GOPIO Logo Revised


May 20, 2012

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

Issue: XI-7 May 20, 2012
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The theme of the Indian Diaspora in Caribbean Regional to be held in St. Vincent on the weekend of June 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 2012 is "The Indian Diaspora in St. Vincent and the wider Caribbean".  The conference will coincide with the Indian Arrival Day in St. Vincent on June 1st which has been formally recognized by St Vincent and the Grenadines Parliament since 2007.



GOPIO St. Vincent conference organizers and PM Gonsalves


Photo above from l. to r.: St. Vincent Prime Minister Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves, GOPIO Preisdent Ashook Ramsaran, GOPIO Intl. Voordinator for Caribbean Arnold Thomas and and GOPIO Academic Council Co-Chiar Dr. Kumar Mahabir


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 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 a 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



SVG Indian Heritage Foundation & GOPIO Chapter of St. Vincent



Murray Heights Hotel, McKies Hill, Kingstown, St. Vincent




Ceremonial Opening -  Friday June 1, 2012 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

(Commemorating Indian Arrival Day in St. Vincent, recognised by St Vincent and the Grenadines Parliament since 2007)


  • Universal Prayer
  • National Anthem



  • Welcoming Remarks: President, SVG Indian Heritage Foundation


  • Welcoming Remarks: Mr. Ashook Ramsaran, President, GOPIO International


  • Greetings Part 1: Distinguished individuals and organisations - Saint Vincent and the Grenadines


  • Cultural item/s (song/dance)


  • Greetings Part 2: Distinguished individuals and organisations - Foreign - Regional and International


  • Feature address: Dr. Arnold Thomas, GOPIO International Coordinator for the Caribbean


  • Cultural item (dance/song)


  • Opening Address: Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines


  • Vote of Thanks: Dr. Kumar Mahabir, University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), Co-Chairperson, GOPIO Academic Council


Refreshments and socialising with soft music



Conference presentations - Saturday June 2, 2012 - 9:00pm to 4:00pm.


  • Dr. Arnold Thomas: GOPIO International Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean

Title of Presentation: An Overview of Indian Indentureship in St. Vincent


  • Professor Lindsey Harlan:  Connecticut College, USA

Title of Paper: Indian Arrival in St. Vincent and Trinidad: Fluid Discourses in the Celebration of a National Holiday   


  • MrMansraj Ramphal: University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)

Title of Presentation: Indian Arrivals in St. Vincent and Trinidad during the Indentureship Period: Names, Numbers, Death, Disease, Ships and Shared Experiences


  • Professor Ilsa López: University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras

Title of Presentation: A Look into the Indentured System of Indian Workers in St. Vincent, Trinidad and Guyana


  • Professor Carmen Milagros Torres-Rivera: University of Puerto Rico, Humacao

Title of Presentation: Cultural Identity: Loss, Transformation or Hybridity:

Indo-Caribbean within the Legacy of the Past and the Reality of the Present


  • Professor Amitava Chowdhury: Queen's University, Canada

Title of Presentation: Captive Voices: Lack of Regulation and Marginalization of Indian indentured Laborers in St. Vincent between 1861 and 1882.


  • Ms. Sylvia Gilharry Perez: Corozal Organization of East Indian Cultural Heritage (COEICH); President of GOPIO of Belize

Title of Presentation: The History of East Indian Seventh Day Adventists in Belize (with reference to St. Vincent)


  • Dr. Kumar Mahabir: University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT); Co-Chair, GOPIO Academic Council

Title of Presentation: Narratives of recent Vincentian Indian migrants in Trinidad


  • Dr. Vijay Maharaj: University of  the West Indies (UWI)

Title of Presentation: Nebulous and Intangible but Real: Speculations about the

Meaning of Pt. Samsundar Parasram's punditaye experiences in St Vincent


  • Mr. Jai Sears: Grenada Indian Cultural Organisation

Title of Presentation: The Contribution of Indians to the Economy and Polity of St. Vincent and the wider Caribbean


  • Mr. Primnath Gooptar: University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)

Title of PresentationIndian Movies as a Medium for Continuity of Indian Culture in the Caribbean    


  • Professor Clem Seecharan & Mr. John Mair: London Metropolitan & Coventry University, UK; Prof Seecharran: Co-Chair, GOPIO Academic Council

Title of Presentation: Cricket in the Indo-Caribbean Imagination: The View from Two Sides of the Wicket


  • Professor Susan R. Henderson:  Syracuse University, USA

Title of Presentation: The Caribbean Mosque: Transposition of a Type


  • Panel presentation and discussion: Indian culture and consciousness in St. Vincent

Panellists: Activists and Practitioners

Moderator: Ashook Ramsaran, President, GOPIO International


 Cultural performances - Saturday June 2, 2012 - 6:00pm to 9:pm


  • Film Screening: The Madonna Murti: Director: Sharon Syriac

Institution/Organisation: University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)


  • Dance/Song:


  • Film Screening: Hosay Cedros: Director: MsAnn Marie Samsoondar

Institution/Organisation: University of the West Indies (UWI)




Updated information on accommodation for all guests staying in St. Vincent for Conference


The conference organisers will provide free shared-room accommodation, most likely at and breakfast and lunch, and ground transportation for two days/nights for foreign presenters, speakers and entertainers only. Other participants would be provided with subsidised services and facilities.


