Rajat Chopra will be the first Indian-origin candidate in the upcoming Hobart City Council elections. He has seen a paradigm shift in the city over the last five years.
When Rajat Chopra decided to move to Hobart from Noida, everyone was surprised.
“I have a few cousins in Melbourne, and when I told them, well, I’m moving to Hobart in 10 days, they were quite surprised. They said you shouldn’t go there because there’re no jobs. Anyone cannot find anything there,” Rajat told NRI Affairs.
And Rajat’s cousins were not wrong. He says, “When we came here, there were hardly any Indians in 2013. So, we couldn’t find Indian grocery stores and stuff like that, and my wife was homesick as well. She wanted to leave Hobart. So, it was quite confronting for us.”
Nine years later, in 2022, Hobart is a different place altogether. Rajat Chopra, the former interim CEO of the Multicultural Council of Tasmania, says Hobart has completely changed in the last five years because of the regional push for immigration.
“I’ll give you an example. When I came here, I thought maybe I’ll start a cricket competition that may help me find some friends because I didn’t know anyone. At that point in time, we had two teams. I’ve been running this competition for about six years now, and last year we had 13 cricket teams. Then two new competitions just started and they also had 10 to 15 teams. So you can imagine the number of people that have come,” Rajat explains.
This influx of migrants has made Rajat realise that a large part of society needs political representation.
He says, “We must have a say in all levels of government. We must become active and find a seat at the table where decisions are made, and those decisions impact our livelihood.
“There are more than 6,000 small businesses in Hobart. Almost a quarter of all small business operators are born overseas. There are close to 6000 international students who live in Hobart. They contributed close to $600m to the economy of the state. There are so many new migrants who now live and work in Hobart.”
Rajat Chopra will be standing for elections in the upcoming Hobart City Council elections.
“I’ll be the first Indian origin migrant to stand for elections in Hobart. We must cultivate a culture of participatory democracy where we can participate equally in the city’s social, political, cultural and economic life. Equality is not about taking away from anyone; it’s about balance, equal representation and richness of thought and action. Under-representation can result in a deficit of decision making, skills and ultimately democracy.”