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VOL 27 No.

Print Post Publication No. 23572300014

February - March 2016

Annual Subscription incl. postage & handling $17

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India runs with Pat Farmer !

Ultra Marathon Aussie Runner Pat Farmer on a run from Kanyakumari to Kashmir
in India in support of Nanhi Kali - Education of Girl Child

Inside this Issue:

Page 12: Neena Badhwar on Pat Farmers Ultra Marathon Run in India
Page 13: Neeru Saluja talks to Asha Bhosle on her farewell concert in Sydney
Page 18: Manju Mittal follows old migrant families displayed on Maritime wall
Page 22: HSC Achievers decide on university courses they would like to do
Page 20: Story of King Trishanku when Sage Vishwamitra tried creating a new universe
Page 30: Savitha Narayan talks to Mithali Raj - Captain of Indian Women Cricket Team

Mithali Raj

Asha Bhosle

Bahisht Wasseh

The Indian Down Under POBox 99 Thornleigh NSW2120 Ph (02) 9875 2713 Mobile: 0414 155 402 Email:

02 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER February - March 2016

February - March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 03

04 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February - March 2016



February - March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 05

06 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February - March 2016

Editor's Letter

At least we have the

freedom to complain

Editorial/Advertising Enquiries: 02 9875 2713

Postal Address: PO Box 99, Thornleigh NSW 2120.
Principal Editor: Vijay Badhwar
Associate Editor: Neena Badhwar
North America : Parveen Chopra
Sports Editor: Kersi Meher-Homji
Delhi Reporter: Ritu Ghai
Third Eye: Rekha Bhattacharjee
Political Columns: Cyprian Fernanades,
Karam Ramrakha
Bollywood: Neeru Saluja
Films and Art: Neeru Saluja, Abhishek Sood,
Sumi Krishnan, Devaki Parthasarthy,
Neena Badhwar, Rekha Rajvanshi,
Manju Mittal
Body-Mind-Spirit: Dr Sunder Das, Kanaka
Ramakrishna, Faith Harper, T Selva
Sport: Kersi Meher-Homji, Gaurav Joshi
Fiji Diary: Karam Ramrakha
Cookery: Promila Gupta
Children Section: Esther Chaudhary-Lyons
Classical Music: Sumi Krishnan, Kris Raman,
Lokesh Varma
Travel : Vijay Badhwar, Kris Raman
Humour: Melvin Durai, Santram Bajaj
Seniors Column: Santram Bajaj
Beauty: Devaki Parthasarthy, Ritu Ghai,
Akvir Kaur
Community: Neena Badhwar,
Kersi Meher-Homji,
Vijay Badhwar, Sumi Krishnan, Neeru Saluja,
Savitha Narayan, Manju Mittal
Photographers: Raj Suri and Jordan Anjaiya
Graphic Design: Dhiraj Kumar, Nayanesh
Gandhi, Dinesh Verma, Bharat Bhushan Chopra/
Bhagwati Multimedia

While the BJP-RSS have mounted an India-wide movement for unbridled nationalism, senior leaders of six Left parties have
condemned the false allegation of being anti-national and have demanded clearing of sedition charges
against JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar.

emocracy is heralded as the fairest of the political

systems available in a civilised society. That may
be so and it cannot be argued otherwise among the
options existing today but its efficiency to move forward is
much debated - it is slow and loaded, controversial and
divisive, often tilted towards the mighty and the affluent
and unrepresentative of the weaker sections of the society
whose voices are easily drowned.
Labor Senator Sam Dastyari recently slammed big ten
powerbrokers in Australia who have stifled the democratic
structure and are able to exert undue influence in decision
making at the federal level. The ten included four big
banks (Commonwealth, NAB, Westpac and ANZ), three
big mining companies (Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and
Fortescue Metals), the grocery chains Coles and
Woolworths and the big telecom, Telstra. At the local
level, councils are infiltrated by developers whose personal
interests take priority over public welfare. Even the governments let big businesses in through the back door in the
garb of protecting commercial in confidence safeguards.
In the raging tax reform debate, the big multinationals
who are the biggest culprits not paying their due share of
taxes will have nonetheless the loudest opinions that the
Government will pay heed to, expectedly at the cost of
reduction of funding to the schools and health sectors. The
Labors ideas are more rounded to curtail negative gearing
only for new homes and to tax superannuation earnings
more than $75,000 a year. The paralysis in decision-making process over fear of losing votes, however, becomes a
major barrier to reforms.
India is often compared disparagingly to the pace of
progress China has achieved in a short span of time.
Chinas industrial march and the infrastructure develop-

ment at such an astonishing pace is an envy even of the

western world. The slowness of democratic processes in
India caused by perpetual disruption of Parliament at an
unprecedented scale is slowing down the pace of key
reforms to enable the rate of growth the international markets are expecting from India. The key bills including
GST, Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in
Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation are atrophying in the logjam that is weakening Indias democracy.
Out in the social scene, too, the freedom of speech issue
in a democracy often brushes against the acceptable fringes
as in the recent controversy at the JNU in New Delhi after
which the police arrested the students union chief,
Kanhaiya Kumar. During the meeting it was alleged that
anti-India slogans were raised and some students protested
against the hanging of the 2001 Parliament attack convict,
Afzal Guru. While the BJP-RSS have mounted an Indiawide movement for unbridled nationalism, senior leaders
of six Left parties have condemned the false allegation of
being anti-national and have demanded clearing of sedition charges against Kanhaiya Kumar.
In Australia, there have been attempts to repeal section
18-C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which made it
unlawful to "offend, insult or humiliate" another person
because of their "race, colour or national or ethnic origin".
The repeal by Federal Attorney-General George Brandis
captured the attention of the nation in 2014 and following
mass protests the proposed changes were shelved. The
anti-Muslim rhetoric by Donald Trump in the US has
equally been controversial.
Democracy, despite its limitations, although slow and
sometimes partisan, still remains the fairest of all the alternatives available to the civilised world.

February-March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 7


Bob Carr: prophet or scaremonger?

By Cyprian Fernandes

he man from the Australian

Bureau of Statistics was
shaking with sheer delight
and could not hide his glee when
he told Sydney morning radio that
Australias population had just
passed the 24 million mark. The
bells were ringing all day as the
news of the 24 million was repeated throughout the day. Very few,
if any, had anything to say about it.
Well, except Bob Carr, the former
Foreign Minister and once the
most respected and admired Labor
Premier of NSW.
Carr has been on the immigration case for a few years now. Not
so long ago, he was calling for a
complete halt of Iranian economic
migrants. On the day, February
16, 2016, Australia learnt of its
new population mark, Carr was
telling anyone who would care to
listen that Australias third worldstyle population growth rate had
made a strong case for cutting
Australias immigration intake by
at least 50%.
He said that Australia could not
continue growing at the current
rate. He said: Our population is
growing too fast. Its the result of
what I would describe as crude,
industrial era, force-fed immigration.
According to Carr, the countrys population was far greater
than what we need and what we
can absorb, environmentally and
economically, he told ABC radio.
He moaned an often repeated
mantra of the far right: The countrys rapid population growth was
flooding major cities and putting

Bob Carr, former Foreign Minister

huge pressure on house prices.
People wonder why their
youngsters cant get housing in big
cities, he said.
Australia will admit up to
190,000 people in 2016. He
blamed Canberra diplomats for not
putting enough thought about the
pressures on the property markets
in Sydney and Melbourne.
I cant teach the Honourable
Bob Carr to suck eggs but his call
for a cut in immigration by up to
50% has left me a little perplexed.
For one thing, he will have worried sick any potential migrants of
special value to Australia. In the
past couple of decades our successive governments have not enjoyed
a reputation as a kind, caring and
welcoming for people in dire need
of a new home. In fact, with the
help of a few right wing nuts, I
would not be surprised if people
look at us with the suspicion that
the White Australia policy is alive
and well.
There may be some truth, how-

ever, in what Carr says. For example, in my own little suburb in

Western Sydney, it is like living in
the back streets of Mumbai or
Colombo. Homes in these suburbs
were built with the one-car-family
in mind. Today, with subdivision
rampant, each home has three or
four cars. There is one ugly
MacMansion that regularly has six
or seven cars every day and three
times that at weekends.
We moved to our suburb
because of its quiet village atmosphere. Forget. These days finding
a parking spot means having to go
round and round in circles. The
quality of life has been shot to
I am sure that similar grouses
have been made over the years
every time there has been a large
influx of new migrants. There has
been an ongoing debate about the
appropriate population numbers
fluctuating widely between 20-80
million, the conservatives vouching on the unsustainability of the

Australian Ecosystem, fragility of

its top soil etc and the bold trumpeting American success due to its
large population base.
I dont mind the growth as long
as someone, like NSW Premier
Mike Baird, does something about
it. According to The Sydney
Morning Herald, the NSW
Premier Mike Baird used his
Australia Day address to warn that
Australia was at risk of losing its
character to anti-immigration politics.
"I believe strongly we are now
at a fork in the road," Mr Baird
said in the address at Luna Park.
"We are potentially at risk of losing what makes Australia the best
place in the world to live because
some want to shut our door and
avert our eyes.
What he did not say was how
his government was going to provide the required infrastructure and
relevant services.
Back to Bob Carr. What he did
not provide was the science behind
his assumptions. Had this been discussed in the Labor Party? What
do the proper experts (all right not
the Canberra bureaucrats) and
urban scientists and engineers have
to say. It is always very well for
Bob Carr to do a sophisticated take
on Pauline Hanson, but effects are
just as in the negative. He might as
well have been loud-hailing for
anti-immigration, anti-Muslim,
racist protesters who are growing
in number.
Surely this subject should have
been discussed behind closed
doors, fine-tuned and then foisted
on the Australian public, preferably with bi-partisan support

instead of seemingly awakening

the ghost of White Australia past.
If there is a genuine case for
cutting immigration, continued
restriction on refugees, revamping
of the much abused 457 visas and
the like, let us discuss it as mature
and sincere adults (oxymoron
that?) and not sound like an educated moron just cutting his teeth
on being a yob. Bob Carr certainly
knows better than that.
Or is Bobs fear that immigration will mean that White
Australians will one day be in the
In an effort to provide balance
to the above, I emailed Bob Carr
with a series of questions and I got
this reply from him: Cyprian, Its
the numbers. I have made it clear
when its come up.
With that he referred me to A
Current Affair where he told
Tracey Grimshaw that Australia
today was a different country from
early post war years when
Australia needed large number of
migrants for motor, steel, mining
and other large scale industries.
We are still stuck in mass immigration and the Government has
been slow to catch up. I want a
much gentle pace.
He said he would like to go
back to the 1990s level but he is
proud of the fact 28% of the
Australian population was born
He said: It is the numbers,
and if a slogan was required it
would be: Its the numbers stupid.
I want a generous immigration program but not the hugely ambitious,
force fed (one) by the Liberals we
have at the moment.

A modest Scott Morrison


have known Scott Morrison for a good

many years and watched him climb up
the corporate ladder with astonishing
speed. He did the job he was asked to do
without blinking an eye. He lays claim to
the fact that Australia has stopped people
smugglers and with them both legal and
fraudulent refugees. He did not waiver
when all around him were calling for his
head. As Minister for Immigration he had
the toughest portfolio but he looked like he
was born for it. I am not so sure that he
seats as comfortably in the chair of the
Federal Treasurer.
His first stumble came when the Prime
Minister Malcolm Turnbull cut the line on
his GST-increased to 15% and the plan
was lost in the wind. That left Morrison
with the headache of finding Plan B if he
did not have one already in his top drawer. What the Plan B is will be made clear
in May when the Budget is brought down.
He said that he and the PM had seriously

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison

considered raising the GST but ultimately decided it was no good. The times are

8 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February-March 2016

not right for that, he said. We looked at

it. We considered it. We did our homework and we assessed it. We put up with
all the criticism and the flack and the noise
and the turmoil because we wanted to
make the right decision for country. Had it
been the right decision, then we would
have done it.
What will probably be in the Budget is
that Australians should expect only a
modest change in this years Budget, the
Treasurer said recently.
Addressing the Canberra Press Club,
Mr Morrison described the Budget repair
as a Test Match not a T20 Big Bash.
However, he was not giving much away.
He said that with $30 billion in income
tax cuts, the government would have delivered one of the biggest changes to income
tax rates and schedules seen in 30 years or
more. It was not feasible to go ahead with
Plan A and he said the Government was
now looking at far more modest meas-

ures. On negative gearing, which Labor

wants to restrict to new housing in the real
estate market, Mr Morrison had this to
say: I have always understood that for the
vast majority of Australians who use negative gearing, they are modest income
earning Australians, nurses, teachers,
police. I know the Labor Party doesn't
agree with that and there are probably
some in this room who don't agree with
that, but the figures speak for themselves.
Two thirds of those who use negative gearing have a taxable income of $80,000 or
less. 70 per cent own just one property,
and 70 per cent have a net rental loss of
less than $10,000. It is one of the few
opportunities that people on modest
incomes have to try to get ahead. I don't
think you're the problem why the budget's
in peril. I don't think people who are making those difficult decisions to try to provide for their future are the problem.
We await with trepidation for May.

The Third Eye

By Rekha Bhattacharjee

GST a headache both for India & Australia


Malcolm Turnbull has
scuttled the issue of any
increase in GST from the present
10 per cent, as in India, too, the
debate on GST became a non
event as two sessions of parliament were stalled with global
investors closely watching if India
would go ahead with its introduction. The IMF Chief Christine
Lagarde is pretty bullish about
Indias 7.5 per cent growth in
2016-17. The IMF hopes India
will implement the critically
important reforms, including the
GST, she told PTI. GST stands
for goods and services tax.
According to McKinsey Asian
chief, It is not just because that
growth has slowed down in
China. People are interested in
the growth India is delivering.
The President of India in his
address to the nation on the eve of
67th Republic Day had called for

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has scuttled the issue of

hiking the GST from the existing 10 per cent
progressive legislation. He said,
This year with an estimated
growth rate of 7.3 percent India
is poised to become the fastest
growing economy. It is the
bounden duty of lawmakers to
ensure the process of development. It is their duty to ensure

reforms and enactment of progressive legislations for which a

spirit of accommodation and consensus building should be preferred mode of decision making.
The Indian Finance Minister
Arun Jaitley hoped the GST that
was held up in Rajya Sabha soon

became a reality. Reform is a

continuous process and there is
no finishing line to go as challenges keep coming up in the
direct taxation system, he said.
The budget session in India
commences on February 23 with
the next session following in
For India the GST Reform
will be the biggest indirect tax
reform since 1947. According to
Mr Jaitley, the GST bill will lead
to economic integration in India.
If all goes well, GST is set to be
functional from April 1, 2016.
In the Winter session questions were raised on Modi
Governments ability to push
ahead with reform agenda.
The Economic Times of India
referred to the World Bank report
last month and said that delay in
implementation of GST might
mean that India would miss a
growth opportunity. In Australia,

the debate on the rise of GST to

15 percent and tax reforms has
been strong on the rhetoric but
devoid of much serious work in
reality. The Prime Minister is
making an attempt to assure the
worried back bench that any tax
reforms will not threaten their
seats in the election year.
Statement went down well for the
PM, the Turnbull Governments
stance on increasing the GST was
a little murkier. The former
Prime Minister Paul Keating
called an increase in GST to 15
percent fundamentally a bad idea.
It should be realised it will be on
the way of joining that collection
of West European countries
which are the highest taxed countries of the world,
When a country gets locked
into such permanently high taxation there is no way out of it. he

White Oscars controversy echoes

at the British awards ceremony
By Rekha Bhattacharjee

eorge Clooney told of

his thoughts on the
Academys failure to
nominate a single actor of
colour for the second year in a
row and said the Academy was
doing a better job 10 years ago.
Giving a master class for
300 budding actors from
around the world at the Cinema
Showcase, where Meryl Streep
was serving as jury president,
the most acclaimed US film
actress of her generation was
asked whether sexism and
racism in show business had
waned over her four-decade
Three-time Oscar winner
Meryl Streep told young actors
at the Berlin Film Festival that
resolve the diversity row until
studio boardrooms became less
white and male.
The 69th BAFTA (British
Television Arts) Awards managed to dodge the backlash of
this issue which has threatened
to overshadow this years
Academy Awards.
British actor Sacha Baron
Cohen said at the Baftas 2016:
I think there is an inherent
prejudice in the film industry.
The actual makeup of the films,

Leonardo DiCaprio is hot favourite for winning the Best Actor

Oscar. But not a single actor of colour has been nominated for the
second year in a row. (above) Priyanka Chopra will be presenting at
the Oscars ceremony on Feb 28. Riding on the success of her TV
series Quantico, the Bollywood star has broken into Hollywood by
signing Baywatch the movie.

the production staff, the directors and the actors is generally

white and there needs to be
greater diversity here and in
I dont think its that the
members of the Academy are
actually racist, I just dont think
they are presented with enough
films that are diverse.
Tongue in cheek, Cohen
told reporters in a deadpan tone

that he was here to give the

award for the best white
actress. I hear many Caucasians
were nominated.
Rebel Wilson made fun of
the Oscars diversity row in a
show stealing comment at the
Baftas. The Australian actor,
known for her roles in Pitch
Perfect and Bridesmaids, poked
fun at the diversity controversies dominating this years

award season. On stage at the

Bafta Awards, Wilson said, I
have never been invited to the
Oscars, because as you know
they are racists!
The revelation that, for the
second year running, every
actor nominated for a major
acting award in this years
Oscars is white has prompted
furious debate in Australia too.
The president of the Academy

of Motion Picture Arts and

Sciences, Cheryl Boone Isaacs,
said she had to take dramatic
steps in order to bring about
much needed diversity.
A survey conducted in 2009
showed only 8 per cent in the
profession were from nonEnglish speaking background.
So the arts community is much
less diverse than the rest of

February-March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 9


Pre-Budget: Economic
Survey sees 7-8% growth
rate, pushes reforms
New Delhi: India's Economic
Survey sees the growth rate for
the coming fiscal to remain at 77.75 percent due to domestic
factors and warns that the
upcoming budget will have to
contend with an unusually challenging and weak external environment.
The survey, tabled in parliament by Finance Minister Arun
Jaitley here on Friday, also
expresses concern over panIndia GST being elusive, the
divestment programme falling
short of target and recast of the
distortive subsidy regime, especially for fertilisers, being a
work-in-progress. This apart,
the survey says, balance sheets
of Indian banks remain stressed,
becoming a roadblock to the
revival of private investments,
adding to the anxiety over the
country's growth potential of 810 percent in the long term.
"This year's survey comes
against the backdrop of an
unusually volatile external environment with significant risks of
weaker global activity and nontrivial risks of extreme events,"

says the survey, authored by

Chief Economic Advisor Arvind
Subramanian. "Fortifying the
Indian economy against possible
spill-over is consequently one
obvious necessity. Another
necessity is recalibration of
expectations," it says, and warns
that if the world lurches into a
crisis or slides further into
weakness, India's growth, too,
will be severely affected.
On the positive side, though,
the survey says India will remain
the fastest-growing large economy and a refuge of stability with
an outpost of opportunity, even
as steps taken toward a stable tax
system, ease of doing business
and foreign participation have
gone down well globally.
It also projects the retail
inflation to ease further to 4.5-5
percent in 2016-17. Coming as it
does on the eve of the national
budget for the next fiscal, and
given its import in providing the
direction the country's economic
policy should take in the coming
year, the survey also spells out
its policy prescriptions, both
broad and specific.

