Janaury 1, 2011

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

Issue: X-1January 1, 2011
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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 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 wishes you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!


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 International is holding its annual convention starting on January 5, 2011 and concluding on January 6, 2011 in New Delhi, India, immediately preceding and in conjunction with Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2011 events of January 7-9, 2011. The executive meetings with country, chapter and council reports will be held on January 5, followed by the conference on January 6, 2011, 2011. The events conclude with GOPIO's annual Community Service Awards Banquet on the evening of January 6, 2011.

The program schedule is as follows:

January 5, 2011







GOPIO Executive Meeting

GOPIO General Council Meeting

(Not Open to the Public)

FICCI Conf Center


GOPIO Country, Chapter and Council Reports (Open to the Public)

North America

Dr. Piyush Agrawal, Regional Vice President, North America

Middle East

Sunny Kulathakal, Middle East Coordinator


Chanchal Chowdhry, Secretary General

South Asia

George Abraham, Regional Vice President, SE Asia


K. N. Gupta, President GOPIO-India


Leela Sarup


Harrry Walia, Regional Coordinator, GOPIO Australia


Umesh Chandra, GOPIO  Australia

Council Reports by:

Dr Mohan Gautam, Academic Council (Netherlands);



Munish Gupta, Media Council (India-USA);


Lady Shruti Rana, Women's Council (UK)

FICCI Conf Center



FICCI Conf Center

 6.30pm                   Dinner                                                     India Intl. Center



January 6, 2011




Guests of Honor GOPIO Convention in New Delhi, Jan. 6th, 2011

 MOIA Minister Vayala Ravi, Dehi CM Sheila Dikshit and Haryana CM Bhoopinder singh Hooda





  9:00am -  9:30am


FICCI Conf Center

  9:30am - 10:45am

Session I:

Is Single Window Open & Working?


Lord Diljit Rana, UK


Chan Chowdhry ,UK


Mr. Gaurav Makhija , KPMG India


Mr Pamarty VenkataRamana, New Delhi, India


M C Singhi, Govt of India Representative, New Delhi, India


Mr Vijay Kumar Gupta, Chairman, Beekay Engineering Corp.


Wrap-Up & Concluding Remarks-


Dr Thomas Abraham, USA

FICCI Conf Center

10:45am -- 11:00am

Coffee/Tea Break

FICCI Conf Center

11:00am -- 12:15pm

Session II:

NRI/PIO Services at Overseas Indian Consular Offices: Issues & Challenges

Chair - Inder Singh,USA


Co-Chair - Mr. Umesh Chandra, Australia


Speaker - B.K. Gupta, Ministry of External Affairs

Speaker - Mr J C Sharma, India

Speaker - Mr Lalit Mansingh, India

Speaker - Mr Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, India

Speaker - Jay Banerjei, Canada

Observers - JS Karan Singh, MOIA; JS Yogeshwar Sangwan, MOIA

Q/A  - Wrap-Up & Concluding Remarks by Mr Ravi Gidar,UK

FICCI Conf Center

12:15pm -   1:00pm

Inaugural Session

Chair - Inder Singh, Chairman


Co-Chair - Lord Diljit Rana, President


Inaugural VIP - Hon. Sheela Dixit

                        Chief Minister of Delhi - Dr Prabhat Jha, Canada


FICCI Conf Center

  1:00pm -   2:00pm


FICCI Conf Center

  2:00pm --  3:15pm

Session III:

Kolkata Memorial and 19th Century Indian Emigration

Chair - Ashook Ramsaran, Guyana-USA


Co-Chair - Dr Shekhar Tiwary, India

Speaker - Hon Suruj Rambachan, Min Ext Affairs, Trinidad & Tobago

Speaker - Leela Sarup, Mauritius-W. Bengal

Speaker - Christelle Gourdine, Guadeloupe

Speaker - Jean Regis Ramsamy, Re-Union Islands

Speaker - Marina Budhos, USA

Q/A - Wrap-Up & Concluding Remarks  by Sayantan Chakravarty, India

FICCI Conf Center

  3:15pm --  3:30pm

Coffee/Tea Break

FICCI Conf Center

  3:30pm --  4:45pm

Session IV:

