May 20, 2012
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
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DIASPORA CONFERENCE IN ST. VINCENT - JUNE 1-3, 2012 - ST. VINCENT PRIME MINISTER
DR. GONSALVES TO ATTEND
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.
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
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.
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
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
Indian Heritage Foundation & GOPIO Chapter of St. Vincent
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
- Cultural item/s (song/dance)
- Greetings Part 2:
Distinguished individuals and organisations - Foreign - Regional and
- 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
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
- Mr. Mansraj Ramphal: University of Trinidad and
Title of Presentation: Indian Arrivals in St. Vincent and Trinidad during
the Indentureship Period: Names, Numbers, Death, Disease, Ships and Shared
- Professor Ilsa López: University of Puerto Rico at
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
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
- 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
- Dr. Vijay Maharaj:
University of the West Indies (UWI)
Title of Presentation: Nebulous and Intangible but Real: Speculations
Meaning of Pt. Samsundar Parasram's punditaye experiences in St
- 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:
Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)
Title of Presentation: Indian 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
Title of Presentation: Cricket in the Indo-Caribbean Imagination: The
View from Two Sides of the Wicket
- Professor Susan R. Henderson: Syracuse University,
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)
- Film Screening: Hosay Cedros:
Director: Ms. Ann
Institution/Organisation: University of the West Indies (UWI)
Updated information on accommodation for all guests staying in St. Vincent for
conference organisers will provide free shared-room accommodation,
most likely at http://s2.stvincentyp.com/St-Vincent/Murray-Heights-Hotel/profile
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:
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,
email@example.com, Dr. Kumar Mahabir in
Trinidad (Assoc. Prof., University of Trinidad & Tobago & Co-Chair, GOPIO
Academic Council at firstname.lastname@example.org
ORGANIZES A SUCCESSFUL SEMINAR ON INDIA-US GEO-ECONOMIC STRATEGIES IN NEW YORK
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.
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:
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."
"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
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.
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
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 -
OVER ONE MILLION OCI CARDS ISSUED
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
- 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
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS
GOPIO-CT HONORS SIX AT AWARDS BANQUET
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."
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: 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
credits, courtesy Masala Junction
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
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.
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.
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.
recognition were also presented to the awardees on behalf of US Senator Richard
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."
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
GOPIO-BAHRAIN FOUNDING COMMITTEE MEETS
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
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
Mr. Sunny Kulathakal
Dr. Sai Giridhar
Mr. R. Lakshmanan
Mr. Alok Gupta
Mr. Nevin Megchiani
Mr. Navneet Kampani
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.
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
GOPIO-METRO WASHINGTON LAUNCHES ANADI NAIK'S LATEST NOVEL
"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.
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: Gopio.Metro.Washington@gmail.com
GOPIO TEL-AVIV OFFCIALS JOIN INDIAN CULTURAL FESTIVAL
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
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
Naor, President, GOPIO Chapter Tel-Aviv, Tel: 077-9500074, Mob: 054-4595856,
GOPIO-VIRGINIA AND ICCC ORGANIZE BAISAKHI-HOLI CELEBRATIONS AND
EMPHASIZE PARTICIPATION IN MAIN STREAM POLITICS
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.
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.
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
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 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
The curtain was
brought down with vote of thanks by Ajay Singh and Pradeep Sharma, Treasurer,
President Jay Bhandari at
GOPIO NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM EXPANDED
GOPIO News editorial team will
be joined by two veteran writers, Ms. Bina Mahabir and Ms. Nilofar Pardawala as
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
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.
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
INDIAN AMERICAN KAMALJIT BAWA ELECTED TO AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ARTS AND
Indian-American Kamaljit Singh Bawa,
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
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
RAMI RANGER'S SUNMARK LISTED IN SUNDAY TIMES 'PROFIT TRACK 100' AGAIN
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.
STUDENT SRIJATA BANDYOPADHYAY SHATTERS MERIT CERTIFICATE RECORD
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.
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
HONORS INDO-CANADIAN DR. SALIM YUSUF
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
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
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
AMERICANS IN FORBES MIDAS LIST
entrepreneurs feature in 2012's Forbes Midas List of Technology's Best Investors
for fuelling a bull market for hot young companies.
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.
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
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.
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
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
PHILIP ABRAHAM ELECTED AS A COUNCILLOR OF LOUGHTON IN U.K.
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
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.
SALMAN AMIN APPOINTED SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND GLOBAL CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
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.
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.
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).
AJAY BANGA ELECTED AS CHAIRMAN OF U.S.-INDIA BUSINESS COUNCIL
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.
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.
NRIs AND PIOs NEWS FEATURES
PRESIDENT RENU KHATOR MEETS YOUTH LEADERS
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
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
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'S INSPIRATIONAL TALE OF SWEAT, BLOOD AND TOIL
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.
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
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.
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.
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
NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD
PUNJAB TO SET UP
247 CALL CENTER TO REDRESS GRIEVANCES OF NRIs
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
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
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.
FEEDBACK FROM NRIs AND PIOs
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
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
which will provide further information.
Contact Merly Mathew at
INDIA GOVT. PLANS
BONDS TO STOP DOCTORS' BRAIN DRAIN
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 LIFE MEMBERSHIP AND CHAPTER FORMATION
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
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
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 (www.gopio.net)
and get details of
chapter initiation (visit
http://www.gopio.net/chapter_initiative.htm). Process involves sending
a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more. For
more information, contact:
Chairman - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: +1-818-708-3885, E-mail:
President - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York, USA, Tel: 718/939-8194,
Executive Vice President - Sunny Kulathakal, Bahrain, Tel: +973 39441956 or +91
9845756692, E-mail: Kulathakal@yahoo.com
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
fill up the form and send it with a
check to: GOPIO International, PO Box 560117,
New York NY 11356, USA.
Dr. Thomas Abraham,
and Chairman Emeritus of GOPIO Intl. and Executive Trustee, GOPIO Foundation
(Stamford, CT, USA)
Editor: Nami Kaur, Secretary, GOPIO International (New York,
Co-Chair GOPIO Media Council, GOPIO International (Guyana-New York, USA) and
Nilofar Pardawala (Portland, Oregon, USA)
Prashant Gupta (Hyderabad, India)
and Abu Thomas (New Rochelle, NY, USA)
Contributors of this issue:
Singh (Chairman, GOPIO Intl.), Ashook Ramsaran (President, GOPIO Intl.),
(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
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.
Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail: email@example.com.