Hindu chaplains help Hindu Women prisoners in Melbourne

By : Makaran Bhagwat, Melbourne.

Hindu Council of Australia (Vic) currently has volunteer spiritual care providers (Hindu Chaplains) who have been providing their services in the health care system and are now extending it to other areas include prisons.

The chaplains received following request from a female prison :

A Women’s Prison in Victoria : We currently have an Indian woman here  who follows Hinduism and she has requested to be linked in with someone from a Hindu Temple. It was suggested that you might be able to assist with organising someone to come in and meet with her. I am also seeking some advise in regards to her celebrating Shradh. She has requested specific food items for these celebrations, but I have not had much luck through the prison, so was hoping you might be able to direct me in regards to this as well.

 
We visited the Centre and had an opportunity to meet the 2 inmates requesting this meeting.
 
It appears that both of them have 2 main requirements / requests to be granted, which are related to the Hindu faith and Indian ethnicity, which Hindu Council of Australia  are able to fulfill.
 
We were told that in the multifaith chapel at the centre, while there were provisions for other faiths, there is nothing at present for the Hindu faith.
 
We can assist here by providing, religious texts, and also picture frames of Hindu Gods which can go on the Chapel wall to support their prayers.
 
Secondly, both of them were saying that the other inmates belonging to other  communities, could buy the food items of their taste and choice from the store within their weekly allowance. Unfortunately there is no Indian grocery available for them to cook food of their choice. Again on this point Hindu Council of Australia can assist by engaging with the Centre to identify some basic items, like spices, Basmati rice, lentils etc so that they can be purchased for their cooking needs.
 
In addition to this, for the forthcoming important Hindu festival “Diwali” ,the festival of lights, they would like to light a candle at the current interfaith place / chapel.
 
Overall it was a good visit and we have given them some printouts of the prayers, which can hopefully bring in some positive feeling in them in the current circumstances.
 
Makarand Bhagwat
Director
Hindu Council of Australia (Vic)

 

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

Hindu Council Donates to Farmers Relief Fund

Hindu Council gave a cheque for $11,000 to the Premier’s Farmers Relief Fund. 

Diwali becomes an important festival of Australia

By : Surinder Jain.

After Australia abolished it’s whites only immigration policy in the 60s, Indians started migrating to Australia for education and work. Today there are over 450,000 Hindus in Australia who call Australia home.

Marriage Procession through the streets of Parramatta

For many decades Diwali celebrations were a private affair among family or temples. All that changed in 1998 when Hindu Council of Australia started celebrating Diwali at a grand scale in Paramatta Park in western Sydney. Twenty years later, the twentieth year of Diwali in Australia has been a turning point in the history of Indians in Australia. 

Multicultural Australia has accepted Hindus and Indians and have accepted Diwali as a significant Australian celebration, significant enough for the Prime Minister and the Premier to visit and celebrate Diwali festivities. Members of Parliament from all shades of politics joined them. Most MPs were dressed in either Sarees, Salwar Kameez or Indian Kurta.

 

Diwali 2018 Parramatta

Their presence at the festival adorning Indian clothes is a manifestation of Australians having accepted Indians and Hindus as their own.

This Diwali also marks another significant change in Australia. Main stream and very popular radio show hosts like ABC Sydney Radio Breakfast show hosted by Robbie and Wendy and listened to by thousands driving to their work in the morning, welcomed Diwali in their program. 

Robbie Buck and Wendy Harmer.
Credit: ABC Radio Sydney Breakfast

Such inclusion of Diwali in opinion setting Radio shows and presence of political powerful in festivities is something we Hindus feel proud of. We benefit from the success of and feel proud to have called Australia home. Let’s return the favour and make Australia proud of us.

Ramayana puppet show from Prague performed in Sydney

By : Mohan Vijayraghavan.

Lenka and Eric who are puppeteers from Prague, performed a Puppet Show at Hindu Council of Australia’s Deepavali festival held at Parramatta on 4th November 2018.

Lenka and myself are associated for about 8 years now and have done some shows in Hindu education camps and at the Powerhouse museum but mostly along the lines of European stories since her dolls are all only those types.

Lenka and Eric producers of the Ramanyana Puppet Show

 
However, making a puppet show for Ramayan was a special challange as she had to make special puppets of animal forms like monkey, deer and dragon as well 1 ten headed Ravana and Bows and Arrows. To help understand the story and characters of Ramayana, Lenka made multiple trips to my house to discuss the scenes and plan and stayed the entire day from 9am until past 11pm to pick up her stuff. It was a labour of love for both of us and Lenka charged only a token amount for providing her services.
I told her she had given so much to our community and this token of money was nothing to show the worth of the program but this show has given me confidence to take it to more children in future across Australia to promote Indian stories.

Children watching the Puppet Show

 
Mohan and Kavita both associated with Hindu scripture classes at Holsworthy Primary school with the help of Viji wrote the Ramayana story line suitable for a puppet show. All the background and other supporting paintings/drawings and props  (around 20) were sourced out to disabled people from Chennai, India.
 
On being given a go ahead by Hindu Council, Lenka and myself started doing the ground work and preparing the dolls and drawings. We had few sessions discussing the end-to-end process covering from the birth of Ram until his coronation and came out which scenes we will use puppets and which ones we will talk by showing the drawings so while narrating the story, the puppeteers have enough time to change the scene.
 
