UIA’s Mateship Fair 2018 was a grand celebration of Australian-Indian friendship
United Indian Associations Inc’s (UIA) Mateship Fair 2018 at Parramatta Riverside on Sunday, 5 August, drew in over 10,000 visitors, who had congregated to celebrate India’s Independence Day (which falls on 15 August). There was Indian food, traditional dance performances, and inspirational speeches, a great sunny day of festivities, celebrating the “mateship” between the Indian community and other multicultural communities in NSW.
“We are proud of our community. We have the ability to contribute to our Motherland and Australia, our Karma Bhumi (land of Karma), which welcomed us wholeheartedly,” beamed Sreeni Pillamari, president, UIA, referring to the fact that the Fair was also used as a platform to spread awareness about the plight of NSW Farmers, besides raising $5,000 for them.
“We thought it is best to rename our annual fair the “Mateship” Fair as it is the spirit of mateship that is dear to every Australian no matter where they come from. Mate and Mitra (meaning ‘friend’ in Sanskrit) are two cohesive words of friendship that come from the two great cultures to which we belong,” he added.
“UIA is grateful for the great support by Federal Government, NSW Government including Multicultural NSW, and Parramatta Council. I thank the Indian community and founder members,” said Mr Pillamarri.
Gladys Berejikilian, Premier of NSW, who had recently visited India, said that just as India was contributing to the whole world, she was thankful to the Indian community in NSW. “I thank you for your values, education, diversity and developing the next generation in most multicultural NSW. We stand side by side. Very soon we will have bilateral visits to promote young entrepreneurs and Australian products in India,” she said.
Ray Williams MP, NSW Minister for Multiculturalism, congratulated the volunteers for their commitment to community harmony. “It is also important that we support Australian farmers at this hour,” said Mr Williams. NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley, MP, congratulating UIA, said he acknowledged the contribution of the Indian community, while Vanlal Vawna, Consul General of India, added that it was important that such celebrations were organised by other councils in NSW as well.
UIA presented a cheque of $5,000 to the Farmers Association as a token of community support to the cause of the Australian farmers suffering on account of the drought. A small play was also performed by children about the importance of farming.
Several politicians representing the various parties and local councils attended including Julian Leeser MP for Berowra, Philip Ruddock Mayor of Hornsby, Andrew Wilson Mayor of Parramatta, Geoff Lee Member for Parramatta, Julie Owens MP for Parramatta, Scott Farlow MLC, Jodi McKay Member for Strathfield, Julia Finn Member for Granville, and Dr GK Harinath, OAM, Chairperson for Multicultural NSW.
UIA is NSW’s largest Indian Association established in 1994, and serves the Indian diaspora in Australia by engaging in social and community development.