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May 25, 2009
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
Issue: VIII-5 May 25, 2009
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In an award ceremony conducted in the magnificent Low Memorial Library of Columbia University, New York, and attended by Nobel Laureates, Diplomats, academicians, engineers, students and leaders of the Indian American community, Dr. Kalam was presented the prestigious Hoover Medal for 2008 by Beatrice E. Hunt of STV Inc., chair, and Professor P. Somasundaran of Columbia University, vice-chair of the Hoover Medal Board. Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of the Global Organization of People of Indian and other GOPIO volunteers helped in organizing the event. 
The Hoover Medal, founded in 1929 and named after its first recipient Herbert Hoover, former President of the United States, was created to honor engineers whose preeminent services have advanced the well-being of humanity and whose talents have been devoted to the development of a richer and more enduring civilization. Some of the previous recipients of this honor include former United States presidents Dwight David Eisenhower and James Carter, Jr., and inventors Arnold Beckman and David Packard. The Hoover Board of Award is made up of representatives from five American engineering societies - the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Dr. Kalam was chosen for "making state-of-the-art healthcare available to the common man at affordable prices, bringing quality medical care to rural areas by establishing a link between doctors and technocrats, using spin-offs of defense technology to create state-of-the-art medical equipment, and launching telemedicine projects connecting remote rural-based hospitals to super-specialty hospitals."
During his acceptance speech Dr. Kalam told his rapt audience how personally satisfying it was for him to have a man of modest means with two Kalam-Raju stents implanted in his heart request a chance to sit beside him for a few minutes during a train trip in order to thank him for making it possible for him to have the stents.
Dr. Kalam became the 11th president of India in 2002 and was popularly known as the "Peoples' President".
Accepting the award, Dr. Kalam talked about "Transforming a billion people to prosperity," and made a detailed presentation of his vision for India that encompasses rural connectivity, energy independence and a water mission with the application of science & technology management. Dr. Kalam later opened the floor to take questions from the audience, interacting with them, and fielding queries on a wide range of subjects from India's need for nuclear energy, education, terrorism, and nuclear weapons to HIV/AIDS in India. Dr. Kalam said the eradication of poverty was important to end terrorism.  He pointed out that "Rich nations have to come together to help remove poverty from the poor nations. That is the only way to rid the world of terrorism". He said he believes the ignited minds of the youth are the most powerful resource on earth. Ever the optimist Dr. Kalam said India would succeed in finding a solution to combat HIV/AIDS in the next four to five years; would produce thorium-based nuclear energy in the next 10 years and eradicate poverty by 2020.
Asked what his message was for the Indian youth pursuing higher studies in the U.S., Dr. Kalam said, "For those students who intend to come back to India after completion of their studies, my message is that they learn what is most unique to the U.S. -- entrepreneurship -- and become entrepreneurs on their return to India. And for those students who decide to settle in this country, my message is: Work and do your best for the country you are in."
Photo below: President Abdul Kalam with organizers and other dignitaries. From L. to R.: India's Deputy Consul General Dr. Ajai Gondane, India's Active Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Manjeev Puri, Dr. Usha Somasundaran, Columbia University Trustee Anna Longobardo , Columbia'S Acting Engineering School Dean Dr. Jerry Navratil, Prof. P. Somasundaran, Prof. Jagdish Bhgawati, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Nobelist Dr. John Nash, Dr. Alicia Nash, Nobelist Dr. Martin Chalfie, Hoover Board Member Dr. Ravi Ravishankar, Mrs. Chandini Dayal, Consul General Prabhu Dayal and GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham
Hoover Medal Award to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam - Dignitaries and Guests 
Photo above: GOPIO-CT members with Dr. Abdul Kalam. From L: to R: T.T. Bhat, Anita Bhat, Sharon Banta, Viresh Sharma, GOPIO-CT President Sangeeta Ahuja, Dr. Kalam, Paul Ahuja, Meera Banta, Bala G. Nair, Tara Sharma, GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham
President Obama, on May 1, 2009, proclaimed May 2009, as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and called upon the people of the United States to learn more about the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.

To celebrate Indian American Heritage, Indian community in Southern California organized a tribute function on May 3, 2009 at Woodlands Banquet Hall to pay tribute to pioneers who struggled for long to get US citizenship rights for Indian nationals and patriots who in 1914 started Gadar movement to free India from the British. Inder Singh, President of GOPIO Int'l coordinated the event and emphasized, "If we, Indian Americans, want others to know about us, then we must first know who we are."
The first session was chaired by Prof. Arnold Kaminsky, Director of Yadunandan Center of India Studies, Cal State University, Long beach.

Professor Emeritus Ram Mohan Roy, Cal State Northridge spoke on "Migration & Struggle for Survival"   and talked about the discriminatory laws against Indian nationals during the first half of the twentieth century. Indians were mistreated and thrown out of the hotels. Since then, many things have changed while some still persist.  The influence of Indians then living in America also changed the ideology of Indian nationalist leaders in their struggle for India's independence.

Surinder Pal Singh from Atlanta, grandson of late Bhai Bagwan Singh Giyani, second president of Gadar party, talked about the Gadar Movement with reference to the struggle for self survival during that time when the British Government kept a close watch of his nationalistic activities first in India, then in Hong Kong where he was arrested twice and Canada from where he was deported.  Soon after coming to America,  he became president of Gadar Party and started the movement of "do or die" and "Allan-e-Jung" in 1914.

