vegetables and fruits at decent price. You are not fleeced and service is excellent compared

to other outlets. I ran into him at his Ashok Nagar outlet that opened on the day of my visit. Interestingly, his father Natarajan was once upon a time selling vegetables and fruits in a push cart in the southern city of Coimbatore. Through hard work and business ingenuity, Pazhamudhir Stores is raking in Rs.170 crore. Bowled over by this success story, private equity honchos are eyeing a slice in the pie. Who says, hard work does not pay? The writer, a seasoned business journalist based out of Delhi, is the author of 10,000 KM on Indian Highways and Naked Banana!. His next book, An Affair With Indian Highways, is scheduled for March release.

www.southasiatimes.com.au - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082


south asia 30 South Asia Timestimes

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Ek sU] me' l;ne k; n;m hw ¾k;ŽmnveLq¾² jo p[dixRt hw ”s dex ke Z'@e me' a*r Sq;ipt hw hm;re aNtmRn me)' mwn' e pun" kh; -

p[xs ' ; hw ¬nkI jo .;rtIy itr'ge pr smipRt hw²'

y; ¬nkI jo a;ŽS$^ie ly;é Z'@e pr g*rv;iNvt hw²'

pr ntmStk hU\ ¬nke s;mne²

ijNho'ne dono' Z'@o' ko lhr;y; hwÉ

¾m;tO.iU m¾ a*r ¾kmR.iU m¾ ke a;dxo| ko apn;y; hw)

dxRko' kI krtl ?vin ke bIc² mwn' e sivny kh; -

s.I ko 26 jnvrI k; idn ¾mub;rk¹¾)

ny; s;l

lo a;y; Ek a*r ny; s;l ”s nE s;l pr hw mer; yh sv;l l;%o‹ hw‹ %¹uxh;l² m*j krte bexum;r mgr bd se bdtr hu”R ij¹'dgI g¹rIb kI f¹;sl; dono‹ ke bIc hw b!¹t; gy; hk¹Ikt bt;E\ a\;k@¹e² yh xmRn;k phelI ajIb sI Ky; amIr jIne deg; g¹rIb koÀ hw mer; yh sv;l) jNm se phle m;re‹ biCcyo' ko² hw kws; yh sm;jÀ anp!¹ a*l;d b@¹I hokr bne bej¹ub;n bea;v;j¹ l;%o‹ hI jv;nI se phle hotI hw‹ hvs kI ixk;r s;rI ¬m[ pit kI moht;j² she‹ ssur;l me‹ musIbte‹ mdR r;j krte rhe² n;rI rhI gul;m Ky; bdle‹ge h;l;tÀ hw mer; yh sv;l lgtI hw pwd;”x se mohr zo$I-b@¹I j;it kI r;j kI hk¹d;r b@¹I-j;it² zo$I kregI ¬nkI c;krI kr c;lb;j¹I² j;ls;j¹I bt;E\ ikSmt² vsIht y; /rohr jItI hw‹ EesI k*me‹² jwse sU%I @;le‹ bhtI j;E\ .re srovr ”KkIsvI‹ sdI me‹ bexum;r jItee hw‹ kI@e‘-mko@¹o' s; jIvn Ky; bdle‹ge h;l;tÀ hw r;jn k; yh sv;l)

d;imnI

-sumn vm;R² meLbnR

bl;Tk;r kI co$o' se mw' roè\ a*r icLl;è\ a'g-a'g mor; $U$ rh; hw a*r ddR se mw' kr;hU\ aNdr-b;hr se `;yl hU\ mw' kwse tuZe id%;è\³³³³³³³³ xwt;no' kI bStI me' bhnoàà‹ sd; s'.l kr rhn; fUk \ -fUk \ kr k¹dm tum r%n; a*r bhk;ve me' n a;n; jIvn k; ghr; r;j¹ k.I tum m;\ se nhI' izp;n; puils me' irpo$R il%v; kr jLdI se xwt;no' ko jel i.jv;n;) n;m hw mer; d;imnI mw' hU\ Ek in.RyI n;rI sb kuz mer; lu$ cuk; hw ab hw mere j;ne kI b;rI mer; vK¹t ab a; gy; hw alivd; muZe tum khn; merI y;d me' a;\sU bh; kr smy nã$ nhI' krn;³³³³³

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southSouth asia times 31 Asia Times

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jIvn ke %¯e-mI#e anu.v

mere p@¹osI

-anNy; k;sv;n² @wN@In;\g h;é SkUl keN{² vI³Es³El³

pirixã$â

-r;jeN{ cop@¹;² meLbnR

M A R C H

vI³ sI³ ”R³ ihNdI ke mere anu.v m;cR² 2013

k;Vy-ku'j

jo hm s.I k; amULy vw.v hw)

p[k;xn sMb'/I sUcn;E\

ihNdI

M A R C H

ddR .rI kh;nI ácok;â¡ -@;Ž³ .;vn; ku\ar² is@nI

m;sUm prI jo jIn; c;htI qI² bnI ixk;r bhxI dirNdo' k; jUZtI rhI ij'¹dgI v m*t se l@¹tI rhI a;i%¹r tk %¹;mox qI j¹ub;n kh rhI qI' M;;sUm vo plke' ankhI sI ddR .rI kh;nI zo@¹ rh; q; xrIr ab s;q bul'd rh; h*sl; jIvn k; buZ hI gé jIvn kI vo jot gU\jne lgI' m;\ kI .I issiky;\ kucle de% nNhI prI ke p'%) sUn; ho gy; ipt; k; vo a;\gn chktI qI son icrwy; jh;\) a;\sU se .rI a\i%y;\ inh;rtI sUnI kl;é k;no' me' gU\jtI hw' bebs cI%e' ddR a*r puk;r) c;ro' trf¹ fwl; shm; hua; a;\suao' k; swl;b kwsI jud;é apnI j¹mI' ifr %¹Un se hw nh;é) ¡ j;p;nI mh;k;Vy

