Australia

19/03/16 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Vital literary genealogies

Vital literary genealogies

By Anupama Pilbrow

 

 

When I was ten years old, my godsister’s Indian mother and non-Indian father gave me a children’s novel called Neela: Victory Song by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. I devoured it. It was about a girl my age living through India’s Partition. Neela was the first book by an Indian author that I ever read to myself.

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29/02/16 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In solidarity with the dissenting student community in India: A statement from Australia

In solidarity with the dissenting student community in India: A statement from Australia

As academics, students, writers, artists and activists from Australia, we condemn the use of oppressive power by the Indian state, its police, and Hindu fundamentalist groups to shut down voices of dissent emerging from within public universities in India.

We join the international community in extending our support to the students, faculty and staff at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Hyderabad Central University (HCU) and many other public universities, who have been courageously protesting the overreach of state power and brutal stifling of dissent, carried out in the guise of majoritarian Hindu nationalism (Hindutva).

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30/01/16 Australia , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , ,

How to stop a juggernaut

How to stop a juggernaut

By Ruchira Talukdar

 

The Adani Group’s Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland has been in the news largely for the wrong reasons.

As the largest proposed Australian coal mine, as well as one of the world’s largest, the Carmichael mine first made major headlines in July 2014 when the Abbott-led federal government approved the mine with “strict environmental conditions”.

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26/01/16 Arts & Culture , Australia , Society & Politics # , , , , , ,

In Solidarity on Survival Day

In Solidarity on Survival Day

As a collective of writers, artists, and academics of South Asian heritage, we acknowledge Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islanders who are the world’s oldest continuing civilisation, and the First Peoples of this country, Australia. We remember the dispossession, the massacres, the stolen children, the colonisation, the suffering and pain this has caused and continues to cause them. As immigrants to this great southern land, we acknowledge our debt to them, and celebrate their survival. On January 26, 2016, we stand in solidarity with them.

Below we repost parts of a post previously published on this site, Are We Legit, by Roanna Gonsalves

 

“We are not the perpetrators, the ones who wielded the guns in the forgotten wars between invading white settlers and Indigenous Peoples. We are not the victims. However, as mainly economic migrants from South Asia (we acknowledge the many South Asian refugees from the conflict zones of Afghanistan and Sri Lanka), we are not absolved of complicity.”

“We are beneficiaries of the genocide of Aboriginal people, the dispossession of their land, the loss of their homes, their families, their cultural values, their tongues, their songs. It is such soil that we step on when we first step into Australia, soaked not just with the promise of a ‘first world lifestyle’, but squelchy with the memory of massacre.”

“Today we are living in cities and towns, building our homes, our offices, our restaurants, our shelters, our futures, putting down roots into what once were and continue to be the hunting grounds, the camping places, the sacred sites, the repositories of knowledge of the Indigenous people of Australia. We are the beneficiaries of their dispossession, and we acknowledge their loss. As immigrants from South Asia, we understand about the loss of home, family and cultural values, and we would like to express our deep sorrow to all Indigenous Australians for their suffering and offer our support for genuine reconciliation, for self-determination.”

 

 

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10/11/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , ,

The Trudeau Effect – Diversifying Australian Arts and Culture

The Trudeau Effect – Diversifying Australian Arts and Culture

If you are anything like me, your social media feed for the past couple of weeks has probably been a Justin Trudeau fest. The video of his recent swearing-in ceremony, with the most diverse cabinet in Canadian history, has been re-posted so many times that I am beginning to wonder if any of my Facebook friends really voted for Tony Abbott (or Stephen Harper, or Narendra Modi). Then there is that charming YouTube video of Trudeau performing Bhangra at what appears to be an Indian community event in Montreal, which already has over a million views.

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27/10/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , ,

The Left Who Cried Wolf

The Left Who Cried Wolf

By Gary Paramanathan

The other day I happened to be having a conversation with a colleague of mine. Much to my surprise, and a pleasant surprise at that, she said she no longer uses the term “Left Wing”, and has switched to “Progressive”. Now this is someone I look up to, someone who has a fairly strong sense of ethics and values that I ascribe to. Here I was, totally blown away that she was also contemplating abandoning the “Left”, at least semantically. I thought, when those of us who are clever with words, start abandoning certain words, it’s usually like the canary in the coal mine. A sign of changes to come.

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15/10/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , ,

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

By Rashida Murphy

 

When American genealogist Michael Derrick Hudson decided that he would publish his poetry under a pseudonym, on the surface, it wasn’t such a big deal. After all, writers have been using pseudonyms for centuries. Think the Bronte sisters, Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll and most recently, J.K Rowling’s reincarnation as Robert Galbraith. No, choosing a pseudonym in itself appears to be a personal, innocuous choice. What made Hudson’s choice interesting was that he chose Yi Fen Chou’s name, a woman who used to be his classmate in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Even more offensive to Asian writers was Hudson’s confession that he found it easier to publish his poetry under an assumed Asian name, because of editorial bias towards ‘ethnic-sounding’ names. Hudson claimed he submitted poetry under his own name and had it rejected, but his rate of acceptance escalated rapidly when using the Chinese pseudonym.

 

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09/10/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , ,

Reflections on the awkwardly knotted hyphen

Reflections on the awkwardly knotted hyphen

By Meeta Chatterjee-Padmanabhan

 

While rearranging book shelves at home, I came across old notebooks with Hindi and Tamil alphabets in my children’s handwriting. Each carefully formed letter triggered memories. I remember the smug satisfaction that my husband and I felt as we helped our girls connect with their heritage languages. The girls, on the other hand, barely suppressed their annoyance at not being able to join their friends leaping around with water guns in their hands and screaming with delight just outside our door. Many years later, reading Sticks and stones and such like, Sunil Badami’s phrase ‘the awkwardly knotted hyphen’ that inscribes the uneasy yoking of two distinct national cultures: ‘Indian-Australian, Australian-Indian depending on the day’ intrigued me. I have wondered, how awkwardly knotted can a hyphen be before it stops being a hyphen?
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18/08/15 Australia , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , ,

Nahin Hindi Kuch Nahin

Nahin Hindi Kuch Nahin

By Gary Paramanathan

Growing up brown in the Western Suburbs of Sydney in the 90s was PTSD level trauma at worst, and character building at best. For those who were lucky enough to share this wonderful experience with me, you’ll know that the West was not what it is now. Parramatta the heartland of Western Sydney for example never had an Eat Street back then. If it did, I never found it with my own eyes as I looked past the flashing neon lights of the franchisee run take away joints. There was the old Westfields, there were odd shops along the station, and there were the video game stores that were my little safe haven amongst the chaos, aggression and the downtrodden folks in the capital of the West. Blacktown, Cabramatta and many of the buzzing hubs of the West today were on the South Asian version of the “do not travel” advisory guide.

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16/08/15 Australia , Society & Politics # , , , , ,

At the Laundromat after the Day of Freedom

At the Laundromat after the Day of Freedom

By Sukhmani Khorana

So it is a sunny-enough Sunday with a cool breeze
and a short stroll to the local laundromat
with its chained antique television set
and its stash of women’s magazines.

Do only women come here?

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