VHP Conference gives a call for Hindu Australian identity
The Sixth Australian National Hindu Conference received huge applause from the Governor of South Australia, Hieu Van Lie when he said: “Here in South Australia, our Hindu community makes a major contribution to our society.”
In his message, Premier of South Australia, Hon Jay Weatherill said, “The event will provide an insight into the Hindu communities of South Australia—communities that enrich our State by generously sharing their cultural gifts with fellow citizens.” The Minister for Multi-cultural Affairs Hon Zoe Bettison said, “the VHP Australia’s social programmes are for those in need, not to mention the tireless work of the volunteers who so readily give up their time to strengthen our community.”
President of the Legislative Council of South Australia, Russell Wortley MLC, applauded the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) thanked the Hindu community leaders for “strengthening the multicultural fabric of Australia by sharing their faith, celebrating their traditions, supporting those in need, guiding young people and promoting religious harmony”. President of the VHP Australia, R Subramanian JP, welcomed the dignitaries. Smt. Neha Shinghal, president of the VHP South Australia, shared the range of services delivered to the wider Australian community by VHP volunteers.
Shri Rajendra Pandey, president of the VHP South Australia, shared the contribution of the Hindu Australians and noted that number of Australian Hindus holding a higher and post-graduate qualification is seven times the Australian average. He noted that although Hindus constitute just 1.9 per cent of the Australian population, 2.4 per cent of Australian professionals are Hindus and 25 per cent of the Hindus earn more than $52,000 as compared to 20 per cent for rest of Australia. At the first plenary session, ‘Working with Government agencies’, Lord Mayor of City of Adelaide The Right Hon Martin Haese reiterated that the Hindu community plays an important role in the success of Adelaide.
Presiding a session, Collaboration among Hindu Organisations Temples and Associations, International Coordinator and Joint General Secretary of the VHP, Bharat Swami Vigyananand explained the purpose of Hindu Organisations Temples and Associations (HOTA) and appealed to organisations, associations and temples attending the conference to work together. He emphasised that while Hindus come to Australia from many different countries and hold many geopolitical, linguistic, denominational, and sectional identities, the current time demands that we must forge one common identity—a Hindu Australian identity. He later formally launched the HOTA Forum in South Australia hosted by the VHP South Australia in 2018 and the Shirdi Sai Sansthan in the year 2019. Fifteen other organisations expressed interest to host the future forums.
At the youth session, members shared their thoughts on pertinent matters including ideas on developing future leadership. Eminent community members originating from eight different countries were brought together in a panel discussion to deliberate on ideas for bringing Hindus from different countries together and the panel unanimously concluded that HOTA Forum had the potential to bridge the existing gap.
The conference provided a platform to more than 35 Hindu organisations, temples, and associations where they shared ideas on how they could work unitedly to strengthen their communities and make Australia stronger.