Other suitable accommodations are:

New Haddon Hotel - Saint Vincent, St. Vincent & the Grenadines


Tropic Breeze Hotel



All-day island guided tour - Sunday June 3, 2012 - 10.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.

Include visits to tangible, intangible and natural heritage and historical sites such as monuments, museums, beaches, events, ceremonies and activities


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



GOPIO International, in collaboration with GOPIO Business Council & GOPIO Chapters of Tri-State NY-NJ-CT, convened a successful seminar on "India-US Geo-Economic Strategies & Roles in the 21st Century" on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at the Kubera Hall at Hindu Temple of New York in Queens, New York.



The lead speaker was Professor Prabhu Guptara, Distinguished Professor of Global Business, Management & Public Policy, William Carey University, India who spoke on "Examining Indian and US Geo-Economic Roles in the 21st Century". Acclaimed Professor Maya Chadda, William Paterson University, NJ (GOPIO Life Member) spoke on "India's post-Cold war quest for a geo-strategic doctrine". Seth Bornstein, Executive Director of Queens Economic Development Corp, New York, discussed business opportunities in New York; John Choe, Executive Director of One Flushing, New York, encouraged participation in the Chamber of Commerce which would promote more extensive collaboration in the New York area. The talks were followed by an interactive session of audience participation that allowed the speakers to respond to specific questions and comments, ranging from economics and politics to security.

GOPIO seminar speakers and organizers

Photo above: from l. to r.: Prof Prabhu Guptara, Seth Bornstein, Rene Lobo, John Choe, Ashook Ramsaran, Prof Maya Chadda, Dr Thomas Abraham



Moderator of the program was Renee Lobo, well known journalist and community advocate. GOPIO Associate Secretary Jaswant Mody coordinated registration at the event.


Notable remarks by speakers:

Prof. Guptara:"If we construct a global order, who will police it? If the US builds the right kind of global order, we can avoid wars in the future...". He added, "If the US helps pioneer the right kind of globalisation, then the US economy will recover, jobs will come back to the USA, and global growth will resume in a steady manner."

Prof. Chadda: "India wants to maintain its autonomy... as that has been its goal always... India has more to fear from within than from outside."

Mr. John Choe: "We're a global village - not islands, and with great power comes great responsibility


Several of GOPIO's officers and members participated throughout the program. GOPIO President Ashook Ramsaran welcomed everyone to the program; Dr Thomas Abraham, former Chairman and current Executive Trustee of GOPIO Foundation, made the concluding remarks; GOPIO Co-Chair of Cultural Council Naidoo Veerapen gave the Vote of Thanks. Other participants: Dr Najma Sultana, GOPIO Life Member and Co-Chair of Cultural Council; Aminta Kilawan, Co-Chair of Human Rights Council; Dr Asha Samant, GOPIO Life Member and Co-Chair of Health Council; Netram Rambudhan, Treasurer of GOPIO Int'l; Nami Kaur, Secretary of GOPIO Int'l and Editor of GOPIO News; Sudha Acharya, GOPIO Life Member and Exec Dir of SACCS; Bina Mahabir, Co-Chair GOPIO Media Council and Co-Editor of GOPIO News.

 GOPIO Seminar - speakers with GOPIO offcials and Life Members 

Photo above: from l. to r.:  Front Row:Netram Rambudhan, Vallab Rathod, Dr Asha Samant, Nami Kaur, Dr Najma Sultana, Sudha Acharya, Naidoo Veerapen; Back Row: Jaswant Mody, Dr Parmatma Saran, Prof Prabhu Guptara, Seth Bornstein, Rene Lobo, John Choe, Ashook Ramsaran, Prof Maya Chadda, Dr Thomas Abraham



The program was sponsored by GOPIO and John Messer Esq. Co-Sponsors: Indian Jewish Council (represented by Richie Lipkowtiz); Pro Pol LLC; IndUS Forum; Richmond Hill Econ Development Council.



See YouTube videos of speaker presentations at the following links:

Prof. Prabhu Guptara speaks -


Prof. Maya Chadda speaks Part 1 -

Prof. Maya Chadda speaks Part 2 -

Mr. Seth Bernstein speaks-

Mr. John Choe speaks - 







 The Overseas Citizen of India Cards (OCI) Scheme envisages the issue of OCI documents within a period of 30 days. However some of these Missions and Posts could take up to three months for issue of such documents.


As of 30th April, 2012, a total number of 10,77,298 persons of Indian origin have been registered as Overseas Citizens of India. Details and Salient Features of the OCI Scheme are as follows:


  • The Scheme provides for registration of Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) who were citizens of India on or after 26th January, 1950 or were eligible to become citizens of India on 26th January, 1950 and who are citizens of other countries, except Pakistan and Bangladesh.


  • The Scheme was introduced by an amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955 in August 2005 and was made operational from January, 2006.


  • Registered OCIs are issued an OCI registration certificate and a life-long multiple entry, multi-purpose for visiting India.


  • Registered OCIs are exempted from registration with Foreigners Regional Registration Office for any length of stay in India.


  • Registered OCIs are granted conceptual parity with Non-Resident Indians in respect of all facilities available to them in economic, financial and educational fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties. However, specific benefits have to be notified under section 7B(1) of the Act.


