The IST Staff Correspondent
Sydney 16 August, 2018,
India gained independence 71 years ago but celebrations continued for a year in Sydney when NSW Premier hosted a reception for the Indian community for the first time in Parliament House. India holds a special place in Australian relations with other countries of the world. Parramatta, the emerging as second CBD of Sydney held a flag hoisting ceremony for the first time when Parramatta Mayor organised the event along with Councillor Sameer Pandey. Later in the evening, the Consul General Mr. B Vanlalvawna organised a reception at The Calyx in the picturesque Royal Botanical Gardens.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said at the NSW Parliament, “By acknowledging your Independence Day, we wish to show the respect with which we regard your community and your contributions to our state.” She revealed that the state will join in in the celebrations planned for Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary next year. She also talked about her recent visit to India where she held talks with business leaders in Mumbai and New Delhi specially in IT and food industries.
The NSW Minister for Multicultural Affairs, the Hon. Ray Williams announced that Dr Hari Harinath will continue in a second term as Chair of Multicultural NSW. This surprise early Independence Day gift was received by the gathering with loud cheer. Both the leaders as well as Mr. Vawna great strides achieved by Indian economy to become the sixth largest economy in the world from a very poor state in 1947.
Mr. Vanlalvawna expressed his appreciation of the NSW government’s gesture for organising the event. “Having served in five different countries so far, I can safely say I have not seen this level of engagement so far with the local Indian community, particularly from the political establishment,” he said.
At the colourful event held at the CGI Sydney, Mr. Vawna read out the message of the President of India delivered on the eve of 72nd Independence Day followed by cultural programmes.
A huge crowd had gathered at a colourful and first ever flag hoisting ceremony at Parramatta Town Hall. People from all walks of life took part in the celebrations. The crowd comprised people from Indian heritage and local populace. The Master of Ceremony revealed that 11 percent of the Parramatta had Indian Heritage. The Consul General thanked the Mayor Clr. Andrew Wilson for organising the event. A similar event was held in Blacktown where councillors Mr. Susai Benjamin and Moninder Singh put up an impressive show.
Earlier last week-end, the Federation of Indian Associations of NSW (FIAN)organised India Fair witnessed by more than 20,000 people. Among the dignitaries who attended the fair included NSW Premier Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, leader of Opposition Hon. Luke Foley, Minister for Multiculturalism Hon. Mr. Ray Williams, Member for Strathfield Jodi McKay, Member for Granville Hon. Julia Finn, Member for Parramatta Hon. Mr. Geoff Lee, Member for Berowra Julian Leeser, Chair of Multicultural NSW Dr. G.K. Harinath, Councillors Mr. Sameer Pandey and Mr. Suman Saha. The food and goods stall had a good and brisk business. The fair concluded with the crowd witnessing scintillating fireworks.