No fare hike in Indian rail

budget, focus on comfort
New Delhi: The Rail Budget has
kept passenger fares and freight
rates unchanged at least for now.
A slew of measures has been
announced for travel comfort. But
the operational efficiency has
taken a beating even as concerns
remain over raising money for
future projects.
This is the crux of Railway
Minister Suresh Prabhu's budget
for his ministry presented in the
Lok Sabha on Thursday - that
shows targets set by him for this
fiscal on a host of counts remained
to be realized, be it on receipts
from passengers and freight, revenue mop-up or efficiency.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
was all praise for his minister.
"While keeping the promises made
in the last budget, this one makes
an aspirational strategy for future.
We've been successful to a large
extent this year, and this budget
has a promise to make it even better."
Prabhu said his ministry will
surpass the target of commissioning 2,500 km broad gauge lines
this fiscal -- almost 30 percent
higher than last year. "In the next
year, we plan to commission
2,800 km of track," he said, prom-

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.

ising new tracks at 7 km per day
against 4.3 km a day since 2008.
There were also a a host of
measures for passengers: 65,000
more berths on trains, over 2,500
water vending machines, 17,000
bio-toilets inside coaches, 1,780
automatic ticketing machines,
120,000 concurrent users for eticketing, and e-catering services
at 408 stations.
Prabhu also announced WiFi at
100 more stations this year and
400 more stations in the next, fully

unreserved trains and doubledecker sleeper coaches on highdensity routes, 24X7 helpline for
women, local art at stations, dignity for porters and better amenities
at pilgrimage centers.
As per official data, India has
the fourth largest railroad network
in the world with some 64,460
route km, after the US (224,792),
Russia (128,000) and China
(112,00). Nearly 21,000 trains ply
daily to ferry 23 million passengers and 3 million of freight.

Haryana limps to normalcy as

Jat stir cost runs to billions

A students protest over JNU incidents in Jadavpur University in Kolkata


Jaitley attacks opposition over JNU row
New Delhi: Union finance minister
Arun Jaitley on February 25
slammed the Congress for coming
out in support of an anti-national
event on JNU campus and defended
the action taken by authorities.
"Can hate speech be free
speech? he asked in Rajya Sabha
as he took on a united opposition
during the debate on JNU incident.
"JNU is not a sovereign territory
that police cannot enter. If Indian
penal code is being violated, police
is in its right to enter," Jaitley said
defending the police action on JNU
Stating that some accused have
been arrested, Jaitley said please
don't camouflage this great offence

that has taken place.

The opposition parties questioned slapping of sedition charge
against some students of JNU and
alleged that attempts were being
made to save the perpetrators of
violence in Patiala House court,
claiming that Delhi Police was a
"party" to the incident.
Human Resource Minister Smriti
Irani also delivered a spirited and
emotional speech in the Lok Sabha
on February 24, refuting allegations
concerning her ministry over the
JNU row and Rohith Vemula suicide controversies.
My name is Smriti Irani. I challenge you to ask me my caste," the
minister said, rubbishing allegations

that Rohith was persecuted at the

Hyderabad Central University
because he was a Dalit. She refuted
the allegation that she had forced
the university to act against Rohith
with multiple letters after Bandaru
Dattatreya wrote to her.
The JNU flashpoint in the ongoing controversy came when the
Delhi Police arrested the JNU
Students' Union President Kanhaiya
Kumar on charges of sedition and
criminal conspiracy, under a 1860
law. The arrest soon snowballed
into a major political controversy,
with several leaders of opposition
parties visiting the JNU campus in
solidarity with the students protesting against the police crackdown.

10 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February-March 2016

Assocham estimates that the reservations agitation hit Haryana

trade and industry to the tune of Rs 18,000-Rs 20,000 crore.
Rohtak/Chandigarh: Haryana
saw relative calm towards the end
of February after 10 days of Jat
agitation seeking job quotas.
Highway and rail traffic was
restored even as security forces
were on alert to foil clashes
between Jats and non-Jats.
In a sign of people's anger
over the mindless violence that
rocked the state, Haryana Chief
Minister Manohar Lal Khattar
faced angry traders and residents
in Rohtak town and was forced to
retreat and leave for Delhi.
"A high-level probe will be
conducted into the (violence) and
strict action taken against officers
and employees of police and
administration involved in this,"
Khattar told the media in Rohtak.
In a fine balancing act, he said the
Jat community will get job quotas
under a special provision and the
OBC quota of 27 percent won't

be disturbed. The Jats demand

reservation under the OBC category in government jobs and educational institutions. The OBC
communities have been resisting
it. A score and more people were
killed and nearly 200 injured in
the nine days when Jats held
Haryana to ransom, and in the
process disrupted life in large
parts of northern India.
The worst affected districts
were Rohtak, Bhiwani, Hisar,
Sonipat, Jhajjar, Jind, Panipat
and Kaithal. The industry body
Assocham pegs an estimated blow
of Rs 18,000-Rs 20,000 crore to
trade and industry in Haryana by
way of loss to public and private
property and halting trade, industry, small business and transport .
The collateral damage to businesses and industries extended to
Punjab, Himachal Pradesh,
Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.


Harinder Sidhu is the new

Australian HC in India

oreign Minister Julie Bishop

has announced the appointment of Ms Harinder Sidhu
as Australia's next High
Commissioner to India. Ms Sidhu is
a senior career officer with the
Department of Foreign Affairs and
Trade, most recently serving as
First Assistant Secretary of the
Multilateral Policy Division. She
has previously served overseas in
Moscow and Damascus. Ms Sidhus
previous roles included First
Assistant Secretary in the
Department of Climate Change,
Assistant Director-General in the Office of
National Assessments and Senior Adviser in
the Department of the Prime Minister and
Cabinet. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and
a Bachelor of Economics degree from the
University of Sydney.
Ms Bishop said, Australia also has
strong strategic and defence ties with India,
conducting our first bilateral maritime exercises in 2015. There are also over 450,000
people of Indian descent currently residing
in Australia driving our strong education,

Harinder Sidhu
cultural and tourism links.
India is one of Australias closest and
most significant partners in the Indo-Pacific
region. It is our 10th largest trading partner
and our two-way investment is worth over
$20 billion, she said.
Ms Sidhu will also have non-resident
accreditation to Bhutan.
Ms Bishop thanked outgoing High
Commissioner Patrick Suckling for his
strong contribution since 2013 in advancing
Australias interests in India and Bhutan.

Welcome, Mr. B. Vanlalvawna, the

new Consul General of India, Sydney

r. B. Vanlalvawna, IFS has joined

as the new Consul General of
India in Sydney.
He was educated at St. Stephens
College, Delhi University. He joined the
Indian Foreign Service in 1998, has learnt
Japanese and served in Indian Missions/Post
in Tokyo, Shanghai and Brussels. His last
foreign assignment was as Deputy Chief of
Mission in Cairo. In New Delhi, he served
as Head in the office of Minister for the
Development of North East Region and
Panchayati Raj (Local Government), from
2007 to 2009 and as Director looking after
Administration and Human Resource related
issues in the Ministry of External Affairs
from 2014 to 2016 He assumed charge as
Consul General of India in Sydney on 19
February 2016. Shri Vanlalvawna is mar-

B. Vanlalvawna
ried to Dr. Rosy L Khuma, a medical doctor and writer. They have three children.

Priyanka Chopra and Deepika

Padukone storm Hollywood

ust months after landing the lead

role in Vin Diesel-starrer movie
xXx: Return of Xander Cage, the
Piku actress has signed a film opposite The Fightclub star Brad Pitt,
reported Entertainment website
Pinkvilla. Of course, Deepika was
preceded by Priyanka Chopra, who
made a very successful debut in
American TV with the TV series
Quantico. Rumours of her starring in
the movie version of Baywatch also
turned up to be true. She will be
working alongside Dwayne The
Priyanka Chopra and Dwayne The Rock
Rock Johnson and Zac Efron
made the announcement about her joining
Nimrat Kaur, Dhanush, Preeti
Baywatch cast via online video.
Desai and Jacqueline Fernandez are
vision or films. So, more than individual talalso doing plum projects in the West.
ent, I would say their ethnicity is what makes
Explaining the sudden surge in Indian
them so popular in the West.
faces in Hollywood, image consultant Harish
Dhanush will be seen alongside Uma
Bijoor says, India is the flavour of the season
Thurman in debut filmmaker Marjane
or if I must say, the decade. Having Indian
Satrapis film.
faces is now the accepted format be it tele-

February-March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 11


The Australian started his daunting run from Kanyakumari and passed through Kerala.

What is walking and running alongside amazes Pat as when he passed through Mumbai.

Pat Farmer completes half of his

4,600 km India marathon
The cause the Sydneysider is supporting:
Nanhi Kali Education of girl child program.

By Neena Badhwar

atrick Farmer, Australias

Ultra Marathon runner, is in
India running a daunting
journey from Kanyakumari to
Kashmir covering 4,600 km in
about 60 days.
We remember the famous
250km Dandi March by
Mahatma Gandhi in 1930 to protest
against the British rule by breaking
the law through making salt. It had
left a strong impact on the country
as Gandhiji walked from village to
village with people following him
and welcoming him wherever he
went. Since then many more
marches have come and gone, but
the Salt March in preIndependence India sent shivers
through the British. Non-cooperation movement of Gandhi ji woke
up India to liberate itself from the
clutches of foreign rule. The ongoing, much publicised marathon run
is by Pat Farmer, known for his
Pole to Pole 20,000 km run when
he collected for Red Cross close to
a hundred million dollars. This
Spirit of India run has Pat supporting Nanhi Kali Education of girl
child program.
Pat has completed by now
more than half the journey having
Maharashtra, Gujarat and now
moving towards Rajasthan even as
summer sets in. According to Pat,
It is an arduous journey. I try taking just one step at a time
People are amazed at his stamina,
will power, and inner strength as
he passes through some of the
hottest states, dusty roads, never
ever stopping. He says, I am a
prisoner of my journey when he
does not have the time or luxury to

Maharashtrian women giving Pat Farmer a traditional welcome.

stop to see the beautiful buildings,
heritage sites and temples he passes by. But he promises, Next time
I will visit India to see all the beautiful places that I have passed.
He does have time for the smiling crowds who welcome him,
plonk a turban on his head or a
tilak on his forehead or a garland
around his neck. His tired face
lights up at the sight of people,
school kids, mothers with children
touching his feet in reverence as if
Pat has turned into something of an
itinerant sadhu for the simple village folks passing through their
He wants to bring a change,
and an awareness about the education of girls in India. Educate a
girl, you educate a mother who
will then go on and educate the
whole family, is Pats message to
bring about that change. At times
he has felt dehydrated, hurt a tendon in his ankle, and is tired after
running 80 km each day which are
equal to two marathon runs a day

to reach his destination, Kashmir.

There is a whole contingent in toe
with an ambulance, a film crew,
photographer, a doctor and the
officers of the Indian tourism who
follow him, run along with him,
even when he insists to be left
alone. As Pat passes various towns
he stops at schools, gives inspiring
messages to the students who wave
flags of both India and Australia.
At times he is welcomed by thundering drums, dances and people
dressed in regional costumes. In a
very short span of less than a
month Pat Farmer has become a
hero with channels and radio and
print covering his marathon extensively. At times he is looking at
himself on those big billboards
erected to welcome him whenever
he enters a new state.
Says he humbly, I who is a
mechanic from Sydneys west is
able to meet so many important
people, am really blessed.
He asks everyone to donate for
the cause he is trying to fundraise

12 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February-March 2016

Invited to schools, Pat gives inspiring messages to students.

from this marathon. He asks all in
Australia to donate to Nanhi Kali
foundation by visiting his blog:
Sydney communitys recent
valentine cruise collected proceeds
to donate to Nanhi Kali. This is
your opportunity to donate,
fundraise on behalf of Pat Farmer

who as we sit here in the comfortable confines of our homes, must

remember someone is running over
there in the heat, dust and crowded
roads of India. And for a good
cause. Come on! We should
donate generously and encourage
and cheer Pat all the way to

Pat passes through many iconic heritage buildings.

(Photos courtesy: Kevin Nguyen)


Bollywood's defining singer and the world's

most recorded artist ever, the legendary
82-year-old Asha Bhosle returns on March 14
to the Sydney Opera House stage after nine
years for her final tour. TIDU spoke to her.
By Neeru Saluja

egendary singer Asha Bhosle

has entered her 80s but her
voice is still as youthful as an
eighteen-year-olds. You can feel
the innocence and simplicity in her
mannerisms, and you realise how
she mesmerised India with her golden voice for decades.
Asha Bhosle is one of the greatest playback singers in Bollywoods
history. With a career spanning
over six decades and 20 languages,
she is also one of the most versatile
of South Asian singers. Being the
first Indian singer to be nominated
for the Grammy Award, the most
recorded artist in Indian history, a
recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke
Award her lists of achievements
is endless. She was also the muse
for British band Cornershop, who
paid tribute to her with their hit
1997 single Brimful of Asha. Our
very own cricket star Brett Lee also
could not resist her charm and sang
a song with her!
She started her career singing
for B and C grade films, but her
powerful voice and collaboration
with music director RD Burman
(her late husband) became an instant
hit. Her most popular numbers are
Piya tu ab to Aaja, Dum Maaro
Dum, Chura Liya, Yeh Mera Dil,
In Aankhon ki masti and Rangeela
Re. Asha Bhosle now returns to
Australia for one last time to celebrate her glorious singing career
with her fans. In a heart-to-heart
conversation, we shared a few
laughs with Ashaji and talked to her
about music, food, her favourite
songs and what makes her going
strong at the age of 82.
Ashaji, I interviewed you last
time when you performed in two
sold out shows at Sydney Opera
House in 2007. Im really excited
to see you perform again, are you
equally excited to perform in
Yes. There is a unique charm in
performing abroad. The theatres are
par excellence; the people are warm
and welcoming because they miss
their homeland. And the foreigners
are nice as they are keen to know

what kind of singer has come from

And its not a singer but the
legendary singer Asha Bhosle.
You have mesmerised music
lovers spanning generations. You
are still as energetic and enthusiastic as you were 30 years ago.
Whats your motivation?
Singing. Its nothing but my
love for singing and music. Its also
my nature. I want to sing till I can.
I dont want to sit idle. And this
spirit of mine reflects in my songs.
A song can keep a person alive.
Music is the reason why Im still
alive and kicking.
Songs are an integral part of
Bollywood films and the lyrics of
the songs are equally important.
Do you feel todays songs have
meaningful lyrics and substance?
Not at all. I dont like the lyrics
of songs nowadays. If the lyrics
arent good, how do you expect the
singer to add feeling or any emotion? If the song lacks emotion, then
as a singer its difficult for me to
express myself. Bengali and Nepali
songs have become more meaningful than Hindi songs. Nevertheless,
the trend is changing and we are
getting lots of slow music through
Hindi songs.
With the changing music
trends, have you ever felt that you
had to change yourself as a
There have been instances when
I had to change myself as a singer.
For example, in our era songs were
recorded in studios on CDs and
records. In Mumbai all these music
stores have shut down. My songs
are now recorded on the internet.
Its a big change for me as a singer.
Your songs top the list of
favourites for every music lover.
Which songs are close to your
I have many favourites but there
are a few songs that are close to my
heart. I love the songs of the film
Umrao Jaan. I also like Panchams
songs and one of my favourite is

Do Lafzon ki hai. Im also fond of

songs of Madan Mohan, OP
Nayyar, and Roshan. I usually hum
their songs and Sufi songs.
Besides a penchant for
singing, what are your other
I do my riyaaz daily and then I
go to my kitchen. I also love reading books in Hindi. I believe our
language and expressions can
improve by reading books by
famous poets in Urdu, Marathi and
We do know you are also
famous for your culinary skills
and are a successful restaurateur.
You get flooded with requests by
Bollywood celebrities for your
kadai gosht and biryani. When
you come to Australia, will you
try the Aussie cuisine?
When it comes to food and fashion, Im an Indian. Im very old
fashioned. I like eating Indian food
and wearing Indian clothes. Its not
that Im saying western food and
clothes are bad, they are good, but
Indian food has always been my
preference. Im very fond of cooking and feeding people. I love cooking Punjabi and Marathi food. I
have become a biryani expert and
cook all kinds of biryani, be it mutton, chicken or vegetarian. If someone comes over for a feast, then its
even more fun. I enjoy feeding
more than eating. At this age, I

dont eat much. In my restaurants,

home cooked meals like daal and
baingan ka bharta are the most popular dishes. In India we are very
lucky to have different kinds of cuisine.
The way you know the right
spices for your dishes, what are
the ingredients of a perfect song?
Music is food for soul. As a
singer its important to understand
the meaning of the song so it can be
correctly expressed. We have to
emote the song accordingly. If its a
love song, we need to understand
the depth of love. If its an item
song, we need to bring out the sexiness. If its a sad song, we need to
feel the sadness of the song. Like
every dish has its own spices, every
song has a different spice.
You are a master of a variety
of genres in music. But what
kinds of songs do you like
I dont differentiate songs
according to their genre. The song
needs to be good - be it a sad song,
a cabaret song or a folk song. I
embrace the song and give my best
to it. As a personal choice, I love
classical songs.
Can you share your most
memorable performances with
I have sung for so many years
and performed for so many con-

certs, that its difficult to recount

the most memorable moments. But
I do remember as a child I always
wanted to perform in the biggest
theatre in New York, which came
true. Another dream come true is to
perform in the iconic Sydney Opera
House. Im very happy that my
dreams are being fulfilled.
By your upcoming performance in Sydney Opera House, you
are not only fulfilling your dream,
but a dream of thousands of your
fans. What can your fans expect
from your performance on March
14 in Sydney?
Im coming to Australia and
would sing all kinds of songs. From
qawali, folk, sad songs to Indian
opera songs, there will be something for everyone. If my fans are
looking forward to my visit, Im
also eagerly waiting in preparation
to perform in Australia.
Im sure my last question is
lingering on everyones mind. A
successful career spanning over
six decades - whats your success
I entered the music world to
sing and thats all I did. I gave my
full devotion to singing and worked
very hard. My success is the outcome of my hard work. I feel that
today Im enjoying my success
more than yesteryears. This is what
God had planned out for me and Im
thankful to Him.

February-March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 13


Sydneys Vega makes it

big in Bollywood
By Neeru Saluja

Vega Tamotia
plays a crucial
role in
Prakash Jha's

ctress Vega Tamotia is

not your typical conventional actress. Brought up
in Sydney, she has played lead
roles in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil
films. She rose to fame with the
Tamil film Saroja and her film
Pasanga won two National
Awards. Her latest film was
screened at Cannes and she also
produces a children's series
called Ghotu Motu Ki Toli. In
spite of her achievements, she is
a down-to-earth actress with girlnext door looks whom you can
chat over a cuppa!
Lately, Vega is sporting
another feather in her cap. She
plays a significant role in the
upcoming film Gangaajal 2,
which stars Priyanka Chopra.
While she was promoting her
film in Delhi, we talked to her at
length about her career and films.
Vega now spends her time travelling between Delhi, New York
and Mumbai.
Vega, we all know you as the
Sydney girl who made it big in
India. Tell us a bit about how you
landed in Mumbai.
I moved out of Sydney nine
years ago but still have lovely
memories. I studied in UNSW
where I did my bachelors in commerce. I then moved to
Bangalore for an exchange program and thats when I started
pursuing acting in Mumbai. My
plan was to come back to Sydney
to start work, but I did theatre for
six months in Mumbai which
went on for nine years!
How did films happen after
I was doing my first play in
Mumbai at the Prithvi theatre festival. The festival was at its closing night and two days before I
met a director from Chennai.
Within 10 minutes of conversation, he wanted me to do Saroja.
I never wanted to do South Indian
films. The movie was a success
and my career got a leap.
You have played all kind of
roles within a few years ranging from a kindergarten teacher,
a rock star to a revolutionary.
How do you ease into different
characters so easily?
Its easy to mould myself
from one character to another,
but in the end its all about the
role and the character an actor
gets offered. In terms of craft,
the job of an actor is to play different characters, and people hire
me because I can do that. Its just
a matter of doing your job right.
As an actor I need to fulfil the
needs of the story and the direc-

the Cannes Film Festival.