áhm hr vWRR ivK$oiry; me' 12vI' k=; kI prI=;² vI³sI³é³ me' ¬Cc a'k p[;Pt v;le iv´;iqRyo' ke ihNdI p!¹ne ke anu.vo' ke b;re me' le% p[k;ixt krte hw') ”s ê'%l; me' sn( 2012 kI prI=; me' svoRCc a'k p[;Pt krne v;lI z;]; k; le% p[Stut hw) ”s prI=; me' dUsr; tq; tIsr; Sq;n p[;Pt krne v;le iv´;iqRyo' ke le%² ihNdI-puãp ke agle aûo' me' p[k;ixt ikye j;ye'ge-sMp;dkâ

phlI k=; me‹ g;y pr inbN/ il%ne se lekr b;rhvI‹ k=; m‹e tIn `‹$e kI prI=; tk mer; ihNdI k; a?Yyn aivSmr,Iy Ev‹ sfl rh; hw) 2010 m‹e m‹wne apne pirv;r ke s;q .;rt se a;ŽS$^eily; dex;Ntr, iky;) a;ŽS$^eily; a; kr m‹wne 10vI‹ k=; m‹e p[vex ily;) ¬s smy bhut se aNy p[v;sI .;rtIyo‹ kI trh m‹w .I ”s b;t se ani.D qI ik vI³ sI³ ”R³ m‹e .I ihNdI k; a?Yyn iky; j; skt; hw) 2012 m‹e m‹wne ihNdI kI p!¹;”R p[;r‹. kI) a;ŽS$^eily; jwse a\g[ej¹I-.;WI dex m‹e rh kr apnI m;tO.;W; ihNdI ko vI³ sI³ ”R³ me' Ek ivWy ke åp m‹e p!¹n; a*r ¬sm‹e sflt; p[;Pt krn; mere ilE bhut g*rvx;lI rh;) ”sk; pUr; Åey a;ŽS$^eily;”R srk;r ko j;t; hw ijsne hm‹e yh avsr idy; ik hm Ek a‹g[ejI-.;WI dex m‹e .I apnI m;tO.;W; k; D;n p[;Pt kr sk‹e) do s;l ke a‹tr;l ke b;d xu¨a;t m‹e ihNdI p!¹ne-il%ne m‹e ki#n;”y;\ a;”|² jwse vtRnI áSpeil'gâ kI g¹lity;\² muh;vro‹ ko y;d r%n; a*r ¬nk; shI p[yog krn;² m;]; s‹b‹i/t g¹lity;\ Ev‹ Spã$t; se le% pUre kr p;n;) prNtu merI a?y;ipk;² ÅImtI iv.; joxI² ne smy-smy pr muZe p[oTs;iht iky; Ev‹ a>y;s ke ilE ivi.Nn trh kI a?Yyn s;m;g[I ¬plB/ krv;”R) mer; a;Tm-ivXv;s mjbUt hot; gy; a*r

ihNdI p!¹ne m‹e a;nNd a;ne lg;) n kevl SkUl me‹² biLk `r pr .I mere m;t;-ipt; k; mere s;q pUr; shyog rh;) hr xinv;r bs se akele @wN@In;\g a;ne-j;ne se mer; mnobl .I b!¹;) ihNdI k=; ne muZe D;n ke s;q-s;q ghrI im]t; bn;ne k; avsr .I idy;) c\Uik mere shp;#I i.Nn-i.Nn SkUlo‹ ke qe² ”silE hm;re bIc huE ivc;ro‹ ke a;d;n-p[d;n se muZe ai/k pirÅm krne kI p[er,; imlI) .;rtIy s‹SkOit Ev‹ pr'pr;ao' ko j;nne a*r Tyoh;ro‹ ko mn;ne ke avsr k; hmne .rpUr a;nNd ¬#;y;) dIp;vlI ke idn hm;rI a?y;ipk; ne im#;”R b\;$I Ev‹ ”s Tyoh;r k; aqR .I ivSt;r se bt;y;) a;ŽS$^eily; m‹e rh kr SkUl m‹e .;rtIy Tyoh;r mn;ne k; anu.v b@¹; ano%; q;) vI³ sI³ ”R³ me‹ ihNdI .;W; k; ivWy lene se muZe apnI m;tO.;W; ko p!¹ne k; avsr to iml hI² ihNdI m‹e aCze a‹k p[;Pt hone se mere ¾E$;r¾² ijske a;/;r pr ivXviv´;ly m‹e p[vex imlt; hw² me' .I k;fI b!¹otrI hu”R) mer; suZ;v yh hw ik yid ko”R iv´;qIR ihNdI ivWy k; a?Yyn kre to n isfR ¬se apnI m;tO.;W; se ju@¹e rhne k; avsr p[;Pt hog; biLk ¬ske Ã;r; aCz; ¾E$;r¾²p;ne Ev‹ mnc;he ivXviv´;ly m‹e p[vex p;ne k; avsr .I p[;Pt ho skt; hw)

a;ŽS$^eily; a;ye huE hme' Ek ars; ho gy; q;) hm;re bCce 15-17 vWR ke ho gye qe) `r me' k;f¹I mrMmt kI a;vXykt; qI) ”silye hm logo' ne soc; ik ”sI ”l;k¹e me' ny; `r le le' ) p@¹os me' ivn a*r r*y rhte qe² ijn kI ¬m[ 82-84 ke lg.g rhI hogI) `r m;keR$ me' a;te hI ibk gy;) p@¹oisyo' ko bt;ne ke m*k¹; hI nhI' iml;) ivn a*r r*y ne ibn; bt;ye hI smZ ily; ik d;l me' kuz k;l; hw) ¬nke koé s't;n nhI' qI² ”silye muZe ve be$I kI trh Py;r krne lge qe) jb mw'ne j; kr ¬nko s;r; ikSs; bt;y; to ¬nkI a;\%e' .r a;yI') muZ se ¬nkI yh dx; de%I n gé) mw'ne ¬Nhe' vcn idy; ik jb tk mw' ij¹'d; hU\² hr hF¹te ¬n se imlne kI koixx kå\gI) Ek-do s;l b;d² r*y ko idl k; d*r; p@¹; a*r ¬se nis|g hom me' .rtI krv;n; p@¹;) mw' hF¹te me' do b;r r*y ko de%ne clI j;tI qI) kuz mhIno' b;d r*y k; deh;'t ho gy;) ivn ab 88 vWR kI ho gé qI pr a.I tk k;r cl;tI qI) r*y ke deh;'t ke b;d ivn kI .I h;lt %¹r;b hone lgI) mw'ne hr hF¹te ivn ko apne `r bul;n; xuå kr idy;) merI Ek s%I² a;”irs ne .I hm;re `r a;n; xuå kr idy;) ivn ko jIne k; sh;r; iml gy;) ¬NhI' idno' muZe muMbé j;n; p@¹ gy;)

