Reading Time: 2 minutesThe Indian community in New South Wales is beginning to make its presence felt
The Indian community in New South Wales is touching 150,000, and though in its adolescence compared to the Jewish, Arabic and Chinese communities, is slowly starting to make its mark in the multicultural and mainstream spaces. While there are a few who have been public about their achievements, there are many others who are working quietly and confidently behind the scenes and are making a difference in the corporate and public spheres.
Three of the many who have burst into the public scene recently are Dr Hari Harinath (our cover story) as the gentle, guiding force behind all things multicultural in New South Wales, the corporate leadership of Peeyush Gupta, and the political forays of Raman Bhalla.
While the vision of Dr Hari Harianth is detailed in this issue, many became aware of his achievements through cricket as he worked and managed his way up from the local cricket club at Drummoyne to Cricket NSW, and then Cricket Australia. He brought his expertise to the affairs of the local Indian-Australian community with his involvement in Parramasala, and though the leap from sporting administration to cultural advising was long, he has done well to keep the festival alive even with dwindling funding from the NSW government.
Now, as new chair of the Community Relations Commission, Dr Harinath faces challenges in dealing with the sometimes fractious nature of the state’s multicultural fabric. Contentious issues such as jihadi youth and media shock jocks will no doubt keep him occupied in coming months.
Peeyush Gupta is a corporate dynamo, well-respected in the finance world for his strategic vision and thinking. After building and selling his own financial services company, he’s about to join the Board of the National Australia Bank and also take over as Chairman of MLC from November 2014. Peeyush is the first Indian-Australian to have reached this pinnacle of success on a corporate board; still in his early 50s, it will be interesting to map his journey over the next decade or so.
Raman Bhalla is yet another emerging Indian-Australian who we will be hearing more from shortly. He has just been nominated by the State Liberal Party to contest the seat of Blacktown against Labor bigwig John Robertson in the March 2015 elections. Bhalla is the face of the younger generation of Indian-Australians who want to make a difference through local politics. Taking on the Opposition leader in a safe Labor seat is indeed a big task, but in a constituency which has more Singhs in the local directory than Smiths, perhaps it’s a good place to start. Community support will be important, but equally so, this will also be a test as to how the Liberal Party supports Bhalla.
There are other quiet achievers in our community working to place the lot of Indian-origin Australians in a better light – Neville Roach, Mala Mehta, Darshak Mehta, Sheba Nandkeolyar, and others in equity and private firms behind the scenes. Their work is indeed inspirational and should be applauded.