April 17, 2012

A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)

Issue: XI-6 April 17, 2012
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GOPIO International Executive committee has made several appointments of its officials and council chairs. They will serve the organization till the next biennial convention to be held in the late 2013.


At the GOPIO International Biennial Convention 2011 in Iselin, New Jersey, USA, elections were held on November 20, 2011 in accordance with GOPIO's constitution and the following officers were elected (as reported in GOPIO News Bulletin December 5, 2011):



Chairman:                     Inder Singh (California, USA)

President                      Ashook Ramsaran (New York, USA)

Executive Vice Pres.     Sunny Kulathakal (Bahrain, Middle East)

Senior Vice President    Dr. Piyush Agrawal (Miami, USA)


Subsequently, efforts have been made and are continuing to identify and appoint suitably qualified persons to fill various vacant positions in the Executive Committee as well as GOPIO's several Councils. GOPIO President Ashook Ramsaran, ably assisted by current and previous office bearers, began an intense effort toward this goal.


"My objective is work collaboratively to further expand and grow GOPIO, to make it much more globally representative as GOPIO continues its vital outreach and service to an ever increasing population in the global Indian Diaspora," says President Ramsaran.


To date, the following appointments are confirmed:





Munish Gupta (USA, Africa, India)                       


GOPIO Team 2012-'13 International Coordinator for Africa Munish Gupta

GOPIO Life Member and former Chairman of GOPIO Media Council; an accomplished international journalist who co-founded India's top news agency (ANI) and led the entry of private western TV channels into India including the privatization of cricket; Chairman and Managing Editor of PIO TV (, a unique multi-media platform for Indian Diaspora; Director of Universal Empire Infrastructures Ltd., India, a company with diversified infrastructure interests in the emerging economies of Africa and South Asia; program coordinator of very successful GOPIO January 6, 2012 events in Jaipur.




Rajindre Tewari (Netherlands)                


GOPIO Team 2012-'13 International Coordinator for Europe Rajindre Tiwari



Previous Country President of GOPIO Netherlands; Secretary-General of the Foundation for Indian Disapora in the Netherlands; managing director of Capital Investors Intl. & Mahler Fund Management. He is active in Asset Management & Private Equity investments; studied in New Delhi, Antwerpen, Leiden, Amsterdam and London in technology, real estate, management accounting , fund management, corporate finance. PIO of Surinamese origin.






Caribbean Region

Dr. Arnold Thomas (St Vincent)          


GOPIO Team 2012-'13 International Coordinator for Caribbean RegionPrevious Co-Chair of GOPIO Academic Council; formerly Ambassador to the European Union representing Eastern Caribbean countries; President of St Vincent & Grenadines Indian Heritage Foundation; former Executive Director of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Chamber of Industry & Commerce; former professor at Brooklyn College in New York; started the first Indian radio program in St Vincent SVG Cross Country Radio broadcasting every Monday evening; St Vincent coordinator of Diaspora Conference June 1, 2012.




Oceanic Region

Umesh Chandra (Australia)                         


GOPIO Team 2012-'13 International Coordinator for Oceanic Region


GOPIO Life Member, formerly President of GOPIO Brisbane, Australia; names as People of Australia Ambassador by Prime Minister of Australia; he was instrumental in the formation of Hindu Society of Queensland and formation of Queensland Fiji Soccer Association; qnd of which he later served as President for three years; launched Queensland's first full colour community newspaper for the Indian and ethnic communities; Owner & CEO of Chantex Pty Ltd; resides in Brisbane area, Australia.





Middle East

Dr. Sai Giridhar (Bahrain)                     


GOPIO Team 2012-'13 International Coordinator for  the Middle East - Sai GiridharFormer dental surgeon in a charitable hospital in Whitefield, Bangalore; then at Sagar Apollo Hospital in Jayanagar, Bangalore; currently manages a multi specialty hospital in Bahrain; designed community health programs and public health initiatives suitable for the Indian community in Bahrain suitable to the requirements of Indian community such as Community Relief Fund, the many medical camps and its organizers, cost effective Health Insurance schemes, International Patients Program; Resides in Bahrain.






Executive Trustee

Dr. Thomas Abraham (USA)                       



GOPIO Founder President Dr. Thomas AbrahamDr. Abraham served as the convener of the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin in New York and as Convener/President/Chairman of GOPIO Intl. from 1989 to 2009. Dr. Abraham initiated several other Indian community groups in the US including Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of New York, the NFIA, NIAASC and SACSS. Dr. Abraham is recipient of Bharatvanshi Gaurav Award, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman and Outstanding Alumnus Award by the Malaviya National Institute of Technology. An alumnus of Columbia University, Dr. Abraham is specialized in advanced materials and nanotechnology and currently is President of Innovative Research and Products (iRAP), Inc., a Stamford, CT (USA) based technology and market research firm.






J. Nami Kaur (USA)                                     


GOPIO Team 2012-'13 Secretary Nami Kaur


Member GOPIO Connecticut; Board Member and Social Media Chair at Children's Hope India, a New York based non-profit organization; Media Chair of GOPIO Convention 2009, 2011; Explainer and Docent-in-Training for Public and Children's Programs at the New York Botanical Garden; formerly Communications and Marketing Professional at IBM.





Associate Secretary

Jaswant Mody (USA)                                


GOPIO Team 2012-'13 Associate Secretary Jaswant Mody



GOPIO Life Member; Gujarati Literary & Academic Association Life Member; President of Association of Indians in America (AIA) - New Jersey; Piscataway, New Jersey Planning Board Member; Secretary Asia American Heritage Council.







Netram Rambudhan (USA)                   


GOPIO Team 2012-'13 Treasurer Netram Rambudhan


GOPIO Life Member; formerly founding member; Vice President and Public Relations Office of GOPIO Upper New York; Born in Guyana of paternal grandparents from Bihar and maternal great grand-parents from Uttar Pradesh; currently employed with Banco LatinoAmericano de Comercio Exterior S.A. as Deputy General Manager of the New York Agency.







