Sanya returns to school waking us to demand religious freedom in schools

Press Release – Hindu Council demands Freedom of and From Religion in faith based schools

You may be aware that a Hindu girl studying in a Catholic school in Perth was asked to remove her nose stud as it violated school uniform policy. Parents of the girl and then Hindu Council of Australia told the school that a nose stud is an item of religious significance and is obligatory.

The school however did not relent. Hindu Council of Australia took up the matter with archbishop of Perth. We got an acknowledgement of our letter but did not hear any thing further after that. The school went on its own spree to interpret Hinduism which was strongly objected to by Hindu Council.

Hindu Council then took up the matter with Catholic education in Sydney and were assured that the matter is being discussed and has not been forgotten. Hindu Council made an appeal to Minister of Education WA to frame rules for religious freedom of students of other faiths in faith based schools. Many other Hindu groups in Perth have also been pursuing the issue.

Finally, today, six weeks after missing her school, Sanya has finally started going to her school. While we are happy that Sanya is back in her school, we urge the school to do the extra yard to help her with the missed six weeks of her education.

Hindu Council of Australia salutes the steadfastness of Sanya and her mother and is planning to award them as they make a good role model for young girls growing up in Australia.

While Sanya is back and busy with her studies, our fight for religious freedom in faith based school has just begun. Hindu Council of Australia wants a freedom of religion for students, employees and teachers of other faiths in faith based schools. We demand state and federal education minsters, state and federal multi cultural ministers and parliaments to pass laws granting freedom of religion in faith based schools :

  1. Each faith based school should make public its policy for students, employees and teachers of other faiths.
  2. Those of other faiths in faith based school should not be coerced to convert, should not be asked to hide their religious identity, should be clearly told that their participation in religious services is optional and non-participation will not be viewed negatively.
  3. Faith of an applicant should not be a reason to refuse admission or employment, to refuse promotion or participation in school.
  4. Faith based schools must admit a certain percentage of students, employees, teachers of other faiths so that students while learning about their own religion, do not grow without contact with students and people of other faiths, cultures, orientation and backgrounds.


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APRO condemns Christchurch incident

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The Hindu Council of Australia condemns the massacre of innocent victims at prayer in the two Mosques at Christchurch yesterday.

Wilful and planned acts of violence against people of any faith, race and belief is hateful and inhuman. The world must act against whoever and wherever they are.

We pray for the bereaved families and friends of those who we have lost and that the injured may quickly be restored to good health.

Prakash Mehta
National President
Hindu Council of Australia

16 March 2019

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The oldest Jain temple in Pakistan

By: Wali Imran Khalil.

200 BC Greek City SirKap Pakistan is designed like Islamabad


SirKap is the only Greek city in the Indo Pakistan Subcontinent from the Greco-Bactrian times.


Taxila city, which is synonymous with SirKap, has been mentioned by Greek philosopher Apollonius of Tyana of 1st Century AD as resembling Athens and Nineveh (Greek colony in present day Iraq).


Even a Chinese traveler of early times talked of this city being strategically located at the cross roads of trade between India, China, Central Asia and Persia.

‘Bhir’ was the native city near the SriKap site that was sacked by Alexander of Macedonia in 326 BC


Following Alexander’s (The son of Zeus’s) footsteps, Demetrius sacked the town again in 180 BC and laid foundation of SirKap city.

Jain Temple

Demetrius styled the city on Athens.

The imposing castle of Asoka (304-232BC) still overlooks the city.

The Greek took over Asoka’s Buddhist Kingdom and melded into it.


Indo-Greek Menander in 130 BC increased various sectors of SirKap. A Greek styled temple (Jandial) was built outside the 30 foot walls of SirKap, complete with its front Columns. Inside the walled city were syncretic temples of Jain, Sun worshipers, Hindus, Buddhists.

There was Persian Gondophares’s double headed eagle temple and a huge sun dial. The King had his royal court at the opposite end of the main boulevard.


The city had its own water channels, drainage, wells, market place, barracks’, and residential colonies.


One illegal excavator approached me with coins of Kushan period and said that very recently bronze statues and utensils were dug out by locals. The private archeological collection of locals is a lot more valuable than what is in the Taxila Government museum.


SirKap was destroyed by a great earth quake in the 40 AD and then taken over by the mysterious ‘European looking’ central Asian Kushan’ (Yuezhi)


A rival city, SirSukh was built a few kilometers away by the Kushan. SirSukh has yet to be completely excavated.


Buddhist monasteries like Jaulian, Maura Muradu, Badalpur, etc. dotted the higher grounds around SirKap

The city was probably abandoned in the White Huns invasion of 5th century BC


Standing in the middle of the sun dial of SirKap, it made perfect sense to me that Demetrius located this modern city on higher ground protected by the Indus & Jehlum River on both flanks, and by mountains from the North.

I always wondered where the pencil Greek nose, light eyes, blond hair and widely hedonistic traits in some Pakistani families comes from.


Well now I know — from the Turkish Greek Border!

Do enjoy the video of Taxilla and its Surrounding Buddhist sites.