M;;tOTv

-sumn vm;R² meLbnR

merI bhn ko gudeR k; kw'sr ho gy; q;) jb mw' v;ps l*$I to pt; cl; ik ivn nis|g hom clI gé hw) ivn ke p;s pwso' kI koé kmI nhI' qI² ”silye² ¬se Ek bhut aCze nis|g hom me' p[vex iml gy; q;) hr hF¹te mw'ne a;”irs ko ¬ske `r se le kr² ivn ke p;s j;n; a;rM. kr idy;) ivn kI a;\%o' me' Ek cmk sI id%;yI dene lgI) xinv;r ko hm;rI Ek a*r s%I² a*ilv ne .I hm;re s;q ivn ko de%ne j;n; xuå kr idy;) hm sb 2 bje se 5 bje tk ivn ke p;s bw#te a*r c;y ke s;q kek %; kr v;ps a; j;te) vh;\ ke dUsre mrIj¹o' se .I hm;rI j;n-phc;n hone lgI qI) hm sbko vh;\ j;n; Ek ipkink jws; lgne lg; q;) hm s.I ivn se imlne k; ”'tj¹;r krne lge qe) ivn .I hm logo' ko hr mhIne Klb me' .ojn ke ilye bul;ne lgI qI) smy bItt; gy;) ivn ne Klb me' apn; 90v;\ jNmidvs /Um-/;m se mn;y;) kuz mhIno' b;d hI² ivn ko zo$ezo$e idl ke d*re p@¹ne lge) ab vh k;f¹I kmj¹or ho gyI qI a*r ¬skI SmOit .I km hone lgI qI leikn vh hm sbko de% kr bhut p[s„ ho j;tI qI) 92 vWR kI a;yu pr ¬skI avSq; k;f¹I ibg@¹ gé a*r 8 mé 2011 ko ¬sk; deh;'t ho gy;) sc pUzo to x;yd muZe ivn jws; Py;r phle k.I nhI' iml;)

áEk l`u-kq;â**

vwse to mw' roiht ko roj¹ ¾l'c¾ apnI aor se kuz J¹y;d; hI detI qI² b!¹tI ¬mr ko de%te óE Sv;.;ivk smZ kr) pr vh SkUl se a;te hI %;ne ko kuz Eese m;\gt; jwse ik .U%; a; rh; ho) muZe b@¹; guSs; a;t; pr khtI kuz nhI') Ek idn roiht Ek l@¹ke ke s;q `r l*$; a*r bol; - ®mMmI² yh a;k;x mer; beS$ p¹[eÐ'@ hw)® jb roiht kp@¹e bdl rh; q; to a;k;x muZ se bol; - ®a;'$I² a;p %;n; bhut aCz; bn;tI hw')® aCz; to yh b;t hw² ab merI smZ me' a;y;) mw' Ekdm n j;ne Kyo' guSse se Zu'Zl; ¬#I) a'dr j; kr mw' roiht

-anUp ÅIv;Stv pr brs ¬#I² ®Kyo' mw' ”tnI mehnt krke apne h;q se n;Xt; bn; kr tuMhe' detI hU\ a*r tum ”s a;k;x ko ¬sI me' se i%l; dete ho² a;i%¹r Kyo'À® ¾$I-x$R¾ phnte huE roiht ke h;q ¨k gE) b@¹I m;sUimyt se bol; ®”skI mMmI nhI' hw n² ”ske `r me' %;n; n*kr bn;t; hw pr ”sk; mn mMmI ke h;q k; %;n; %;ne ko hot; hw² ”silE)® muZe Ees; lg; jwse mere a'dr khI' kuz .Ig ¬#; hw) n j;ne Kyo' Ees; lg; ik mw' m;\ to bhut phle bn cukI hU\ pr m;tOTv a;j iml; hw) ** l`ukq;³k;m ke s*jNy se

s'i=Pt sm;c;r

ab h\sne kI b;rI hw pit-pTnI a*r prI

vI0Es0El0 ne imL@(yrU ; me' ihNdI k=;E\ a;rM. kI' l$^ob ivXviv´;ly me' ihNdI

xwlI kI Ek iv/;

dhej

-- @;Ž aimt; k*'@l² ameirk;