Cultural Preservation in Expanding Indian Diaspora

Chair - Harmohan (Harry) Walia, Australia


Co-Chair - Harold Ramdhani, Suriname

Speaker - Dr Anand Mullo, Mauritius or Sunanda Datta Ray

Speaker - Arvind Sood, USA

Speaker - Deosaran Bisnath, Trinidad or Shabana Azmi

Speaker - Dr Harshinder Kaur, India

Q/A  - Wrap-Up & Concluding Remarks by Deo Gosine, Trinidad-USA

FICCI Conf Center

  4:45pm --  5:30pm


Session V:

Resolutions and Wrap-up

Chair - Dr Piyush Agrawal, USA


Co-Chair - Rajindre Tewari, Suriname-Netherlands

FICCI Conf Center


Community Service Awards Banquet

 Chief Guest - Hon. Vayalar Ravi

                    Minister, MOIA

Guest of Honor - Hon. Bhoopinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister of Haryana

Ashoka Hotel






Reception, Entertainment and Awards  Banquet


7:00PM, January 6, 2011, The Ashok Hotel, New Delhi


GOPIO Community Service Awards Presentation Ceremony


Chief Guest:               Honorable Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs


Guest of Honor:          Shri Bhoopinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister of Haryana

Welcome:                   K. N. Gupta, Convention Chair, (New Delhi)

Greetings:                   Inder Singh, Chairman, GOPIO International (USA)

Welcome:                   Lord Diljit Rana, President, GOPIO International (UK)

Emcee:                       Ashook Ramsaran, Executive Vice President, GOPIO Int'l (USA)


Presentation of GOPIO Community Service Awards


Book Releases at GOPIO 2011 Convention


Event Coordinator:     Munish Gupta, Chair, GOPIO Media Council


Sameer Seth, GOPIO Ireland

Note of Thanks:           Munish Gupta (Chair, GOPIO Media Council)

Recognition:                Kotak Bank, India



Salute to GOPIO Awardees





GOPIO has inducted several political leaders, academics and intellectuals from around the world in its Honor Roll for their exemplary service to India and/or for their support of NRI/PIO causes. They include former President late K.R. Narayanan, former Prime Minsiter Inder K. Gujral, the late Dr. L.M. Singhvi, former Fiji Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, former Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minsiter Basdeo Panday, Lord Bhikhu Parekh, Lord Navnit Dholakia. This year, GOPIO is pleased to induct India's top buraucrat Mr. T.K.A. Nair.


GOPIO Honor Roll to T.K.A. Nair, Principal Secretary, PMOShri T.K.A. Nair, IAS


Serving as Principal Secretary, Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Mr. Nair has the distinction of serving three Prime Ministers, Mr. I.K. Gujral, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and currently Dr. Manmohan singh. Before joining as Principal Secretary at the PMO, Mr. Nair served as Chairman of Public Enterprise Selection Board. An Indian Administrative Service officer who retired in 1997, Nair was Secretary to the then prime minister I K Gujral. Later he served as Secretary to Prime Minister Vajpayee.


Mr. Nair has been providing support for many new initiatives from the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs from the PMO. He has been interacting with GOPIO officials as well as other NRI/PIO groups on a regular basis.



GOPIO Community Service Awards 2011



GOPIO Award Recipient for Community Service 2011Mr. Gambhir Watts (Australia)


Gambhir Watts is Executive Chairman since July 2003 for Australia Chapters of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan; Commissioner, Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural NSW and Chairman of Northern Regional Advisory Council 2006-2009; Founder patron of Priyadarshni Academy Bombay India honouring high achievers in various social, cultural and art related fields all over the world; a Director of Advocacy for Inclusion Australia (an NGO for Disability). Since its launch on 30 August 2003 Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Australia has undertaken a large number of activities related to Indian culture and promoting multiculturalism in Australia; publish the prestigious monthly magazine Bhavan Australia since 2004 and Bhavan's Weekly eNews since August 2008 and have established alliances with a host of NGOs and Community Organisations. Gambhir Watts introduced the daily Hindi News on SBS TV and additional Hindi programs on SBS TV and the installation of first ever Mahatma Gandhi bust in New South Wales at the University of New South Wales jointly with the Consul General of India.