  • OCI is not to be construed as 'dual citizenship







It was a night of fun under the stars as GOPIO Connecticut chapter marked the organization's 6th anniversary on Saturday, April 28th, 2012 with a "Moonlight & Magic" Gala to honor five Indian-American Achievers and one Friend of India.


Indian-American Achievers (Entrepreneur) was awarded to Mr. Vivek Maru from Danbury, CT., who fondly remembered the Danbury Ethnic Festival held every year at the Danbury Fair Grounds, which he felt was, "America at its best". He added, "it represented a spirit of learning and sharing, a celebration of diversity of the wider community to which we all belonged."


Indian-American Achievers (Arts and Letters) was awarded to Ms. Chandra Prasad from Hamden, CT., who talked about the five books she wrote in which she shared her experiences, relating to pivotal issues on racial diversity, ethnicity and socio-economic backgrounds. She ended her speech with a quote by Amelia Earhart: "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. You can do anything you decide to do." 


 GOPIO-CT Award Recipients for 2012 


GOPIO-CT Award Recipients: Mr. Vivek Maru, Danbury, CT; Ms. Malika Bhandarkar, New Haven, CT; Ms. Chandra Prasad, Hamden, CT; Ms. Neena Singh, Wilton, CT; Dr. Faquir Jain, Storrs/Mansfield, CT and Dr. William Pinch, Middletown, CT

Photo credits, courtesy Masala Junction


Indian-American Achievers (Applied Science & Research Award) was conferred on Dr. Faquir Jain from Storrs Mansfield, CT. Dr. Jain, Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Connecticut, also serves as the Editor and Coordinator of the Connecticut Microelectronics and Optoelectronics Consortium. He congratulated GOPIO for recognizing talent in different fields of endeavor and providing a platform to share their work among the Indian-American community world-wide.


Mrs. Neena Singh from Wilton, CT was awarded the Community Service Award. She has tirelessly devoted her time to the service of the underprivileged and volunteers in many non-profit activities. She said that the concept of seva or service is an ancient Indian tradition and that she was blessed to have had the opportunity to do her part.


Ms. Malika Bhandarkar of New Haven, was awarded the President's Young Person Award for her contribution to women's empowerment. She has worked with conflict-affected women's groups from Serbia to Sierra Leone. Malika noted that she is thrilled to be a part of this global Indian community - setting new standards and shaping an exciting and equitable future.


Friend of India Award was conferred on Dr. William "Vijay" Pinch from Middletown, CT, a professor of History and Chair of the History Department at Wesleyan University.  Dr. Pinch was born in India and lived his formative years in India and Pakistan. He said, "It is deeply gratifying for me to whom India has been a great friend throughout my life, to be honored as a 'Friend of India' in turn." He talked about Rudyard Kipling's Kim and Rabindranath Tagore's Gora, which dealt with Irish boys raised in, and shaped by India. He added that the meaning of being Indian is to search for the truth and to strive to do service for humanity.  


The elegant Moonlight & Magic event included a cocktail reception, dinner, Interactive Magic show and live music. It drew over 200 Indian-American community leaders, supporters and public officials - including former US Congressman Christopher Shays and Stamford Mayor, Michael Pavia. Also attending were David Smith, Sr. VP Strategy, Stamford Hospital, Silver Sponsor of the event, Harry Arora, Founder and CIO of ARCIM Advisors and Ashook Ramsaran, President of GOPIO International. Mayor Pavia was also present at the banquet and congratulated and praised GOPIO-CT for providing a platform which brings the Indian community together.


Certificates of recognition were also presented to the awardees on behalf of US Senator Richard Blumenthal.


In welcoming the guests and dignitaries, Shailesh Naik, President of GOPIO-CT., said "We are celebrating the achievements of six distinguished individuals and the award is a reflection of their remarkable accomplishments and commendable services."


GOPIO-CT and GOPIO Intl officials with award recipients 

Photo above: GOPIO-CT and GOPIO International officers and board members with award recipients. Front Row, from l. to r.: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Ashook Ramsaran, Dr. William "Vijay" Pinch, Vivek Maru, Malika Bhandarkar, Neena Singh, Chandra Prasad, Dr. Faquir Jain, Sangeeta Ahuja, Sara Tierno, Mangla Dongre and Harry Arora; Back Row, from l. to r.: David Smith, Louella D'Silva, Varghese Ninan, Leena Ramchandani, Prakash Chakravarti,  Ritu Johorey, Nisha Arora, Shelly Nichani, Shailesh Naik and Mohan Yadav

Photo credits, courtesy Masala Junction


Former Congressman Christopher Shays complimented the Indian-American community as a highly educated 3.2 million strong entity, making tremendous contributions to the economic growth of this country. He remembered his long association with the Indian community from serving the Peace Corps in Fiji, where he had an Indian landlord, to being present at the inauguration of the GOPIO-CT chapter in 2006.  He is a past "Friend of India" award recipient, is currently a candidate for the 2012 Republican U.S. Senate nomination.


Gayatri Mahesh, Mistress of Ceremonies, had the crowd on their feet in a group dance and treated the gathering to some nostalgic songs with her melodious voice. The great food was donated by Bukhara Grill and the rhythmic Bollywood music by DJ Amrit.


