February 3, 2013
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
February 3, 2013
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GOPIO CONCLUDES SUCCESSFUL
CONVENTION AND CSA BANQUET IN KOCHI, INDIA
Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) successfully concluded its 24th
Convention with Executive Committee and General Council meetings and a
day-long conference on Jan. 6th. It started with its Executive
Meeting and Regional & Country Reports followed by highly acclaimed GOPIO's
Community Service Awards banquet held on January 6, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza
Hotel in Kochi, Kerala, India. This set of GOPIO events of January 5th
and 6th preceded the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD2013) events
of January 7 - 9, 2013.
Photo: GOPIO Officials and Dignitaries at GOPIO Community Service Awards
(CSA) banquet on Jan. 6th, 2013 From l. to r.: Dr. Thomas Abraham, P.C. Cyriac,
Sunny Kulathakal, Ashook Ramsaran, Inder Singh, Governor H.R. Bharadwaj, MOIA
Minister Vayalar Ravi, Kerala NRI Minister K.C. Joseph and former Governor M.M.
Photo above: Delegates at the GOPIO Convention 2013 at the CSA Banquet on
which was attended by delegates from 30 countries, explored challenges and
opportunities before the Diaspora, reviewed their past, present and future and
reviewed the economic progress and the celebrated centenary of India's freedom
movement initiated by the Diaspora. The 24th convention of GOPIO
passed ten resolutions and one expressed serious concern over the growing
tendency among people, especially the relatives of overseas Indians, to grab
their ancestral property.
adopted at the end of the two-day convention said that the share of the People
of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Non-resident Indians (NRIs) in their ancestral
properties was being grabbed by relatives in connivance with local authorities
and unscrupulous elements.
also noted that the women living overseas were also being denied a fair share of
their parental property by manipulating the distribution process. The resolution
urged the Government of India to set up fast track courts exclusively to settle
property-related matters pertaining to PIOs and NRIs.
resolution demanded a fast track system to clear other cases involving PIOs and
NRIs pending in courts in the state. The resolution noted that the corrupt
system was not allowing expeditious resolution of the cases.
also passed eight other resolutions. One is related to the limit imposed on the
gold NRIs can carry with them when they visit the country. The current rules
allow gold jewelry worth Rs.10, 000 for men and Rs.20, 000 for women.
"This means that
the allowance is only three grams of gold for man and six grams for a lady. So
we are not allowed to even wear a ring. We resolve to bring this issue to the
attention of appropriate authority to quash this thoughtless policy. If a limit
must be put, it should be at least 25 grams for a man and 50 grams for a lady",
the resolution added.
The convention started with a
Meeting Jan. 5th at the Presidency Hotel chaired by GOPIO president
Ashook Ramsaran and attended by: Chairman Inder Singh, Sunny Kulathakal
(Executive Vice President); Munish Gupta (International Coordinator, Africa);
Umesh Chandra (International Coordinator, Oceania); Dr. Sai Giridhar
(International Coordinator, Middle East); Dr Arnold Thomas (International
Coordinator, Caribbean; and Dr Thomas Abraham (Executive Trustee of , GOPIO
Foundation). An interactive session on Regional & Country Reports followed the
Executive committee meeting.
Photo above: GOPIO Executive committee and General Body Meetings held at
the Presidency Hotel, Kochi on Jan. 5th, 2013
Country Reports session was chaired by GOPIO chairman Inder Singh. Reports
were presented by: Markandey Rai (Kenya); Dr Ramesh Caussey on behalf of Ved
Prakash Goojha (GOPIO France); Deo Gosine - Trinidad & Tobago; Dr. Arnold Thomas
- Caribbean; Munish Gupta - Africa; Dr. Sai Giridhar - Middle East; Umesh
Chandra - Oceania (Fiji, Australia, N. Zealand); report by Dr Piyush
Agrawal - North America; Pradeep Kapoor - New Zealand; Mrs. Lucky
Singh - Australia; Dr. Prabhu Kulkarni - Ireland; Mr. Radha
Krishnan - Indian Organizations in the USA; K. N. Gupta - Liaison with
Government of India; Harbachan Singh - Liaison to United Nations. In
addition, Council reports were presented by Suman Kapoor (Women's Council);
Issac John (Media Council); and Dr Ramesh Caussey (Science & Technology
President and Convener of Convention 2013 discussed the publication of "24
Incredible Years" to be distributed at GOPIO and PBD events in Kochi. Earlier on
Jan. 4th, GOPIO officials had a press conference at the Kochi Press Club.
Photo above: GOPIO Press Conference at the Kochi Press Club on Jan. 4th.
Sitting, from l. to r. Suman Kapoor, Isaac John Pataniparambil, Sunny
Kulathakal, Inder Singh, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Munish Gupta. Standing from l. to
Ramesh Caussy, Lucky Singh and Mr. Kapoor
The inaugural session
convention was held on Jan. 6th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Jan. 6th
morning. The inaugural session was graced with the participation of Former Gov.
M. M. Jacob (former Governor of Meghalaya& Arunachal Pradesh, India) as chief
guest. Gov. Jacon has been advisor to GOPIO since its inception in 1989. Welcome
remarks were made by: Sunny Kulathakal (Executive Vice Pres, GOPIO Int'l,
Bangalore); P. C. Cyriac (President of GOPIO Chapter, Kochi, India); Inder
Singh (Chairman GOPIO Int'l, USA); Ashook Ramsaran, (President, GOPIO Int'l,
USA), followed by Inaugural Remarks by Former Gov. M. M. Jacob. Newly
published EDGE OF THE CLIFF
by Anand Mullo (Historian, Mauritius) was released and Suman Kapoor (Chair,
GOPIO's Women's Council, New Zealand) concluded with a note of thanks.
Photo above: GOPIO Convention Inaugural Session and Book Release by Gov.
M.M. Jacob, From l. to r.: Sunny Kulathakal, Ashook Ramsaran, P.C. Cyriac, Gov.
Jacob, Anand Mullo, Inder Singh and Suman Kapoor
keynote address at the inaugural session, former Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh
Governor M. M. Jacob called for expanding the activities of the GOPIO.
Session I: Diaspora Issues: Challenges & Opportunities
Chaired by Sunny
Kulathakal (Executive Vice Pres, GOPIO Int'l, Bangalore) and co-chaired by Ms.
Lucky Singh (President, GOPIO Chapter Sydney, Australia). Speakers included:
Prof. Chandrashakar Bhat (Frm Dir of Diaspora Studies, Hyderabad, India); Umesh
Chandra (Int'l Coordinator, Oceania, Australia); Dr. Arnold Thomas (Int'l
Coordinator, Caribbean, St. Vincent); the Q/A session was chaired by Radha
Krishnan (National Director, Liaison to US Indian Organizations and thanks was
provided by Jaswant Mody (Associate Secretary, GOPIO Int'l, USA).
