Kangaroo Island's Mintu and Mandeep dread phone calls from COVID-wracked India

ISLAND HOME: Mintu Brar and Mandeep Singh enjoy a cup of chai at the Seaside Inn and talk about the COVID situation in India. Photo: Stan Gorton
ISLAND HOME: Mintu Brar and Mandeep Singh enjoy a cup of chai at the Seaside Inn and talk about the COVID situation in India. Photo: Stan Gorton

Kangaroo Island residents and business owners Mintu Brar and Mandeep Singh dread every phone call from India, fearing the worst for family and friends.

The owners of The Old Mulberry Tree Cafe and the Seaside Inn in Kingscote both know many people who are sick or who have died from the coronavirus ravaging the Indian subcontinent.

He just heard on Friday morning, April 30, that his older brother's wife died from COVID-19 in his hometown of Kalanwali on the border of Punjab state.

Their 80-year-old mother, Inderjit Kaur is staying at home as much as she can, also in that town.

He says she is being brave and accepts that she may be struck down with the disease at any time.

"If it happens, it happens," he said she says.

The men are heartbroken because they say the people of India are being let down by the corruption and mismanagement of the pandemic by the country's politicians.

"India is a great country, with hardworking people and great weather for production, but the problem is with the politicians," Mintu said.

They both single out Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who say they has been irresponsible in holding political rallies and not providing the care people are crying out for.

They say the government has been privatising industries, including health care, and instead supporting corporations, including Adani, and also wasting money on a massive 182-metre tall "Statue of Unity".

They have also taken on the cause of India's poor farmers with new government regulations eliminating support and opening the industry for corporations to take over.

How can Kangaroo Island residents help India through COVID?

Mintu and Mandeep have so little faith in the government that they say the only way to guarantee help gets to the people is to donate to them directly and they can get funds to the villages they know.

Mintu Brar is a famous Punjabi social activist and journalist in South Australia. He has also been nominated for Governor's Multicultural award three times.

Mintu is also editor in chief of Punjabi Akhba, Australia's most published national Punjabi newspaper, and producer of the famous YouTube show 'Pendu Australia', and is also former manager of Australia's 24-hour live online radio 'Harman Radio'

Donate to India!

Donate to India!


Mintu is saying now that the Delhi Gurdwara Managing Committee under the worthy leadership of Manjinder Singh Sirsa is a good place to donate. See the poster for details here.

Also, Kangaroo Island local Tarnya Whiting posted on The Islander Facebook post of this story that her charity, The Nari Project, in India was providing vulnerable women with food parcels and PPE - if anyone would like to help: www.thenariproject.org

Rod Harradine posted: "We are thinking of Mintu and Mandeep, in happier times, dining at the Mulberry Tree was a lovely part of the KI experience for us."


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