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




The Founding Committee of the GOPIO Bahrain Chapter met in pursuit of the formation of a local chapter in that country. The group discussed the further course of action to register GOPIO -Bahrain Chapter as a branch of GOPIO in the Kingdom of Bahrain.


The friendly meeting was held on Saturday, April 28th at 1 p.m. and the venue was the Kebab Factory, Jawad Dome, Budaiya, Kingdom of Bahrain. The following founding members attended


1)         Mr. Sunny Kulathakal

2)         Dr. Sai Giridhar

3)         Mr. R. Lakshmanan

4)         Mr. Alok Gupta

5)         Mr. Nevin Megchiani

6)         Mr. Navneet Kampani

7)         Mr. Sabu Oommen


At the meeting, the decision was taken that the Executive Committee of the GOPIO Bahrain Chapter will be formed and this course of action was unanimously approved by the attending members. The Executive Committee of the chapter will include the 7 attending members. It was also agreed that the office bearers will be elected at the next meeting of the committee. Lastly, members were in agreement with the notion that to conform with the Bahrain laws, the new chapter will submit an application for registration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Bahrain.

GOPIO-Bahrain Founders Meet, April 28, 2012

Photo above: GOPIO-Bahrain Founding members Meet, from l. to r.: Dr.Sai Giridhar (GOPIO Middle East Co-ordinator), R.Lakshmanan (CEO, Sakana), Sunny Kulathakal (GOPIO Executive Vice President), Nevin Megechiani (Managing Director, Mohammed Jalal & Sons), Navneet Kampani (Consumer Banking Head, Citibank), Alok Gupta (YK Almoayyed Group Manager) and Sabu Oommen (Senior Relationship Manager LIC)


Contact: Dr. Sai Giridhar, GOPIO International Coordinator for Middle East, +973 39059489




"It is so pleasing to see members of Indian community here in the US excelling in every aspect of life", said chief guest Dr. Virander Paul, Minister for Press, Information and Cultural Affairs, Embassy of India at Washington.  He spoke at the launching of "Nineteenth of November", a book written by Mr. Anadi Naik at a ceremony arranged by the Metropolitan Washington Chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (Metro-GOPIO). The venue was the University of   Maryland, College Park, MD.. Dr. Paul brought felicitations from Mrs. Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India. He expressed gratification at the fact that the American-Indian community has continued to practice its rich culture and heritage. He also complimented the efforts of Metro-GOPIO to bring the community members together at the various literary and cultural programs.


GOPIO President, Dr. Zafar Iqbal, welcomed everyone present at the event despite the chilly, wet day. He then briefly outlined the program. Dr. Krishna Banaudha, a faculty member at the Georgetown University Medical School in Washington, introduced Professor Har Swaroop Singh, a retired ambassador and former vice-chancellor of Punjab University. Professor Singh, a recognized author, talked about Mr. Naik's book in detail. He said that it was a real pleasure reading the book, which is a very skillfully written fiction about hope, perseverance and the desire to love and be loved.  He also said that Naik's creation of this story represents easily recognizable problems in the society and the prevailing presence of fretfulness that can happen anywhere at any time.


Mr. Naik, born in India, came to the US as a young student and involved himself with many challenging ideas and activities. He is a keen observer of people and ideas. He is an acclaimed writer and his articles about social issues are published regularly in newspapers and magazines.


There was a lively and intellectual discussion about the book and the various phases and steps involved in the creation of a novel. Novelist and short-stories writer, Ms. Nuzaira Azam said that in most cases the writer expresses his or her experience in fictionalized form. She elaborated that the writer gets an urge to transpose his or her train of thoughts that subsequently leads to creation of stories. Mrs. Carroll Naik concurred with Ms. Azam and described how her husband feels compelled to write whenever he gets an urge to express his ideas.  Dr. Ramesh Pandey, a senior scientist, also expressed his views about the book.


Dr. Renuka Misra moderated the discussion and GOPIO Secretary Dr. Ranjana Banerjea thanked the Hon. Minister and Dr. (Mrs.) Rachel Paul, discussants and the audience for their time. She also expressed gratitude to the University of Maryland for providing the facility. The function was chaired by Dr. Mohan Bhagat, Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland and author of several books.

GOPIO Metro Wash.DC launches Anadi Naik's book 

Photo: Sitting (l to r): Dr. Renuka Misra, Dr. Zafar Iqbal, Dr. Virander Paul, Minister Embassy of India, Mr. Anadi Naik (author), and Dr. Har Swaroop Singh

Standing (l to r): Ms. Nuzaira Azam, Dr. Rachel Paul, Dr. Mohan Bhagat, Dr. Krishna Banaudha, Mrs. Carroll Naik, Dr. Ranjana Banerjea, and Dr. Ramesh Pandey

Contact: Zafar Iqbal, Ph.D., President, GOPIO-Metro Washington DC, Tel: 301-540-7636, E-mail:




Mr. Yehoshua Naor, President of GOPIO - Tel-Aviv Chapter and Mr. Elkan Ashtamkar, auditor of the chapter, attended the Indian Cultural Festival and reception, titled "Celebrating India in Israel". It was a cultural event organized by the Indian Ambassador to that country.