Photo above: Speakers
and panelists at the session Diaspora Issues. From l-r:
Inder Singh, Prof. Chandershekar Bhat, Radha Krishnan, Ashook Ramsaran, Jaswant
Mody, Sarat Maharaj, Umesh Chandra, Dr. Arnold Thomas, Lucky Singh
Freedom Movements in the Diaspora - Gadar & Others
Chaired by Inder
Singh (Chairman GOPIO Int'l, USA and co-chaired by Dr. Neerja Arun (GOPIO
Academic Council Co-Chair, and Coordinator-cum-Director, Gujarat Univ.
International Program, Ahmedabad, India). The lead speaker was Prof. Harish Puri
(Researcher, Historian and Author of Books on Gadar Movement, India). Other
speakers: Dr Savitri Sawhney (Daughter of Gadar Hero Khankhoje, Author,
India); Manpreet Kaur Singh (Author, Journalist, Australia); Dr. Teresa
Wycliffe (Community Leader, GOPIO Metro DC, USA). The session was concluded by
Harbachan Singh (Director, Liaison to United Nations, USA).
Photo above: GOPIO Convention Kochi 2013 - Session on Gadar Heroes. From l.
to r.: Manpreet Kaur Singh, Prof. Harish Puri, Inder Singh, Dr. Neerja Arun, Dr.
Savitri Sawhney and Teressa Wycliff
the release of the proceedings of a conference organized Gujarat University and
GOPIO in January 2012, INDIAN
DIASPORA DISCOURSE, edited by
Dr. Neerja Arun of Gujarat University.
Photo Above: Proceedings if the Indian
Diaspora Conference organized by Gujarat University and GOPIO in January 2012
being presented to GOPIO Gadar Panel at GOPIO Conv. 2013 in Kochi. From l. to
r.: Dr. Neerja Arun, Manpreet Kaur Singh, Ashook
Ramsaran, Prof. Harish Puri, Inder Singh, Dr. Savitri Sawhney and Teressa
speaker at the lunch session was Ashok Rao (Chair, TiE Global, USA), introduced
by Kurian Abraham (GOPIO Chapter, Kochi, India), with a note of thanks by Issac
John Pataniparambil (Chair, GOPIO Media Council, Dubai). Rao gave a historic
account of the Diaspora in the past and how it is shaping now and what he see
the composition of the Diaspora in the future.
Session III: Economic Progress in the Diaspora: Making an Impact in Global
This session was
chaired by Dr Thomas Abraham (Exec. Trustee, GOPIO Foundation & GOPIO Founding
President, USA). Speakers were Shri K. Mohandas (Former Sec of MOIA & Shipping,
India); George Abraham (Chair, GOPIO Business Council), T. Ramappa,
Secretary, GOPIO-Bangalore and Chamber of Commerce. Prasad Yarlaggada
(GOPIO of Australia Chapter) coordinated the Q/A session with conclusion by
Sood (President, GOPIO-Edison, New Jersey, USA) and note of thanks by Deo Gosine
(Co-Chair, GOPIO Business Council, Trinidad). Mr. Mohandas spoke extensively on
Indian Diaspora's economic contribution in different regions of the world.
A book on
Malayali Diaspora edited by
Sam George and T.V. Thomas was released by former Secretary Mohandas.
Photo above: Former MOIA Secretary K. Mohandas releasing the
book on Malayali Diaspora by Sam George after the panel on Economic Progess in
the Diaspora. From l. to r. T. Ramappa, George Abraham, Sunny Kulathakal, Dr.
thomas Abraham, K. Mohandas, Sa, Geroge, Deo Gosine,Prasad Yarlaggada and
Ambassador R. Dayakar.
Session IV: Economic Progress in the Diaspora: Investment in India; Creating
India-Diaspora Science, Technology & Innovation Knowledge Network
This session was
chaired by Munish Gupta (Int'l Coordinator, Africa, India/USA) and co-chaired by
Dr. Ramesh Caussy (Chair, GOPIO Science & Tech. Council, France). Speakers
included: J. Alexander (former Karnataka Tourism Minister, India); Deepak Sharma
(Kotak Mahindra Bank, India); Nirankar Saxena (Senior Director, FICCI, India);
Sujata Sudarshan (Director, CII & CEO of OIFC, India). A special speaker was
Paresh Rughani. a motivational speaker (GOPIO Chapter of London, UK). The
session was concluded by Dr. Markandey Rai (GOPIO of Kenya, Africa) and thanks
by Harish Srivastava (Senior Consultant, Rockland Hospitals Group, Delhi/Agra).
Photo above: GOPIO officials presenting the book titled Global Indian
Diaspora-GOPIO Making an Impact to all panelists after the session on Diaspora
and Investment in India. From l. to r.: Ashook Ramsaran, Inder Singh, Nirankar
Saxena, Dr. Ramesh Caussey, Sujata Sudarshan, Munish Gupta, J. Alexander, Dr.
Markandey Rai, Paresh Rughani, Deepak Sharma, Dr. harish Srivastava and Dr.
Women Power at the GOPIO Convention - Women delegates at the GOPIO
convention took an opportunity to show their solidarity with Indian women
demonstrating atrocities towards women and girls in India, particularly the
recent rapes in India. It was coordinated by GOPIO Women Council Chair Suman
Kapoor along with GOPIO-Sydney North West President Lucky Singh.
Photo above: Women Power at GOPIO Convention 2013 - Women
Delegates Demonstrating on Atrocities to Indian Women at GOPIO Conv. 2013
The conference conclusion and wrap-up was
done by Ashook Ramsaran, (President, GOPIO Int'l, USA) who provided a brief
summary of the various conference sessions and significance to the global Indian
Diaspora interests and concerns. Note of thanks was done by Netram Rambudhan
(Treasurer, GOPIO Int'l, USA).
Resolutions passed- GOPIO Convention
passed ten resolutions pertaining to the interest of the Indian Diaspora and
The GOPIO CSA banquet later that
evening was a very prominent, high profile, well attended and publicized event
with chief guest Governor H. R. Bhardwaj currently Governor of Karnataka and
Kerala; MOIA Minister Vayalar Ravi as Guest of Honor; and other guests including
Kerala Chief Oommen Chandy, Kerala NRI Minister K.C. Joseph; former Governor M.
