Amitabh Bachchan Ji: we need your assistance!

Amitach Bachchan photographed by Studio Harcou...

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We have a great admiration for Mr Amitabh Bachchan AKA Amit Ji. I have even more admiration for him because “CHHORA GANGA KINARE WALA” is from Allahabad and I am from Banda which is the adjascent district in Uttar Pradesh. He has some relatives in Banda too. I was in class 6 or 7 when he visited Banda. I was a kid then but I remember this very well. He visited a school called “Arya Kanya Intermediate College, Banda” whose principal was Mrs Indira Rajan who I believe is his relative. The function was huge and I remember almost whole Banda district [few lakhs] came out to see him. That is how popular he is!

Amit Ji is popular all over the world. He is an icon and we all are genuinely proud of him. We were very happy to know that he was going to be awarded a “Doctorate” by a Queensland University but unfortunately he could not accept it. We understood his reasons. We even agreed with him then. We know he is a great man and his heart beats for our great motherland, India and its people, irrespective of where ever they live.

Indian international students have chosen Australia for their training/education and we have around 97000 students in Australia. They are spread around the country but most are in Melbourne and Sydney. They have several issues and some of them have been assaulted/robbed. Things have quietened down to a large extent but their problems have not disappeared completely. Some of our Indian students have to go through  very stressful times which could be due to so many issues. It is often not very easy to find jobs here either. Worst of  all this is the fact that some of our own Indians exploit them by under-paying and sometimes, not paying them at all. Some of these rascals then try to project themselves as the “leaders” or “NETA JI”. On top of all this, it is not unusual to find out that the school they were in has gone out of business, leaving them in lurch. They thus end up in a hopeless situation. It is these times when they need all the help they can get.

I should know their predicament as I am a medical practitioner and have been involved in providing such support. Some of the students of a Flying School in Australia are having a horrendous time. I have been with them, sometimes right up to midnight, talking, counselling and keeping them in a positive frame of mind. Their stories are indeed heart-moving. We are working through the system here which, akin to the system in India, some times does not work fast enough.

To be able to help our students in all sorts of situations and to provide the emergency assistance, we need “DHAN” or money. While we can collect some money from ourselves which is what we did when we were requested by the Indian Consulate to help arrange accommodation for the relatives of Mr Rajesh Kumar[Petrol Bomb victim in Sydney], we need lot more money to do these things effectively. That is where we need a generous help from every one in Australia and India. Some of this money, thus generated, could be used for something like “India House” which would not only function as the centre for the social/cultural activities for Indian Australians but also as the place for emergency accommodation for those who are in desperate need for such help.

It does not have to be money only. It could be the help in the form of their presence in a function, encouraging Indians to open their heart and purse. While “purse” is the right approach for our Indian Govt of PM Mr Manmohan Singh which would allow the Indian Consulate to have some money to help the students, the “Heart” would be sufficient for our Icon, Amit Ji.

It would be wonderful and helpful if Amit Ji were to agree to visit Australia, not only to take the “Doctorate” but more importantly, to participate in the Indian community functions in Melbourne and Sydney to help generate money for “Indian students’ Emergency Assistance and Benevolent Fund”.

Knowing Amit Ji for what he stands for, I am quite hopeful that he would respond quickly and positively. 

 Amit Ji, we need your help, counselling and encouragement!

We hope you would not disappoint us!

Dr Yadu Singh

Sydney, Australia

Indian students’ emergency assistance and benevolent fund:an idea worth considering!

Dear friends

I have been thinking about it for a while. It moves me to meet students with difficulties. It saddens me to see how some of them face serious exploitation. It saddens and infuriates me to see that some of our Indian businesses exploit them. I consider such behaviour to be the lowest of the low.

They suffer exploitation sometimes in their schools too. Sometimes, they can not find jobs and do not have enough money. Then, of course, some students have accidents or are robbed of their belongings. It is not uncommon that some of them get into a situation when they just do not have any money!

One example will be sufficient to illustrate what we are facing and will continue to face in future too. As you would have known, Rajesh Kumar was injured in Sydney by a Petrol Bomb attack a few months ago. He had no relatives in Sydney. His flatmates were the only ones who were there for him. After this news reached his family in India, his maternal uncle  had to come to Sydney to look after him during his treatment at the hospital and at a rahab facility. His maternal uncle had some money but it ran out pretty soon. Sydney motels are very expensive and can not be the place for a long term accommodation. Knowing their desperate situation, the Indian Consulate urged us to help in finding an accommodation which we did with the help of some of our friends. This is just one example and there have been others.

There would always be some situations when they need help from all of us. We need a mechanism to be able to provide the emergency assistance to Indian students.

My suggestion is that we establish an “Indian students’ emergency assistance and benevolent fund” which should be governed by a board of 15 people and should be chaired by the Indian High Commissioner.

The board members must be those who have impeccable integrity and are of good character.

The contribution to this fund should come from;

1. Established Indian Australians

2. Indian Gov agencies

3. Australian Gov agencies

4. Schools and Universities

5. Indian students.

Fund raising can be done in the following manner;

-Every students must contribute a Small amount of money annually through their schools.

-Established Indian Australians should take part in the functions for fund raising.

-Schools and Universities should contribute some money for this purpose.

-Indian High Commission and Consulates should contribute some money and should help in fund raising by participating actively in such events.

-Indian Gov [Ministry of NRI affairs] and Aust Gov [International Education Australia “IEA”] should contribute some money.

-UIA should contribute some money from its takings from its fair.

-Indian media [Radio and print] should actively promote/encourage the fund-raising.

UIA is our most important organisation. It has quite a large number of great people in its Governing Council. It should take an active leadership role in this matter. UIA is a tremendous organisation with vast capacity and abilities which are yet to be fully tapped.

We should get the “Fund” registered as a charity which will allow people to claim the donations/contributions as Tax-effective contributions. 

We will need to define the criteria which will guide the disbursement of the assistance.

There is no doubt that we need something like this fund. Indian Australians are doing well in Australia. We ought to get involved in this activity. Students’ bodies like AISA and FISA will need to be involved too.

I also believe that great Indians like Mr Amitabh Bachchan and Mr AR Rahman can do a tremendous job if they agree to help us in our fund-raising functions. I know that they would be willing to do this but someone has to approach them for us.

My ideas are not the only right ideas. Let us share your ideas.