Skip to main content

Modi's Australia visit in Nov: Diplomatic mission chooses Hindu body for public reception, diaspora unhappy

Sanjay Sudhir
By Our Representative
In what may be interpreted as a clear indication that diplomatic missions in abroad are starting to bow to the saffron heat, the Australian high commission in Canberra is all set to allow the Hindu Council Australia to hold public receptions for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, visiting the country for the two-day G-20 summit starting on November 15. Already, an Indian diaspora-run site has reported that unhappiness has gripped diaspora over the Indian high commission in Canberra and Sydney consul-general Sanjay Sudhir’s “decision” to get Hindu Council Australia to organize community reception for Modi.
The site reports, the Hindu Council and a section of the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) have been made the main organizers of the community reception for Modi in Sydney on November 17. It says, “Critics of Sudhir’s decision to back the Hindu Council say that a religious organization is not the best representative of the Indian community in Australia. The Hindu Council, Sudhir’s critics say, is a sectarian organization and should not be the prime organizer of the community reception for the visiting head of state.”
The OFBJP appears to be split on the issue, with its South Pacific convener Sanjay Patel “threatening” the high commission in Canberra with protests if “efforts are not made to involve a wider cross-section of Indian community associations in the planning of the reception for Modi. The site quotes Patel to say that “extremist elements within the Hindu Council have managed to persuade the consul general to make the community reception an event organized by a religious organization.”
Publishing Gujarat Times, Patel said in a Facebook post on October 13 that “many Indian (community) associations in Australia are upset with Indian High Commissioner and Consul General Sydney for giving out Narendra Modi’s community reception in Sydney to be organised by Hindu Council and not by a joint group of Indian Australian Associations”.
The site also quotes Rajwant Singh, managing-editor of Punjab Express, to say that Modi’s “much-awaited visit is now being turned into a religious affair of the local Indian community.” In a social media comment, Singh wonders: “Are they trying to push the RSS Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan agenda here. They should involve non-religious organizations… The Hindu Council only represent one thought process. To make them responsible for the Indian PM’s tour doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Anagan Babu, president of Tamil Arts and Culture Association, has been quoted as saying that he is “disappointed” with the limited consultations held by the consul-general with just a handful of people. Babu said that there was “no attempt to have a broader process of meeting and engagement with community groups in Australia”, adding, the High Commission and the Consul General have “unnecessarily divided the Indian community over the reception.”
Another critic, Chidananda Puttarevanna, said in a Facebook comment: “Modi is the prime minister of India not for Hindus. He is representing all regions and sects. Indian HC has handpicked only a few and has neglected the whole Indian community. I oppose the stand of the Indian high commission playing dirty politics, playing with emotions of Indian origin. I expect this event to be an Indian event rather than a religious or political event.”
Meanwhile, sources said, if divisions continue, Modi’s aide may decide to cancel public receptions. Instead, he would be meeting “very small groups” both in Sydney and Melbourne, where he proposes the visit after the G-20 summit comes to an end in Brisbane. There is also the "fear" that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has considerable following among Ausralian Indian youths – "more than the OFBJP", accoriding to some persons -- and it may try to “create trouble”.

Comments

TRENDING

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

There may have been Buddhist stupa at Babri site during Gupta period: Archeologist

By Rajiv Shah
A top-notch archeologist, Prof Supriya Varma, who served as an observer during the excavation of the Babri Masjid site in early 2000s along with another archeologist, Jaya Menon, has controversially stated that not only was there "no temple under the Babri Masjid”, if one goes “beyond” the 12th century to 4th to 6th century, i.e. the Gupta period, “there seems to be a Buddhist stupa.”

As fear 'grips' right liberals, Arvind Panagariya, too, would be declared anti-national?

By Rajiv Shah
It is surely well-known by now that India's top people in the power-that-be have been castigating all those who disagree with them as "anti-nationals". Nothing unusual. If till yesterday only "secular liberals", and "left-liberals" were declared anti-national, facts, however, appear to have begun surfacing that, now, guns are being trained against those who could be qualified as right liberals, too. Let me be specific.

'First time' since 1970s poverty up 10%, consumer spending down 4%: GoI survey

By Our Representative
In what may prove to be a major embarrassment for the Government of India (GoI), a new official survey, carried out in 207-18, has reportedly said that average consumer spending in India fell by more than 4% the previous six years "primarily driven by slackening rural demand." The survey, "Key Indicators: Household Consumer Expenditure in India”, carried out by the National Statistical Office (NSO), says that money spent per person in a month fell by 3.7% from Rs 1,501 in 2011-12 to Rs 1,446 in 2017-18.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

National award winning film 'Hellaro' co-produced by three chartered accountants

By Our Representative
“Hellaro”, a Gujarati feature film produced by Saarthi Productions in association with Harfanmaula Films (Ahmedabad) was declared as the Best Feature Film at the National Film Awards which was conferred by the Government of India. The film also won the Special Jury Award for the Best Actress to all the 13 actresses of the film.
Ashish Patel produced the movie, which has been co-produced three co-producers, Aayush Patel, Prateek Gupta and Mit Jani, all of whom, interestingly, started their filmmaking journey after becoming Chartered Accountants in 2012.
“Hellaro” is directed by Abhishek Shah, who has been working in Gujarati theatre since the past 17 years as writer, director and actor and has received numerous awards for his plays. He has also worked as a casting director for 12 films.
“Hellaro” is a period drama based in Kutch and has been co-written by Abhishek Shah and Prateek Gupta. Gupta previously received the Best Debut Director Award, along with Mit Jan…