Liverpool police community engagement

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By:Somesh Sibal

Liverpool police community engagement program was attended by Somesh Sibal of the Hindu Council of Australia’s Chaplaincy team along with members of about 15 different cultural and religious groups in the area. The program was organised on 29th March 2018 to meet the new Liverpool area commander Superintendent Paul Albury. Paul addressed the attendees. Among the topic discussed how to have healthy community engagement with police with respect to both police and community. 

Liverpool police is currently working on improving protocols to:
 
Greetings:   What are the protocols with greetings each other within the culture (physical proximity and touching)
 
Cultural Influence in Interaction: Are there any religious/cultural practices which may influence the way people interact with police?

 Protocol for entering church/temple: Are there any special considerations when entering church/temple.
 
Protocols in Searching temple/Church:  Is there any protocol to follow in case police need to search the temple/Church, including religious objects such as statues, altar, tabernacle etc.

Role of Religious and community leaders: What is the role of religious and community leaders in case community protests, demonstrations or any other circumstances involving police and community confrontation.
 
Providing Specimens:  Does providing blood samples, body fluid or any other specimens for investigative purposes present problems? Are there any dates or religious significance when we should not approach an individual for an interview?

Team building exercise by Hindu Council

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Hindu Council team had a one day workshop at Swami Narayan Temple today. About 35 office bearers and volunteers attended the meet. The day started with a sumptuous breakfast followed by some team building and mind games. It was followed by presentations and group discussions.

Pad Yatra A pilgrimage walk to temples in NSW Australia

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By Sai Pravastu

Paada.yatra, pilgrimage to the temple by foot has started this time on auspicious #Chaitra #Purnima (full moon day), also known as Chait Purnima, its the Purnima in the #Hindu month of Chaitra. Chaitra Purnima is the first Purnima of the new year after #Ugadi, #Yugadi #GudiPadwa. This day is dedicated to Lord #Chitragupt, the assistant of #Yamaraj, who maintains the records of births and deaths of the whole world.Yatris (walkers) started turning up to Sydney Murugan Temple as early as 5:00 AM and took the #darsana of the deities and offering their prayers in the temple before commencing on the yatra (walk), we begun the yatra at 6:15 AM. brisky #walkers passed through the quite streets of City of Parramatta, Auburn, New South Wales, Homebush, New South Wales, Australia to Strathfield, New South Wales Sai Mandir Sydney. We joined the #Aarthi to #SaiBaba , had a scrumptious breakfast made by Sujatha Koneru and Ravi Bale family. From here a group of 50+ walkers soldiered on towards Sri Venkateswara Temple, Helensburgh, NSW, many of us had the good fortune of participating in the #SriSaiChitraYatra before continuing the walk / before dispersed back home.

We had walkers joining from interstate as usual (1 each from Canberra and Melbourne) It was quite a hot day , as temperatures soared to 35 degrees , but that could not slow down anyone in their pilgrimage , #yatris reached the #como park on banks of King George River around 2PM for lunch , were we had been served a home cooked lunch prepared by Uma Devi Abbineni garu and her friends and some back up provided by Raja Shekar Reddy his famous veggie biryani, after a tough walk , we rested and filled up ourselves and continued the walk towards Heathcote, New South Wales, Australia. #Weather has affected a few walkers who could not complete a portion of the walk in the afternoon and were looked after by our volunteer crew.

