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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Tributes to Prof Raja Jayraman, former Vice President

Prof Raja Jayraman is remembered by us all. He did so much work for Hindu education in schools and for promoting interfaith harmony in Australia as Vice President of Hindu Council of Australia. Tributes are still pouring in.

Surinder Jain

Professor Raja Jayaraman left his mortal body on last Thursday; his funeral will be at 2 pm on Monday, June 4, at Lotus Pavilion, Macquarie Crematorium, Delhi Road
Nihal Agar
 
He will be missed and at our meeting of RfP we will remember him with a minute silence led by Gayatripana. May his memory be a blessing.
Josie
 
Deeply sad to hear the news about Raja ji. He will be missed for his enthusiasm , witty comment and thorough knowledge on many aspects . 

Sanjeev Bhakri

Sad to hear that the towering Personality Raja Jayramanji passed away , but relieved that this fighter, kept fighting till the end, true to his usual grit. 
I would say that I was one of the fortunates to have interacted with this Committed Hindu & hope to live and imbibe a fraction of his commitment towards social & Dharmic cause.
HSS ( Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh)prays the almighty to provide sadgati to this wonderful aatma. 
We hope that the family can recover from this great loss. 
Om Shanti Shanti Shantih 
Ramyavaran
 
Really sorry to hear the death of Raja ji. 

I used to call him Good Jayaraman. He was so humble, polite, receptive and good listener. 
May God bless him to Rest in Peace 
Jay Raman
 

Saddened to hear  Revered Sri Raja Jayaraman ji passing away. it  is a great loss to us all and the Hindu community at large.  May Bhagwan GauriShankar ji bestow peace to the departed Soul of revered Rajaji and give strength to the family to bear this great loss.

Om Tryambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvaarukamiva Bandanaan-Mrityormuksheeya Maamritat
Om Shantih Shantih Shantih 
Radha Krishna Sharma
 
Very sad to learn about Raja jis passing away. He was a truely committed  to social work.

It was a great pleasure and honour to work with him for many years. 
Soul never dies, only changes body. May he travel to next journey peacefully.
I sadly will miss him.
Tara 
 

Very sorry to hear about the passing away of Dr Jayaraman ji. May God bestow peace to the departed soul.

Vijai Singhal

Very sorry to hear about Raja ji. May his soul rest in peace.
Vikas Chopra
 
It’s really sad and hard to believe that Prof Raja jayraman ji not with us. I’m with Rajajis family at this hour of time. May god give solace to the departed soul. 
Chandrakant Kulkarni 
 
Very sad to know that Dr Raja ji is left us. I  am deeply sad that I couldn’t meet him in last few weeks. I am not in Sydney for last month and will be back on 10th so I am not be able to with you all at this moment of sorrow.
Dr Raja ji will always be an inspiration to us all the time.
I pray for him and convey my deepest condolences 
Bhagwat Chauhan
 
Very sad to hear. Om Shanthi.
Sai Pravastu
hari om 
 
very sad to hear. Om shanthi shanthi shanthi 
Manju Nath
 
Sorry to hear that. RIP.
Ashwani Jain
 
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OAM Honor awarded to Kanti Jinna Vice President

Congratulations to Mr Kanti Jinna, Vice President of Hindu Council of Australia for being awarded OAM MEDAL, (OAM) OF THE ORDER OF AUSTRALIA IN THE GENERAL DIVISION on Queens birthday in 2018. Such an honor has earlier been bestowed by the Australian government to other Hindu Council members including Dr Balasubramanian (Current Director and Ex-President) , Prof Nihal Agar (Current Director and Ex-President), Mr Jay Raman (Current President NSW Chapter) and Mr Vijai Singhal (Current Director).

Hindu Council is proud of their acheivements.

The medal has been awarded to Mr Kanti Jinna for his service to the multicultural community of the Australian Capital Territory.

His service to the community includes :

Hindu Council of Australia:
Vice-Chairman, since 2009.
Member, current.

Hindu Temple and Cultural Centre, Australian Capital Territory:
Co-founder, current.
Former President.

Royal Commonwealth Society, Australian Capital Territory
President, 2014-2016.
Council Member, since 2017.
Member, current.

Canberra Multicultural Community Forum
Advisor Ageing, since 2010.
Member, since 2005.

Indian Senior Citizen’s Association, Australian Capital Territory
Vice President, since 2010.
Member, current.

Board Member, Australian Capital Territories Public Cemeteries Authority Board, since 2015.
Member, Partnering with Consumers and Carers Advisory Group, Calvary Hospital, since
2015.

Patron, Fiji Australia Association of Canberra, since 2008.

