Len Kenna 30.03.2015
In 2001, George Lekakis Chairman of Multicultural Affairs Victoria, asked Crystal Jordan and I to write a definitive history of Indians in Australia with three main aims:
- To reduce Racism in Victoria.
- To write the History in such a way that other ethnic groups could use it as a model to research and write their own history.
- To bring the results of our research to the attention of the Indian Community and other interested parties. Since that time Crystal and I have published newspaper articles, conducted public speaking events, and radio interviews. As a result of these actions the Indian Community have now started to embrace their history. But it has been a slow and at times trying process.
I will be writing about racism and other aspects of our stated aims at a later date, but for my first article I would like to write a little about the wonderful, rich and colourful history that Indians have made for this country. It is a rich, vibrant, and very important story that needs to be told, and told in such a way that every person with an Indian background will be proud of it; and this contribution to our history acknowledged by the broader community.
To put this story into as few words as possible. The early arrivals of men, animals and goods from India, made the Indians that arrived in the early days of settlement, Pioneers in every sense of the word.
I REPEAT: INDIANS WERE AMONG THE PIONEERS OF THIS COUNTRY, they did a lot of truly remarkable things that with the passing of time have been consigned to the rubbish bin of history. Why is it that the contributions made to Australia by Indians and other non-English peoples have been treated in this way, by the dominate Anglo Saxon, Protestant ruling class?
That is easy to answer – HEGENOMY! Hegemony is promoting one’s own country’s achievements and ignoring or in some cases taking the credit for the achievements made by other countries, so that, in this case, the English, can gain economic, political, diplomatic or military advantage from these achievements.
Hence the well-used and well known term: “The sun never sets on the British Empire”.
To get this story out into the Indian Community will be; if our past experience is a guide, quite difficult and with that in mind Crystal and I ask everybody to accept the idea that Indians in early Australia were in fact pioneers.