Sujatha garu, Santosh Vanka and their family has looked after the yatris with scrumptious dinner which made us all forget the challenges of the walk and sleep well. Sujatha garu and their family has been looking after the dietary needs of this #April PAADA YATRA – walking group since it has begun in April 2011. As a matter of fact , Uma Devi Abbineni garu, Shakunthala gar and their group of #sakis (sorry for not being able to name them all here) but they are always ready for the task to cook #breakfast for hundreds of us coming to Sri Sai Mandir in the morning. They cater for all who come to the temple, Raja Shekar Reddy as always preparing backup food whenever we are short of , at a short notice. blessed are these selfless volunteers without whom we would stumble in the whole process, we would like to addresses these people #Annapuranas and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts on behalf of all. That brings me to the next important group of volunteers who are always around us during every step of the walk, hydrating, energizing, nursing and motivating all along the way. Pavan Joshi lead the group in the morning, supported by Narasimha Rao Yerramsetty for the first leg of the walk, the experience of Bimal H Joshi, Nehru and Ravin Reddy has made sure they have motivated every new walker in finishing the #yatra to Sai Mandir Sydney. The afternoon charge was lead by Nehru and Ravinder. They distributed over 700 bottles of water , 200 packs of coconut water and one kind walker has sponsored mango lassi and salted lassi (yougurt drink) and another volunteer provide. We are blessed to have such a wonderful team with us who not only support in this initiative, but help it to grow stronger each year, and passing it on to the younger generations.

Another Successful Event… We couldn’t have done it without you #yatris. Despite being a long weekend, early start on a hot day, we had a good strength of #yatris, many new faces young and old. We are growing in numbers year after year, this walk was named as #WalkforEquality and #WomensDay and this year it also covered Sri Sai Chitra Yatra 100th year #Shathabdi of Sai Baba’s #Mahasamadhi. Rao Abbineni and Murali Krishna Koneru have organised a #Chitra #Yatra starting last year on #Vijayadashami (Dussehra) and will be completing this year on #Vijayadasham i.e. in October

Letsgive Hope organises this #walk with all formalities, under the auspice of Hindu Council Australia We would like to thank event registration team at NSW Premier’s department, RMS for Road Occupancy, Approval’s from various Councils, and NSW Police.

Samir Vyas Sanjeev Bhakri ISKCON Temple, North Sydney Minto Temple Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh-Sydney Shoba Deshikan Ramyavaran Vasu Manju Mittal Sameer Pandey Neelima Paravastu Sri Karphaga Vinayakar Temple Sri Mandir Jay Raman Renga Rajan Jyothi Reddy Arshanapalli Susai Benjamin Indu Harikrishna Anagan Babu Ramia Janardhanan Jyothi Ma Little Musicians Australia Paul McKenzie Akila Ramarathinam Aruna Chandrala
We hope to see you all again in our next walk!
Team @ paada yatra

HCA joins hands with Strathfield Council for a Diwali Art Exhibition

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Hindu Council (HCA) has been approached by Strathfield council via our website. The Council said that it would like to run an Indian Art exhibition, hopefully in the theme of Diwali between Thursday, 8 November – Tuesday, 20 November 2018. The council has  a professional art hanging system at High St Library and wants to showcase local artists displaying their paintings on the theme of Diwali. Our media team member Akhil Verma met Kati Angelides, Community Services Officer, Strathfield Council to finalize the same.

Hindu council will be sourcing artists from within our community to show case their work on the theme of Diwali. We may also approach main stream art schools introducing them to Diwali and asking them to produce art work. The artists works will be displayed on a professional art hanging system at High St Library and they can sell or auction their work as well.

Hindu council is on the look out for artists who can produce high quality work related to Diwali theme in the art exhibition. If you are an artist or if you know such an artist, please send their details to Ajoy Ghosh our National Cultural Secretary, Ashwani Jain NSW secretary or to Akhil Verma both of whom will be coordinating this event on Hindu Council’s behalf. They can be contacted either directly or through our contact us page by [clicking here].

Hindu Council announces Winners of Gargi Woman Award 2018

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The winners of Gargi Woman Award were announced today.