Cannes is like one of those fancy
merry-go-rounds where you get
the best films, best talent all in
one place. The film ended getting
selected for the critics award. In
the film I play the role of Riz
who represents the underbelly of
undocumented people. She is a
maid in a motel with no visa in
America. The film is based on
one day of her life. Even though
it was a short film, I was pushed
as an actor.
Now that you have worked in
Bollywood, Kollywood and
Hollywood, how would you differentiate these film industries?
Its not about the industry,
its about the kind of film. You
cant compare Chittagong to
Amit Sahni ki List, as the subjects of the films are different. It
depends on how the film is structured and the script. All films are
about making art and entertainment, be it any industry.

tor. A film is a directors medium, where the actor is just a puppet. Thats the honest truth. I
would like to take credit but I
Tell us a bit about your role
in Gangaajal.
I cant reveal much about the
film but all I can say is that if
Sunita (my character) was taken
out of the film, there would be no
film! Sunita is the catalyst in the
film. All characters and the historic graph changes in the film
because of Sunita.
Sunita belongs to a lower
middle class family. She is this
really strong girl and even though
she is uneducated, it doesnt stop
her from having an opinion.
You have mentioned that
working with Prakash Jha is

your dream come true. How was

the experience?
Im so enamoured by him. I
stand up after he calls me. Im in
attention. It was fabulous. I
thought he would be a strict character, but hes cool. He lets you
do what you want to. Hes actually quite easy going. Hes wonderful, my family have met him
and we have all gone out for dinner. For me, he has taken a mentor role. He knows how to get the
stuff out of the person without
the actor knowing.
And how was it working with
Priyanka Chopra?
It was great. Shes a pro.
Once she is on the sets, she
knows exactly what to do. Shes
a go-getter. She knows how the
other actor is going to react
before she says her dialogues.

14 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February-March 2016

Besides films, you are also

the producer of a childrens
series. What inspired you to
indulge in this?
Ghotu Motu is my pet project! I got the inspiration from my
nephews. This is my little gift to
them as I wanted to introduce
them to Hindi rhymes. They
were just not available on
YouTube or television. It was my
effort to preserve the culture and
make Hindi exciting. So I made
Ghotu Motu, and the demand
made me realise the huge need of
this channel.
Your latest film Love Comes
Later was screened at Cannes.
How was the experience?
I did a couple of films in New
York, and Love Comes Later, a
short film from 2015, took me to

Do you think Indian actors

have finally made their way into
Things are changing. The
credit goes to Priyanka to break
those rules. Priyanka was able to
do it because she was already a
name. She is paving the way for
me and other actors we will
know in the next two-three years.
Looking back, do you think
it would have been easier or
difficult to break into the film
industry coming from Sydney?
Any advice you would like to
give to upcoming actors here.
The challenges are still the
same. From my perspective, the
competition is still fierce. You
have to find a way to stand out,
either by being an amazing actor,
an attractive personality or have
stunning looks. Thats what
makes you stand out, or be lucky
like me.



The young Sikh contestant on Australias Got Talent has kindled
the issue of racism in the country through spoken poetry.



he is Australias latest sensation. Her powerful words

have won everyones heart
across the nation. Since her
national television performance
last week, her video has gone
viral with the count touching
And increasing by the hour.
Meet Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa, a
21-year-old Sikh contestant on
Australias Got Talent who kindled the issue of racism in
Australia through poetry. Using
satire and humour to address a
social issue and emphasising her
identity as a Sikh brought up in
Australia, Sukhjit provided the
right ingredients.
Thanks for all the compliments, its quite overwhelming. I
never expected the Indian and
Punjabi community to go crazy
all over the world. I walked into
an Indian restaurant the other day
and everyone came up to me to
meet me. Im very happy and
feel blessed to get the message
across, says Sukhjit.
Sukhjit Kaur was born and
raised in Perth and recently
moved to Melbourne. She has
just finished her undergraduate
degree in Political Science and
International Relations from
UWS. She also made it to the
finals of the National Australian
Poetry Slam in 2014 and has spoken in the Parliament.
But while Sukhjit appeared as
the most confident and bold
Indian girl on stage on television,
she was not always like that.
I was a shy and quiet girl till
year 6 in school, when my
teacher forced me into doing
drama. I started coming out of
my shell. Since then, my voice
became louder and louder. I
started putting myself out there
for any public speaking opportunity. I became the head girl of
my school and being an Indian it
was a big thing. Then I went to
university and did a leadership
program in Prague, where a
friend introduced me to spoken
word poetry, she says, telling
us about her journey.
Spoken word poetry sounded like a perfect platform and I
came back home and started
writing. Spoken word is a hidden
form of art since the indigenous
culture - its all about sharing
your story. My first poem on
YouTube was a satire about
showing off skin. I realised that I

can rant like a feminist but no

one will notice. Therefore, I used
humour to address the issues we
So, are the issues you mention in your speech based on
real life incidents?
Yes the incidents I have
mentioned are 100% true. The
lady at Coles did say that to me.
The Osama bin Laden story
about my brother is true. Ive
experienced second hand racism
through my parents and community. After 9/11 my world was
shifted, my world was never the
same. This is my story but represents millions of people, states

You did warn the audience

your words would be controversial, but were you ready to confront backlash?
My life has prepared me for
this moment. Its the ultimate
challenge. Im a first generation
Sikh and we represent our religion. I cant put my identity
aside, my Sikh values have
informed me and every project I
do makes me believe in social
justice. As a Sikh I have learnt
we are all human and will recognise each other. And thats the
message I want to lead todays
youth with.
My message could be confronting but its not confronting
for me. I knew I had two minutes

in front of live audience and the

public eye was on me. But Ive
got a responsibility and was
adamant on using this opportunity to educate and show children
from different backgrounds that
it was possible to be brave and
believe in yourself. There is a
big stigma attached to performing, especially with Indian culture as we are told to become an
engineer or a lawyer. My parents
always taught me that as long as
you put your 100% we will support you.
Sukhjit was one of the 30
contestants who made it from
around 1,000 applicants. Now
she is waiting for the semi-final
results. All the four judges gave

her a big thumbs up.

So whats next?
Im very happy with the outcome. Im glad that I could make
it. A hairy girl on TV is enough
for me!
On an ending note, Sukhjit
wants to send a message to all
her fans. We are facing an identity crisis in Australia. We need
to start confronting it.
Receiving discrimination is
not fair, and its not only about
Sikhs. Face your fears big or
small? Say, yes, because you
never know whats at the end of
the door.
Dont be afraid and put yourself out there.

February-March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 15

I never planned my
career, my life.
My dreams were
something else.
Bhidu main Hero kaise
ban gaya mujhe khud
nahi pata. -Jackie Shroff

His performance in the

recent superhit Dhoom3
was much admired.

where many such good movies are showcased.

You want to make a documentary
film on your mother is it true?
Yes, it is true, I have always been fascinated by my late mothers stories when I
was a child and I have been thinking about
making a documentary on it for a long
time. I grew up listening to my mothers
stories about how she and her siblings
along with their grandmother came from
central Asia to the island city of Mumbai.
I have fond memories of her but I want my
childrens children to remember their
great grandmother as well.

By Manju Mittal



ackie Shroff, the

bindaas bhidu of
Bollywood, also
popularly known as
addressed a press conference at the 46th International Film
Festival of India in Goa and fondly
remembered his association with the
Mumbai International Film Festival
The noisy press room suddenly turned
into an aura of pin drop silence when the
legend Jackie Shroff arrived, dressed in a
white kurta and blue Modi jacket. He
looked as handsome as ever.
During the Q&A session he addressed
everyone as Bhidu, and turned out to be
a humble, down to earth person, as I reminisced in his larger than life screen persona. To become his bhidu when I put a

question to him and later getting a personal one on one sitting with
Jackie Shroff, I had to pinch myself. It
was a dream come true as I have cherished
the memories since he starred in his first
movie Hero during my university days.
Following is a brief conversation with the

How do you look at your journey

from Hero to Yadeein?
The journeys been like climbing a
mountain. Personally speaking, I never
planned my career, my life. My dreams
were something else (laughs). Bhidu main
Hero kaise ban gaya mujhe khud nahi
pata. I entered the films with Swami
Dada. At the time I thought there were so

good looking actors like
Anil Kapoor, Sunny Deol and Sanjay
Dutt, so I thought I definitely wanted to
play the villain roles. It was Subhash Ghai
who signed me up for his movie in 1983
Hero and that film completely changed
my life. I had come to Bollywood industry
to be a villain and became a Hero.

How do you feel being chosen as the

International Film Festival this year?
I dont know the reason why they have
selected me as their brand ambassador but
I only know that it is a prestigious privilege to be a part of this great festival. I am
humbled really. I personally love watching
documentaries, which showcase the realities of life as opposed to movies which are
mostly unrealistic. MIFF is a platform

You have spent three

decades in film Industry
and your look hasnt
changed. Still handsome
as ever. Please share your
secrets of being so good look-

(Laughs) Thank you, thats the nicest
thing I have heard today. Well, my audience have kept me young and I am a proud
father of a very handsome son, Tiger.

And a few last words to your fans in

Thank you for watching my films that
I have been in. I am happy that even today
my fans have kept me in their hearts. Love
you all. Keep watching my films.
I must confess, I have had a huge crush
on Jackie Shroff from his Hero days. To
meet him in person was a deep inner
desire that was fulfilled when he addressed
me that day as bhidu a dude. It was
then that all the boundaries, the star, the
fan, the persona, all melted into one - an
informal meet that I will cherish for a long
time to come.

Jackie Shroff became a star overnight after the release of 'Hero', his first film as lead. (right) Three decades later, he still looks dashing.

16 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February-March 2016


Journalists should be gatekeepers of democracy: Peter Greste

Peter Greste, an Australian journalist who was jailed for a year in

Egypt, delivered the Gandhi Oration Lecture on Journalism in the
age of terror organised by the University of NSW.

By Neena Badhwar

eter Greste, an Australian

journalist who was jailed
for 400 days in 2013,
delivered the Gandhi Oration
Lecture on Journalism in the age
of terror on January 29 organised by the University of NSW.
He was held in prison by the
Egyptian Interior Ministry along
with two other fellow journalists
from Al Jazeera, Mohamed
Mohamed, on charges of suspicion of illegally broadcasting
news harming "domestic security".
Greste was freed due to political pressure as well support
from fellow journalists around
the world who taped their mouths
in protest. He has been an advocate of the freedom of press since
and has lectured often on the role
of media. Peter was awarded the
Australian Human Rights Medal
in 2015.
Gandhi Oration Lecture by
Greste at the University of NSW
was a packed event attended by
over 600 academics, politicians,
distinguished guests, professors,
students and members of the
Peter said what an extraordinary character Gandhi was.
Gandhi is an Indian liberation
saintly hero who preached nonviolence. He has become something of a two-dimensional figure, almost a caricature of himself. He is mythologised as well
as he is misunderstood. He is
quite lionised as one of the greatest political thinkers and peacemakers of the 20th century, he
Foremost a politician, a
lawyer of course, few know that
Gandhi was a journalist as well.
In that regard I have particular
admiration for Gandhi.
began his professional life in
South Africa defending the
Indian community against the

injustices of apartheid state. And

to support that cause he also
launched and edited a weekly
newsletter and explicitly informing South African Indians and
encouraging debate.
Gandhi continued in India as
an editor with two more publications. While his papers were supporting his political ideas they
were also underpinned by an
unwavering commitment to fact.
If we borrow his philosophy
down to one fundamental idea,
surely it must be that peace,
security and dignity can only be
guaranteed when we respect the
human rights of all. It is an idea
that underpins the strategy of
non-violence resistance.
But Gandhi was no fool. He
might have been a pacifist but he
also understood profoundly just
how powerful non-violence really was as a way of confronting
the British authorities who controlled the Indians with their military and their police. We saw
the spirit of Gandhi and his philosophy of non-violence which
overthrew one of the most deeply
entrenched military dictatorships
in the world, Mr Greste said.
Let me go one step further
and argue that even for Gandhi
the most fundamental right, the
one that underpins all others, is
freedom of speech. Without that
Gandhi would be unknown to us.
He would never have launched
his newspapers. His voice would
have been rendered useless. The
power of his words would have
Gandhi knew when he published the paper there. He understood the power of media both as
a democratic tool and both as
destructive force. If the control is
from without free press even at
times of conflict, it proves more
poisonous and Gandhi knew that.
It can only be profitable when
exercised from within. Here
Gandhi is echoing the words of
another great thinker, the French

philosopher Albert Camus, who

said a free press can of course be
both good and bad but a press
that is not free can never be anything but bad.
This brings me to the subject
of this evenings talk Journalism in the age of terror.
In particular, it is disturbing
the ways governments and the
extremist alike are not only doing
their utmost to impose control
over the media, they are also
using it as a weapon in ways we
have not seen in more than a generation. I think these ways seriously damage a democracy, the
very thing that made Australia,
in particular, one of the safest,
more stable and prosperous
places on the planet, he said.
Rather than a traditional
assault on the tangible, involving
well-defined actors and agendas,
Greste said the so-called War on
Terror was a battle of ideologies.
And in that war of ideas, the
battlefield extends to the place
where ideas themselves are prosecuted the media. So journalists are no longer simply witness-

es to the struggle. We are, by

definition, a means by which the
war itself is waged.
Greste gave examples including the US bombing of the Al
Jazeera bureau in Kabul in the
first days of the 2001 war in
Afghanistan, the Talibans online
video of the beheading of kidnapped Wall Street Journal
reporter Daniel Pearl, and the
Islamic States ongoing use of
snuff videos and social media to
recruit and to sow fear.
In this war, new media has
become as much a weapon of terror as any bomb, Greste said.
Three new Australian laws
section 35P of the ASIO Act; the
Foreign Fighters Bill; and the
Data Retention Bill, have severely impinged on media freedom,
yet have received little attention.
The Government keeps
claiming that none of these measures are directed at silencing the
media. That might be true, but
each in its own way has a corrosive effect on the ability of journalists to do their job, he said.
Mr Greste said all what

Gandhi uttered in his days would

land him in trouble and in jail in
Australia of today.
As I discovered in Egypts
prison system, a lot of radical
Islamists who support Islamic
State want a war Theirs is a
millennial cult that sees the coming conflict as the final battle
By adopting the language and
the posture of war, we are not
only failing to tackle the causes
of the violence we are feeding
it, he said.
Greste urged journalists to
seek to reassert their position as
the gatekeepers of democracy.
He said freedom of speech
preceded and was essential to all
other democratic rights a truth
that Mahatma Gandhi understood
Without freedom of speech,
the right to self expression,
Gandhi would be unknown to us.
He knew the power of media and
used them to encourage debate.
But for the papers his voice
would have been rendered useless, Peter Greste concluded.

TV news anchor Stan Grant to enter politics

speech at the
IQ 2 Debate on
the topic Racism is
Australian dream
went viral worldwide with more than
3 million views
where he debated
with the local Indian
lawyer Pallavi Sinha
in favour. The media
Carlton, described Grants address as Australias Martin Luther King moment.
Stan, of Wiradjuri aboriginal background who is now thinking of entering politics, said, If we
dont get involved, then we are nowhere, while talking about the recent controversy and how 2GB
broadcaster Alan Jones had said about aborigines that we need another stolen generation and take
children away from dysfunctional families.

February-March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 17


Maritime Museum welcomes

migrant stories

Maritime Museum Welcome Wall

By Manju Mittal

s a migrant, a writer and a reader I

share the history and stories of other
migrants, perhaps, to explore my
own feelings about migration.
Australia is a multicultural nation with 44
per cent of its population born overseas or
with a parent born outside Australia. The
National Maritime Museums Welcome Wall
celebrates this diversity with unveiling ceremonies held twice a year.
The Museum considers the arrival of
waves of migrants on shores to be one of the
major themes in Australias maritime history.
It has built the Welcome Wall on its northern
boundary, facing Darling Harbour and
Pyrmont Bay where many new settlers
The 357 new names brought the total
number of names on the wall to 27,411. Of
these 7,533 are from England, 3,354 from
Italy, 1,614 from The Netherlands, 1,611
from Germany, 1,533 from Scotland, 1,306
from Ireland and 907 from Greece. In all,
more than 200 countries are represented.
The museums award winning digital projection, Waves of Migration, recognised
early migrant history on this years Australia
Day on 26 January.
Earlier, on 6 December 2015, around
700 people attended a special ceremony at the
Maritime Museum when 357 new names
were unveiled on the museums migrant
Welcome Wall. Australians were invited to
pay tribute to migrant families and friends by
having their names inscribed on the bronze
panelled wall so they could reflect on the new
life Down Under by adding their own names.
The special guest at the Australia Day
ceremony was Dr Sev Ozdowski from the
Australian Multicultural Council who reflected on his own familys migrant history and
the importance of multiculturalism in
Dr Ozdowski was joined by two migrant

Rahul, Divya, Shikha Lal, mum Kamla Lal, Sunil Lal, Neha and Radhika

speakers who have placed their names on the

wall. Anne Versitano honoured her grandparents who migrated from Italy in the late
1800s and Julie O Hara shared her inspiring
story of her familys escape from Vietnam in
Meet here a couple of the migrants who
have become some of Australias most successful business people. They arrived with
nothing and now they are a name to reckon
with in the country.

Dr. Madan Lal Chhabras story

I met Sunil Lal and his family at his res-

October 1968, a young 36-year-old Indian

medical practitioner receives the opportunity
to flee the army coup, arriving in Australia
with little else other than the clothes he is
wearing. He has only one goal - to safely get
his wife, six-year-old son and his younger
siblings across to Australia for a better life.
Dr. Madan Lal Chhabra first arrived in
Newtown, Sydney with only ten dollars and
without his family. He was provided accommodation for a few days by a Burmese family. He secured a job as a doctor at the
Liverpool hospital within a week of his
arrival and so began his journey in the land

Dr. Madan Lal and Kamla Lal

idence Madan Vilas in Strathfield, Sydney.
I felt welcomed and comfortable around the
family. It was quite inspiring to hear their
experiences and to feel the bond thus developed.
It is the story of Indian medical practitioner Dr. Madan Lal Chhabra who arrived
in Sydney in 1968.
March 1962, Burma: Modern day
Myanmar is taken over by the army who now
control people and their possessions. In

18 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February-March 2016

of opportunity.
In December 1988 he was joined by his
wife and only child, Sunil. At first, life was
tough and with a gross income of $52 per
week, he had to pay rent, feed his family and
send money back home to support his siblings.
Dr Max Lal, as he fondly became known,
worked hard in 72-hour shifts, whilst wife
Kamla obtained a job in sewing and later as a
teacher at the Kingsgrove Public School once

Sunil commenced year 1 at the Croydon Park

Public in 1969. The family of three rented
one room at the rear of a house in Croydon
Park and that became their modest home.
Shortly thereafter, Dr. Lal became medical superintendent and transferred to western
suburbs hospital where the family was also
provided living quarters. By mid 1970 the
family extended, as he was joined by his
father and two younger brothers. For a short
period of time the family resided in
Wollongong to accommodate all six members
before purchasing their first home in
The following year saw Dr. Lal open his
first surgery in Punchbowl and by 1972 he
had opened his second surgery in Belmore.
With another four siblings in India,
Burma and Canada, he gradually worked
hard and supported their sponsorships to
commence a new life in Sydney. By 1973, all
siblings had arrived in Australia and living
under one roof before starting their own
careers and lives. Today, they are all well
settled professionals and successful business
people in their own right.
Several years of hard work and sacrifice
was slowly paying off. In 1987, Sunil married Shikha, his love and strength. In 1988,
Sunil commenced his career as a lawyer with
a leading national legal firm in Sydney. He
was quickly recognised with special skills
and won a solid corporate client following, to
become an equity partner by the early
1990s. By this time, Sunil and Shikha had
four children: Divya, Radhika, Neha and
Both father and son had also embarked on
building a diversified property portfolio by
the 1990s whilst maintaining their professional careers. The family is now involved in
developing houses, apartments and entering
aged care area to assist the elderly. The family is heavily involved in philanthropy;
Shikha was appointed Director of
Continued on page 19


Giuseppe Pittornio selling to a customer in his Kogarah shop in 1932. It was a mixed
store selling fruits, vegetables, sweets, chocolates, ice cream, tobacco and firecrackers.
Continued from page 18
Philanthropy for Kaden Boriss and
the firm donated 2 per cent of their
fees from the business to various
charities in Australia and abroad.
She has been instrumental in raising
funds for childrens health, education and those suffering from
depression and abuse to name a
Sunil also has a passion for
Australia and India and now serves
on the Board of NSW Chamber of
Australia-India Bilateral Trade
which was co-founded by him.

