Press Esc to close
Sunday 26 June 2016
News updated at 2:14 AM IST
Weather
Max: 27.5°C
Min : 19.4°C
In Bengaluru
Generally cloudy

An Australian with an Indian heart

Henna Rakheja, October 2, 2012

EXPAT SPEAK

I was very excited about this job and I asked for it. It is a job that I had set my eyes on for some time because I also had a personal interest in India.

However, it took a little longer because there was a change of government in Australia and when finally I was posted in India, it was a strained relationship between the two countries and it became a challenging assignment for me,” says Peter N Varghese, High Commissioner of Australia to India.

Meet the foreign diplomat with an Indian connection. When Varghese arrived, the Indian student security issue in Australia was hitting the headlines everyday. “The day I arrived, I had the student security issue to deal with since it was all over media.

“It was quite challenging because a lot of people watching the television had a bad impression of Australia. Most of the dinners I attended during the first year had long conversations where people used to ask me ‘why are you beating up Indians?’” recollects the High Commissioner who bears a distinct Indian resemblance.

“My parents belong to Kerala but migrated to Kenya first and then Australia,” he shares and adds that he never thought that it will be easy for him in India just because he has Indian roots but “an Indian background has been advantageous for it has helped in building the relationship more quickly.”

He also admits that he has not had a “typical Australian story” for he was born in Kenya and moved to Austra­l­ia at a very young age. But this experience has given him a broader perspective.

“I have grown up in an Indian environment in Austr­a­lia with eight siblings. My parents had a love marriage in 1942 and decided to move to Kenya.”

If he had not been a diplomat then Varghese would have followed in his parents footsteps and become a professor! “Both my parents were teachers and even I wanted to be an academician.

“After completing my education in the 70s I did get offers for a doctorate scholarship but I realised that the job prospects were poor so I opted for civil services.” 

He shares that it is due to his academic background that he has a global worldview. “Ideas were very robustly debated over the dinner table. Such was the stimulating environment that I was brought up in.” Hence, he has “always been interested in ideas and reading books for partly it is a reflection of my upbringing.”

Apart from representing his country, Varghese has varied interests - he loves playing tennis, listening to music and is an avid art lover. His travels, though, have been more limited – he has paid several visits to Kerala, “My collea­g­u­es think that I have a bias towards Kerala,” he laughs but admits that he considers Brisbane home.

The High Commissioner is now looking forward to the four-month long Oz Fest which will feature renowned Australian and Indian artists performing all over India, “Indo-Australian relations have been good politically but now we want to have great relations at the community level,” he signs off.


Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creates a sand sculpture to congratulate Athlete Dutee chand

Renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creates a sand sculpture to congratulate Athlete Dutee chand

Cricketer Virat Kohli sings the national anthem during the opening ceremony of the Pro Kabaddi...

Cricketer Virat Kohli sings the national anthem during the opening ceremony of the Pro Kabaddi...

Security forces inspecting the CRPF bus which was attacked by militants on Srinagar-Jammu National..

Security forces inspecting the CRPF bus which was attacked by militants on Srinagar-Jammu National..

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav at a roza iftar party in Lucknow...

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav at a roza iftar party in Lucknow...

Bollywood actor Jacqueline Fernandez during the launch of Aeropostale store in Mumbai...

Bollywood actor Jacqueline Fernandez during the launch of Aeropostale store in Mumbai...

Two planes perform a dramatic fly past, during a display of the Red Arrows Display Team...

Two planes perform a dramatic fly past, during a display of the Red Arrows Display Team...

Local train on water logged railway track in Thane on Saturday. Local train services...

Local train on water logged railway track in Thane on Saturday. Local train services...

The launch of New Audi R8 V10 Plus in Hyderabad on Saturday...

The launch of New Audi R8 V10 Plus in Hyderabad on Saturday...

Siberian tigers play in the pool of their enclosure to cool themselves in the zoo...

Siberian tigers play in the pool of their enclosure to cool themselves in the zoo...

BJP activists holding a protest in front of Ram Remple in Bhubaneswar on Friday...

BJP activists holding a protest in front of Ram Remple in Bhubaneswar on Friday...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523