May 10, 2013
A Publication of the Global Organization
of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
May 10, 2013
Join Our List
NOTE: GOPIO News is a
FREE bi-monthly newsletter of GOPIO International,
based in the USA. We need your help in reaching out more NRIs/PIOs around the
world. Please go to the bottom of the news bulletin and click the
FORWARD button and type
e-mail addresses of your friends and relatives. One could also subscribe this
newsletter by visiting
www.gopio.net and type in the
e-mail address. All preivous issues of GOPIO News are provided at GOPIO News
Archives. If you do not wish to receive this newsletter in future, please click
SafeUnsubscribe at the end of this newsletter.
GOPIO is a community supported
non-profit organization taking up issues of the Indian Diaspora and attempting
to unifying the community in its common causes. Support GOPIO by becoming a Life
Member or chapter member. Once can become Life Member online by visiting
GOPIO-DURBAN INAUGURATED WITH FANFARE AND
Leading South African Indians joined speakers from India and the US
discussed ways to strengthen economic ties with their home country at a series
of seminars hosted by the Indian High Commission and GOPIO in Durban and other
cities on the last weekend of April.
International South Africa also launched with fanfare its Durban Chapter on
April 28th and was inaugurated by Secretary of the Ministry of
Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) Rajiv Mehrishi, in the presence of many
dignitaries including Indian High Commissioner Virendra Gupta, Indian Consul
General V K Sharma, Durban Mayor's representative Councillor Michael Abrahams,
GOPIO International's Coordinator for Africa Munish Gupta and GOPIO
International's Director for Government Liaison K N Gupta and nearly 300 South
African PIOs and NRIs at a 5-hour-long extravaganza that took place at the chic
Jaipur Palace Restaurant in Durban North. GOPIO International South Africa's
Durban chapter achieved the distinction of several firsts - marking an
inauguration in the city of Mahatma Gandhi, within six months of formation and
with 100 members already subscribed (Read history of GOPIO-Durban launch and its accomplishments
so far by GOPIO's South African Coordinator Loshni Naidoo by clicking this link).
The highly successful inauguration of the chapter is expected to aggregate more
than 250 members by the end of 2013.
launch held at the beautifully decorated Jaipur Palace Restaurant was adorned
with drapes and fairy lights, hanging chandeliers and fresh flowers, typical of
all the décor that goes with any East Indian function in South Africa that is
now home to nearly 1.3 million PIOs and NRIs for over 160 years. Overseas
Indians from every walk of life, as well as from cities across South Africa -
Zululand, Newcastle, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town - gathered to
celebrate the launch of the first truly global Indian Diaspora organization as
people and media later reported. Every detail was immaculately planned and
executed by GOPIO International's South Africa Coordinator Ms. Loshni Naidoo,
with the first team of office bearers that include President Sudesh Maharaj,
Vice President Kinesh Pather, Treasurer Pankaj Doorgapersad, Secretary Gerelene
Jagganath, Joint Secretary Krishnan Nair and a long list of Executive Committee
members who will be working on developing various sectors of the local GOPIO
Chapter. The event has been written up in newspapers & magazines, reported on
television, talked on radio shows, and has definitely created a buzz in the
community, arousing interest and curiosity among thousands of South African
Indians. The GOPIO chapter launch event was a sell-out and the restaurant had to
extend space to an overflow area to accommodate last minute arrivals.
Photo above - L to R - Pankaj Dooregaparsad Treasurer GOPIO Durban, K N Gupta,
Director for Govt. Liaison in India, Munish Gupta, Internationa Coordinator -
Africa, Loshni Naidoo Country Coordinator South Africa, Gerelene Jagganath
Secretary GOPIO Durban, Sudesh Maharaj President Durban, Amit More Convenor
GOPIO Durban inauguration
brings to its fold an important Diaspora country. Timed with the launch, the
Indian Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs & the Indian High Commission arranged
Diaspora conferences in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, also attended and
addressed by GOPIO International Africa Coordinator Munish Gupta. There was
overwhelming response and appreciation for the work done by GOPIO, evident to
attendees who received a GOPIO brochure detailing the organization's history and
accomplishments. Gupta's talk and Q&A with the community leaders, academics and
media has sparked widespread interest in GOPIO International activities. Even
prior to the Durban chapter launch, community activists held meetings with GOPIO
International officials to start chapters in at least 4 cities across South
The Durban chapter
launch on April 28th was the culmination of two and a half years of
work that began with the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in October 2010 in
Durban attended by Munish Gupta where he met Loshni Naidoo and several others
from the community interested in the work of GOPIO International. Several
community organizations exist in South Africa, including a GOPIO faction that
started in the mid-1990s but faded away soon thereafter. The 2013 April launch
of GOPIO International and the connectivity it brings through its chapters in
nearly 50 countries as well as the close engagement with India has ushered in a
new era for PIOs and NRIs who have accomplished much and are well respected in
the nation that was second home to Mahatma Gandhi and still reveres the Mahatma
for the non violence message and his fight against Apartheid.