PrGOPIO Community Service Award Recipient 2011 Prof. M.C. Madhavanof. M.C. Madhavan (USA) 


Professor M.C. Madhavan's contribution to civic society organizations is significant. He may perhaps be remembered for a long time for founding the San Diego Indian American Society to establish Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship and Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Lecture program with the support of his friends in 1984. Over 400 outstanding students have received this award and a very distinguished people in the world, including Dr. Jonas Salk, Pundit Ravi Shankar, Indian Ambassadors to the United States, United States Congressmen and Women, leading industrialist and Ganhiji's grandsons Raj Mohan Gandhi and Arun Gandhi, have delivered the Mahatma Gandhi memorial lecture. The society has also funded over 20 projects in India benefiting the states of Bihar, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and various organizations in the San Diego.





GOPIO Special Recognition 2011 Prof. Prabhat JhaSpecial Recognition

Prof. Prabhat Jha, MD, D.Phil. (Canada)


Professor Prabhat Jha is a world-renowned scientist and author who has worked tirelessly to improve the health and quality of life of resident Indians. He recognized that since almost all deaths in India did not have medical documentation or assigned causes of deaths, governments and individuals did not have the necessary information to plan effective healthcare initiatives in the country or for individuals to know their own risk of premature disease. He understood that millions of Indians would continue to die needlessly unless there was a revolution in the way health information was collected. Thus, in collaboration with the Registrar General of India, Professor Jha started the Million Death Study in 2001. Partly funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this ongoing study will quantify the causes of deaths in over 1 million homes in India from 1997-2014. Results from the study have already demonstrated that India has over 1 million deaths each year from smoking (10% of all deaths; New England Journal of Medicine, 2008),  and fewer deaths from HIV than expected (British Med Journal, 2009), but many more malaria deaths than expected (about 0.2 million; Lancet 2010). He has also documented that the major causes of child deaths in the country are avoidable (Lancet, 2010). Future studies from the Million Death Study will continue to shape the direction for India's health.


Conference Registration:

GOPIO Convention Registration:

Prior registration is recommended as total registration will be limited to 150 delegates

Conference (Rs 500) + CSA Banquet (Rs 1,000), total Rs 1,500 per person.

Early bookingConference fee (Rs 500) waived before Jan. 4th, 2010.

Banquet seating is limited. To guarantee banquet seating, you are urged to register in advance.  


Advance registration:

Contact Sameer Seth at


Convention 2011 Coordinator: K N Gupta, President, GOPIO Chapter India

Media Coordinator: Munish Gupta, Chair, GOPIO Media Council


For more information and details, contact:

GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh, USA, at  (Tel +1-818-708-3885)

GOPIO President Lord Diljit Rana, UK, at   (Tel: +44 28-9807-8787)





GOPIO New Delhi Convention 2011 Sponsor Kotak BankKotak Mahindra Bank is in the forefront on the engagement with NRIs and PIOs across the globe to offer investments and wealth management to NRIs and PIOs. Kotak Mahindra Bank is happy to associate with GOPIO as a sponsor for the "GOPIO's Annual Conference 2011 on the 5th and 6th January, 2011 in New Delhi. Mr. Virat Diwanji, Executive Vice President, Kotak Mahindra Bank, said "Kotak Mahindra Bank is proud to be associated with GOPIO and looks forward to work closely with the Indian Diaspora. Kotak Mahindra Bank appreciates GOPIO for their initiatives taken for the social cause of NRI community and sees a great synergy between the two organizations. We would like to reach out to all the members of GOPIO and provide them simple solutions to their banking and investment matters in India."Kotak Mahindra Bank offers a comprehensive suite of products and services for NRIs across the globe which includes NRO/NRE/FCNR deposits, remittance, mutual funds, life insurance, loan and other banking and investment products and services supported by best in class services including phone banking , internet banking and click to call to name a few.


The installation of the Kolkata Memorial commemorative plaque "in recognition and remembrance of Indian Indentured Labourers of 19th - 20th centuries" will take place at an inaugural ceremony starting at 3:30pm on January 11, 2011 at Kidderpore Depot located at 14 Garden Reach along the Hoogley River in Kolkata. Hon Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), will preside over the inaugural ceremony. GOPIO International Executive Vice President Ashook Ramsaran and Global Indian Diaspora Heritage Society (GIDHS) Secretary Leela Sarup will be active participants as well, having been and continuing to be actively involved in the planning and coordination leading up to this historic moment with the inaugural ceremony.