M. Jacob; and Lord Bhikhu Parekh from the House of Lords, UK.
crowd witnessed GOPIO's recognition of 6 persons for outstanding community
service; 3 for special recognition and 1 posthumously for outstanding community
service. In addition, special GOPIO Gadar shawls were presented to descendant of
GOPIO Community Service Awards were accorded to:
Murray Bullock (St
Vincent & Grenadines)
George Subraj (Guyana-USA)
Dr Anil Mehta (Netherlands)
Ramlutchman (South Africa)
Special Recognition was given to:
Dr A. Didar
above: GOPIO CSA Award Recipients with GOPIO Officials and Dignitaries, Top Row: l. to r. GOPIO Kochi
Secretary Jose thomas, Ashook Ramsaran, Inder Singh, P C Cyriac, Sunny
Kulathakal, Governor H. R. Bhardwaj, MOIA Minister Vayalar Ravi, Kerala NRI
Minister K.C. Joseph; Bottomp RowSome of the Awardees: l. to r.- George
Subraj, Murray Bullock, Vasu Chanchlani, Dr Anil Mehta, Ashok Deo, Manpreet Kaur
Posthumous recognition for outstanding
community service was given to Dr. Awtar Singh, received by nephew Sherri
The session on
GOPIO Resolutions was chaired by Dr Thomas Abraham (Exec. Trustee, GOPIO
Foundation& GOPIO Founding President, USA) using research, preparation and draft
by Dr. Piyush Agrawal (Senior Vice President of GOPIO Int'l, USA). The session
was co-chaired by former ambassador R. Dayakar (Int'l Coordinator, South Asia,
India) with note of thanks provided by K. N. Gupta (Director, Liaison to Gov't.
of India, India).
were adopted at the GOPIO Convention 2013. These resolutions are pertinent to
the interests and concerns of the global Indian Diaspora. List is shown below;
detailed resolutions at GOPIO website
Unreasonable & Unrealistic Custom Duty
Property Related Matters
Cultural Conflicts of New Indian Immigrants settling in other Countries
Extremely Slow System of Indian Justice
Contradictory Provisions for Research in India
Image of India as a Country
International Indian Emigration Day
Terrorism: Safety of Life & Property
Selection of Speakers for PBD
Rajya Sabha Seats for NRIs/PIOs
In addition to
the unreasonable and unrealistic custom duty and grabbing of NRI properties, a
resolution on Image of India as a Country urged the government to do something
about the growing corruption and the lack of law and order in the country, which
makes the Indian Diaspora embarrassed about the country of their ancestors.
"The image of
India and its diaspora is so intertwined that both the positives and the
negatives of each affects the other. Both have stakes in each other's
prosperity. Therefore we urge the government not to allow corruption to tarnish
resolutions covered cultural conflicts faced by new Indian immigrants settling
in other countries, lack of sufficient provisions for NRIs to conduct research
in the country and growing terrorist activities, the threats to the safety of
life and property, selection of speakers to the PBD and reserving Rajya Sabha
seats for NRIs.
resolution called for an International Indian Emigration Day in order to better
connect the Diaspora.
feedback on the convention. Please send it to GOPIO Secretary Nami Kaur at
clockwise from top left, GOPIO Intl. officials with GOPIO-Tel Aviv officials,
GOPIO USA officials and with GOPIO-Australia.
A few YouTube
videos of GOPIO Convention 2013 are provided with links below:
Governor M.M. Jacob Delivering
Inaugural Address at GOPIO Convention 2013 -
TiE Global Chair Ashok Rao Speaking at GOPIO Convention 2013 in Kochi -
Dr. Thomas Abraham speaking GOPIO Convention 2013 in Kochi -
Former MOIA Secretary Mohandas speaking at GOPIO Convention 2013 in Kochi -
George Abraham speaking at GOPIO Convention 2013 in Kochi -
Ambassador R. Dayakar speaking at GOPIO Convention 2013 in Kochi -
MOIA AND KERALA GOVT. ORGANIZE A SUCCESSFUL PRAVASI BHARATIYA DIVAS (PBD2013),
JAN 7-9, 2013
The 11th Pravasi
Bharatiya Divas (PBD), held on January 7-9, 2013 in Cochin, Kerala was a
successful event organized by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and
with full support of the Government of Kerala, It was inaugurated by Prime
Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on January 8 with Mauritius President Rajkeswur
Purryag as the chief guest. The President of India, SHRi Pranab Mukerjee
delivered the valedictory address on January 9 after conferring the Pravasi
Bhartiya Samman Awards to 15 high achievers among the Diaspora. The
pre-conference seminars were organized on January 7 followed by plenary and
panels sessions beginning on January 8.
PBD has become a
significant forum to connect the overseas Indians from all over the world and
the PBD-2013 focused on more connectivity with overseas Indians. Kerala as the
Partner State of the 11th PBD, provided the Diaspora an opportunity
to understand the vibrant culture and potential of the State of Kerala. More
than 2000 delegates 2013 from all over the world attended the various events of
In his inaugural
speech, PM Manmohan Singh declared his government's unequivocal commitment to
deepen the connection of expatriate Indians with their country of origin and
advance their interests. "While honoring their achievements, we will also seek
to facilitate their travel, business and education and make it easier for them
to be a part of life of India, enjoy due rights and participate in India's
economic development," he said while inaugurating the 11th Pravasi Bharatiya
Divas here on Tuesday, January 8. He invited the overseas Indian community to be
a strong and vital partner and participant in India's social and economic
development. "Whether you wish to invest or share your knowledge, technology and
skills, whether your enterprise takes you to the cities or your compassion
brings you to a remote village, I assure you of our continuing effort to support
your endeavors," Dr. Singh said.
Photo above: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Purryag releases
postage stamp honoring Gadar Horoes (in the right). also in the photo are
Minsiter Vayala Ravi and Governor H.R. Bharadwaj
At the inaugural
session, President Purryag declared that "We take pride in the rise of
India... we share common values, a common heritage and we are grateful to India
for its selfless support to Mauritius in its social and economic development
process." The Indian Diaspora, he said, needed to capitalize on India's growth
story and seek active partnerships with Indian companies is areas such as
science & technology, education and other hard and soft infrastructure sectors.
Mauritius, he said, offered a great opportunity for Indian companies to reach
out to the entire African market, now dubbed as the continent of the century.
The President of Mauritius also pledged his country's support for India's
permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.
Vayalar Ravi, announced that the emigration system was being amended to keep in
step with the needs all concerned with the process of emigration. "We have
worked on a law in this regard and we hope to finalize it soon, "he said. Mr.
