Article by - I J Saldanha - Shet
October 28, 2010: Kangaroos are hopping around "Mangalore"! - this Mangalore exists Down Under - on the Australian Continent. This ’Mangalore’ down under (Oz Postcode:3663) is in Victoria, the smallest Aussie state whose main city Melbourne has a high Asian population. Mangalore is a scenic country side of the Goulburn Valley Region just north of the Great Dividing Range. It is 395 kms from the Australian capital - Canberra (Established 1927). Oz ’Mangalore’ is about 120 kms north of Melbourne near Seymour, 900 kms from Sydney. This Mangalore is sparsely populated, with abundant green vacant land. It is estimated that very few would have been born in that ’Mangalore’; I am proud that I was born and am now in this ’Mangalore’ where the population has multiplied and continues to grow at a tremendous rate. I was told that a local newspaper here, years ago, had mentioned that a letter meant for our Mangalore had erroneously reached ’Mangalore’ in Victoria near Melbourne, Australia. Mangalore’s historic indelible name in Tulu continues to be affectionately ’Kudla’, and people of Udupi, Malpe, Kallianpur, Kundapur and so on are a part of it. Indo-Oz history could embrace the aboriginal too!
Australian Mangalore, known for its aerodrome in Victoria which can boast of a high standard of service, infrastructure and amenities. It was first established by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during the Second World War in 1940’s. With natural hard soil, the runways were surfaced with a base of Bitumen. It was upgraded and taken over by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) in January 1946.
The Oz aviation code for this airport is MAA. In recent times it has become a centre for training all ranges and types of future aviators in civilian and Government establishments - flying schools, pilot academy, and the like are operating in a big way, with supporting public agencies. It provides significant greenfield infrastructure for many industries that require quality transport links (rail and freeways are adjacent to the airport) and is on the major freeway net-work to Northern Australia.
GUESSING ON THE NAME:
How Oz Mangalore got its name, did it have a connection to Mangalore on the West Coast of India? Explanations were not far from fact. Looking into the rear view mirror of time and history, opinion is vague. Basic historic implications surely points to what is believed. Mangalore in India from the eighteenth century was dominated by British administrators of the Empire. The British ’East India Company’ could also be one good reason for trading the name ’Mangalore’ down under. The British-Indian and/or Anglo-Indian impact on the early Oz continent cannot be ignored. Many of these and their descendants had strong ties down under in Australia in the early stages of exploration. Sea routes were criss- crossed by British officials and subjects of the times. It is known that even ’Mangalore Tiles’ were in early use in Australia. Surely, it is not possible that the aboriginal Aussies could have used a ’boomerang’ to steal our name! The very same British rulers and merchants who coined or distorted the name ’Mangaluru’ to the fancy ’Mangalore’, could have directly or indirectly influenced the export and use of the name in Australia in the nineteenth century! There are other places and spots too with name Mangalore, down under, if you can find them!
Many of our own Mangaloreans have settled in Australia and made it their home, wonder if they have been able to introduce some of the culture and traditions there? May be we will get to hear from someone! It is a triumph when someone copies what we have, we feel proud and good. The Aussies copied the name of our ’Mangalore’. But, now will they feel the same proud sentiments to see what has become of our great place here today?! So, Waltzing Matilda has Indian partners too.
THE PRESENT STRIFE AND HOPE:
Australia has embraced many from many countries. Indian culture and art are admired and in demand in Oz cities and a terrific force to get people to rally around. The earlier first generation Indians in Australia have left deep foot prints and influenced local culture too.
Influx of ’Johny come latelys’ from India is remarkable over the decades. In the 1828 census of NSW, there was only one Indian in a population of 36,000. Today the 4,50,000 - strong Indian community is the fastest growing migrant population of Australia and is the second largest skilled group. Since 2002 there has been a 45 per cent rise in number of Indian students as per statistics from Ministry for Immigration and Citizenship in Australia. In Melbourne, almost all courier services and 7-Eleven stores are run by Indians. Indian restaurant are seen in all city areas and every second taxi driver is an Indian. Many security companies are owned by Indians. In the 1970’s, Indian food was available at the only ’Holy Cow’ restaurant in Surry Hills. Today over 100 restaurants serve ’desi’ menus. Hindi is a fast growing language down under and there are 18 news papers. An Electronics engineer from Karnataka who has been in Sydney since 2002, Edits ’The Indian.’ He says " It came to me that the Indian community had not got a voice that was heard. I was encouraged to start a newspaper during the advent of attacks and it has helped Indians to get weight to our voices"
One Indian professional said that the communal trouble was less serious than the animosity in Mumbai and other trouble spots here. Indians in Australia are fanatics about education and value it seriously - no wonder Indian students come out on top. Many students are however, cheated by agents who bring them and rip them off. The job market is fiercely competitive - this is one reason for attacks and unrest too. Indians are seen as ’cash cows’.
Some or all these factors combined along with govt and diplomatic lethargy are probably eclipsing the thick relationship that exists underneath between India and Australia. The last Indian PM to visit Australia was Rajiv Gandhi, more than two decades ago. This spells not only an Indian neglect but also an Aussie failure! A scholar of Sydney’s institute of international policy says, "Damage to bilateral relations due to the attacks on Indians down under may be undetermined. But, in the next 25 years, Australia will be India’s important strategic partner in Asia Pacific, we can feel India’s presence and weight."