The host of the evening was Shri Navtej Sarna, the Indian Ambassador to Tel-Aviv and the event planner of the cultural festival, which he launched last year for the first time. The event was a great success. The Indian Cultural Festival played an important role in helping to broaden and strengthen the cultural ties between India and Israel. The reception was attended by many prominent personalities from the business, politics and social communities. Mr. Uzi Landau, Member of the Israeli and Minister of National Infrastructure, was the chief guest. He spoke highly of the growing solid business relations between India and Israel. He also talked of the thousands of Israelis who visit India every year and come back mesmerized and impressed with the diverse Indian cultures and the great philosophies.


The second edition of "Celebrating India in Israel " which was started on the April 27, will continue throughout May, at different locations in Israel. The event covers a wide range of activities, including, many types of delicious Indian food, yoga, dancing, music, theatre and contemporary art from India. All are encouraged to attend this vibrant program which will enlighten, enrich and entertain people from all walks of life.


GOPIO Tel-Aviv Chapter President Naor said, "Ambassador Sarna's idea to implement such a dynamic cultural festival in Israel took a lot of courage, planning, persistency and most importantly, his unique vision to conceptualize such a splendid event is indeed laudable and speaks of his strong leadership and reach out in the Indian community."


Contact: Yehoshua Naor, President, GOPIO Chapter Tel-Aviv, Tel: 077-9500074, Mob: 054-4595856, E-mail:




The Indian community in the USA is growing at a rapid rate. Most of them are very successful, highly educated professionals and many businessmen who earned top-end salaries and enjoy good reputations, but many are not actively participating in American politics. To better understand and solve the problems of the community, we must actively engage in mainstream politics. Only a handful of them are elected officials or have been nominated in high ranking positions. "We must participate and support those who are actively engaged in the political affairs," stated Mr. Rajan Natarajan, Deputy Secretary of State in Maryland, at a function organized by GOPIO Virginia and ICCC. The occasion was the celebration of Holi and Baisakhi at the Executive office building, 101 Monroe St. in Rockville, Maryland.


Community Affairs Minister, Datta Padsalgikar, was the chief guest; Mr. Natarajan was the Guest-of-Honor, and Ike Leggett was the special guest at the function. More than 170 people attended the event on Sunday May 6th. Leggett is a long time friend of the Indian-Asian community. He noted that the diverse community has an important role to play in the progress of Montgomery County. He added that we learn from the many different cultures.


Mr. Padsalgikar informed the gathering that India and USA, being strategic partners, are working closer on solving many global issues. He called on the Indian community to contribute to strengthening our relationship and do everything possible to achieve these goals. He ended on a high note, saying that "India and Indians are flourishing". He brought greetings and best wishes to the community on behalf of Ambassador Nirupama Rao. Mr. Dutta attended the function after just returning from a five-week official trip to India. He said that both ICCC and GOPIO Virginia are very credible organizations and are doing great jobs to unite the community. 


The program was started with Ganesh Vandana sung by Mrs. Sumangala Bhandari in Sanskrit. Mr. Kumar Singh, Chairman ICCC, delivered the welcome speech. The program was chaired by GOPIO Virginia President, Jaysingh Bhandari. Guest introductions were given by GOPIO National Coordinator, Renuka Mishra, Dr. Krishna Banudha and Mr. Bhandari. Senior leader Sambhu Banik also spoke at the occasion. Several senior leaders of the community and Embassy officials attended the program.

GOPIO Virginia Baisakhi and Holi Celebrations 2012

Photo: GOPIO Virginia officials with dignitaries and program organizers


Metro DC popular musical Group "Tarang"' entertained the audience for more than three hours with old and new classical, patriotic, romantic and melodious Bollywood songs, accompanied by a full orchestra.  "litany Shakti Hame dena data, man ka vishwas kamjor ho na"' sung by Sumangala Bhandari and Viju Singh, mesmerized the audience. The program interestrd the audience so much that they stayed late past 10:00 o' clock. They thanked the organizers. The event was a highly successful affair.


The curtain was brought down with vote of thanks by Ajay Singh and Pradeep Sharma, Treasurer, GOPIO-Virginia. 


Contact: GOPIO-VIRGINIA President Jay Bhandari at




GOPIO News editorial team will be joined by two veteran writers, Ms. Bina Mahabir and Ms. Nilofar Pardawala as Co-editors.


Bina is a Guyanese East Indian living in New York. She has been involved in GOPIO activities over the last five years and is currently the Co-chair of GOPIO Media Council


Nilofar is a writer with a passion to translate ideas into words. She helps clients develop content and marketing strategies to improve their communications. Having worked with numerous publications and companies for the last 10 years, Nilofar has developed a style that is fluid and flexible.

GOPIO News Co-Editors BIna Mahabir and Nilofar Pardawala

Photo above: GOPIO New Co-editors l. to r.: Bina Mahabir and Nilofar Pardawala


Starting this issue, GOPIO News has introduced a new column NRIs and PIOs New Features.





Indian-American Kamaljit Singh Bawa, a distinguished professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston has been elected a member of the prestigious American Academy of Arts Sciences. Dr. Bawa, founder and president of Bangalore based Ashoka Trust for Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), will join the academy on Oct. 6 with some of the worlds' most influential artists, scientists, scholars, authors and leaders.

Besides sustainability expert Bawa, others elected to the Academy in public affairs and journalism categories are: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, Jr., veteran diplomat R. Nicholas Burns, television journalist Judy Woodruff; and Boston Globe editor Martin Baron.

