Australia Day Honours: The Hindu hero on following in his father's footsteps

A Fijian-Indian who spent decades working with Hindu temples is among those recognised in the 2018 Australia Day Honours.

Outside a temple in Sydney’s west, Armogam Murgan slowly removes his shoes and greets his friends before worshipping for the day.

The Fijian-Indian-Australian has worked with Hindi [a language spoken in India] temple organisations for over 35 years, including the Shree Ram Krishna Temple in Austral.

“It’s in my blood to help people,” Mr Murgan told SBS.

“My father used to do all this [too] so I carry on with this.”

Mr Murgan is one of 895 Australians across a wide range of professionals and industries recognised on the Australia Day 2018 Honours List.

He was born in the small village of Vunika on the Fiji islands. A varied career saw him work as a law clerk and a primary school teacher before migrating to Australia in 1975.

 

Mr Murgan's main inspiration, his parents.
Source: SBS

Upon his arrival in Australia, Mr Murgan threw himself into the local community as a volunteer and advocate, his childhood in Fiji never far from his mind.

"My father used to go to the temple over there in my country so when I came [to Australia] I was proud to do all those social things."

Mr Murgan founded the Satyam Sivam Sundaram cultural society of New South Wales in 2001, which aims to preserve South Indian culture and language.

“I’ll always have that thing in my heart to do things [for] other people,” Mr Murgan said.

“[It’s important to] carry our language and cultures to our younger generations and encourage them on the right path, away from alcohol and drugs.”

Mr Murgan also founded the Indian Senior Citizens of NSW in 2007, an effort that saw him receive local awards for his volunteer efforts. He is also a wedding celebrant.

Armogam Murgan outside the Hindi Temple in Western Sydney
Source: SBS News

A letter from the Governor-General confirmed that Mr Murgan would be awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the Indian community of Sydney.

“I was very, very happy,” Mr Murgan said.

“I thought, this is my life’s work, an achievement for my life.”

Anyone can nominate an Australian or permanent resident for an award within the Order of Australia. For more information visit gg.gov.au


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Published 26 January 2018 at 8:18am, updated 26 January 2018 at 12:46pm
By Hannah Sinclair