A strong group of
staunch GOPIO International Durban chapter activists must be thanked for their
relentless contributions over the past six months since the chapter was
formalized and leading up to the launch. Other than the office bearers, GOPIO
International's Executive Committee roster included Prof. Anand Singh (Co-Chair,
Academic Council, Gopio Intl), Ms. Rita Abraham (Co-Chair, Women's Council,
Gopio Intl), Ms. Priyanka Naidoo (Co-Chair, Youth Council, Gopio Intl), Mr. Amit
More, Dr. Atul Padalkar, Mr. Jerome Naidoo, Mr. Rajiv Sitaram Terwadkar, Ms.
Romy Gajudhar, Durban Councillor Mr. Brian Jayanathan, Ms. Rashree Maharaj, Ms.
Sally Subramoney, Ms. Devash Govender, Dr. Krish Naidoo, Mr. Ravi Govender, Mr.
Lalit Kohli, Ms. Jyoti Kohli, Ms. Vijayluxmi Balakisten, Mr. Naufal Khan, Ms.
Anusha Reddy, Ms. Anitha Hariram, Mr. Rahul Ramlugan, Mr. Kesin Raman and Mr.
Dean Reddy. Local GOPIO luminaries and well known success stories attending the
event included Mr. Ishwar Mangaroo, Mr. Ishwar Ramlutchman, Mr. Ashwin Desai,
Mr. Sam Pilllay, Mr. A V Mahomed, Mr. J N Reddy, Mrs. G R Naidoo, Ms. Linda
Naidoo, Ms. Riasha Singh, some of who were specially recognized for their
Media attended in
full strength - local, to regional to national; print to TV to Radio. Kevin
Joseph, event photographer as a sponsor, snapped away more than a hundred
beautiful pictures. National ethnic TV channel, Saffron TV, was busy
interviewing members, dignitaries and capturing the swashbuckling attendees at
what seemed like a red carpet Oscar gala! Sunday Tribune from Johannesburg made
it a point to interview (and later publish a nice piece) on the purpose and
goals of GOPIO's local chapter. PIO TV from USA captured the whole ceremony.
Mini South African and Indian flags adorned each table with the stage that
presented the GOPIO name and banner were centre-stage as the show got on the
The evening began
with messages from India's MOIA Minister Vayalar Ravi through video who spoke
highly of GOPIO International's role and engagement with India in reaching out
to and serving overseas Indians. Mr. Ravi congratulated Durban on the launch
event and talked about the historic ties between India and South Africa.
grand-daughter Ela Gandhi sent a wonderful message, speaking of a special role
the Diaspora must assume and play to assimilate in their country as much as they
cherish and stay with their roots. GOPIO International President Ashook Ramsaran
congratulated Indians in South Africa on the momentous occasion and welcomed
them into the growing GOPIO fraternity worldwide. Mrs Navanethum Pillay, United
Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, based in Geneva, a PIO from South Africa,
also sent her congratulatory note on the launch of GOPIO International chapter.
Mr K N Gupta
exemplified the voluminous task for GOPIO India in conjugating the aspirations,
issues and concerns of the chapters and members with Indian government and the
people. Mr Munish Gupta underlined the essence of GOPIO International's
founding, its democratic principles, an evolving charter and a constitution that
truly enshrines conjugating the Diaspora in more than 100 countries around the
world. Munish said GOPIO took up challenges and especially working with the
youth considering the changing landscape and challenges of a transforming world.
Ambassador Virendra Gupta applauded the role of organizations
like GOPIO International and especially the hand they lent the Indian government
and its missions overseas in reaching out to the community and meetings its
changing aspirations. Ambassador Gupta echoed Munish's sentiments in working
closely with the youth.
MOIA Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi made an important presentation
on the role of the Ministry and its various programs and activities. An
important chord was struck by him with the audience when he reached out to say
that all should write to him about problems especially in obtaining PIO and OCI
cards. The South African Indian community has let it be known that due to their
3 to 5 generation old history, and the lack of record keeping by the Apartheid
government, they are at a loss sometimes to produce documentation to establish
their Indian origin. The Secretary welcomed the GOPIO International chapter and
lauded the role of GOPIO International as an important partner among community
organizations in all of Ministry's programs and activities including the PBDs.
Former Member of
Parliament and now Councillor Michael Abrahams read out an important welcome and
message on the special launch occasion from Mayor James Nxumalo of eThekwini
(Durban Municipality). The Mayor spoke of the immense contributions and
accomplishments of the Indian community in South Africa and welcomed GOPIO
International chapter that would help Durban and South Africa connect globally.