Roshn Lal Sharma of Dallas who came to the US in 1949, talked about the aftermath of Gadar Movement as witnessed by his father-in-law Abnashi Ram who came in 1920 and financially supported the activities of the movement. Abnashi Ram wrote over 1000 letters from which Roshan has prepared a book chronicling the history of struggle and fight for independence by the Indian community activists of that time.   

David Thind, son of Bhgat Singh Thind talked about the struggle for US citizenship which his father had to wage. Thind got citizenship three times and it was revoked each time. His citizenship case went to the US Supreme Court where the judge denied him citizenship as he was not a white person though he was Caucasian. Bhagat Singh had joined US army, became sergeant and was honorably discharged in 1918 at the end of WWI. He eventually got his citizenship in 1936 only after US Congress passed a law granting citizenship to all veterans of WWI.

Mohinder Singh, Editor of India Journal talked about how US citizenship was gained, lost and then regained. He talked about the cruelty that Indian nationals suffered at the hands of INS. He mentioned that it was not only the citizenship of Mr. Thind which was revoked but of many more who had been given citizenship by various US courts.  After losing faith in the justice system, Indian community activists, Dalip Singh Saund, J.J. Singh, Anup Singh and some others, pursued with the members of the Congress and eventually succeeded when President Truman, on July 2, 1946, signed a bill passed by the US Congress allowing 100 Indian nationals to get US citizenship annually.

Rani Cardona is granddaughter of Vaishno and Kala Bagai, who immigrated to US in 1915 with $25,000 worth of gold to start a new life in the US. Rani related the story of her grandfather who got citizenship in 1923 but was nullified after Thind decision.  It was a major shock for Rani's grandfather. He could not buy a house, had problem owning a business and eventually took his own life. His suicide note which was published in San Francisco Examiner at that time, moved every heart in the audience.
Pic below L-R: Roshan Sharma, David Thind, Prof. Ram Mohan Rai, Inder Singh, Prof. Arnold Kaminsky, Mohinder Singh and S.P. Singh 
Speakers at Indian American Pioneers Conference in Los Angeles, May 1, 2009 
Picture above L-R: Dr Praksh Narain, Baljit Toor and Harry Sidhu
The second session was chaired by Professor Emeritus Bala Sardeshi of UCLA, and author of many books. Dr. Parakash Narain, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Cypress talked about the Religious and Yoga movements. Swami Viveknand was the first to introduce Hindu religion to Americans. The successive religious leaders and yoga teachers, continued to spread the message of the Vedas.  

Baljit Toor talked about Indian philanthropy starting with Jawala Singh, farm laborer turned potato farmer, who in the beginning of the twentieth century, instituted Guru Gobind Singh scholarship to attract Indian students to come to America for higher education. She mentioned names of many Indian philanthropists who have donated millions for various causes in India and the US. She also mentioned names of Indian Americans from Los Angeles area who have given their due share. Navin Doshi, in 1999, endowed "the Pratima and Navin Doshi" chair of Indian history at UCLA and a professorship in Loyola Marymount University. Jagdish Khangura started Baba Kartar Singh Dukki higher secondary school in his grandfathers' name in his village Latala, India.

Inder Singh, President of GOPIO International, in his concluding remarks, urged the audience that just as we have contributed to build temples and gurdwaras, it is high time that we also build institutions to truly pay tribute to the memory of our pioneers and patriots.
GOPIO's Global Convention 2009 will re-examine and re-evaluate GOPIO's role during the last 20 years with respect to goals and aspirations of 25 million people of Indian origin (PIO) living outside of India. Conference topics include: human Rights, political participation, economic trends, socio-cultural and Diasporic related issues and concerns, inter-generational conflict, challenges and opportunities for the future. The Convention theme and program details are as follows:

August 20-23, 2009
Crowne Plaza Hotel LaGuardia Airport
104-04 Ditmars Blvd., East Elmhurst, New York 11369, USA
Tel: 718-457-6300
(call for special discounted room rates for GOPIO Convention)
"People of Indian Origin: Strengthening Global Connections"

Two conferences under the broad theme.
Business Conference (Aug. 21): "India and The Indian Diaspora in the Context of Global Economic Challenges"
Diaspora Conference (Aug. 22): "The Indian Diaspora: Challenges and Opportunities in the New Millennium"