Asst. Treasurer

Raj Pakianathan (USA)


Internal Auditor

Haresh Panchal (USA) - Previously Treasurer of GOPIO International




Business Council

George Abraham (Singapore), Chair                 


GOPIO Team 2012-'13 Business Council Chair George Abaraham Previously GOPIO Regional Coordinator South East Asia; Educated in India, Singapore and U.S.A., formerly Executive Director and Secretary General of Chambers of Commerce and Industry; consultant to various UN Agencies in SME development and private sector capacity building in the Asia Pacific, SAARC, Africa and Eastern European countries; Chairman of The GA Group on cross-border trade and investment between Singapore and the region; launched the annual Global Indian Business Summit in 2006 and the Global Diaspora Business Summit in 2009. Serves on various government, civic and community organizations




Deo Gosine (Trinidad-USA); Co-Chair    

Tallim Bacchus (Canada), Co-Chair                    

Kuldip Verma (India), Co-Chair               

Dr Abraham Phillips (USA), Co-Chair     

Shelly Nichani (USA), Co-Chair              

Roy Budjhawan (Netherlands), Co-Chair 

Dr. Sid Gautam (USA), Co-Chair            


Cultural Council

Dr Najma Sultana (USA), Co-Chair

Pritha Singh (Guyana-USA), Co-Chair

Satnarine Balkaransingh (Trinidad), Co-Chair

Dr Chandrikapersad Misier (Netherlands), Co-Chair

Naidoo Veerapen (USA), Co-Chair

Jean Sharad Sahai (Guadeloupe), Co-Chair

Christelle Gourdine (France), Co-Chair

Lajja Sambhavnath (Portugal), Co-Chair


Academic Council

Prof Mohan Gautam (Netherland), Co-Chair  

Prof Mahin Gosine (Trinidad-USA), Co-Chair  

Prof Biman Chand Prasad (Fiji), Co-Chair           

Prof. Adeshpal Singh (India), Co-Chair   

Dr Neerja Arun (India), Co-Chair             

Prof Paul Tennassee (UDC-USA), Co-Chair        

Prof Clem Seecharan (UK), Co-Chair      

Dr Kumar Mahabir (Trinidad), Co-Chair   

Dr Denison Jayasooria (Malaysia), Co-Chair  

Prof   (South Africa), Co-Chair  


Human Rights Council

Dr. Parveen Chopra (USA), Co-Chair      

Aminta Kilawan (USA), Co-Chair            


Health Services Council

Sangeeta Ahuja (USA), Chair                  


GOPIO Team 2012-'13 Health Council Chair Sangeeta Ahuja


Formerly President of GOPIO Connecticut Chapter; a nutritionist by education and profession; Works as Director of Nutrition Services at Mount Vernon Community Health Center in Mount Vernon, New York. On the staff as a Certified Diabetes Educator at the Stamford Hospital; In private practice and a consulting nutritionist for Catholic Family Services; On the speakers circle with Pfizer, Bayer, Acuchek and Advanced Research Foundation; On the board of Connecticut Association of Diabetes Educators and The Fairfield county's Center for Sexual Assault and Crisis Services





Dr Vivian Rambihar (Canada), Co-Chair  

Dr Rajeev Mehta (USA), Co-Chair                      

Dr. Asha Samant (USA), Co-Chair                      

Dr. Harish Srivastava (India), Co-Chair   


Women's Council

Suman Kapoor (New Zealand), Chair    


GOPIO Team 2012-'13 Women's Council Chair Suman Kapoor Formerly founding President of GOPIO Waikato Chapter and Life Member of GOPIO; Double postgraduate, an educationist, research scholar, entrepreneur, a hospitality professional; Director Indian Cuisine in company at New Zealand; executive at National council of women, Waikato Graduate women, Multicultural council , interfaith council and Indian organizations; community advocate, serving various boards and committees, leading positions in New Zealand.







Rekha Gupta (USA), Co-Chair                

Bhagwatie Dwarika (Trinidad-USA), Co-Chair      


Media Council

Issac John (Bahrain), Chair                   


GOPIO Team 2012-'13 Media Council Chair Isaac John

Business Editor of Khaleej Times, a leading business journalist and respected economist in Glf region for 32 years; Acclaimed for his invigorating and insightful analysis of global and regional business and economic issues and trends; Won three pan-Arab media awards besides over a dozen prestigious accolades, including Asian Achiever Award, Pravasi Ratna and GOPIO media services award; Founder President of Kalabhavan Global and Gulf Arts and Literary Academy; Former president of All Kerala Colleges Alumni Forum, an apex body representing over 60,000 college graduates



J. P. Gautam (India), Co-chair    

Ashok Motwani (India), Co-chair            

Bina Mahabir (USA), Co-Chair    

Sangita Myska (UK), Co-Chair   


Youth Council

Rahul Verma (NZ), Co-chair                   

Anita Bhat (USA), Co-Chair                    

Priyanka Naidoo (S. Africa), Co-Chair

Silky Pruthi (India), Co-Chair      




Liaison to Government of India

K. N. Gupta, Director (India)                  

Liaison to US Indian Organizations

Radha Krishan, National Director

Liaison to United Nations

Harbachan Singh (USA), Director           

Dr Sushila Gidwani-Buschi (USA)


By-Laws Committee

Dr. Piyush Agrawal (USA), Chair


Chapter Policies & Procedures Committee

Harmohan Walia (Australia), Chair          

Inder Singh (USA), Co-Chair                  

Rajindre Tewari (Neth.), Co-Chair


Gadar Centennial Commemoration Committee

Inder Singh (USA)                     

Jasbir Sachar (UK)                   


NRI/PIO Property Rights Committee

Dr Subash Sharma (USA)

Molly Banderjei (Canada)                      

Mahavir Arya (Australia)

Manmohan Maheshwari (USA/India)



Prashant Gupta (India), Chair                 


Kolkata Memorial Committee

Ashook Ramsaran (USA), Chair             

Leela Sarup (India-Mauritius), Co-Chair   

Sayantan Chakravarty (India), Co-Chair  


Grants Applications

Priyanka Singh (Canada)           


Tracing Our Roots Committee

Dr. Shekhar Tiwary (India), Co-Chair       


GOPIO Newsletter

Dr. Thomas Abraham (USA), Chief Editor                       

J. Nami Kaur (USA), Editor                    

Bina Mahabir (USA), Co-Editor


GOPIO Website

Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, India)                    


Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA



IANS Washington Bureau chief Arun Kumar has provided an analysis of Indian Americans playing important and influential roles in US media. With two of them governors, four billionaires and over a score sitting in high places in government, Indian Americans not only keep making news but have also emerged as major players in American media. 

This month, Indian-born Aparism Bobby Ghosh, for instance, was named by Time Magazine as 'Editor-at-Large'. In naming Ghosh, Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel, called him "one of Time's greatest assets and this past year was one of his best yet." 

