Friday, August 6, 2021

Dr Santosh Kumar, OAM: Seniors are a valuable community resource

Melbourne’s Dr Santosh Kumar is honoured in this year’s Queen’s Birthday 'honours list' for service to the Indian community in Australia.

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

“I’m sad and happy,” Dr Santosh Kumar OAM told Indian Link about his Queen’s Birthday honour this year.

He lost his wife of 57 years, Bala, just over a month ago.

“One solace is that she knew though, as we got notification before she passed. And really, equal share goes to her in this achievement.”

Dr Kumar, 85, was facilitated for his service to the Indian community of Victoria.

Although he has been serving the community in various capacities since he arrived in this country in 1970, he became widely known ever since he retired and took on the cause of seniors.

READ ALSO: Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021: Assoc Prof Ramesh Balasubramaniam, OAM

Dr Kumar saw a productive academic career in mathematics and operations research at RMIT, at the University of Melbourne, and also at universities in Zimbabwe and South Africa. He produced academic papers prolifically, and guided research nationally and internationally, his last supervised PhD coming at age 83.

“I never really gave up academic work, and have kept myself purposefully occupied twenty years after officially retiring. There hasn’t been a dull moment.”

The passion for his own healthy and active aging has now taken him to advocacy, as he encourages others in his age group, and talks to policymakers about utilising the skillset and experience of seniors.

A driving force in Dr Kumar’s community work has been to highlight that seniors are an underused resource, and many of them can and want to continue contributing to society.

“Are seniors a resource, or a waste to the country?” he asked. “I feel seniors have never been appreciated – the only discussions about them are in aged care. People retire at about 65 or so, and have a good twenty or more years of active contribution. With professional backgrounds behind us, we are a resource that must be harnessed. Why is there no infrastructure designed for this?”

He added, seniors who are keen, those that have a ‘get-up-and-go’ personality have forged their own pathways, but many others who may want to help, or have the skills to, are left disillusioned.

Perhaps seniors are to blame themselves, he mused. “Many of us believe it is now time to take rest, and don’t ask for much.

But age is just a number. I myself changed countries at 59, moving to Africa for a few years, took up line dancing at 79, and was still academically involved well into my 80s!”

Perhaps in play here is Dr Kumar’s professional expertise in operations research – a discipline that employs advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions.

Dr Kumar founded the Northern Region Indian Seniors Association NRISA as a platform for seniors to get together regularly, interact socially, participate in entertainment and light exercise, and take in information sessions on topics such as health, elder rights and finance. But Dr Kumar’s enthusiasm for more purposeful engagement of the seniors in community, perhaps even senior employment, took him to larger platforms, such as Northern Federation of Ethnic Seniors Club, and Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria. Through these agencies, he has been talking to authorities at the state and federal levels about harnessing the valuable resource of those in their senior years.

READ ALSO: Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021: Dr Selvanayagam Selvendra, OAM

Link up with us!

Indian Link News website: Save our website as a bookmark

Indian Link E-NewsletterSubscribe to our weekly e-newsletter

Indian Link Newspaper: Click here to read our e-paper

Indian Link app: Download our app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play and subscribe to the alerts


Twitter: @indian_link

Instagram: @indianlink

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/IndianLinkMediaGroup

- Advertisement -

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -


Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

  Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

  To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic death...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

vishnu idol found in Bangladesh

Vishnu idol made of black stone found in Bangladesh

  An idol of Vishnu weighing about 12 kg has been recovered from the Daudkandi upazila of Cumilla in Bangladesh. The black stone idol is about...
Madhuri Dixit's 'Aaja Nachle' swim performance by Israeli athletes

Watch: Israeli swimmers perform to ‘Aaja Nachle’ at Tokyo Olympics

  Although they failed to qualify for the 12-team final in artistic swimming, finishing 15th among 21 teams, Israeli duet Eden Blecher and Shelly Bobritsky...

Monash Uni and Mumbai’s TISS sign strategic agreement

  Educational ties between Australia and India have been bolstered with the signing of a strategic partnership between Monash University in Melbourne and Tata Institute...
Gaura Travel boarding their Australia bound flights at Chennai International Airport. Image supplied

Reuniting Indian families: Gaura Travel announces charter flights to SYD/MELB

  Uniting stranded Indians with their families has been a major priority for Gaura Travel since COVID-19 struck last year. "In the last year, we have...

7 Indian films and series to watch in August 2021

  Navarasa (Netflix) Inspired by the concept of Navarasas (nine emotions evoked by art forms), this Tamil anthology series features nine stand-alone episodes on each emotion:...