More than 25 organisations join new HOTA Forum
The Victoria chapter of the Vishva Hindu Parishad of Australia organised its 4th Australian National Hindu Conference with the theme ‘Organizing Community Strengthening Australia’ on September 26 at Bayview Eden Hotel.
Ms Judith Graley, Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Premier and Member of Parliament from Narre Warren South, representing the Premier of Victoria, inaugurated the conference. This was followed by Buddhist and Vedic peace prayers.
This conference provided a platform for various community groups and volunteers to come together and feel the sense of bonding, sharing, sustaining, networking, collaborating, and organizing in the spirit of strengthening Australia. Nearly 200 delegates representing more than 50 temples, organizations, associations of Hindu society were present in the first conference of this kind in Melbourne. Cr Gautham Gupta and Cr Chandra Bamunusinghe were among other guests and community leaders who took part in the conference.
Subramanian Ramamoorthi, National President of VHP Australia, gave the welcome address, during which he shared the work done by the organisation for the benefit of Australian community. Dr Anil Kumar Asthana, Vice President VHP Australia (Victoria chapter), gave statistics on the Hindu community and their contributions to Australia in terms of economy, education and professional contribution compared to other communities and Australian national average. The data showed that Hindu population is the fastest growing community in Australia (86% growth between 2006 and 2011). Hindu population had higher educational qualifications and represented in high profile professions.
Geeta Devi, President VHP Australia (Victoria chapter), gave the keynote address on “Vision for Australian Hindu Society”. “Hindus from many countries are moving and settling in Australia in reasonably large numbers and were contributing immensely in the fields of economy, science, technology, health, administration, education and culture,” she said.
Ms Devi added that it is time Hindus in Australia shaped Hindu identity so they can proudly use the word ‘Hindu Australian’ as their common identity, and strengthened Hindu society through rich cultural heritage that needed to practised, preserved and propagated. She even mentioned that ex-Prime Minister of Australia Hon Kevin Rudd had once written to the organisation saying he was proud of the achievements of Hindu Australians.
The first plenary session was on working with Government agencies, chaired by Chidambaram Srinivasan, Commissioner, Victorian Multicultural Commission. The second plenary session was on collaboration among Hindu Organizations, Temples and Associations (HOTA) chaired by Swami Vigyananand, International Coordinator and Joint General Secretary of VHP Bharat. He explained the purpose of HOTA in such a convincing manner that soon after his speech, 25 organisations joined HOTA, and over 20 people became volunteers. HOTA Victoria was then officially launched by Swami Vigyananand, while Nagabhushan Sharma Betanabhatla volunteered to shoulder the responsibility of the secretary of HOTA forum for Victoria.
The third plenary session was on Hindu Organization and Association: Serving the Society. This session was chaired by Professor Guna Magesan, Vice Chancellor, University and Institute of Advanced Research, Gujarat. This was followed by a session was on bridging the gap among the Hindus coming from different countries. This session was chaired by Dr Jayant Bapat OAM.
All delegates felt that there is an urgent need to work together, collaborate and cooperate, share resources to address the challenges in a united and organised manner and contribute to the welfare of Australian society. Also to showcase rich cultural heritage, it was decided that the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan would be hosted annually. Log in to www.vhp.org.au/www.vhpvic.org.au for more details.