Ravi announced that the merger of the OCI and PIO cards would soon be done to
create a single OCI card. He said that his Ministry had widened the scope of the
Indian Community Welfare Fund to include payment of penalties to release Indian
nationals who are in prisons for no fault of their; support to local overseas
Indian associations to establish Overseas Indian Community Centers and support
to start and run overseas Indian community-based student welfare centers.
Mr. Oommen Chandy,
Chief Minister of Kerala, in his address, pointed out that he expected the
Planning Commission, Government of India, to respond positively to his
suggestion to formulate a Centrally-sponsored scheme to supplement the efforts
of the State Government in the rehabilitation of returning migrants. Some of the
major concerns still being faced by Indian expatriates in their host countries,
especially in the Gulf, related to issues of job security, reasonable living
conditions and legal protection for the unskilled and semi-skilled workers.
These, Mr. Chandy said, needed to be addressed by the Union Government.
Hosting the 11th
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) 2013 in Kerala state led to a significant
participation by Non- Resident Indians (NRIs) living in Gulf countries. Kerala
contributes in large number to this segment of overseas Indians. The Ministry of
Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) made it a special point to also invite Indian
Ambassadors from Gulf countries.
(Drummers) at the opening of Pravasi Bharatiay Divas in Kochi on Jan. 7th -
OVERSEAS CITIZEN CARD (OCI) AND PIO CARD TO BE MERGED
the inaugural session, Minister for overseas Indian affairs (MOIA) Vayalar Ravi
announced the merger of the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) and People of
Indian Origin (PIO) to a single card. The minister made this announcement at the
inaugural session of the 11th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
(PBD), the NRI conclave that began in Kochi on January 7, 2013. In general, PIO
cards are issued to Indians who have been staying abroad for couple of
generations while OCI cards are given to those who are more recent migrants and
have taken citizenships in other countries. The OCI cards are practically visas
that enable its holders to enter India for an indefinite period, while PIO card
holders have to apply for separate visas.
The merging of these two cards could make PIO card holders also eligible for the
benefits that are enjoyed by OCI card holders. Minister Ravi said the proposed
amendment to the Emigration Act 1983 had been circulated to other ministries for
comments. Once the comments are received, the bill would be sent to the Prime
Minister for approval. Subsequently the cabinet has to approve it before it is
placed before the Parliament.
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
HONORS 15 OVERSEAS INDIANS AT PBD2013
the concluding session of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2011, the President Pranab
Mukherjee, called upon Indian Diaspora "to assist India in its economic growth
policy by being partners in progress in the drive towards the realization of
accelerated growth". He said that, " for India to regain its eight per cent
economic growth, there must be high investment rate in the country with Non
Resident Indians investing in Indian companies and establishing new ventures.
He added that, with the knowledge and experience you have gained as academics,
scholars, scientists, technologists, professionals and businessmen, you can play
a decisive role in the development of India''.
President Mukherjee conferred the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award to
fifteen distinguished members of the Indian Diaspora for their achievements in
life and their contributions to the welfare of the Indian community and
enhancing India's image overseas. The awards were presented to these the eminent
Overseas Indians at the valedictory function of the third and concluding day of
the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2013 held in Kochi.
President Mukherjee commended the developmental roles being played by some
Non-Residents Indians (NRI), saying the Government of India was proud of them.
``While we celebrate the accomplishments of Indians in the Diaspora, we should
not also forget that many of them are struggling to establish themselves and
many are facing hardships,'' he noted.
award is the Government of India's highest civilian honor for non-resident
Indians recognized for their roles
in various fields
of human endeavor in their respective countries of abode. H. E. Ralkeswur
Purryag, the president of Mauritius, who was the Special Guest of Honor at the
PBD 2013was prominently recognized for his achievements in public service.
Purryag has been a prominent political figure in Mauritius for over four
decades. His active political career began with his election to the National
Assembly of Mauritius for the first time in 1976. He has held several
Ministerial posts including deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign
Affairs and International Trade. President Rajkeswur Purryag is recognized for
his outstanding contribution in public service and fostering friendly relations
between India and Mauritius.
The Australia India
Society of Victoria was recognized for community service.
The other award winners include: Prof. Dr. Gursharan Singh Chhatwal from
Germany: Ashok Shambhomal Vaswani from Guinea: Indian Doctors Forum from Kuwait:
Tan Sri Ravindran Menon from Malaysia; Dr. Rasik Vihari Joshi from Mexico; Dr.
Satendra Kumar Singh from New Zealand; Gilbert Canabady Moutien from Reunion
Island; Mohammed Rabeeh Karuvanthodi from Saudi Arabia; Ismail Ebrahim from
South Africa; Bava Pandalingal from UAE; and Patricia Maria Rozario from UK.
Photo Above: PBD award recipients with
President Pranab Mukherjee and Minsiter Vayalar Ravi
Outstanding public service award recipients were Mr Ismail Ebrahim of South
Africa and Mr Subash Razdan, the latter a distinguished engineer and a well
known community leader from Atlanta, USA who heads Gandhi Foundation USA and
served as President of the National Federation of Indian American Associations
(NFIA); while Ms Patricia Rozario of UK got an award for Music. Dr
Narendra Kumar, President of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin
(AAPI), was recognized for his achievements in the field of medicine, community
service, global leadership and contributions to building bridges between India
and the United States.
behalf of all award recipients, Subash Razdan gave a note of thanks to MOIA and
FROM 9 COUNTRIESS AT "KNOW INDIA" PROGRAM
Nearly 34 participants from 9 countries once again visited India under the Know
India Program (KIP) for three weeks leading up to the 11th Pravasi
Bharatiya Divas in Kochi, Kerala. KIP, organized and conducted by the Ministry
of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) of the Government of India, has become
extremely successful with PIO/NRI youth who have never visited India before.
This three-week sojourn in India provides the Diaspora youth with an orientation
program to promote awareness on different facets of life in India and the
progress made by the country in various fields e.g. economic, industrial,
education, Science & Technology, Communication & Information Technology,
culture. KIP has truly evolved over the 22 batches it has served into a unique
forum for the Diaspora youth who become Ambassadors of India upon return to the
communities and countries they live in. The 23rd KIP participants were from
Fiji, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago, Israel, Myanmar &
United States. The 3-week program was begun on December 20, 2012. During the 22
days the participants visited several place of the India. This year the host
country was the Kochi Kerala. The first leg of the program began with a meeting
of the Vice Chancellor of TERi (The Energy & Resource Institute). During their
stay in Delhi participants met with the Director General of Indian Council for
Cultural Relations (ICCR) besides meeting with Hon. Lt. Governor of Delhi,
Tajendra Khanna. The group also visited the famed TajMahal in Agra. After
spending few days in Delhi, the participants proceeded to Kerala where they
enjoyed sightseeing and various field visits and attended the 11th
Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas at Kochi.