The winners of 2018 Gargi Woman Award are :

1. Jacinta Tobin – Service to her Aboriginal Community

2. June Bullivant – Academic Research

3. Dr Meenakshi Srinivasan – Educationist

4. Anju Kalra – Dementia Consultant

5. Jayanthi Ramnan – Carer Service

6. Poornima Sharama – Performer

7. Paramita Roy – Film Producer

In a function held as part of Parramasala festival in Sydney, Hindu council of Australia announced the winners of Gargi Woman Award at a function held to celebrate International Women’s Day 2018.

The event was attended by Deputy Lord Mayor Michelle Garrard, Federal MP Julie Owens, Federal MP Michelle Rowland, State MP for Parramatta Geoff Lee, State MP Julia Finn, State MP for Strathfield Jodi McKay, councillor Reena Jethi, councilor Sameer Pandey and councilor Suman Saha.

In this celebration, Hindu Council of Australia also recognized a young riser Pallavi Sinha and lifelong community service provided by Ms Akila Ramiratnam, Saraswathi Shashi and Amitha Saxena for their services to teach our languages, culture and religion to young students.

State of Teaching Hinduism in NSW Australia

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By Vijai Singhal and Surinder Jain (Hindu Council of Australia) 1st March 2018

Apart from various temples and organizations running their own religious and scripture classes, Hinduism is being taught in primary and secondary Schools.

At Primary School level (SRE) – An hour of class time is allowed in state schools per week to teach about religion. The subject is called Special religious Education (SRE). In the state of NSW, this SRE education is provided in some schools by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and in some others by Chinmaya Mission. Saiava Manram provides SRE of Saiva Manram faith in some of the Tamil schools. In total about 70-80 schools out of 2200 Primary State schools in NSW have Hinduism SRE teachers. Each of the education providers (e.g. VHP, Chinmaya, Saiva) have their own Syllabus and their own teaching material.

From 2018, the department has insisted that ” a formal syllabus, vetting of teachers identity, working with children check, training of teachers, a formal complain making and handling mechanism are put in place and made mandatory “. Both VHP and Chinmaya Mission have developed their own syllabus and teaching material. They are required to put up the syllabus on their web sites, VHP syllabus for years 1 to 6 is at http://vhp.org.au/content/hindu-scripture-classes and Chinmaya mission for years K-10 is at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1JV8vg1-bK3rIZzotDHNL3Beu7kfathKi.

Hindus in Australia need to develop a common syllabus for teaching Hinduism as SRE in primary schools.

The department of education provides the class room full of students and it is up to SRE providers (religious organizations) to provide teachers, teaching material etc. The department does not provide any wages or training to these teachers.  Almost all of the teachers are working on voluntary basis paying for their own travel expenses and teaching material like photo copying etc.

Hindu in Australia need to find a way to fund these providers and the teachers.

At Secondary Education level – in NSW we have 2 Unit Study of Religions course in Secondary schools. Hindu Council was consulted in framing the original syllabus. This course covers 5 major religions, Hinduism is one of them. The course material is prepared by Cambridge University Press. We have seen lots of misrepresentation about Hinduism in that material. In last 2-3 years HCA have had discussions with Cambridge Uni Press officials to make changes to the material. With great difficulty HCA could achieve some changes but they pointed out to us that they have to follow the syllabus in preparing the material. e.g. in this, the main emphasis is always linked with the Hindu caste System –  like Hindu Ethics according to different castes.

Hindus in Australia need to develop their own authoritative teaching texts on Hinduism.

The Federal Govt had set up ACARA – Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority to set common syllabus for all different Australian States. At the moment all Sates follow their own syllabi. Prof Jayaraman and Vijai Singhal from HCA had attended some of the meetings of ACARA about teaching of religion. Religion is not going to be a separate subject like the NSW “Study of Religions” subject but is a part of teaching of History.

Brisbane Buddhist temple appreciates Hindu Council

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A Buddhist temple in Brisbane appreciates Hindu Council of Australia (HCA)’s presence at their annual Multi-Faith prayer for peace and harmony. Mr Surendra Prasad has been attending this event every year for the last 6 years on behalf of HCA.

