Diwali celebration by Indian cultural society of Darwin, Australia!

By : Shashi Khanna.

Diwali may be over in India but the celebration and festivity continues with zeal in cities around Australia. Indian cultural society in Darwin celebrated DIWALI  at the Indoor sports stadium. A well organised program attended by whose who and nearly all the Indian community at Darwin. Indian cultural society ,a group of focused Indians who are taking from their seniors – the founder members are putting the showcase in a wonderful manner. 
 
 
Tables laid for the families and stage set for performances. A beautiful program from classical ,folk , bollywood and singing was on the list. Well anchored and presented orderly was appreciated by all. Annual address and introduction of the committee members was well presented by the President of the society. The area MLA read her message wishing every one Happy Diwali and joyfully welcoming all to NT. 
 
Anchoring done by young and children both was very cute. The perfect dance performances by all age groups was appreciated. The beats of Bhangra swayed all to their feet. Loud applause and whistles followed in appreciation. 
Snacks,dinner and drinks were laid throughout the evening which was much enjoyed by all. Tickling taste buds Indian food was great along with the Indian music. 
 
 
All dressed up in their best of Indian apparel and accessories further adorned the atmosphere. A diya lit on each table luminated the festival. Meeting the Indian diaspora to such an extent was amazing. An enjoyable evening concluded with every one on the floor dancing their hearts out to the beats of Punjab and bollywood. 
 
Indians may be miles away from their country miles apart from the society but it was heartening to see they gave created a mini India here at Australia. The charm of Indian music , food and dresses has captivated the foreign hearts too who mingle and participate in Indian festivals with zeal and zest. The harmony amongst Indians from any state and with Australian society is an examplaire. 
 
World is a huge family and we all are the brothers and sisters with different colours, cultures and religions living togather in harmony celebrating each festival and every moment. I have amazing experiences to take back home and share with India. How harmonious and lovingly people live here in togatherness,inspiring all the sects, culture and Indian society. Long live our Indo-Aussie relationship emerging as an example for world wide citizens. The divine sense of acceptance and giving is truly showcased here. 
 
 
I find myself overwhelmed and lucky to witness and participate in all this. 
Thank you so much Sh.Surinder Jain from Hindu council of Australia , Sydney for giving me this extremely wonderful opportunity to report from Darwin,NT. It’s surely an interesting and worthy vilunteering. God bless and I again salute to all the members of Hindu council of Australia specially my brother Somesh Sibal for introducing me to Hindu council of Australia for all their fruitful efforts and hard work for promotion of Indian culture in Australia. Also my heartiest congratulations and greetings to the Australian society and government for their support and encouragement. 
 
I leave with a heavy heart but with zeal and promise to join back you all again next year. Lovely being a volunteer at Hindu council of Australia. All good wishes & good luck !! 

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Invitation to conduct further research about ANZAC Jawans

By : Prakash Mehta.

Hindu Council of Australia has erected a cenotaph dedicated to all servicemen of Indian origin who have enrolled or served the Australian forces in World Wars. It was inaugurated with the joint efforts and support of the Department of Veteran Affairs, Hornsby Shire Council, Hornsby RSL, Hindu Council of Australia, local  Indian community and local MP Julian Leeser.

Cadets guarding the memorial at Cherry Brook Park, NSW

The memorial in NSW is a first of its kind in the state that recognises the contributions and connections of people of Indian origin. It is about the contributions made by the servicemen of Indian origin in Australia, by enlisting at the time of need. The plaque commemorates the service and sacrifice made by Australian Soldiers and Military Personnel of Indian heritage who served in the Australian Imperial Force in World War I.

It also remembers and recognises up to 15,000 Indian Soldiers who fought with allied troops at Gallipoli where almost 1,400 Indians Soldiers died at Gallipoli and up to 3,500 were wounded. It also remembers and recognises the Indian Soldiers who have participated alongside the Australian Soldiers in various Military Campaigns and Peace Missions. ”

The first effort to find out about such service men came to Hindu Council’s attention by an article written by journalist Manpreet K Singh and published by SBS dated 9 June 2017.

https://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/punjabi/en/article/2017/06/09/12-indian-anzacs-who-enlisted-australian-imperial-force-during-wwi

These names were further confirmed with research center of Australian War Memorial Canberra service records about the accuracy and authenticity.

The President of Hindu Council has called upon people to come forward and do further research and said that

We hope this Cenotaph also encourages more research and publications to connect larger Australian Indian community with Anzac history.

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Cumberland Holi Festival on 24th March 2019

Holi will be celebrated at Civic Park on 24th March 2019.

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Diwali celebrated in Strathfield

By : Rajeev Bhandula.

