Shining a light on India’s diaspora: Diwali – celebrating new beginnings, good over evil, and light over darkness

A bright light is shining on Australia’s Indian diaspora and its culture right across political and corporate spheres, and civil society. Indians are being seen and heard in Australia like never before.

One in 25 Australians now has Indian heritage. More than 700,000 Indian-Australians were born in India. Australia’s Indian diaspora is the fastest growing ethnic community with Indians expected to outnumber Chinese-born Australians over the next decade.

Today we celebrate Diwali (also called Divali or Deepavali).

The Hindu festival ‘Diwali’ is grounded in religious and cultural significance. Known as the ‘festival of lights’ this is one of our biggest festivals of the year and signifies new beginnings, good over evil, and light over darkness. It is the day before Hindu New Year. On Diwali we welcome Goddess Lakshmi into our homes, who is the Goddess of prosperity. Welcoming Goddess Lakshmi into our homes comes with lots of preparation. A big house spring clean, cooking lots of delicious sweets and savouries, and decorating the house with fairy lights, candles and colour.

We both celebrate Diwali with our family and friends, each with our own individual traditions. Raksha gathers with her family to offer prayers to Goddess Lakshmi, express gratitude for the past year and seek blessings for the New Year. Jai enjoys the same rituals and celebration including through traditional song and dance with family and friends.


A sweet tooth is something we both share and so this festival is a bonus! We exchange sweets with our family and friends. We decorate the entrances of our homes with ‘rangoli’ which are designs made of coloured rice powder, sand, or flower petals. We celebrate into the night ensuring the house is glowing with lots bright lights, candles or ‘diyas’.

As India celebrates 75 years of Independence and looks to accelerate its growth and development so Australia is keeping a close watch on the Indian diaspora’s contribution to our economy and bilateral relationship. In Australia, Indian-Australians are the second-highest taxpaying diaspora after the British which reflects the hardworking, aspirational and entrepreneurial nature of Indian (origin) people. It is no surprise then that we are starting to see the rise of Indian origin CEOs take the reins of Australian listed companies.

The Leading for Change report demonstrated significant under-representation of people of colour in senior leadership in Australia with only 4.7 percent with a non-European background. Cultural diversity is important for any organisation and reflects the diversity of the Australian population. KPMG Australia has a target of 20 percent (currently ~10 percent) of our Australian partnership to come from a culturally diverse background by 2025, bringing our leadership more into line with the wider Australian population. As a firm we are proud to have growing numbers of people of Indian descent.

The Federal Government has also embarked on an initiative to map and identify influential leaders within the Indian diaspora – across business, government, academia and civil society – who can help drive the bilateral economic relationship forward. The diaspora is one of the three pillars of the Government’s ‘India Economic Strategy to 2035’ and a key tenet of Australia’s new Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with India.

We wish you Diwali greetings and best wishes for the New Year. With borders opening and Qantas announcing direct flights to India starting 6 December, we hope many of you will be able to be reunited with family & friends over the coming weeks and months.

May this year bring you and your families light and prosperity.


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2 thoughts on “Shining a light on India’s diaspora: Diwali – celebrating new beginnings, good over evil, and light over darkness

  1. Diwali is a symbol of hope for human kind. Wishing everyone a very happy Diwali today and an abundance of good health, happiness and success for the future.

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