By Ashok Kumar
Early last month, High Commissioner of India to Australia, Dr. A.M. Gondane met the community leaders in Sydney where everybody boasted of their community service, which is largely non-existent, and insisted that they were proud of India. The High Commissioner in his concluding remarks asked these leaders,” if they have ever pondered on why members from other communities are excelling in various fields, be it community welfare, top positions in banks and administration or even Parliaments but none from our community despite being in large numbers?
True, it’s been seen that community leaders in general lack real community service and look after his/her own interests. Over a decade ago, one community member stood for Federal Election on Labor ticket from Mitchell seat in North West Sydney, but lost. The community backing was not there to support his candidature and he lost the election. While he lost the election, it must also be noted that this seat was not a winnable seat for Labor Party as Mitchell seat is a true Blue Liberal area. People talk about that Labor Party gave this seat to the Indian candidate as a way of a tokenistic approach.
Just recently, a community member passed away and there was a clamour for fund collection without a proper establishing the need for this fund collection. The family members of the deceased conveyed to these leaders that they did not need any money from any source and asked this money to be refunded to the donors. The monies are, reportedly, yet to be refunded.
Some people have joined political party of their choice but are found only to be advancing their business interests or are using the political party in promoting their businesses. Some are even found to using their party events or meetings for their personal benefits. It is a disservice to the community if you sell Visa sponsorships for money and yet claim to be a community leader. It is again a major disservice to the community, if all you do is to fleece money from the vulnerable, and end up being featured in ABC Four Corners, but still claim to be a community leader. Leave alone community work, some people get involved in religious bodies and take benefits from that involvement by indulging in fraudulent activities. This is another example of disservice to the community. Funds raised for PM Modi’s visit to Australia in November 2014 are still unexplained or unpublished. A sad commentary indeed.
Let’s talk about other fields like arts and performing arts. The condition of arts and artists in the community is pitiful! there is no unity and if they see any one doing well the idea is to bring them down by hook or by crook. In one word, its very sad! It’s very hard to get committed actors. There should have been more plays but the emphasis is more on Bollywood shows where again the attendance is very poor and the organisers find it hard to recover their monies.
However, it’s commendable that several members of the community have been elected to various Councils, but it remains to be seen how many of them can provide selfless service and reach to the next level. Meanwhile, it is reported that in neighbouring states several members of the Indian community are running for State elections. It may be noted that Ms. Mehreen Faruqi is the only person from the Indian subcontinent community who has secured a seat in the New South Wales Upper House, followed by further promotion by the way of becoming a Senator. We need to see some more from the community to emulate her.
Perusing the details of the people who are aspiring to be leaders in the community, not many have shown a selfless image of a true leader, and have also not presented themselves as good communicators. Good people, with ability, capacity and value system, are the ones, who should be the in the forefront, who should be getting political positions.
Unless the political aspirants from Indian community are able to start operating at a higher level of personal performance and are able to win the trust of local Australian community, not just Indian Australian community, it’s hard for them to find a place in Parliament or top positions in administration. Our community needs to learn from other communities if they want to excel in politics. The High Commissioner was right. Unless you shun differences and come to that level which enables you to achieve good outcomes, you can not call yourself a proud Indian.