Community Service Awardee Mr. Ishwar Ramlutchman as a special Ambassador of The
King of Kwazulu Natal showered welcome and blessings on all dignitaries,
delegates and attendees. The King has especially requested Mr. Ramlutchman to
bring a GOPIO International chapter into Zululand that is home to several
hundred thousand PIOs.
ceremonies began with the anthems, followed by Emcee Vijayluxmi Balakrishna
reading out a Universal prayer. GOPIO International South Africa Coordinator
Loshni Naidoo traced the history of the formation of and activities up to the
launch of the Durban chapter. Reflecting on the early days since her meeting
with GOPIO International Coordinator Munish Guptanearly two and a half years
ago, Loshni highlighted that the spirit, enthusiasm and the work of GOPIO
International Durban had already made the organization one to be reckoned with
by the mainstream South African brethren as well as the Indian community. The
Durban chapter has participated in festivals, helping the needy, philanthropic
activities and more. Youth were being encouraged to join and create programs.
She highlighted the benefits of joining GOPIO and then hinted on a few upcoming
projects planned for the communities and schools.
Photo above -
GOPIO-Durban officials with dignitaries MOIA Secretary
Rajiv Mehrishi, High Commissioner Ambassador Virendra Gupta and Consul General
Ambassador V K Sharma
Mr. Deepak Sharma,
Executive Vice President of Kotak Mahindra Bank and head of the Bank's NRI
Services, attended the event specially and promised to forge strong links with
the community in South Africa. Sharma said Kotak was in discussion with South
African banks to offer a diverse range of products for investment and money
transfers to India. Sharma's presentation on Indian economy was much
Mrs Naziema Jappie of
the South African Women's Forte spoke on behalf of Ms Rita Abrahams, Co-chair,
Women's Council, GOPIO International, as Rita was away in Malaysia. Speaking for
Rita and other women members, Naziema said GOPIO's agenda locally would focus on
acts of compassion for the abused women and children. Well-known writer,
sociologist, TV personality and controversial speaker Dr. Ashwin Desai talked of
the power of history, highlighting the arrival of Indians in South Africa from
1860 until the early 20th century. Dr. Desai brought the plight of
the poor of Chatsworth and Phoenix, two Indian townships in Durban and added a
lot of humour to his speech and had the audience in stitches. Mr Sam Pillay of
the Chatsworth Drug Forum emphasized the scourge of drugs and its effects on the
youth, especially Indians in the Chatsworth area. He sought assistance in
funding for the eradication of this social ill and urged GOPIO's attention to
youth issues. Miss Priyanka Naidoo, Co-chair, Youth Council, GOPIO
International, spoke softly but surely about her heart-warming trip to India as
part of MOIA's Know India Program. A nostalgic Priyanka beautifully sketched out
the details of her travels and meetings that she said she could have never
dreamt or achieved otherwise.
attendees and the media were unanimous in complimenting the stewardship of the
Durban chapter by Sudesh Maharaj as President and Kinesh Pather as Vice
President and ably supported by the three other office bearers - Gerelene,
Pankaj and Krishnan. The unique, flawless, colourful and momentous evening was a
result of sheer hard work, planning and immaculate execution. The attendees gave
a standing ovation to the tens of volunteers, executive committee members,
office bearers and the country coordinator for an event to be remembered for a
long time to come.
The invocation dance
was performed by the talented and beautiful Miss Varsha Sharma, a Kathak dancer
from the Indian Council for Cultural Research (ICCR), headed in Durban by Dr.
Leslie Jacobs. Emcee Vijayluxmi, also an Executive Committee member, accompanied
by famed Tansen Nepaul on harmonium, Raj Chetty on table and Sarvesan Solai on
mridingam regaled the audience. The fusion of North Indian Kathak dance with
South Indian Kuchupudi dance was captivating. Artists Mr Priyen Naidoo and Miss
Varsha Sharma wowed the audience with a Telegu rendition. Ms Nicolyn Dayanand
performed a beautiful Bharatanatyam dance.
general provided another classical dancer who is Zulu by birth, but studied
classical Indian dance at the ICCR in Durban. The star of the performance was a
little South African black girl, Letoya Cebilie, impeccably attired in
Bharatnatyam dress, who enchanted all with her classical and Bollywood
performances that came together with her lip syncing Indian language words and
expressions that stole the hearts of the guests.