Ek p[;'t q; su'dr s; Ek bur;é ilye huE dhej kI pIi@¹t bhuao' kI vh ic't; q; bne huE p[itidn Ek bô dhej kI bil c!¹tI rhI a*r th smSy; yU\ hI b!¹tI rhI ifr iky; ivD;n ne Ek a;ivãk;r a*r hone lg; kNy;ao' k; g.R me' hI s'h;r ”'s;n kI hwv;inyt b!¹tI gé a*r kNy;ao' kI dr `$tI gé ifr se ”k a*r ivpd; l@¹ikyo' pr a;é m;nv ne S]I Vy;p;r kI vStu bn;é b!¹; yU\ aTy;c;r ik hr l@¹kI puk;rI ab to a;ao kOã, mur;rI ”s sm;j åpI nrk;sur se hme' muKt kr;ne)

gt vWR ivK$oiryn SkUl a;Žf¹ lw'Gvejej¹ ávI0Es0El0â ne meLbnR ke aitirKt ivK$oiry; me' pwkenhm tq; xep$Rn me' ihNdI k=;E\ a;rM. kI qI') ”s vWR imL@(yUr; me' ihNdI k=;E\ a;rM. kr ke² vI0Es0El0 ne ”s idx; me' Ek mhTvpO,R k¹dm ¬#;y; hw) ”s vWR inMnili%t 8 keN{o' me' k=; 1 se 12 tk ke iv´;iqRyo' ke ilE ihNdIix=; kI suiv/; ¬plB/ hw) ”n keN{o' ke Vy;Sq;pko' ke f¹on nMbr keN{ ke n;m ke a;ge koã#k me' idye gE hw' @wN@In;\g h;é SkUl á9791 9289â² Glen vevlIR sek<@rI k;Žlej á98024326â² iml p;kR sek<@rI k;Žlej á9348 1720â²

imL@(yUr; sIinyr k;Žlej á9364 3201â² xep$Rn h;é SkUl á9474 0562â² snx;”n sek<@rI k;Žlej á9689 1166â² bIkNs ihLs k;Žlej k; vwlI kwMps áf¹on-9791 9289â tq; BlwkbnR h;é SkUl á9840 0082â ai/k j;nk;rI ke ilE² inMnili%t vebs;”$ dei%ye - www.vsl.vic.edu.au jh;\ a;p a;n-l;”n p[vex p] .I .r skte hw') ”s sMbN/ me' a;p vI0Es0El0 ke mu:y k;y;Rly se á03â9474 0500 se y; ihNdI s'yoijk;² ÅImtI mnjIt #e#I se .I sMpkR kr skte hw') ¬nk; f¹on nMbr hw -9800 5014³

mhTvpU,R itiqy;\

10 f¹rvrI ácInI nv-vWR-idvsâ² 14 f¹rvrI

ámh;Tm;-buõ k; inv;R,-idvs² vwleN$;”n-

idvsâ² 15 f¹rvrI ávs't-p'cmI² jwn /mR ke

s'Sq;pk² mh;vIr jI k; inv;R,-idvsâ² 10 m;cR ámh;ixvr;i]â² 27 m;cR áholI² me`-pUj; idvsâ² 28 m;cR áhol;-mohLl;â)

sUcn;E\

1³ Svr-s'?y; áxinv;r² 2 m;cRâ² s'gIt s'?y;

l$^ob ivXviv´;ly me' bI³E³ ke tIno' vWo| me' Ek ivWy ke åp me' ihNdI k; a?yyn ¬plB/ hw) ijn iv´;iqRyo' ne ihNdI ivWy le kr vI³sI³é³ ihNdI kI prI=; ¬ÊI,R kI hw² ¬Nhe' sI/e tIsre vWR ke ihNdI ivWy

ivK$oiry; tq; tSm;iny; ke .;rtIy ic]k;ro' k; p'jIkr,

meLbnR k; .;rtIy k*'sl;v;s² ivK$oiry; tq; tSm;iny; me' rhne v;le .;rtIy ic]k;ro' ke b;re me' sUcn; Eki]t kr rh; hw) yid a;p .;rtIy

áxinv;r² 2 f¹rvrIâ Sq;n - vevlIR me@oj¹ p[;”mrI SkUl² 11 kUliMby; @^;”v² ×IlsR ihl² ivK$oiry; ámeLve s‹d.R-71 jI-11â smy - r;t ke 8³00 bje se a;rM.) p[vex in"xuLk hw) ai/k j;nk;rI ke ilE r;/eXy;m guPt jI ko á03â 9946 2595 aqv; á0402â074 208 pr f¹on kIijE y; inMnili%t vebs;”$ dei%ye-

me' p[vex iml skt; hw) ivXviv´;ly Str pr ihNdI p!¹ne ke ilye² l$^ob ivXviv´;ly k; iv´;qIR hon; a;vXyk nhI' hw) ai/k j;nk;rI ke ilye² l$^ob ivXviv´;ly ke Eixyn S$@Ij¹ iv.;g se sMpkR kIijye)

http://www.sharda.org/Events.htm;

ic]k;r hw' to ÅI r;kex k;v@¹; se inMnili%t pte pr sMpkR kIijyecgo@cgimelb.org.

2³ m;\ .gvtI j;gr, áxinv;r² 2 m;cRâ

Sq;n - dug;R m'idr² 705-715 nILs ro@² r;Žk

bw'k² ivK$oiry;-3335

smy - x;m 7 bje á.'@;r;â² r;t 9 bje se 12

Ek 60 vWIRy dMpit Ek reS];\ me' apne ivv;h kI 40vI' vWRg;\# mn; rhe qe) Ek prI kI ¬n pr nj¹r p@¹I) ¬n su%I dMpit ko de% kr² prI %¹ux hué a*r ¬sne pit-pTnI dono' se Ek-Ek vrd;n m;\gne ko kh;) pTnI ne kh; - mw' apne pit ke s;q pUrI duiny; kI swr krn; c;htI hU\) prI ne j;dué z@¹I ihl;é a*r pTnI ke h;q me' Ek jh;j pr pUre ivXv kI swr krne ke do i$k$ a; gE) ifr prI ne pit se pUz; ik ¬se Ky; c;ihyeÀ pit ne soc; ik Ees; m*k; b;r-b;r nhI' imleg;) ¬sne kh; ik ¬se apne se 30 vWR km a;yu kI pTnI c;ihye) prI ne ifr j;dué z@¹I ihl;yI a*r pit 90 vWR k; ho gy;) áp[eWk -@;³ surex guPt;â

Sq;n- KyU áKEWâ me‹ koqm ro@ a*r isivk

@^;”v ke nuKk@¹ pr)

