Saturday, 25 February 2023
It is my great pleasure to be with you, for the first time, at the annual Mela.
Expectations are that 10,000 people will attend this festival over the two days, and it’s wonderful to see so many people here from the Indian community, as well as broader South Australian society.
In my former career as a diplomat, I had the privilege of visiting India a number of times.
It was my great privilege to contribute growing and strengthening the relationship between Australia and India for the benefit of both nations.
As Governor, I am equally pleased to be able to promote cultural diversity and intercultural harmony in South Australia.
Approximately 45,000 people of Indian ancestry live in South Australia, up from the 27,000 recorded at the 2016 census.
A similar pattern of increase is happening across Australia.
Tonight’s event provides a great opportunity to reflect on the significant contribution the Indian community has made, and continues to make, in South Australia.
Indian culture enriches our community and is integral to the fabric of our multicultural state.
Rod and I greatly enjoyed a performance of Electric Dreams – Elsewhere in India at the South Australian Museum this week as part of the Fringe Festival.
The Indian Australian Association does an outstanding job of developing a spirit of co-operation, unity, and interaction between Indian and Australian communities.
I thank the organisation for the role it played at the height of the pandemic, establishing a COVID-19 taskforce to ensure that members in need of information, emotional or financial support were provided with care.
I also note the other ongoing support activities run by the association, including seniors’ meet and greets, welcome sessions for new migrants, and get‑togethers with members of regional Indian organisations.
Together with a full schedule of classes including yoga, cooking, dancing, guitar and more, the association is a true community hub for the Indian community, and other interested people.
I offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has donated their time, energy and expertise to organise the Mela.
I thank the leadership of the association, in particular Mr Trimann Gill, President, and all members of the executive board, and the Mela Committee.
I also thank past presidents and board members for their contribution to the association and this event.
And I congratulate the outstanding performers and volunteers who make the Mela such a success every year.
Once again I thank the association for hosting an event that not only celebrates Indian culture, but also promotes harmony and inclusivity in our community.
Enjoy the Mela! Mele Ka Maza Lijie.