"Election to the Academy is both an honour for extraordinary accomplishment and a call to serve," said Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz.

The announcement of Bawa's election came as he was receiving the Gunnerus Sustainability Award - the world's first major award for sustainability, awarded by the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters, for the impact his research has had on the sustainability of global biodiversity.


Courtesy: PTI




Sun Mark Ltd., winner of three consecutive Queens Awards for Enterprise in International Trade, has been listed in the prestigious Sunday Times "Profit Track 100" for a second year running. The company exports British supermarket products to over 100 countries and its motto is "we only succeed when our customers succeed". The company ranked 33rd last year and has improved its position to 25th, signifying its tremendous growth.


Chairman, Dr Rami Ranger, MBE was delighted with the company's standing and the significant increase in its sales and profits, given the economic downturn in global markets. He is optimistic about the future growth of the company which has recently set up a base in Dubai to service its growing presence in the Middle East and North African regions.




As is norm in Sydney and suburbs, Randwick Girls High School has a Merit Certificate award scheme where students who are awarded a targeted 360 merit certificates by teachers over the years; those eligible, go on the Merit Certificate Honor Board on the school office's front wall.


Srijata Michelle Bandyopadhyay, currently a Grade 11 student has upset this system. By the time she completed Grade 9, she was awarded more than 500 merit certificates by her teachers in various subjects.


This not only broke the school record, but also induced the school to set up a new lifted Merit award target scheme. Students who are awarded 640 merit certificates receive a special tailor-made Randwick Girls High School blazer, with the words 'Merit Certificate' embroidered in there. Michelle already crossed that magic number and has been awarded the School blazer; her next target is reaching 720 merit certificates.




An NRI cardiologist and researcher based in Canada, Dr. Salim Yusuf has been selected as the third 'hottest researcher' by Science Watch, a web resource wing, which does science metrics and analysis for Thomson Reuters, in its annual report on 'The Hottest Research of 2011'.


The report by the Intellectual Property & Science business division of Thomson Reuters, lists the most influential scientific researchers and research papers every year. Dr.Yusuf is the executive director, Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton Health Sciences, Canada and an expert in heart disease and population health.


Called HOPE (Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation), his international study on heart diseases, in its preliminary evaluations found that Ramipril, if widely used in appropriate patients, could prevent over one million premature deaths, heart attacks and strokes.


Having fought cancer at a young age when not much was known about the disease, Kottarakara (Kerala) native Dr Yusuf went on to overcome obstacles in life to become one of the top clinical researchers in the world on cardiovascular diseases and clinical trials.




Nine Indian-origin entrepreneurs feature in 2012's Forbes Midas List of Technology's Best Investors for fuelling a bull market for hot young companies.


Heading the Indian-American list is Greylock Partners' Aneel Bhusri ranked 25th (15 in 2011). Bhusri is co-CEO of Workday, the cloud-based financial and human resources software company.


Four-time consecutive Midas member Rob Chandra of Bessemer Venture Partners comes next at number 28 (26 in 2011). Chandra, who had a string of IPOs on India public markets, has two late-stage companies in India-based Bharat Matrimony and Summit Microelectronics.


Sameer Gandhi of Accel Partners is ranked 33rd (81 in 2011). His investment in file-sharing company Dropbox is rumoured at $4 billion valuation. His current investments include growth investments in an Indian online shopping site called Flipkart.


Khosla Ventures' Vinod Khosla follows at number 34 (71 in 2011). An Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) alumnus, Khosla is known for off-the-beaten-path clean-tech investments.


Other Indo-Americans on the Midas list include Battery Ventures' Neeraj Agrawal at 36 (51 in 2011), Mayfield Fund's Navin Chaddha (46), Bain Capital Ventures' Ajay Agarwal (95), Greylock Partners' Asheem Chandna (96) and Accel India's Subrata Mitra (99).




Philip Abraham, Editor of Kerala Link, has been elected to the Loughton Town Council. Loughton is a vibrant town in the Epping Forest District of Essex. Philip contested as a candidate at the Alderton ward for the Loughton Residents Association (LRA).


LRA is a non-political party which concentrates on local issues. All 18 candidates which LRA fielded for the Town council won the elections. The 22-member Loughton Town Council is now controlled by LRA (with two Labour, one Conservative and one independent as the opposition.) Loughton was one of the strongholds of British National Party (BNP) with five BNP members in the council after the election held 2008.


Philip is the first person of Asian origin to be elected to Loughton Town Council where the migrant population is less than 2%.


"Initially I was bit skeptical about door to door canvassing in a ward which elected two BNP candidates in the last election. However, I conducted a strong campaign and obtained 606 votes out of 902 polled," said Philip Abraham.


"I did not encounter any hostile attitude towards me and I was overwhelmed by the warmth and support received from the residents of Alderton." he added.




PepsiCo has appointed Salman Amin to the new roles of senior vice president and global chief marketing officer, a move that comes amid the company's multi-million pound marketing push to take on rivals Kraft Foods and Coca-Cola.


Amin, former executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, will oversee marketing strategies across the food company's global food and beverage divisions. He is responsible for driving global marketing strategies and plans for PepsiCo worldwide, with accountability for consumer and shopper marketing, media, insights, and marketing talent development.