ámeLve s‹d.R-45 @I-6â

smy - x;m ke 7³30 bje se 10³30 bje tk)

bje tk áj;gr,â

p[vex in"xuLk hw)

ke VyvSq;pk se á03â 9747 1628 pr sMpkR

áé-mel" nalinsharda@gmail.com

p[vex in"xuLk hw) ai/k j;nk;rI ke ilE² m'idr kIijye)

3³ s;ihTy-s'?y; - apne log² apnI b;te'

áxinv;r² 10 m;cRâ

www.southasiatimes.com.au - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

ai/k j;nk;rI ke ilE¾ p[of¹esr niln x;rd; f¹on" á0402â 108 512â aqv; hirhr Z;

áé-mel" hariharjha2007@gmail.com

f¹on" á03â 9555 4924â se sMpkR kIijye)


south asia 32 South Asia Timestimes

M A R C H

2 0 1 3

Kai Po Chi –

Helping India’s love birds T he Love Commandos are a voluntary organization in India dedicated to helping India’s lovebirds who want to marry for love, opting for a "love marriage" instead of an "arranged marriage" according to their ‘Jati’ under the Indian caste system, religion or economic status. The fledgling organization is run out of a small room in inner-city New Delhi. Harsh Malhotra, a travel agent, founded the group in July 2010 after a series of murders of young lovers by their families. Indian society is liberalizing in many ways – but not about marriage, says Sanjoy Sachdev, who now runs the group. Most problems occur when there is love across caste lines, but a difference of religion is a close second, followed by a difference in economic class or education level. SAT Emailed a few questions to the organisation and got the following answers from Sanjoy Sachdeva, Harsh Malhotra and others in the organisation.

Excerpts from the interview: Q: Why did you setup the ‘Love Commandoes’? A: It was decided to setup the ‘Love Commandos’ with the aim to counter fundamentalist and orthodox dictats of Khaps and other such elements. It is worth mentioning that Mr, Harsh Malhotra ( our Chief Co-ordinator) who gave the name ‘Love Commandos’ has made a world record in love by marrying his own wife six times. On the very first day of its foundation we received more than 7000 calls. Slowly we made a network of attending the calls and the mission continues. Subsequently, we received a call from Gandhians (Ganghig.com) who offered a free website and that website (www.lovecommandos.org) is still functioning. Q: What basically is your work? We help people in love to get married, provide them counselling, legal assistance, free shelter, free food – medical assistance – sometimes clothes etc at the shelters. We undertake rescue operations as many females are kept in illegal detention. We also seek help from various authorities in such matters. We are under heavy debts. We have sold out our belongings to run the mission because in this country you may find hundreds of thousands who donate in the name of religion but it is tough to find people giving money to save these young kids. We ask the couples to bear actual expenses on their lawful marriages, registration (if desired), legal applications (No fee is generally charged by our lawyers), official process for protection or rescue. Shelter, food, medical assistance, beddings and sometimes even clothes are given free by us. We have no formal structure, no records as we are missionaries and not clerks. Anyone willing to be a volunteer can fill a form at lovecommandos.org or send an sms with his or her name and address to 09313784375. Q: What type of people contact you? We had been contacted and have helped engineers, doctors, advocates, professors, policemen, government officials, bank officials, MBAs and BCAs, MSW, sports personalities of

Chetan Bhagat’s take on contemporary Gujarat

national fame, people with families of political background, people with families of judicial background, rich nad poor people etc. from all religions and many of these cases have been reported. We honour the privacy of the couples and only those who are willing are brought before the media.

Q: Does the police or judiciary help you? Generally we face problem in it. However, we are thankful to the Central Delhi District Police for always helping us in our lawful work, We are also thankful to NCW in many cases. The experience with the judiciary is a mixed one. Though the highest judiciary supports the cause it appears that the police and judiciary at lower levels are having their personal bias against the lovers. We have heard that many clans have announced rewards on the head of Mr. Sachdev and Mr. Malhotra totalling over Rupees 10 lakh. We never care about such unlawful opposition and continue to fight for justice to lovers. Q: What are the main barriers in your work? A: The general problem is of inter caste and inter religion marriages. However, same gotra, near relative, distant relative, financial position, educational status, family’s total opposition to love have also been causes and it has always been more difficult to handle such situations. Q: Explain this. A: Children are considered property. Now the youth of India is rising under the banner of Love Commandos and it shall change. It is correct that there are a lot who believe in arranged marriages even today but the nation is changing and now more and more youth are choosing their partners. Our laws are male dominated. Like the marriage age for male (21) should be more than a female. It should be 18 for both. When a boy can vote in elections at 18 why can’t he marry. The Indian Majority Act says the boy of 18 is a major but the Child Marriage Act says that till 21 he is a child whereas a girl of 18 is major. The youth be it Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Bauddhist, Jain, Parsi, Forward, Backward, SC, ST, OBC, male or female has a major problem that none in the society is sincere to them and none in the leadership is bothered about their basic common problem i.e. “the love problem”. Love sees no barriers of caste, creed or religion and the Hon’ble Supreme Court has stated that only such love marriages can save the country from disintegration. Q: Describe the police response? A: More shocking is that the entire Police in the country leave no stone unturned in terming each and every such case of killing or atrocity as a matter of personal rivalry. It is done by the police to keep its neck out of the gallows of the standing directions of the Supreme Court of India. Our constitution gives right to choice to every male or female but it has been observed that whenever a female attempts to exercise her right she is called names, abused, her character assassinated, she is tortured physically, mentally and socially. They are illegally detained by parents and members of the family, their education or employment stopped and a number of other