Each of the PBD days
ended with a cultural program and dinner. On Jan. 7th Geetha Chndran group
performed Bharata Natyam in different styles and music. Kerala Govt.
sponsored Night of Bharatham and Keralam at the Bolgatty Palace in the island on
Jan. 8th. all the delegates were welcomed in the traditional Kerala style
welcome. Cultural program on Jan. 9th was performed by artists from Mauritius
Photo above: PBD.2013.Cultural Program - Bharata Natyam by Geeta Chandran
See the cultural
programs of the first two days by clicking the YouTube video links.
PBD 2013 - Bharata
Natyam by Geetha Chandran Group, Part 1 -
PBD 2013 - Bharata Natyam by Geetha Chandran Group, Part 2 -
PBD 2013 - Bharata Natyam by Geetha Chandran Group on Tchaikovski Music - Part 1
PBD 2013 - BharataNatyam by Geetha Chandran Group on Tchaikovski Music - Part 2
PBD 2013 - Night of Bharatham and Keralam at Pravasi Bharatiay Divas.Jan. 8,
2013 - Delegates Welcomed - Part 1 -
PBD 2013 - Night of Bharatham and Keralam at Pravasi Bharatiay Divas.Jan. 8,
2013 - Delegates Welcomed - Part 2 -
PBD 2013 - Night of Bharatham and Keralam at Pravasi Bharatiay Divas.Jan. 8,
2013 - Program - Part 1 -
PBD 2013 - Night of Bharatham and Keralam at Pravasi Bharatiay Divas.Jan. 8,
2013 - Program - Part 2 -
PBD 2013 - Night of Bharatham and Keralam at Pravasi Bharatiay Divas.Jan. 8,
2013 - Program - Part 3 -
PBD 2013 - Night of Bharatham and Keralam at Pravasi Bharatiay Divas.Jan. 8,
2013 - Program - Part 4 -
GOPIO OFFICIALS SPEAK AT PBD 2013 SESSIONS ON PURE SCIENCES AND HERITAGE
International was prominent at the 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2013
in Kochi with participation in two key sessions. GOPIO Founder President and
Executive Trustee of GOPIO Foundation moderated the PBD seminar session on PURE
SCIENCES on Jan. 7th and GOPIO International President Ashook
Ramsaran spoke in the session HERITAE AND DIASPORA.
7th January: Seminar on "Pure Sciences"
This seminar, and various
challenges involved in developing pure sciences & its commercialization for
enhancing India's competiveness globally. The session explored
possibilities of global scientific leadership for India as well as understanding
critical success factors in research and looked at various challenges
involved in developing pure sciences & its commercialization for enhancing
India's competiveness globally. Besides understanding critical success factors
in research, the session explored possibilities of global scientific leadership
Thomas Abraham, President, Innovative Research and Products, Inc. and
Executive Trustee, GOPIO International Foundation, USA
by: Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and
Education (DARE) and Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research
Lord Bhikhu C Parekh, Member of British House of Lords, UK; Dr. C.
Shekhar Misra, Fermi Lab, USA; Prof. G.K. Sasidharan, Ex- Vice
Chancellor, Calicut University.
Photo: Seminar Session of Pure Sciences at PBD 2013. From l. to r.: G.K.
Sasidharan, Dr. C Shekhar Misra, Dr. thomas Abraham, Dr. S. Ayyappan and Lord
At the outset,
Dr. Abraham raised the following questions for the speakers to cover.
When we talk about Pure Sciences,
quality and rigor of the methods used in research are more important than
quantity. A comment from many Indian American academics, who visit India and
attend many science conferences and poster sessions, is that in broad terms
Indian post graduate students and faculties often do not concentrate on quality.
There are people doing quality research in pure sciences in some of the Indian
institutions. However, such numbers are painfully insignificant compared to
other countries including many Asian countries including China, Korea,
Singapore, etc: On a per capita basis it is embarrassing small.
How to improve this state of affairs?
Another comment is Diaspora
scientists is that many of the pure research in India are uncontrolled or non
relevant or resources concentrated with a few at the top. Many ideas are
borrowed or are non innovative ideas. How to correct
One other problem is the
brightest of graduates from the IITs, NITS and other leading technological
institutes usually go away from sciences and engineering to business and
management. There are good faculties in some of the institutes. However, if the
institutes and universities get only mediocre students, that won't bring quality
in the research. What would be our strategy to keep
bright students in sciences?
Per capita of IITs is higher and
the govt. is pumping more money to the next level schools too.
How can we improve the per capita of a large number of
universities and science institutions?
In the Global Innovation Index
2012 published by INSEAD Business School and World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO), India's rank is 64 while China's rank is 34. In terms of
papers published in top journals, India will rank at the bottom compared to USA,
Japan, China, etc. In some fundamental science, you see almost no papers from
Indians in India. What steps need to be taken for India
to reach within the first dozen countries?
Countries such as Brazil is
sending as many as 10,000 students every year with fellowships to go out of the
country to get trained in higher studies in sciences so that they would learn
the latest from foreign research centers so as to improve the innovative nature
of Brazil. Chinese Govt. brings in Chinese origin scientists to China from North
America and Europe whenever they are available. They also sent a large number of
graduate students and post doctoral students to American universities at their
own cost. What should be India's take in such
initiative to send students outside or do we concentrate on training them at
home? What would attract quality students for research in India instead of they
going to foreign institutions?
Looking at the top achievers from
in India in sciences, four Nobel Prize winners come right away in my mind, i.e.
Sir C.V. Raman, Dr. S Chandrasekhar, Dr. Har Gobind Khorana and Dr. Vekatraman
Ramakrishnan. Of the four, three of them were from the Diaspora and were
recognized for their work outside India. It was brought to the attention that
the number of peer reviewed articles by researchers from India in science,
technology and engineering journals is abysmally small. Of course Indian
Diaspora researchers have a larger share of the publications.
That brings out a question, why, since our
independence, Indians can achieve in sciences only when they are out of India?
Indian Diaspora can play an
important role for promotion of science and technology in India. Although there
have been some past efforts, we are yet to see a concentrated effort in this
direction. What is the current level of participation
for Indian Diaspora scientists in India's science and technology and what we can
envisage for future?
Lord Bhikhu Parekh and Dr. C. Shekhar Misra did interact on many of these issues
brought out by Moderator Dr. Abraham.
said, "In a knowledge-base economy, a country like India will be left far
behind by smaller countries like South Korea and Israel or even smaller
countries if we do not keep pace with others, let alone outpace them in the
"If you take the
citation index, show me which one of the India-based scientists is cited more
than two or three times... in any international journal," Parekh asked.
