Lord Ganesh is a religious deity for Hindus, not a piece of decoration on the tables of events

Sydney, NSW

17th November, 2015


On 30th October, 2015, IABCA (India Australia Business & Community Awards), were organised in Sydney.

Website of the Organisers’  is http://www.iabca.com.au

I don’t have any issues with these awards or the organisers specifically.

Many others and I however have serious concerns about use of the idols of Hinduism deity, God Ganesh, on the tables of the event.

I outline the concerns:

  1. God Ganesh is a religious deity of Hinduism, not a piece of decoration on the tables of the events,
  2. Non-veg food and Alcohol were served at the tables, which compounds the offense,
  3. Consul General (CG) of India, Mr Sunjay Sudhir, Multiculturalism NSW Chair, Dr Harry Harinath, and NSW Premier, Mr Mike Baird attended the event,
  4. Premier will obviously not know the significance and appropriateness of God Ganesh’s idols on the tables, but CG, Mr Sunjay Sudhir and Dr  Harry Harinath should have known about the importance and appropriateness of these idols on the tables, and should have acted then and there to get this rectified.

After I was contacted by several people, I wrote to the organisers.


“Hi Sonia,

In your recent event, I understand that there were Lord Ganesha’s idols on the tables. I also understand that Alcohol and non-veg food were served for people at the tables.

Any reason or justification for these idols?

FYI, there are many Hindus who are unhappy with what they have seen in your event.”

Their response is copied below.

“We appreciate the note below, valid point and we did not think of it like that at all. Thank you for taking time out to point this to us, we do about 35 events annually and sometimes these things in busy moment may get overseen.

It was a genuine mistake as you question below, in fact it was there as a sign of our culture. Apologies, we make note that this will never occur again and appreciate you reaching out.

Warm Regards

Sonia Gandhi Director, Gandhi Creations Pty. Ltd.


Hindus in Australia have raised their concerns about inappropriate use of symbols and deities of Hinduism many times over the last several years.

It is not appropriate to use symbols and deities belonging to Hinduism, because such use is disrespectful and hurtful to Hindus.

Contrary to the claims by the organisers, I don’t believe it is a sign of culture or promotion of culture to put statues or idols of God Ganesh on the tables of the event.

My purpose to write this post is to make people aware about inappropriate use of symbols and deities of Hinduism, and encourage them to desist from using them inappropriately.

Dr Yadu Singh





Let’s put pressure on Indian authorities to control the rape menace in India

Sydney, NSW

18th October, 2015

Like many others, I am outraged and disgusted with the spate of rapes in India.

Last Friday, a two year old toddler was raped in West Delhi. She was kidnapped when there was an outage of electricity and found in a critical state in a Park 3 hours after. She was bleeding profusely.

A kid of 5 years age was subjected to similar crime in East Delhi same day.

A week earlier, another kid of 4 years age was raped in Delhi.

Something is very seriously wrong with the perpetrators. I am unable to fathom how kids can by sexual objects. It is unthinkable. It is hard to find words to describe my outrage.

Delhi Police have arrested some alleged perpetrators but more are yet to be found and arrested.



These rapes, like before, are in media in India and all over the world.

SBS news in Australia is covering this matter today. SBS World News will cover it at 6.30 PM tonight. This is what I said while being interviewed by SBS.




There was a significant outrage in India and all over the world after the brutal December 2012 rape of a young woman inside a Bus in New Delhi. It led to a review and tightening of laws to control these crimes.

Despite this, Crime statistics from India show that sexual crimes numbers against women have increased.

Whether the numbers have actually increased or whether other factors are at play is not certain.

Factors which could be responsible for increased numbers include;

  1. increased reporting of such crimes, without actual increase, due to increased awareness
  2. Law changes to mandate registering of every such complaint after Dec 2012 rape of a medical student (Nirbhaya case) in Delhi
  3. actual increase in such cases

Irrespective of the reasons for the spike in these numbers, nobody can deny that these cases are totally unacceptable.

There is no doubt that they need to be controlled.

Nobody can seriously propose or expect that these crimes can be controlled just by Police alone.

These crimes are a very complex problem and will need a multi-pronged approach to control them.

Such multi-pronged approach will need the involvement of Law enforcement agencies, policy makers, Judicial system, Sociologists, Media & educators at all levels. Police alone will, and can’t, solve this menace.

For longer term results, something will need to be done within the education system starting from Primary schools right upto Universities.

The attitude will need to change. Misogyny can not be tolerated.