W Sanjoy Sachdeva

atrocities take place. A large number of cases go unreported and even those that get reported are never attended to seriously by the police and administration. The police is expected to be protector of their rights and also to encourage such inter caste and inter religious relationships, but it is shocking that the police registers false cases against lovers, compels the females to appear in the local courts and thus endangering their lives, misbehaves with females in Love. Q: Tell us about the problems faced by females? A: Is a female only attacked in the name of rape? What about rape of her constitutional rights of choice marriage? Why are we silent on the basic issue? Thousands of females are illegally detained by their parental families. Thousands of youth in love are falsely implicated and fabricated by the families of females all over the country every day. Those going with their free will and choice are main targets. Though the Indian Supreme Court has in Criminal Appeal 958/2011 termed registration of such cases as abuse of process of law but even then the courts are loaded with many such cases. The definition of Rape given in section 375 IPC carries different meanings including that there can be a wife of 12 years of age or a female of 16 years can consent to have sex. Further the Child Marriage Restrain Act is a living example of discrimination on the basis of gender. It is shocking that when a male of 18 years can play his role in deciding the fate of a government by using his right to vote, why he is not allowed to choose a life partner for himself at that age, whereas a girl is allowed. Such a law smells of male domination and needs that the marriageable age of both the Male and female should be 18 years. Q: What are the Khap Panchayats etc. doing? A: Despite the standing directions of the Apex court Khap, caste or Katta Panchayats are taking place. Declarations like banning small clothes by women, banning their free movement, banning use of mobile phones, banning their talking to males or being friendly with them etc. are there in the news every other week. Why is the administration silent on such undeclared rape of constitutional rights of females? We have been hearing that male partners of female sarpanches and panches are using or misusing the powers of their partners. Even election handbills carry the names of husbands or fathers on them, is that not a rape of

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SAT Exclusive

INTERVIEW

By Neeraj Nanda

M A R C H

their fundamental rights. Q: What about honour killings? A: Another important factor is of crimes and killings in the name of honour. Just a few days ago Abdul Hakim was killed in District Bullundshehar of UP. His widow is still fighting of justice. It is also important that such crimes and killings are an attack on the lives of females in question. May we take the liberty of suggesting that,” No case be registered under any section like kidnapping, rape, abduction etc. against any lover if both the boy and girl are major at that time and desiring to live together as husband and wife or in live in relationship, until and unless the girl herself makes such a complaint voluntarily and not under any legal or other guidance of her parents or so”. The issue of protection of females in love is also important. May we suggest that if any female in love is requesting for protection either in writing, through phone, mobile, email, sms, telegram or with the help of any other individual or organization should be provided protection immediately after receiving such request and any police officer failing to ensure should be deemed to be unfit and such act be deemed as an act unbecoming of a public servant. Q: People say you are destroying ‘Indian culture’ and promoting ‘Western culture’. A: Culture is a vast word and it can never be destroyed. We are trying to make live the original culture of India and the institution of marriage was never against inter caste marriage. We are not promoting ‘western culture’ but in fact, the West has absorbed our culture long back which we have abandoned. Love Commandos is trying to bring it back. Even our gods married in the same ‘gotra’ and that is why we support same Gotra marriages. Our Chief Co-ordinator Harsh Malhotra and his wife belong to same gotra ‘Kaushal’. How can the fundamentalists declare them brother and sister? We are attempting to bring back the glory of Indian culture.

riter Chetan Bhagat’s book “The Three Mistakes of my Life’ has inspired the movie ‘Kai Po Chi’ (means ‘I have cut’ in Gujarati) directed by Abhishek Kapoor, with music by Amit Trivedi and lyrics by Swanand Kirkire. Sushant Singh Rajput, Raj Kumar Yadav and Amit Sadh star in the movie as Ishaan, Govind and Omi respectively The film portrays the journey of the three friends as they discover cricket, religion and business in their respective fields. Set against the backdrop of religious politics, the story underlines the three mistakes made by Govind.

SAT Editor Neeraj Nanda interviewed by phone from Melbourne Chetan Bhagat , who lives in Mumbai. Excerpts from the interview: Q: Is ‘Kai Po Chi’ your take on contemporary Gujarat? A: Yes, you can say that. It concerns youngsters in Ahmadabad. In the background of the movie are the events that brought Gujarat into limelight. Q: Why a Gujarati name for a Hindi movie. People may not understand it. A: That the people will understand when they see the movie just like Chak de India. The name came from the di-

rector Abhishek Kapoor who wanted a Gujarati flavour in the name. Q: Does your story fit well in ‘Vibrant Gujarat’? A: I was a speaker at the ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ conference. The government called me and I was there. I am not a Gujarati but have studied there. But have become half Gujarati because I wrote on it and then got involved. Q: The ‘Godhra’ episode forms part of your book. The issue seems to generate controversy whenever it is mentioned. A: Yes, Godhra and subsequent developments come in the book. But it is a small part of it. The film has got a ‘U’ certificate. I met Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his government helped me shoot the movie in Gujarat.

goods and training shop. The three have different motives and in the backdrop of troubled situation which changes their lives in different ways. Q: You are educated in Delhi. Why not something on Delhi? A: My book ‘One Night @ the Call Center’ is based in Delhi.

tralia also as in HK I was a Mining Analyst and visited Australia frequently. Q : What is your prediction for the movie? A: People have read the book and despite the movie having newcomers it will be seen. I am confident of it success at the box office.

Q: Do you miss Hong Kong where you were an investment banker? A: I do miss it. I miss Aus-

Q: So, you are close to the Gujarat government? A: I am not that close to it or close to any ideology. I have my own views on different issues. Q: Ok, tell us about the movie. A: It is about the aspirations of the Gujarati people and inclination to do business. I want that business culture to spread all over India. It’s about Gujarati entrepreneurship. Set in Ahmedabad, the story is about three friends who set up a cricket

Q: How can someone outside India help ‘Love Commandos’? A: Those who support our cause can financially contribute to ‘Love Commandos’ by having our account details from www.lovecommandos.org. www.southasiatimes.com.au - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

""

Set in Ahmedabad, the story is about three friends who set up a cricket goods and training shop. The three have different motives and in the backdrop of troubled situation which changes their lives in different ways.