Also in attendance will be other officials of MOIA, officials of Ministry of Port Trust, officials of West Bengal Government, GOPIO International and representatives of PIO countries as well as historians and academicians, civic leaders and attendees from various countries. GOPIO International, in collaboration with the Global Indian Diaspora Heritage Society (GIDHS), is holding a commemorative luncheon starting at 12:00 Noon on January 11, 2011 at the Oberoi Grand Hotel in Kolkata preceding the inaugural ceremony.


Demerara Depot, KolkataBoth Ramsaran and Sarup have been at the forefront of this initiative for a commemorative plaque, to be followed by a heritage museum/resource center at a suitably significant site in Kolkata. The planned heritage museum/resource center would house records of Indian indentured laborers' emigration (during the 18th and 19th centuries), literature, works of art, documentaries, films, artifacts, photographs and emigration records relevant to that era and those who left as indentured laborers. (Ref: GOPIO Newsletters of April 1, 2010, August 1, 2010 and October 22, 2010 respectively).


The following are the 2 events to be held:


  • Commemorative Luncheon at 12:00 Noon on Jan 11, 2011 at Oberoi Grand Hotel.
  • Inaugural ceremony at 3:30pm on Jan 11, 2011 at Kidderpore Depot


The inscription on the commemorative plaque states in part: "In honored tribute to Indian Indentured laborers -- By hundreds of thousands they journeyed from other parts of India to this city, bound for long, arduous journeys by ships on treacherous seas of "kala pani" to places unknown to them and despite many false promises, travail they did with unwavering spirit and hopes; With due recognition and lasting remembrance of Indian indentured labourers who left these shores during 19th and 20th centuries seeking better livelihoods in far away lands; for their pioneering spirit, determination, resilience, endurance, perseverance and sacrifices amidst extremely harsh conditions; for their preservation of sense of origin, traditions, culture and religion, and promotion of Indian culture; for their achievements despite insurmountable odds; for their invaluable contributions to  lands they adopted; and  for triumph of the spirit of Indianness they maintained and passed on to their descendants".


Everyone is invited to attend this historic event. Interested persons, organizations and groups are invited to participate. For security purposes, attendance will be by advance registration only on or before January 3, 2011. There is no charge for attendance at the inaugural ceremony, however advance registration is a requirement. There will be no charge for the luncheon for first 100 persons registering in advance by January 3, 2011.


Each person or organization desiring to attend must complete the information below and send by January 3, 2011 to: Ashook Ramsaran at


Attendee Information



Country of Birth

Country of Residence




Tel/Mobile Number

Email address



Attending January 11 Events

  • Luncheon at Oberoi Grand 12:00 Noon   YES/NO
  • Inaugural at Kidderpore Depot 3:30pm     YES/NO


Hotel stay at Oberoi Grand Kolkata

  • Jan 10, 2011     YES/NO
  • Jan 11, 2011     YES/NO
  • Jan 12, 2011     YES/NO


Interest in city, sites tour

  • Jan 10, 2011     YES/NO
  • Jan 12, 2011     YES/NO


Room Type:  Deluxe

Dates: 10th-12th January 2011

Room Rate: INR 8500/9500 for single/double, plus 10% tax


The Oberoi Grand

15, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Kolkata 700 013
Telephone: 91 33 2249 2323
Contact: Shreya Chakravorty Boruah, Assistant Sales Manager
Direct: 91 33 2250 6137; Cellular: 91 98 3638 8661
India Toll Free Reservations: 1 800 11 2030; Facsimile: 91 33 2249 0398


Ashook Ramsaran at

US Mobile 01-917-519-5783; India Mobile 91-97-1185-1144

Leela Sarup at

India Mobile 011-91-98-3105-4801


A meeting all those NRIs/PIOs who live in the Kolkata Metro area and others interested in GOPIO global network are invited to an initial planning meeting with GOPIO International Officers including Chairman Inder Singh, Executive Vice President Ashook Ramsaran, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Thomas Abraham and other officers of GOPIO on Tuesday, Jan. 11th starting at 6 p.m. for a High Tea meeting to initiate GOPIO-Kolkata Chapter. More detaisl of the meeting is provided below:




Networking Reception and Meeting with


Several prominent NRIs/PIOs visiting Kolkata

along with the officials of the


Global Organization of People of Indian Origin

(GOPIO) International (


Tuesday, January 11, 6 PM


Followed by High Tea


Palladian Lounge

The Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Royal Exchange

6 Netaji Subhas Rd.


Tel: 033-22303711


R.S.V.P. - Mridul Pathak 09830049848, S.K. Sarkar 09831091317 and Manmohan Maheshwari 09830025670 or e-mail at