Thu (8/20)          Day   2:00 - 4:00pm  GOPIO Executive Committee Meeting
                                                       Chaired by Inder Singh, President, GOPIO Int'l.
                         Day   4:00 - 6:00pm GOPIO Executive Council Meeting
                                                       Chaired by Dr Thomas Abraham,    Chairman of GOPIO Int'l.
                                                       (Country & Regional Reports to be Presented) 
                         Eve   7:00 - 9:00pm   Welcome Reception/Dinner
Fri (8/21)            Day  9:00am - 6:00pm  GOPIO Business Conference
                         Eve  7:00pm - 9:00pm  Reception and Convention Inauguration
Sat (8/22)           Day   9:00am -10:00pm  GOPIO General Council Meeting & Elections
                         Day  10:00am - 6:00pm  GOPIO Diaspora Conference
                         Eve    7:00pm - 11:00pm Banquet & Cultural Program
Sun (8/23)          Day   10:00am - 12:00pm  GOPIO General Council Meeting (Cont'd)
Hotel and Conference Center: Crowne Plaza Hotel LaGuardia Airport
Tel: 1-718/457-6300 (call to make reservation, mention GOPIO Convention for discounted room rates)
GOPIO Executive Council Meeting and Reception on August 20th and Banquet August 22nd
World's Fair Marina Banquet Hall, Flushing, New York
(near Crowne Plaza Hotel at LaGuardia Airport)
As part of the convention, GOPIO YOUTH AND YOUNG PROFESSIONALS MEET will be held at the convention. Contact Vishnu Mahadeo or Sharon Banta or Anita Bhat
It is a great opportunity to place your ads in the convention souvenir brochure. To become a sponsor or place an ad., contact Convention Convener and GOPIO Secretary General: Ashook Ramsaran 1-718-969-8206, e-mail:
Conference Registration
Pre-registration to August 15: $130/person, August 16 -- 20: $150/person, One day fee: $75/person, Banquet Only: $65/person. Conference Only: (8/21 or 8/22): $20/person (Coffee/tea breaks incl, not lunch). Full registration fee includes two cocktail receptions/dinners, two lunches, continental breakfasts, banquet and coffee breaks.
Please send in your registration to GOPIO International, Attn. Ashook Ramsaran, Convenor, PO Box 560117, New York, NY 11356, USA, Tel: 718-939-8194, Fax: 1-718-353-2404 email:
GOPIO Officers: Chairman: Dr. Thomas Abraham; President: Inder Singh; Executive Vice President: Lord Diljit Rana; Regional Vice President North America: Dr Piyush Agrawal; Secretary General: Ashook Ramsaran
Convention Team:  Dr. Thomas Abraham, Sudha Acharya, Dr .Piyush Agrawal, Ritesh Agrawal, Anand Ahuja, Sangeeta Ahuja, Darshan Bagga, Rafeek Baksh, Sharon Banta, Anita Bhat, Marina Budhos, Dr. Maya Chadda, Ravi Dhingra,  Bhanu Dwarika, Ram Gadhavi, Dr Sushila Gidwani-Buschi, Deo Gosine, Rekha Gupta, John Joseph, Prasad Kambampaty, Ramesh Kalicharran, Ram Lakhina, Bina Mahabir, Gary Mahabir, Vishnu Mahadeo, Robert Mahesh,  Prince Markose, Dr. Raj Metha, Jaswant Mody, Chandra Morgan, Dr. Jagat Motwani, Lal Motwani, Stanley Raj, Dr. Rohini Ramanathan, Yesu Persaud, Rajeshwar Prasad, Netram Rambudhan, Ashook Ramsaran, Jasbir Sachar, Dr .Asha Samant, Dharmatma Saran, Dr. Parmatma Saran, Dr. Rupam Saran, Inder Singh, Nohar Singh, Prakash Singh, Pritha Singh, Dhiraj Solanki, Satruhan Sukdeo,  Dr. Najma Sultana, Thambi Thalappillil, Raju Thomas.
The convention planning is progressing well and substantial progress has been made to date. Various committees have been identified and a host of reliable and experienced volunteers have been assigned critical roles in the planning, coordination and implementation process. The first two meetings of the Convention Committee took place on March 29th and May 3rd. The third meeting is schedule for Sunday, May 31st at the Indian American Kerala Center in Elmont (Long Island), New York. GOPIO is seeking more volunteers. Please contact Mr. Ramsaran.
GOPIO has been providing a common platform for people of Indian origin since its inception in 1989. GOPIO membership is open to all people of Indian origin. For more information or to volunteer for the convention activities, please contact: GOPIO Secretary General & Convention Convener Ashook Ramsaran at 718-353-2404 email: or GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham at or GOPIO President Inder Singh at
The Association of Americans for Civic Responsibility (AACR) held its Sixth Annual Roundtable Conference at the Maxwell School, Syracuse University, Washington, DC on Tuesday, May 5, 2009. The theme of this year was "Perspectives on Institutional and Individual Civic Responsibility During Crisis and Disaster - The Looming Pandemic Threat."
It is interesting to note that while the Conference was planned at least nine months ahead of time, the organizers must have had some divine guidance to select such a timely topic when the threat of Swine Flu pandemic was in full force.
