Each year, the Indian Australian Association of South Australia uses the Mela festival to bring together different Indian-Australian communities and the wider community, promoting inclusion, inter-culturalism and connection.
Transcript:[Niraj Pandya]: Being inclusive, not just keeping happiness to yourself. Spreading that happiness to all other people is also something which is very common between Indian culture and wider Australian culture and values. [Priya Premkumar]: The main purpose, the main objective of IAASA is to promote Indian culture among the Indians and also among the local communities, the Australian communities. [Niraj Pandya]: IAASA is one of the organisation that do not discriminate about religion or what state you belong to or what language you speak to. [Trimann Gill]: If you ever come to any of our events you can see other cultural people also attending this event. [Niraj Pandya]: MELA is a free Indian festival for everyone here in South Australia. [Trimann Gill]: IAASA MELA is growing every year. It’s been here for now I think, 28 years. It started with maybe 100 people. And now if you say we are gathering goes up to 20,000 people attend the MELA in two days. We try to get all the states involved. Each and every culture is represented there. If you sit for two days in a MELA, you can see every part of India. [Niraj Pandya]: So, MELA promotes interculturalism and multiculturalism. In the past we have had a number of performances from other multicultural communities. [Priya Premkumar]: We want to promote our culture and tradition to the wider community and they give it back to us and it gives us a lot of happiness.
“Being connected helps communities.”
We’ve spoken to the Indian Australian Association of South Australia about how they supported volunteer efforts during the 2019–20 bushfires.
Transcript:[Niraj Pandya]: We talk about coming together. We talk about celebrating diversity. We talk about celebrating inclusion. And I think what IAASA does is bringing not just the Indian community, but the wider Australian community together to share that multiculturalism and the fantastic country that we live here in Australia. [Trimann Gill]: We are Indians, but now we are a part of Australia and all the people who are Australian citizens, maybe they have come from any other country, they are like our brothers, sisters, and we support them. [Niraj Pandya]: And I think that’s that connection is really helping a lot of Indian people to settle into wider Australian community because they see that when they stand up there are other people from the other communities standing up alongside them to make things happen, to create that change, to make somebody’s life better. [Trimann Gill]: We did manage to get around $5,000 for the bushfire from our people and plus we also, like many volunteers, did go to Kangaroo Island to do volunteer work as well. When we came out to our people that South Australia needs help at this stage and our community stood up and did whatever they could to raise the money.
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