Indian American Fareed Zakaria is already another Editor-at-Large of Time Magazine since October 2010 after spending 10 years overseeing all of Newsweek's editions abroad. 

Called "the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation" by Esquire Magazine, Zakaria hosts what has been dibbed one of the most intelligent shows on American TV, 'Fareed Zakaria GPS' on CNN every Sunday. 

Equally ubiquitous is Sanjay Gupta, the multiple Emmy-award winning chief medical correspondent for CNN. A practicing neurosurgeon, Gupta has reported from earthquake- and tsunami-ravaged Japan, earthquake devastated Hauiti and covered live the unprecedented flooding in Pakistan. 

Vinnie Malhotra, a former program development executive at ESPN and long-time ABC News producer, has just joined CNN as senior vice president for development and acquisitions. 

Last month, Raju Narisetti, credited with creating Mint, the successful business daily out of Delhi, returned to the Wall Street Journal, where he had spent 23 years earlier, as Managing Editor of its Digital Network. 

Nisid Hajari, Managing Editor of Newsweek is busy writing "Midnight's Furies," a dramatic history of the Partition of India and Pakistan, told through the characters of Gandhi, Jinnah, Nehru, Churchill, and Mountbatten. 

Rajiv Chandrasekaran is the National Editor of The Washington Post, where he has worked since 1994. ESPN's sports anchor Kevin Negandhi is the first anchor of Indian-American descent to be on a national sports network in American Television history and Ali Velshi, son of Murad Velshi, the first Canadian of Indian origin elected to the legislative assembly of Ontario, serves as CNN's chief business correspondent. 

Other names include Davan Maharaj, managing editor of the Los Angeles Times; Stephanie Mehta, Fortune Magazine, Executive Editor overseeing technology, and Nikhil Deogun, Senior Vice President and Editor in Chief Business News, CNBC, the most-watched business TV network in the world. 

Peter Bhatia, editor of The Oregonian, one of America's top regional newspapers, is the first South Asian to run a major US daily. 

Hundreds of lesser known Indian Americans are among the producers, reporters, copy editors and production assistants, bringing Americans their daily news -showing how far Indian-American have come in the media world where only a few of them commanded bylines in the 1990s.



Courtesy - IANS



The news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) has reported that responding to concerns of British citizens holding the status of 'Overseas Citizen of India' (OCI), the UK Foreign Office has clarified that when such citizens are in India, they will continue to be treated as British citizens and offered consular assistance if required.


A large number of people of Indian-origin have acquired OCI status after being naturalised as British citizens in the UK. The scheme launched by the Indian government in December 2005 has been welcomed by the Indian Diaspora.


The Foreign Office has confirmed in a letter to a London-based solicitors company, Freemans Solicitors, that when OCI holders are in India, they will continue to be treated as British citizens and will be entitled to consular assistance.


The letter by Louse Edwards from the Consulate Directorate of the Foreign Office says that the OCI status does not affect a person's nationality under international law. "Our understanding is that the Indian authorities would not consider a British citizen holding OCI to be a dual national, although this is a matter for the Indian authorities. Therefore, for the purposes of consular assistance, they would be treated as a British national and would be eligible for the consular assistance," Edwards writes in the letter available online.


Registration as OCI entitles them to several benefits, such as multi-purpose lifelong visa, exemption from registration with the police and parity with non-resident Indians in financial and economic matters.


However, many OCI holders were not clear about their status while in India, and were concerned whether they would be treated as British citizens in India and extended consular assistance if required.


The OCI status is granted in the form of a booklet, which is not to be understood as a 'passport', which is issued to Indian citizens. During the period an OCI is in India, the person is subject to Indian criminal/civil laws.


OCI holders cannot vote or contest elections, nor hold any constitutional post or enter into employment with the Indian government. An OCI can acquire Indian citizenship again by renouncing the citizenship of the foreign country after five years of being granted the OCI, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs.


Courtesy - PTI






GOPIO-CT will celebrate its sixth anniversary at the Italian Center of Stamford, honoring five Indian Americans for their achievements and contributions at an Awards Banquet on Saturday, April 28. They are: Mr. Vivek Maru, Dr. Faquir Jain, Ms. Chandra Prasad, Ms. Neena Singh and Ms. Malika Bhandarkar. Dr. William "Vijay" Pinch will be honored with a Friend of India award.


Mr. Vivek Maru is Chief Executive officer of Namati, an international organization that tests the potential of legal empowerment through innovative interventions and research. Mr. Maru is recognized in the category of Social Entrepreneur. Dr. Faquir Jain, professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Connecticut is being recognized in the category Applied Science and Research. Ms. Chandra Prasad is a multi-talented writer whose work has received praise in Booklist and USA Today. Ms. Prasad is recognized in the category of Arts and Letters. Ms. Neena Singh is being recognized for her community service here and in India.


President's Young Person Award goes to Ms. Malika Bhandarkar, an accountability expert who influences decision makers at all levels to amplify the message "Women Count for Peace".  Friend of India Award goes to Dr. William "Vijay" Pinch, professor of History and Chair of the History Department at Wesleyan University.  


Over the last six years, GOPIO-CT, a chapter of GOPIO International has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policy makers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and working with other area organizations to help create a better future. 


Tickets can be bought online at

Buy Non-Member Ticket $75

Buy Member Ticket $65

 Buy Life Member Ticket $55


Contact: Shailesh Naik, President, GOPIO-CT, Tel: 914-409-2552 or e-mail at, Web:




General membership elections were held on 25th March, 2012 to elect new officers. The Presiding Officer was Adam Rampersad who is not affiliated with GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago Chapter.


Results of the elections are as follows:

President:                     Ena Maraj

Vice President:              Oscar Ramoutar

Secretary:                     Shivanie Ramcharitar

Assistant Secretary:      Pamela Mangroo

Treasurer:                     Shaheed Mohammed

Public Relations Officer: Karran Nancoo


Other decisions taken at the 25th March, 2012 meeting following the elections include: Retaining an internal auditor; Re-instatement of annual chapter fees of $25 TnT; Change of GOPIO Chapter registration with the new officers; regular monthly meeting for executive members on the first Tuesday of each month and general membership meeting on a quarterly basis.