Hindu Council of Australia celebrated Deepawali in Strathfield on 18th November 2018 at Strathfield Park. The event was supported by Strathfield Council.

Diwali in Strathfield 2018

Over 1500 people attended from different communities including Australians and korean community. Jody Mckay Member of Parliament of state from strathfield and Gulian Vacari Mayor of Strathfield attended the event and welcomed by Mr.Jay Raman NSW President Hindu Council of Australia NSW.

There were 12 stalls which include Food, Real Estate, Indian dresses,Yoga stall and Ekal Youth stall. There were Free Rides and Free Mehndi which was attraction for children and Ladies.

Cultural Programme started from 11am and went through till 4.30pm. There were classical dances, Bollywood Dances and songs which were sung by Mr Vijay Jogia well known singer in Australia.

Nice Weather helped the event as well. Overall event was well recieved and enjoyed
by attendees.

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Anglican Retirement Village in Sydney celebrates Diwali

The Ponds is a new suburb of Sydney situated in the North West growth corridor, where the first stage of a major shopping centre and commercial space have opened. The new suburb was designed to make the estate a new community. The first lots of land were released on 31 March 2007.

There are a number of churches, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Every Nation Christian Church, Blessed John XXIII Catholic Church, Our Lady of the Rosary, Rouse Hill Anglican Church, The Salvation Army – Rouse Hill Region , Hillsong Church, NewHope Baptist Church and Life Anglican Church Quakers Hill.

The residents of Anglican Retirement Village celebrating Diwali

Anglican Retirement Villages, Diocese of Sydney (ARV) was a not-for-profit public benevolent institution formed in 1959. ARV retained its distinctive Christian and social credentials, and served some 6000 people across community care, independent living and assisted living services.

Anglican retirement village in The Ponds celebrated Diwali for its residents, most of them Christians. Mr Tara Chand Sharma, Director, Hindu Council of Australia attended the retirement village Diwali celebration and explained to them the significance of Diwali.

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Hindu Council connects with UWS students for Diwali

Hindu Council of Australia has made contact with University of Western Sydney (UWS) students and had a low key Diwali sweets distribution with them on 8th November 2018. UWS is one of the premier Universities of Sydney and has over 6,000 Indian students many of them from India, studying in it.

Soup

The University holds a light soup and bread session for its Parramatta campus students every Thursday evening at 6pm which provides free food and a place to mingle for all its students. The food distribution is managed by Parramatta Mission and is attended by about 30-40 students every week.

Hindu Council put up some posters about Diwali and supplied Kheer and Diwali sweets. The Mission agreed to our request to have vegetarian only soup and bread for the day. About 50 Australian, Asian and Indian students visited the soup kitchen. There was a visible smile on the faces of Indian students familiar with Diwali and their happiness could be seen beaming from their faces.

Kheer for Students on Diwali Soup Day

One of the students from Gujarat who has been in UWS for two years came up to me and asked if she can touch my feet as she needs blessings of an elder on this new year day. She touched my feet and her act touched my heart.

Students project of Hindu Council aims at connecting University going students with the existing Hindu Community here and to provide emotional support to overseas and away from home students. Bhupinder Chabra and Reshma Krishnappa are helping with this initiative.

Hindu Council Volunteers at UWS kitchen for Diwali

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Sri Sitarama Kalyanam takes place in Sydney

Long awaited Sri Sitarama Kalyanam, i.e. celestial wedding of Lord Rama and Devi Sita was celebrated in Sydney today. The tradition of the marriage it is aid was established by Shiva Ji when he visited Bhadrachalam temple during his life which was spent defending Hindus from forced conversion.

Marriage Procession through the streets of Parramatta

About 200 devotees with utsav murtis of the lord from Bhadrachalam temple assembled in Parramatta Centenary square facing one of the oldest church in Parramatta. Before the procession was started, puja of the dieties and breaking of coconut ceremony were performed by Hindu Council of Australia President Mr Prakash mehta and then by Vice President  Surinder Jain.

Praying and breaking a coconut

A group of dancers dancing to the drum beats of Garjana group preceded the procession. Various Australian onlookers were amused and enthralled by the beat of the drums, by the dancers and by the procession of Lord rama and Devi Sita in their separate Palakis.

Shivgarjana Drums preceding the procession

The procession passed through the streets of Parramatta and reassembeled at the mouth of fresh water part of Parramatta (Param atma) River. In the heat of the day, devotees were undeterred by the long walk and many of them completed the three kilometer walk to Parramatta Park.

The procession at historic heritage building Town Hall

The procession entered Diwali celebrations area of the Parramatta Park and the marriage was performed on the main stage with all the rituals usually performed in Bhadrachalam. After the marriage devotees present their were blessed by the Lord. After the marriage ceremony was over, the dieties were lead in a procession to their stage for two days.

