India Club is a voluntary organisation run by members of the community with a long-standing involvement and understanding of the local community and its role in Australia. The club is open to Indians, Australians and anyone who might be interested and appreciative of Indian culture. Shubha Kumar, the president of the club, spoke to Indian Sun.
Keeping a low profile at times and working quietly is a great way to make things happen. It’s something Shubha Kumar, Founder and president of India Club Inc., learnt over four decades of life in Australia. Not in a conscious way; nor is it her philosophy. It’s just the way things get done in her circles.
Shubha landed in Sydney, with her family, 40 year ago. In those days the number of Indians was very small. There was only one spice shop in Sydney run by a family in Bondi. Indians flocked to the place to buy lentils and spices despite the unpleasant behaviour of the shop owners. It was only in the late 1970s that Indian grocery stores started emerging in different parts of Sydney.
At that time the Indians who came to Australia were mostly professionals. Australia needed skilled migrants and people with academic qualifications, and Jobs were not hard to come by in those days. Indians then were a minority and were scattered in Sydney suburbs. “We used to look forward to Indian get-togethers, and making new friends,” says Shubha about her early years in Australia.
Just like the handful of Indian grocery stores in business in those days, Indian Associations too were not common. Shubha says that the one Indian association she was aware of was the Indian League.
Shubha was one of the founder members of the Australia Hindi Indian Association (AHIA), and she actively worked, in its early years, to establish the AHIA as a strong organisation. AHIA aimed to provide opportunities for people from the Hindi-speaking regions of India to meet and socialise and celebrate Diwali and Holi festivals.
When Shubha became president of AHIA in 2001, the Association organised a grand Diwali function at the Punchbowl Croatian Club. The function set a precedent for its glamour and the number of Indians it was able to attract.
Based on her performance in AHIA, Shubha was invited to take reins of United Indian Associations (UIA). Under her stewardship, and with the support of her husband Dr Aksheya Kumar and her friends, the grand Independence Day Fair, hailed as star performance of the year, was organised at the Sydney Olympic Park.
A few months after the Fair, Shubha left the UIA. After about a year she started her new organisation India Club Inc. India Club, unlike earlier and many current Indian organisations, is not an association just for Indians. It is open to the wider community and individuals who may have an interest in matters Indian.
India Club organises events like Music evenings, Kavi Sammelan, Morning Walk & Brunch, X-Mas Lunch, Valentine’s Day dinner, Holi, Diwali, spirituality talks, preparing a legal will etc., the Club is also actively involved with the local police and other social organisations and local government in raising awareness against domestic violence, personal and home safety and cyber bullying. India Club’s Community Forums against domestic violence, organised with the Hills District police, drew a large number of Indians and Australians in the community and made a big impact, says Shubha.