Hindu Council releases a Multi-faith Music CD

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Hindu Council of Australia – Release of Multi-faith Music CD

The Hindu Council of Australia organised a Multi-faith Music CD Release function from 4pm till 6.00pm on Saturday 1 July 2017 at Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre in Canberra. The theme of the program was “Theology and Music”.

The music CD was produced by Mr Divyanshu Pota who recorded music from five separate traditions: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and Hindu.

Master of Ceremonies Mr Thamo Sri Tharan introduced the program and asked Mr Prakash Mehta to welcome all guests on behalf of the Hindu Council of Australia ACT Branch and Dr Himanshu Pota to speak on the theme.

The program commenced with a prayer by Mr Lakshman Prasad and the lighting of lamp by the leaders of the various faiths present:The Most Rev Christopher Prowse Archbishop of Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn; Mr Hasib Khan of Canberra Islamic Centre; Mr Greg O’Rourke of Tibetan Buddhist Centre;and Sri Prachar of Sri Chinmoy Centre. Leaders of other faith leaders present were: Mr Bill Arnold of the Jewish Community (being Sabbath he remained silent); Ms Shahnaz Kouhbor (Baha’i); Mr Amardeep Singh (Sikh); Ashok Jain (Jain); Dr Pal Dhall (Satya Sai); and Mr Lhakpa Tshoko (representative of His Holiness the Delai Lama for Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia).

Speakers amplified the role of music and presented music from their faiths providing further evidence of commonality and its transcendent nature.

Canberra Hindi School children Setu, Sanjana, Holi-jai, Isha, Priyanshi and Shivam sang a song in Hindi and Mr Yash Agasti played a favourite hymn of Mahatma Gandhi “Vaishnava Jan To Tene Kahiye” on key board.

Mrs Ira Patkar of the Mudrakar Kathak Dance School presented a classical Kathak Dance.

After Mr Santosh Gupta presented the vote of thanks the program concluded with a universal prayer sung by Mr Manish Chopra and his daughter Gauriof the Divine Life Society.

Attendees applauded the initiative by the Hindu Council on selecting a topic that provided a fresh insight on Religion and Faith. The gathering ended notingthat music can and does create good bonding and togetherness among the faiths of the world.

The meeting concluded with vegetarian refreshments and a meet and greet session.

 

 

 

 

Indian Link Newspaper, HARSHAD PANDHARIPANDE reports on Hindu Council

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Indian Link Newspaper, HARSHAD PANDHARIPANDE reports
Hindu Council to felicitate women achievers – HCA launches the Gargi Awards for role models in various fields. [Read More…]

VIC 2017 Report

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HINDU COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA (VICTORIA) REPORT CARD 2017

 

  1. HCA continues to actively participate in the Multifaith Advisory Group to the Premier of Victoria which meets on a quarterly basis. The visibility of HCA in this group is important and is now well recognised. The lamb meat ad was debated in this meeting, the video was played during the meeting and Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Chair Helen Kapalos has promised to take up the matter personally with Advertising Bureau Director. The outcome of this meeting is awaited.

with Premier Daniel Andrews

  1. HCA continues to consolidate its position with Spiritual Health Victoria and attended a recent AGM where HCA has voting rights. SHV continues to fund HCA for about $18000 per annum towards providing chaplaincy in the health care system since 2015. This is a prestigious role for HCA as a Hindu organisation which we are proud of. There is an ongoing challenge in this area for getting the voluntary chaplains accredited as per the new guidelines issued by SHV in 2016. At this stage all the working chaplains from ISKCON are now accredited. Due to the sad demise of previous Director of HCA Mr AbhayAwasthi, the Hindu Foundation which he was running for last several years is now folded and dissolved as there was no one to look after the activities after his death. All the assets of Hindu Foundation are now acquired by SankatMochanSamiti, an upcoming temple in Melbourne. Consequently all the voluntary Hindu Chaplains who were working under Hindu Foundation but supported by HCA for funding are now under SankatMochan. There has been a resistance from this batch of volunteers to get the accredition work completed. This issue is now expected to be resolved by end of the year.
  2. HCA has also made inroads into Chaplaincy with Corrections Victoria. HCA was informed that there are about 39 Hindu prisoners in the system out of which 5-6 were actively looking for chaplaincy support. This area also faces challenges due to linguistic issues and a request was made for a Tamil chaplain. With the help of VHP Victoria, HCA has managed to get to Hindu Tamil speaking chaplains to commence this voluntary work. This is a potential area where in future HCA can approach the government for funding agreement but at the moment the numbers are low.

