A chapter was created in the history of New Zealand when non-residents from the Indian state of Bihar and Jharkhand congregated and launched a formal community body ‘Bihar Jharkhand Sabha of Australia and New Zealand’ at Sangam Indian Restaurant Kumeu, Auckland, New Zealand on Saturday 13 May 2017. The meeting was convened by prominent people from this region with the objective to connect their people in New Zealand. The participants included prominent people from Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga, and Christchurch. The meeting was inaugurated by one of the community’s founding members from Bihar, Mr Nisheet and Mrs Sushma Prakash.
A leading non-resident Indian from the region Mrs Arati Prasad was the master of the ceremony. Mrs Prasad in her introductory welcome speech expressed her sincere gratitude to all the members, who had traveled from other cities to Auckland to be a part of this great event. She appreciated everybody’s sincere effort in making this event a grand success. She further highlighted the activities of BJSM group that include family gets together, celebration of Diwali and Chhath, cultural activities, assistance to new migrant and cooperation with other Indian associations in New Zealand. BJSM Auckland Chapter is already cooperating with its chapters in Australia and shares news on website www.bjsm.org and social media channels www.facebook.com/biharjharkhand and www.twitter.com/bjsmaustralia.
Mr. Sanjeev Prasad, an eminent businessman and a former official of the High Commission of India, Wellington presided over the meeting. In his inaugural address to the members accentuated the contribution of people from Bihar and Jharkhand to the success of India. They are also proving their worth in various countries including New Zealand in bringing a good name to India. There are good number of people from Bihar and Jharkhand who are doing extremely well in their profession. He appealed to all the members of the Sabha to make every effort in helping Bihar Jharkhand Sabha achieve its goals.
The chairperson of Bihar Foundation, a recognized body of the government of Bihar Mrs Ragini Sinha also addressed the congregation. She welcomed the formalisation of this community group that is also known as BJSM and assured full cooperation from Bihar Foundation. She also mentioned to the members the work Bihar Foundation has been doing in helping the people of Bihar and encouraged the members of the Sabha to consider being a member of Bihar Foundation also.
The election was followed by the inaugural speeches of their prominent members for the office bearers of the BJSM. All executive members were elected unopposed by the members:
Chairman – Mr Birendra Mishra
Secretary (Culture) – Mrs Arati Prasad
Secretary (Public Relations) – Mr Rajnish Rai
Treasurer – Mr Rakesh Jaiswal
Mr Birendra Mishra, the Chairperson who has his roots in Sitamarhi District of Bihar and is a civil engineer (NIT Allahabad, IIT Delhi and University of Auckland & Canterbury). Mr Mishra assured his all possible efforts in making this Bihar Jharkhand Sabha, Auckland a success. While appreciating the contribution of the people from Bihar and Jharkhand in New Zealand, Mr Mishra said: “we have proved our worth and made a name for ourselves in the whole world, we should try to showcase our culture to the New Zealanders now, using this Sabha as a platform.“
Mr Rajnish Rai, the elected Secretary (Public Relations), said, “even though we have left our country and state to settle in New Zealand, we should never forget our roots and culture.” To preserve our cultural heritage in New Zealand and to pass it on to our next generation, we must celebrate all the important festivals together using Bihar Jharkhand Sabha as a platform. We owe an obligation to our home state Bihar and Jharkhand, and we should try to contribute financially to the development of villages and schools.
Mrs Arati Prasad, the elected Secretary (Culture), was given responsibility for organizing special events on the occasion of important festivals like Holi, Diwali, Chhatha and Independence Day etc. There was also a suggestion to put a stall in important cultural events in Auckland such as Diwali Mela etc. to showcase our culture and famous delicacies like litti chokha that no one knows about it in New Zealand.
Mr Rakesh Jaiswal expressed his desire to try and build a Sun Temple here in the future, as the festival of Chhatha is dedicated to Surya Dev. He also said that we should try to make yoga popular among the local people here. Bihar is the land of Lord Buddha, who is the biggest yogi of all times.
Valuable ideas and suggestions were given by several members, including Mr Pavitra Roy, Mr Rajeev, Mr Chandan, Mr Ronnie, Mr Rahul Kumar, Mr Rupesh, Mr Nisheet Prakash and others. It was decided that the Bihar and Jharkhand Sabha should be incorporated as a society as soon as possible; the Sabha would hold a ceremony in collaboration with Bihar Foundation to honour any dignitaries from Bihar and Jharkhand official visit to New Zealand.
The meeting was concluded with a vote of thanks by the elected Secretary (Culture) Mrs Arati Prasad. Delicious Indian food prepared at Sangam Indian Cuisine was the next on offer. It was time for some fun and entertainment after dinner, and the members enjoyed a game of bingo conducted by Mr Rahul Kumar.
Mrs Arati Prasad concluded the meeting by her closing speech in which she thanked all the members again for attending the meeting.