People can not, and should not, be silent spectators when eve-teasing and other crimes against women are taking place. This common ocurance will need to change.

Control of Crimes against women is not a Police responsibility alone. It is very much a matter for the society too, and the society must discharge its responsibility.

After all, we have mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, aunts, cousins and nieces. If we will not want any of them to be subjected to such crimes, then we must rise up and shoulder responsibility to get this menace controlled.

We, Indian Australian community, can’t do much on this issue, sitting 10,000 Kms away, but what we can do easily, and in fact must do, is to put pressure on Indian Governments of all levels to do everything to control this menace.

Let us get on the Social Media-Twitter and Facebook- and tell Indian politicians about we think and what we want. Almost all of the Indian political leaders are active users of Social media.

Dr Yadu Singh



FIAN was mentioned in The NSW Parliament

1st October, 2015

Sydney, NSW

NSW Parliament

Federation of Indian Associations of NSW  (FIAN) was mentioned in The NSW Parliament on 27th August, 2015. The Hon David Clarke MLC deserves our sincere thanks and gratitude. https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LC20150827005

The text from the Hansard is reproduced below. Dr Yadu Singh


Page: 2955

Motion by the Hon. DAVID CLARKE agreed to:

        (1) That this House notes that:
            (a) on Saturday 15 August 2015 the Independence Day of India was celebrated at a community festival at the parade grounds, Old King’s School, Parramatta, organised by the Federation of Indian Associations of NSW and attended by several thousand visitors; and
            (b) those who attended as guests included:
              (i) the Hon. Philip Ruddock, MP, member for Berowra and Special Envoy for Citizenship and Community Engagement, representing the Hon. Tony Abbott, MP, Prime Minister of Australia;
              (ii) Ms Michelle Rowland, MP, member for Greenway, shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism, representing the Federal Opposition Leader, the Hon. Bill Shorten, MP;
              (iii) Dr Geoff Lee, MP, member for Parramatta, Parliamentary Secretary for Communities, representing the Hon. Mike Baird, MP, Premier of New South Wales;
              (iv) Mr Luke Foley, MP, member for Auburn, State Leader of the Opposition;
              (v) Ms Julie Owens, MP, Federal member for Parramatta and shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Small Business;
              (vi) the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian, MP, Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations;
              (vii) the Hon. David Clarke, MLC, Parliamentary Secretary for Justice;
              (viii) Mr Matt Kean, MP, member for Hornsby and Parliamentary Secretary for Treasury;
              (ix) Dr Hugh McDermott, MP, member for Prospect;
              (x) Ms Julie Finn, MP, member for Granville;
              (xi) the Hon. Daniel Mookhey, MLC;
              (xii) Mr Arvinder Ranga, representing the Consul-General for India in Sydney, Mr Sunjay Sudhir;
              (xiii) Councillor Scott Lloyd, Lord Mayor of the City of Parramatta; and
              (xiv) local councillors, leaders and representatives of various Indian-Australian community groups.
        (2) That this House:
            (a) congratulates the President, Dr Yadu Singh, and the committee of the Federation of Indian Associations in New South Wales on their initiative in organising a successful festival to celebrate the Independence Day of India; and
          (b) extends its congratulations and best wishes to India and the Indian-Australian community on the occasion of India’s Independence Day.

e-Tourist Visa (eTV) for India

30th September, 2015
Sydney, NSW
Recently, someone from Sydney asked me about the latest details of Visa on Arrival for India.
-Knowing that there have been some changes since, I wish to put this update with relevant information.
-Visa on Arrival (VOA) was started for 5 countries way back in 2010.  This was a genuine VOA scheme as citizens of these countries were able to get Visa on arrival in a few select airports in India.
-This VOA was extended to more countries in November, 2014 with the change that people had to apply for Electronic Travel Authorisation {ETA) at least 4 days before the travel. This was called VOA enabled by ETA.  It did lead to some confusion because some people thought it was Visa On Arrival and people can get Visa at the airports in India. Some airlines and some people made mistakes and few people landed in India with the belief that they can get Visa in India. They were turned back and asked to fly back to the airport from where they flew into India. There were therefore some adverse media reports because of this confusion. It is a fact that it was not exactly a VOA because people needed to apply for ETA at least 4 days before the travel and Visa was not possible at the Airports in India, if they did not have ETA.
-To avoid confusion and misunderstanding, the scheme was renamed in April, 2015. It was named eTV (Electronic Tourist Visa), which had the same details as VOA enabled by ETA. It is only the name change with the purpose to stop the confusion. It is not a VOA.
-The name change made it clear that eTV was not a VOA facility in true sense and one must obtain ETA before the travel.
Following info copied from Indian Embassy, Washington

e-Tourist Visa (eTV)

1. e-Tourist Visa (eTV) has been made available by the Government of India to citizens of certain countries, including the United States of America. Details of the scheme are available on the dedicated website created for this purpose: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html. International Travellers, whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing, casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit may apply for eTV.