GOPIO Durban chapter
recognized the work of five stalwarts the community. Mr. J. N. Reddy was honored
for his parliamentarian work, being a successful Indian businessman in the 70's
and 80's and for being the leader of the Solidarity party. Mr. G. R. Naidoo was
recognized posthumously for being the first Non-white Editor of DRUM and for his
political activism as a photojournalist: Nelson Mandela had his last home meal
at the Naidoo home before being arrested and imprisoned for 27 years. Teenager
Riasha was recognized for her exemplary academic excellence, making the entire
Indian community proud. Mr. Ishwar Ramlutchman, also a GOPIO 2013 Community
Service Awardee, was recognized for his philanthropy, community activism and for
being a special Ambassador of The King of Kzazulu Natal.
Mr. Amit More of the GOPIO Durban Executive Committee closed the evening with
the stupendous task of thanking a long list of many dignitaries, delegates,
attendees and sponsors for making the event a grand success. To top off the
celebration, a three tiered cake with the logo of GOPIO all around the third
layer, the full word GOPIO on the top layer and a world map on a ball sitting
right on the top was cut and dedicated to GOPIO International by South Africa's
GOPIO office bearers, executive committee members, volunteers and guests K N
Gupta and Munish Gupta.
information on GOPIO or to start a chapter in South Africa, contact: Loshni
Naidoo, Coordinator, GOPIO South Africa,
GOPIO AND NEW YORK METRO INDIAN COMMUNITY WELCOME THE NEW INDIAN CONSUL GENERAL
WITH A RECEPTION DINNER
GOPIO AND NEW YORK METRO COMMUNITY
WELCOME THE NEW INDIAN CONSUL GENERAL WITH A RECEPTION DINNER
GOPIO, in collaboration with several
community organizations and groups in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut
tri-state area, held a well attended and highly successful welcome reception and
dinner in New York for incoming Indian Consul General Dnyaneshwar Mulay. The
event was held on April 26, 2013 at the Asia Society in New York and provided a
unique opportunity to welcome, meet and greet Ambassador Mulay.
The Indian Consul General in New York
is a high profile position in the largest city in USA amongst the highest
concentration of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin
(PIOs), and host to numerous visits on a regular basis by prominent officials of
the Government of India for meetings with US officials, the United Nations and
the Indian-American community on issues of interest to NRIs and PIOs.
reception and dinner was a combined community event, organized by GOPIO in
partnership with GOPIO Chapters of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut; GOPIO
Health, Cultural, Youth, Women's & Business Councils; Life Members; GOPIO News
Team. The event was co-sponsored by various prominent community organizations
and companies, with support from media groups and others as co-sponsors.
Sponsors include: Indian American Chamber of Commerce - USA, Tulsi Restaurant,
Asia Society, Bharat Travel, Kingfisher, Parikh Media, HH-Resorts, Peter Advani,
TV Asia, Society of Indian American Architects & Engineers of America (SIAEA);
Media-Sponsors: Sahara, PIO TV, GloboSat, India Abroad; and participating
organizations: Hyderbadi Cultural Assoc, Association of American Physicians of
Indian origin (AAPI), Indian Dental Assoc, Indian Jewish Council IJC), National
Federation of Indian Associations (NFIA), Association of Indians in America
(SAIA); attending organizations: TelugU Association, Bengali Association,
Gujarati Association, and several others.
Also in attendance were Ambassador
of Trinidad & Tobago to USA, Dr. Neil Parsan; Ambassador of Mauritius to United
Nations Milan Meeterban; former Ambassador of Suriname to United Nations,
Krishna Nandoe; Deputy Speaker of New Jersey Assembly Upendra Chivukula; New
York City Councilwoman, Leticia James; John Bartlett, Jr, Freeholder of Passaic
County in New Jersey.
Event coordinator was J. Nami Kaur,
Secretary of GOPIO International, ably assisted by Mridul Pathak, GOPIO's
Director of Diaspora Development. Other members of the organizing team included:
Anita Bhat, Dr Asha
Samant, Ashook Ramsaran, Jaswant Mody, Lal Motwani, Patsy Leopold, Quddus
Mohammed, Dr. Renuka Misra, Sangeeta Ahuja, Dr. Thomas Abraham.
Following a video biography
highlighting Amb Mulay's career and his impressive accomplishments, GOPIO
International president Ashook Ramsaran made the formal welcome, stating that,
"the Indian American community of the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area is a
significant population of NRIs and PIOs, very progressive, quite supportive -
and also very vocal on matters of interest and concern". Ramsaran added that,
"we bid you a warm welcome with open hearts and open arms, with confidence that
you will achieve much success during your tenure as Consul General if India in
Amb Mulay thanked GOPIO and the
community organizations for the warm and overwhelming welcome. In his remarks,
he stated that, "huge opportunities exist for the Indian Diaspora in connecting
India and the USA. India requires massive investments, is looking for
technologies, continuously expanding education sector and health services and
looks forward to proactive contributions of Diaspora in its developmental
aspirations". He added that, "the Government of India has taken enormous
measures for promoting the wellbeing of the diaspora and connecting them with
India. Since the setting up of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry
several special steps have been taken and a number of schemes introduced".
