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

 
 
 

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

 
 
 
 

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

 
 

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

 
 

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

 
 

6. Rudraksha beads represent tears of which God?

 
 
 
 

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

 
 
 
 

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

 
 

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

 
 

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

 
 

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

 
 
 
 

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

 
 

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

 
 
 
 

14. 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)

 
 
 
 

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

 
 
 
 

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

 
 

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

 
 

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

 
 

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

 
 

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

 
 


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Take a quiz on Hindu Rituals

Please go to Take a quiz on Hindu Rituals to view the test
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Ram Sita Kalyanam Vivah in Parramatta 3rd November 2018

Hindu Council of Australia is celebrating Deepavali festival on 3rd and 4th of November 2018 in Parramatta Park this year also.

A special attraction of this year is likely to be an elaborate performance of Rama Sita Kalyanam or Ram Sita Vivah (marriage of Ram and Sita) being planned for 3rd November in Parramatta park location.

Ram Sita Kalyanam volunteers team meets to plan the event

Ram Sita Kalyanam volunteers team meets to plan the event

This is going to be a huge event and the planning has already started. Our Sai Ji is leading the initiative. A team of volunteers has already started preparations for this grand occasion. Some of the suggestions circulating among the team is to 

  • perform Rama Pattabishekam
  • procession/kolatam to carry idols to the mandapam in a palaki
  • Kalyanam or Vivhah before sunset.

We welcome your suggestions about this event and encourage you to come and join the volunteers team and shape this event.

To participate in making the event happen, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post. You can also visit Hindu Council web site and sign up as a volunteer specifying your interest in Ram Sita Kalyanam event.

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A new film on Love Jihad by Sudipto Sen

Renonwned film artist Sudipto Sen has made a new film titled ‘In the Name of Love-Melancholy of God’s Own Country’. A screening of the film was organised by Global Indian Foundation and Vivekanand Vichar Manch of Jawahar Lal Nehru University in Delhi. The film focuses on the issue of ‘love jihad’ and religious conversion of girls in Kerala and is based on a true story.

Members of Jawaharlal Nehru Students Union and Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment disrupted the screening. The organizers of the screening in a statement said: “After disrupting the screening of the movie at Sabarmati dhaba, the left-wing protesters grievously injured a guard intentionally.”

[Click here to read more ….]

Summary of films by Sudipto Sen

AASMA (IN THE NAME OF JIHAD) – Hindi feature film – Just Completed
https://pro-labs.imdb.com/title/tt2949654/

LUCKNOW TIMES – Hindi feature film – Completed
https://pro-labs.imdb.com/title/tt4696884/?ref_=sch_int

IN THE NAME OF LOVE!
An hour-long documentary on the issue of religious conversion and so called ‘LOVE JIHAD’!

Project in development:
INDIAN AUTUMN – Indo-US Co-Production film – English/Bengali Bi-lingual film – On Development
(2017-2018)
Hindi/English feature film NUTAN BAZAAR (2017-2018)
History of 5000-years of Indian civilization – A TV Series

Work of reckoning:
English feature film THE LAST MONK (2006)
World Premier at Cannes Film Festival – 2006
Special Invitation Screening at Rotterdam Film Festival – 2006 
Participated in 37 other film festivals

Short feature film AKHNOOR (2007) 
(An Indo-Belgian Co Production) 
Attended 17 International Film Festivals

Malayalam Feature Film ANTHIPONNOVETTAM (2008)
An Indo-French Co Production CORENTIN’S QUEST(2008)
BLUE MOUNTAINS by Suman Ganguli (Consultant)

Documentaries: 
THE OTHER WEALTH (1997) 
A human story on pristine water body near Kolkata
Attended 21 International film festivals

NA BATE DER… (It will not be late) (2003)
A film on revolutionary peasant movement in India
Attended 11 international film festivals 

LAND WITHIN RIPPLES (1998)
A documentary on fast vanishing Islands at World’s largest deltaic region, Sundarvans

Worked For:
THE WORLD BANK (As an empanelled producer 1998-2002) 
PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE, UNDP / UNIFEM / UNEP / ACTIONAID / ADB / DFID
Made more than 75 Developmental Corporate films

Ad & Corporate
Worked for more than 50 commercials and corporate films

AWARDS
BEST FILM AWARD (AKHNOOR) at Golden Gate Film Festival, USA 2007-2008 
INTEGRATED REALIZATION AWARD (AKHNOOR) at Brussels International Film Festival 2008 SPECIAL JURY AWARD (AKHNOOR) at San Francisco Film Festival 2007 
Best Cinematography (THE LAST MONK) – Cine International FF

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Changes to Marriage Celebrants law and rules 2018

The Marriage Regulations 1963 were repealed on 1 April 2018 and have been replaced with the Marriage Regulations 2017, which commenced on 1 April 2018. A copy of the new regulations can be found here: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017L01359. We would appreciate your assistance with advising your authorised celebrants of this change.

 The Marriage Regulations 2017 have simplified many of the requirements of the Marriage Regulations 1963. Obsolete or unnecessary provisions have been removed. The changes have also removed complex and outdated language and concepts. Please note the requirements for a valid marriage in Australia, including the form of ceremony used to solemnise a marriage, are contained in the MarriageAct 1961. These requirements have not changed.

 Marriage Law and Celebrants Section is in the process of preparing new Guidelines on the Marriage Act 1961 for authorised celebrants, updated to include the new regulations and marriage equality. The new Guidelines will be published on the Attorney-General’s Department’s website, on the ‘celebrantresources’ page, in due course.

 Some specific requirements in the Marriage Regulations 2017 which we would like to draw to the attention of ministers of religion of recognised denominations are outlined below.

 Part 2 –Marriage of minors

The Marriage Regulations 2017 explicitly state that a person must not solemnise a marriage of a person under the age of 18 years unless they have been given an order from a Judge or magistrate authorising the marriage. Such an order is made under section 12 of the Marriage Act.

 The Marriage Regulations 2017 have also introduced a new requirement that translations of parental consents to a marriage of a minor must be prepared by a National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters Ltd (NAATI) accredited or recognised translator. This will enable Judges, magistrates, prescribed authorities and celebrants to have confidence that consents have been accurately translated.

 Part 3, Division1 (‘Ministers of religion’) and Division 3 (‘Marriages by authorised celebrants’)

 Part 3, Division 3contains some provisions dealing with record keeping obligations. These include:

  • As partof their record keeping obligations, ministers of religion are required to keep their Form 15 certificate record of use form for a period of six years from the last entry on the form. The details of each Form 15 certificate which must be recorded on the record of use form are the same as the details that were required under the Marriage Regulations 1963.
  • In relation to dealing with retained official certificates, a minister of religion who solemnises a marriage must ensure that:

(a)  if the marriage was solemnised in a church of the relevant religious body or religious organisation that is in a parish or other district in charge of a minister of religion of that organisation or body—the retained official certificate is added to the records of the parish or district; or

(b)  if the marriage was solemnised in a church of the relevant religious body or religious organisation that is not in a parish or district of the kind referred to in paragraph (a)—the retained official certificate is added to the records of the church; or

(c)  in any other case—the retained official certificate is added to the records of the relevant religious body or religious organisation.

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