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Gargi Woman Manju Jain Verma, NSW

Winner of Gargi Woman Award 2019 – Community Service

Manju Jain Verma, NSW

  • A scientist, academic and clinician, Dr. Manju has earned her PhD in Ocular immunology from UNSW whilst being a specialist in ophthalmology.
  • Abandoning a promising academic career at home, bringing up children, clearing the 14 exams to be allowed to practice, financial constraints, having to leave behind the young family (travelling overseas for community work), Dr. Verma has been able to tackle all the curve balls life has thrown at her.
  • Undertaken numerous ophthalmology projects in India since 1997. Currently building a charitable eye hospital in Bhaghpat,35kmfrom the capital city Delhi.

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Gargi Woman Mittu Gopalan, NSW

Winner of Gargi Woman Award 2019 – Performing Arts

Mittu Gopalan, NSW

  • A successful lawyer, managing a business and legal firm (Freedman and Gopalan).
  • Mittu finds time for her passion, the arts taking pride for pursuing it, and helping the community all the way.
  • Conducted a painting exhibition in November 2017 at Sydney.

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Gargi Woman Dr. Chandrika Subramaniyan, NSW

Winner of Gargi Woman Award 2019 – Language & Culture

Dr. Chandrika Subramaniyan,  NSW

  • A multi-faceted personality, who is a key contributor in the field of education since 1988 across organizations in Australia and the south-east Asian countries.
  • Also, Dr. Chandrika is a renowned media and judicial consultant and advisor
  • She is a seasoned educator, mentor and motivator of sub-continent community especially for the Indian and Sri Lankan Tamils.
  • A highly commended person in the field of education and cultural development, recipient of numerous accolades by governments, organizations and institutions.

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Gargi Woman Harita Mehta, NSW

Winner of Gargi Woman Award 2019 – Journalism

Harita Mehta, NSW

  • A hardworking individual who has received numerous accolades from Indian and international organizations, and an active volunteer at IllawarraMulticultural Services.
  • She has helped refugees kick start their small businesses, and trains small groups on soft skill. Harita also runs an NGO in India, the Harita Kala Vrund to help women be self-reliant.
  • She is a person with can do attitude and never lose hope, propagating the same through her profound articles on sensitive issues like domestic violence against male and female in Indian diaspora in Australia

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Gargi Woman Kamala (Nayni) Sharma-Wing

Winner of Gargi Woman Award 2019 – Defence Police Fire Emergency services

Kamala (Nayni) Sharma-Wing, ACT

Kamala is an impressive young Naval officer and an active member of the Royal Australian Navy’s intercultural Diversity Reference group

Works to see genuine diversity and inclusion reflected within the Defence, Nayni has been a positive influence at the workplace.

Collected more than 5 tons of quality items and medicines, opened doors within Nepal to distribute the donated goods in a timely manner.
Her contribution to the reference groups has shaped policies to assist Navy become a more diverse and inclusive organisation where people from differing cultures, all faiths can work cooperatively and respectfully together.

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Hindu Council submission on treatment of Hindu students in Catholic schools

Hindu Council of Australia has made a submission to Western Australian Education Minister MLC Sue Ellery on their concerns about treatment of Hindu students in a Catholic school in Perth. The submission suggests transparency in school policies, restriction on interpreting other faiths, interfaith forums to communicate with each other and a law to provide religious freedom to students of other faiths in all faith based schools. The submission is enclosed below :

Hon Sue Ellery MLC
Minister for Education and Training
Government of Western Australia
I am glad to know that your department has agreed to investigate the case of a Hindu student studying in a Catholic school who has not been allowed to wear a nose stud despite the school being told that this is an essential religious item.
Hindu Council of Australia had taken up the case with the school Principal and with the Archbishop of Perth but after some initial response, we do not hear anything from them. Hindu Council would like to make a submission to you regarding this case which is as follows :
1. School should declare its Policy on non-Catholic students and employees
– Each faith based school should declare its policy on how it treats students and employees of other faiths. School should declare its policy on whether and what non-christian religious symbols can be worn by non-christian students in their school. The policy should clearly state which religious components of school education are optional and which are mandatory.
2. Who can determine and interpret a religion.
– for example what is an obligatory item of religious significance.
– no religion should sit in judgement of what is essential to adherents of other religions. No one outside a religion should sit in judgement on what is essential to that religion. A faith based school can not sit in judgement on matters of religion of students of other faiths. Hindu Council of Australia’s judgement of what constitutes an essential Hindu practice should be accepted by the school.
3. School policy should not be a bar to diversity
– schools and its rules should encourage and not be a bar for entry of students of other faiths as well as students of other cultures, backgrounds and persuasions.
4. Each religion’s religious body should declare its essential icons
– including items that students can wear on them and such a list be agreed upon in Interfaith forums and then made available to school principals as first reference. Hindu Council of Australia has started this consultation process and will soon publish a list on its web site. A Nose Ring during puberty and Janaue a scared thread for boys during their education right of passage definitely find their place in this list. Janaue becomes an issue when students attend swimming lessons or other physical education which requires them to remove their tops.
5. The state should pass a law that no faith based school can coerce its students or employees of other faith to convert or to participate in the school’s religious programs and services.
– The school must inform its students and employees of other faiths that religious programs are optional for them and non-attendance will not be viewed negatively.
If you wish, we will be happy to make a more detailed submission.
Surinder Jain
Director and National vice President
Hindu Council of Australia

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