Dowry abuse submission by Hindu Council of Australia

On 26 June 2018, the Senate of Australia (Upper house of Parliament) referred the practice of dowry and the incidence of dowry abuse in Australia to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 6 December 2018. The committee’s focus is on the broad issues raised in the terms of reference of the inquiry with a focus on explore the nature of dowry as a cultural practice, and the adequacy of current Australian policy settings and legal frameworks regarding dowry and dowry abuse.

Hindu Council of Australia has made a submission to the Committee.

A large number of submissions have been made and all of them can be viewed at

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Legal_and_Constitutional_Affairs/DowryAbuse/Submissions

HINDU COUNCIL SUBMISSION

www w.hinducouncil.com.au | Phone: 1300 HINDUS Fax: (02) 8208 9810| ACN 082 437 670
Head office: 17 The Crescent, Homebush, NSW 2140, AUSTRALIA
Hindu Council of Australia
Submission to Senate Inquiry into Dowry Abuse in Australia

Hindu Council of Australia (HCA) is a peak body organisation founded in 1998 with an aim to
preserve, promote and share Hindu religious values and culture in Australia. Since HCA was
founded, it has been acting as a representative of the Hindu community in Australia in dealing with
the federal, state and local governments, apart from reaching out to other Hindu organisations
and institutions.

Currently Hindu Council of Australia has established chapters in all the mainland states of Australia
and forty-two Hindu associations located in all states, are member of the HCA.
HCA is pleased to provide submission to this inquiry as follows:

1. The single largest cause of spouse mistreatment is due to the Australian immigration
processes. The processes are opaque and totally controlled by the sponsoring spouse. Admittedly
all the information is available online but as can be clearly seen it is not adequate for the spouses
who get trapped between a mistreating spouse and immigration procedures.

Our first strong submission is that once a marriage is verified to be legal:

(a) the migrating spouse
gets full and complete information about the sponsoring spouse,

(b) the migrating spouse is given
an option (probably for a small fee) to have a one-on-one consultation with a representative of
the High Commission or the Embassy about their legal rights, and

(c) the rights of the migrating spouse should be the same as the sponsoring spouse.

We again reiterate that the opacity, behaviour, and the processes of the department of
immigration is the single most important factor in the mistreatment of migrating spouses.

2. Unfortunately some Australian media have displayed a propensity towards Hindu bashing. In
the past HCA had to pursue several misreporting by the SBS with the tribunal. Dowry is not a part
of core Hindu beliefs and does not find any mention in the authentic Scriptures. The practice of
dowry is further confined to only a few communities in India. All the reform movements in India,
including HCA, are against the practice of dowry and no one will be more pleased than us if this
ugly practice disappears.

Our second strong submission is that please don’t make this Senate Enquiry a Hindu bashing
exercise. We say this because the setting of the enquiry draws heavily from ABC and SBS reporting
and please let that not colour the proceedings of the enquiry.

3. The role of the Hindu clergy is limited to performing rituals. If the clergy has any influence it is
due to their personal relationship with the community and not as clergy. A Hindu priest in general
has no role in family matters and especially in these complex matters that involve immigration
processes and family history.
 
Our third submission is that the Hindu Clergy be considered for what it is: responsible for rituals
and worship and not for any role within the family.

4. The frequent reference to Manu Smriti is baffling for us. Independent India made its own laws
with scant regard to Manu Smriti. Most of us hear about Manu Smriti the first time from the news
reports that have an anti-Hindu agenda. We say this because all the journalists know well that the
parts of Manu Smriti they quote are obsolete and find no connection with the present Hindu
society.

Our fourth submission is that the Hindu community in Australia is fully committed to the lawmaking
process in Australia and we will assist in whatsoever manner to make laws that prevent
spouse abuse. Please don’t get distracted by the journalists and “social” scientist with anti-Hindu
agenda. Hindus are fully committed to the laws of the land, no exceptions. We are confident of
pursuing our religion and culture and thriving in every society that makes its laws in a democratic
manner.

5. Male domination in any society is due to the poor education of women. In the Indian state of
Kerala, with almost hundred per cent education, there is a complete gender equality in the society.
In the regions with poor women education, the situation is the opposite. Indian women are taking
up education at a record rate, more than fifty per cent of students in professional courses in India
are now women.

