No place for message of Intolerance

The Hindu faith and community has a rich artistic history. Hindu spirituality is expressed in many ways, including dance, drama, painting, architecture, sculpture and music. As a community, we embrace the artistic expression of all cultures, religions and backgrounds. We welcome Sydney festival that embraces and exhibits the talents, cultural influences and artistic expression of so many diverse artists on an international scale. We cannot let messages of intolerance, such as those coming from BDS Australia, be masked as messages of peace – there is nothing peaceful about exclusion. We plead with such forces to refrain from actions that affect the cultural diversity of the festival.

For the past 45 years, the Sydney Festival brought some of the finest artists in the world to Sydney, and in turn, has brought some of Australia’s greatest talent to an international audience. It is a celebration of diversity; an eclectic coming together of the hundreds of communities and cultures that make up Australia’s multicultural identity.

It deeply saddens our community to see the organisers of the Sydney Festival under siege for their steadfast commitment to multiculturalism and diversity. The festival organisers have remained staunchly neutral, maintaining their commitment to embracing the rich diversity of Australian society. For this, we can only applaud their actions, which speak louder than words, to ensure international politics do not have the power to dampen the celebration of art and culture here in NSW.

The Hindu community embraces the celebration of culture from all parts of the world and welcomes the comments made in the Daily Telegraph on 30 December 2021 by Mr Darren Bark. We also reject attempts to stigmatise cultural events to provoke hatred. It is un-Australian to promote exclusion and intolerance under the guise of international peace. Inciting social conflict within our harmonious, open-minded society here in Australia is not the way to achieve positive outcomes for those international communities living through physical conflict internationally.

Australia has become home to so many who have fled conflict. With so many first-hand experiences of intolerance, we must all strive to live in harmony with other religious and cultural communities and allow each other to preserve and practice our own faiths, cultures and traditions here in our wonderful home.

The Hindu community has been showcasing its artists and culture at its annual Deepavali festival. Many of these talented artists would be honored to participate in the Sydney Festival, which provides a significant opportunity to share our cultural identity with the national and international community. We look forward to experiencing the creativity and innovation of our diverse Australian and international artists throughout January 2022.