Lord Mayor of Parramatta and Councillor Sameer Pandey

Lord Mayor of Parramatta Andrew Wilson and Councillor Sameer Pandey came to the Lords temple to receive HIS blessings. Lord Mayor is his speech welcomed Sri Sitarama to Australia and congratulated the devotees on performing and taking part in the celstial Kalyanam. The Lord Mayor inaugurated Diwali festivities and declared the festival open.

Various cultural programs representing different states of India were performed on Diwali stage followed by Ram Leela.

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Kalyanam ceremonies being held in Sydney

By : Neelima Pravastu.

The Priests and Deities arrived on 26th October 2018 at night 9 PM from Bhadrachalam along with the celebrity Kuchipudi dancer Dr Padmaja Reddy and her group.

The Deities and priests were taken to host at Rohin Ji’s house on their first stay in Sydney.

Pre-wedding ceremonies started next day with making of Laddus for Prasadam and Husking the rice for Akshatas with over 65 volunteers. Ganesh and Sri Rama puja started the round of ceremonies.

Soft turmeric powder to mixed with the husked rice for akshatas at Ram Vel Ji’s house

The Deities are going to be taken in a procession from Parramatta Town hall to Parramatta park on 3rd November. The group tried and tested the Pallaki walk to check the distance, stops for the performances and the Grand entrance of the Deities.

Seva of over 60 women devotees, laid out on table

On 30th, the team met Parramatta Westfield at 7 pm and finished at 9:30 pm to explain the route options, entertainment and food options of the overseas guests and other details of the Kalyanam process and needed things.

 

Preparations for the main Puja

Following day, the team met again at Sushmita Ji’s house at 8 pm finished at 11 pm with Kalayanam team and Padmaja Ji to clarify doubts about the route and to plan the nitty gritty of the walk and the Kalyanam.

Walking the procession route as advanced planning

1st Pre-wedding ceremonies continued with Pounding Turmeric pods to get soft turmeric powder to mix with the husked rice for akshatas at Ram Vel Ji’s house. Around 50+ women, kids and men have participated in the ceremony.  Got the trays ready for the fruits, flowers and other things to offer the Deities. We made Kankanams (thread bracelet with Mango leave tied on it) to wear on Kalyanam and Coronation day to do Sankalpam by smearing the turmeric powder on it from earlier pounded turmeric. Had Mehndi ceremony along with it and delicious food for all the participants.

Vibrant devotees participating in Rituals

Received the show bags for the Kalayanam and Coronation. Showbag will contain Rama Koti book to write Sri Rama as many times as we can, Rama Mada a special coin with Sri Rama and Sita Devi printed on them and Akshatas sent by Bhadrachalam temple. Kalyanam and Coronation tickets will get a Silver coil with Sri Rama along with Sita Devi, Laxmana and Hanuman imprinted on them. Big sponsors will get a gold coin. Along with 4/6 entry tickets.

Publicizing the Kalyanam event in Sydney

Arranging garlands for Kalyanam and Coronation, starting for the Mandapam decorations on the stage, finalising the music for the cultural programs. Arranging necessary things for the walk including the Pallakis, Pallaki bearers, women to hold offer trays, bands, Kolatam performances. Walk teams, Receptions teams and logistics team are working round the clock to see that things go smoothly without much disruption.

Show bag for devotees participating in Seva

 

 

 

 

 

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Hindu Women’s Issues Survey

If you are a Hindu woman living in Australia, please take a minute to enter this survey. It will help Hindu Council of Australia to frame projects and policies to face these issues.

Your Phone :

Your Age Group : 18-25 years26-35 years35-60 yearsAbove 60

How long ago did you come to Australia : Less than 2 years ago2 to 7 years ago7 to 15 years agomore than 15 years

What in your opinion are the major issues facing Hindu women in Australia : Domestic ViolenceHave to Work at Home as well OfficeAcceptance at work placeSocializing with non-Indian neighboursLanguage barrierSexual harassment at workRacial discrimination at workImparting sanskar to childrenDifficulty in keeping Hindu way of lifeOther

Do you work : YesNo

If working, did your family support you : YesNoNot Applicable

Is it easy to adjust to work culture here : YesNoNot Applicable

Do you get accepted socially at work : YesNoNot Applicable

Have you experienced/witnessed Domestic Violence : Yes, I have been a victimYes, Someone close to me has been a victimNo, Never

Did the victim of Domestic Violence get support : Yes, Sufficient supportYes, but not enoughNo SupportDon't Know

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Take a day off on Diwali day to celebrate it with family and friends

The Hindu Council of Australia’s South Australia chapter,  is urging people to take a day off on Diwali day in Australia to pass the culture and message on to the next generation.

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