Everyone is invited to attend a GIDHS planning and membership meeting at 10:00am at the Calcutta Club, 241, AJC Bose Road, Kolkata, West Bengal. Interested persons are welcome to attend and participate in this session to solicit ideas, engage in discussion and deliberate on plans for Phase II: Acquire suitably significant land in Kolkata for a museum and resource center containing records of Indian indentured laborers' emigration (1834 --1920), literature, works of art, documentaries, films, artifacts, photographs and emigration records relevant to that era and those who left as indentured laborers.


Please sign up to attend. Contact Leela Sarup at (91)-98-3105-4801 or Ashook Ramsaran at (91)-97-1185-1144



The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) in partnership with the Government of NCT of Delhi and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is organizing the 9th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention (PBD 2010) from 7th - 9th January 2011 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is the annual flagship event of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) which aims to connect more 25 Million Indians with India's Economic and Social development.


 The theme of PBD 2011 is: "Engaging the Global Indian" with a special focus on the north eastern states of India.


It will provide an opportunity to interact with:


(i)             Cabinet Ministers from Indian on matters of interest and concern to them.

(ii)            PIO ministers/dignitaries from other countries on the expectations and aspirations of the overseas Indian community from the land of their ancestors and how they could work towards strengthening the relationship between India and the country of their residence.

(iii)           Chief Ministers on issues of their States need to attend on priority and facilities and incentives available in their states for the overseas Indian community.


Concurrent sessions will be held on Education, Health Services, Youth, and Information Communication and Entertainment.


PBD2011 will also see the continuation of an annual lecture series under the overarching theme of "Engaging the Global Indian, this year there will be a memorial lecture on Prof C K Prahalad.


The Convention will be inaugurated by Prime Minister of India on 8th January.  The President of India will deliver the valedictory address on 9th January and would confer Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards for 2011.


GOPIO delegates are urged to register

at discounted rate of $100 per registrant.


For further details and registration, visit PBD website at


GOPIO has been in the forefront to take up issues of common interest of the Indian community living outside India for the last 21 years since its inception. It recommended and campaigned with Govt. of India on PIO Card, Overseas Indian Citizenship (OCI), Ministry for Overseas Indians and in 2010 issues in the surrender of old Indian passport by naturalized citizens. Although Govt. of India relented on the high passport surrender fee of $175 to $20, we have been getting feedback from the community on the difficulties and nightmares they go through to get the Surrender Certificate from Indian missions abroad and in the issuance of entry visas. These new rules were decided by the Home Ministry officials on the security concerns so that no one will misuse the old passport. However, GOPIO feels that these decisions were taken arbitrarily without proper thinking and has caused enormous problems for NRIs and PIOs who are especially the naturalized citizens of other countries. Indirectly, Govt. of India is telling you that to visit Mother India, you will have to first pay an enormous amount and then go through all hassles. GOPIO presented an appeal in July 2010 to Mr. Vayalar Ravi, Minister for overseas Indian Affairs on the Passport Surrender rules which GOPIO has recommended that they should be changed without compromising on the security concerns raised by Home Ministry. These include the following:


1.       Reduce the passport surrender fee of $175 from those who became naturalized citizens after June 1, 2010 to $20 and give 3 months for surrender and if not surrendered, charge a fee of $175.

2.       GOPIO suggests that those who have become naturalized citizen before 2000 and whose Indian passports are already expired need not obtain surrender certificate since those passports are no more valid travel documents.

3.       GOPIO also requested that Government of India should relax the current rigid requirements to obtain surrender certificates for those whose passports have been misplaced or lost.

4.    Increase the staff at Indian Missions handling the passports and visa especially in countries such as the USA, UK, Canada, Australia till these issues are resolved.


On June 1, 2010, the Consul General of India, New York, in his press conference stated that overseas Indians who acquired foreign citizenship on or before 31st May, 2010 will pay $20 and no penalties to obtain surrender certificate. However, consulates in the United States and Canada have started charging retention penalty if a person has held an Indian passport which expired on or after 1 January 2005 and the passport remained un-cancelled for a period of 3 years after the acquisition of the foreign nationality. This is retroactive enforcement of surrender certificates rules which were relaxed.