Amin joined PepsiCo in 1995, and has served in a variety of positions, including vice president, Marketing, Pepsi-Cola International; senior vice president, Commercial Operations, Frito Lay International; senior vice president, New Platforms, PepsiCo; and chief marketing officer, PepsiCo International. Most recently, he was president, PepsiCo United Kingdom and Ireland, where he was responsible for snack foods (Walkers), breakfast cereals (Quaker), and fruit juices (Tropicana and Copella).




The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) Board of Directors announced that Ajay Banga, President & CEO of MasterCard Worldwide, has been elected as the organization's next Chairman. The transition comes at the end of a record-setting two-year term by USIBC's previous Chairman, Harold "Terry" McGraw III, President, Chairman, and CEO of The McGraw-Hill Companies.


"The U.S.-India relationship is strong and only going to get stronger over the long term," said Mr. McGraw. "We have made good progress to improve the trade and investment environment and pushed aggressively on an agenda that supports economic and job growth in both of our countries. By expanding the partnership between our two nations over the next several years, including passage of a bilateral investment treaty, we can move from $100 billion in two-way trade to $500 billion by the end of the decade." During his time as Chairman of USIBC, McGraw blazed an equally impressive path by adding nearly 100 new member companies while increasing staff levels twofold to more effectively serve members.


"As a long time supporter and member of USIBC, I have witnessed the Council's stature and influence rise dramatically as a direct result of the iconic leadership provided by former chairs Chip Kaye, Indra Nooyi, and Terry McGraw," said Banga. "It is an exceptional honor to be entrusted with such a legacy and I look forward to building on their successes as USIBC's next Chairman." Banga joined MasterCard as President and Chief Operating Officer in August 2009 and was later named President and CEO, effective July 1, 2010.






President and Chancellor of the University of Houston, Dr Renu Khator is the first Indo-American woman to serve as the President of an American university. In her speech to Youth Leadership Development Program (YLDP) students in Houston she recounted her mission, obstacles, and imparted many lessons she believes are the foundations of leadership.


The first of these is to have a wild dream, whether it is a little crazy or completely irrational. Her dream of earning a PhD was faced with difficulty when her traditional Indian family forced her into an arranged marriage. However, she managed to put herself through college and beyond, sticking to her crazy dream and finally making it a reality.


The second characteristic of effective leadership, according to Dr. Khator, is to act on one's dream and never let anything obstruct that. She described how after she transferred to the United States, she overcame a tough language barrier by watching eight hours of television everyday to immerse herself  in the English language.


Dr. Khator's final piece of advice for aspiring leaders is simple - be humble. She believes that "no leader travels alone" and that great leaders are defined by their humility.


Dr. Khator builds on current goals to create future goals that she can keep working on throughout her career. This enables her to continuously perfect whatever she wants to accomplish because she is never completely finished with something.




Jyoti Reddy alias Jyotamma could have been just another struggling farm hand who resigned herself to fate, but she chose to be the change she wanted to see. The story of the meteoric rise of a hapless mother of two, who was on the verge of suicide to a go-getting CEO in the US, is an inspiration to every woman.


When sixteen-year-old Jyotamma came to Mylaram, a sleepy village in Warangal, as a new bride, life did not change much, except that her troubles were of a different kind.


She studied till SSC and just when she enrolled herself in college, she was forced to join a tailoring course, as it seemed like a fetching job. Her marriage put an end to her education. She had to live in a joint family that was struggling to make ends meet. The five acres of land they owned was used to cultivate cotton and groundnut - very unreliable crops - and like many of their ilk, the amount of hard work never equaled the produce.


Every day she would finish her household chores and go to work in the fields. The work was new, she made many mistakes and by the end of the day, she developed sores on her palms. She persevered and learnt the tricks from farm laborers who came to help her with work. She also worked in others' fields to earn some extra money. When she tried to tell her husband the problem, all she received was a thrashing in return (the not-so-unusual behavior in rural India). Not one day went by when the thought of suicide did not cross her mind.


Many years later, as she sits in her plush Keys Software Solutions' office in Phoenix, USA, she cannot help but reflect on her trouble-filled past. "I do not even want to forget my past. That helps me to be on my guard and stay motivated," shares Jyoti Reddy alias Jyotamma, CEO of a million dollar recruitment firm, whose burning desire is to make a difference.


Her story is the same as that of almost all women belonging to rural India, where a woman not only takes care of the house and the kids, but helps the man and in many cases, takes his place in earning a living. Yet she gets no respect and is subjected to an assault on dignity invariably. The story of Jyotamma, who is today known as Jyoti Reddy, however, takes a different course from here on.


She refused to get bogged down with the grimness surrounding her. She motivated herself constantly and hoped for a change and decided to 'be' the change she wanted to see. The story of her rise and success stands out as an inspiration to all the women especially Indian rural women, who, either blame the system or fate, or resign themselves to the life of misery.


Her perseverance, courage and never-say-die attitude helped her through her life in overcoming obstacles and making the best of her opportunities. During the time she completed her B.A. through Open University and did an M.A. in Sociology.


She started working as a teacher in a government school at Ramakrishnapuram village. She started earning Rs 2,700 per month. At every step she not only worked to support her family, but also worked towards changing the people around her for better. The government school that had 16 students and one teacher when she joined, evolved to having 16 teachers and 270 students when she left.