The Association of Americans for Civic Responsibility (AACR) was founded by the former EEOC Commissioner Dr. Joy Cherian in 2001 with the mission of educating and encouraging individuals, institutions, organizations, and businesses to advance the commonweal (the public good) through acts of civic responsibility. The challenge, therefore, is to engage all peoples and groups from all sectors of life in the United States of America.
There were three very timely sessions at the Conference:
Society, Psychology and Civic Responsibility: Inside the Mind and Mindset of Citizens, Samaritans and Survivors During Pandemic Crisis;
Response and Responsibility: Collaborating to Prevent or Contain Pandemics; and,
90 Years Later: Lessons Learned - and still Unlearned - From 1918 - 1919 Spanish Influenza Pandemic  
In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Joy Cherian the Founding President of AACR highlighted the achievements of AACR.
Keynote speaker Dr. Barbara Reynolds of the CDC shared her experiences as a Communication Expert in dealing with pandemics. 
In concluding remarks, Dr. Cherian THANKED the panelists, moderators and the participants for a very successful and timely event.  Then as a surprise, he recognized four people who have been with AACR from its inception and has supported its mission. He honored each of Dr. Piyush C. Agrawal, Dr. George Thomas, Mr. Joseph Melookaran and Mr. Francis Skrobiszewski with a plaque for their "Outstanding Service" to the Community. Dr. Agrawal serves as Vice of President of GOPIO International for North America Region.
The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has announced the next three Know India Programs to be organized during 2009-10. The programs proposed are as follows:
Tentative program period,  partner states, ast date for receipt of nominations are shown below:
12th KIP August-September 09,  Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh, 30th June 2009
13th KIP December 09-2010, Kerala and Haryana, 30th September 2009
14th KIP March 2010, Rajasthan and Goa, 31st December 2009
Each program would be 3 weeks duration. The exact dates would be announced a month before the commencement of the respective program.
The Know India programs are organized in partnership with concerned State Governments while logistical support is provided by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Guidelines and application form for these programs are available at:  
The participants are provided local hospitality e.g. boarding/lodging in State guest houses or budget hotels and internal travel. They are also given per diem allowance of Rs. 100/- for out-of-pocket expenses. They may be granted gratis visa by our Missions/Posts. Also, 90% of the international airfare by the cheapest economy class travel will be reimbursed to participants selected for the 12th and subsequent KIPs subject to their successfully taking part in the respective programs.
The content of the programme may include the following: 
(a) Presentations on the country, political process, developments in various sectors,
(b) Interaction with faculty and students at a prestigious University/College/Institute,
(c) Presentation on the industrial development and visits to some Industries,
(d) Visit to a village to better understand the typical village life,
(e) Exposure to Indian media,
(f)  Interaction with NGOs and organizations dealing with women affairs,
(g) Visit to places of historical importance/Monuments,
(h)  Taking part in Cultural programs,
(i)   Exposure to yoga,
(j)  Call on high dignitaries, which may include President of India, Chief Election Commissioner of India, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, and Ministers in-charge of Overseas Indian Affairs, Youth Affairs and Sports.
The Program is open to youth of Indian Origin (excluding NRIs) in the age group of 18-26 years as on the first day of the month in which the program is expected to start. It is open to PIOs from all over the world. A fair mix of males and females is expected.  The total number of participants in any of the Programme may not exceed 40. The candidates should either be studying in the under-graduate level or should have completed under-graduation or equivalent. They should be able to converse in English [They should have studied English as a subject at the High School level or should have English as a medium of instruction for under-graduate course]. They should have distinguished themselves in a particular field and should have abiding interest in India.
They should not have participated in any previous Know India Programme or Internship Programme for Diaspora Youth. 