Bartolomeo Pittorinos

Salina, Italy had been devastated by

disease. The tiny volcanic isle in
the Aeolian Archipelago had for
centuries been famous for the production and export of Malvasia, a
sweet wine popular throughout
Europe. The disease ravaged grape
crops and an annual 2.6 million
gallons of wine was reduced to
mere drops. Over 90 per cent of
Salinas vineyards were decimated.
Faced with destitution, many
families looked to the seas and
beyond in the hope of a better life
for their children. It was with this
hope that in 1897 young
Bartolomeo Pittorino, eldest son of
five children, set sail on a three
month journey from Leni, Salina,
to Australia when he was just 15.

Young Bartolomeo
Another migrant familys success story belongs to Bartolomeo
Pittorino, who was born in Italy
and moved to Australia in 1897. I
got an opportunity to meet his
granddaughter Carolyn Pittorino in
Sydney and she shared her insights
into his journey.
I am so proud of him. At the
age of 14 he was a mere boy, a
child, who was expected to work
and earn a living like an adult and
separated from his loved ones back
home for at least a decade or so,
Carolyn said.
It was 1890 and the once verdant vineyards of the island of

He sailed from Salina to Naples

and on to London, where he boarded the steamship Orotava, arriving
in Sydney on December 10, 1897.
A year later he was followed by his
14-year-old brother Giuseppe who
arrived aboard the steamship
As a small, penniless boy from
Salina who spoke no English,
Giuseppe started out working for
his uncle who owned a fruit shop in
Northern Sydney. He worked
eighteen hours a day, slept on a
stretcher and had a wooden box as
a dressing table.
After working for first seven

Giuseppe, Anna and their five children Irena, Anne, Mary, Anthony and Agnes.

weeks, he was paid 21 shillings.

However, that same night he had
his sovereign stolen. Despite this
misfortune, and one shilling to his
name, he continued to work hard
and save in order to realise his
dream of opening up his own business and owning his own home the Australian dream which was
unachievable in his homeland.
A mere four years later in 1902
and as a testament to their determination, Giuseppe and Bartolomeo
opened their first fruit shop in
Marrickville. The brothers worked
hard and prospered very quickly.
They purchased properties and built
shops from Marrickville to
Ramsgate, eventually building a
large fruit shop on Rocky Point
Road. This small empire grew from
the tiny seed in the mind of a boy
who at 13 would walk to visit his
brother from North Sydney to
Bondi Beach entirely barefoot so as
not to wear out the soles of his one
and only pair of work shoes.
When Giuseppe was older he
sailed back to the island of Salina
and met Anna Costa. They married
in 1920 in Valdi Chiesa, Italy,
where Anna lived with her family.
Their first child Irene was born one
year later. She was, unfortunately,
a sickly baby and so when Anna
conceived for the second time they
made the decision to sail to
Australia so that their second child
could be born with good medical
The medical help on Salina was
very basic. Sadly, they had to leave
behind baby Irene with her grandparents as she was not well enough
to travel, vowing to return for her
when she was stronger.
Giuseppe and Anna arrived in
Sydney in 1921 aboard Orient
Liner. They settled in Sydney and
had three more children - Anne,
Mary and Anthony before returning
to Salina in 1927 to collect Irene,
who was already six-years-old and
had become very attached to her
Costa grandparents.
It was unimaginably hard for
Irene to leave the island of Salina
and the only family she had ever
known, to join her parents and siblings. Irene spoke only Italian and
her siblings, from whom she had
been estranged for six years, spoke

only English, and secondly the term

multiculturalism didnt exist in
Australia in those days.
Giuseppes business prowess
continued to flourish. He opened a
business in Woollahra and in 1928
the brothers built a mixed business
shop and milk bar in Kogarah. In
1933, a fifth child Agnes was born
when the family became Australian
citizens and lived a comfortable and
relatively peaceful life in Arncliffe.
The only time life became
fraught with tension and conflict
was during WWII when they were
perceived as Italian. Being well
liked in the community and wearing
his RSL badge proudly kept
Giuseppe and his family safe at that
time, save for a single rock through
his shop window and a weapons
search through his house by the
The prosperous and contented
Giuseppe and Anna from the island
of Salina, raised a family and
enjoyed the freedom, fortune and

opportunity that Australia offered

them. They shared their home with
Bartolomeo as he and Giuseppe
were inseparable. To this day, the
facade of 294 Rocky Point Rd,
Ramsgate bears the Pittorino Bros
1929 sign.
Anna died on April 9, 1955;
Giuseppe died on June 23, 1963
and Bartolomeo passed away on
December 29, 1963. Their legacy
lives on through their children,
grandchildren and great grandchildren who share the same beliefs in
being self-reliant and hard working
to achieve goals, all for the benefit
and unconditional love of family.
We are sure many such migrant
stories of overcoming hardships
abound in Australia. Two above
stories represent the migrant wave
which continues till today. Indian
migrants top the list in the skilled
migrant category, thus making
Australia the most diverse, most
vibrant and multiculturally unique
nation one is rightly proud of.

Carolyn Pittornio with her father at Welcome Wall Ceremony

February-March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 19


Tallest Hanuman idol graces

Shiva Temple in Minto
By Neena Badhwar

ord Hanuman is the

favourite god of many
Hindus - easy to please and
radiating happiness. Everyone
loves his fun-filled stories in
Ramayana. Tuesdays in India are
special as devotees recite Hanuman
Chalisa and children queue up outside temples for sweet boondi
Now the Sydney devotees can
experience a similar feel at the
Shiva Temple in Minto. A 15-ft
idol of Lord Hanuman was consecrated at the temple on 14 February
courtesy of Dr Vijai and Sneh
Gupta who are well-known to the
community for their charitable
deeds. Artisans from India had to
be specially flown to Sydney to
assemble the large deity brought
here in three parts, according to
Sneh Gupta.
Shri Shiva Temple has now
become a popular pilgrimage for
devotees from afar as the latest
Hanuman idol gives company to
another tall idol of Lord Shiva,
both claimed to be the tallest in the
southern hemisphere.
The Hanuman idol was consecrated as priests conducted Yagyas
amidst chanting of sacred hymns.
It was such a delight to witness the

Hare Krishnas chanting Hare Ram

Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
and dancing on the auspicious
occasion under a tree with many
others singing devotional bhajans
in praise of the Lord enjoined by
children. Nearly 1,000 devotees
enjoyed the ceremony and reading
of Sundar Kand at the occasion.
Amidst loud cheers and clapping, the Mandir spokesperson, Dr

Manilal Dahya, said, Today is a

special occasion and a milestone in
the history of this Mandir. We now
have probably the tallest Hanuman
ji in the southern hemisphere.
This is a unique temple, if you
look around; we have people from
all parts of India and Sri Lanka Indians from North and the South,
Gujaratis and Marathis, and now a
large number of recent arrivals

from Nepal.
Our next project is to install
Dasavatar of Shivaji and nine
Shaktis. We have in our volunteers
true devotees of the temple who are
here from early morning helping in
various tasks, especially the ladies
who come on Sunday morning to
help in the kitchen, Dr Dahya
Jagdish Chawla explained the

practice of many Hindu Gods and

Goddesses. He said, We have
specific gods for specific purposes.
For wealth, we worship goddess
Lakshmi and for detachment or
Moksha we worship Shiva.
But why should we worship
Hanuman ji when we have gods
looking after everything, Mr
Chawla posed a question. This is
summarised in this mantra:
Buddhir balam yasho dhairyam
nirbhyatavam arogita. A jadyam
vak patuta cha hanumatsmaranad
bhavet, meaning, that if we worship Lord Hanuman we get everything: intelligence, strength, fame,
valour, fearlessness, lack of illhealth; absence of sloth, skill in
speech, and much more, all accrue
upon remembering Hanuman ji,
he said.
Everyone sang Hanuman aarti,
clapping, ringing bells and chanting loud praise and hailing Lord
Hanuman. The excitement filled
the place as if new found strength
had arrived at the temple as the
abhishekam was conducted by the
priests to welcome Lord Hanuman
and his beautiful murti.
Devotees afterwards enjoyed a
hearty prashad and sweets as many
posed with Garima Hanuman to get
their pictures taken standing near
Lords feet and generously dropping donations in the box provided.

Indian seniors enjoy a day out

By Neena Badhwar

hanks to a community
organisation like Sri Om
Care Foundation, Indian
seniors have an opportunity to get
out of the house, mix and mingle
with friends and have activities on
a regular basis. The foundation
provides day care and activities
from six convenient venues in
Sydney - in Chester Hill every
Thursday from 10 am to 2 pm; in
Auburn every 2nd and 4th
Wednesday from 10am to 1pm;
Pennant Hills every Monday from
10am to 2pm; Seven Hills every
Wednesday and Friday 10am
2pm; Toongabbie 1st and 3rd
Wednesday from 10am to 2pm
and at Wentworthville, first
Saturday of the month 12.30 to
3.30 pm.
The regular meetings provide
structured activities for seniors,
which not only give respite to
their carers but also offer an outing opportunity to a senior who
lives an isolated lifestyle due to
old age.

The Pennant Hills seniors went for an outing organized by

Sri Om Care.

20 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February-March 2016

Sri Om Care organises outings

and picnics for seniors every now
and then that include taking the
seniors to sightseeing places,
parks, temples and even beaches.
Thanks to its dedicated workers
who are trained in aged care that
they have programmes to entertain and exercise and have activities that India seniors look forward to. The food prepared by Sri
Om Care providers is also made
fresh on the day with nutrition
needs of Indian seniors in mind.
Dishes are mainly Indian served
along with sweets and fresh fruit.
The Pennant Hills seniors
went for an outing to Bahai
Temple and Dee Why Beach on
February 1. The first stopover
was Bahai Temple where they
were served tea, coffee and
snacks. Then they were shown a
video on Bahai faith which
believes and respects all religions. The Bahai faith, founded in
Persia in the 19th century, is a
monotheistic religion which
emphasizes the spiritual unity of
all humankind. According to the

Faith's teachings, the human purpose is to learn to know and to

love God through such methods
as prayer, reflection and being of
service to humanity.
As it started to drizzle it was
hurriedly decided to go visit
Davidson Park that is situated
near the water as an overhead
bridge takes busy traffic from one
end to the other end of the city.
But underneath the bridge sitting
on the plush green grass we were
served a sumptuous yet simple
Punjabi meal. Pinky Anand
cooked a delicious menu which
was served hot to everyones
delight. There was delicious
Punjabi Kadi, Baingan Aloo, Rice
and Fresh Chapatis followed by
Sooji Halwa with kishmish and
bananas for everyone.
Sri Om Cares careful and
always smiling workers in Mehdi,
Shweta, Sanjita and Pinky made it
a wonderful outing for all. It was
as if they already practice what
the Bahai faith teaches that is to
know and love God through service to humanity.

February - March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 21


Indian students course choices range

from Law to Diagnostic Radiology
By Neena Badhwar

chieving Higher School

Certificate is an important
milestone in anyones life.
It is a passport to a life and a career
decision that is extremely important and decides the pathway one
wants to take. Young people have
to work hard for an intensive two
years of HSC. They are supported
by all the people including family
members, teachers, fellow students
and friends as well as tutors and
the school in this arduous journey.
While honouring the cream of
HSC students who topped in the
state, Education Minister Adrian
Piccoli said to the students and
their proud parents, Although a
duck swimming in a pond may
look all nice and peaceful, yet
theres a lot of paddling going on
underneath the surface. This is
exactly how the HSC is for all of
you. Completion of HSC opens
up the world as top universities
come down here to interview our
top students. Not that we do not
have good universities here but our
high achievers are sought after by
the top universities from all over.
Not only the families but
Indian community as a whole feels
quite proud of the achievement of
its bright students who pass HSC
with flying colours.
The Indian Down Under interviewed some of the exceptional
students who are not confined now

Dev Anand: Acturial Studies

to the four walls of a school
boundary, supervised by their
respective teachers with parents
keeping a strict eye at home. Now
the world is theirs as they find
freedom at last and make their own
choices to join courses as a career
choice and enjoy a free liberated
college life. They have big dreams
with which they go and join universities and study what they
would like to become and thus contribute to the society in a positive
way. Jasmine Kumar of Good
Samaritan Catholic College topped
in the state in Business Services
Examination and has decided to
take up Diagnostic Radiography to
study at university.
Mala Rigby, another exceptional and inspiring student, managed to achieve band six in all her
chosen six subjects she undertook
at Pymble Ladies College, topping

Jasmine Kumar: Diagnostic Radiography

in Agriculture. Armed with an
ATAR rank of 99.5, Malas subjects were varied ranging from
Agriculture, Ancient History,
Biology, Earth & Environmental
Science to English & English
Extension. Her favourite subjects
were English and Ancient History,
in which she scored a high mark of
96 and 97 respectively. Mala said
she may do Law or may follow a
teaching degree.
Simran Pun topped in Hindi
Continuers in the state this year.
She has been offered a scholarship
for Academic Excellence by
Western Sydney University to
study the degree of her choice.
Said Simran, If everything goes
well, I intend to study for a
Bachelor of Law/Bachelor of
International Studies or a Bachelor
of Communications/Bachelor of
International Studies.

Mala Rigby: Law or Teaching

Bahitsht Wasseh: Commerce

Bahisht Wasseh has decided to
study at Macquarie university,
joining bachelors degree in
Commerce there. Her favourite
subjects were Legal Studies and
Business Studies, having studied
at Loretto Convent, Normanhurst.
Dev Anand, from Normanhurst

Simran Pun: International Studies

Boys High, with an impressive
ATAR of 99.03 has decided to take
up the ambitious Acturial Studies
at UNSW.
We wish this distinguished
class of new university students
who definitely show a lot of promise for the worlds future.

Sydney to witness classical dances

from Banaras gharana

ydney Dance Festival of

Classical Indian Dance
2016 to be presented by the
Performing Arts on April 16 this
year has a distinguished line-up of
classical dancers to enthral and
entertain Sydney audience.
This festival is now in its third
year having brought Kathak in its
first year from Jaipur Gharana, in
the second year it was Lucknow
Gharana and this year the dance
from of the Banaras Gharana.
Dr. Divya Sriram is the main
sponsor. As a Bharatanatyam
dancer she is passionate about the
classical dance forms, If we
dont do something India will
Bollywood and butter chicken.
Well butter chicken it is not as
some exceptional classical artists

Sree Lakshamy Govardhanan

Vishal Krishna

Divya Shiva Shankar

come to Sydney in April.

The festival is going to be
held at Bryan Brown Theatre in
The artists are Christopher
Gurusamy, a Kalakshetra trained

dancer who will present his performance as a soloist. Born and

raised in Perth, Christopher is a
member of Leela Samsons
Spanda Dance Company and is
known for his energetic and effer-

vescent performance on stage.

Then there is Divya Shiva
Shankar herself who is a danseuse
par excellence of Bharatanatyam.
Divya has performed worldwide
in lead roles in a number of

22 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February-March 2016

Bharata Kalanjali productions.

Sanghmitra and Sita in Sita Ram
The festival will also have
another distinguished dancer Sree
Kuchipudi artist from Kerala.
Sree Lakshamy has performed
for Make in India program at
Hannoer Messe 2015 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra
And last but not least, says
Divya, Vishal Krishna is another very special person and a versatile Kathak artist. We believe
he is going to take Kathak one
step above and thrill the Sydney
audience with his splendid performance. One has got to see his
amazing Kathak.


Stills from For Love and Love Only with lead actors Rohit Kalia and Georgia Nicholas.

Julian Karikalans For Love and Love Only is a romance film,

but not what Bollywood churns out.
By Neeru Saluja

ove for the sake of love has

been on Julian Karikalans
mind since he came to the
beautiful city of Sydney as an
international student in 2003.
And now that he works in the
media department of Corrective
Services, making documentaries
and writing press releases, Julian
has on the side turned a directorcum-writer-cum-producer of a film
titled For Love and Love Only
(LALO). Not only has he selffunded the film, written it, he has
also single-handedly shot the full
feature film in
English based on the experiences
of Indian students who we see now
aplenty in Australia.
I wanted to show a students
life in true sense not the one that
Bollywood is churning out on the
clichd image of a foreign country
with all clubbing, dancing and having the time of their life.
LALO is a cross-cultural
romance film between an Indian
International student and a working class Australian girl set in the
Australia. But it crosses all boundaries of colour, race or culture as
Julian says, The feeling of love is
universal, no matter what or
Julian made the film on the
weekends as all the actors and the
crew also work in their full time
jobs like him.
He feels that the film is
blessed. He shot some scenes at
Sydney Murugan temple at
Westmead, though they did not
allow him to shoot inside the sanctum sanctorum. Says Julian, I
shot it from the outside looking in

as the couple visits the temple.

It must have looked so real
because when they came out an
Indian elder couple blessed them
both, says Julian.
The actors who play the couple
in love are Georgia Nicholas and
Rohit Kalia. Rohit trained at
Anupam Khers acting school and
has also won the title of Mr. India
Australia in 2014. Georgia is a
novice as she was chosen not from
over 160 applications that Julian
got from actors applying for the
role. She was in the extras list the
one you call junior artists and I
immediately picked her and took
her for a screen test, recalls
Julian. Of course I worked a lot
on her, the voice modulation and
the rest for a couple of months
before she was ready. But I must
say I am so happy to have cast
her. About the script he says, I
wrote some dialogues I thought
were serious but in a different cultural context and for a different
audience, but they brought out
The film was screened at San
Jose Global Film Festival and the
audience loved it, as per Julian.
And what about the music and
the background score given by the
great music composer of India,
Ilayaraja, who has by now rendered music for 1,000 films? Says
Julian, I am a great fan of his. I
was a bit scared before I
approached him but when I
showed him the rushes of the film,
he was impressed and composed
music right there and then using
live orchestra. He is just so effortless and his music made the scenes
meaningful. This is Ilayarajas
first English movie that he has
composed music for.

Sydney based filmmaker Julian Karikalan is a

native of Madurai, India.

