A Day for Australia and India

It’s a little bit cool in Dehli today. The forecast is for a maximum of 18 degrees and a few thunderstorms. I’d be keen to take that over Perth’s forecast 40 degrees today.

There’s another reason I wouldn’t mind being in India today.

While in Australia millions will be celebrating Australia Day, half a world away India will be celebrating their 68th Republic Day. I like the fact that I get to celebrate two countries that I love on the same day. I don’t know if it will ever happen but one year I’d love to be in India for Republic Day.

Though India became a free nation on August 15, 1947, it declared itself a Sovereign, Democratic and Republic state with the adoption of the Constitution on January 26, 1950.

A salute of 21 guns and the unfurling of the Indian National Flag by Dr. Rajendra Prasad heralded the historic birth of the Indian Republic on that day. Thereafter 26th of January was decreed a national holiday and was recognised as the Republic Day of India.

The Constitution gave the citizens of India the power to choose their own government and paved the way for democracy. Dr. Rajendra Prasad took oath as the first President of India at the Durbar Hall in Government House and this was followed by the Presidential drive along a five-mile route to the Irwin Stadium, where he unfurled the National Flag. – Know India

I’ve had the privilege of visiting India three times over several years. It’s a truly amazing place. While I’ll be celebrating at home today I’ll be thinking of friends in India.

I wrote recently about the first of my three adventures in India. It’s an incredible country and I do hope that one day I’ll get to visit again.

Below is a video of that first trip to India in 2003. I was joined by several locals to ride from Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, to Delhi, as well as cycling around Delhi. I was there as a guest of the Bible Society. It’s just a short video and I hope you enjoy watching it.

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Australia Day 2016

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Today we’re being urged to celebrate what’s great about our country. One of the things that’s great is that we get a bunch of days off for various reasons throughout the year. Australia Day is no exception.

We celebrate Australia Day on the 26th of January each year because it was that day in 1788 that Captain Arthur Phillip took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales and became its first Governor. The first official celebrations were held in 1818 to mark the 30th anniversary of white settlement.

The tradition of having Australia Day as a national holiday on 26 January is a recent one. Not until 1935 did all the Australian states and territories use that name to mark that date. Not until 1994 did they begin to celebrate Australia Day consistently as a public holiday on that date.

If you want to find out more about Australia Day you can go to the official website here.

The day is marked with a public holiday and some large scale celebrations across our big country but not everyone will be celebrating today. For some, this is not ‘Australia Day’, it is ‘Survival Day’ or ‘Invasion Day’.

It’s good to see that the National Australia Day Council is acknowledging the pain that the day brings for sections of our population. For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the 26th of January marks the day that white settlers stole their land and in many cases tried to wipe them out.

On Australia Day we recognise the unique status of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The National Australia Day Council (NADC) is committed to playing a part in the journey of Reconciliation by helping all Australians to move forward with a better understanding of our shared past, and importantly how this affects the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today and how we might build a better future together.

The NADC’s approach to Reconciliation is one of leadership. We recognise that some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and some non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians may have mixed feelings about celebrating this day. January 26 has multiple meanings: it is Australia Day and it is also, for some, Survival Day or Invasion Day. The NADC acknowledges that the date brings a mixture of celebration and mourning and we believe that the programs presented by the NADC should play a powerful and positive role in advancing Reconciliation. – Australia Day – Reconciliation

So how do we create a day that everyone can feel includes them? Are there simply too many points of view to ever hope for a unified celebration? How do we ensure that we’re actually deeply engaging with other points of view rather than being dismissive or simply paying lip service?

If you honestly want to hear the heart of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples it’s worth taking the time to watch an eight and a half minute video that has gone viral in recent days. It features journalist Stan Grant in an off-the-cuff speech during a debate on racism last October. I think we’d all do well to hear Stan and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders not as those trying to spoil our Australia Day party but as those with some relevant things to say that we need to consider.

So can we mourn and celebrate on the one day? I know that I do just that every Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas Day. I celebrate the occasion but mourn those who are no longer around to share those days with me. How much more should we mourn on this day when we consider the long history of the way we have treated our nations’s first people? And don’t try to tell me it’s all in the past. There is still deep racism in our nation which needs to be recognised and healed.

Murray Campbell is a Baptist Minister from Melbourne. Yesterday he wrote about the need to go beyond recognition of the issues to respond appropriately.

We cannot live in the past, but living in the present can remain most hard when our history remains unresolved. To this, I am looking forward to the Day when God will put away forever all that is wrong and evil, but in the present we remain responsible for our words and actions, and to ignore the call for reconciliation when it is given us, is simply iniquitous.

At this time, let us re-issue calls to include in our national constitution a statement recognising the first Australians. Of course, the wording of such an inclusion is incredibly important, and so instead of deferring it because the task is complex, let’s move forward.