He quoted Dr.
Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, the former director of the Tata Institute of
Fundamental Research as saying that there is no lack of money, only that of
trained people and ideas.
there were no top pure science journals published in India that a good foreign
scholar would submit a paper to. He also pointed out that among other things,
scientific training is poor in India. He also said that poor leadership was
another problem in Indian science, a fact he saw at the Maharaj Sarajirao
University of Baroda.
India faced a
problem in that India's resources, while plentiful, are diffused, Parekh said,
and he also took insularity in the Indian scientific system. "We have never
advertised our positions abroad," he said. "chin does, Malaysia does."
said, there was a need to change training methods from the beginning. He said
this was where the Diaspora had a role to play. While individual visits helped a
bit, it was institutional ties across countries that would do more, even
involving sending students abroad to bring back new ideas. Parekh said there
were two reasons why Indians abroad did better that those back home.
"Here you become
lazy," he said. "Your intelligence is not awakened. Pressure is not put upon
you." The second thing, he said, was the lack of a process to weed out those who
did not perform.
Misra, who is part of an institutional collaboration in India, addressed the
development of energy on the form of thorium plants. He focused his discussion
on applied sciences. He said that the feudal nature of science in India is
changing and that the hierarchial system in place would like go away in time.
In his keynote
address Dr. S. Ayyappan highlighted the success of agricultural research in
India. The last speaker Dr. G.K. Sasidharan spoke on the challenges to pure
sciences and called upon the Indian society to let our children explore all
possibilities and do not compel them to learn only engineering, IT, BT and
medicine or just confined to applied sciences. Let them turn to pure sciences
Part of the
presentations are provided in the YouTube as follows:
PBD 2013 -
Session on Pure Sciences on Jan. 7th, 2013. Speakers are recognized -
PBD 2013 - Session on Pure Sciences. Session chair Dr. Thomas Abraham recognized
PBD 2013 - Session on Pure Sciences. Chair Dr. Abraham remarks and Minister Ravi
PBD 2013 - Session on Pure Sciences. Dr. Abraham remarks and Dr. S. Ayyappan
PBD 2013 - Session on Pure Sciences on Jan. 7th. Lord Bhikhu Parekh speaks -
PBD 2013 - Session on Pure Sciences on Jan. 7th, 2013. Dr. C. Shekhar Misra
PBD 2013 - Session on Pure Sciences on Jan. 7th, 2013. Prof. G.K. Sasidharan
8th January: Plenary Session on "Heritage and Diaspora"
session explored diverse elements of Indian heritage and values, including
traditional knowledge, and their cultural relevance. Indian heritage, the legacy
of culture and civilization binds people of Indian origin across various
Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Gov't of
by: Sir Anand Satyanand, Former Governor General, New Zealand
Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, Minister of Human Resources, Malaysia; Rtd
Hon'ble Baroness Sandeep Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, U K;
Ms Abike Dabiri Erewa, Chairperson of the Nigerian House of Representatives
Committee; Shri Pavan K Varma, Author and former Ambassador of India to
Bhutan; Mr. Gopinath Pillai, Ambassador-at-Large, Singapore; Shri.
Ashook Ramsaran, President of GOPIO International, USA; Shri Yanktesh
Permal Reddy, Chairman of Reddy group of Companies.
Ramsaran, President of GOPIO International; Mr. Gopinath Pillai,
Ambassador-at-Large, Singapore; Shri Pavan K Varma, Author and former
Ambassador of India to Bhutan; Sir Anand Satyanand, Former Governor
General, New Zealand; Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for Human
Resource Development, Gov't of India; Baroness Sandeep Verma,
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, U K; Dato Seri Dr S. Subramaniam,
Minister of Human Resources, Malaysia; Ms Abike Dabiri Erewa, Chairperson
of the Nigerian House of Representatives Committee; Shri Yanktesh Permal
Reddy, Chairman of Reddy group of Companies.
GADAR CENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION PROMINENT AT PBD2013 IN KOCHI
The Centenary of
the Gadar Movement was among the highlights of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2013.
At the inauguration of the 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2013 in Kochi
on 8th January, 2013, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh emphasized
the Gadar Centennial and its importance of the Gadar Movement in Indian history.
Singh also released the first day cover and stamp to commemorate the Gadar
In his inaugural
address, the Prime Minister said, "Over the ages, the relationship between
Pravasis and Bharat has taken many forms. One of its most glorious
manifestations has been their contribution to India's independence movement.
Nearly a hundred years ago, almost to this day, Mahatma Gandhi returned to lead
a nation's march to freedom. This year, we are celebrating the centenary of the
Gadar Movement, which was a luminous spark of support in distant California for
the struggle for independence being waged at home in our country. Apart from
commemorating it by the issue of a special postage stamp today, we will also
upgrade the Gadar Memorial in San Francisco into a functional museum and library
with a sculpture to honor the Gadar Babas, the heroes of this great national
Earlier in the
program, Minister Vayalar Ravi, in his speech at the inaugural, said, "This is
the centenary of the Gadar Movement when migrants from India settled in Canada
and USA rose in their opposition to British rule in India, unmindful of the
consequences in their love for motherland. Today is also a day to pay homage to
Later in the day at
PBD2013, Gadar historian and scholar Prof. Harish Puri, formerly of Guru Nanak
Dev University, spoke for 45 minutes in a plenary session devoted exclusively to
Gadar Movement. This special session was to trace the history and highlights of
the Movement dating back to 1913 in San Francisco, California, USA. Rich
tributes were paid to heroes of the first-ever organized revolution outside
India against the British rule. Prof. Harish Puri, retired Professor of
Political Science and Head, B R Ambedkar Chair in Guru Nanak Dev University,
Amritsar, presented the oration. Prof Harish Puri is the author of the recently
released book 'Ghadar Movement - A Short History' published by the National Book
Trust, Delhi. The session was moderated by Mr. M. P. Veerendrakumar, former
Union Minister, with the participation of Mr. Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas
Indian Affairs, Government of India, and Mr. Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of
Kerala. Prof. Harish Puri thanked the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and
Mr. Vayalar Ravi as well as the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin
(GOPIO) for highlighting the Gadar Centenary year.
Photo above: PBD2013 Oration on Gadar. From l.
to r.: MOIA Minister Vayalar Ravi, Kerala Chief Minsiter Oommen Chandy, Prof.
Harish Puri and Savitri Sawhney.