"Global Indian Diaspora - GOPIO
Making an Impact" a comprehensive publication authorized by GOPIO, was presented
to Amb Mulay as part of the New York release during the program. In addition,
GOPIO's founding life member and former secretary general Dr Jagat Motwani
presented his latest book
"India Reborn: Bharat Mahan, As Perceived by Westerners, Gandhi, Nehru, Tagore &
Others" to Amb Mulay.
above: Release of the book," GLOBAL INDIAN DIASPORA - GOPIO Making an
Impact."From(l-r, Ashook Ramsaran, Peter Advani, Hon. Upendra Chivukula,
Norman Solovay, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Amb. Dnyaneshwar Mulay, H. R. Shah, Sant
Singh Chatwal, Dr Thomas Abraham, J. Nami Kaur, Mridul Pathak, Atul Kumria
GOPIO's founding president, Dr.
Thomas Abraham, spoke about GOPIO and its long history of serving the interests
of the diaspora on a global scale. Prominent community leaders and supporters
also welcomed Amb Mulay,
extending good wishes and support: Dr. Sudhir Parikh (Parikh Media); H.
R. Shah (TV Asia); Norman Solovay (Indian American Chamber of Commerce - USA);
Hon. Upendra Chivukula (Deputy Speaker of New Jersey Assembly); and others.
GOPIO presented to Amb Mulay a
"Memorandum of critical issues and suggestions from the Indian American
community of the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area". These issues include
recommendation for improved communication with the Indian-American community,
including more responsiveness to telephone calls placed to consulate and staff
for regularly needed consular services; recommendation to provide answers on a
timely basis to more FAQs on current issues on website, email advisory.
Examples: OCI card, Passport Surrender procedures and fees; recommendation to
set up a community feedback system on matters of interest and concern via
community and consulate meetings, interactive forum, interviews on television
and print, outreach to Indian-American community and other ethnic groups;
posting a "calendar of events" which can be readily viewed for advance planning
purposes; holding or collaborating on seminars on current critical issues such
as youth, health, inter-generation, inter-ethnic, etc. as well AS Mnotable
events such as Gadar Centennial commemoration in USA.
Photo above: GOPIO
Memorandum to Amb Mulay (l-r) - Dr. Asha Samant,
Jaswant Mody, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Quddus Mohammed, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Ashook
Ramsaran, Amb. Dnyaneshwar Mulay, Dr. Renuka Misra, J. Nami Kaur, Anita Bhat,
Patsy Leopold, Mridul Pathak, Sangeeta Ahuja
At the conclusion of the program
Amb Mulay took time to interact with attendees individually and in groups, as
well as conducted several interviews by the media.
The newly released coffee table
book, Global Indian Diaspora - GOPIO Making an Impact, can be obtained by
sending a check for $23 to GOPIO, P.O. Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904. For more
information, please contact GOPIO International at +1-818-708-3885.
DIASPORA COMMUNITY APPEALED TO PARTICIPATE IN BONE MARROW REGISTRY TO SAVE
STANFORD PROFESSOR NALINI AMBATI
COMMUNITY APPEALED TO PARTICIPATE IN BONE MARROW REGISTRY TO SAVE STANFORD
PROFESSOR NALINI AMBATI
GOPIO and other Indian community
organizations have made an
appeal to help save the life of
Dr. Nalini Ambady. She has been given a few weeks to find a bone marrow donor
and time is running out!
Nalini is originally from
Kerala. She is a renowned scientist whose work was featured in Malcolm
Gladwell's best selling book Blink. She is the first Indian woman
to have been on the faculty of both Harvard and Stanford's psychology
department. She is also the mother of two young girls.
Nalini needs your help. She is
suffering from leukemia and needs a blood stem cell donor soon in order to
survive. Due to certain genetic markers, her match will almost certainly
be a fellow Keralite. Right now, there is no match in the registry for her.
Indian community organizations
are requested to host a bone marrow donor drive to register KSouth Asian
community? Hosting a drive is easy! Be the Match, the national bone marrow
registry, will help every step of the
way. Registering takes only minutes - a simple cheek swab and a
little paperwork. Anyone between the ages of 18-44 can be a donor. If you
can't donate, you can help us find donors.
For more information, visit
call 650-318-1297 in the US or contact: Taylor Phillips:
or Sribala Subramanian:
INDIAN PARLIAMENTARIAN DELEGATION HOSTED BY GOPIO IN MIAMI
PARLIAMENTARIAN DELEGATION HOSTED BY GOPIO IN MIAMI
An Indian delegation of
parliamentarians stopped by in Miami en route to India was hosted by GOPIO with
a welcome dinner in Miami. The delegation was headed by the Indian Lok Sabha
Deputy Speaker Kariya Munda and consisted members from the Lok Sabha and the
Rajya Sabha and a few high officials of the Government of India.
