Contemplation on Diwali and a fresh start
The horrific act of terrorism that took the lives of 50 people in Christchurch on March 15th, 2019 should never be allowed to happen again, never. However, from the loss and pain, an opportunity for the people of New Zealand to take stock and step forward in a more mindful manner has grown. It has given us the opportunity to make the very best of ourselves a daily reality.
A fresh start for New Zealand
Similarly, Diwali is a time for reflection and contemplation. It is a time for family values and it is about rejoicing and a fresh start.
‘Ramayan,’ from which Diwali, a time of celebration originates, is an epic that tells a story.
Diwali is the celebration of the return of Lord Rama from exile.
Ramayan also encapsulates Ram’s wife Sita who accompanied him to the forest and his loving brother Lakshman who accompanied him and encountered all the problems. It is also the story of Hanuman, an ardent devotee of Lord Rama who helped him in winning the war against Ravana.
This is a story of King Dasaratha who, separated from his beloved son, died of sorrow.
It is also a story of sacrifice, duty, responsibility and faith, which overcomes greed, ego, suspicion.
Ramayan and the lessons it teaches has provided thousands of indentured labourers, refugees and immigrants with hope for a fresh start and the much-needed strength they needed to keep going.
If we are to reflect on the field of immigration in New Zealand in the spirit of the Ramayana, with its universal applications, much can be said and learnt.
New Zealand Immigration’s Family Policy
The Family Policy is the New Zealand government’s humanitarian response to keep families together and strengthen them. The current Tiers 1 and 2 are an ingenious framework. Tier 1 is dependent on the sponsor’s individual income, or income combined with that of their partner. Tier 1 policy is working, but Tier 2 is not: the wait time of almost seven years is unreasonable.
It is not good to keep old people waiting for so long with raised expectations for a fresh start with family.
It is cruel to decline their applications because their circumstances have changed over time, meaning they no longer meet policy requirements.
Is enough being done to manage their transition into New Zealand?
Are those sponsoring their immigration to New Zealand undertaking their duties?
How are issues such as loneliness, elderly abuse and depression being dealt with?
Many groups have sprung up to provide migrant assistance to the elderly but the age-old problem of access to services continues to haunt people.
Kia Kaha, Happy Diwali and may the future see us walk forward together in wisdom, tolerance, love, good health and prosperity.