The only one song in the movie

has also been written by Julian
who has used three lines from well
known lyrics from Danny
Burgesss song. What have you
done to me? Tell me now, that's a
plea, Eastern breeze shakes a
strong cudgerie tree has been
sung by a beautiful singer that
Julian approached. She is Rachael
Leahcar from South Australia.
Rachael responded to Julians call
for a singer when he received close
to 65 applications. Having heard
Rachael sing on television Julian
asked her to sing the English song
in the film whose music is provided by the great Ilayaraja.
You wonder how can Julian
make a movie in just a $100,000.
I went to Screen Australia and
Screen NSW but they knocked my
application down saying that I cannot make a movie in this small an
amount.It became a challenge
then for me to prove that I could
do it. When I showed it to them

they said well now we cant give

you anything since the movie is
already made.
Come next time. they said.
One always wonders when
Australia will open up to the experiences written and recorded by the
migrants in films, in print, radio
and TV channels. We make up
close to 40 per cent of the total
population of people either born
overseas, or having parents from
overseas, yet there is a great
dearth of migrant presence in the
media. If there is any it is all a
clichd view of how the West sees
India or any other culture.
But people like Julian, Dr.
Satish Rai, Anupam Sharma and
Stanley DSouza have proved that
they have something to say in the
film medium based on the local
experiences they go through.
It has been a long haul for
Julian having self-funded the film.
Says he, My wife at times says
why are you wasting money, we

could have bought a house with it,

but my children always came along
to the shoot and also my wife to
support me. It sure has been a
journey for this budding filmmaker who has learnt the skill on the
go. He did short courses in script
writing with an American script
writer Robert McKee before he
embarked on his idea of a fullfledged feature film. And now to
show it he says he will try to
recoup his money by releasing it
through theatre-on-demand. He
also asks people to visit his website
and support him by buying music.
All I ask is of various organisations in the community to come
forward and screen it. You dont
have to pay anything. Just organise
a group and a screening and I will
take care of the rest. Well what
are we waiting for. Visit LALO at
e/ And do watch out for its limited
release or organise a show yourself.

February-March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 23


Salt Bridge: a Hindi movie that breaks stereotypes

Canberra-based Abhijit Deonaths Indo-Aus production Salt Bridge created waves when its songs were shortlisted for
an Oscar nomination. TIDU talked to him about his passion for literature, music and how he made his film.
By Neeru Saluja
Coming from a non-film background, what inspired you to
make the film? How did you make
your journey from India, Australia
and to the Oscars?
I was very passionate about
music and literature from an early
age. In my school time I always
thought if I do something significant it would be to publish one
book and create one album.
About three years ago I started
writing a novel based on my experiences with the Indian community.
When I came close to the end, I
realised the novel would be better
off presented as a film. Then I
started learning the art of filmmaking. There is always a first time for
everything. You can learn how to
play an instrument, but you cant
learn how to compose a song. You
cannot learn how to direct a film,
its just an art. It has to come from
Once I had the story, I made it
into a script. Then I started casting
my actors. Filmmaking is one project that runs like a pilot till the end
of the project. Salt Bridge has
made its way through continuous
evolvement and the journey of
myself and the actors.
You have not only directed the
film but you are also the man
behind the music which is creating

Filmmaker Abhjit Deonath

Ive been listening to all kinds
of music from an early age. When
you are looking for treasure, you
are looking into many prospects. I
have listened to RD Burman,
Shankar Jaikishen, Lata, Asha,
Hemant Kumar and that is why my
music is good. I write poems and
thats why words are important to
me. I have written the songs and
composed the songs. My singers
are from India, America and
Australia. The songs range in different emotions and types, ranging
from ghazals, classical, sad songs
and contemporary style of song.
Tell us about story of the film.
Is it based on the love between an
Indian and an Australian?
The film revolves around rela-

tionships. In smaller towns in

Australia, we are missing something so we try to compensate by
looking for connections in the same
community and meeting during festivals. Also remember, migrants
are frozen in time. In this situation
comes my hero who is a recent
Indian immigrant. He connects to a
lady who is non-Indian and then
the society reacts to their relationship.
How was the shooting experience and working with the lead
The experience was very
intense. We shot the film in one
month due to the availability of the
stars. It was a challenge to get the
supporting cast from Australia.
Rajeev Khandelwal is a gentleman and a soft-spoken person who
mixed well with the crew. Usha
Jadhav is a very good actress.
People will talk about her acting
and the lead actress Chelsie Preston
is brilliant. I was initially very
worried how a girl who doesnt
know a single word of Hindi will
react in the film and the Hindi dialogues. She pulled it off very well.
The films title is quite unique.
What is the importance of Salt
The film is about relationships
but this relationship is a bit
strange. Between the two characters there is an attraction, and the
society reacts to the relationship.

Rajeev Khaneldwal and Usha Jadhav in an intense scene

from the film.

Rajeev Khaneldwal and Chelsie Preston, who is from New Zealand.

There is a scientific term called
Salt Bridge and that is where I
picked up the title. In scientific ter-

minology, salt bridge is when the

electricity flows but there is no
chemical mix.

Wedding Album spotlights NRIs here and now

Directed by Saba Zaidi Abdi, the play juxtaposes the clash of traditional values and materialism in the globalisation era. It will be staged on May 1.
By Tamanna Abdi

dakar Theatre and Cultural

Group is returning in 2016
with their second major
production, Wedding Album, and
are looking to engage with a
younger and more diverse audience
in the process. Written by eminent
Indian playwright Girish Karnad
and directed by Saba Zaidi Abdi,
Wedding Album explores a pivotal event in the life of every
Indian family the wedding
through the lens of the aspirations
of urban, middle-class India.
By subverting a common trope
in Indian pop culture the impending arranged marriage of a girl to a
suitable expat boy Karnad
showcases the anxieties and longburied resentments often simmering
under the veneer of the clan coming together in a display of solidarity and joy. A production which
genuinely reflects the realities of
modern day India, Wedding
Album juxtaposes the clash of traditional values and materialism in
the globalisation era. The plays
protagonist is Vidula, played by
Pragya Goswami, and her journey
traipses the no mans land between

her obligations to her family and

social customs, and her desire for
the freedoms of Generation Y.
A contemporary play performed
in English, Wedding Album represents a shift in Adakars theatrical focus as it seeks to reflect the
concerns of modern day Indians
and the experiences of NRIs.
Founding member and creative
director, Saba Zaidi Abdi said on
this transition, We formed in 2014
and Adakars mission statement
from its inception has been to bring
Australian communities together
through theatre and cultural
exchanges to promote a better
understanding and appreciation of
the new subcultures that are emerging in modern day Australian society Wedding Album, a play in
English with a 22 year-old character as our lead, takes us a step closer to engaging with the younger
members of our community in our
Adds Pragya Goswami,
Vidulas character is really complex: shes sort of on the cusp of a
complete change of environment.
Theres this family history of
women (such as her mother and
sister) marrying and being sup-

In scenes from the play: Pragya Goswami and Kartik Mohandas;

(right) Aparna Tijoriwala, Preeti Thadani and Pragya Goswami
pressed in their own way. But with
Vidula, she has all these wants and
desires as you can see through
the internet caf scene but she
recognises that what shes doing is
what everyone else wants. And I
guess in doing that, she conforms
and in a way she herself is suppressed by her own lack of
Pragya also adds on the
increased accessibility and opportunities of an English-language play,
The Indian wedding culture is

24 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February-March 2016

really vibrant and thats always

appealing lots of colours, clothes,
jewellery, big sounds, good food
and thats an attractive thing for
anyone, so its not only just for
Indian audiences, it appeals to the
Western perspective as well.
As one of the most incisive
intellectual explorations of the
modern Indian experience,
Wedding Album is a play which
is funny, poignant, pushes the
boundaries and is a must-see production.

Wedding Album will be staged

at NIDA Theatres, 215 Anzac
Parade, Kensington on May 1st at
6pm. Ticket enquiries can be made
at The
cast features the best of local talent: Pragya Goswami, Aparna
Tijoriwala, Preeti Thadani, Bobby
Mallick, Kartik Mohandas, Vedaant
Tijoriwala, Saba Zaidi Abdi,
Amitav Goswami, Rahul
Tijoriwala, Smarajit Dey, Mala
Mehta, Dixit Thakkar, Saral, Nisar
Sirguroh and Prashant Mohan Rao.

Body Mind Spirit

Mixed year ahead in 2016

By T. Selva

ou can expect a mixed

year in 2016, with auspicious times and challenges
in store. The placement of Saturn
in Scorpio will create aggression
and terrorism in several countries,
particularly those located near the
Equator and southern hemisphere.
Countries like Australia, New
Zealand, Philippines, Singapore,
Indonesia and Malaysia are likely
to see natural disasters.
Oil price is projected to drop
further, while real estate will experience slight growth despite the
weak year.
I sat with seventh generation
astrologer and Vasthu Sastra master Yuvaraj Sowma from Chennai,
India, to jointly analyse what the
future holds for the various zodiac
signs using the Indian almanac.
The Indian calendar is based on
moon signs or rasi.
Readers should note that
Western astrology is based on sun
signs. If, say, your Western astrological star sign is Aries, your sign
under the Indian system may not
be the same.
Consult an astrologer to determine your moon sign because it is
too complicated to explain in a few
lines. And dont be worried if the
forecast indicates an unfavourable
period ahead.
You can avert the worst by
performing prayers and spiritual
activities, doing good deeds and
acts of charity to mitigate negative
planetary forces.
It will be a positive year for
those born under the signs of
Cancer (Kataka) and Capricorn
Moderate results are expected
for those who belong to Gemini
Aquarius (Kumbha) and Pisces
(Meena). Those born under the
signs of Taurus (Rishabam), Leo
(Simha), Libra (Thula), Scorpio
(Vrichika), Sagittarius (Dhanus)
and Aries (Mesham) will have to
be careful because of Saturns negative influence in their birth chart
in 2016.

Aries (Mesham)
Lucky days: Sunday, Tuesday

You need to be very careful of

unexpected incidents such as accidents and sudden ailments.
peaceful relationship with relatives
and family members and dont
engage in disputes. Pay attention
to your health and seek medical
help whenever you feel unwell.
Finance: Have a financial plan
and keep track of your expenditure
or you will run into financial problems.
Avoid speculation and the
share market.
Students: Reduce entertainment and spend more time on your

tions that can result in conflicts and

Finance: Avoid any new venture that involves money to avert
financial losses.
Students: Focus on your studies more and avoid new friends
until year-end.

Capricorn (Makara)

Taurus (Rishabam)
Wednesday, Friday
The first six months will be
challenging and improved times
are anticipated from July onwards,
financially. Neglected activities
will recommence.
Relationships: Couples will
enjoy reunions and romantic outings.
Finance: There will be financial enhancement, overseas jobs
and migration opportunities in the
second half of the year.
Students: Success in examinations is imminent and chances of
studying abroad are high.

Gemini (Mithuna)

Lucky days: Wednesday,

Thursday, Friday
Most part of the year will be
favourable and couples will enjoy
unusual attachment and togetherness.
upgrading and new additions to the
family like marriages or births
are likely to happen.
Finance: Long distance travel,
additional sources of income and
gains from new positions are
expected throughout the year.
Students: Chances of scoring
high marks in exams will be
achieved effortlessly.

Cancer (Kataka)
Lucky days: Sunday, Monday,
This will be a moderate year
with mixed results. Be careful of
your choice of words when you
speak or write as it can lead to conflicts.
remarks can hurt your relationships; be sensitive to the feelings
of your spouse.
Finance: You can explore buying a vehicle or property after the
month of July. Promotion and a
salary increment are indicated.
Students: This will be a successful year for you. You may get

A collage depicting India-Post-issued set of 12 stamps

depicting astrological signs in folk art form.
a chance to study overseas.

Leo (Simha)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
An average year; avoid making
any major decisions in the first six
Relationships: If you are in a
relationship, marriage is indicated
after July.
Finance: You will settle all
your debts in 2016; you will be
financially stronger and new
opportunities will knock on your
Students: Those facing difficulties in their studies in the past
will complete their education successfully.

Virgo (Kanya)
Lucky days: Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday
In general, 2016 should be a
very good year for you compared
to 2015. Love and friendship will
blossom and it will bring you happiness.
Relationships: Chances of you
meeting your soulmate is high but
you are not urged to get married.
Finance: Many travels related
with your job are indicated and
you will find a different atmosphere at home. You will enjoy
improved health. Debts incurred in
2015 will clear, financial comfort
will increase, and you are likely to
buy a new vehicle.
Students: You will complete
your studies without any struggles.

Libra (Thula)
Wednesday, Friday
The first six months will be
more challenging than the rest of

the year and it is recommended

that you stay away from making
major decisions like buying a
property, changing vehicles or
jobs, migrating or getting married.
Relationships: You will not
face problems in your relationships. Be careful when driving and
enhance your spiritual practices to
protect yourself from unwanted
Finance: Your earnings will be
favourable. You have to take control of your expenditure or you
may end up facing financial losses.
Avoid taking loans.
Students: Spend more time on
your studies and pay attention to
your lessons. Do not play truant.

Scorpio (Vrichika)
Tuesday, Thursday
Better times are expected from
July onwards. Due to increased
workload at the start of the year,
you will spend less time with your
Relationships: Try to devote
some time for the family to have a
happy atmosphere at home.
Finance: Do not enter into new
business ventures and avoid any
kind of surety to anyone.
Students: You will have to
work hard and pay extra attention
to your studies to pass exams.

Sagittarius (Dhanus)
Lucky days: Sunday, Wednesday,
High expenses are anticipated
and you should exercise patience
in all undertakings because challenges will test your strength and
Relationships: Be careful in
your relationships and avoid situa-

Wednesday, Friday
A better year than 2015 and a
lot of auspicious things are expected to happen after a period of difficulties and hardship.
bonding and closeness will produce happy times with your
Finance: A profitable year and
you will get opportunities to
change jobs. Those who are unemployed will get job offers.
Students: Focus on your studies and you will complete your
examinations successfully.

Aquarius (Kumbha)
Thursday, Friday
An average year. You need to
be patient and tactful in handling
relationship matters both within
and outside of the family.
Relationships: You should
spend time working on your peace
of mind, and relationships with
people you come in contact with.
Finance: Your financial status
will be strong but you need to control your expenditure, especially
on unnecessary purchases. Do not
lend money to anyone.
Students: Pay attention to your
studies. Some of you may fall sick
during exams.

Pisces (Meena)
The new year will be the most
beneficial period for you and all
your desires will be fulfilled.
Relationships: Happy times
with the family are in store for
you. Some of you will get the
opportunity to buy a property or
Finance: Those in business
will have a golden opportunity
from July onwards, and those in
employment may get promoted
with monetary benefits.
Students: Overall, a good year
for students. You will be able to
achieve good results.
T. Selva is the author of the
bestseller book Vasthu Sastra
Guide. To get a copy contact
Devi at 0412623017.
He can be contacted at

February-March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 25

26 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February - March 2016

Santram's Grey Page

Factors impacting brain

health, & remedies

By Santram Bajaj


ften we are worried about our memory as we tend to forget friends names.
It happens with most of us and it is no
doubt embarrassing, but not really alarming.
There are many factors that affect our brain
health and we can do something to control at
least some, if not all of them.
First let us look at the various factors that
affect our brain health.
Ageing (Nothing we can do about!) : Many
cognitive functions - such as learning, memory and attention can be affected by age.
These age-related changes may even begin as
early as in ones 20s and 30s. There are also
physical changes to the brain that occur as
you age, which can affect brain function.
These include accumulation of fat deposits in
the cells of the brain, and neurone loss,
which results in the brain getting smaller
with age.
Stress : When you are exposed to stress, your
body goes through a series of reactions known
as the stress response. Part of this stress
response is the release of neurotransmitters
(chemicals that transmit nerve impulses), and
hormones called glucocorticoids. Long term
exposure to these stress hormones can have an
impact on brain structure. In adults these
changes are seen in the hippocampus an area
of the brain involved in memory, and thinking.
Smoking : Cigarette smoke contains thousands of compounds, many of which are toxic
to the brain. Smoking may cause physical
changes to the structure of your brain, and
may also accelerate the decline of cognitive
functions such as memory, learning and processing speed.
Poor nutrition : Good nutritional status is
important for the health of your brain.
Ensuring that you have adequate amounts of B
vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and omega-3
fatty acids may help support brain health, and
cognitive decline associated with normal ageing.
Diets that are high in fruits, vegetables,
cereals and fish are associated with better
brain health and cognitive function, while
those that are high in fat especially trans and
saturated fats, may have negative effects on
brain health.
Dehydration : Dehydration can affect the
structure of your brain, and may also decrease
your brain fluid volume.
Dehydration of the brain can lead to shrinking
of brain cells within the brain known as astrocytes, resulting in water being unable to move
between cells, blood and the ventricles of the
brain. This can have negative effect on cognitive function.

Natural therapies : They say that prevention

is better than cure and one of the best ways
to help support your brain health is through
your diet.
Fish oil/Omega-3 fatty acids : research has
shown a link between higher omega-3 intake
and better brain health in older adults. Fatty
acids found in fish oil helps maintain the
structure and function of membranes, and
influence the transmission of messages in the
Ginkgo : Ginkgo Biloba may support brain
health with studies showing that it may
improve aspects of cognitive function such as
short-term memory and speed of cognitive
B vitamins : B vitamins are essential to brain
health. B vitamin supplements may help to
improve memory and other cognitive functions.
Curcumin : the active ingredient found in
turmeric - has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. Curcumin may support alertness
and calmness during times of increased mental demand and may support healthy mood.
Mental exercises : use it or lose it!

Researchers have found that mental exercises

can improve memory function which means
your brain is like a muscle you have to train
it regularly or it may lose some neurons.
Therere lots of options. Try some of the
! Read widely try a mix of magazines,
newspapers, books and internet
! Learn to play a musical instrument, or to
speak a new language
! Take up a new hobby
! Do crossword and Sudoku puzzles
! Play games that make you think like
Chess, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, and cards
! Be social recent studies have found a link
between social isolation, and poor brain
health. Catch up with family and friends
regularly. Try volunteering and participate
in local community groups and social
! Reduce stress try regular relaxation to
keep stress levels under control to prevent
as excess stress hormone production.
Techniques like meditation and mindfulness may also be helpful and recent
research has found they can change brain
! Physical exercise aim for 30 minutes of

moderate exercise every day. Exercise will

increase oxygen circulation to the brain,
and may help to improve cognitive functions such as memory and reasoning.
! Sleep ensure you are getting enough,
good quality sleep each night. Poor sleep,
or lack of sleep will affect your memory,
concentration and ability to learn.
However, things may be getting serious sometimes and we got to watch out for the symptoms and contact our doctor.

Son: Dad there is a small get together at
school tomorrow.
Father: How small, son?
Son: Only you, me and the principal.

The Health tips in the article are taken from
various well established and reliable sources
and are given to you in good faith. However,
readers are reminded to take care and consult
their doctor if not sure, as noresponsibility can
be accepted by the writer of this column or
The Indian Down Under).


lzheimer's, a fatal degenerative and

terminal disease, affects millions of
people across the globe every year.
According to the World Health
Organization, more than 18 million people
suffer from this condition worldwide. More
than 50 per cent of these cases are found in
developing nations like India and North
Africa. From memory loss to difficulty in
concentrating, Alzheimer's disrupts daily
life and the individual ultimately withdraws
from an active social life. The only way to
overcome this is by identifying the warning
signs and taking adequate preventive measures.
Memory loss affecting daily function
It is quite normal to misplace one's
socks occasionally or forget about some
important appointment once in a while. But,
if this has become a regular habit, you need
to think about your situation more deeply.
Memory impairment is a common feature of
Alzheimer's that gradually gets worse over
time. A person with the disease also frequently forgets things learnt recently and
may ask the same information over and over
Difficulty in decision making
Another typical characteristic of people
suffering from Alzheimer's disease is frequent changes in judgment or difficulty in
decision-making. This may seem like a trifle
matter initially but as time progresses, the
situation gets worse and the individual may
even need to seek medical help.
Mood and personality changes
People with Alzheimer's also experience
rapid mood changes to the extent that they
may suddenly get depressed or angry for no
apparent reason. Their personality also
changes dramatically, much to the distress
of their near ones. Such individuals may
become extremely confused or even suspicious. However, these changes may vary
from individual to individual and the mood

swings also do not have any set patterns.