The Indian Consul General Ajit
Kumar and his staff were also present at the dinner. The Delegation visited the
newly installed statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the town of Davie, where Mayor Judy
Paul welcomed the guests.
Photo above: Indian Parliamentary delegation with Davie Mayor
Judy Paul and Indian community leaders of Miami area
Deputy Speaker Munda praised
the Mayor and the Indian Community for installing the statue and for bringing
the Apostle of Peace to this part of the World. He said that Gandhi's message of
peace is evergreen and is relevant for all times. The peaceful atmosphere
at the site was obvious.
Welcoming the delegation at the
dinner, GOPIO Senior Vice President Dr. Piyush C. Agrawal expressed his great
pleasure of hosting parliamentary delegations from India for the last fifteen
years. The Indian Community of South Florida is a vibrant community that
values these interactions and raise issues of common concerns. For
example, during this meeting, a strong voice was heard about the rampant
corruption in almost all walks of life in India. Parliament being highest
law making body can initiate and make laws to curb the corrupt practices.
The delegation was beseeched to do something about corruption that shall make
future of India much brighter.
Questions were raised about the
plight of Hindus thrown out of Bangladesh & Pakistan and about forced conversion
of Hindus in these countries. Question of plight of Kashmir Hindus was
The delegation in a very polite
manner tried their best to respond to these issues. It truly was a family
affair where opinions differ in certain cases but the spirit of affection took
over in this great get-together.
Deputy Speaker Munda expressed
his pleasure to hear the views of the community on various aspects of politics
and sociology in India and that it has kept such a close contact with the
happenings in India. Members of Rajya Sabha & Lok Sabha , namely, Lalit
Mohan Suklabaidya, Sudarshan Bhagat, Sheikh Saidul Haque, Dr. Vijaylaxmi Sadho,
and Shrimati Putul Kumari took their turns to address the issues raised by the
Finally, Consul General Kumar,
in his seasoned diplomatic manner, offered the bridging remarks to entice the
appetite for a sumptuous dinner.
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS
GOPIO-SYDNEY ORGANIZES "CARING CRUISES FOR SENIOR CITIZENS"
GOPIO Sydney, as part of its ongoing
activities for the promotion and
welfare of the Indian community in Australia organised a cruise party for senior
citizens. The cruise ship Rosemary set out from Woolwich Warf with around 170
people on-board, packed to the brim but with plenty of space to move around
to capture the moment with Opera House,
Circular Quay and Darling Harbor in
the backdrop providing a perfect scene for cameras. Excellent weather
complemented the occasion and made it lively. Everyone enjoyed sunshine whiling
on the upper deck to enjoy the
magnificent views across the harbor.
GOPIO Sydney President Lucky Singh
welcomed all the respected seniors, guests and families of GOPIO and many
inspiring words were spoken by her.
The excerpts of the poetry which she dedicated to the seniors are-
"Dil se hum
sab ker paaye samman Bujurgo ka,
walo ko milta wardaan Bujurgo ka."
looked after and served with complimentary food, wine and
drinks amidst the ambient sound of
melodious music was played by DJ
Upkar, mesmerizing old Bollywood songs by Anand Arora and scintillating dance
performances by Usha Bariya and evergreen young Satpal Dhingra of Minto
Cellars. Musical games and Trivia hosted by Raj Bhandari added spice to the
cruise. Seniors recitation of poetry kept everyone so
absorbed that no one realized how quickly
5 hours elapsed. It was an
exceptionally pleasant, relaxing and entertaining environment.
Photo: A section of the attendees
before boarding the ship
Sponsors were Minto Cellars, Woodville
Road Cellars, Milan Bazaar, Patel Brothers, Laju Bhojwani who
donated wine, attractive gifts and gift vouchers. The three course meal was
provided by Maya-da-dhaba. Bhupinder Chhibber, Secretary of GOPIO Sydney gave a
vote of thanks at the end.
The GOPIO Sydney team included Rajat Midha, Raj Bhandari, Bhupinder Chhibber,
Dr.Thomas, Satpal Dhingra, K.L.Dhingra, Balvinder Ruby, Balbir Singh, Jaswinder
Bhogal, Sukhwinder Rajput, Dr.Nadeem Khaja, Poonam Chhibber, Kamini Raj Singh,
Manju Mittal, Maxine Salma, Himmat Singh, Shiv Saini, Gagandeep Kaur, Kavita
Saini, Shallu Kundra, Manu Kundra, Mrs Dhingra, Anita Bhandari and Dr.Lubna
Thomas. The event raised funds of $1390.00 for the 18 months old child Twisha
Makwana for her surgery in USA.
