Three Auckland sisters Uma, Janki and Jai-Radha Patel had won the second round of the prestigious Know India Quiz organised by Government of India, thereby bringing rejoice in the community for putting the Indian diaspora of New Zealand high on the global Indian diaspora map.
The quiz, whose title loosely translates as “familiarise yourself with India,” is organised by the government of India to raise awareness about India, not only amongst non-resident Indians and people of Indian origin but also among foreign nationals.
The second edition of the quiz started in 2018 and was expected to attract the participation of more than 100,000 youth from Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) across the world.
The quiz was supposed to be conducted in four rounds. The first round was to be conducted by the Indian missions outside India and the second, third and fourth rounds were supposed to be conducted by the Ministry of External Affairs.
The top 10 candidates from each category of NRI and PIO from the second round were supposed to be invited for a 15-day Bharat Ko Janiye Yatra.
The three Auckland sisters had not only cracked the first two rounds of the quiz but also secured position amongst the top 10 in the PIO category thus making their victory of much significance and prompting High Commissioner of India, Sanjiv Kohli to come personally to Auckland to facilitate them.
A community reception was organised by New Zealand Indian Central Association (NZICA) and Auckland Indian Association (AIA) – two of the oldest community organisations in New Zealand – on Saturday, January 5, at the Mahatma Gandhi centre.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kohli bestowed lavish praise on the girls and expressed delight for putting Indian diaspora of New Zealand high up on the global Indian diaspora map.
“Generally, people think of countries with big diaspora in this region, their vision probably stops at Australia or sometimes Fiji.
“Not many people know about New Zealand.
“When people (back home) will see that three out of the top ten in the people of Indian Origin list are from New Zealand, they will take Kiwi-Indian diaspora seriously.
“I think their achievement have raised the profile of the Indian diaspora by many notches,” Mr Kohli said.
It is important to note that as per India’s Ministry of External Affairs there are approximately 31.2 million Indian diasporas residing outside India, of which at the most roughly 200,000 lives in New Zealand – a minuscule number in comparison to several other bigger countries and regions all around the world where number of Indians range in millions.
Expectedly, if Kiwi-Indians shine on such a big platform competing with the fellow Indian diaspora from all around the world, it augurs well for the entire community.
Reflecting further on the significance of girl’s achievements on a bigger scale of bilateral relations between NZ and India, Mr Kohli said, “When these girls will go there, they carry a reputation of NZ as a multicultural country – a country that respects diversity, a country that has given them the chance to grow and realise their dreams – and this will further strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries.”
He also congratulated to the parents of the girls – a sentiment shared by almost everyone present in the audience at the community reception.
Other prominent speakers on occasion, notably Bhiku Bhana, President NZICA, and Dhansukh Lal Patel, and Narendra Bhana from Auckland Indian Association, were equally lavish in their praise for the girls and their achievements.
Teachers of the Gujarati School where they studied Gujarati language and traditional Indian culture also facilitated the girls on occasion. The school is situated in the premises of Mahatma Gandhi Centre and operated by Auckland Indian Association.
Towards the end of the event, the girls expressed their gratitude to everyone for the accolades and also shared their journey of preparation and participation in the prestigious Know India Quiz.
The girls will soon embark on their journey to India to participate in the next round of the quiz and the 15-day Bharat ko Janiye tour.
Wishing them good luck on their Bharat Ko Janiye tour Mr Kohli said, “Visiting India is itself a challenge. When we visit India, it could challenge strongest of resolve, given India’s diversity, size, richness in culture and history. Even a lifetime to know India is not enough.”