GOPIO initiated the
effort to include the Gadar Centennial an integral part of PBD2013 with direct
appeal to the Prime Minister and Minister Ravi, meetings with PMO, MOIA and
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) as well as Dr Karan Singh of ICCR. The Ghadar
Party, which was founded in 1913 by Indians in USA and Canada to start a
struggle against the British colonial rule, is celebrating its centenary in
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS
E-MAIL ID HACKED
GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh's email ID GOPIOfirstname.lastname@example.org has been hacked. Please use his
GOPIO.Global@gmail.com instead of
correspondence with him.
IN CONFERENCE ON 'HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS OF INDIAN DIASPORA" IN DELHI
The Human Rights Defense
International (HRDI) collaborated with the Global Organization of People of
Indian Origin (GOPIO) on 1-day 3rd International Conference of HRDI on 'HUMAN
RIGHTS CONCERNS OF INDIAN DIASPORA" held on 10th January, 2013 at Constitution
Club of India, Rafi Marg in New Delhi. Following the inaugural session at
11:00am, there were four (4) conference sessions: Challenges before Indian
Diaspora; Indian Diaspora and Legal issues; Indian Diaspora-Issues of
Assimilation; Future of Indian Diaspora. The conference raises the voices of
Indian Diaspora from over 15 countries for protection of the rights of people of
the Indian Diaspora.
Chief Guest was Justice Gyan
Sudha Mishra, Judge of the Supreme Court of India. Guest of Honor was Mr Rajat
Sharma, CEO of Indian TV. Other participants included prominent jurists, legal
advocates, academicians and human rights advocates such as Mr. R. Venkatramani,
Member, Law Commission of India; Ms. Charuvali Khanna, Member, National
Commission for Women; Mr. M.N. Krishnamani, President, Supreme Court Bar
Association; and others. GOPIO's participants included: Inder Singh, chairman of
GOPIO International; Ashook Ramsaran, President of GOPIO International; Munish
Gupta GOPIO International Coordinator, Africa; Mr. K. N. Gupta, Director of
Indian Government Liaison; Amb. R. Dayakar, GOPIO International Coordinator,
South Asia; Prof. Chandrashekar Bhat, former Director of Diaspora Studies,
Hyderabad, India; and others.
The HRDI has been
functional in highlighting as well as raising the issues of violation of human
rights related to the people of Indian origin globally. In the recent past HRDI
has specifically focused on violations of human rights of Indian Diaspora in
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Gulf countries, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and others.
Adv. Rajesh Cogna, Secretary General of HRDI and Mukesh Aggarwal, International
Coordinator of HRDI, coordinated and chaired the various conference sessions.
Gyan Sudha Mishra, Judge of the Supreme Court of India; Mr. Rajat Sharma, CEO of
Indian TV; Ashook Ramsaran, President of GOPIO International; Munish Gupta
International Coordinator, Africa.
GOPIO AMSTERDAM CHAPTER ORGANIZES "THE DIGITAL HIGHWAY"
GOPIO - Amsterdam Chapter organized a program titled "The Digital Highway" on
Friday, 14 December at the Willem Dreeslaan 434. The session was hosted
by NINtec Group, the leading ICT & Global Sourcing Group, headquartered in
Zoetermeer. The company specializes in transforming customer's business
continuously by providing the right technology insight, deploying the best
suited technology for companies and making customers' business much simpler,
faster and much more efficient.
The objective of this session was to educate and empower the public on how
to change the way they think and operate their businesses. Speakers were chosen
who had years of experience in working in the computer technological fields.
They encouraged business leaders on how to work with their imagination, how to
improvise and how to try unconventional methods in running their businesses,
such as e-commerce. They challenged such business owners and showed them how
online businesses within the Indian Diaspora have succeeded with their
creativity and innovative thinking.
The central question for businesses and marketers was how to become part of the
Digital Highway? So, basically the goal was to help the business people find
Needless to say that the Internet connects the entire world. Everyone knows
India's role in the software industry - that is a global phenomenon. But
how should the Indian Diaspora profit from such ventures as the B2B, B2C and
social media opportunities. The seminar emphasized on this question.
For further information, please contact: Kendira Tewari, Secretary of GOPIO-The
email at email@example.com
NRIs AND PIOs ACHIEVE
A PIO AND A HINDU
ELECTED TO THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Indian American Dr. Ami Bera and an American Hindu Tulsi Gabbard were sworn in
as Members of the US House of Representatives on January 4, much to the delight
of the small, yet powerful Asian Indian community in the country. Born of
immigrant parents from Punjab, California-based physician Bera is only the third
Indian American to be a Member of the US House of Representatives. The first
Indian American to be elected to House of Representatives was Dalip Singh
Saundin 1952 followed by Bobby Jindal in 2004. Iraq war veteran Tulsi Gabbard is
the first Hindu ever to win Congressional election. The 113th Congress commenced
on January 3, 2013 with the swearing-in ceremony for newly elected Members of
Congress. The new Congress in session till January 3, 2015 has 43 African
American members (all but one in the House of Representatives), a record high
number of 100 female, seven LGBT members, and one member of the Kennedy family
returning to elective federal office after a brief pause from public service
from the family.
Election of 47 year old Ami Bera
from California's seventh Congressional District, and 31 year old Tulsi Gabbard
from Hawaii's second Congressional District is reflective of the diversity of
the new Congress. Both are from the Democratic Party of President Barack Obama.
Hindus represent less than one per cent of the current US population.
INDIAN-AMERICAN PIONEER OF LASIK EYE SURGERY
President Obama named Dr. Rangaswamy Srinivasan, renowned for his work on
excimer lasers that led to the now-common lasik eye surgery to the National Medal
for Technology and Innovation. The former IBM researcher, now in retirement in
New York at 83, is the only scientist of Indian-origin celebrated
in the US National Inventors' Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio, alongside such
legends as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Samuel Morse, and Wright brothers, to name
Awards and recognition came thick and fast in
the 1990s after Dr Srinivasan had toiled for half a century in the US, including
three decades in the only job he ever held at IBM, the legendary company that
had so many
Indians scientists working
at its facility. It was here that Dr.
in the 1990s that an ultraviolet excimer laser could etch living tissue in a
precise manner with no thermal damage to the surrounding area.
He named the phenomenon Ablative
Photodecomposition (APD), and in the years since, ophthalmic surgeons have
refined it to arrive at the corrective eye surgery generically called Lasik (which
stands for Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) to the benefit of millions of
short-sighted people worldwide.
