Sundar Iyer, OFBJP Australia
MELBOURNE: February 16, 2019
The Indians of Melbourne, Victoria are a well-mannered and industrious community of students, professionals and their parents. A model minority. On the weekends, they are often at regional Indian community events or out enjoying the many attractions of the Garden State. One hardly sees the diverse regional tapestry of the Indians of Melbourne together with the exception of cricket matches.
This Saturday, however, over 300 Australian Indians cancelled their plans. They gathered, on short notice, at the steps of Victoria’s Parliament. Their faces were grim. There was a steely resolve in their voices.
They were there – to express solidarity with the families of 44 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) that lost their lives in a cowardly attack by a Pakistan-trained and armed terrorist organisation in Pulwama, Kashmir.
They were there – to demand an end to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.
They were there – in their hundreds. Young and old. Some holding babies. Some in wheelchairs. Some waving the tricolour. Some holding placards that said “Pakistan – Stop Terrorism,” “We Stand with our soldiers” and “Australian Indians Stand With India.”
They stood, resolute against the scourge of terror – that is synonymous with Pakistan.
2 minutes of silence was observed. A Shanti (peace) mantra was repeated by the crowd. That which is complete can never be reduced. The glory of the nation’s voluntary soldiers is always complete.
Spontaneous chants rang through the air.
“Bharat Mata Ki Jai,”
The names of the fallen soldiers were read out. The 44 were from multiple states and religions. Like the crowd itself.
“Jaihind! Jai Jawan!”
A microphone was handed around. Many stepped forward to speak.
Offers to donate were made. The community was advised to direct their donations to https://bharatkeveer.gov.in/ This is a government run website to raise funds for the families of serving personnel who make the ultimate sacrifice.
Many shared their gratitude. Raw emotion. This was not a time for holding back.
“India is a country with an army. Pakistan is an army with a country. The Pakistan Army thrives on conflict, but it dare not attack India so it cowardly outsources it’s battles to terrorists!”
At this point, a chant went out, “no excuses for terror, no excuses for terror!”
“It is the same sponsor behind the terrorists that attack Indian troops in Kashmir or that attack Australian or NATO troops in Afghanistan – it is Pakistan!”
A new chant began…
“China! China! Bar Azhar. ” This was in reference to China’s track record of blocking UN sanctions on the leader of the terror organisation behind the attack in Pulwama.
Media mixed freely with the crowd, interviewing individuals.
A call went out. The crowd re-assembled. In unison, they sang the national anthem of India.
These scenes were, of course, not unique to Melbourne.
In city after city, in village after village, across continents, Indians of many lands have come together to pay their respects to their braveheart brothers and to stand as one.
Pakistan has succeeded – but only in unifying all Indians, including the Indian diaspora, with the motherland.
Bharat Mata Ki….…Jai!
Atankahinam jagadastu sarvam – may the world be free of terror!