Some of these changes can be so drastic that
a person sometimes seems to be in complete
contrast to the normal behaviours they have
exhibited in their previous lives.
Withdrawal from active social life
As the disease progresses gradually, the
affected person tends to withdraw from his
or her routine activities and social life, probably due to frustration and embarrassment.
Difficulty in remembering minor activities,
names and dates makes it hard to complete a
favourite task or activity. Hence, it is vital
to recognize such signs at the earliest and
seek medical interventions. This can help to
ward off depression and prolong the quality
of life by maintaining a healthy stimulation
level both physically and socially.
Problem with speech and language
Every one faces some kind of speech difficulties once in a while but a patient of
Alzheimer's may forget simple words frequently. They have difficulties in joining or
following a conversation and often their sentences become difficult to comprehend.
Also, they may stop abruptly in between a
conversation without having any clear idea
on how to continue.
Time or place disorientation
Confusion with place or time is another

characteristic trait seen with Alzheimer's

patients. You will often find such patient
lose track of dates, seasons and even time.
Such patients may sometimes even land up
in unknown locations without having any
idea of how they got there.
Difficulty in concentrating
Concentrating difficulties may sometimes occur due to inattention, anxiety or
lack of sleep. But, a person with
Alzheimer's disease may have trouble in
completing tasks that they have been doing
their entire lives. Such individuals often find
it hard to complete regular chores like paying bills or cooking a meal.
Frequently misplacing things
You may say that this is quite common
and anyone can misplace their room keys or
their wallet. But for these patients, such
activities become a regular habit. Moreover,
they are often seen placing things in inappropriate places like placing their shoes
inside the freezer.
Vision problem
Very often, Alzheimer's cases are seen
associated with vision problems. According
to a report by the Alzheimer's Society,
around 60 percent of all diagnosed cases suffer from visual disturbances. However,
unlike normal eye problems, visual disturbances in Alzheimer's are not due to anomalies in the eye. Instead, they are caused due
to the inability of the brain to perceive light
signals. Some of the common vision problems occurring in these patients include difficulty in distinguishing colour, identifying
depth in three dimensional objects and
motion blindness.
Trouble solving problems
Some people even face difficulty in solving basic mathematical calculations or following a set plan of work. They may also
find it hard to do tasks that require some
form of abstract thinking and may take
longer time to do tasks they did before.

February-March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 27

Body Mind Spirit

Trisanku: In between
heaven and earth
The story from Indian mythology is as much about
Trisankus burning desire to ascend bodily to heaven,
as Viswamitras to become Brham Rishi.
By C Rajagopalachari

hat was the time when the famous

king of the Solar dynasty, Trisanku,
reigned. He was so much in love
with the beauty of his body that he could not
hear the thought of parting with it at death
and desired to ascend in that very body.
Vasishtha, his preceptor, whom he
approached for help in realising his wish,
advised him to give up attempting the
impossible. Dissatisfied with Vasishthas
response, the King approached the sages
sons and sought their help.
They were wrath at being asked to do
something which their father had pronounced impossible, ridiculed his vanity
and curtly showed him the door.
King Trisanku would not give up his
aim and told them that, since they and their
father were too poor in merit to help him,
he would find others who were richer.
Vasishthas sons were provoked beyond
endurance, and said: Be you a chandala.
The curse began to act and the next
morning Trisanku woke up a different person altogether, an untouchable, ugly of
form, attired in dirty clothes.
His ministers and his people could not
recognise him. Driven out of his kingdom
he wandered hungry and weary almost to
death, till the destiny took him to
Viswamitras ashram.
The Kings appearance moved the heart
of the sage, who enquired, Arent you
King Trisanku? What has brought you to
this plight? Whose curse?
Recounting all that had happened he fell
at the sages feet and said, I have been a
good king and never swerved from the path
of dharma. I have committed no sin and
wronged none. My preceptor and his sons
have deserted me and cursed me and you
see me thus before you.
Viswamitra took pity on the King converted by a curse into a chandala. This was
Viswamitras great weakness; he was
impulsive and easily powered by emotions
like anger, sympathy and love.
In sweet words, he made the king
happy: O, King, I have heard of your
righteous rule. I offer you refuge, be not
afraid. I will arrange for sacrifice which
will enable you to enter heavens in your
own body. And in this very chandala form
you shall reach heaven despite your Gurus
curse. Of this you may be sure.
And he made arrangements for a great
and unprecedented yagya.
Viswamitra directed his disciples for the
proposed yagya. Afraid of saying No to

what was more or less a command, all the

rishis agreed to be present.
But the sons of Vasishtha declined the
invitation and made merry about a yagya at
which the officiating priest was once-upona-time Kshatriya and the yajamaana stinking
chandala. This reply, duly conveyed,
enraged Viswamitra who exploded into a
curse that Vasishthas sons do die and be reborn for seven generations in a tribe given
in eating dogs flesh.
The sage then began the yagya.
Extolling Trisankus eminent virtues,
Viswamitra sought the help of the other
rishis in affecting the bodily transportation
of Trisanku to heaven.
Well aware of the sages mighty powers
and fulminous temper, the invitees lent their
support, and the yagya went on. It reached
the stage when the gods were invoked to
descend and accept the offerings.
But no god came. It was clear that
Viswamitras yagya was a failure. And the
rishis who had attended the ceremony,
laughed within themselves at Viswamitras
Wild with rage, Viswamitra held the
ladle of ghee over the flames and said: O
Trisanku, here behold my power. I now
transfer for your benefit all the merit I have
earned. If my austerities have any value,
they should lift you to heaven in your physical frame. I care not if the Devas reject my
offerings O King Trisanku! Ascend!
A miracle followed to the astonishment
of those assembled, Trisanku in his chandala body rose heavenward. The world saw
the power of Viswamitras tapas.
Trisanku reached Swarga. But Indra
forthwith pushed him down saying, Who
are you, entering heaven with a chandala
body? You, fool, that earned the curse of
your preceptor go down again.
Trisanku fell down from heaven, head
downwards, screaming, O Viswamitra!
Save me!
Viswamitra, seeing this, was beside
himself with rage. Determined to teach the
gods a lesson, he shouted to Trisanku,
Stop there! Stop there! and, to the amazement of all, Trisankus earthward descent
came to an abrupt stop and he stopped in
midair, shining like a star. Like a second
Brahma, Viswamitra proceeded to create a
new starry horizon to the south as well as a
new Indra and new Devas.
Alarmed at their loss of supremacy, the
Devas now came to terms and humbly
entreated Viswamitra to desist. They said,
Let Trisanku stay where he is at present.
Let the other stars of your creation shine

28 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February-March 2016

Sage Vishwamitra is tempted by the apsara Menaka.

forever, like your own fame and honour.
Control your anger and be friends with us.
Gratified at this submission, and as easily appeased as provoked, Viswamitra halted his creative process. But his stupendous
activities had consumed the whole of the
power that he had thus far

acquired by his austerities, and he found

he had to begin again.
Viswamitra now proceeded westwards
in Pushkara and resumed his austerities. For
years the rigorous tapas continued, but once
again as it was about to bear fruit something
Continued on page 29

Body Mind Spirit

world, and performed austerities so stern
that smoke and flames issued from his body
and enveloped the universe. Then at the
prayer of the panic-stricken gods, Brahma
again appeared before him, and hailed him
as Brahma Rishi All hail, Brahma Rishi,
I am pleased with you. Blessed be your
Viswamitra was happy.
But humbly he said, How can I be
happy unless from Vasishthas lips I hear
that I am a Brahma Rishi!
Vasishtha smiled remembering his fight
with Viswamitra and said to him, You
have achieved the fruit of your great austerities. Indeed you are a Brahma Rishi, my
There was joy all around.

Continued from page 28

happened to rouse his anger and he lost his
balance and cursed his own sons. Soon
recovering himself, he firmly resolved
never again to yield to anger, and resumed
his tapas.
After many years of austerities, Brahma
and the Devas appeared before him and
said, O Kausika! Your tapas has borne
fruit. You are no longer in the ranks of
kings; you have become a real rishi.
Having thus blessed Viswamitra, Brahma
This was again a disappointment for
Viswamitra. He wanted to become a
Brahma Rishi and Vasishthas peer and he
had only been acknowledged an ordinary
rishi. It was a recognition as futile as the
missiles of power which Vasishthas
Brahmadanda had swallowed.
He, therefore, decided to go on with his
tapas, making it more severe than ever
The Devas did not like this. They sent
the heavenly damsel Menaka to tempt him
with her celestial beauty and allurements.
She went to Pushkara where Viswamitra
was undergoing austerities and played to
catch his eye with a hundred wiles of charm
and grace.
Viswamitra saw her and was fascinated
with her beauty. His vow was broken and
he spent ten years in a dream of joy, forgetful of his high resolve.
Awaking at last, he looked at the trembling Menaka sorrowfully and said he
would not curse her, for it was his own
folly, and not her fault, as in tempting him
she was only carrying out the orders of her
master. And sadly he wended his way to the
Himalayas to resume his broken tapas.
There, for a thousand years, controlling
his senses, he performed rigorous tapas. At
the request of the Devas, Brahma appeared
before Viswamitra, and spoke to him thus
sweetly, I welcome you as a Maharishi,
my son. Pleased with your soulful tapas, I
confer on you that title and the sanctity it
Unmoved alike by gratification or disappointment, Viswamitra folded his hands in
adoration and asked the Father of the
Universe if the boon meant conquest over
the senses.
By no means, said the Creator, but
strive to subjugate the senses, O tiger
among munis!
Resolved on the supreme conquest,
Viswamitra entered on another thousand
years of even harder tapas which threw the
Devas into even greater consternation.
Indra called unto him the celestial
damsel Rambha, and enjoined on her as a
vital service to the Devas, to employ all her
art to bring Viswamitra under the spell of
her charm, and divert him from his purpose. She was surely afraid, but Indra
assured her that she would not be left alone,
but be accompanied by the God of Love and
the Spirit of Springtime would be with her
for support. Unwillingly she went and as
she entered the precincts of the hermitage
the forest blossomed into vernal beauty, and
the south wind blew gently laden with the
scent of flowers, and kokilas burst into
song. Love and Spring were both there to
assist Beauty.
Disturbed by stirrings to which he had
long been a stranger, Viswamitra opened
his eyes and saw a smiling damsel of unsurpassing beauty, who seemed the very soul
of the spring with its flowers and fragrance
and song. At this vision of soft voluptuousness, a white heat of anger surged through
him as he recognised in it another temptation thrown in his way by the envious gods,

Viswamitra helped Trishanku ascend and the Devas pushed him down from heaven.
and he cursed the temptress, O Rambha,
for seeking to tempt me who am striving to
conquer anger and desire, be thou frozen to
an image of stone for ten thousand years.
But his explosion of rage made him see

how far he was from the fulfillment of his

purpose and sadly he quitted into
Himalayan forests, and sought the solitude
of the east. There, he restrained his breathing, gave up all thought of the things of the

C Rajagopalachari, popularly known as

Rajaji or C.R., was the first Governor
General of India and Home Minister. This
story is taken from his book Ramayana; he
also wrote Mahabharata and Bhagvad Gita
in plain English.

When the Devas sent Rambha apsara to tempt him out of his tapas,
Viswamitra cursed her to become a piece of stone for ten thousand years.

February-March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 29

Feb Mat 1. A suitable match is being solicited for

an eligible confident partner for a sweet natured girl
(Age 33, ht. 5.2, attractive features, fair) who
works for an Australian Shipping company in
Singapore. Professionally qualified, talented and
belonging to a Hindu Punjabi Khatri family - Chada
settled in Singapore. Father is also involved in the
shipping business and was previously a Captain.
Please contact with full details:
Feb Mat 2. Wanted a suitable professional match
for a beautiful, homely girl, 5' 3", 26 year old living
in Delhi. She is a graduate in English (Hons) and will
be completing MBA in December. Close relatives
live in Sydney and can be contacted for references.
Feb Mat 3. Match for slim, attractive 27 years
old daughter; postgrad medicine, working in a hospital in Sydney. Boy must be tall and handsome.
Professionally qualified and earning well. Punjabi
Brahmin, Khatri, Arora or Sikh backgroud.
Australian Citizen. Apply with brief details and
phone number
Feb Mat 4. Seeking suitable bride for Punjabi
Brahmin Boy 31 years 59 well settled Australian
Citizen working in Global Bank Sydney, Caste no
bar. Please email particulars including photograph to: or contact 0401 954 390.
Feb Mat 5. MATCH required for my daughter,
we are a Punjabi Brahmin family, settled in Australia.
Education: LLB, Grad Dip Legal Practice, B

Business MGMT, working in Qld govt, earns $90K.

Elegant girl with pleasing nature. 5-3, 34, lives a
balanced lifestyle, fit and fair. Looking for a handsome Hindu boy, intelligent and accomplished in a
Feb Mat 6. MATCH required for a Licensed
Building Practitioner (Builder) Rajput boy, NEVER
MARRIED, very fair, athletic, handsome, 5'-11",
June 1982 born, High six figure package, Caste no
Feb Mat 7. Well settled parents looking for suitable matches for their daughter, 32 years old, working for a multinational company in Sydney in a senior corporate position, pretty, 163cm tall; brought up
in and values both Indian and western culture. North
Indian, Punjabi, from other regional background,
professional boys from well settled family background preferred. Please contact by email: or mobile: 0404 147 744.
Feb Mat 8. Match for Australian born 28year old
Sydney based Punjabi Bhardwaj girl, Master of law,
working for NSW goverment. Pretty, tall, fair, homely yet modern girl blends in both Indian and western
cultures easily, wants a professional, educated and
outgoing match. Contact:
Feb Mat 9. SEEKING match for my brother,
Hindu, Gujarati - Patel, 32, 6 ft, vegetarian, Masters
in Computing Studies, working and living in USA
(American citizen). Looking for a loving Gujarati
girl, caring with good family values, well cultured
settled or trying to settle in USA or Australia, preferably with a PR/Citizenship. Email:
Feb Mat 10. Seeking suitable match ( from
Australia ) never married, for Hindu Girl 34 yrs,
Chartered Accountant (non veg) living in Australia
over 25 yrs with eastern and western family values.
Feb Mat 11 Seeking a Hindu boy, non vegetarian, preferably Gujarati with good family values for
my daughter. She is 33 , divorced, 5'2" and well-

built. She is an Australian citizen, works as an IT

team leader and is well settled in Sydney. If you are
interested please contact us on 0404 595 182 or
Feb Mat 12. Parents settled in Australia looking
for a suitable professional match for their 30 years
old daughter, height 165cm, smart, pretty and working as a clinical psychologist, well brought up and
respects Indian cultural values. Professional boys
from well settled family background preferred.
Please contact by email:
or mobile: 0452 227 920
Feb Mat 13 Parents seeking match for beautiful,
multitalented Medical Doctor daughter (age 27) with
wider interests in life. Correspondence requested
from medical doctor/ dentist (preference vegetarian)
with exclusive profile :
Feb Mat 14. Parents seeking match for fair, slim
Hindu Sindhi girl 32 years/ 156 cm working as
Lecturer in leading University. Permanent resident of
Australia with dual degree (Accounts and
Finance), fond of sports, traveling and cooking. We
are a well knit professional family. Please mail proposal with education, job details with recent photo to
: and Contact no. 0431 842
Feb Mat 15. Well settled Indian family looking
for a suitable match for their 25 year old medico
daughter, 5 5 tall, born brought up and educated in
Australia. Keen in outdoor and sport activities, travel and wants a like-minded Australia educated
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Feb Mat 16. Seeking a Hindu girl, vegetarian,
preferably Gujarati, with good family values, for my
son. He is 36, divorced, no children, fair, 58, wellbuilt, non-smoker, light drinks. He is an Australian
citizen, works as a tax consultant and lives with his
parents. His two sisters live separately. We have lived
in Sydney for 19 years. Contact 0423 328 800 or
Feb Mat 17. Seeking a well qualified Hindu
male, aged between 49 54, for a very fair, young
looking Hindu lady, aged 54 and an Australian citizen. He should be a non smoker and should have

strong moral values. Caste no bar. She is an eggetarian, divorced and has a 19 year old daughter living
with her. Contact
Feb Mat 18. Hindu Punjabi business parents
invite alliance from a beautiful educated girl for their
highly qualified son 30/6'3", a very well placed
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inviting alliance for 27 year old, 5"11, Sood Punjabi
boy, B.Software Engineer(honors) and is working as
a senior IT Consultant for the Australian government
on high income. Seeking Indian girl, caste no bar.
Feb Mat 20. Seeking compatible well educated, employed professional/ business match, with
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30 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February - March 2016

Body Mind Spirit

Out of all the anatomical references current in day-to-day conversations,

the eyes seem to be mentioned much more frequently.
By Dr. Sunder Das

here are many expressions in the

English language related to the eyes,
like apple of ones eye, see eye to
eye, give the eye and so on. Out of all
the anatomical references current in day-today conversations, the eyes seem to be
mentioned much more frequently compared
to other parts of the body.
The awesome Russian monk Rasputin is
reported to have had a powerful gaze which
few people could return without feeling
afraid. R.A. Wilner, in her book
Charismatic Political Leadership, speaks
of the cold eyes of Kamal Ataturk, the hypnotic eyes of Nasser and Hitler, the piercing eyes of Lenin and the luminous eyes of
Mussolini. John Kennedy and Jawaharlal
Nehru were able to make charismatic eye
contact with people. Benazir Bhutto had
loving eyes which charmed everyone who
came into contact with her.
In George Orwells World of 1984, citizens are being continually watched by the
all-seeing Big Brother through television
sets and through posters.
Many Yogis in India are credited to
have soulful searching eyes. The third
eye has been celebrated in mystical literature. This concept originated in the Hindu
culture and is known as the eye of understanding, situated in the Ajna Chakra in the
middle of the forehead. Many meditators of
the East roll their eyes towards the Ajna
Chakra to awaken their inner vision.
In ancient Egypt, the eye was considered the womb of the Goddess from which
the gods were born. The sun gods Osiris
and Ra were often associated with the eye.
The Greeks, the Sumerians and the
Mexican Indians represented the eye as one
of the mystical symbols.
The forbidden look has been used to
express the dynamics of ambivalence
towards sexual knowledge. In mythology,
Artemis the goddess of the hunt turned
Actaeon, a young hunter, into a deer
because he saw her bathing in the nude.
The god of love, Cupid, when he fell in
love with Psyche, a mortal maiden, visited
her only at night and strictly forbade her to
gaze upon him. Cupid is often represented
as blindfolded, symbolising the belief that
love is blind. With animals and human
beings the gaze determines dominance or
submission. The dominant person stares
while the subordinate one lowers the head
or look away. Teachers, who undergo
assertion training, are told to look directly
at the offending pupils eyes while reprimanding him/her in a firm tone of voice.
Sometimes the submissive role of lowering the eyes is necessary for survival, on
a job for instance. Sergeant Carter may
walk around and glare at Gomer Pyle, but
Gomer must stand at attention with eyes
straight ahead. However, if roles of dominance and submission are already established, the dominant person no longer

needs to control the situation with the direct

stare, except when there is a rebellion in
the ranks.
Recent research has shown that both
younger and older women engage in more
gazing and show a higher frequency of eye
contact than men. However, they usually
modify their looking behaviour such as gazing down or frequently breaking eye contact. On the other hand, when men look,
they hold a direct, unbroken gaze. In a
book entitled Gender and non-verbal
behaviour, J.J. Haviland and C.J.
Malatesta point out that gender differences
become apparent at an early age.
It is difficult to explain why these differences exist and how they are maintained
from childhood to adulthood. Perhaps the
finding that eye contact occurs in greater
amount in people who are more affection
oriented could explain why women tend to
maintain their gaze consistently. Women
are known to affiliate more than men.
Michael Argyle and R. Ingam have also
found that women tend to decrease their
eye contact in crowds of their own gender
although they are likely to be friendlier
towards one another. Men crowded with
men are seen to become negative and
In the United States of America, many
studies have been undertaken to elicit the
pattern of eye contacts between blacks and
whites. Even in the late 1950s in the Deep
South, a black mans gaze at a white

woman was construed as a rape: a 15-year

old black boy being lynched in Mississippi
for just staring at a white girl.
Recent studies have shown that an
infant is born with a relatively mature visual system and that eye contact is the primary channel for bonding between the
infant and the caregiver. Rene Spitz has
noted that the nursing infant does not
remove, for an instant, its eyes from the
mothers face until it falls asleep at the
breast satiated.
Much of the infants energy is spent on
looking at the caregiver and following her
movements with the eyes. The mutual gaze
between the mother and child could be the
foundation of early communication and
may affect the nature of his/her later adult
relationship, in general. As early as nine
months of age, human infants are attracted
to the eyes than to any other visual stimulus. Cultural differences do exist in the
degree and character of eye contact.
Michael Argyle thinks that in extraverted
culture (Australia is an example) more gazing can be expected. In introverted cultures, as those in some parts of India and
Japan, more self-presentation behaviour and
greater control over own information can
be expected. Therefore, less gazing may
result. Each culture implicitly expects a
moral looking time. Too long a gaze
could suggest intimacy or dominance, and
too little may be construed as lack of interest or dishonesty and suspicion.