Our fifth and final submission is that let the male domination theme be not used to run down our
culture and religion. We are working extremely hard to overcome our historical deficiencies. Hindu
bashing will be detrimental to this effort. The best way to correct gender power imbalance is to
encourage educated women to help other women and yet preserve the wonderful family structure
that the Indian society has created.

We look forward to cooperating with the Australian Parliament in making laws and establishing
processes which prevent the abuse of one human by another.

Thanks for giving us this opportunity to make our submission. We will be happy to make an inperson
presentation to the committee.

Kind Regards
Prakash Mehta
National President
Hindu Council of Australia, Email:
Mobile number: 17 August,
2018
Page 2 of 2
The practice of dowry and the incidence of dowry abuse in Australia
Submission 57

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Nominate a woman for Gargi Award

Click here to find out more about Gargi Award and to nominate someone for the award. Self nominations are encouraged.

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Vedic woman – Where is She?

The Vedic Woman: Who Was She and Will She Return? After scouring the internet for hours, what I found left me seriously F R U S T R A T E D.

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The Indian-Australian millennials

ABC’s religion and ethics unit have published a story on why Indian-Australian millennials are choosing to have arranged marriages. Read about it here.

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Take a Poll on Dowry – Have your say

Do you say NO to Dowry?

View Results

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Shakti initiative of Hindu American Foundation

Hindu American Foundation. www.hafsite.org. HAF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Namaste

WELCOME TO THE SHAKTI INITIATIVE!


Many years ago, I was invited to speak on a panel about women and religion. Armed with my senior thesis from undergrad — The Vedic Woman: Who Was She and Will She Return? — I was able to quickly pull together a long list of stories and scriptural quotes to bolster my own experience of finding strength and inspiration in Hindu teachings as a Hindu woman.

After the panel, a number of intrigued audience members approached me for online sources that they could read to learn more.  

I promised I’d get back to them. The truth is, I never did.

After scouring the internet for hours, what I found left me seriously F R U S T R A T E D.

There were the websites that were politically or religiously motivated — brimming with stereotypes and outright lies. They took scriptural quotes out of context and juxtaposed them with social evils afflicting women of all backgrounds in India to paint the ugly picture they sought to promote.  

Others were academic in nature, plagued with the same exoticizing and eroticizing with which we’re sadly all too familiar.

And then there were the well meaning, but confused ones where social customs and even wives’ tales were being passed off as religious mandates.

Frustration, however, can be a pathway to one of two things — anger or innovation.  

At HAF we’re fans of the latter.

And so —  on these auspicious first days of Gupt Navaratri — we welcome you to the Shakti Initiative: An accessible, online exploration of Hindu teachings about and by women the contributions of Hindu women throughout history; and the role both women and men play in bringing to fruition solutions that are grounded in Hindu teachings to address critical contemporary issues.  

My deepest hope for the Shakti Initiative when it was only a seed of an idea was that the life stories and contributions of some of the most remarkable women history has ever seen would inspire both women and men to get reacquainted with and reassert, in many facets of life where we have fallen short, the balance and harmony our traditions advocate for between the feminine and masculine.  

In turn, women and men will renew their commitment to work together to alleviate the suffering that has uniquely and disproportionately affected women in our society, and support one another so that all have access to their highest potential.  

In a small way, my hope is already manifesting.  

When I first proposed the idea at our National Team meet several years ago, nearly every hand shot up, either in support of the project or to join the Shakti writing team. Not only that, we’ve gotten new volunteers — young and not as young — who upon hearing about the project, have contributed articles, and are working on new ones as I write this.  

We hope you enjoy the Shakti Initiative as much as we have been inspired by it.    

We’ve got a lot up already, and a lot more planned, so visitwww.shaktiinitiative.org often.

Jai Mata Di and Happy Navaratri!

Best,

Suhag Shukla

HAF Executive Director

P.S. Would you like us to write about a Hindu woman of note? Interview a swamini known to you? Uncover the reason behind a tradition centered around women? Send us your suggestions at shakti@hafsite.org.  

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Albury Wodonga Hindus produce “That Girl”

Albury Wodonga are two twin towns in Australia on the New South Wales-Victoria state border, separated by Murray river. It has a significant population of Hindus from Indian and from Bhutan. About 60 members of the local Bhutanese and Indian communities got together to produce a Bollywood-style dance and song titled That Girl. The song has a message about respecting women and includes a verse in Hindi. This is perhaps one of the first art production by an Indian/Bhutanese group from a country (rural) town in Australia.