GOPIO-CT HONORS AMERICAN CHARITY
AMERICARES AND THREE INDIAN AMERICANS
GOPIO-Connecticut Chapter honored
three Indian Americans, two outstanding achievers and one person for community
service at its Annual Awards Banquet held at the Italian Center in Stamford on
April 20th. The three Indian Americans are Yale University professor
Dr. Ramamurti Shankar, industrialist Mr. Rakesh Narang and community organizer
Mr. Suresh Sharma.
Dr. Ramamurti Shankar, John Randolph Huffman Professor of
Physics and Professor of Applied Physics Yale University, New Haven was
recognized for his contribution toBasic Sciences. Mr. Rakesh Narang, President and Founder of Wire &
Plastic Machinery Corporation, New Haven, CT will be recognized in the category
Entrepreneurship and Business Acumen. For
Community Service, the honor went to
Mr. Suresh Sharma, Founder of Milan Cultural
Association, Hartford, CT. In addition, GOPIO-CT honored the American charity
to India Award.
AmeriCares award was
received by its Chairman of the Board Directors Mr. Dean Maglaris.
The chief guest for the evening was
Active Consul General of India Dr. Devyani Khobragade who said "GOPIO is the
prime organization which goes in between Govt. of India and the Indian Diaspora
since GOPIO has the network to convey information from the Ministry of Overseas
Indian Affairs and from the Ministry of External Affairs as well as it brings
Diaspora issue to the attention of India Govt."
New Jersey Legislative Assembly
Deputy speaker Upendra Chivukula, Connecticut Assemblyman Dr. Prasad Srinivasan
and former CT Lt. Governor Michael Fidele in their remarks recognized GOPIO's
contribution for improved US Indian relations and its contribution in bringing
the Indian American community together as well as in interacting with the local
GOPIO-CT President Shailesh Naik
said that in eight years GOPIO-CT has excelled in service to the Indian American
community as well to the local community such as hosting soup kitchens for
homeless in Stamford. The Awards Banquet was chaired by Dr. Thomas Abraham,
Founder President of GOPIO International who is also a Trustee of GOPIO-CT. The
program was compeered by TV Asia Anchor person Radhika Vasudeva. The award
ceremony was followed by entertainment by GOBBA Dancers of Norwalk and dinner.
Photo above: GOPIO-CT
award recipients with dignitaries and GOPIO-CT officials. From Row, from l to r:
Dr. Thomas Abraham, Anita Bhat, former CT Lt. Governor Michael Fidele,
AmeriCares Chairman of the Board Dean Maglaris, Yale Univ. Professor Ramamurti
Shankar, Milan Founder Suresh Sharma, Leena Ramchandani, Industrialist Rakesh
Narang, Deputy Consul General Dr. Devyani Khobragade, Sangeeta Ahuja, Ritu
Johorey and Nandita Kotian; Back row, from l. to r.: Stamford City Board of
Finance Chair Jerry Bosak, Shelly Nichani, Pradeep Govil, Prakash Chakravarti,
Lovella D'Silva, GOPIO-CT President Shailesh Naik, Varghese Ninan, Mohan Yadav,
NJ Assembly Deputy Speaker Upendra Chivukula and Nisha Arora
GOPIO JOINS HANDS AT INDIA UNITY DINNER IN SAN FRANCISCO AND ORGANIZES SEMINAR
TO CELEBRATE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF ON GADAR MOVEMENT
The 12th Annual Unity Dinner event
was held in Newark/Fremont Hilton on Friday March 22, 2013 by Indo-American
Community Federation (IACF-USA) and tribute was paid to Gadarites. A seminar was
organized with a diverse group of speakers. Chaired by GOPIO International
Chairman Inder Singh, the seminar was addressed by Congressman Eric, Swalwell as
the keynote speaker and by IACF President Jeevan Zutshi, academic Dr. Sudarshan
Kapoor and GOPIO-Los Angeles President K3ewal Kanda. Dr. Kapoor Kapoor brought
pictures of Gadar heroes all the way from Fresno and helped in putting the
Entrepreneur and philanthropist
B.V.Jagadeesh in his keynote speech at the dinner spoke on power of giving. It
really rubbed on everyone present at the program. His spouse Annu Jagadeesh is
helping organize Sevathon on July 14 in association with India Community Center
(ICC). It is a commendable effort putting 100 organizations and 5000
people together to help organizations raise funds for various causes. IACF will
participate and support the event for the first time and urges other non-profits
to do the same.