In his citation that honored eleven researchers
with the Technology and Innovation medals, including for Dr Srinivasan's
teammates Dr Samuel Blum and Dr James Wynne, President Obama said "They
represent the ingenuity and imagination that has long made this nation great -
and they remind us of the enormous impact a few good ideas can have
when these creative qualities are unleashed in an entrepreneurial environment."
DR. ADITYA JHA
ACCORDED "ORDER OF CANADA" HONORS
General of Canada David Johnston, announced recently that POA Educational
Foundation's chair Dr. Adtya Jha has been appointed a member to the Order of
Canada along with 90 other Canadians. These appointments were made on the
recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada. It is
the second highest honor for merit, second only to membership in the Order of
Merit. The citation at the Governor General's web site for Dr. Aditya Jha, C.M
states: "For his achievements in business and for his commitment to promoting
education and entrepreneurial opportunities for Aboriginal and disadvantaged
youth". This national award is the only one of its kind that recognizes
individuals such as Dr. Jha who have made a difference since their arrival in
Canada. It seeks to uncover and celebrate the stories and remarkable
achievements of outstanding Canadian Immigrants.
immigrated to Canada from India via Singapore and Australia, transitioned from
being a top executive at Bell Canada to becoming co-founder of a couple of
software companies and now a restaurateur (Prego Piazza) and a confectionary
(Karma Candy Inc.) owner. Dr Jha is chairman of the POA Education Foundation
which fosters economic growth and development through education in high-tech
fields, especially information technology. Among his many awards and
recognition, Jha was honored on August 14, 2011 in Toronto and profiled in
"Top 25 Most Influential Indians in North America" released by Toronto
Premier Dalton McGinty assisted by Dr Roseann Runte, President Carleton
University in Ottawa and Indian Consul General Preeti Saran in Toronto.
Jha said that,
"As immigrants, we are a better recipe for this country's success at a time like
this because we have a very conservative approach, are down to earth and
bottom-line focused. I owe this to numerous individuals along my life journey of
five decades, whose contributions have shaped me and helped me to shine."
MATHEMATICAL SOCIETY HONORS 23 INDIANS INCLUDING INDIAN AMERICANS
The Fellows of the
American Mathematical Society program in November recognized 23 Indian and
Indian American members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation,
exposition, advancement, communication, and utilization of mathematics.
of Purdue University, Krishnaswami Alladi of the University of Florida, R.
Balasubramanian of The Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai, Manjul
Bhargava of Princeton University, and Vivek Shripad Borkar of the Indian
Institute of Technology.
were Komaravolu Chandrasekharan of the Eidgen?ssische Technische Hochschule
Z?rich, Chandrashekhar Khare of the University of California at Los Angeles,
Shrawan Kumar of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Venkatramani
Lakshmibai of Northeastern University, and Raman Parimala of Emory University.
included Anand Pillay of the University of Leeds, Gopal Prasad of the University
of Michigan, Madabusi S. Raghunathan of the Indian Institute of Technology, Arun
Ram of the University of Melbourne, Dinakar Ramakrishnan of the California
Institute of Technology, and Dwijendra K. Ray-Chaudhuri of Ohio State University
at Columbus. Honored as well were Conjeeveram Srirangachari Seshadri of the
Chennai Mathematical Institute, Vasudevan Srinivas of the Tata Institute of
Fundamental Research, Bhama Srinivasan of the University of Illinois at Chicago,
Prasad V. Tetali of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Veeravalli S.
Varadarajan of the University of California at Los Angeles. Rounding out the
list were Srinivasa S.R. Varadhan of New York University's Courant Institute,
and Tyakal N. Venkataramana of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
NRIs AND PIOs NEWS FEATURES
FOR A FIRST SIKH
TO GUARD BUCKINGHAM PALACE
Breaking hundreds of years of tradition, an Indian-origin
Sikh is all set to be the first person guarding the Nuckingham
Palace in his turban after being given the privilege not to wear the mandatory bearskin on
Guardsman Jatinderpal Singh Bhullar, 25, who
joined the Scots Guards this year, has been given permission to
wear a turban when on guard duty outside Buckingham Palace, breaking hundreds of
years of tradition.
The regiment traces its origin back to 1642 and
its soldiers have worn bearskins on parade since 1832.
Bhullar, from Birmingham, is based at Wellington
Barracks in Birdcage Walk. The base is used by soldiers from the Scots Guards' F
Company, who are responsible for public duties and
guarding the Queen.
According to military sources,
when Bhullar, marches with his colleagues he does not have to wear a bearskin
As a devout Sikh, it is mandatory for Bhullar to
wear a turban. It is intended to protect his hair, which he never cuts, and to
keep them clean.
For centuries, Sikhs have
worn turbans in battle and fought as part of the British Army -
grandfather, who served in World War II.
The step, however, has irked some serving
non-commissioned officers based at Wellington Barracks, who are furious that the
British Ministry of Defense (MoD) compromised centuries of history
for one soldier.
Traditionalists in the Scots Guards say the
allowances made for Bhullar will make the whole company look ridiculous to
tourists and onlookers.
Bhullar is one of only 20 to 25 British-born
Sikhs in the British Army.
MoD spokeswoman said: "The Army takes
great pride in its diversity. Discussions are underway between this unit, the
Sikh community and the MoD. The individual will have the full support of the
Army and his colleagues."
NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD
CONVICTED IN NORWAY IN ALLEGED CHILD ABUSE CASE
The South Asian American Digital
Archive (SAADA) is the only independent non-profit organization working to
document, preserve and provide access to the rich history of South Asians in the
United States. Since its founding in 2008,
couple facing criminal charges of
child abuse were convicted by a district court here with the father
18-month jail term and mother being sentenced to 15 months.
Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni, a software professional from Andhra Pradesh, and his
wife Anupama, who were arrested by the police last month, were convicted for
gross or repeated maltreatment of their child/children by threats, violence or
The prosecution had proposed a sentence of 18
months for the father and 15 months for the mother in the case which was upheld
by the Court.
Reacting to the Court verdict, Indian officials in
the Ministry of External Affairs said,"our embassy in Norway has
been in touch with the Indian nationals involved in the case.
"Even during the course of their detention the Consular Officer has
been in touch with them. We will continue to render necessary consular assistance and
will be in touch with their lawyer."
Justifying the arrest and charges, Kurt Lir,
Head of Prosecution, Oslo Police Department, had told PTI that
"there were burn
marks and scars on the body of the child, who has also been
beaten by the belt."
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:
Ashook Ramsaran (President, GOPIO Intl.), Sunny Kulathakal (Exec. Vice
President, GOPIO Intl. Bahrain), Rajindre Tewari
(International Coordinator, GOPIO Europe)
Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a
volunteer correspondent or reporter.