Member, ACT Chief Minister’s Council of the Ageing, 2005-2011

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Hindu Council of Australia welcomes the Integration multiculturalism model of Australia

Australian government has been agonizing at the growth of terrorism among some of the immigrant communities in Europe and USA. Its think tanks have been working hard on how to keep Australian multiculturalism a continuing success story. The Australian Government wants newly arrived migrants to succeed by integrating and make the most of the opportunities while maintaining a cohesive society.

Hindu Council of Australia welcomes the Integration multiculturalism model of Australia and calls upon all Hindus in Australia to integrate as proud citizens. Hindus can demonstrate their successful integration in Australia by

  1. Taking employment and contribute to society and have an immediate network of Australian people to interact with.
  2. Become an entrepreneur even it if it is by starting a small business thereby creating business and employment in Australia
  3. Interact with your neighbors and become part of local community groups
  4. Secure success for your children, which in large part is done through higher education.
  5. Stay out of poverty and flourish.
  6. Reach the highest levels of society; in business, politics and the arts.
  7. Support Australian charities

Most Hindus place a strong emphasis on employment as most Hindu migrants to Australia have been skilled migrants only. Many Hindus who came as non-skilled migrants under family reunion, students or other schemes have taken up small business like grocery shops, franchise of food restaurants etc. There are very few Hindus who live in poverty after having been in the country for more than a few years.

Hindu Council of Australia has started many projects to help Hindus achieve these goals of integration. These projects include :

  • Karma Kitchen – to help feed the homeless and thereby help the Australians in poverty
  • Hindu Chaplaincy – To help people in crisis by providing emotional support in Australian institutions like Hospitals, Jails etc
  • Diwali Art Space Exhibition – To bring Hindu Art among Australian Art galleries and buyers
  • Gargi Woman Award – To recognize contribution of individual Australian women on behalf of Australian Hindu community
  • International Yoga Day – Help other communities in Australia to benefit from Yoga
  • Interfaith forums – To mingle with and increase the understanding between communities
  • Ecology and Vegetarianism – Hindu Council has been working with a number of multi-faith organisations like the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change and Faith Ecology Network to promote actions for addressing the impact of climate change.
  • Education – Provide a platform of eLearning for non-Hindu individuals and Australian institutes like Police etc to learn about Hindu sensitivities and Hinduism
  • Diwali Mela – to preserve music, dance and other culture and provide a glimpse of it to non-Hindus
  • Organ donation – to promote cohesiveness between communities and health of Australians

Hindu council plans to start new projects to

  • Bring Hindus boys and girls into popular sports like Cricket, Swimming and Rugby
  • Encourage Hindu youths to join police, army, the legal profession and trades such as plumbing, mechanics, electrical repair, tiler etc so that Hindu youth easily integrate with wider Australian community
  • To help those in politics to connect with Hindus at gross root level and to raise Hindu voice in elected bodies
  • Encourage Hindus in Business and mentor each other through a Business Council.

According to Alan Tudge, MP and Minister for Citizenship and Multicutural Affairs of Australia, our multiculturalism is different to what is termed “multiculturalism” in other nations (particularly European ones) due to our strong emphasis on integration.

Integration according to Minister Tudge, means that a person who comes here shares our values, engages in the community and has full rights to government services. In exchange they must obey the law, participate and uphold democratic principles and support other Australians. They make friends at work and in their neighbourhood and hopefully join or start sporting or other community clubs.

This model of integrated multiculturalism is different to an “assimilationist” model or a “separatist” model. Assimilation is the idea that we must all be identical, and abandon our cultural and religious heritage. We don’t expect or want that in Australia, says the Minsiter. Where there are conflicts in cultural behaviours, Australian law and values must prevail, but otherwise we welcome the diversity that people can bring from being born elsewhere.

A separatist model of multiculturalism, while being the opposite to assimilation, is when people bring their entire practices, languages and cultures and plant them into the new land, with little desire to share or mix in with their local community. They live side by side, rather than merged with the existing population. 

Separatism is resulting in the “slow death of Europe” as groups effectively colonise parts of it and erode the values that made Europe so prosperous, free and (consequently) attractive to migrants.

The successful Australian model is one of integration; not assimilation and not separatism, says the Australian Government.

Minister’s speech can be found here

Surinder Jain,

National Vice-President and Director

Hindu Council of Australia

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Gender Equality Declaration by Hindu Council of Australia

Hindu Council of Australia stands for Gender Equality and Respect for Women

By Prakash Mehta, President

As a peak Hindu body, Hindu Council of Australia is working to help Hindus live in harmony with all the other communities in Australia. To achieve this we have a mission to work for a strong, cohesive and active Hindu community that is committed to Gender Equality and Respect for Women.