Contact: Ena Maraj (President) or Shivanie Ramcharitar (Secretary) at


GOPIO TnT Chapter TEam for 2012-13






Photo  (l-r) - Back row: Karran Nancoo (Public Relations Officer), Shaheed Latiff Mohammed (Treasurer), Oscar Ramoutar (Vice President). Front row: Shivanie Ramcharitar (Secretary), Pamela Mangroo (Assistant Secretary), Ena Maraj (President)











Mr Harmohan Singh Walia, Chairperson, GOPIO's Committee on Chapter Policies & Procedures travelled all the way from Sydney to India to provide winter clothing, shoes, socks and ceiling fans in all classrooms for kids of Govt. Middle School, Ganja, Distt. Gurdaspur on 24 February 2012. GOPIO Sydney North West chapter collected funds on December 24th, 2011 at Sapphire Function Centre, Auburn. This event has left a lasting legacy for the students of this selected school by providing them with well needed basic amenities.


Mr. Walia was welcomed by the school management as Chief Guest and school children performed cultural program for over two hours. To witness this event, local authorities, Mr. Hardeep Singh Chahal, District Education Officer; Mr Inderjit Singh Bagi, Ex-Chairman Punjab Tourism Development Corporation; Mr Jaskiran Singh, Principal SSM College and Mr Prem Khosla, President Bhartya Vikas Parishad were present along with parents and local prominent dignitaries. Mr. Walia informed the gathering that this is one of the objectives of GOPIO in Australia to help under privileged schools in India. Last year a rural school in Zira, Distt. Ferozepur was provided with a hand pump for clean drinking water and warm clothes like this time. GOPIO Australia had helped earlier victims of floods in Bihar & Fiji, tsunami in Samoa, earthquake in Indonesia, Victoria Bushfire, attacks on Indian students in Sydney are some of the examples.


GOPIO's Harry Walia Visiting Ganga Middle School

Photo Above: Studetns performing during the visit of GOPIO's Harry Walia at Ganga Middle School.


Mr. Walia said that GOPIO Sydney North West Chapter members namely Prof. Balkar Singh Kang, Neeru Singh, Ravinder Singh, Rajvinder Singh, Aman Singh, Harinder Kaur, Baljit Singh Pelia and Harminder Singh were at the forefront to make it a successful event..


Contact GOPIO-North West: Ravinder Singh, President, Tel: +61-433-179-303, or Aman Singh, Secretary, Tel: + 61-433-512-519,




Session 1: 4/15/2012 - 6/8/2012 (15 classes)

Time:  Fridays 1:30-2:30p, Sundays 9:00-10:30p

Place: Boys & Girls Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA

Fee: $350


  • The format will be 2x/week, with a 90 minute class on Sunday morning, and a 60 minute class during the week. In addition to class time, the teacher will also be giving homework/activities to kids to work on during the week.  For those kids that can't make the weekday class, the teacher will give additional work so everyone is on the same page.
  • The session will run 8 weeks, from 4/15 - 6/8, with 2 classes per week. Classes will be drop-off and held at the Boys and Girls Club in Greenwich, Connecticut (USA).
  • Class will be limited to 8 students in the Pre-K/Kindergarten level. 


Ms. Vaishali Akole will be the teacher.  She has been tutoring students and adult for the past several years.


Please contact Mrs. Nisha Arora of GOPIO-CT at if interested in the program.




GOPIO of Netherlands held a 1-day conference on "Transformations in Entrepreneurship, Management and Society" on March 17th 2012 at the Nyenrode Business University in Breukelen, The Netherlands. The moderator was Ir. Manish Dixit, GOPIO of Rotterdam.


For more info and future programs, contact: Ilse Dannen (Event Coordinator) +31(0) 26-369-1109,, Web:




On 4th March, 2012, the heaving pioneer hall at Castle Hill in Sydney with 400 people had a magnificent evening in many ways .This was the evening when 41 high achievers of Indian origin youth and from the community in the fields of academics, sport, media, community services, art and culture, language, drama, film and music were recognized by GOPIO Sydney. Before the impressive   audience of distinguished guests, proud parents and encouraging community members, the talented bunch of individuals were applauded for their hard work, grit, determination and talent. The organization for making this very special evening possible was GOPIO Sydney who is a trendsetter of these awards night since 2010.


The students and guests were welcomed with traditional Teeka Ceremony at the door. The people were fascinated by the bagpiper playing the pipe to welcome them in his own inimitable style. The evening began with the traditional lamp lighting followed by the welcome note of Lucky Singh, president GOPIO Sydney.


"I am both, proud and humbled to stand before you tonight, confident in the knowledge that we are building something remarkable together when we greatly value this extremely special occasion where we acknowledge, encourage & most importantly promote the positive achievements of our young achievers of Indian origin," said Lucky.


"These awards provide a great opportunity and give important recognition to our leaders of tomorrow," Lucky added and congratulated all the high achievers and their proud parents and wished them all a great future ahead.


Umesh Chandra, International coordinator of GOPIO Oceania/Pacific region addressed the audience and read the message of GOPIO International president Mr Ashook Ramsaran from New York. He congratulated the president for her team efforts. GOPIO International chairman Mr Inder Singh's message was read by Rohit Revo.


GOPIO Sydney 2012 Inauguration

Photo above: GOPIO Sydney 2012 Gyan 2012 Inauguration by Vice Consul Harjeet Singh Sethi

The chief guest for the evening Harjeet Singh Sethi, Vice Consul at Sydney Indan consulate who applauded and praised the efforts of high achievers. Other guests for the evening were Matt Kean MP for Hornsby, representing Premier of NSW, Nathan Rees, former premier NSW representing leader of the opposition NSW, Mr Nihal Gupta, Chairman NSW Multicultural business advisory panel, Anupam Sharma, Producer/Director and advisor of Indian Cinema, many MPs and councilors of Labor and Liberal parties.


The evening was led by Radio jockey of Sursangam, Nitin Madan assisted by Manju Mittal and Shaizy Singh. Gautam Koul from Canberra added spice to the evening by asking witty questions to the high achievers. The caliber of all the high achievers was outstanding. The students bagged trophies and gifts sponsored by The Good Guys-Nash Patel and the Astrolab. The two All Rounder awards went to Proteek Roy Chowdhry and Divyansh Saxena and both of them received Tablets sponsored by Value world and Poonam's - The Fun House.


GOPIO Sydney Gyan 2012 Awardees and Dignitaries 

Photo above left: GOPIO-Sydney Gyan 2012 award recipinet with Umesh Chandra (in the middle) and Lucky Singh (extreme right) and other digntaries; Photo above right: Swamy Army Team with GOPIO-Sydney Joint Secretary Sukhjinder Rajput.