Also, January 26th is our national holiday, and on this day I will give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy in our country. It does seem as though the date has evolved beyond the tall ships in Botany Bay, as it is now cherished by many thousands of immigrants who have no connection to 1788, but who have made their home here from all corners on the globe and who celebrate becoming citizens on this date. But I am still conscious of the fact that for many Aboriginal people, ‘Australia Day’ is not so celebratory.

Are we so tied to this date that we cannot move to another? – Murray Campbell

I want to celebrate what’s great about Australia today, and the list is almost endless. We live in a magnificent land that is justifiably the envy of most others around our globe. But I’ll be mixing those celebrations with mourning for what has been taken from so many for so long. As a white Australian I can never know the full depth of the pain that others know but I hope and I pray that we can move forward as a nation and make right what is wrong.

I’d really appreciate your thoughts and comments.

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Big Week for Australia and India

Australian-and-Indian-flags

While in Australia millions will be celebrating Australia Day this Tuesday, half a world away India will be celebrating Republic Day. I like the fact that I get to celebrate two countries that I love on the same day. I don’t know if it will ever happen but one year I’d love to be in India for Republic Day.

Though India became a free nation on August 15, 1947, it declared itself a Sovereign, Democratic and Republic state with the adoption of the Constitution on January 26, 1950.

A salute of 21 guns and the unfurling of the Indian National Flag by Dr. Rajendra Prasad heralded the historic birth of the Indian Republic on that day. Thereafter 26th of January was decreed a national holiday and was recognised as the Republic Day of India.

The Constitution gave the citizens of India the power to choose their own government and paved the way for democracy. Dr. Rajendra Prasad took oath as the first President of India at the Durbar Hall in Government House and this was followed by the Presidential drive along a five-mile route to the Irwin Stadium, where he unfurled the National Flag. – Know India

I’ve had the privilege of visiting India three times over several years. It’s a truly amazing place. While I’ll be celebrating in my home country on Tuesday I’ll be thinking of friends in India.

Below is a video of my first trip to India in 2003. I was joined by several locals to ride from Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, to Delhi, as well as cycling around Delhi. I was there as a guest of the Bible Society. It’s just a short video and I hope you enjoy watching it.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Big Week for Australia and India? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks. 🙂

Australia and India Celebrate

Australian-and-Indian-flags

While in Australia millions are celebrating Australia Day, half a world away India is celebrating Republic Day.

Though India became a free nation on August 15, 1947, it declared itself a Sovereign, Democratic and Republic state with the adoption of the Constitution on January 26, 1950.

A salute of 21 guns and the unfurling of the Indian National Flag by Dr. Rajendra Prasad heralded the historic birth of the Indian Republic on that day. Thereafter 26th of January was decreed a national holiday and was recognised as the Republic Day of India.

The Constitution gave the citizens of India the power to choose their own government and paved the way for democracy. Dr. Rajendra Prasad took oath as the first President of India at the Durbar Hall in Government House and this was followed by the Presidential drive along a five-mile route to the Irwin Stadium, where he unfurled the National Flag. – Know India

I’ve had the privilege of visiting India three times over several years. It’s a truly amazing place. Below is a video of my first trip to India in 2003. I was joined by several locals to ride from Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, to Delhi, as well as cycling around Delhi. I was there as a guest of the Bible Society.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Australia and India Celebrate? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks. 🙂

Australia Day 2013

AustraliaDay2013

Are you ready for Australia Day this Saturday?

We celebrate Australia Day on the 26th of January each year because it was that day in 1788 that Captain Arthur Phillip took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales and became its first Governor. The first official celebrations were held in 1818 to mark the 30th anniversary of white settlement.

If you want to find out more about Australia Day you can go to the official website here.

Watching fireworks on Australia Day has become a solid tradition in Perth but over the past several years many people have started looking for ways to avoid the parking hassles and find a family friendly event. Answering the call is the 98.5 Sonshine FM Town of Bassendean Australia Day Celebrations and Fireworks event which has built a reputation as a safe place to spend Australia Day with friends and family as well as providing a spectacular show.

If you’re in the Perth area it’d be great to catch up with you at Ashfield Reserve, Guildford Road, Ashfield, for the evening. It’s a great event that culminates in a massive fireworks display away from the big and sometimes rowdy crowds of the city fireworks. 98five Sonshine FM is proud to be providing the soundtrack and we’ll be broadcasting live from the venue.

I’ll be on stage to MC the live entertainment which starts from 5:00 p.m. There’ll also be an awards ceremony. The fireworks will begin lighting up the skies later in the evening with the whole event finishing at 9:00 p.m.

If you want to enjoy some great entertainment in a more relaxed family atmosphere, without having to wait hours in traffic on the way home, come on down.

Either way, make sure that you’ve got some plans in place to celebrate.

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