GOPIO in collaboration with FICCI is planning a mini conference in London on June 9, 2009. The conference will be addressed by Dr. Abdul Kalam, Former President of India. For more information and participation, please contact GOPIO Executive Vice President Lord Diljit S. Rana at or GOPIO Int'l President Inder Singh at
On Friday May 8th GOPIO in The Netherlands, on a very well attended evening, announced the opening of two new chapters and a scientific council. It was also an opportunity to welcome the newly appointed ambassador of India to the Netherlands, Mr. Manbir Singh who was accompanied by his wife on the occasion. GOPIO also invited Mr. Arun Amritham, president of the Indian Association of Switzerland to present the Indian Diaspora of his country to the audience.
Rajindre Tewari, president of GOPIO in The Netherlands welcomed Ambassador Singh and guests and thanked everyone to witness the inauguration of the new chapters.  During his speech the ambassador stressed his interest for the PIO´s living abroad by narrating his personal experience with PIO´s from different countries. He also stress the fact that India has grown in such a pace that is has also attracted the interest of the PIO´s to expand their activities to the Indian subcontinent. 
Chapter Rotterdam was presented by Ms. Ratna Jainandunsing who asked the audience for more attention to the issues facing last generation Indians in The Netherlands in defining and scoping their identity.  Mr. Shridath Salikram presented an overview of the Indian society in the Eastern part of The Netherlands representing a group of small cities in the province of Overijssel. He proudly summarized the achievements of Indian scientists at the University of Twente especially in nanotechnology. Finally, Dr. Hari Sharma presented the highlights of his ambitions with the Scientific Council which will start with a register of Indian scientist with proven credentials on scientific subjects and specializations in order to reduce the barrier for PIO´s to exchange and transfer knowledge on PIO related diseases or cures to the laymen.
Photo below: From left to right: Dr. Hari Sharma (Scientific Council), Ambassador Manbir Singh,
Mr. Shridath Salikram (Chapter Overijssel) , Ms. Ratna Jainandunsing (Chapter Rotterdam),
Mr. Santosh Nandram (Chapter Amsterdam) and Rajindre Tewari (National Coordinator The Netherlands)
GOPIO-The Netherlands Chapters inaugurated in May 2009
Photo above: Ambassador Manbir Singh addresses the meeting.
Mr. Arun Amirtham of the Indian Association in Switzerland gave a lively overview of the Indian community in his country and especially explained how the cultural exchange between Indians and the Swiss is taking place producing a blended performance in Swiss national cultural happenings. He presented a lesson of integration with the local culture while remaining Indian.
The evening was concluded with a reception and networking. 
To commemorate the observance of the 164th Anniversary of the arrival of Indian Indentured Immigrants to Trinidad, GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago's Indian Arrival Celebration and Awards, and National Chutney Foundation Awards ceremonies is planned to be a gala event to be held on May 28th, from 6:30pm to 9:00pm, at Gaston Court, Chaguanas, Trinidad.
The scheduled program is as follows:
Opening Universal Prayer
National Anthem
Welcome Speech entitled "Status of PIOs in Trinidad & Tobago in 2009' by President of GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago, Deosaran Bisnath
Greetings from His Excellency, Shri Malay Mishra, High Commissioner of India
Poetry recitation by Dr. Rajandaye Ramkissoon-Chen
Awards presented by President Max Richards and High Commissioner Malay Mishra, to - Shri Ravindranath Maharaj (Raviji), Spiritual Leader of Hindu Prachar Kendra, prominent social activist Haji Yacoob Ali, President of Anjuman Sunnat ul Jamaat (ASJA), Mr. Naipaul Sukdeo and Mrs. Leela Sukdeo, founders of XTRA FOODS, Mr. Ackbar Khan, J.P. and prominent social and community activist
Mr. Chayman Ramlagan Sawh, well-known sculptor and artist Sundar Popo Monument presentation  by Deosaran Bisnath President of GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago
National Chutney Awards presented to over 15 recipients.
Song, dance and otehr cultural events
Dinner - Indo-Trinidadian cuisine
For further details and participation, contact Deosaran Bisnath at
GOPIO Auckland Central Chapter donated FID 4,500 towards one of the Rota Homes in Lautoka (Fiji), a very proud moment for GOPIO New Zealand. The check was personally handed over by one of the executive members, Jack Singh to Peter Drysdale (Rotary) who is looking after this particular project.
Besides GOPIO Auckland Central Chapter, GOPIO Auckland Botany Downs and GOPIO Northshore Chapters also sent cash to the flood victims in Lautoka.
In a packed ballroom at the Italian Center in Stamford on April 26, GOPIO Connecticut honored and celebrated a scientist, a musician and a mayor for their achievements and contributions to the community - Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan, Associate Professor at Yale University; Dan Malloy, Mayor of Stamford; and Dr. Ajay Kapur, Director of Music Technology at California Institute for the Arts.
The elegant maroon and gold themed event which included a cocktail reception, dinner, fusion dance performances by local artists and music, was attended by nearly 250 Indian-American community leaders, supporters and public officials - including Mr. Praveen Kumar from the Indian Consulate in New York, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and State Senator Toni Boucher. Also attending were long time sponsor Stamford Hospital, HSBC and Joe Mathew Kavumpurath of Barnum Financial.
In welcoming the guests, Sangeeta Ahuja, President of GOPIO-CT said, "we salute the 2009 awardees. They have enriched our lives and the community we live in with their dedication, contributions and the passion for what they do and have accomplished." She urged members of the community to become involved by volunteering and creating an ongoing dialogue with the local communities.
Ravi S. Dhingra who emceed the colorful event and chaired the 2009 Awards Committee added "in addition to recognizing the best and the brightest, the Awards Banquet which is now in its third year, has become a premier event - it brings the community together, inspires others and creates a lot of positive energy.
The 2009 "Indian-American Achiever Award" went to Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan, Associate Professor of Astronomy & Physics at Yale University. She shared with the audience her recent discovery with a collaborator of an upper mass limit for black holes in the universe. She also recently received a Guggenheim Fellowship which she said "is very exciting; it will help me devote more time to my research projects."
Dan Malloy, Mayor of Stamford was inducted by the organization as a "Friend of GOPIO." "Mayor Malloy has been an inspiration to the community; he has always been very supportive of our efforts," said Sangeeta Ahuja. Mayor Malloy thanked the organization for this gesture and said "it's great to be a friend of GOPIO." He talked of the many similarities between the two great world democracies, United States and India, the strength of diversity and ways in which Indian-Americans have enriched the local culture and economy.
The "Young Person of the Year Award" went to Dr. Ajay Kapur for his pioneering work in blending music and technology to build robotic musical instruments. Ajay is Director of Music Technology at California Institute of the Arts and a Professor at the New Zealand School of Music. He also leads his multimedia consulting company, Karmetik, which designs custom technology solutions for the entertainment industry. "How do you make a computer improvise with a human?" Using the rules set forth by Indian classical tradition, Kapur said he has strived to "build new interfaces for musical expression by modifying the tabla, dholak and sitar with added micro chips and sensor systems."
Along with the awards, each of the awardees was presented with an official certificate of recognition from Governor Jodi Rell.
Attorney General Blumenthal in his remarks congratulated the awardees and praised "GOPIO-CT and the Indian-American community for your contributions in all fields." He also presented awardees with certificates of recognition from his office. Senator Toni Boucher  said "I am impressed by the strength of the Indian community gathered here today." She also presented a citation from the Connecticut State House to Sangeeta Ahuja.
Praveen Kumar from the Indian Consulate in New York presented the awards and lauded the "contributions of the Indian-American community to the United States as well as to India."
Dr. Thomas Abraham, chairman of GOPIO International said "GOPIO-Connecticut in its 3 short years has become a model to follow for other chapters in the international network."
Members of the GOPIO-CT youth committee talked about the monies they had raised for the Bal Sadan Orphanage in Panchkula, India as well as the planned activities for the rest of the year.
The audience was riveted by the dance performance of the Maria Fiora Dance Studio. Members of the studio performed a medley of ballroom dances over a medley of Western and Indian music. The Infini8 group from New York inspired the audience with a piece called Privilege. No entertainment would be complete without a bhangra performance. Neesha Ramchandani of Bollywood Axion closed with her energetic performance of Aaja Nachle.
For more information visit our website at