The other awards were- Pallavi Sinha for community services, Sonia Sadiq for Art& Culture, Rajpal Sandhu for Literature, Sonu Sarda for education, Lady of the Media- Kumud Merani, Woman of the year- Mala Mehta for promoting Hindi language, Friends of India- Michelle Rowland MP, who sponsored all the awards for the third consecutive year and Life time Achievement Award went to Bawa Jagdev Singh OAM for his community services.


Harpreet Singh from Punjab Times and Anuj Kulshreshtha from Hindi Gaurav were also acknowledged for their ongoing support and official media partners of GYAAN awards.


The award ceremony was followed by a short   entertainment program that was mostly presented by the high achievers. The Shakespearean dance by Shefali Chaukra, the locking and popping Bollywood dance by Gautam Koul, the mesmerizing song of Gulnav Hora, the best Bhangra group of Sydney by Karan Multani and Palaks dance enthralled the audience. While on the other hand Niharika and Gargi captivated the audience with their spellbound traditional form of dances.


Maya da Dhaba, also the platinum sponsor of the night had laid out a sumptuous dinner, followed by an auction; return air ticket to India sponsored by the Silver sponsor Best & Less Travel and a poster signed by Sachin Tendulkar sponsored by Swamy Army.


Sukhwinder Rajput, the joint secretary of GOPIO Sydney closed the evening by acknowledging and thanking everyone.


GOPIO Sydney team to put together the program inclueded of Dr. Lubna Thomas, Bhupinder Chhibber, Rajat Midha, Sukhwinder Rajput, Manmohan Singh, Suresh Sharma, Balbir Singh, Satpal Dhingra, Harpreet Singh, KL Dhingra, Himmat Singh, Poonam Chhibber, Kuldeep Kaur, Rosina Sharma, Shivdev Kler and last but not the least GOPIO Sydney's president Lucky Singh. All in all, a noteworthy evening.


GOPIO Sydney encourages students of Indian origin to apply for GYAAN awards after their HSC exams in December each year at their website


Contact: Lucky Singh, GOPIO-CT President, Tel: +61 434631379, or 02 88090872,




Mr. Harmohan S (Harry) Walia, Chairperson, GOPIO's Committee on Chapter Policies & Procedures delivered a lecture on "Personality Building and Introduction to ISO 9001" to MBA students at Punjab University. Mr. Walia also met Vice Chancellor Dr. Jaspal Singh and suggested opening an Indian/Punjabi Diaspora Studies Program at the University to which he agreed. Dr. Manjit Inder Singh of the English Department is now serving as the Director of Center for Diaspora Studies at the university.


GOPIIO's Harry Walia with Prof. Manjit Inder Singh of Punjab UnviersityIn a letter to GOPIO, Dr. Singh wrote that the new Centre would engage in research and advanced studies on Indian/Pubjabi Diaspora. The aim is to carry out interdisciplinary research and highlights iinformaiton about the achievements and important facets of its experience in various disciplines/areas of study. Besides, the Centre also aims to focus on professional, business, and socio-cultural activities of Indians abroad by holding lectures, conferences, conclaves and seminars in near future. The Centre solicits valuable inputs, information, guidance and all possible help from all those interested in above academic and cultural fields.

Photo above: Harry Walia with Prof. Manji Inder Singh


Contact: Prof. Manjit Inder Singh, Director, Centre for Diaspora Studies, Punjab University, Patiala, India; Tel: +91-9815952550, 0175-3046550 (O), E-mail: or Harmohan S (Harry) Walia,Chairperson, GOPIO's Committee on Chapter Policies & Procedures, Sydney, Australia, Tel: +61-402 842 375.




The Indian Diaspora in Caribbean Regional will be held in St. Vincent on the weekend of June 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 2012 on the theme "The Indian Diaspora in St. Vincent and the wider Caribbean". The conference will coincide with Indian Arrival Day in St. Vincent on June 1st which has been formally recognized by St Vincent and the Grenadines Parliament since 2007.


The conference aims to bring together academics, scholars, students, teachers, organizations and people with an interest in the Indian Diaspora in the Caribbean to discuss their research findings. Space will be provided for less formal presentations from activists and practitioners in the field in order to contribute to the limited store of public knowledge on Indians in the St. Vincent. Possible presentation topics can include, but are not limited to conversion, resistance, discrimination, politics, history, family histories, migration, literature, gender, oration, performance, art, sports, recreation, accommodation, survival, the media, etc. At least a quarter of the paper to be presented must deal with Indians in St. Vincent.


The St. Vincent Chapter of GOPIO (The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) will be the main host and organizer of the conference. The tentative program is as follows:

Friday June 1- ceremonial opening at 6.00 p.m. with a feature speech, concluding with cocktail reception

Saturday June 2 - all-day presentations from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., concluding with a cultural show and/or film screening beginning at 7.00 p.m.

Sunday June 3 - all-day island guided tour that would include tangible, intangible and natural heritage and historical sites such as monuments, museums, beaches, events, ceremonies and activities.


Call for Papers on Indian Diaspora Conference in St. Vincent

Please send abstracts of 200 words and brief biodata (via MS Word attachment) by April, 1, 2012 to

Dr. Arnold Thomas in St. Vincent -, and Dr. Kumar Mahabir in Trinidad


In the Subject line, please type "St Vincent Indian Conference". The deadline date for the submission of the full paper is May 1, 2012.


Contacts: Dr. Arnold Thomas in St. Vincent (GOPIO Regional Coordinator, Caribbean), Dr. Kumar Mahabir in Trinidad (Assoc Prof, University of Trinidad & Tobago & Co-Chair, GOPIO Academic Council at







Indian-American politician and Deputy Speaker of New Jersey State Assembly, Upendra Chivukula is all set to run for the US House of Representatives in the ensuing national elections slated for November, 2012.


A recipient of GOPIO Community Service Award in 2009 and Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in 2010, Chivukula, has been the member of New Jersey State Assembly since 2002 and its deputy speaker for the last five years. The Democratic Party leader represents the state's 17th Legislative District of Somersett. He will be running for New Jersey's 7th Congressional District. Currently held by Republican Congressman Leonard Lance who got elected first time in 2008 and re-elected in 2010 to represent New Jersey's 7th Congressional District. Elections, to be held on November 6, are due for another two-year term.


