Twins Neeranjali and Swaranjali Jain are excelling across various fields, setting a great example to other Indian Australian youth
The increasing success of desi youngsters in virtually every field on the global stage is a testament to the outstanding generation Indian parents have been churning out. Kudos mums, dads and grandparents for keeping the assembly line well-oiled with hard work, determination and zeal.
Fitting snugly in the above category of over-achieving youth are 23-year-old Canberran twins Neeranjali and Swaranjali Jain. At a still green stage in life, the fraternal balls of energy have gathered more feathers in their hats than most people will in their lifetime.
The girls graduated with first class in honours from a Bachelor of Medicine in 2016. Swaranjali was awarded the University Medal and the Prize for Best Overall Performance in Doctor of Medicine and Neeranjali received the Foundation Year Graduates Medal for Leadership and Fellowship as an undergraduate, the prize for Best Overall Performance at St George Clinical School and the Richard Johnson Memorial Paediatrics Prize.
Neera and Swara acknowledge it is a great privilege to have a twin to share a special bond with.
“Right from the start we’ve enjoyed a close relationship,” Neera revealed in a chat with Indian Link. “There’s been a friendly sibling rivalry but it has been positive as it has pushed us to do our best individually. It has been amazing to be able to go to school and university together, to pursue a similar career and to be able to live together when we moved out. Having a twin sister is a defining factor and a huge driver in making me choose medicine.”
Being twins does not mean that Neera and Swara have been joined at the proverbial hip. Instead they were raised to explore their individuality. They remained in separate classes at school and maintained dissimilar interests.
“Swara is amazing at organising and researching; I’m analytical and love problem solving. We have different personalities, but we complement each other,” Neera shared.
In 2014 Neera and Swara received the Jamieson Award by the Australian Federation of Graduate Women NSW. The award has been restricted to single recipients since 2010, but a special exception was made for the twins to receive it jointly owing to their equally illustrious achievements. This was also the first time the award was bestowed upon two members of the same family.
The twins were both Dux of Canberra Girls Grammar School and received numerous Dean’s awards in recognition of their dedication and hard work at UNSW.
“We’ve always had two different friendship groups which is great because than you get twice as many friends,” shared Swara.
They’ve chosen to work in different hospitals so they gather diverse experiences which they can share with each other.
“From an early age we’ve been passionate about giving back to the community,” Swara said. “We believe in promoting and advocating health and love volunteering for community service.”
The twins have been involved with the Cancer Council for the past ten years. They give talks in the community about cancer and how to prevent it. They have previously been on the executive committee for organising ‘Relay for Life’, a fundraising event attracting thousands of valuable funds for the Cancer Council. The girls have also remained involved with community work through Red Cross. Currently, they reach out to isolated people in the community and work with disadvantaged students to encourage them to consider university as an option. For this they visit schools and organise workshops for students.
The sisters also share a keen interest in music. They are currently part of the NSW Doctors Orchestra and are performing on Saturday 19 March in a concert titled “From Russia with Love”. Conducted by Dr David Banney, the recital will be held in Concourse Concert Hall, Chatswood, with the aim to raise money for Freedom Across Australia, a not-for-profit charity for adults with disabilities.
The sisters each have an Associate Diploma in Piano, and have had lessons in violin and piano for many years. They played in the school and university orchestras and bagged prizes in the Australian National Eisteddfod. Neera and Swara are also palliative care volunteers in a Sydney hospital where they donate their time playing music to patients in the last stages of their lives.
The girls have also learned Bharatanatyam. “It has been an excellent exercise in helping us connect with our Indian culture,” Swara said. They love learning the stories and are currently in the market for a good dance teacher.
We asked how they manage to keep their fingers in so many pies. They mused, “When you are passionate about something you make the time to keep it in your life.”
The girls graciously credit their success to the support they have received from their family and list their highly educated parents and grandparents as their greatest inspirations.
Stepping into adulthood, Neera and Swara feel they’re growing even closer. They maintain they’re learning to respect each other more and trying not to take each other for granted. They plan to branch out into specialized fields someday but at present they are content with learning to be good doctors while tackling everything else on their plates.
In a message to other Indian youth, Neera advised, “Find out what you’re passionate about and just go for it. We are fortunate to have a background and culture where we have so much support from people around us.”
Swara concurred, “And we’re in a very lucky position to experience the best of both Indian and Australian cultures. If you succeed in melding the two together you can experience a rich and fulfilling life.”