2. Citizens of the eligible countries can apply online for eTV (twice a year, each visit not exceeding 30 days, visa duration non-extendable) which shall be granted through email. The applicant should carry a print of this email and can travel to India through 16 designated international airports (Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chennai, Gaya, Jaipur, Kochin, Lucknow, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram, Thiruchirapalli and Varanasi ). eTV is not valid for entry from sea ports in India. The eTV scheme entails capture of biometric data of the visitor on arrival at the airport.

3. Applicants of the eligible countries may apply online minimum 4 days in advance of the date of arrival with a window of 30 days. Example: If you are applying on 1st September then you can select arrival date from 5th September to 4th October.

4. Applicants requiring help may call the helpline number (+91-11-24300666) or send an email to indiatvoa@gov.in for any queries in connection with applying for eTV.

5. The earlier TVOA scheme which included 12 countries (Cambodia, Finland, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Luxemburg, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Republic of Korea) has been discontinued, and only the new eTV scheme described above is now available.

6. Please visit the eTV website https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html for complete details of the scheme.

7. The eTV facility is in addition to the existing Visa services being provided through Indian Embassies and Consulates.


More info and FAQ from https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

Phone (+91-11-24300666) or email to indiatvoa@gov.in


Dr Yadu Singh



This ain’t racist

Friday, 25th September, 2015

A friend of mine, Tapas Bhaumik, from Sydney sent me a Link from News.com.au, which described an amusing story.

I haven’t stopped having a chuckle ever since I read this story.


In UK, Stuart Lynn, an Anglo-Saxon, ordered some curries from an Indian Restaurant. The person at the counter, who took the order, sent the order to the Chef in the kitchen, with  the word “Very mild White Ppl” to indicate that curries must be prepared very mild.

UK newspapers are reporting that the customer, Stuart Lynn, was “shocked” by seeing the receipt with the word “Very mild White Ppl”.

Ruby Kandsamy, owner of Valentine Restaurant issued an apology which says “I have investigated and can confirm it a misunderstanding. Under White ppl, we don’t mean white people, but a white sauce made from milk, single cream, coconut milk and spices we add to our dishes when a curry is requested mild. Ppl means ‘milk.”

This is even more amusing.

Of course, it is a furphy and not the correct explanation. “White ppl” means white people. There is no need to feel defensive. Nothing wrong here. It seems Ruby Kandsamy felt intimidated by the news reports, and came up with this astonishing and unlikely explanation.

Kandsamy should just laugh it off and thank media for the free publicity.

By the way, I confess that most of Anglo-Saxon people in my network indeed can’t handle hot curries and opt for mild curries. No big deal. Some like it hot, some, mild.

Guys, have a sense of humor!

It’s time to enjoy some hot curries with a few drinks at an Indian restaurant in your locality.

Go, treat yourselves!

I am off to my favourite Chakkh Le India restaurant, Harris Park, near Parramatta to do just that.

Dr Yadu Singh



Libs had no other real options

22nd September, 2015

Quite a lot of my Indian friends from overseas have asked me how did it happen that Liberal Party changed its leader.  They were perplexed about the mechanism. Things like this do not happen in many democracies.

That’s all true, but there is basically a very simple explanation. Change like this can happen in any democracy which follows Westminster system.

People elect MPs and MPs elect their leader. For obvious reasons, MPs can remove their leader and choose another leader too, if their leader is not performing and is not able to lead effectively and efficiently.

The Coalition, comprising of Liberal Party and National Party, led by Mr Tony Abbott won the election in 2013. Elected MPs then formally elected Mr Abbott as their leader, who was then sworn in as the Prime Minister of Australia on 18th September, 2013.

The Abbott Government did an excellent job as far as the uncontrolled arrival of asylum seekers was concerned. They stopped the Boats, arriving at Australian shores. They were also good at tackling terror threats. They were not as successful in the economic management and Budgets. This problem was compounded due to their failure in political communication, which led to significant dissatisfaction. Opinion polls were consistent in their results about their unpopularity. The Coalition lagged behind the Opposition for most of the time since September 2013 election.