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SAT Exclusive

An eye-witness’ account of 1988-90

How Kashmiri middle class got lured by separatists By Ahmad Cameron

T

ORONTO: Getting second-hand information about any place or events is one thing. But being at the spot and knowing things first hand is an entirely different thing. I have had the first-hand experience of Kashmir for close to over two years as a nonKashmiri Muslim. So I know many things which many of us may not have known for two reasons. One, I was an eyewitness and second I come from a family of journalists and observed things very closely. Let me narrate my experiences of Kashmir. I was sent there repeatedly during 198890 from the National Informatics Centre (NIC) of the Ministry of Information Technology & Communications to establish the satellite-based computer network in that state. The insurgency had just started and Jagmohan was the Governor. After my stay there, I reported back to my seniors about my reading of the situation prevailing in the Valley. My observations ran on these lines: 1) The Taliban, with the active support of the US, the ISI of Pakistan, MI5 of Britain, and Mossad of Israel, had been successful in giving a crushing defeat to Russian forces in Afghanistan and were then in a commanding position. Russians left shortly thereafter. 2) The ISI, which had been funded left, right and centre by the entire Western world, was equipped with all kinds of insurgency-related arms and ammunition along with training equipment. 3) Becoming arrogant after defeating Russian forces in collaboration with the Taliban, the ISI turned its focus on Kashmir. Because of the ISI’s success in Afghanistan, the leadership of separatist and extremist sections of Kashmiri Muslims got lured into believing that it too will be heading an independent nation soon. So they started thinking that in an independent Kashmir someone among them will become an ambassador, someone a minister, etc, etc. So much so that even an ordinary constable started thinking that when Kashmir becomes independent he will at least become a DSP before he retires! Because in the current set-up, that constable would probably rise only up to the rank of a sub-inspector by the time he retired. That’s how the separatists started getting support from

the middle and lower middle classes, in the same manner as the RSS, the VHP, the BJP, the Shiv Sena, the Bajrang Dal, Durga Vahini, etc., get from the day-dreamers in the Hindutva-oriented middle and lower middle classes. The common thread between the two is the middle class. 4) The ISI exploited this opportunity by supplying arms and imparting training to separatist groups. They even sent trainers from the Taliban and Mullah Umar’s group into Kashmir. They also brought the insurgents to their side of the border and trained them. 5) At that time, Kashmir in general and Srinagar in particular had billboards at various locations mentioning the start and end of various development projects – `Street Lighting Project’, `Sewer Project’, `Road Widening Project’, `Drinking Water Project’, `Dal Lake Cleaning Project’, ‘Upgrading Power Transformer Project’ etc. The Electric supply to houses and Hospitals would not be there for over 10 hrs every day even in peak winter was the state of affairs when I used to visit Srinagar. The road which connects Jammu to Srinagar would remain blocked for days and supplies even to the Armed & Paramilitary forces would get affected. The common man would face a price rise of vegetables; cooking oil etc in proportion to the time road to Jammu would remain blocked! So under Jagmohan as the Governor development projects had got initiated. But the separatists and insurgents countered this by arguing that the government had failed to provide basic amenities to Kashmiris even 30 years after Independence despite the fact that two biggest foreign exchange earners for India are the Taj Mahal and Kashmir! They have not even provided a rail link to Srinagar though India’s Ministry of Railways have

been doing huge development projects in developing countries of Middle East and Africa: A fact which no one could refute. From all this I saw in Srinagar, you could imagine what might be the state of affairs in smaller towns where most Kashmiris lived and faced daily hardships in that severe snowclad region! 6) One extremely important aspect which Jagmohan faced was complete failure of Intelligence. On analyzing the ground realities I found a very fundamental lacuna in Intelligence gathering in Srinagar of that time. Please remember there are almost a dozen organizations of government which are responsible for their respective departments to collect intelligence starting from RAW at the top to Army, Air Force, BSF, CRPF, CBI, etc. Now each organization had its paid informers amongst the common Kashmiris. Unfortunately, with confidence being low on common Kashmiri, the same set of households would be sending intelligence reports where each adult family member would be a paid informer of one of the intelligence gathering organization. The consequences were catastrophic as now we all can see and the ground realities were far from what these paid informers were feeding the security system! One report prepared would get modified with words getting interchanged, not the actual intelligence content (!) which was required to handle the situation there. On top of this the informers’ households would be relatively richer compared to surroundings families as a single house was getting payments for the same report from multiple sources! This created another jealousy in the neighbourhood of informers. 7) It is not that development funds were never sent to Kashmir all those 30 years. But these were usurped by senior

bureaucrats, ministers, army and paramilitary officers, contractors, etc. Why did they do it so wantonly? I am giving you the reason as I simulated this very situation with IAS probationers while leading a syndicate study on Kashmir later in 1993-94 by virtue of teaching them at Mussoorie. The reason was this: the bureaucrats felt that if in a worst-case scenario Kashmir goes away from India tomorrow, then all the development work funded by taxpayers’ money would go on a platter to Pakistan! Hence it is better to swindle all the funds! This is exactly what they had been doing for 30 years! 8) On the other hand one more thing was happening simultaneously related to the state machinery, including the BSF and paramilitary forces posted in Kashmir. For the state machinery, an insurgent or suspected insurgent, was/ is a source of black money income. In this, there is no discrimination. A Muslim functionary is as corrupt as a non-Muslim, with some exceptions. So the more is the insurgency, the faster is the cash bell ringing for all? Hence the insurgency in the Valley became an “industry” in exactly the same manner as transfers and postings are in UP, Bihar, Haryana, Rajasthan, etc. Do not forget there was/is another source of making black money for Kashmir’s state machinery – the purchase of supplies, arms, ammunition, food, etc., for those who were additionally posted to handle insurgency. At times, those security personnel who had never been exposed to the severe winter would go crazy while handling law and order situation and fire on the protestors, killing people. 9) That the Kashmiri separatist leadership has been hand-in-glove is so clear to everyone. But there is also one section of the Kashmiri leadership which comes from professional middle classes. It is highly educated. It has seen people’s exploitation by the three generations of the Sheikh Abdullah family which has managed to keep power in its hands by licking to the Congress or VP Singh’s Third Front or the BJP. This section of activists Kashmiri leadership is of committed nationalist Indians but is minuscule and is hated by the separatists, the BJP, the Army as well as the Sheikh Abdullah faction. These are the people who form the PUCL in Kashmir and file court

