Down Indian Link’s memory lane with more familiar faces

Flipping through past issues, we found some more familiar faces from the Australian Indian community that we have previously featured!

Reading Time: 5 minutes


We’re getting all nostalgic as we mark Indian Link’s 29th year since inception. We’ve been leafing through our old issues, and like looking back at old family photos, it’s making us all warm and fuzzy inside. Sharing some Then and Now snapshots here!

Were you ever in an Indian Link issue that you’ve preserved?  Send us a pic at editor@indianlink.com.au !

Uzma Beg
Then and Now: Uzma Beg

UZMA BEG (2012)

In an eleven-year stint on Indian Link Radio, she bowled us over with her nonstop chatter, fiery spirit and no-filter demeanour. Even as Uzma Beg shocked us – on a daily basis on her Morning Show – she delighted us with her caring personality and genuine warmth. Yup, it was an unusual combo alright, but her unique charisma was undeniable. It won the hearts of her listeners like never before, and she continues to be remembered on air to this day.

She’s now moved on to greener pastures, commanding a vastly bigger audience as a film and television star in Pakistan. You’ve probably seen her in Hum Tum, Chupke Chupke, Badshah Begum, Pyari Mona, Aangan, Bisaat e Dil, Ishq-e-Benaam, Gham-e-Dil, Yun Hi, Naseebon Jali, Kaffara, or in the feature film Dum Mastam.

Can’t wait to see her now in the about-to-be-released series Barzakh, alongside famous names such as Fawad Khan and Sanam Saeed.

Dave Sharma
Then and Now: Dave Sharma

DAVE SHARMA (2013, 2018)

In 2013 Dave Sharma was appointed as Australia’s Ambassador to Israel. Only 37 then, he became Australia’s youngest ever appointee to such a role.

In 2018 he was on our cover, as he campaigned for the crucial Wentworth seat as a Liberal Party candidate. The by-election had come about following the ousting of sitting member Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister. Dave famously went on to win then, but lost out to Independent Allegra Spender in 2022.

Well, he’s back in the news again, like his charismatic namesake Dev Anand, whose defining characteristic was that he refused to give up. (Yup, in case you’re wondering, Dave is named after the famous Hindi film actor). Dave has won his way back into Parliament as a Senator, taking over the spot left vacant by the retirement of former foreign affairs minister Marise Payne.

Then and Now: Dr Veena Sahajwalla


In 2011 for a past Indian Link issue, we wrote about Prof. Veena Sahajwalla winning the Indian Government’s Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award for eminent overseas Indians. It is but one of the many awards she has received, a recent one being NSW Australian of the Year in 2022. Her claim to fame is rubbish – or rather, how to reclaim it. Waste, Dr Sahajwalla preaches, is not to be rubbished, but broken down into its component parts and then put back together into new products. She’s given new life to old tyres, discarded plastic, old clothes, coffee waste, to produce steel and building material, and has come to be called “Queen of Waste.”

‘Green steel’, ‘green ceramics’, ‘microfactories’, ‘microsolutions’ are terms she has popularised, in her ultimate aim of building sustainable communities.

Her body of work has made her a flag-bearer for science and science education, for overseas-trained scientists in this country, for women in STEM, and for research and application in the science of recycling.

Indian Australian High Commissioner
Then and Now: Barry O’Farrell


When we featured Barry O’Farrell on our cover in 2011, we had no idea of the impact he would go on to have on India-Australia relations. (Perhaps we should have guessed, given the book he was reading when he posed for this pic for us.)

He was then heading a Liberal Party campaign to lead the state of NSW, which he won (after 16 years in Opposition, as he likes to remind us). Today of course, he is a name to reckon with in the bilateral space, and a well-known Indophile, having served a hugely successful term as Australia’s High Commissioner to India (Feb 2020 – June 2023). It was under his tenure that the relationship between the two countries took a fillip, after having been fraught with difficulties in the two decades preceding. Australia’s perceptions of India finally moved from the three Cs (no, we’re not going to elaborate on that) to the Ds, (Democracy, Diaspora and Dosti – that last one being the Hindi word for friendship, which Barry can lay claim to hashtagging). The Es are also being bandied about (Economy, Energy, Education).

Care to bring on the Fs, Barry?

Indo Australian Bal Bharatiya Hindi School
Then and Now: Mala Mehta OAM


It was an OAM that made Mala Mehta our covergirl in 2006, awarded to her for “service to the community in Sydney through establishing the Hindi School, fostering interest in Indian culture, and providing assistance to new migrants”. It was a rare honour then in Australia’s migrant community.

Nearly twenty years later, Mala continues to do all of the above and more, her interests and acclaim having moved beyond the confines of the community.

Her main work though continues in language advocacy, particularly related to the Indo Australian Bal Bharatiya Hindi School she founded in 1987. Run with the help of volunteer teachers, the school saw their first HSC student only ten years after inception. Mala herself was involved in curriculum development for a few years prior.

Today the school attracts diplomats, political figures and education authorities. Its students are welcomed on the wider stage for their cultural contributions, and its teachers have helped mainstream schools in their take up of Hindi classes.

Mala herself has taken on other roles over and above her teaching, cultural, pastoral and now grandmotherly responsibilities. These include Women’s Shed, Police Multicultural Advisory Council, theatre patron, and most recently, Voice to Parliament campaigner.

NSW Parliament
Then and Now: Daniel Mookhey


In 2015, Daniel Mookhey made history when he became the first Indian-origin politician to enter NSW Parliament as a member of the Legislative Council.

As the 32-year-old took oath on the Hindu holy book, the Bhagavad Gita, he made the news headlines not only here in Australia but also in India and in Indian diasporic communities across the world.

In a wide-ranging interview for a past Indian Link issue, he had then spoken of his family’s early migration here when the community was miniscule, growing up in Western Sydney, his introduction to politics at university, and family life with wife Tamsin Lloyd.

Earlier this year, he brought out his copy of the Bhagavad Gita again as he took oath, this time as Treasurer of NSW in a Chris Minns led Labor government.

In his interview with us this time round, he spoke of his priorities and plans as Treasurer, but also about representation – of seeing other Indian origin members in Parliament as well as those from other religions and regions of the world.

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