ANZAC Day Service 2021

By: Ashwani Jain.

The Australia India Cenotaph Committee (A project of Hindu Council Australia) along with Hornsby RSL Sub Branch, Baulkham Hills Cadet Unit, Hornsby RSL Pipe Band and Hornsby Shire conducted the ANZAC Day service at the ANZAC Jawan Cenotaph on the 18th of April to commemorate the sacrifices made by the ANZAC of Indian origin during WW1.

The ANZAC Jawan Cenotaph was erected in 2018 to celebrate the Armistice Centenary of the ANZAC; to recognize and commemorate the supreme sacrifices of the ANZAC of Indian origin.

The service was started with the mounting of the guards and lowering of the flags followed by the prologue read by George Main President, Hornsby RSL Sub-branch. The Prayer of Thanksgiving, Prayer for the Queen and Prayer for the Nation were presented respectively by Mrs Mala Mehta, President IABBC Hindi School, Parinita Tandon (AIC Committee Member) and Lara Flaksbard and Joe Prendergast, School Captain & Vice-Captain of Cherrybrook Technology High School. The hymn (Abide with me) was sung by all in honour of the ANZACs.

The ANZAC day messages were delivered at the service by Mr Bhagwat Chauhan, President Hindu Council NSW, Mr George Main President Hornsby RSL Sub Branch, Col Virender Sahni (AIC Committee Member), Hon Matt Kean MP Minister for Energy & Environment representing the Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier of NSW, Hon Peter Primrose MLC, Shadow Cabinet Secretary representing the Hon Jodi McKay MP, Leader of the Opposition, Hon Philip Ruddock AO, Mayor of Hornsby Shire Council, Mr Ramanand Garge Director Swami Vivekanand Cultural Centre representing Mr Manish Gupta Consul General of India, Sydney and the Principle Speaker Mr Julian Leeser MP Member for Berowra.

Mr Bhagwat Chauhan linked this memorial with the new generation Australians of Indian origin inspiring them to associate with the history of Australia in his address.

Mr George Main also remembered and paid tribute to the ANZACs of Indian origin for their contribution and valour in WW1.

Col Virender Sahni encouraged the young generation by citing examples from WW1 and the actions of children of that era.

Hon Matt Kean, Member for Hornsby, remembered the sacrifices made by the ANZACs, who never made it back home, which included the Indian soldiers as well.

Hon Peter Primrose, MLC, spoke about the camaraderie and valour displayed by Indian soldiers, and the ‘delay’ in its mention for almost a century.

Julian Leeser, Member for Berowra, talked about how the Victoria Cross was bestowed upon an Indian Soldier, who volunteered four times to go to the front, despite his terrible injuries.

Hon Philip Ruddock AO stated that ‘the sort of society we live in today would not have been possible if the ANZAC were not there to protect it. Australians and Indians fought together for those shared values.

Mr Ramanand Garge also paid tribute to the supreme sacrifices of ANZACs where he talked about ceremonies that commemorate and preserve shared values – an occasion to draw inspiration from the valour of the Indian Soldiers.

Wreaths were laid by the Hornsby RSL Sub-branch, Ex-Servicemen, Hindu Council National & NSW Teams, AICC, Dignitaries, Community Organizations, Students and the general public.

Religious prayers for the Sikh, Christian, Islamic and Hindu faiths were offered by Harbir Singh Bhatia – President of Turramurra Gurudwara -, Rev Michael Deal – Presbyterian Church -, Dr Abdul Noor Aftab – President of Ahmadiya Muslim Association Castle Hill – and Jagdish Trivedi – Gujarati Samaj.

The National Anthems of Australia and India were sung by the students of IABBV Hindi School, conducted by Mr Vinod Rajput. The Ode was read by Mr John Zeller, VP Hornsby RSL Sub-branch followed by a famous Hindi poem ‘Longings of a Flower’ by famous poet Makhanlal Chaturvedi wonderfully recited by IABBV Hindi School student Aditya Paul.

A one-minute silence was observed in honour of the ANZACs followed by the last post played by Kayur Gordham of Cherrybrook Technology High School and the raising of the National Flags. The Lament and Reveille were played by the piper from the Hornsby RSL Pipe Band and Kayur Gordham.

The service was covered by Mr Harmohan Walia (Desi Australia), Mrs Neena Badhwar (Indian Downunder) and Mr Rajesh (Indus Age). The vote of thanks was presented by Ashwani Jain, Secretary of Hindu Council NSW.

The service was concluded by sharing some delicious refreshments sponsored by Bakers Delight and Woolworth (Cherrybrook Village) with all the guests.

The Australia India Cenotaph Committee working team of Mrs Parinita Tandon, Mr Anand Manickam and Mr Birju Bhatt managed the whole service.