We want to make a new representation to Govt. of India on the difficulties NRIs/PIOs face in these issues. GOPIO would like to hear your experience in the Indian passport surrender issues as well as obtaining your Indian visas and OCI/PIO cards from Indian missions abroad. Please visit GOPIO Blog at and post your experience in obtaining your surrender certificates or Indian visas as well as your suggestions and recommendation to Govt. of India.  GOPIO urges Indian community groups, organizations and individuals to write to the Prime Minister at, the Secretary of Home Affair (HM), Secretary of the  Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) at, and the Secretary of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) at, with a copy to GOPIO at To volunteer your time to do an effective campaign on these issues, please write to or or visit







GOPIO held the first of a series of grassroots community meetings globally on a regular basis to with the objective of identifying issues of interest and concern to the global Indian Diaspora community. That is, to conduct interactive sessions with the NRI and PIO community, with consular officers in attendance when necessary, for timely information on issues to be addressed and feedback on such matters


GOPIO-Netherlands has been focusing at improving its lobbying activities using its network in Dutch society to enhance the community's position  as integrated citizens in the Netherlands. On Friday, January 28th, 2011 starting at 16:00 GOPIO-Netherlands will start 2011 with its first networking event organized by its Amsterdam Chapter hosted by the ING Group. Details of the program will be distributed soon. Make a reservation in your agenda for 

this first GOPIO event in Netherlands next year.


Contact: Drs Rajindre Tewari, Country Coordinator,




GOPIO-CT Youth Group organized an interactive meeting and get together on December 24th in Stamford. Attended by about two dozens youth and young professionals, it was addressed by Manu Bhat, Senior at University Pennsylvania and Arun Sinha, CMO of Zurich Financial.


Manu gave the youngsters tips on how to apply for college and internships. Arun gave advice on how to "succeed in the world." He gave 5 tips which include the following:

1) Work Very hard

2) Differentiate yourself

3) Follow your passion

4) Always dream big

5) Be good to others


The program ended with a lunch.




What more a Person can ask if he/she gets to spend a Family Fun Day with friends and Family over a Sunny Sunday Afternoon which relaxes everybody's mind and help them prepare for a working day on Monday morning.


The Global Organisation of  People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) Trinidad  and Tobago cordially invites you to attend a Multiculturalism Conference at Gaston Courts, Gaston Street, Lange Park, Chaguanas on January 29th 2011, from 9:00 am to 3pm.


The primary objective of the Multiculturalism Conference is to formulate  practical, pragmatic and  useful policies that would result in genuine Multiculturalism in Trinidad and Tobago. 


The government plans to implement policies that will produce a Multiculturalism society; already, it has created a new Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism. GOPIO believes that stakeholders should now come up with policies that will assist in the achievement of Multiculturalism in our nation. 


With this in mind, GOPIO has taken the initiative to start the consultative and participatory process. The conference is free. Complimentary lunch and breakfast (starting at 8am) will be provided.  Participants from abroad will be provided with complimentary lodging, meals, and transportation within Trinidad. 


Please RSVP 723-1447 or 687-7529 or e-mail, before January 21st, 2011.


Contact: Ruben Niranjan, President, GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago, PO BOX 2286, Chaguanas  723-1447   687-7529     Fax : 665-5984.




A planning meeting to launch GOPIO-Mumbai is being scheduled on Wednesday, January 19th. GOPIO Founder president and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Thomas Abraham and GOPIO's USA National Coordinator and Intl. Vice President Dr. Piyush Agrawal will be present at this Reception/Meeting. Those NRIs/PIOs who are settled in the Greater Mumbia area and those interested to network with global Indian Diaspora may contact Mr. Vikas Narayan at 09223542097 or e-mail at




Highlights of some of the speeches, presetnations and demonstrations are provided in YOuTube. Visit: YouTube. Visit



Links to individual talks and speeches and some fo the Chidren's Day Program are shown below:


Dr. Thomas Abraham -


Sangeeta Ahuja -


Dr. Vivian Rambihar -


Dr. Poonam Alaigh -


Dr. Binoy Singh -


Dr. Rajeev Mehta -


New York CityComptroller John Liu -


Dr. Enas A. Enas -


Dr. Wahida Karmally -


Dr. Lakshmi Prakash -


Dr. Steven Horowitz -


Dr. Alexander Zachariah -


Surinda Oberai Cavanagh -


Children's Health with Children's Day Program -


Children's Day at the Health Summit - Bharata Natyam by Sohini Upadhyay -


Children's Day at the Health Summit - Entertainment by Rishika Jikaria and Ashika Jikaria Performing Baile Baile


