A few steps that have brought joy, contention and happiness to many:
Taking a look back at the last one year’s (Sept- Jul 2011) activities of Bhartiya Samaj does bring in a smile of achievement on our lips. Of course a lot more needs to be done, but a step forward bringing joy and happiness even to a few, is very rewarding for us at Bhartiya Samaj.
65th India Independence Day
Auckland, August 15, 2011: Bhartiya Samaj, a charitable trust & a non- profit making organisation working towards forming friendly socio-cultural relations amongst South Asian communities, celebrated India’s 65th Independence Day amidst much festivity and fervor. Various performances showcasing the diversity of Indian culture were presented throughout the day.
The flag hoisting ceremony at 10:30 am marked the beginning of the day long India Independence Day Celebration. The Indian tricolor was hoisted by Mr. Robert Khan, MD, Radio Tarana at Aotea Centre Square with sounds of Burundian drums and the desi dhol (Indian Drums) beating at the back. As soon as the flag was hoisted, the crowd went into frenzy as Bhangra beats rolled off the dhol, everybody started dancing. Also seen dancing amongst the crowd were dignitaries like Mayor Len Brown, Members of Parliament Hon David Cunliff, Hon Dr. Jackie Blue, Hon Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi Mr. Robert Khan and many more. The sight at Aotea Centre Square was of an absolute cultural amalgamation where everybody felt a sense of unity amongst diversity.
Republic Day - January 2011
Republic Day was celebrated amongst much fanfare as the Indian diaspora turned up huge numbers. About 350 members of the Indian community living in and around Auckland turned up to celebrate the Indian Republic Day. Also seen were dignitaries like Patron Dr. Bruce Hucker, National Party MP Dr. Jackie Blue and Labour leader Hon. Phil Goff MP who were also the guests of honour on this special occasion.
The Indian National Flag was hoisted by our senior citizen coordinator Mr. Kandola followed by the Indian National Anthem sung by the whole crowd.The day was filled with colorful cultural performances presented by the young talented Indian Kids and inspirational speeches by dignitaries like Dr. Bruce Hucker and Dr. Jackie Blue. The seniors’ also took the stage for various cultural performances such as songs,puppet show and other items.
We thank all the volunteers, performers and dignitaries for expressing their patriotism and support.
Bhartiya Samaj’s Senior Citizens outing to New Plymouth
In February this year Bhartiya Samaj organised a 3 day trip to New Plymouth for its Senior Citizen members.The trip was attended by 75 of them, who enjoyed the wonderful outing and stay at Hotel Devon.
On the 3 day trip, two coaches ferried the senior citizen members from Auckland to New Plymouth and back. On their way they stopped at Gurudwara Saheb in Hamilton for Darshan. They were hosted at Hotel Devon, which is one of the best properties in New Plymouth. On the first night Mr. Beven Bhai, popular singer from New Plymouth along with his team entertained the guests by singing popular film songs, Punjabi Bhangra & Gujarati Garba.
Over the next two days the members toured around visiting Mt. Taranaki, Pukekura Gardens and Brooklands Gardens Zoo. Mt. Taranaki was especially memorable as most of the senior citizen members climbed up to 1000 ft. to get a breathtaking 360� view of New Plymouth & nearby areas.
Bhartiya Samaj is extremely grateful to the Indian Community especially to Sunny Grewal, Ashwani Kumar and their family members for providing all types of assistance at New Plymouth. We would also like to thank the management committee of the Gurudwara Saheb and the Sadh Sangat, Mr. Samir Heble, President of the local Indian community and his Executive committee members for their support which made this trip memorable.
Relief work after the Christchurch Earthquake
This devastating Earthquake in Christchurch has left a permanent scar on our hearts; we have been asked how we responded to this. It is our duty to inform people that we did not sit quiet when our brothers and sisters were suffering.