Upendra holds the proud distinction of being the first Indian-American elected to the New Jersey Legislature, and only the fourth Indian-American to be elected to a state legislature.


"There are a lot of factors favorable in my side. Incumbent Lance is facing a primary challenge within the party and no one knows who will get the nomination. New towns have been added to the district changing the demography thanks to the reorganization of districts.


"Moreover, Lance had moved to right of center in his policies that has angered many voters and created a strong displeasure in the community," Chivukula said.


He said major state Democratic organizations was supporting him and he does not anticipate a primary challenge. Prior to his tenure in the state Assembly, Chivukula served on the Franklin Township Council from 1997 to 2005. He was elected mayor there in 2000 after serving as deputy mayor in 1998.


"America is a great country. It gave an opportunity for an immigrant like me," said Andhra Pradesh-born Chivukula, who came to the US when he was 24, to pursue his education.


"America has been a great home for me, and our country has been at the top for many, many years. Unfortunately, the country us facing many challenges that affect the middle class. In the Capitol, there are far many people who are obstructionist rather trying to solve the problems facing Americans."




Nithin Tumma, 17, of Fort Gratiot, Mich., won the top $100,000 prize from the Intel Foundation for his research, which could lead to more direct, targeted, effective and less toxic breast cancer treatments.


He analyzed the molecular mechanisms in cancer cells and found that by inhibiting certain proteins, we may be able to slow the growth of cancer cells and decrease their malignancy.


Tumma is first in his class of 332, a varsity tennis player and a volunteer for the Port Huron Museum, where he started a restoration effort for historical and cultural landmarks.


Another Indian American student Neel Patel (Geneva, Florida ) got to the 6th Place with $25,000 prize. Patel, 17, studied how non-speech sound patterns, called sonifications, can convey information. This work could lead to a computer-user interface similar to graphic interfaces developed decades ago.


Yet another Indian American student reached to the 7th Place. Anirudh Prabhu, of West Lafayette, Indiana, received a $25,000 award for his investigation of the odd perfect number problem, and his suggestion that odd perfect numbers do not exist.




Harvard professor and 1998 Nobel Prize winner in economics Dr. Marya Sen has been recognized with the National Medals of Arts and Humanities award by the US President Barack Obama at a glittering White House function.


"We even have an economist, which we don't always get on stage," Obama said referring to 78-year-old Sen, before he presented the 2011 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities.


"Sen is being awarded the 2011 National Humanities Medal for his insights into the causes of poverty, famine, and injustice. By applying philosophical thinking to questions of policy, he has changed how standards of living are measured and increased our understanding of how to fight hunger," said the citation, read by a military aid of the US President. Few minutes later, Sen was on the stage to receive the medal from Obama.


Sen also attended the White House reception hosted by President Obama on this occasion. The First Lady, Michelle also attended the awards ceremony.


The 2011 National Medal of Arts were also awarded to Will Barnet, Rita Dove, Al Pacino, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Martin Puryear, Mel Tillis, United Service Organization and Andr? Watts. And the 2011 National Humanities Medal were given to Kwame Anthony Appiah, John Ashbery, Robert Darnton, Andrew Delbanco, National History Day, Charles Rosen sand Teofilo Ruiz besides Sen.




Indian American filmmaker Manan Singh Katohora has won the "2012 Rising Star Award" for his feature film "8 Eleven" at the Canada International Film Festival. 

Held in Vancouver, British Columbia, the festival brought the very best of World Cinema from over 90 countries around the world. It is dedicated to the creation of opportunities for the artistic interaction and exchange among independent filmmakers and the film-going community. 

Written and Directed by Katohora, "9 Eleven" portrays the life of 10 people who belong to different walks of life. 

Though each individual has achieved a measure of success in their individual lives, their darkest secrets come out in the open when all of them are given some time for introspection, when they meet each other in a bizarre twist of events. 

They realize that their lives are inter-woven and this literally shakes up their... peaceful lives. Terrorized to the core by an unknown entity in an unfamiliar place, each individual is petrified and is hesitant to talk or take each other into confidence for one simple reason... The Fear of the Unknown! 

The film "9-Eleven" is a fast paced thriller with undertones of terrorism. Terrorism need not be political, "ideologically" generated or xenophobic. 


Kashmera Shah features in an item number composed by 'Dilwaale Dulhania Le Jaayenge' fame music director Jatin Pandit.




Ten Indian American researchers -Tulika Bose, Neal K. Dalal, Neil K. Garg, Shwetak N. Patel, Parag Pathak, Prasad Raghavendra, Srinivas Raghu, Sohini Ramachandran, Sylvia Ratnasamy and Satinder Kaur Singh - were recently named recipients of the prestigious 2012 Sloan Research Fellowships.


The Sloan Research Fellowships program was established in 1955 to provide support and recognition to scientists, often in their first appointments to university faculties, who were endeavoring to set up laboratories and establish their independent research projects with little or no outside support.


The awards include $50,000 for each honoree's university over two years for equipment, travel, technical assistance and other support directly related to the winners' research.


Bose, assistant professor at Boston University, received her Ph.D. in experimental high energy physics from Columbia University in 2006. Her post-doctoral research at Brown University focused on direct searches for new phenomena at the DO experiment at the Fermilab Tevatron and at the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider.


Dalal, assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Illinois, received his doctorate in astronomy from the University of California, San Diego, in 2002. He received a Hubble Fellowship from the Space Telescope Science Institute and was a senior research associate at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics before he joined the faculty at the U of I in 2011.


Garg, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UCLA, received his Ph.D. in 2005 from the California Institute of Technology. He completed his training as an NIH postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Irvine, and later joined UCLA in 2007. His research program at UCLA focuses on the development of synthetic strategies and methods as well as the synthesis of bioactive molecules.


Patel, an assistant professor in the department of computer science and engineering and electrical engineering at the University of Washington, received his Ph.D. in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008. His most recent research focuses on building low-cost sensing systems for the home.


Pathak, associate professor of economics at MIT and research associate in the NBER's pro?grams on Education, Public Economics and Industrial Organization, received his A.B., S.M. and Ph.D. in 2007 from Harvard University. His research focuses on evaluating student assignment systems and has helped with New York City and Boston school assignment mechanisms.


Raghavendra, assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, received his Ph.D. from the computer science and engineering department at University of Washington, Seattle. He received his dual degree in computer science from IIT Madras. His research interests include approximation algorithms, hardness of approximation, complexity, and coding theory.


