With friends like this, community associations don’t need enemies


By A  Correspondent

A new phenomenon has emerged in the community associations which are going to make them less effective if not checked in time.

When the United Indian Associations (UIA) was holding it‘s Fair on 17th August 2014 in Blacktown, a group from the UIA itself was organising a day-long movie show on the same day just a few suburbs away in Parramatta. The important aspect of it was that the people organising it were past UIA presidents.

Many people have commented that this was not a great activity. As the destiny would have it, the movie show was cancelled due to the prediction of heavy rains but the UIA went ahead with the fair nevertheless. This fair was a total flop, with only a few hundred attending.

This throws a serious question of unity in “United” Indian Associations. The IST sought comments from relevant people that includes, Mr. John Kennedy (current President), Dave Passi, (current UIA Secretary), John Niven, Aruna Chandrala, and Mr. Amarinder Bajwa, all past UIA Presidents involved in the Parramatta movie show.

If this was not enough, Community saw a further “disunited”  UIA. While UIA President, Mr. Kennedy and Secretary, Mr. Passi were against the CIAA meeting and dinner Mr. Vasan Srinivasan was holding in Canberra on September 3, 2014 , two UIA office bearers, Mr. Jaydutt Nayak (Vice President) and Mr. Suraj Kapila (Treasurer) chose to attend the function much against the wishes or stand of the former.

The IST had reported on Mr. Srinivasan in Canberra (http://www.theistimes.com/?s=Self+before+service+new+mantra+of+CIAA…..). Community members are unsure about the stand of the UIA in this matter. The IST sought opinions from Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Passi, Mr. Nayak and Mr. Kapila, but no one so far has replied and The IST presumes this to be another act of disunity as they were unable to decide what to reply.

Mrs. Aruna Chandrala, another former UIA President, first questioned the veracity of The IST but then cited some domestic issues, which apparently kept her from sending a reply.

But later, another Former President of UIA, Mr. Amrinder Bajwa sent a collective reply to The IST email said,”… me and others that you have pointed in your email are hard core UIAns. We have nurtured and supported the organisation as never before. If I may refresh your memory, all of us have worked tirelessly and achieved like no other and none have ever achieved in terms of putting the communities first.

We respect each other and we work together in many matters related to community development and support.

As far as your question is concerned, the Free Movie in the park is an initiative to put the Indian communities on the map and we shall continue to do so. The event is organised every month and we had declared the dates for all 12 months in advance in the month of May. The fact of matter is that UIA selected the same date to have the fair. At the same time I would say that this event is nothing as compared to India Australia Friendship Fair.UIA has a special place in our scheme of things and will continue to do so. We shall continue this and other events that we have plans on and ensure that these grow with the community needs”.

Interestingly, though the show was cancelled on the prediction of heavy rains on that day but none of the three past Presidents was present at the UIA Fair. Hence, all this (the explanation) appears to be a sham.

INDAUS: A similar dilemma occurred in another association. Indian Australian Association of NSW (INDAUS) where two of its office bearers not only behaved erratically but also took to media and social media to air their grievances instead of approaching the appropriate  forums  available. However, the INDAUS went ahead with its elections on 20th July, 2014  It is well accepted that the elections in any association are internal affair of that association and only the members are authorised to vote.

Suddenly, two candidates-Mr Stanley D’Cruz and Mr Anagan Babu started sending emails to media, including The IST, with all sort of internal issues, ignoring the fact that the platform to sort internal issues are the executive committee or the AGM. The biggest irony in this was that the senders of these emails were people who held, and were contesting for, important positions like secretary and vice president. The IST sought comments from Mr. Stanley D’Cruz and Mr. Anagan Babu , but they did not respond. In the elections on 20th July, they contested for vice presidents. The IST feels that when as candidates, sending emails to media  is sacrilegious.

The IST also sought comments from other participants, Dr. Yadu Singh, President of INDAUS, Mr. Gurdeep Singh who was the Vice President in the former committee, Mr. Pravin Gupta, current executive committee member and Mr. Vinod Chinnappa, who is the current Secretary.

Mr. Gurdeep Singh in his reply e mail said “Unfortunately, as you have referred to the position of the Vice President in the recent INDAUS EC elections, I was a candidate and polled an equal number of votes with Mr Anagan Babu, I am not in a position to comment on this matter.

In any case, I agree with you that it is the internal matter of INDAUS hence I am unable to comment.”

Dr Yadu Singh and Mr Pravin Gupta did not respond to IST email.

Mr. Vinod Chinnappa, the present INDAUS Secretary said “I, as an individual, and as the secretary of Indian Australian Association of NSW [INDAUS Inc] do not believe it is an example of ethical or loyal behaviour for Mr Stanley D’Cruz and Mr Anagan Babu to send emails about internal matters of INDAUS Inc to media and public. Every association has issues from time to time, and these issues must be resolved internally either in the Executive committee or the AGM. Mr D’Cruz and Mr Babu should not have written to media and community, and posted them (their views and comments) in Social media. This is not a behaviour which is expected or acceptable from those who have held high positions or wishing to hold such high positions. INDAUS members are disgusted with such activities and are asking us to not tolerate such activities. There is an emerging consensus in INDAUS to punish anyone who tries to undermine the association.  INDAUS conducted its elections on 20th July, 2014, in which all members present in Sydney took part and elected a fresh team.”

IST has spoken with many community members who have expressed their disgust and disapproval with any one undertaking activities which undermine the very association of which they are either present office bearers or have held such positions in the past. Disloyal activities do not help anyone, and end up causing further disillusion and disenchantment towards community associations. Such activities render associations more ineffective. Community members also believe that associations should not tolerate indiscipline to stop this new trend.

Community members feel, and IST agrees, that such activities should not receive any support from any quarters in the community. Community associations should not only work smoothly within them, but they should also network with other associations for the purpose of serving the community.

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About Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar is an accomplished journalist with over 38 years of experience in the profession in various capacities. He was a sub-editor in Patriot and later Chief Sub-editor in The Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He has several published articles and reports in Patriot and HT. Published reports in The Blacktown Sun in Sydney. He had also been a tutor in journalism in the University of Western Sydney. He is currently Editor at The Indian Sub-continent Times, Sydney.

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