4.HCA actively participated in a series of meetings and discussions with several multifaith representatives to defend the integrity of the Racial Discrimination Act to ensure that the vulnerable are protected from hate speech and vilification based on race and religion. As a result of this submission the Federal Government’s proposal to dilute the RDA was shot down in the parliament.

5.HCA has established an ongoing relationship now with the Federal Greens leader Sen Richard De Natale and his office. Senator’s office is increasingly getting engaged in the multicultural community and HCA is a part of this engagement as a Hindu organisation in Victoria.

Greens Senator Richard De Natale

6.HCA successfully hosted its first interfaith event on the occasion of “VarshPratipada” inviting all faith representatives to speak about the concept and philosophy of New Year in their religion. Keynote speech for Hindu religion was by Dr Jayant Bapat and other representatives were Dr Helen Light from Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Susanne Haake from Bahaai community, Jasbir Singh Suropada from Sikh Interfaith Council, Rev Sharon Hollis from Uniting Church, Bishop Paul Barker from Anglican Diocese, Rev. Ian Smith from Victorian Council of Churches. Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Commissioner Mr Chidambaram Srinivasan summarised the event.

  1. HCA also actively participated in the debate over the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill in the Victorian Parliament and was a signatory to a joint statement issued by the multifaith group to the Dy. Premier of Victoria Mr James Malino requesting him to withdraw the legislation. Currently this legislation is in the upper house and HCA was a part of a discussion group with Senator Simon Ramsay, who along with 4 other senators are potentially vote against this legislation in the upper house.

HCA along with other faith members on Victorian Parliament steps with Dy Premier James Merlino handing over the multi-faith statement on Voluntary Assisted Dying

  1. Diwali was celebrated at the Victorian Parliament for the 4th year in a row and HCA was actively involved in this celebration together with BAPS and 16 other participating organisations.
  2. Earlier in June this year, HCA raised the issue of conflict of interest within the parivar organisation. A meeting to discuss and sort out this matter was organised during Swami Vigyanandji’s visit to Melbourne. After a lot of persuation, a working document was prepared and agreed upon on how to address various activities within HCA , VHP , and HOTA. HCA looks forward to a meaningful outcome in implementing this framework within the coming months. (See separate document)
  3. HCA participated with other organisations in celebrating International Yog Day where about 150 persons participated.
  4. During the recent visit of Man Manmohanji and Man Soumitraji , HCA together with HSS organised a program “Bharatnama- The idea of India” which was well attended and well received by the community.
  5. HCA enjoys ongoing representation on Faith Community Council of Victoria, which is an apex inter-faith organisation in Melbourne. Due to this ongoing presence HCA has developed close relationship with Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Victorian Council of Churches, Sikh Interfaith Council, Islamic Council of Victoria to name a few.
  6. The biggest challenge in Melbourne is to network HCA with the HOTA members and the working document prepared in October is expected to be a basis for working towards this goal.
  7. HCA is now at a stage in terms of its visibility to other community organisation, where a small team must be put in place and steps are being taken to identify persons to form a small team and is expected to be known by December 2017 or early 2018.

 

Makarand Bhagwat

Director, Victoria Chapter

20 November 2017

[Read more…]