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cases against atrocities by paramilitary and armed forces. Hence they are perceived as enemies by all four – the separatists, fundamentalist Muslims who give fatwas, the state government and paramilitary forces. But this section is also highly respected and looked upon with awe and revered by common Kashmiri. Let me mention here that the brother-in-law of a close friend of mine from nursery days (who was also my colleague at the IAS Academy) was killed by these very insurgents in Kashmir. He was an officer in the Indian Army. Then there was another friend’s brother – again an army officer – who was gunned down by Assam insurgents’ right outside the Kamakhya temple in Guwahati in early 1990s (I also have the experience of NorthEast insurgency by virtue of being posted there for a year in 1996-97). Not to forget that my uncle’s son was killed just a year ago in Karachi by these very mullahs having the backing of Mullah Azhar, Aurangzeb Farooqi etc. He was an activist lawyer and younger to me by more than 15 years! 10) Finally, in Jan 1990 I was staying at married residents’ apartments of the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences. I was carrying my NIC identity card with my photo. There was curfew outside and I had to return to Jammu by catching the early morning bus at 6 am from the Tourist Centre in downtown Srinagar. There is a police station very near to the main gate of the Institute. As a 24-hour curfew was in force, I decided to walk up to the police station and seek help based on my ID. But I was stopped by the neighbours who said that local policemen cannot differentiate between an “Information” and “Informatics” Centre. They said that with the Government of India written on my ID card, I might be misconstrued as an Indian Government’s informer (as I was also a Central Government Non Kashmiri Muslim officer). They said paramilitary personnel will not come forward to help me as they have no prior information about my being in their vicinity. I was caught in the crossfire, literally! How I returned is another story. But I wonder how many people know these and so many other facts about Kashmir and its insurgency. (Toronto-based Dr Ahmad Cameron is a former Technical Director, Government of India)

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contd on previous page All Banking Needs Rakesh Raizada Commonwealth Bank (Indian Banking) Ground Floor, 378 Burwood Highway Burwood East 3151 Mobile: 0434470095 Email: rakesh.raizada@cba.com.au Immigration iVisa Consulting Level 5, 45 William St. Melb. Mobile: 0409504094 www.ivisaconsulting.com.au 1st Migration PL, Suite 110, Level 1, 672 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn Vic 3122 Travel Agents Gaura Travels 1300 FLY INDIA or 1300 359 463 info@gauratravel.com.au Supa Cheap Travel 381 Burwood Road, Hawthorn 3122 Ph: (03) 98194656; Mobile: 0420201155 info@supacheaptravel.com.au www.supacheaptravel.com.au Mann Travel 329 Clayton Road, Clayton 3168 info@manntravel.com.au www.manntravel.com.au Travel House 284 Clayton Road, Clayton 3168 Ph: (03) 95435123, Mobile: 0425803071 mail@travelhouse.com.au Solicitors/Barristors Vernon Da Gama & Associates 28 Fromer St. Beltleigh 3204 Ph: (03) 95038046; Fax: (03) 95038047 Mobile: 0401407280/042193100 Email: vernondagama@msn.com

Indian Restaurants Hot Gossip 143 Boronia Road, Boronia 3155 Ph: (03) 97610733 Kadai Curry Kitchen 5 Canterbury Road, Blackburn 3130 Ph: (03) 98909782 Phoolwari 7 Murry Place, Ringwood 3134 Ph: (03) 98769111 Curry Bazaar Cafe 361 Burwood Road, Hawthorn 3122 Curry Bazaar Cafe-2 77 Swan Street, Richmond 3121 Ph: (03) 94259401 Tandoori Junction 29 Railway Parade North Glen Waverley 3150

Cinnamon Club 1291-1293 Nepean Hwy, Cheltenham 3192

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Education

Rich Maha 499, Shop 5, Vermont South (Burwood Hwy) 3133

CECA Education Consultancy, Ph: (03) 96631318, Mobile: 0430338761

Indian Star 254-256 Maribyrnong Road, Mooni Ponds, Ph: (03) 93751113/93707298

EdX Institute Ph: 1300 933 922, Mobile: 0433354401 Email: edx@optusnet.com.au www.edxinstitute.com.au

Punjabi Masala 2-6 Market Street, Nunawading 3131 Ph: 98774052, Mobile: 0413449783

Satellite TV Telsat Communications Ph: (03) 97925661, Mobile: 0402147476 Satview Ph: (03) 97985100, www.satview.com.au

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

Music Groups/DJ/Cultural Om Music Group (Amitaabh Singh), Mobile: 0422028076 Email: amitabh_om@yahoo.com.au

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: haldiramfoods@yahoo.com.au 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 ltzahlan@primusonline.com.au Bollywood Mandaps Office: Nunawading, Showroom: Dandenong North, Call: 1300 851 137 Email: info@bollywoodmandaps.com.au Site: http://www.bollywoodmandaps.com. 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: www.cgimelb.org 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 consular@cgimelb.org Visa enquiries: visainfo.inau@vfshelpline.com Passport/Police Clearance Certificate/ Driving License Enquiries passportinfo. inau@vfshelpline.com, OCI/PIO Enquiries

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southSouth asia times 37 Asia Times

ociinfo.inau@vfshelpline.com 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) www.multicultural.vic.gov.au/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 kamal@hotChillimedia.com www.hotChillimedia.com

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: rupalismandaps@bigpond.com www.rupalismandaps.com.au Marriage Celebrant N. R. Wickiramasingham, 37 James St., Dandenong 3175, Ph: 97947942; Fax: 97945527, Mobile: 0404059231

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SAT - March 2013  

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