Photos below - Awardees with GOPIO officials, from left to right: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Dr. Ajay Kapur, Mayor Dan Malloy, Sangeeta Ahuja, Dr. Priya Natarajan, Consul Praveen Kumar and Ravi S. Dhingra.
GOPIO-CT Banquet Award Recipients and Interactive Session with C.G. Dayal
Photo Above: Ambassador Prabhu Dayal with GOPIO-CT Officials - From L. to R.: Paul Ahuja, Ravi Dhingra, Louella D'Silva, Shailesh Naik, Sangeeta Ahuja, Chandini Dayal, Consul General Prabhu Dayal, Shjelli NIchani, Anita Bhat and Dr. Thomas Abraham

Ambassador Prabhu Dayal, Consul General of India in New York attended a reception in his honor organized by GOPIO Connecticut at the Hampton Inn in Stamford, CT on Friday, May 15, 2009.
GOPIO-CT President Mrs. Sangeeta Ahuja welcomed everyone to the program and provided an account what GOPIO-Ct has been doing for the last three years and invited everyone to participate in future programs. "We look forward to an ongoing partnership with the Indian consulate," added Mrs. Ahuja.
Speaking to a packed audience of almost 100 members of the Indian-American community, Mr. Dayal congratulated the community for their outstanding success in all walks of life.
"The Indian community is the most successful ethnic community in the United States and the most law-abiding," Ambassador Dayal said.
He said he was impressed by the vibrancy of GOPIO Connecticut and the warmth and hospitality of the local community. In talking about US-India relations, he underlined that our countries are "two of the greatest democracies in the world. They are secular, tolerant, multi-ethnic, multi-racial multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious societies." He added "we have just finished a month-long democratic election process in India."
Mr. Dayal emphasized that the greatest challenge India and the United States face today is terrorism. "The terrorist attacks in Mumbai were not just an attack against Indians, but against all Westerners, including American nationals. It is in our common interest to eliminate the terrorist camps in Pakistan because they are the enemies of the entire civilized world."
He exhorted the community to rise to the economic challenge and for each of the members to be good ambassadors of India. "It is organizations like GOPIO that are the bridge connecting the Indian-Americans to US lawmakers and that helped shape the US-India nuclear dal," he said.
In the Q&A session that was moderated by GOPIO-CT Board Member Ravi Dhingra, Mr. Dayal addressed a number of issues and questions from the audience, including outsourcing, global warming treaty and the impact of the global economic slowdown. On the community's issues with (OCI) Overseas Citizenship Cards, Mr. Dayal graciously offered to hold OCI information camps in Connecticut. He also invited GOPIO Connecticut to host a community program at the consulate; this was met with a thunderous applause from the audience.
Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Trinidad and Tobago strongly condemned is regarded as religious intolerance and hate speech contained in the article by Kenneth Assee, titled "Weak Criticisms by Baldeosingh", in the Trinidadian Guardian newspaper, on Sunday May 10, 2009. Specifically, reference is made to Assee's statement:   "This is why religions like Hinduism and Islam continue to exist despite rational criticism of the cruelties they sanction. Their followers choose to believe."
GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago's Press Statement stated that it "categorically rejects Assee's claim that Hinduism and Islam sanction "cruelties", and the characterization that Hindus and Muslims "choose to believe." It continued, "While Hindus and Muslims may be tempted to respond with the long list of cruelties perpetrated in the name of religion throughout the past two millenniums, we caution against descending to such low levels of behavior; instead, we urge everyone in our multi-religious rainbow nation to practice tolerance of all religious communities, acceptance of every citizen, and inclusion of all, as we seek to develop a peaceful and harmonious society".
"GOPIO cautions against dangerous and harmful generalizations that may portray Hindus, Muslims, and Christians as extremists and enemies of our nation who seek to destroy our society. GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago reminds all that bigotry, intolerance, sectarianism, and fanaticism have resulted in nothing but violence, death, despair, and destruction. GOPIO believes we must develop a society that moves beyond tolerance, to mutual acceptance, with the core values of community and individual responsibility; equality of opportunity; and respect for freedom of rights, including freedom of speech but refraining from hate speech that discredits and denigrates fellow citizens".
GOPIO Parramatta, a new chapter in Australia has been inaugurated under the leadership of Mr. Amit Pall, a Solicitor and. The ad-hoc committee comprises of:
1.       President: Mr. Amit Pall
2.       Vice- President: Mr. Sean Comello           
3.       Joint Secretary: Mr Jag Rawat
4.       Treasurer: Mr. Dhawal Amlani
5.       Liaison Officer & Executive Member: Ms Dhwani Patel
6.       Executive Member: Mr Sanjeev Loura
7.        (Overseas Student)-Associate Member: Mr Vikas Sharma
8.       (Overseas Student)-Associate Member: Mr Kapil Raj
The chapter has also initiated a Sub Committee 'Overseas Students & New Migrants' with Ms Dhwani Patel as its Liaison Officer to oversee the issues related to the students in Australia.
Two chapters in America, GOPIO Long Island under the leadership of Darshan Bagga and GOPIO Houston under the leadership of Sam Kannappan have been initiated.
Two chapters in The Netherlands were also formally launched recently; GOPIO Overijssel under the leadership of Shridath Salikram and GOPIO Rotterdam under the leadership of Ruchita Puri. Whereas the credit for leadership initiative goes to the two chapter presidents, the country coordinator Rajinder Tewari equally deserves the credit for persuading Ruchita Puri and Shridath Salikram who agreed to accept the leadership challenge.
An Indian-American lawyer Preet Bharara has been nominated President Barack Obama to become the US attorney for Southern District of New York. Bharara, 40, has advised the New York Democrat Senator Charles Schumer on legal matters and played a key role in the congressional investigation of the Bush administration's firing of eight US attorneys, according to a White House announcement.
"This group of men and women have distinguished themselves as fair, tenacious and respected attorneys throughout their careers in both public and private service," Obama said of Bharara and five others who have been named.
Born in Punjab, India, Bharara immigrated to the US with his parents in 1970 and became a US citizen 10 years later. Raised in Monmouth County, New Jersey, he graduated from Harvard University in 1990 and from Columbia Law School in 1993.
Bharara was named 2007 South Asian Lawyer of the Year by the North American South Asian Bar Association. Before joining Schumer's office, Bharara was an assistant US attorney in the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, working in the general crimes, narcotics and organized crime/terrorism units from 2000 to 2005.
The Southern District, which traces its roots to 1789, prosecutes federal crimes in Manhattan and the Bronx as well as Westchester, Rockland and four other counties north of New York City.  It has jurisdiction over much of the financial industry, since major securities exchanges and banks are based within its boundaries.
