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Deepavali in NSW Parliament makes the Subcontinent Community Proud

To begin with, I must say that the community from the Indian Subcontinent in Sydney felt very proud and overwhelmed, when it was announced that on 29 October, there would be Deepavali celebration at the NSW Parliament House.

The key message that comes out of this is the recognition of the Indian community- its culture and heritage into the Australian society. Simultaneously this also strengthens the respect and tolerance of Australia and its people on multiculturalism.

However this did not happened in one day. Over the years, people with origin from the Indian subcontinent have been migrating to Australia. Through hard work, today they have all established their presence and capability in the society. We now see them as company executives, bureaucrats, medical practitioners, lawyers, academics and trusted advisers. Their contribution to the society in every field is well recognised. Annual functions like the India Fair and Diwali Fair attract attention of the media and the politicians, because they see a big community together that can influence the well being of the society.

In fact, the idea of Deepavali celebration was seeded last year at the Diwali Fair at Fairfield showground when the State Premier Mr Bob Carr, at the request of the big community crowd, agreed to do something about this Festival of Lights next year. Mr Carr passed on that responsibility to Ms Virginia Judge, who was then the Mayor of Strathfield and now the State MP from Strathfield.

As a result of that, on the 29 October we saw a nice little function, the significance of which is immense, at the Jubilee Hall of the NSW Parliament. It will remain as a red-letter day in the history of NSW Parliament to have held for the first time ever, a function that demonstrates ethnicity and diversity. And perhaps it is significant for people from the Indian subcontinent to be the first ethnic community to mark its cultural diversity in to the prestigious NSW Parliament House. In this context efforts of Ms Judge, who did spend part of her childhood in India and thus being exposed to the cultural diversity of India, and that of the Sponsors and the Festival Committee coordinated by Mr Raj Dutta, must be congratulated. Along with the community members, many State Ministers and MPs including Deputy Premier Dr Andrew Refshauge, Speaker of the House Mr John Aquilina, Consulate General of India Mr M.A. Ganapathy, Chairman, Australia India Business Council Mr Neville Roach and other dignitaries graced the program to capture the festive spirit of the Festival of Lights.

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