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Hindi Niketan celebrates with a community cultural event
The high profile Hindi Niketan Inc. Melbourne celebrated Australia Day and India’s Republic Day on 29 January. Despite the timing of this event clashing with the Men’s Final for the Australian Open, many families gathered to have fun in their local community.
Held at Scoresby Primary School, the event was filled with performances and activities for everyone to enjoy. Attractive prizes were on offer and everyone was encouraged to participate. Activities such as a running race, musical chairs, bingo and quiz encouraged members to test their skills and talent in various ways.
Dr Rahul Gupta, President of Hindi Niketan, welcomed attendees, encouraging everyone to “meet others and make new friends”. “Hindi Niketan continues to host events that keeps the community together,” he added.
The event opened with a respectful recitation of both countries’ national anthems. Following this, participants took to the stage to sing traditional Indian songs and recite meaningful poems.
Eminent Hindi/Sanskrit scholar, Dr Mridul Kirti was the chief guest for the event. Dr Kirti narrated the importance of Indian culture and language. Valuing our sense of identity and belonging in this great country was emphasised.
Although Dr Kirti reminded the Indian community to not forget their values and constitution, she cautioned them to respect Australia and cherish the country’s openness to all.
A member from the audience supported this view and noted that he appreciates Australia for allowing him and his wife to live in this country. “Australia has helped us in many ways and is a country that is safe from political, social and racial tensions throughout the world,” he said.
Cr Nicole Seymour, Knox City Council, observed that she enjoys attending these events. She noted that although the singing, poems and narration throughout the event were not in English, she could have trust in knowing that these community gatherings are strengthening a sense of belonging for migrants and those without family in Australia.
“Knox City Council continues to support Hindi Niketan for its role in strengthening the Indian community and collaborating with other groups,” she reaffirmed.
Despite a low attendance from the non-Indian community, Hindi Niketan continues to deliver insightful programs and source assistance from members within its community to present a taste of India to Melbournians.
I encourage community groups to take the initiative to host these events. We are all yet to learn more about other cultures. We should be proud and are privileged to be able to attend events that explore culture and traditions from places around the globe. For those who cannot make a trip overseas, these events are vital to aid global thinking and an understanding of others.
I look forward to future Hindi Niketan events and commend the volunteers for organising the programme. These organisations strengthen the connections in the community and it would be beneficial to all for groups to come together and host joint events.
Both Australia Day and India’s Republic Day celebrate a transition. Success aside, people have experiences from considering or making a transition. Let us share our stories with others and look to plan such events with members from beyond our local or cultural community. Imagine the possibilities!
Community leaders in attendance included Kim Wells MP, representing Mathew Guy, Leader of the Opposition in the Victorian Parliament; Nick Wakeling, Member for Ferntree Gully; Chidambaram Srinivasan, VMC Commissioner, and Cr Nicole Seymour.