The desire to grow and achieve something led Jyoti on to the path of success. After many rejections, Jyoti finally made it to the US in May 2000 leaving a comfortable life, a good salary and the family behind. From working in a small recruitment agency, to becoming a head of a successful consultancy firm, the journey has been an eventful one.


Today Jyoti has a successful business that stood the test of recession, two beautiful and well-educated daughters married to intelligent and successful men and a whole bunch of well-wishers and friends. When it is time to relax and enjoy life, she has taken a decision to serve people - her own people, the people of her country and her state who are waiting helplessly in their miserable lives waiting for a savior.





The Punjab Government has decided to set-up 24x7 call center to redress the grievances of the Non Resident Indians from Punjab that would register their complaints via phone or through a website, and give them a reply on the status of their complaint in a timely manner.


This was decided in a high-level meeting presided over by Bikram Singh Majithia, Minister for NRI Affairs with Chairman NRI Commission Justice Arvind Kumar (Retd), Chief Secretary Rakesh Singh and other senior officers of the state.


Punjabi Diaspora has contributed a lot in the development of the state and it becomes bounden duty to ensure that there is no harassment of NRIs in the state


Besides call center, the department would also develop an interactive website. Majithia said that since the time zones of various countries differ with India, it was imperative that call centers worked 24 hours for the convenience of the Punjabi Diaspora.


Expressing concern over reported cases of harassment, cheating of NRIs, Majithia said that Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) and Superintendent of Police (Headquarters) would be ex-officio designated as Nodal Officers of NRI, who would be duty-bound to deliver justice to NRIs in a time-bound manner. He said that they would also submit detailed fortnightly statement of cases received and action taken to the state cabinet.


He has asked NRI Commissioner Vikas Partap Singh to issue instructions to all Deputy Commissioner that they should open a separate counter for NRIs in Suwidha and Saanjh Kendras besides exhibiting the literature for NRIs in DC and SSP Offices.


Majithia said that people in general and NRIs in particular have to be educated about role of NRI Commission by a multi media campaign. Emphasizing interactive communication with NRIs by the Punjab Government Official, Majithia directed that each Divisional Commissioner would participate in a live talk show especially in Radio Stations of Canada, USA, UK, European Countries and Australia to instill confidence in the NRIs and to convey the message of Punjab Government to them. They would also attend to the complaints of NRIs in such talk shows.




Jawaharlal Nehru University research scholar Sridhar Bhagavatula is research study on the transnational linkages of the Overseas Indians and especially to study the prospects of Global Indian Knowledge Networks. A survey questionnaire has been designed for Overseas Indians and preferably those who hold Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) or have applied for it. People with Indian Passport are also welcome to share their views on the questionnaire. The link is provided below:

The questions include different aspects of linkages with India.


For more information, contact Sridhar at +91-9390136695 or e-mail at


Ms. Merly Mathew, a doctoral candidate in the Counseling Psychology program at Oklahoma State University is recruiting participation for her dissertation.  She is developing an acculturation scale specifically for Asian Indians, designed to measure an individuals' level of adjustment towards their culture of origin and the US culture.


Participants who meet the following criteria are encouraged to participate: over age 18,originate from India and legally residing in the US as citizens of the US, legal residents, hold visa status, or are international students


To participate, please follow the link which will provide further information. 


Contact Merly Mathew at




India has finally decided to cut down on brain drain that is crippling its medical sector. Now, US-bound doctors for higher medical studies will have to sign a bond with the Ministry and honour the document by returning home after finishing their courses.


Union Health Minister Ghulam Gulam Nabi Azad said that the US is insisting on a government No Objection Certificate (NOC) for every student enrolling with an American institute from this academic session.


In the last three years, 3,000 doctors went abroad for studies, and did not return.


"If a student does not come back from the US, he won't be allowed to practice there," Azad said.


Those doctors who leave the country had asked the MCI to issue them Good Standing Certificates (GSC) - a mandatory requirement for doctors seeking work in hospitals abroad. The MCI issued 1,264 GSCs in 2010, 1,386 GSCs in 2009 and 1,002 in 2008.


A recent Planning Commission report said India is short of six lakh doctors, 10 lakh nurses and two lakh dental surgeons. Indian doctors, however, form 5% of the medical workforce in developed countries. Almost 60,000 Indian physicians are working in countries like the US, the UK, Canada and Australia alone.


Azad said, "No other country except the US is asking for this NOC. Those who apply to go to the US for studies from 2012 will have to give us a bond saying they would come back after finishing the studies. If they don't fulfill the bond obligation, we can write to the US to deny the student permission to practice. 



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, E-mail:


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-Editors: Bina Mahabir, Co-Chair GOPIO Media Council, GOPIO International (Guyana-New York, USA) and Nilofar Pardawala (Portland, Oregon, 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.), Ritu Johorey (GOPIO-CT), Dr. Sai Giridhar (GOPIO Intl Coordinator for Middle East), Dr. Zafar Iqbal (President, GOPIO-Metro Washington DC), Yehoshua Naor (President, GOPIO Tel-Aviv Chapter), Jay Bhandari (President, GOPIO-Virginia) and

Dr. Arnold Thomas (GOPIO Intl Coordinator for Caribbean, St. Vincent)

GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter.

Visit GOPIO's Official site at or

Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail: