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India Australia Business & Community Awards

November 8, 2014

The newly constituted India Australia Business & Community Awards were given away at a spectacular ceremony held on the 31st October 2014 at the Sydney Town Hall.

The conceptualization and implementation of recognition of this scale, attended by a number of known personalities, sure marks another feather in the cap of Sonia Gandhi of Gandhi Creations fame. A first-ever initiative, the eleven categories of awards were aimed to formally acknowledge, highlight and recognize the efforts and contributions of talented Indian-Australians in NSW, in fields ranging from arts to travel, trade and technology to name a few. While the setting up of a platform of this kind in NSW is novel by itself, the icing on the cake was IABCA’s support extended to White Ribbon Australia, a not-for-profit organization that aims to end violence against women.

The result was recognition of successes that brought to fore a number of advantages that cultural diversity could possibly offer to any society. This event was all about applauding and recognizing leaders who have worked really hard and strived to make their mark in Australia. As Sonia Gandhi aptly said in her address: “we are here to celebrate your victory”.

When the master of Ceremonies, Janice Peterson from SBS World News made a royal entry on a traditional palanquin, one knew this was going to be an evening to remember. This was followed by a traditional lamp lighting ceremony, jointly conducted by the Hon Victor Dominello MP – Minister of Citizenship and Communities, Sanjay Sudhir – Consul General of India in Sydney, Dr G.K (Harry) Harinath OAM – Chairman Multicultural NSW, Sunil Lal – Executive Chairman of Kaden Boriss, and Dipen Rughani – Chairman India Australia Business Council.

It was a pleasure to have Andrew O’Keefe, Chairman and Ambassador of White Ribbon Australia, not only attend the event but also address the audience. In his address, he mentioned that while we live in a country of fair go which means equality for men and women, one in every three Australian women has been a victim of domestic violence. He urged people to come forward and support his fundraising initiative, and – sure enough – raising amount of $1354.00 through various auctions as part of this event bore testimony to the fact that his views were heard and respected.

That was not all. The program also showcased the rich Indian culture in various forms, and entertainment started right from the entrance. As lovely ladies in colourful attire welcomed the guests. The attendees were enthralled by live performances including spellbinding Bollywood dance routines put up by Prafulla Parida’s students from Natraj Dance Studio, just as students of Ruchi Sangi dance group entertained the audience with the Kathak style of dancing. Instrumental music in form of Didgeridoo and Tabla provided a perfect mix of the best of both worlds.

Every time an award was announced, the audience waited with bated breath in anticipation. A host of nominations were received, but the category of awards being limited; it would be pertinent to mention Consul-General Sanjay Sudhir’s remarks that made abundant sense “it is very hard to differentiate between two equally good people. Mahatma Gandhi was the biggest preacher of peace but he never received the Noble Price for peace”. Nilesh Munot, the finalist from Shobha Design, said it meant a lot to be a finalist as he started his business six years ago and that it had been a tough, challenging, but a rewarding journey that gave him a sense of achievement.

We would therefore like to applaud every individual and organization that took the time and effort to apply for these awards, before we move on to congratulate the winners for their noteworthy achievements:

Manjit Gujral: Indian Australian Ambassador of the Year
Mohit Tolani: Young Community Achiever of the Year
Kumud Merani: Community Arts and Culture Award
United Indian Associations Inc: Community Association of the Year
SP Jain School of Global Management: Educational Institute of the Year
Gaura Travel: Travel Agency of the Year
Urban Tadka: Indian Restaurant of the Year
GovReports: Technology Solutions Provider of the Year
Ajay Mukesh Khandhar, Lawyer Minter Ellison : Young Professional of the Year
Indus Valley Designs: Small Business of the Year
Time Out Australia: SME of the Year

For Kumud Merani, winner of Community Arts and Culture Award, the recognition for her contribution to art and culture “meant a lot”, a sentiment we are sure every winner would echo.

For those that missed sending their nominations this year, the date for next year’s awards is the 30th October 2015, as announced by the Consul-General of India at the event.

For more details regarding the IABCA, please visit: https://www.iabca.com.au/

Article by Lalitha Chellappan

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