The very next day after the news of earthquake was heard; a team of Volunteers from Bhartiya Samaj,Radio Tarana and Swami Narayan Temple (BAPS) led by Bhartiya Samaj chairperson Mr. Jeet Suchdev left for Christchurch to help with the relief work.
It was a very difficult sight as we drove towards the city center the scene of destruction was visible everywhere. Houses were without power and water. All this was heart breaking.
Bhartiya Samaj contacted the Red Cross and the Salvation Army to ascertain whether we could contribute anything towards the earthquake relief through these organizations.
We received several calls from Auckland, people wanting to come and join us for the relief work. As it would have caused further load on infrastructure they were encouraged to stay back and donate the money towards the relief fund. Meanwhile with the help of local Indian community we organised a team for the relief work. Main contact person name was provided to Salvation Army and Civil Defense officers so that they can be called upon to join the relief work when needed.
Fund raising at Auckland
1. On 26 and 27 Feb Bhartiya Samaj Seniors, Radio Tarana and Swami Narayan BAPS volunteers raised thousands of dollars at Fiji Festival at Telstra Clear Pacific Centre and handed over the money to Red Cross.
2. Bhartiya Samaj Children touched our hearts when they raised $50.00 giving their pocket money for the people of Christchurch.
3. Bhartiya Samaj Seniors during their regular meetings raised $3500.00 for the noble cause. We all know that they have limited means of income, hats off to them.
We thank everyone for donating generously to help their fellow countrymen in these difficult times.
Holi - March 2011
Due to the Christchurch earthquake the Holy outing to Long Bay beach was cancelled. A small function was held at Mr. Roskill War Memorial Hall where flowers were used instead of colours as a mark of respect to the victims and their families.
Summer Camp 2011
As every year this year again Bhartiya Samaj successfully hosted 2011 summer camp from Monday 10th to Friday 14th January. The 2011 summer camp saw a healthy turnout of 100 kids. The camp was planned and organised in a professional manner executed by the volunteers including senior citizens and young adults.
The camp emphasized on the development of kids with a mix of physical, mental and artistic activities. Various associate agencies such as Art of Living, Chinmaya Mission, V4U Dance Studios, Bollywood Artworks NZ helped us organize this in an effective manner. The kids also enjoyed other fun filled activities like Zumba, mind�strengthening workshops, personality building sessions and outdoor activities.
The highlight of the camp was the educative star show at the Star Dome Planetarium where the kids were thrilled as they watched the planets, stars, rocket launching techniques, the outing to Queen Street and Tamaki drive (Mission Bay) in the double-decker bus was also thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Bhartiya Samaj takes this opportunity to thank all the participants, volunteers and the organising committee for their tireless contribution towards the grand success�of 2011 summer camp.
Bhartiya Samaj celebrates 11 successful years of its Senior Citizens Wing:
We started Bhartiya Samaj’s senior citizen wing with a meager 5 member team 11 years ago, it has been a long and eventful journey ever since. The number of senior citizen members has kept on growing year after year.
In June this year over 300 senior citizens participated and enjoyed the cultural programs held at Mt. Roskill War Memorial Hall, Auckland celebrating an eventful 11 years of Bhartiya Samaj’s Senior Citizens Wing. Also seen thoroughly enjoying the cultural dance and drama programs were dignitaries like Hon. Dr. Jackie Blue, Member of Parliament, Councillor Cathy Casey, Auckland Council, Dr. Bruce Hucker, Patron Bhartiya Samaj and Ella Kumar, Local Board Member.
At Bhartiya Samaj we are overwhelmed to see senior citizens turn up in such huge numbers at every occasion,we look forward to your continuous enthusiasm and support.
Culturally Appropriate Rest Home Project waslaunched which received a tremendous feedback from the Indian community; we are actively working to complete this project as soon as possible. Please visit www.aashirwad.org.nz to know more about this project.
Other regular activities continue as usual in all wings of Bhartiya Samaj, we celebrated all major festivals of India during the meetings.
Bhartiya Samaj also addressed various social issues of the community most of which were resolved.