16 January 2005, BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Sydney had organised prayers
for the tsunami victims. Apart from more than 800 people, the prayer
service was attended by many distinguished personalities of Australia.
The Prime Minister of Australia Hon. John Howard, the Consul General
of India Mr. M. Ganapathi, the Deputy State Director of New South Wales
Immigration department Mr. Glenn Smith, and many leaders from the Indian
and Australian community were amongst them.
The Prime Minister joined along with other dignitaries and sadhus in
lighting candles representing the countries affected directly by the
The relief work of BAPS volunteers for tsunami victims was highlighted
by a short presentation.
Impressed by the presentation, the Prime Minister in his speech congratulated
the community in their contribution and timely aid to the worst affected
areas. He said the barriers of religion, race, nationality
and political beliefs have dissolved.
Mr. Howard said there were strong bonds between Australia and India
– history, sports and language.
He praised the organisational capabilities of BAPS which was evident
not only by the relief activities, but also by the efficient management
of the prayer service.