At the Gadar seminar, speakers told
the stories of the young freedom fighters. In one of the most touching speeches
during the two-hour seminar, Kewal Kanda, president of GOPIO's Los Angeles
chapter, said that the Gadarites who went back to India to work towards her
freedom were often captured by the British in the course of their travels, and
often sent to one particularly notorious prison in the Andaman Islands, known as
Kala Pani, or black water.
Kanda spoke about the brutality
meted out to the prisoners, who were often chained to walls for several days.
Several Gadarites held an unsuccessful hunger strike for 155 days, said Kanda,
before reading out a list of prisoners who died at Kala Pani.
An arrangement of photos of the
freedom fighters and other Gadarite memorabilia was set up at the venue. A
permanent tribute to the Gadar movement is housed in San Francisco.
GOPIO Chairman Singh proposed that
the "Gadarites" be recognized at each Memorial Day by the more than three
million Indians who live in the U.S. Celebrations for the brave freedom fighters
will be held at venues throughout the U.S. this year with a final celebration in
CENTENARY DOCUMENTARY ON PIO TV
Please click on button "Watch
Video" below the picture and play it
GOPIO AND FOUR INDIAN
AMERICAN NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS ENDORSES OBAMA NIOMINEE MR. SRI SRINIVASAN AS
APPEALS COURT JUDGE
GOPIO joined with 4 other national
organizations to endorse Mr. Sri Srinivasan, who was nominated by President
Obama to be an Appeals Court Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit. The
letter was signed by the presidents of the following collaborating
National Asian American
of Indians America (AIA)
Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International)
American Forum for Political Education (IAFPE)
Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA)
letter was sent to Sen. Patrick J Leahy, Chair, Senate Judiciary Committee with
Chris Coons of Delaware.
"urged the approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to be followed quickly by
a confirmation vote of the full Senate"
LUCKY SINGH RECEIVES COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD
The Human Achievers Foundation
honored 15 people at the Le Meridian Hotel in New Delhi for their humanitarian
works on 22nd of April, 2013. The Chief Guest of the ceremony was the
Union Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Hon. Vayalar Ravi who presented the
awards to all the recipients.
The Human Achievers Foundation was
setup with the single objective of empowering women globally, particularly in
India, focusing on areas of works being done for child education advancement and
programs that enhance the quality of life for all in society. The foundation
organizes such annual events to acknowledge people from India and some from the
Ms. Lucky Singh, President of GOPIO
- Sydney chapter, was awarded for her sterling community services and
humanitarian work in her community. She was amongst the 7 recipients chosen from
all over the world from various fields.
Ms. Singh has a deep
passion for community service and has made a positive contribution to the
Australian Indian community. Under the banner of GOPIO-Sydney, she
has organized a number of fundraising events to help
those in need in Australia and other parts of the world.
Photo: GOPIO-Sydney President Lucky Singh and other awardees
with Minister Vayalar Ravi
Some of the activities
of GOPIO - Sydney are the annual GOPIO Youth Achievers Awards Night (GYAAN
awards) where youths are acknowledged for their achievements in various fields
such as academic, sports, social welfare, art, music, drama, media, aviation,
photography and Indian languages; fund-raisers for the victims of the Victorian
Bush fire, Bihar Relief fund, Tsunami in Samoa, Earthquake in Indonesia, Floods
in Fiji; and organized blood-drives, among other activities.
attended the Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas
in Kochi, India in January, 2013 and co-chaired a session titled "Diaspora
issues - Challenges and Opportunities in GOPIO's Annual convention in Kochi this
A teacher by
profession, she is with the Department of Education in New South Wales and was
the only teacher chosen from the state to be in the department's film "Freedom
from Fear" which dealt with refugee children.
Congratulations to Ms.
Lucky Singh from the GOPIO family. Keep up the great work!
NRIs AND PIOs ACHIEVE
NISARG PATEL WINS AWARDS IN US UNIVERSITY TO NATIONAL COUNCIL OF ARTS
Nisarg Patel of the Arizona
State University (ASU) won the changing entrepreneurship and outstanding
teaching awards at the annual Pitchfork Awards ceremony for co-founding a
company that can detect bacteria in water. It reprograms bacteria to produce a
protein biosensor that then purifies from the bacteria.
The idea for this technology
came when one of Patel's laboratory partners, who went to Guatemala, saw
children there looking at water and drinking it if it seemed clear.
"They don't realize it's
contaminated with bacteria that they can't see, so that's one of the issues
we're trying to solve," Patel was quoted as saying.
A total of 95 students were
selected as finalists by a committee of university faculty and staff.
RECOGNIZES CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE
The White House honored Aparna
Bhattacharyya, Pramila Jayapal, Shireen Zaman and 12 other Asian American and
Pacific Islander women as Champions of Change.
A part of the White House's
observance of AAPI Heritage Month, the event recognized women who are doing
extraordinary things to create a more equal, safe, and prosperous future for
their communities and the country.