The rich heritage, culture, and traditions of India are embossed in the ethos of every Indian. As they say, you can take an Indian out of India, but you can’t take India out of an Indian.

And that’s where various Indian cultural organisations in NZ play a vital role in keeping the indigenous fabric of India intact even when we are miles away from our motherland.

In this thirteenth part of our series on Indian cultural associations, we focus on Bihar Jharkhand Sabha of Australia and New Zealand, aka BJSM.

The Auckland chapter of BJSM was created in 2017 when non-residents from the Indian state of Bihar and Jharkhand (The state was formed in 2000 from the territory that had previously been part of Bihar) congregated and launched it at Sangam Indian Restaurant Kumeu, Auckland.

Giving the background of the organisation, BJSM’s President Chandan Kumar, says, “The Auckland chapter was launched on Saturday 13 May 2017. The meeting was convened by prominent people from Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga, and Christchurch to connect their people in NZ. The meeting was inaugurated by one of the community's founding members from Bihar, Mr Nisheet and Mrs Sushma Prakash.”

BJSM is a voluntary, not-for-profit social organisation of people in Australia and New Zealand having cultural roots from Bihar and Jharkhand,  collectively working towards nurturing the cultural heritage of India in general and Bihar & Jharkhand in particular.

It aims to preserve, uphold, foster and promote the lingo-socio-cultural heritage. Apart from that, it endeavours to facilitate better communication and networking and facilitate smooth settlement and assimilation of new immigrants. It maintains a cohesive network across Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world.

BJSM maintains a cohesive Australia and New Zealand-wide network of expatriates from Bihar and Jharkhand.

BJSM actively celebrates festivals such as Chhath, Diwali, Holi and organises community events like different interactive social workshops, sports and dance programmes among others to keep the people of Bihar and Jharkhand in NZ connected to their Indian roots.

“Almost all chapters celebrate major festivals and organise at least three get-togethers - Holi Milan, Sharad Milan and Diwali Milan. It helps us showcase and promote the socio-cultural and linguistic heritage among youngsters and second-generation expatriates. It is imperative to connect community and stay connected with the roots of Indian culture. Bring people together and share and celebrate culture to keep it vital for the future generation. It also brings harmony across the community, and that’s what we at BJSM strive for,” explains , BJSM’s General Secretary Bhrigu Bhaskar, who is based in Auckland.

Lastly, discussing BJSM'S plans, Bhaskar reveals, "We want to take it to newer heights and do as much as we can for our community. We want to focus on organising plantation drives, community beach cleaning and dance classes among others."