Raghu, assistant professor of the department of physics at Stanford University, received his Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University in 2006. His research interests include theoretical condensed matter physics, unconventional superconductivity, correlated electron systems, and topological phases of matter.


Ramachandran, assistant professor of biology, ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown University, received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in biological sciences in 2007. There, she worked on human population genetics. Ramachandran was elected to the Harvard Society of Fellows in 2007 and did postdoctoral work while studying coalescent theory.


Ratnasamy, assistant professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, received her Ph.D. in computer science from UC Berkeley in 2002. As a second-year Ph.D. student, she was appointed to the ICSI Center for Internet Research, in Berkeley.


Singh, assistant professor of cellular and molecular physiology at Yale School of Medicine, received her B.S. from the University of Minnesota in 1995 and her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2002. Her lab seeks to find out how signaling proteins in neural circuits function at the atomic level, how disease-associated polymorphisms disrupt activity and how therapeutic and illicit compounds exert their effects.




In a glamorous and glittering function, Alana Seebarran of Guyana was crowned Miss India Worldwide 2012 held in Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname, February 25, 2012. The pageant was held for the first time in South America with the maximum country participation. Alana won the coveted title beating beautiful contestants from 34 countries.


Alana, 24, is a student of Business and Marketing and her hobbies include listening to music, traveling, cooking and dancing. Alana's dancing also won her the title of Miss Talented. This is for the first time Guyana has won the crown in the pageant's twenty one year history. Alana will receive prizes totaling over $15,000, including cash prize of $7,000, an all-expense paid trip to South Africa, India, Suriname, Trinidad, India, Netherlands and USA among other prizes.  Alana was crowned by Ankita Ghazan of Australia, the outgoing Miss India Worldwide in presence of Bollywood actors Aftab Shivdasani and Aarti Chabria, a former Miss India Worldwide.  


Anvita Sudarshan, 21, of Kuwait and Olivia Bourillon,18, of Australia were named first and second runners-up respectively. The other two finalists were Deana Uppal of United Kingdom and Varsha Ramrattan of Suriname. The other sub contest winners were Uraysha Ramrachia of Mauritius for Miss Photogenic, Chandan Kaur of U.S.A. for Miss Beautiful Eyes, Shreyaa Chawla of Canada for Miss Beautiful Smile, Ankita Arora of Italy for Miss Beautiful Hair, Varsha Ramratan of Suriname for Miss Beautiful Skin, Sharmisttha Yoogan of Malaysia for Miss Congeniality, Deana Uppal of United Kingdom for Miss Bollywood Diva, Lizann Afonso of U.A.E. for Miss Catwalk, Eram Karim of India for Miss Beautiful Figure, Anvita Sudarshan of Kuwait for Miss Beautiful Face and Veebha Sharma of Qatar for Chairman's Miss Professional.


The week long activities included a reception dinner hosted by His Excellency Desire Delano Bouterse, President of the Republic of Suriname for the contestants and all international guests at the President's Palace. Bollywood Film Festival, Indian Food Festival, International Fashion Show were also part of the week long celebrations.


The international panel of judges included judges from different countries including Bollywood Actor - Aftab Shivdasani.


"The pageant was altogether a great experience. All other contestants were very well prepared which made the competition very rewarding as well as challenging," said Rameet Sandhu, contestant from Scotland.

Dharmatma Saran, Founder of the Miss India Worldwide and GOPIO Life Member, thanked Anil Ramhit Doebe, Namita Ajodhia and their entire team for organizing an excellent pageant. He also presented The National Director of the Year Award was to Chandini Ramnarain of Guyana.


The next Miss India Worldwide is scheduled to be held in Malaysia in 2013.




US President Barak Obama has announced the appointment of two eminent Indian Americans - Paul Gangopadhyay and Sonny Ramaswamy to key posts in the administration. While Gangopadhyay has been nominated Member of the prestigious National Museum and Library Services Board, Ramaswamy has been appointed Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in US Department of Agriculture, the White House said, as it announced about half a dozen new nominations.


"These dedicated individuals bring a wealth of experience and talent to their new roles and I am proud to have them serve in this administration. I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come," Obama said in a statement.


Gangopadhyay is currently the Chief Learning Officer at the Henry Ford, where she is responsible for leadership, strategy, and education. She has held a variety of positions in education and arts policy, including Executive Director of the Plymouth Community Arts Council from 2006 to 2008; Curator of Education, Public Programs, Visitor Services and Volunteers at the Public Museum of Grand Rapids from 2002 to 2006; and Executive Director of the Great Lakes Center for Education, Research and Practice from 2000 to 2001.


Ramaswamy is Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University and Director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. Ramaswamy has been Associate Dean of the Purdue University College of Agriculture and directed the university's agricultural research programs from 2006 to 2009. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Entomological Society of America.




New Jersey-based Indian American physician, publisher and philanthropist Dr. Sudhir M. Parikh has been nominated as Knight of the Ecumenical Hospitaller Order of the Knights of Malta. The Knighthood ceremony was held on Mar 17 at the La Salle University in Philadelphia, according to a notification issued by Malta-based Ecumenical Hospitaller Order of the Knights.


The Knights of Malta, as the order is better known, was originally founded in 1176 in Jerusalem, during the Crusades to treat Christian pilgrims and soldiers. Dr. Parikh was honored in recognition of his philanthropic contributions that have enabled the Ecumenical Order to undertake humanitarian aid projects such as establishing orphanages, schools, training programs, medical assistance programs for the poor in association with local hospitals and general development projects without taking into consideration the color or the belief of the assisted.


A Life member of GOPIO, the Knighthood is the latest among a series of honors and awards that Dr. Parikh has received during his three-decade long career and community service in the United States. Included among them are two of the most distinguished awards bestowed by the Government of India -- the Padma Shri and the Pravasi Bharatiya Saman. Dr. Parikh is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.




Seven Indian Americans are among 66 new members elected to the US National Academy of Engineering. Also included are two Indians among the ten foreign associates, bringing the total American membership to 2254 and the number of foreign associates to 206. Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.