Lack of majority in the Senate did not help as The Abbott Government’s proposals were defeated there. The main Opposition Party along with Greens and Independent Senators obstructed Government’s legislative agenda.

This could have been tackled to some extent if The Abbott Government’s political messaging and communication were better and things were explained to people in a better manner.

With repeated negative opinion polls, it was clear that The Coalition MPs will lose their seats in 2016 Federal election and Labor Party would form the Government. The most recent Opinion Poll, just 2 weeks before the Leadership Spill on 14th September, showed a swing of voting intentions against the government. This would have led to the loss 36 seats for The Coalition and an electoral defeat, if an election were held at the time of this Opinion poll.

There were repeated political missteps, so-called unpopular “Captain’s Calls” including Knighthood to Prince Philip, “Foot in Mouth” comments, lack of efficient interactions with back bench of The Coalition and micro-management of the Government by Prime Minister’s Office, which all added to the political woes for Mr Abbott’s leadership.

Many MPs and ministers did not get on well with the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin. This was a matter of concern for many. Things could have been managed, but they were not, unfortunately.

MPs and ministers were unsatisfied with Treasurer, Joe Hockey’s performance too.

Desperation and frustration among MPs was at all time high. Circumstances forced them to think long and hard and make a very hard decision.

These very adverse political scenario had already culminated in an earlier Leadership spill in February which Mr Abbott won. Mind you, there was no challenger to Mr Abbott then. Mr Abbott promised to change the quality and direction of his leadership, which would improve the prospects of the Government in 6 months time from the February leadership spill. MPs expected that this “Near death Experience” by Mr Abbott will be a catalyst for significant changes.

Seven months down the track, unfortunately, neither the Opinion polls improved nor the quality and direction of his leadership. MPs and ministers came to a realisation that the only thing which will fix their political woes is to change the leader.

This wasn’t an easy decision, but there was no other option.

I am sure that anti-Abbott MPs worked tirelessly and clandestinely over weeks to solidify the numbers for the challenger, Mr Malcolm Turnbull.

Once this was certain, and Opinion polls started telling that there would be 10% slide in The Coalition’s votes in an upcoming by-election in Western Australia, The Turnbull camp acted speedily and resolutely. Deputy leader, Julie Bishop informed Mr Abbott at about 2 PM on 14th September that he did not have the majority support among ministers and MPs. A few hours later, Mr Malcolm Turnbull tendered his resignation as the Communication Minister in The Abbott Government and asked Mr Abbott for the leadership spill.

It led to the leadership spill (Ballot) at about 9.30 PM same evening, and Mr Turnbull defeated Mr Abbott 54 to 44 votes in his favour. Camps led by key ministers, Julie Bishop, Christopher Pyne and Scott Morrison played significant roles in this outcome.

Mr Turnbull was sworn in as the 29th Prime Minister of Australia on 15th September. Julie Bishop continues as the Deputy leader of Liberal Party and the Foreign Affairs Minister. Mr Scott Morrison is the new treasurer. Outgoing treasurer, Joe Hockey decided to not take a ministerial position and is set to retire from Politics soon.

With the leadership change, Opinion polls have given an immediate 5% boost in the Primary vote, which is 44% for the Coalition Vs 35%, a loss of 4%, for the Opposition. The Coalition is ahead of the Opposition after a long time. The Coalition leads Labor 51-49% on a two-party basis now vs 46-54% against The Coalition only 2 weeks ago.

Will these number improve further is something only time will tell, but this is very likely because Mr Turnbull and new Treasurer, Mr Scott Morrison, are much better communicators and have been very successful in their roles in The Abbott Government.

With this leadership change in The Coalition, one more thing is certain to change. The Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, and Australian Labor Party (ALP) will have to perform in a much better manner, if they want to compete and beat The Turnbull Government in 2016 election. The almost certain victory for ALP is anything but certain now. The Game is now really on.

As far as people in my circle of friends and commentators and I are concerned, everyone wants a Government, which can lead the nation, manage the economy, formulate and execute appropriate policies, and communicate with the voters effectively and efficiently. They also want The Opposition to compete effectively and efficiently, relying on good policies and proposals, not scare tactics and negativity. People don’t want to be taken up for mugs.

This is vital because only this will allow Australians to understand policies from The Government and The Opposition, enabling them to make an informed decision about who to vote for in 2016.

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/ Australia



*This article was first published in http://www.MyInd.net, a USA-based News & Opinion website