Reading Time: 6 minutes
Indian Link brings home two more awards from the fourth annual Multicultural and Indigenous Media Awards (MIMA)
Best Photograph: SACHIN WAKHARE
Indian Link’s contributing photographer Sachin Wakhare won the Best Photograph award for the year 2015.
The winning photograph was from Diwali 2014, when the Sydney Opera House was lit up for the Hindu Festival of Lights for the first time.
One of Indian Link’s most memorable images from last year, this photograph has not only become a keepsake for many in Australia’s Indian community, it was also immediately picked up by one of India’s leading dailies and splashed across its front page.
The image reached more than 6,000,000 people almost immediately after it was given prime position in India’s Hindustan Times, with the event being described as a sign of strengthening ties between our two countries. Affiliate newspapers in every major Indian city, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Nagpur ran the photograph with due credit to Indian Link and Sachin as photographer.
It has since been shared countless times on social media, bringing joy to many in their new identity as both Indian and Australian.
By a wonderful coincidence, Sachin collected his award on Diwali night 2015!
Perhaps it was prescient that the award would come home with us, given its theme and the date of the event, but Sachin himself claims it was a pleasant surprise.
“Just being nominated was reward enough for me,” he said later, with characteristic humility.
Yet he recalled vividly the moment he captured the scene.
“It was an important day for the community, and I was looking for a significant image. I chose my location, McMahon’s Point, carefully, and fixed the two big icons in my sight, the Bridge and the Opera House. I had kind of framed the shot already inside my head before I got there!”
He added, “Yes, when I saw my pictures later, I knew they were good, or at least, above average!”
The image is particularly striking as the composition sees the illuminated Opera House, bathed in a warm glow, framed by the cool steel beams of the Bridge. The long-exposure captures the lights of a passing ferry, offset by the twinkling lights of the foreshore and the high-rise buildings in the background.
The image took off after Hindustan Times (HT) gave it prime position.
“I would never have thought of sending it to India,” Sachin admitted, adding, “You guys did it! For a few days after, I had relos sending me images of the HT page from cities across India. It certainly got a lot of attention! One cousin even posted me a copy.”
The photograph captured the excitement for Indian Australians ahead of Diwali. The NSW Government’s decision to light up the Opera House in Diwali colours looks set to be an annual affair now. It is a public acknowledgment of the contributions made by the Indian community in their adopted homeland.
Sachin Wakhare’s early involvement with Indian Link began when he regularly sent in photos from family events for inclusion in our People Parties Places page. An architect by background, photography was clearly a serious hobby and a craft he excelled at. In 2011, we featured a double-page spread of his shots of Sydney architecture, a particular passion of his. By then he had set up Sachin Wakhare Photography, specialising in photography of both the built and natural environments.
With this award, there will be no stopping him now.
And of course the tradition continues in his own family. Just as he learnt the art by watching his father, a keen photographer, he has similarly guided his young daughter Ananya, now ten and already an award-winning photographer.
“She beat me to it, yes,” Sachin laughed. “We both entered a contest held by the Marrickville Council last year, based on images from the area. My entry was short-listed and hung as part of the final exhibition, but Ananya won the top prize in the kids’ category!”
News Reporting: NAMO-STE AUSTRALIA!
Indian Link’s extensive coverage of the Australian visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 won the News Reporting award for the year 2015.
It was a historic visit when Indian PM Narendra Modi came down under in November 2014. For the Indian community in Australia it was truly momentous, destined to go down as a “what-were-you-doing-when-Modi-visited” memory.
Decidedly the community’s ‘Event of the Year’, it formed the bulk of the Nov-2 2014 edition of Indian Link, with no less than 23 of the total 52 pages devoted to it.
The first official Indian prime ministerial visit in 28 years, Indian Link was there to record every aspect of his four-day four-city tour.
Our team members in Brisbane (Tasneem Zavery, Mohan Thite), Sydney (Pawan Luthra, Kira Spucys-Tahar, Usha Arvind, Deeksha Chopra, Raka Mitra) and Melbourne (Preeti Jabbal, Ashish Chawla) reported on the tour for Indian Link newspaper.
On Indian Link Radio, reports were filed by Neelam Vasudevan, Sagar Mehrotra, Raghu Kamath and Kashif Harrison. One radio program was recorded live for Indian television viewers of CNN-IBN and IBN-7, even as listeners rang in from Sydney and Melbourne in the lead up to a major community reception for the visiting PM.
The highlight event in Sydney was the community’s “big night out”, as some 15,000 people descended on Allphones Arena from far and wide, some famously on a train from Melbourne, to hear the ever-popular Modi deliver his magic oratory. Well, he blew them all away with his particular style of rhetoric, which even Australian leaders in the audience found incredible, and which had the press referring to him as a “rock star”.
Also momentous was Modi’s speech in Parliament to a joint sitting of both houses.
Our coverage included:
- Analyses of Modi’s meetings at the G-20 summit
- His unveiling of the Gandhi statue in Brisbane
- His meeting with the Indian community in Brisbane
- Modi’s bilateral meetings with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott and the resulting camaraderie between the two, and the new footing on which this brought the wider national relationship the preparations in the community ahead of the visit
- the not-for-profit India Australia Community Foundation that organised the community reception
- the views of Indian-Australian youth,
- the lucky few members of the community that Modi singled out for some personal attention
- views afterwards of leading members of the Indian and Australian communities who met with Modi
- one writer’s descriptions of Modi’s personal style and work ethic as he got to observe him from close quarters
- and, a ‘Media Watch’ style analysis of how media from India reported on the event, contrasting it with their over-the-top reportage of the Indian international students’ crisis of 2009-2010.
Indian Link’s coverage of the Indian PM’s visit to Australia was exhaustive and comprehensive, giving our readers across the country a full feel of the tour and covering every aspect of the historic visit.
Our reportage accomplished many things.
- It sent the message out clearly that the relationship between the two countries was back on track after it had stalled somewhat
- It demonstrated to the wider Australian community the regard the Indian diaspora has for the leader and the hopes they are laying at his feet to raise the country out of poverty and launch it on the world stage
- It showcased to the Indian community here that the government in India holds its scattered diaspora dear and would like it to be part of its new paths to development
- It brought out loud and clear that India is worth engaging with, not just economically, but also in terms of people-to-people contacts
- Most significantly, in terms of our duty as a news organisation, we brought to our audience, extensive coverage of an event that was of direct significance to them, and with details they would not have found in the mainstream media
- Equally significant was our timing of it all, as our reports came out 48 hours after the PM’s tour concluded, as opposed to similar platforms whose coverage came weeks after the event. This made our reportage widely read and appreciated by the community towards which it was aimed.