The project is the brainchild of Melbourne-based songwriter and Community Music Victoria’s diversity coordinator Sarah Mandie. Ms Mandie said it about giving the community the confidence to talk about violence against women and girls. She said the aim was to give women and girls more confidence to stand up for themselves and call out disrespectful behaviour. It also encouraged people in the community to help each other, and connect with health and support services if in need.

 

Watch the video here.

[Click here to read more about it ….]

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Dowry abuse in Australia – Senate orders an inquiry

By:Surinder Jain.

Do you say NO to Dowry?

View Results

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SBS and some independent film producers have recently produced films on the deplorable dowry system prevalent in some parts of India and resulting violence against women. Armed with that evidence, on 26th June the Australian Senate referred the provisions of the practice of dowry and the incidence of dowry abuse in Australia to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 6 December 2018

All Hindus condemn the incidences of dowry demand, it has no sanction in religion or in the constitution or law. What is your experience with dowry? Have you in the past five years come across an incidence of a dowry demand with someone you know in Australia. Has there been any violence involved.

Financial coercion, emotional abuse and even physical violence in marriage relations is rampant across many groups. It would be a fallacy to say that there was no domestic violence in Australia until Hindus arrived.

We hope that the senate committee does a good job and eradicates financial coercion and resulting violence from Australian Hindu society for ever. We support this effort fully and whole heatedly.

But it would have been far better if the senate had a more ambitious target of eradicating gender related financial demands, coercion and violence among all Australians, not just dowry among Indians or Hindus, not just for financial demands but for any reasons whatsoever.

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Take a Quiz on Hindu Symbols and Icons

Check your knowledge of Hinduism

Take a Quiz on Hinduism Symbols and Icons

Please enter your email:

1. A Toran is a decoration hanging at the front door of a home and can be made out of any one of the following (you can tick more than one)

 
 
 
 

2. Hindus apply a Tilak on their foreheads to express their devotion? Yes/No

 
 

3. Upnayana is a rite of passage to mark adolescence? Yes/No

 
 

4. Conch shells are used in Hindu worship as a trumpet?

 
 

5. How many number of cotton wicks can be put into the oil and lighted for an aarti lamp?

 
 
 
 

6. All other Yantras are derived from Sri Chakra Yantra?

 
 

7. Rudraksha beads represent tears of which God?

 
 
 
 

8. Who is the vehicle or mount of Lord Ganesha?

 
 
 
 

9. A Vermilion red colour Bindi signifies that the woman is married? Yes/No

 
 

10. What is the difference between clockwise and anti-clockwise versions of swastika?

 
 
 

11. What is the usual number of beads in a Hindu Japa Mala?

 
 
 
 

12. What is the  purpose of performing aarti and the waving of lighted wicks before the deities?

 
 
 
 

13. A Hindu can not apply a Tilak to a non-Hindu? Yes/No

 
 

14. While a Tilak can be applied at various parts of the body, Bindi must be applied only in between the eyes? Yes/No

 
 

15. How many strands of thread does a Janaeu or Yajnopavit has?

 
 
 
 

16. Aum is a representation of Brahma God out of three God heads? Yes/No

 
 

17. A mangala sutra is worn by wife for the long life of the husband? Yes/No

 
 

18. Playing with colors on Holi festival is called Rangoli? Yes/No

 
 

19. Is it Ok for a married woman to wipe off her sindoor? Yes/No

 
 

20. Vibhuti  means super natural powers acquired through religious practices? Yes/No

 
 


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Mauritius: Hotel Tells Employees Not to Wear Tika, Stirs up Protest

One of Mauritius’ finest hotels, the five-star Residence Mauritius, is in a soup for asking an employee to not sport a Tika (bindi, forehead mark) for hygienic purposes. The hotel, Residence Mauritius, also stated that the issue of visible religious symbols is addressed by telling the employees about exercising discretion. For example, the sindoor or the mangalsutra are allowed, but not tika. 

Hinduism is the largest religion in Mauritius, with over 670,000 adherents, representing approximately 51.9% of the total 1.3 million population of the country according to the 2011 census made by Statistics Mauritius.[4][5] This makes the Mauritius islands in the Indian Ocean as the country having highest percentage of Hindus in Africa and third highest percentage of Hindus in the world after Nepal and India.

[Cleck here to read more ….]

 

(acknowledgements: wikipedia, Hinduism today)

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