Deepa came to see me from Canberra. Her husband had thrown her out of their home and she was shaken up, distressed, crying and lost. He had found out she was sending a small amount of money from her own salary back home to her parents in India. She had been too afraid to tell him because of his temper and unwillingness to hear her side of the story. His outrage, he said, was because he had decided to buy a second home as an investment property and she was not contributing financially. He said she had wasted the $200 she sent to her poor parents in a small town in India.
By K. P. Sudheer, Professor, Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai.
Since joining the Australia India Institute in Melbourne as part of their Emerging Leaders Fellowship program, I have been meeting and talking to various people from different sectors about water resource management in Australia. Water is my research area of interest and I’m curious about practices in Australia compared to India.
As prime minister Manmohan Singh’s second term draws to a close in five months, there has been a general lament that he has lost in the last five years what he had gained in the first five in diplomacy. To get a sense of such arguments, read C Rajamohan and Sanjaya Baru both of whom have been great supporters of Singh’s foreign policy initiatives, but now feel that he has lost the plot. Singh’s failure to push his policies regarding Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and East Asia are cited as evidence of drift by such analysts but the core argument has been the “de-emphasis” of India’s relations with the US during his second term.
The Melbourne South Asia Studies Group (MSASG) emerged in 1988 from a business seminar run by Dr. Salim Lakha at the then Swinburne Institute of Technology. The modest aim was to run a regular city-wide seminar for people interested in South Asia. China-oriented scholars had been doing something similar for a number of years. Members of the MSASG organised to undertake more ambitious activities, and in 1990 got the brief from the Commonwealth government to write a “study of India” strategy.
Anyone who has seen the movie “Outsourced” will know that India and Indians play a big part not only in the film but in the real world of information technology (IT). The IT industry comprises the production of hardware (computers and other related peripherals) and software (millions of lines of code written in a programming language that instruct hardware to perform certain functions). India does not specialise in hardware, though the Indian government did encourage domestic hardware production in the pre-1991 reform era as part of its self-reliance program.
The first time I was introduced to the music of Zubin Mehta was as a small child, my father who was an avid music lover played me an old V.H.S tape of five musicians he referred to as the “all stars” playing the trout quintet by Schubert. The tape also included some behind the scenes footage of the musicians rehearsing, joking around before the performance and talking about the music. Any classical music fan will know the performance I’m talking about as it has gone down as one of the great performances of the 20th century. Five top soloists and conductors at the height of their powers playing chamber music together in a light hearted setting. Zubin Mehta was the double-bassist.
Earlier studies of ‘diaspora’ focused mainly on the dispersal of Jewish communities from their original homeland. More recently, scholarly work on Armenian, Greek, African and Indian diaspora has begun to emerge, particularly in the US and UK. Local and global interest in the Indian diaspora in Australia gained momentum when the Indian International Student movement in Australia came out against what has been described as ‘racist violence reaching its peak’ with the 2009 attacks on students. Prior to this, the Indian community in Australia received little or no attention.
Doug Walters and David Campese are very considerate gentlemen. Over the weekend, their response to the news that Fawad Ahmed would rather not wear a VB logo on his new Australian cricket team shirt spelt out exactly where they stood on the issue. Walters told a newspaper: "If he doesn't want to wear the team gear, he should not be part of the team. Maybe if he doesn't want to be paid, that's okay". Campese, a former Rugby Union captain of Italian descent, then stepped in on Twitter, "Well said, Doug. Tell him to go home." When I go home to India in less than a month, I will always remember these men's words that gave an extra, vital sharpness of topicality to my fellowship project at the Australia India Institute.
Australia's election campaign is a choice between the 'evil of two lessers' writes Emeritus Professor Stoddart. There is nothing quite so deflating as returning to Australia in winter, after a long spell away, and right at the start of a federal election campaign that typifies the wonderful line from the great American broadcaster, David Brinkley, who once described a Presidential “race” as being between “the evil of two lessers.” That deflation is aggravated if the returnee is interested in Australia’s potential foreign policies, and flattened if the specific interest is with India and its crucial relationship with Australia.
Back in Australia, Simone Barker, shares the final post in the "Passage to India" internship blog. From handy tips to surviving India to a poignant reflection of sameness in difference, Simone's final wrap up is a perfect ending to the students' Indian journey. Starting from the end of her journey, breaking down in a 'cool cab' on the way to the airport, Simone outlines ways to survive Mumbai.