The third eye has been celebrated in mystical literature. This concept originated in
the Hindu culture and is known as the eye of understanding, situated in the Ajna
Chakra in the middle of the forehead.

Some Middle Eastern people are very

sensitive to non-verbal communication, and
for them eye contact is very important.
Indians, Pakistanis, the Japanese and some
North European people have a tendency to
orient themselves towards others without
looking directly into the eyes or the face.
It seems that more than anything else,
travellers from one country to another need
to learn patterns of eye contact, and the
rules of proximity first, and then only the
other nuances.
There are many clinical applications to
the study of eye contact, especially related
to Autistic children. Any attempt to force
such a child to fixate upon an adult, makes
it to shield its eyes with hands. A plausible
explanation for this behaviour is that autistic children are in a state of high behavioural and physiological arousal and therefore they would seek a reduction of perceptual stimuli, such as eye contact. One interesting outcome of averting the gaze by an
autistic child is that they are rarely attacked
by other children in a playroom, possibly
because gaze avoidance is construed as submissive behaviour.
The tendency to avoid eye contact is
also found in adult schizophrenics especially when the topic under discussion relates
to their patient status. Paranoid schizophrenics, who feel eyes looking at them,
fear the destructive effect of a glance from
others. In people who are clinically
depressed consequent on bereavement,
there can be selective reduction in eye contact. In rare cases of multiple personality,
changes in expression of the eyes indicate
the emergency of another personality. In
psychotherapy, emphatic therapists who
often produce the most positive changes are
seen to have meaningful eye contacts with
their clients.
Paul Bakan, a psychologist, has devised
an interesting and ingenious test with the
eyes to determine a persons cognitiveaffective style. He uses the CLEMS
(Conjugate lateral eye movements) as an
indicator. If a person is asked a question
and his/her eye movements monitored, an
analytical, verbal person will glance
upwards and to the right. Bob Hawke, the
former Prime Minister of Australia, shows
this pattern very clearly. People, who are
artistic, intuitive, holistic and spatial, will
glance up and towards the left.
The eye has always been the organ that
could cause people to sin, as it seems
somehow to be connected with sexuality.
Oedipus, when he realised that he had
unknowingly slain his father and married
his mother, tore out his eyes. The Bible
echoes the idea that the eyes are the symbolic cause of discovering forbidden knowledge. And if your eye causes you to sin,
pluck it out and throw it from you.
There are innumerable ways in which
the eye has been used as symbol of mental
perception. It is, therefore, appropriate to
say, I see, therefore I know.

February-March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 31

32 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February - March 2016


OZ-NZ rejects, Russia accepts Fiji

By Karam C Ramrakha

he internet screams, "Russia

just sent 20 soldiers to Fiji
after selling it 20 containers
full of weapons."
It continues, Around 20
Russian soldiers, most likely
weapons experts, landed in Fiji via
a Korean Airlines flight.
Islands Business reports that
the Russians are there to train local
troops after the Pacific Islands
nation bought a number of unspecified arms and military equipment,
believed to be worth in excess of
$AU30 million, delivered last
month in more than 20 containers.
Its believed to be Fijis first
major weapons upgrade since
Korean rifles and machine guns
were bought after the 1987 military
coup. AK47 assault rifles and the
Pecheneg light machine guns are
believed to be among this shipment.
The Russia foreign ministry has
stated the small arms, requested by
Fiji, are for a Fijian United
Nations peacekeeping force
deployed to the Golan Heights.
While the supply of Russian

There will be heartburning in Australia and New Zealand that Fiji

had to turn to far off Russia whose leader, the wily Vladimir Putin, is
seeking to revive Russia's international place in the world.
military hardware to Fiji has raised
eyebrows, observers believe that as
the government, led by former military coup leader Frank
Bainimarama, continues to eschew
Australia and other Western
nations, it was keen to reduce its
reliance on China and decided to
deal with Russia instead.
Fijis Labour opposition
claimed the Russian shipment was
illegal because it was not approved
by parliament.
The Fiji Military Forces have
around 3,500 active soldiers and
6,000 reservists, the article ends.

A series of coups since 1987

saw the West turn its back on Fiji
and impose sanctions and cut off
aid. In that hiatus Major General
Rabuka, who headed the first two
coups, turned for help to Israel
which exploited this international
opportunity by setting up an
Embassy in Fiji. However, the
Fijian Soldiers could not relate to
their Israeli counterparts sent to
train them and Israel-Fiji relationship fizzled out. It is all but dead
China, with its vast territorial
ambitions, was ready to step in but

it was during Frank Bainimarama's

time that the Chinese migrants
really swamped Fiji and its government erecting a large hospital and
all weather roads.
As the Cold War took its grip
in the post-war world and Russia
and China erected the so called
Iron and Bamboo Curtains, their
beguiling philosophy of
Communism - "One State, One
Mind and All Equal", became
anathema in the West and those
who followed it were ostracised
and sneered at.
Earlier, Fiji saw the United
States, Great Britain, Australia and
New Zealand as its true friends.
Australia provided the bulk of
tourists to Fiji on which it sustains
its economy as its main crop sugar
has suffered reverses after the indigenes ousted Indians from their
cane farms during the coups.
While the Russian arms transactions look legitimate and enjoy
the imprimatur of UN in that it
will arm Fiji's soldiers with modern weapons, there will be heartburning in Australia and New
Zealand that Fiji had to turn to far
off Russia whose leader, the wily

Vladimir Putin, is seeking to

revive Russia's international place
in the world.
Australia and New Zealand are
now paying dearly for misreading
and declaring illegal
Bainimarama's coup. New Zealand
Prime Minister Keys told Ayaaz
Sayed-Khaiyum (ASK) during a
conciliation meeting in New
Zealand that he (ASK) should be
tried for treason.
Fiji is, and always will be the
hub of the Pacific and it owns
archaeological 400 square miles of
sea abounding in marine wealth.
So do other countries in the
Pacific, notably Kiribati, which
turned to Australia for help recently, only to be the butt end of a
joke by Minister Dutton.
Its time for reflection for
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop as
there is now a duel with the
Russian Bear for the hearts and
minds of Fiji.
Karam C Ramrakha, Putney
Chambers, 36 Pellisier Road,
Putney NSW 2112, Phone: 02 9808
2760, Mob: 0434 986 123, Email:



Pakistani man named Umar Draz

was arrested recently for hoisting
the Indian flag on his roof.
According to a Reuters report, Draz has
been charged under the Pakistan Penal
Code and could face up to 10 years in
prison for what police describe as an
anti-state act and what I describe as a
cool-dude act.
Draz, a 22-year-old tailor who lives in
the eastern Pakistani district of Okara in
Punjab, says he was paying tribute to
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli for his
masterful performance in Indias T20 victory over Australia. He got carried away
with his admiration for Kohli and soon
the police were carrying him away.
Draz is such a big fan of Kohlis that
he stuck posters of the Indian cricketer
around his house. Thankfully, this is not
against Pakistani law, though the authorities are probably checking to see if the
law prohibiting blasphemy against any
religion might apply. After all, cricket is
a religion in Pakistan and India.
As a sports fan, I think its wonderful
that Draz didnt let nationalism or the
often-hostile rivalry between neighboring
countries keep him from admiring Kohli.
He was so thrilled about Kohlis performance in Indias victory over Australia that
his first thought was, Let me fly the
Indian flag on my roof. Who cares what

the neighbours think?

Someone tipped off the police,
Tipster: Hello police, I called to
report an Indian flag.
Policeman: Didnt you call us
Tipster: Yes, last week I called to
report an Indian flag on my TV set. Did
you arrest them?
Policeman: Arrest whom?
Tipster: The people who made my
TV. I think they live in China.
Policeman: No, we didnt arrest
them yet. We are still reviewing the case.
What are you calling about today?
Tipster: You wont believe it! There
is an Indian flag flying over a house in
my neighbourhood.
Policeman: Are you sure its a
house? It might be the High Commission
of India.
Tipster: Are they allowed to fly the
Indian flag?
Policeman: Im not sure. But just in
case, well arrest first and check the laws
The police dispatched their ASIF (antistate Indian flag) squad to the scene of the
crime and apprehended Draz. He was
soon sitting in prison, exchanging stories
with other criminals.
Draz: What are you guys in here
Old man: I stole money from an
Young man: I drew a moustache on
a photo of Nawaz Sharif. What did you
Draz: I showed my support for an
Indian cricketer.
Old man: You bastard! How could
you do something so contemptible?

Photo courtesy:

Draz: I love the way Virat Kohli

plays. Hes a great cricketer.
Young man: Me too, but I keep it to
myself. I cheer secretly. What did you
Draz: I flew the Indian flag on my
Old man: May Allah have mercy on
your soul! Why didnt you just jump off
the roof? That would have been smarter.
Flying the Indian flag does seem like a
strange way for Draz to express his fandom for a single player. I was excited
when Andy Murray won the mens singles
title at Wimbledon in 2013, breaking the
77-year British drought, but I didnt even
think of hoisting the British flag on my
roof, partly because I do not keep the
British flag in my flag drawer at home.
Actually, I do not have a flag drawer.
I have a sock-and-underwear drawer and I
generally avoid colours that remind me of
the British Empire.
Unlike me, Draz apparently keeps an
Indian flag in his home, though its illegal
in Pakistan to hoist the flag of another
country. I hope India does not have a sim-

ilar law. People should have the freedom

to express pride in whichever country
they want. Its common in North America
for immigrants to display the flags of their
native countries. On Indias Republic
Day, the tricolor was hoisted at a number
of events in Canada and America and, as
far as I know, nobody got hauled off to
prison or deported to India.
For all we know, Draz may have close
ties to India. His grandparents may have
been born on the other side of the border,
in the pre-partition days. Draz may be an
admirer of Bollywood movies and music.
He may love Kingfisher beer and have
drunk a little too much of it.
In an ideal world, the Indian government would intervene on his behalf. They
would send a letter to Pakistan: Umar
Draz got carried away. Please forgive
him. Just to make up for it, our railways
minister Suresh Prabhu will fly the
Pakistani flag over his home for one
week. Then we will put him in prison for
another week. He has also agreed to have
S.P. (Super Pakistan) tattooed on his

February-March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 33

34 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February - March 2016

The Kersi Meher-Homji Column

Indians came, lost and finally conquered


hat a roller-coaster ride for MS

Dhonis men in Australia! They
played eight exciting limited
overs matches - five ODIs and three
Twenty20 Internationals. Despite their
batsmen especially Rohit Sharma and
Virat Kohli performing brilliantly, they
lost the first four ODIs. Their morale was
at its lowest when they lost an unlosable
match in Canberra, pulling defeat from the
jaws of victory.
In Perth, Rohit Sharma hit a terrific
171, Virat Kohli 91 and India totalled 3
for 309. Australia started losing their openers for 22 but still won by 5 wickets.
In Brisbane, India amassed 8 for 308
(Sharma 124, Kohli 59, Ajinkya Rahane
89). Result: India lost by 7 wickets.
In Melbourne in front of over 45,000
spectators, India totalled 295 and lost by 3
wickets. Indias bowling in all these matches was spineless.
Despite losing the series 0-3, India
picked herself up and looked certain to win
in Canberra.
In reply to Australias 348, India was
only one wicket down for 277 in the 38th
over, Shikhar Dhawan unbeaten on 126
and Kohli playing a sublime innings of 105
not out. Only 72 runs needed in 75 balls
with nine wickets in hand. I was humming
a happy victory song.
And what happened? India lost
Dhawan, Kohli and Dhoni for one run
within a few balls. Panic set in and India
lost nine wickets for 46 runs in 71 balls to

India clinch thriller to complete T20 series sweep over Australia

lose the match by 23 runs.
Then came their final ODI in Sydney
and their performance took a sudden Uturn from humiliation to triumph, thanks to
two youngsters, batsman Manish Pandey
and medium-pacer Jasprit Bumrah as also
to the consistently aggressive Rohit
Sharma. The Canberra collapse three days
ago looked a thing of the past as India
chased a formidable total of 7 for 330 to
win by six wickets with only two balls to
Many will call it a consolation win but
to many it was an inspiring victory. Indias

win ended Australias sequence of 18 successive ODI victories in Australia. The last
time they had lost an ODI at home was to
South Africa in November 2014.
In Sydney, Australia totalled 7 for 330,
thanks to entertaining centuries by opener
David Warner (122) and Mitch Marsh (102
not out in the final over). The only Indian
bowler to impress me was 22 year-old
debutant Bumrah who took 2 for 40 in 10
economical overs.
India started the chase promisingly with
openers Rohit Sharma (99 with three sixes)
and Shikhar Dhawan (78) putting on 123

Indias men & women

teams celebrate
Republic Day with wins
heered on by over 40,000 spectators, many dressed in Indian
tricolours, India under MS
Dhoni defeated Australia by 37 runs in
Adelaide, the first Twenty20 international in the series. A few hours earlier, Indias women team had won their
T20 match by five wickets. To
Australian womens total of 5 for 140,
the Indian girls made 5 for 141 with
eight balls to spare.
Harmanpreet Kaur was adjudged
Person of the Match by top-scoring in
the match with 46.
Soon after this match commenced
the first T20 match between Dhonis
men and Australia.
Inspired by their six wicket victory
in the Sydney ODI three days ago,
India powered to 3 for 188 in 20 overs.
Virat Kohli was at his best, smashing
an unbeaten 90 in only 55 balls with
nine fours and two sixes. It was one of
his finest innings.
Dhoni faced only three balls and hit
6, 4 and 1. Indias total appeared inadequate as Aussie openers Aaron Finch
and David Warner put on a rapid-fire
41 in only 31 balls for the first wicket.
But Indias medium-pacer Jasprit
Bumrah, making his T20 debut, dis-

missed Warner and the games complexion turned Indias way. He ended
the match with excellent figures of 3 for
23 off 3.3 economical overs.
One could say in a light-hearted way
that Bumrah made Australia gumraah (lose their way)!
Ravichandran Ashwin back in the team
to join Ravindra Jadeja, wickets started
toppling and Australia under a new
skipper, Finch, was all out for 151 to
lose by 37 runs.
Medium-pacer Hardik Pandya started his T20 International career in a
shocking way, bowling three wides.
His first over read: wide, wide, wide,
dot, 2, 1, 6, wide, 1, wide and 4. Thus
his 11-ball over included five wides as
he conceded 19 runs. But Dhoni had
faith in him and Pandya ended with figures of 2 for 37.
Kohli with his unbeaten and swashbuckling 90 was the popular Man of the
Match. He said at the presentation, I
could take this stadium with me wherever I bat... I would love to thank the
fans for coming out and supporting us.
The Indian women also won the
T20I series defeating Australian women

runs. Then it was all Pandey, aged 26, who

mixed caution with splendid stroke-play.
He guided India to a thrilling win in the
final pulsating over.
In only his fourth ODI, Pandey reached
his century off 80 balls, hitting eight fours
and a six. With out of touch skipper MS
Dhoni (34) he added 94 for the fourth
Off the fourth ball of the final over
Pandey reached his century with a heartwarming four. The next ball he took two
runs and India won.
What a cliff hanger with the result in
doubt till the very end! Over 33,800 spectators, half of them Indians, rose to the
heroics of 26 year-old Man of the Match
Pandey. If only he was selected in the previous ODIs.
Rohit Sharma was adjudged Man of the
Series. When asked whether he was disappointed on getting out on 99, he replied,
Not really, because we won the game
tonight... Over the course of the tournament we played some really good cricket...
We never thought we were 4-0 down. We
wanted to come and win this game and go
with a positive frame of mind into the T20
Rohit had an outstanding series, being
the only batsman to top 400 runs, amassing
441 runs at 110.25 with two centuries
(highest score 171 not out) and a 99. Next
best were Virat Kohli, 381 runs at 76.20
with two centuries and Australias captain
Steve Smith 315 at 63.00 with one century.

The Rohit Virat show

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma starred in a strong Indian batting performance in
Australia. But it is Kohli who has gone from strength to strength as a batsman in all
three forms of the game

ohit Sharma and Virat Kohli entertained spectators in Australia with

their incandescent innings last
month in ODIs and T20Is from Perth to
Sydney via Brisbane, Melbourne,
Canberra and Adelaide.
This was in sharp contrast to the hohum boring Test series against the West
Indies earlier on.
In five ODIs Sharma scored 441 runs
at a fabulous century average (110.25) and
a strike rate (SR) of 101.61, hitting two
centuries (171 not out as his highest), one
fifty (99 runs) and 14 sixes. In three T20Is
he scored 143 at 47.66 runs and a SR of
136.19, hitting two fifties (highest 60) and
four sixes.
Thus in eight matches in all, Sharma
rattled up 584 runs at 83.43 and a SR of
108.34 with two centuries (HS 171 not

out), three fifties and 18 sixes.

Now to Virat Kohli. In five ODIs he
made 381 runs at an average of 76.20 and
a SR of 99.21 with two centuries (HS
117), two fifties and four sixes. In three
T20Is, he slammed 199 runs at a record
average of 199.00 and a SR of 160.48
with three fifties (HS 90 not out) and four
In eight matches in all, Kohli hammered 580 runs at 96.66 and a SR of
114.17 with two centuries (HS 117), five
fifties and eight sixes.
Marvelloush, as Richie Benaud
would have said.
Now from fabulous to quirky:
At one stage in the Perth ODI against
Australia on January 12, Indias Virat
Kohli was 66 not out and Rohit Sharma 99
not out.