Following key scenes from Ramayana were played by the puppets showing the entire life of adult Rama.
  1. Breaking of bow and Ram/Sita and his brothers marriage
  2. Mantra poisoning the mid of kaikeyi and asking Rama t as o be sent to forest.
  3. Ram,Sita,Lakshmana leaving Ayodhya in chariot drawn by Sumantra.
  4.  Sita asking Rama to catch the deer and Rama going and shooting Maricha (deer)
  5. Sita asking Lakshmana to go and look for Ram
  6. Ravana coming and kidnapping Sita and flying in Pushpak viman.
  7. Jatayu trying to save by fighting with Ravana and falling down dead
  8. Ram and Lakshman meeting Jatayu and hearing the story.
  9. Ram,Lakshman meeting Hanuman
  10. Fight between Vali and Sugriva and Vali getting killed. (in this scene we gave a bow to boys in the audience and made them shoot vali)
  11. Hanuman flying over the ocean, encountering the dragon.
  12. Hanuman meeting Sita in Ashoka vanam.
  13. Hanuman flying back and narrating story to Rama.
  14. Rama and Ravana fight (even here boys were given bow to shoot Ravana and pretend they are Rama)
  15. Returning to Ayodhya and Rama’s coronation.
The other scenes from Rama’s birth were narrated to the audience, giving  sufficient time to change to the puppeteers to change the scenes.
 
We did one show at 3pm and then another one at 6pm. But it was such a roaring success that, literally we were dragged to do the third one around 7pm and even after that people came sitting and asking when is the next show. By 7.30 we had to close the shop.
 
Those who came really liked it and commented that they had not seen this before.

SBS News reports Diwali celebrations

SBS coverage of Deepavali celebration in Parramatta

Power to the People Rouse Hill Times

The Rouse Hill community has put up its dancing shoes to celebrate Diwali.

Diwali celebrated in Parramatta

By : Surinder Jain. (Photographs by Vijay Maharaj and Dharmendra Modi)

Hindu Council of Australia celebrated its 20th Diwali at Parramatta Park on 3rd and 4th November 2018. Saturday the 3rd was marked by Sri Sitarama Kalyanam and Ram Lila while Sunday the 4th was Sri Sitarama Pattabhishekam, Ram Lila, Ravan Dehan and fire works.

Sri Sitarama being welcomed back on the temple stage

The event attended by about 30-40,000 people was inaugurated by Mayor of Parramatta Lord Andrew Wilson. Prime Minister of Commonwealth of Australia Scott Morrison, Premier of NSW Gladys Berejiklian and many Ministers, shadow Ministers and MPs from both sides of political spectrum were present.

The crowds have just started to arrive

The show like earlier years had rides for children, food from all corners of India, A large Rangoli, many businesses and sponsors. A recipe and cooking competition with vegetarian ingredients was held.

Culture from all parts of India was on display with dance and music performances.

The temple for Sri Sitarama Kalyanam and coronation was very popular with devotees who participated in rituals being conducted with Utsav Murtis by the priests who had come from Bhadrachalam, telangana, India.

Rama Pattabhishekam or Coronation of Lord Rama

One of the other popular draw cards was the sankeertan by Australian Society of Meditation and Yoga. The young western and non-Indian devotees  enchanted the crowds with their melodious voices and guitars, singing the praise of Lord Krishna and Rama.

Sanjeev Bhakri, Prakash Mehta and Scot Morrison

A Diwali Art exhibition with paintings by local artists was held showing Ram, Madhubani and other genre of paintings.

Bottom row : Bharathi R, family of Prime Minister. Upper row: Minister David Coleman, PM Scot Morrison, Julian Leeser MP, Renga Rajan Director, Prakash Mehta President

Children’s rides were very popular. The Prime Minister visiting with his wife and two young daughters visited the area. His children spend lot of time on the rides having a good time.

Ravan Effigy 2018

An 8 meter tall Ravan was erected. A Ram Lila was performed at the stage and Ram Laxman Sita procession moved to the Ravan effigy area. An arrow from Ram started the burning of Ravan and of the fireworks. Thousands of people enjoyed the fireworks. After the show was over and he event concluded, many visitors did not want to leave and are looking forward to next Diwali.

From Left to Right : Manju Nath HSS, Geoff Lee MP, Nihal Agar Director, Surinder Jain National Vice President, Ashwani Jain NSW Secretary, Sai Pravastu Director

 

More photos are available at

The Victory of Truth Over EvilFestival celebration full of live music, cultural performances, food, kids activities -…

Posted by Hindu Council Australia on Monday, 5 November 2018

 

 

 

 

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.

Office goers crowd relishes Diwali in Sydney

By : Surinder Jain.

Hindu Council of Australia celebrated Diwali festival in Martin Place, the heart of Sydney today on 31st October 2018. Martin Place is a pedestrian mall in the central business district of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Office lunch time crowd

Martin Place has been described as the “civic heart” of Sydney. A water fountain is located on the east side of Pitt Street, near the Commonwealth Bank of Australia building. Behind this fountain is an amphitheatre, which features a stage where Diwali was celebrated.

Martin Place Diwali 2018, Crowd gathered to watch cultural performances

This part of Martin Place has been popular with office goers at lunch time and today was no different.  Hundreds of Australian in well dressed office suits thronged the area. Some came and sat down in the amphitheatre biting their lunch while others were just curious onlookers on their way to and back from take away lunch shops to their offices.

Watching Diwali and sinking in the atmosphere

A number of shops with goods ranging from Indian food to Indian handicrafts and various services like banking, real estate added to the charm of the show for onlookers. Diwali ArtSpace exhibition showing a small sample of two paintings was quite popular exposing many Australians to Hindu Art genre for the first time.

Indian Art work and handicrafts

The program consisted of various classical and bollywood dances by emerging and well known dancers in Sydney. The program was busy with people between 12 to 2pm.