Obama Administration has also appointed Subash Iyer, a former business analyst at the management consulting giant McKinsey and Co., as special assistant to Karen Mills, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Association. Iyer, 23, is likely the youngest person inducted into the administration so far. An alumnus of Columbia University, Iyer hopes to bring his perspective from the private sector background as well as broader experiences to help SBA achieve it goals.
Mobile phone maker Motorola's India-born chief Sanjay Jha has emerged America's top paid CEO.  According to a survey Citigroup's Vikram Pandit tops the league among bailed out banks. Another Indian on the list is PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi at the 36th slot with a pay package of $13.98 million.
Thhirty outstanding men and women from across the country have been selected as National Finalists for the White House Fellows Program - the nation's most prestigious program for leadership and public service. The National Finalists represent a diverse cross-section of professions, including business, medicine, law, non-profit sector, media, state government, finance, and education. Additionally, four branches of the military are represented among the National Finalists. The four Indian Americans at the list of the National Finalists are as follows:
Sudip Bose, Attending Emergency Physician, Advocate Christ Medical Center; Chicago, IL
Anish Mahajan, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar; Poughkeepsie, New York
Manish Sethi, Surgical Resident, Harvard Combined Orthopedics Program; Brookline, MA
Raj Shah, MBA Candidate, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business; Bonaire, GA
The White House Fellows Program was founded in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. This non-partisan program offers exceptional men and women experience working at the highest levels of the federal government. Fellows also participate in an education program consisting of roundtable discussions with renowned leaders from the private and public sectors and complete service activities throughout the year. Following the program, Fellows are expected to repay the privilege by contributing to the country as national leaders and public servants.
Praising them for "being forthright and transparent with shareholders", a magazine has named three India-origin chief executives - Indra Nooyi, Francisco D'Souza and Ramani Ayer among the best CEOs in the US.
Soft drinks maker PepsiCo's Nooyi, IT services major Cognizant Technology Solutions' D'Souza and insurance entity Hartford Financial Services' Ramani Ayer have made the cut in the list of '2009 America's Best CEOs' compiled by US-based Institutional Investor magazine.
According to the publication, these top-ranked CEOs score high marks for "being forthright and transparent with shareholders and smart with their companies' balance sheets.
Seven Canadians of Indian origin out of sixteen who contested election for the 79-member British Columbia assembly, have been elected. There was no increase in the number of Indian-origin legislators and most of them retained their seats.  Indian Canadians constitute more than five percent of the population of British Columbia of 4.4 million, and Punjabi is the third largest spoken language in the province.
Wally Oppal, British Columbia's attorney-general and virtually number two in the cabinet was re-elected. He was born and educated in Canada and was British Columbia Supreme Court judge prior to joining politics in 2005. Oppal is expected to retain his cabinet position.
Another high ranking Indian Canadian elected is Kash (Kashmir) Heed who held a high profile position as the chief of West Vancouver Police.  He is likely to become the next solicitor general of British Columbia.
The third high-profile Indian Canadian to win was former transportation minister Harry Lali. 
Two other prominent Indian Canadians who have been re-elected are Raj Chouhan and Dave Hayer. Jagrup Brar, a former Indian basketball player, John Nuraney and Harry Bains were also re-elected.
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, whose party won general elections on April 22, 2009 with 66% votes, has included six South Africans of Indian origin in his cabinet. The new ministers in the over 40-member cabinet are as follows: 
Pravin Gordhan, as finance minister. Pravin has been commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) since 1999.
Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Economic Development. He was general secretary of the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union
Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Roy Padaychee, Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration.
Enver Surty, Deputy Minister of Basic Education.
Yunus Carrim, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Traditional Affairs. 
The Malaysian government is to soon release the remaining three leaders of the banned Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) jailed since December 2007 for holding a protest rally, officials said.
Held under the stringent Internal Security Act (ISA), M. Manoharan, P. Uthayakumar and K. Vasantha Kumar will be released "in the next few days", The Star newspaper said. They are among 13 people to be released soon, it said, quoting Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
The release of the three Hindraf leaders comes after two other leaders - V. Ganabatirau and R. Kengadharan - were freed April 4, the day Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak took office.
Razak had said he was doing this "in a spirit of reconciliation".
The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), which traditionally speaks for Malaysia's two million-plus ethnic Indian community, said the government's decision would boost the country's image.
Apart from the three ethnic Indian activists, there are six Malaysians, five Filipinos and two Indonesians.
A bulk of the ethnic Indians in Malaysia are Tamil Hindus. The community constitutes 7.4 percent of the multi-racial population of 28 million.
The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) released their results on Wednesday, and for the second year in a row the entire 10th grade class of Shanti Bhavan, a tuition-free home and school dedicated to Dalit (formerly known as "Untouchables" - approximately 25% of India's population of 1.1 billion) children, secured First Division in the nationally accredited ICSE examination. Shanti Bhavan is the first school for Dalits to achieve First Division in the ICSE exams in India's academic history and have replicated that success again this year.
Over 1,500 schools in India and abroad take the ICSE annually, and the tests cover a wide range of subjects, from Physics and Chemistry to English Literature and Computer Applications. First Division on the ICSE is equivalent to a 3.5 GPA and higher by U.S. standards. The ICSE exams are administered over a three-week period and high scores can pave the way to entry into India's elite universities like the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and the Indian Institute of Management (IIM).
Shanti Bhavan's student body comes from families facing extreme poverty. Their parents are employed as sewer cleaners, quarry laborers, and in other low-paying jobs. Many are, or have been bonded-laborers, trapped in debt to landowners and money-lenders. Due to poverty and social injustice, graduating from high school has been difficult for Dalit children, and less than 5% of those who take the ICSE are from the "lowest castes."

