The importance of senior citizens remaining socially and culturally active has been emphasised by former Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand.
Speaking at the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Waikato Senior Indian Association (WSIA) held in Hamilton on September 8, 2013, he quoted Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Independent India’s first Prime Minister as saying, “Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.”
He said that while the idea of galvanising community spirit was a part of the policy of the Hamilton District Council, two persons decided to form a Group (in 2003) to bring people together for matters of mutual interest.
The first meeting of WSIA was held with the support of the Ethnic Development Advisor, subsequent meetings have upheld the ideals of Pandit Nehru, he said.
“The free will part of his comment has been played out with regular meetings on a monthly basis, since then, producing talks, entertainments, cultural activities, religious observances and a great many combined trips for members to places of interest. The membership has grown to over 100, and although Dr Manilal Jogia and Babru Singh (respectively former President and Secretary) remain stalwarts, there are others who have shown themselves ready to carry on the spirit,” Sir Anand said.
Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker and Labour MP Dr Rajen Prasad were among the other Guests of Honour at the celebrations.
WSIA President Sachin Lal said that the Association has taken a new direction since 2011, when he and his team were elected to office.
“We have focused on health issues affecting seniors, weekly ‘Keep Fit’ programmes, more social and community functions, celebration of India’s Independence Day, Diwali and Christmas and a number of outdoor activities,” he said.
Dr Jogia, Convenor of the Celebrations, said that the main objective of the Association has been to improve the quality of life of Senior Citizens of Indian origin.
“As a part of its efforts to fulfil this objective, the Association has organised several events to create a positive impact on its members. These activities have enabled members to enjoy a rich, healthy and happy life as senior citizens,” he said.
He described the ten years that have gone as ‘rewarding.’
“We have built relationships with people since the Association was established in 2003. We will continue to remain useful and relevant,” he said.
The tenth anniversary programme included Bharata Natiyam, Semi-Classical dance, Garba, Urdu Ghazal and other items.
Ms Hardaker presented Dr Jogia with a ‘Meritorious Services Award’ in recognition of his services to the community.