The newly elected Indian American members, their primary affiliations at the time of election and principal engineering accomplishments are as follows:


Dr. Supriyo Datta, Thomas Duncan Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., for quantum transport modeling in nanoscale electronic devices


Dr. Akhil Datta-Gupta, regents professor and L.F. Peterson '36 Chair, Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University, College Station, for developing the theory and practice of streamline simulation for fluid flow in heterogeneous reservoirs


Dr. Ray R. Irani, executive chairman, Occidental Petroleum Corp., Los Angeles, for leadership in the petrochemical industry and processes for applications of particulate systems


Dr. Jyotirmoy Mazumder, Robert H. Lurie Professor of Mechanical Engineering, professor of materials science and engineering, director of the Center for Laser-Aided Intelligent Manufacturing, and director of the NSF I/UCRC for Lasers and Plasmas for Advanced Manufacturing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, for quantitative transport modeling for laser interaction and design and commercialization of direct metal deposition machines


Dr. Kaushik Rajashekara, chief technologist, electric power and control systems, Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, for contributions to electric power conversion systems in transportation


Dr. Nambirajan Seshadri, senior vice president and general manager, Mobile Wireless Group, and chief technology officer, Mobile Platforms and Wireless Connectivity, Broadcom Corp., Irvine, Calif., for contributions to wireless communications theory and development of mass market wireless technology and


Dr. Amit Singhal, Google Fellow, Google Inc., Mountain View, Calif., for contributions to information retrieval and search.


Named among the new foreign associates were Pradip, chief scientist and head of the Process Engineering Lab, Tata Research Development and Design Center, Pune, for contributions to processing of minerals and waste materials; and P. Rama Rao, chairman, International Advanced Research Center for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials, Hyderabad, for advancing the understanding of deformation and fracture of structural materials and development of materials research infrastructure for societal needs.






In a move that is expected to hit Indian IT companies in a significant way, the US government has decided to hike H-1B visa fee from next fiscal. In a statement, USCIS listed out the details of the fees to be filed by the applicants for H-1B visas, which starts from a base fee of $ 325 to $ 2,000 by the petitioner who employs 50 or more employees in the US - where more than 50 per cent of its workers in the US are in H-1B or L-1 non- immigrant status.


This year, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is charging $ 750 for employers with 1 to 25 full-time equivalent employees, and $ 1,500 for employers with 26 or more full-time equivalent employees.There is another $ 500 listed as fraud prevention and detection fee.


And employers seeking premium processing service, in which application is processed within 15 days, need to submit an additional $ 1,225, it said.India's software and services companies earn around 60 per cent of their revenues from the US and employ a large number of professionals here.


USCIS also said that applications for the most sought after H-1B work visa - used extensively by Indian IT professionals - for the fiscal beginning October 1, would be accepted beginning April 2.The congressionally mandated numerical limitation on H-1B petitions for the fiscal year 2013 is 65,000, as has been in the previous years.


Additionally, the first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals who have earned a US master's degree or higher are exempt from the fiscal year cap.




The IRS launched its third offshore voluntary disclosure program in early 2012. The program encourages taxpayers with unreported foreign accounts to make full disclosures in exchange for a reduced penalty. The terms and conditions of the reopened program are very identical to the previous two programs, in 2009 and 2011 in which the government collected over $4.4 billion.


The new programhas no set end date. It requires taxpayers to file all original and amended tax returns and include payment for back-taxes and interest for up to eight years as well as pay accuracy-related and/or delinquency penalties. Additionally, taxpayers must pay a penalty of 27.5 percent of the highest aggregate balance in foreign bank accounts/entities or value of foreign assets during the eight full tax years prior to the disclosure. Taxpayers whose offshore accounts or assets do not surpass $75,000 in any calendar year may qualify for the 12.5 percent penalty. Some taxpayers may also qualify for a five percent penalty.




In good news to American visa applicants, US has announced those Indians who are renewing their visas, valid or expired, within 4 years, are likely to get waiver for a personal interview.


"This new program will permit consular officers to waive interviews for some qualified applicants who are renewing their visa within 48 months or four years, of expiration of their previous visa and within the same classification as the previous visa," Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Janice Jacobs said. 

The new rules will apply to those within categories of B1, B2, C and D. 

Asked to specify the possible beneficiaries, Jacobs, who was in India for the 2nd US-India Consular Dialogue, said it would apply for tourists, business travelers, crew members and for students. 




News service IANS reports that nearly 167 years after Indians arrived in Trinidad and Tobago, the sounds of the tabla, dholak and harmonium will be heard in over 550 primary schools of Trinidad and Tobago which will now teach the Indian musical instruments to students.


According to Education Minister Tim Gopeesingh, the cabinet has agreed to introduce a multicultural form of music in the primary school curriculum, representative of the country's diverse culture.


The current music program in primary schools is based on the Western musical tradition. According to the minister, the instrument of choice so far has been the steel pan or drum because of its origin.


Guitar, cuatro, xylophone and African drums will also form part of the new program, he said. This program will be called the Multicultural Music Program, instead of the Pan-in-The Classroom Unit. 

Indians arrived in Trinidad and Tobago between 1845 and 1917 to work on sugar plantations. 

The Indian High Commission has been holding classes in Indian music and dance through the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Cultural Exchange.



GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in several countries, actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin worldwide by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in various countries.


GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one- time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and half the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.


GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world so as to network people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have chapter in your city, please visit GOPIO website ( and get details of chapter initiation (visit Process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more. For more information, contact:


GOPIO Chairman - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: +1-818-708-3885, E-mail:


GOPIO President - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York, USA, Tel: 718/939-8194,


GOPIO Executive Vice President - Sunny Kulathakal, Bahrain, Tel: +973 39441956 or +91 9845756692, E-mail:


GOPIO Senior Vice President - Dr Piyush Agrawal, Weston, Florida, USA, Tel: +1-954-684-6494,


To become a Life member of GOPIO, one can sign up online at or fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO International, PO Box 560117, New York NY 11356, USA.



Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus of GOPIO Intl. and Executive Trustee, GOPIO Foundation (Stamford, CT, USA)

Editor: Nami Kaur, Secretary, GOPIO International (New York, USA)

Co-Editor:Bina Mahabir, Co-Chair GOPIO Media Council, GOPIO International (Guyana-New York, USA)

Webmasters: Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, India) and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)   

Contributors of this issue:

Inder Singh (Chairman, GOPIO Intl.), Ashook Ramsaran (President, GOPIO Intl.), Harry Walia (GOPIO-Sydney North West), Lucky Singh (GOPIO-Sydney), Shailesh Naik (GOPIO-CT), Ena Maharaj (GOPIO-Trinidad & Tobago), Nisha Arora (GOPIO-CT), Dr. Arnold Thomas (GOPIO Regional Coordinator, St. Vincent)

GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter. Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail:

Visit GOPIO's Official site at or