Yugesh Chand is a retired Bank Officer from the Government of Australia, who is now adorned the garb of a a financial planner helping his brethren with post retirement plans. His home in Blacktown, Sydney, may be said to be steeped in Indian culture even in this faraway land down under. He harks from a family whose forefathers went to the Fiji Islands during the 1840s, and ultimately settled down there to start cultivation and farming in Fiji. In 1987, when Fiji was under Military Rule led by Colonel Rambuka, when unfavourable conditions existed for Fiji Indians, Yugesh Chand chose to leave the Fiji Islands and settle elsewhere in the region. His travels and travails took him to Australia, where after a lot of toil and hard work, he settled down to continue his life in the island continent. His father too came soon after from Fiji to Australia, where he lived until his demise with his son in Blacktown.

Yugesh speaks remarkably fluent Hindi and Bhojpuri, and even cooks many Indian dishes in his kitchen. He is fond of Indian culture, cuisine and cinema. He has and maintains an extensive collection of bollywood songs and movies harking from the 1940s to 1950s era in his personal library. Fond of music, he can sing numerous Indian songs with great passion, and keeps himself abreast about Indian cinema. He is well aware of the various heroes and heroines of Indian cinema, especially of the Bollywood kind.

After his retirement from the banking service under the Australian Government, he is now committed himself to be of help and assistance to the Indian Diaspora in Sydney, and is also active in his endeavour of promoting the spreading and patronage of Indian culture within the Disapora community there.Though he has left Fiji for good and settled down in Australia, he still maintains strong people-to-people links with Fiji, and is one of the key movers promoting, motivating and pursueing Fijian Indian youth to participate in the “Know India Programme” of the Government of India’s Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

His wife Parnita and daughter Nima are also staunch champions of all things Indian.Their house permeates and resonates with an Indian style of living, their kitchen exhudes the aromas of myriad Indian dishes suffused and spiced with Indian masalas, and soft sensual tones of Indian music wafts through their living spaces as well.

Another aspect of Yugesh is his green thumb, as evidenced by his cultivation of tomatos and a large variety of spinach in his kitchen garden. Speaking of his holing on to things Indian and Indianness over generations of separation from his mother-land, he says: “Indianess never dies in Indians, irrespective of where they go to live. My father and grandfather taught me all that I know about Indian traditions and value systems, and I adhere to them. So we still celebrate our social events like birthdays, marriages et al., in typical Indian style and sanskar …”.

Yugesh now plans to travel to India, and experience its great culture firsthand, as part of his personal research project on Indo-Australian relationships and affinity of Fiji Indians to India. This Fijian of Indian who migrated to Australian and is now an Australian citizen insists that though he is an Aussie, “Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani”.

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