Dr. Dagmar Etkin, a former Harvard instructor and an environmental scientist, taught Chemistry and Environmental Studies to the 10th grade. "The children of Shanti Bhavan are as intelligent and educated as any of their peers. They would fit in perfectly in a class of freshmen at Harvard." She added, "I cried when I saw their huts and the overwhelming poverty. It was difficult to believe this is where my students had come from. The ICSE results prove that Shanti Bhavan's model is working."
Located in Tamil Nadu, India, Shanti Bhavan is also a safe and caring home for the children, offering food, clothing, medical care, and all their necessities, free of charge, though it costs the school a little over $4 a day per child to do so. The institution's stated goal is to alleviate poverty through high quality education, opening up professional career paths that would normally be denied to this segment of the population.

"The World Bank's broader definition of poverty is $2 a day. With just double that, we're able to meet all the needs of the children," explains Abraham George, the founder of the school. "Basic primary education isn't enough these days; after going through such programs, the poor aren't able to achieve better opportunities for themselves. There should be no glass ceiling in education for the economically deprived."

To contact Shanti Bhavan, In the U.S.: 121 Hawkins Place, PMB 192, Boonton, NJ, 07005, Phone: 973-316-5605; In India: Shanti Bhavan Administration Office, 316, 5th A Cross, HRBR Extension, Kalyananagar, Bangalore 560043, Phone: +91-80-25444170; Or visit or E-mail:

Several key members of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), banned in Malaysia, have set up Makkal Sakthi Party, the latest outfit that claims to speak for the Indian community in this country. It is led by former Hindraf national coordinator R.S. Thanenthiran who campaigned across the country for the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the election held in March last year, hurting the ruling alliance Barisan Nasional (BN).
The Star newspaper of Malaysia has speculated that since he has fallen out with the opposition alliance, the formation of the new party by him could have the BN's blessings.
The new party's pro-tem secretary-general Kannan Ramasamy said the party had received approval from the Registrar of Societies. He said that since Hindraf was outlawed, it was timely that the movement and its support base found an alternative conduit to champion the Indian cause.  Kannan added that the lack of support from those whom the Makkal Sakthi movement and Hindraf helped win the general election last year was also one of the factors behind the decision to form the new party.
He said the new party would remain neutral and work with whichever coalition that was willing to support Hindraf's demands. "We are open to talks and negotiations with both the Barisan Nasional as well as Pakatan Rakyat and will support the coalition that supports our aspirations," he added.
A bulk of the Indian community, an estimated two million plus and forming 4.7 percent of the 28 million population, is Tamil Hindus who came here during the British era.
The new book by Roy Bhikarie is titled "The Ghost in Near-Death Experiences Presses for Self-Management to Enjoy Work, Life and Society" This guidebook provides an innovative methodology that enables anyone, despite the circumstances, to achieve their true abilities, improve relationships, successfully manage job or business demands, cope with uncertainties, and detach gracefully when the time comes (Tat tvam Asi - Thou art That). The chapters are provided with conclusions and exercises to aid in this process, and an environmental survey assists inhigh-performance managementby revealing which factors stimulate or disturb work-life synergy. Scientific research on near-death experiences and the revised concepts of causality, determinism and locality in quantum physics, corroborate the angle and approach of this book.
Portions of the book address issues such as leadership and management. Despite progress in (personal) leadership, management and strategy, different international forms of cooperation, freedom of speech and the press, the Internet, multilateralism and the ability to involve local Chambers of Commerce, trade and labor unions, and other NGOs and executives, corporate abuse, corruption, distrust within and among corporations, job stress, and physical and mental health complaints due to problems at work are increasing worldwide. Health complaints due to problems at work exceed those caused by any other life stressor, and suicide due to job stress is alarming worldwide. Other portions deal with issues pertaining to life itself. After near-death experiences, some patients reported clarity of consciousness from a position out and above their dead body, in which perception, cognitive functioning, emotion, sense of identity, or memory from early childhood occurred independently from the normal body-linked waking consciousness. They noted reviewing every thought and deed in their lives, and how they made others feel. Work-life synergy integrates non-material and material needs, aspirations, and encounters in a free spirit to realize our calling in developing the skills, talents and passion to fulfill our potential, increase productivity, and acquire a sound paradigm, benefiting society as well.
Contact: Harold Ramdhani, President, GOPIO Suriname, Tel: 01 597 475 993 or 597 856 3063 (cell), Email:

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 President - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: 818-708-3885, E-mail:

GOPIO Executive Vice President - Lord Daljit Rana, UK, Tel:  +44 28-9807-8787, Email:

GOPIO Secretary General - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York City, Tel: 718/939-8194, E-mail:


To become a Life member of GOPIO, visit, print and fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO, P.O. Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA.



Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO (Stamford, CT, USA)

Editors: Ashook Ramsaran, GOPIO General Secretary (New York, USA); and Munish Gupta, GOPIO Media Chair (Los Angeles, Calif)

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

Contributors of this issue: Inder Singh (USA), Dr. Rajindre Tiwani (The Netherlands), Ravi Dhingra (USA), Harold Ramdhani (Suriname), Dr. Abraham George (India), Deosaran Bisnath (Trinidad & Tobago), Harish Bajaj (New Zealand), Dr. Piyush Agrawal (USA)


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:


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