February-March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 35

The Kersi Meher-Homji column

Kohli, always keen to learn

By Gaurav Joshi

t was a couple of days after Phil Hughes

tragic death at the SCG. The Indian
cricket team was playing a practice game
at the Glenelg Oval in South Australia, still
awaiting instructions on where the first of
the four Tests will be played last summer in
Australia. While most of the team had a
practice hit in the middle, adjacent in the
shadows of the large big tree, batting coach
Sanjay Bangar (who had played 12 Tests for
India from 2001 to 2002, hitting a century)
picked up balls and started to hurl them
down via the modern Sidearm ball thrower.
On the other side stood Virat Kohli. He
faced the throw downs one by one until
Bangar had finished the dozen balls that
were next to him. After that came another
dozen balls, then a brief chat between them
and then again! This went on for over three
and half hours.
This was an important tour for both of
them. Kohli had come to Australia with high
expectations but he was also haunted by his
abysmal tour of England in August 2014.
Since then he had been working on his technique. Many experts had expressed their
opinions about his bat coming across the
line, his hands pushing hard at the ball and
his inability to keep his head getting outside
the line of the off stump.
Kohli had tried several different methods
during his trot in England, including taking
guard on the leg stump, having the bat come
from first slip rather than his conventional
bat drop from around third slip. Everything
he tried had failed.
The man responsible during that tour
was Duncan Fletcher but between that
England series and Australian tour in 2014,
India had added batting coach Sanjay Bangar
to their list of coaching consultants.
Bangars role was to prepare the team tech-

Indias batting coach Sanjay Bangar (left) worked on Virat Kohlis technique,
which worked wonders.
nically for the hard bouncy pitches of
Australia. Bangars first pet project was to
stop Kohli getting squared up by the ball
moving away from him. In England, Kohli
was getting opened up due to the fact that in
his initial movement his leading toe (left
foot) was pointing straight towards the
bowler causing his right hip and right shoulder to open up.
It caused Kohli to become front on
rather than staying side on. The opening of
the hips also meant his bat arc had to come
around his hips, hence outside in arc. So an
impact of the full face of the bat was not
present. Through hours of practice in
Adelaide, Bangar had corrected this flaw.
Throughout the four Tests, Kohlis right toe
started to go towards mid-off and his bat
started coming nicely in an arc which
enabled him to play through the line.
Along with Bangar, other advice Kohli
received was to widen the stance as instructed by Fletcher and also to stand outside the

crease as instructed by Ravi Shastri. Bangar

had corrected him and the other two had just
inserted couple of positive ideas. It was
enough for Kohli to revel down under.
Since that arduous training session in
Glenleg until the World Cup Semi final in
March 2015, Kohlis scores in Australia
against the Aussies across all formats were
115, 141, 19, 1, 169, 54, 147, 46, 9, 4, and
1. There was just that slip dip at the end.
Perhaps it was the long summer or the
Australian had figured out a plan to dismiss
him. The plan centred round bowling wide
and full outside the off stump. The idea was
that the Australian bowlers wanted Kohli to
score off the back foot through the off side.
In the summer gone past, he had pummelled
them pulling with ease and driving them
with his new method of batting outside the
crease with a wide stance.
Opposition usually look at videos and
target deficiencies. Many felt that while the
wide stance had bought Kohli success on the

flat hard decks of Australia, it could also

derail him if the pitch had uneven bounce
and lateral movement. The wide stance
meant Kohli was locked into position but
found it hard to move on the back foot to
play through the off side.
Couple of times against South Africa at
home the glaring concerns were evident.
Even Sunil Gavaskar had stated on air during the Delhi Test, Look at his stance, it is
so wide that when a ball leaps off a length
and moves away from him, he cannot
adjust. That is because his back foot and all
his weight is going forward all the time and
with a wide stance, he transfers his weight
Kohli used all his mental toughness to
play gritty innings of 40 and 80 but behind
the scenes he was once again working with
This time the technical adjustment Kohli
made was minimal but it had to be made.
The stance was narrowed by half a foot.
This enabled him to have a slight back and
across movement. Suddenly Kohli was able
to adjust and with his back foot not planted,
he was able to play the square cut more
freely during the series.
If last summer was all about Kohlis
delightful flicks and ruthless pulls, then this
summer was about his exceptional back foot
play. On countless occasions he square cut
or dabbed the ball to third man with his
weight going backwards. Kohli had found a
new method of scoring in Australia. Bangar
had once again played a huge role towards
his success. On this tour his scores read 91,
59, 117, 106, 8, 90 not out, 59 not out and
50 in ODIs and T20Is. Kohli once again
entertained both Australian and Indian spectators. But behind the scene was Sanjay
Bangar calmly applauding his student. The
impact was made at the MCG or the SCG
but it all started in the net session near the
Figtree at Glenelg Oval.

India whitewash Australia in another SCG thriller

ndia won the Twenty20

International (T20I) series
3-0 by clinching the final
match on the Sydney Cricket
Ground (SCG) off the last ball.
Only eight days ago India
had beaten Australia in the last
over of the final one-day international (ODI), also on the
Both matches were dead rubbers in the sense that Australia
had already won the ODI series
4-0 and India had won the T20I
series 2-0.
Dead rubber? What dead
rubber? There were over
35,000 spectators in each of the
two Sydney matches keeping
the game alive and kicking; no
one leaving the ground till the
last ball was delivered.
Australias new captain
Shane Watson won the toss and
Khawaja left early after scoring
a fast 14, Watson batted magnificently to hit an unbeaten 124

Considered out of touch, Yuvraj Singhs 4 and 6 in the last over swung
the third T20 to Indias side.

36 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February-March 2016

with 10 fours and six towering

sixes. It was his first T20I century in his 52th match.
Australia compiled an impressive 5 for 197 at a run-rate of
India had a big job in hand to
win. But they started at a terrific pace with the in-form batsmen Rohit Sharma (52) and
Shikhar Dhawan (26) giving a
fabulous 13 runs per over start.
Then Virat Kohli (50 in 36
balls) started from where he had
left off in Adelaide (90 not out)
and Melbourne (59 not out) to
amass an amazing 199 runs in
this series at an average of
199.00. He became the only
player to score three consecutive fifties in a bilateral T20I
After the departure of
Sharma and Kohli the run-rate
dropped as Suresh Raina and
Yuvraj Singh tried to find their
feet and boundary lines.
Raina was lucky as wicket-

keeper Cameron Bancroft failed

to stump him before he had
scored. What a lucky break for
India as Raina tore the Aussie
attack to ribbons.
It was the first time Yuvraj
had batted in Australia this season and appeared out of touch
when he started with a disappointing five runs off nine
With all the ups and downs
the climax came in the last over
with India needing 17 runs for a
win and the out of touch Yuvraj
on strike. But Yuvi proved all
the doubters wrong by hitting
medium-pacer Andrew Tye for
a 4 and a 6. Then Raina hit a 2
and a 2 as India needed two
more runs to win. But Raina hit
a four and India won by seven
wickets off the final ball. He
had scored a quick-fire 49 runs
with six fours and a six.
What a finish! Watson was
made the Man of the Match and
Kohli the Man of the Series.

The Kersi Meher-Homji Column

Darshak Mehta is a man of many dimensions

By Kersi Meher-Homji

arshak Mehta is one of the most

well-known and well-liked Indians in
Australia. His name pops up when
you mention cricket or charity down under.
He served as Chairman of The LBW
(Learning for a Better World) Trust which
he co-founded in 2006 with journalists Peter
Roebuck and Mike Coward and solicitor
Peter Strain. He is currently its President.
He is also a Patron of the education charity, Pratham Australia. Pratham (in India) is
the largest childrens education charity, helping millions of Indian children realise their
He has also been on the Advisory Panel
of the Sydney Big Bash League (T20) team
Sydney Thunder since 2013.
From a very young age, Darshak has
been actively involved in public life. He was
the President of the Bombay Industries
Association at age 27 (youngest ever). He
was also the youngest member of the
Managing Committee of the venerable Indian
Merchants Chamber, when 26. So, heading
an NGO 25 years later, albeit in another
country, did not faze him in the slightest.
The LBW Trust is a very worthwhile
charity which tertiary-educates over 1500
students in eight developing countries including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South
Africa, Uganda, Afghanistan and Jamaica.
In India alone, the Trust assists with the tertiary or vocational education of over a thousand students.
The Patrons include some of the most
prominent and respected names in Australia
such as the Governor General Sir Peter
Cosgrove, former GG Sir William Deane,
former Defence Minister John Faulkner, former Reserve Bank Governor Ian Macfarlane
and cricket legends Rahul Dravid, Greg
Sangakkara, Michael Holding, amongst others.
Many Australians and Indo-Aussies
know about Darshak of the LBW Trust fame
but few know about Darshak, the leg-spinner.
I first saw him bowl in 1989-90. It was
the final of the Indira Gandhi Cricket
Tournament in a suburban ground in
Sydney. And I was fascinated by his legspinners and googlies. He could turn almost
as much as Shane Warne (who was then a
newcomer) without sacrificing his accuracy.
The mystery is why he did not play firstclass cricket when he was a college student
at Sydenham College in Bombay University
from 1974-78. He always brushes me aside
modestly when I describe him as a possible
Test-class leggie in his youth.
Dont pull my leg, Kersibhai, he
would retort with an embarrassed smile.
It was a pleasure interviewing Darshak,
born in Surat, and an old friend.
At which level did you play in Bombay?
A division Kanga League (equivalent to
First Grade Sydney) for the Cricket Club of
India (CCI) where the venerable bowlers
graveyard, the Brabourne Stadium, was my
home-ground! Other clubs I played for
included United Cricketers, Sassanian CC,
Matunga Gymkhana and even Dadar Union
the champion club of my time.
The highlights and low lights of Intercollegiate?
Sydenham College played Podar

Darshak with former Premier Barry O'Farrell (right) Darshak with Stave Waugh
College in the 1976 inter-collegiate semifinals and I dropped a hot caught & bowled
chance from Dilip Vengsarkar on 72.
Vengsarkar went on to make over 240, was
picked within days to play Irani Trophy for
Bombay against Rest of India, played a
blinder again (110, this time against Bedi and
Prasanna!) and shortly thereafter, picked to
play for India. So, I reckon Dilip owes me
Were you close to Ranji Trophy selection?
Suru Nayak was already playing for
Bombay as an all-rounder (leg-spinner cum
opening bowler, batsman and brilliant fielder), so I had no chance. Suru even played
two Tests for India against England at
Manchester and The Oval in 1982.
I know Bombay then had six to seven
Test cricketers; so it was almost impossible
to get in. Did you try other States like
Gujarat, Saurashtra?
My coach Vasoo Paranjapes philosophy was that if you are good enough, you
should be good enough to force your way
into a strong team and there is no point in
playing for weak teams. So, I did not even
try - though I could easily have qualified to
play for Gujarat, being born in Surat.
Or you were concentrating on studies
and job opportunity?
Luckily, having chosen my parents
well, studies or work always came second to
cricket, all my life!
Your best performances in cricket in
My most memorable performance was
in the inter-collegiate quarter-final, in the
very first match played at the Wankhede
Stadium in 1975. I took 5 for 27 for
Sydenham College. I have had 5-fers in
England and Australia as well, on a few
Were you also a good batsman?
A high hitting if not, a hard hitting
batsman! I batted at no. 8 or 9 in a strong
CCI batting line-up which consisted of nine
first-class or Test cricketers!
What about your family?
I got married to Alpana in 1984. We
have two daughters Sannidhi 28 and Sohini
21 year old, both living in London.
Did your daughters show promise in
Both girls played cricket in Sydney during school but I was the father from hell
(coaching from the sidelines!) and they ultimately gave it up!
Which year did you arrive in

In 1988.
Did you play Grade cricket here or just
concentrated on business?
I was invited to play for Mosman in
1988 and practiced with their First Grade
team for a month, with the likes of Greg
Rowell, Phil De Freitas and others, but had
to give it up as I had to set up a factory, my
cable-recycling business.
Highlights of your cricketing achievements down under?
Apart from playing for clubs such as the
Primary Club, I. Zingari, Non-DescriptsI
really enjoyed playing for the champion team
in the Indian competition. Our club was the
Indo-Australian Cricket Club and we were
the feared ones. We had some terrific cricketers who were also wonderful blokes and
whose company I still relish greatly, ten
years since we disbanded due to old age! We
catch up for two team dinners a year and still
discuss how great we were! The longer we
have retired, the greater we became, he
said with a big smile.
Which type of business do you run?
I established a pioneering Scrap-cable
granulating plant (Sanalco Pacific P/L)
which was designed and manufactured by
Eldan Recycling of Denmark. It was a state
of the art plant and inaugurated in 1989 by
the then Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Leo
McLeay. We processed Copper, Aluminum,
Steel cables and also recycled Lead, Brass
etc. I sold it in 1995 when I moved back to
Bombay for three years but it is still operational and flourishing in Villawood.
Currently, I am on the Board of Link
Intime Pvt Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of
Link Administration Holdings Ltd,
Australia. We are amongst the largest
Australian employers of Indians in India! We
are share registrars with over 900 public
companies in India as clients.
You have toured India along with
Australian cricket teams. What was your
Yes, I toured with the 1998, 2001, 2004
and 2008 teams. I helped out when asked by
the team management/players and advised on
cultural, social and logistical issues.
Did you give Aussie bats practice playing your leggies and googlies in Indian conditions?
NO! But I did have a couple of nets
and, in fact, Matthew Hayden in his book
credits me with helping him perfect his
sweep shot which destroyed the Indian spinners in the 2001 series. But, I was merely the
idiot net bowler the hapless victim of his
savage sweeps!

Your role models and heroes in cricket?

I hopelessly loved the Australian cricket team, growing up in Bombay in 1970s
and 80s. Adam Gilchrist has been my
favourite cricketer of the past 15-20 years
whilst Steve Waugh with his acute social
conscience and never give-in attitude got my
respect. I also love Ian Chappell and his
brave, principled, compassionate stand on
the issues of asylum seekers/refugees.
Your proudest moment?
To be invited to write the Foreword of
the Autobiography (Fierce Focus) of my
hero Greg Chappell was simply a ridiculous
privilege and a rare honour.
Now to your views:
Do you think India should stop making
pitches (dust bowls) which help their spinners?
Every country in the world has wickets
which have their own inherent characteristics
but these days most countries (except perhaps, Australia) are shamelessly doctoring
wickets to suit themselves and gain an unfair
advantage. In India, they are making rank
turners and badly under-prepared wickets. I
think it is time to abolish the toss and give
the visiting team the option of either batting
or bowling first.
Like neutral umpires, should ICC
appoint neutral curators who supervise
pitch preparation which should have
some/little grass on day one and start spinning on days three and four?
I think close ICC oversight and intervention is necessary whenever Tests do not
even last four days.
What do you think of T20 matches?
Despite serving on Cricket NSWs
Sydney Thunder T20 franchise, at heart I am
a hopeless traditionalist and worry about
anything that will impact on the sanctity and
health of Test cricket.
Has T20 cricket spoilt the technique of
batsmen who can now bat only on flat
tracks and buckle down when the wicket
takes turn or seam?
Absolutely. Shrinking boundary lines,
heavy bats verging on illegal, all manners
of rules stacked against bowlers, and generally conditions which humiliate bowlers.
(Said like a true bowler, have I not?!)
Finally, your opinion on the Day-Night
pink ball Test?
Test cricket is NOT in trouble in
Australia or England. This concept should be
left for the ICC to trial.
Thank you, Darshak. Hope I have not
bowled too many googlies?
A pleasure, Kersibhai.

February-March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 37


By Savitha Narayan

hile the bilateral ODI series

between India and Australia this
summer has been intense and
high-profile as always, a less well-known
fact is that the Indian womens cricket
team simultaneously played a parallel
series against their Australian counterparts, creating history with a 2-1 T20
series victory against Australia for the
first time.
In two thrilling matches held in
Adelaide and Melbourne, the Indian team
successfully chased down the totals set by
the Australian team, with an outstanding
all-round performance from a young
Indian side. Most notably, this was the
first time the Indians had played a series
in Australia since the womens World Cup
held in Sydney in 2009 (in which India
came third), and only three members of
that team, Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami
and Niranjana Nagarajan, are part of the
current team.
The first game in Adelaide saw India
successfully complete their highest ever
run chase in T20 internationals, chasing
down a total of 140 set by the Australian
team with 8 balls remaining. Both batting
and bowling were exceptional, with the
Indian bowlers taking regular wickets
and the batsmen notching up steady
runs during the chase, despite the
loss of wickets, to ensure that the
score was comfortably
Similarly, the second
Melbourne saw India
reach a revised target
in a rain-affected
match, with tight, controlled bowling and
exceptional fielding,
guaranteeing a series
victory for the tourists.
A stunning catch taken
by Anuja Patil to dismiss
Mooney, as well as
Patils sharp run out of
star player Ellyse
Perry, displayed the
discipline of the Indian team, and paved
the way for a resonant series win.
The Australians had to be satisfied
with a consolation win in the third deadrubber game in Sydney. It did not, however, detract from the remarkable accomplishment of the Indian women, making a
strong case for increased marketing and
promotion of womens cricket.
The captain, Mithali Raj, has been a
regular and indispensible fixture in the
Indian team since her ODI debut in 1999
at the age of 17, where she scored an
undefeated 114 against Ireland.
attacking top order batter as well as an
effective leg spin bowler, Mithali has
been one of the more prominent names in
the womens team and in 2015 was awarded the Padma Shri, Indias fourth highest
civilian award.

I was very fortunate to be able to chat

with Mithali, whilst the team was in
Do you think this has given the team
a confidence boost and self-belief ahead
of the T20 World Cup? Theres been
some outstanding batting, bowling and
fielding all around.
Yes, this series has given a big hope
for the girls, and the belief that we can
make a difference in
were struggling with
the batting
and were
n o t
clicking as
b u t
w e

we manoeuvred this bounce accordingly.

I feel we adapted very quickly despite
having no practice game, which was
unfortunately washed out in Sydney.
With regards to specific strategies, I think
this is a factor when playing against any
side: we plan strategies for main players,
and of course if these plans dont work
then we have to make sure we have back
up plans.
Are there significant differences
in preparing for an ODI series
versus a T20 series?
Of course, they are two
different formats and so we
do have different preparations and different strategies.
How did you first get
inspired to play cricket
(Laughs) A lot of people are very surprised to
hear that growing up, I actually wasnt keen on sports.
We come across many
women cricketers who grew
up with cricket, playing
cricket in the
backyard or on
the streets with
when they were
children and

t h u s
developed a
passion for the
sport. But I never
played cricket with
Mithali Raj is captain of the Indian women's team
have been able to turn this around and
make improvements. The fielding has also
improved a lot. As a unit, we are coming
together to perform and gelling on the
field; we have at least three-four girls in
each game performing well, and this is
what makes a good team. These factors
will be very important in the forthcoming
World Cup, although playing at home will
bring lot of pressure.
What were the challenges of playing
Australia in Australia and having to
quickly adapt to the conditions? Were
there any specific preparations and
strategies you developed to deal with
and counter individual players?
The subcontinent wickets are a lot
slower with not much bounce. Australia
has harder wickets and it is important that

38 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER February-March 2016

my brother on the streets. My father was

in the Air Force and was a disciplinarian,
and wanted to inculcate in me the habit of
getting up early in the morning. So I was
basically pushed into the sport and that is
how it all developed.

If it had not been for my father, I dont

think I would have become a cricketer and
been where I am now.
Personally, what is your favourite
ground to play on?
I definitely enjoyed playing in
Taunton, Lords and of course Australia. I
had earlier played in Adelaide and Sydney
but this series was my first experience at
the MCG. If you get more opportunities
to play in such venues like the MCG, you
begin feeling the importance of it. Often,
when playing in the middle, you dont get
to absorb the atmosphere and enjoy it, but
if you regularly play at such an important
venue you begin to take it all in and actually feel that youre playing at the MCG.
But honestly, any ground which gives me
runs is an enjoyable ground to play on.
How would you like womens cricket to be better promoted? What can be
done to increase notice of womens
These double games (where the
womens team play the same series as
their male counterparts at the same time)
have been integral in promoting womens
cricket, particularly as people who come
to watch the mens game often come an
hour or so earlier
womens cricket. We have put
up a fight in our games
this time and this has
helped with marketing and
popularising the game. I feel
more matches should be televised
so people are able to follow womens
cricket if they want to.
What would be your advice for any
girl who wants to play cricket professionally and get into cricketing circles?
This is the best time for womens
cricket in India as the central contract just
came in and the BCCI has really taken initiative in promoting womens cricket in a
better way, so we have a lot more support
now. There is now a set domestic circuit
and improved monetary benefits. We
have several domestic tournaments, as
well as an under-19 team and now for the
first time, an under-23 team, so if any girl
is interested in getting into professional
cricket, it is the perfect time to join clubs
and be part of the womens cricketing

This is the best time for womens

cricket in India as the central
contract just came in & the BCCI has
really taken initiative in promoting
womens cricket in a better way, so
we have a lot more support now.

February - March 2016 THEINDIANDOWNUNDER 39

40 THE INDIAN DOWN UNDER February - March 2016