Our tradition has it that: where women are worshiped, prosperity is there. There is a famous story which is the basis of one of the most celebrated festivals in India. In the story, all the divine forces fail to overcome powers that obstruct human progress; they approach Mother Goddess, and convince her to fight the dark powers. She achieves victory over the forces of darkness and makes our progress possible. This story is a statement of a deep spiritual realization that in critical stages of progress Mother Goddess is essential.

The biggest challenge the Hindu community faces today is to again make these deeply held beliefs as living realities where Mother Goddess is worshiped in temples, in homes, at work, and everywhere.

We have a commitment to gender equality and respect for women is in-built in our cultural values. Hindu council of Australia believes that women and men must have equal rights, opportunities, as well as responsibilities that enable each person to actively participate in all aspects of life that includes social, religious, political and economic activities. We believe that men and women must have equal participation in decision making processes and thereby creating a socially inclusive community.  In our culture, women always have been and will continue to be treated with full dignity and respect. We have a strong focus on bringing women in leadership roles.

Hindu Council acknowledges the important role of women in our community, the silent achievers and home makers as well as those women who have made contributions in professional roles. On this occasion we will be honouring outstanding women who have made significant contributions and celebrating their achievements. 

I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to all these women whose contributions shape us, our children and our community.

Please join us  today to celebrate International Women’s day and let’s stand together, for Gender Equality and Respect for Women, not just for International Women’s Day but as a foundation of our community and the society.

Prakash Mehta,

National President

11 March 2018

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Hindu Council announces Winners of Gargi Woman Award 2018

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.

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Hindu council in Parramasala parade

Hindu council of Australia has partnered with Parramasala festival to celebrate International Women’s day and Gargi Woman Awards. Parramasala is a three day celebration Parramatta’s cultural diversity. The festival began on Friday 9th March 2018 with a parade from Parramatta Town Hall to Prince Alfred Park.

Different ethnic cultures at home in Parramatta were represented including a Rajasthani pretend Paalki, Chinese dragon dance, Africans, Malayali drums and so on. Hindu council women participated in the parade in traditional sarees.

On reaching the park the parade was welcomed by aboriginal country people, by the mayor of Parramatta and by various MPs. The mayor mentioned Indians as one of the vibrant communities of Parramatta. A bollywood theme “Dream Girls of Bollywood” dance program was the highlight of the day.

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Hindu Council mourns passing away of Jagadguru Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Shankaracharya

The sad passing away of Jagadguru Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Shankaracharya 1935 – 2018

The Hindu Council of Australia notes the movement of Shankaracharya Jagadguru Jayendra Saraswathi of the KanchiKamakotiPeetam (Mutt) to attain Moksha on 28 February 2018.  His calling as the 69th pontiff in 1954 was at the age of 19 years. The Mutt was established by AdiShankaracharya in the 5th Century AD.

We applaud Jagadguru Jayendra Saraswathi for leaving behind a great legacy within which he:

 

  1. Delivered religious discourses and involved himself in various spiritual and social activities. Under his guidance, the Mutt started several schools, eye clinics, hospitals and several charity initiatives such as the JanaKalyan, Jana Jagaran, a movement to “serve the people and awaken the masses.”
  2. Focussed on the uplift of Dalits and was also interested in developing healthcare and educational facilities for the people apart from spreading spiritualism. He initiated countless programmes for the downtrodden across the country. Perhaps he was the only Hindu sanyasi who had visited the most number of slums and Dalit colonies in the country. He visited the inner most parts of the Dharavi slums in Mumbai and several other slums and Dalit colonies.
  3. Was involved in both spiritual and public life and was known for the efforts for a solution in the Ajodhya and the Ram Janmabhoomi -Babri Masjid issue by engaging with stakeholders from both communities and the Government.
  4. Visited Manasarovar and Kailash in 1998 where he installed the deity of AdiShankaracharya.
  5. Established the Sri ChandrasekharendraSaraswathiViswaMahavidyalaya, a deemed university in the name of his Guru.

He will live on in the hearts and minds of millions of devotees due to his exemplary service and noblest thoughts.

The Hindu Council of Australia sends our condolences on the passing away of ShankaracharyaJagadguruPujyashri Jayendra SaraswathiShankaracharya who was at the forefront of innumerable community service initiatives. He nurtured institutions which transformed the lives of the poor and downtrodden.

Our sincerest sympathies on this sad occasion.

 

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Hindu Council releases a Multi-faith Music CD

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.

 

 

 

 

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