Master Del Pe at the Children's Program -




Some of the speeches and presentation of GOPIO London conferences are provided on YouTube as follows:



GOPIO Community interaction Sessions, October 25, 2010



GOPIO. Community Interaction Session.- London Meeting,.Oct. 25.2010 -


GOPIO. Community Interaction Session and Dinner.2.London Meeting,.Oct. 25.2010 -



GOPIO Conference, London, October 26, 2010



GOPIO.Conference.London. Baroness Shreela Flather Speaking.Oct. 26.2010 -


GOPIO.Conference.London Virendra Sharma MP.Speaking, Oct. 26.2010 -


GOPIO.Conference.London Rami Ranger.Speaking, Oct. 26.2010 -


GOPIO Conference London J C Sharma Speaking, Oct 26 2010 -


GOPIO.Conference.London. Prabhakaran Ganesan MP.Speaking, Oct. 26.2010 -


GOPIO.Conference.London Dr.Pritam Singh.Speaking, Oct. 26.2010 -



GOPIO International Women's Conference, London, October 27, 2010


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Inauguration. Oct,  27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Lady Shruti Rana Speaking, Oct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London H.H.Anandmurti Guruma  Speaking, Oct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Lord Meghnad Desai Speaking, ct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Lord Narendra Patel Speaking,  Oct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Asha Khemka OBE Speaking, Oct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Rita Abraham Speaking.Oct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Author Lakshmi Rampersaud Speaking, Oct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Barrister Usha Teji Speaking, Oct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Baroness Sandip Verma Speaking, Oct. 27.2010 -





Two Indian American mysicuans, New York-based businesswoman Chandrika Krishnamurthy Tandon and pianist-composer Vijay Iyer - have been nominated for this year's Grammy awards. The annual awards, given by the US National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, recognize outstanding musical works. The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be held on February


While Tandon's "Om Namo Narayanaya: Soul Call", featuring Sanskrit chants, has been nominated in the Best Contemporary World Music Album category, Iyer's "Historicity" has been shortlisted for the Best Jazz Instrumental Album award.


"Soul Call" takes the listener on a healing journey with Sanskrit slokas and an important chant from ancient Indian texts - eight phonemes, Om Na Mo Na Ra Ya Na Ya. While the vocals and the composition are by Tandon, the complex orchestral arrangements are by Tejendra Narayan Majumdar assisted by Snehasish Majumdar.


A classical singer and an alumni of Madras Christian College, Tandon is the chairman of US-based financial advisory firm Tandon Capital Associates Inc. Pepsi CEO India Nooyi is Tandon's sister.


"Historicity" is a trio album combining Iyer's searing originals with a surprising batch of covers - Bernstein's "Somewhere," Andrew Hill's "Smoke Stack," MIA's "Galang" and others. Featuring his longtime collaborators, Marcus Gilmore (drums) and Stephan Crump (bass), this album became one of the most acclaimed jazz works of the decade.


US-born son of Indian immigrants, Iyer is a self-taught creative musician grounded in American jazz and popular forms and drawing from a wide range of Western and non-Western traditions.

Most recently, in the Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards, he was named the 2010 Musician of the Year, an honor previously given to greats like Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman, Wayne Shorter and Dave Holland.


Music composer A R Rahman, sitar expert Ravi Shankar and tabla maestro Zakir Hussain are among the Indians that have won a Grammy. In February this year, Rahman won two Grammys - for 'Best Film Song' and 'Best Soundtrack' -- for composing the soundtrack of multiple Oscar-winning movie, Slumdog Millionaire.




The year's highest science honor for high school students today was awarded to astrophysics research on star formation and computer science research on identifying emotion in the human voice in the 2010 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, America's premier science research competition for high school students.


The Siemens Competition, a signature program of the Siemens Foundation, is administered by the College Board. The twelfth annual awards were presented this morning at The George Washington University, host of the 2010 Siemens Competition National Finals.


Benjamin Clark, a 15-year-old senior at Penn Manor High School in Millersville, Pennsylvania, won the $100,000 Grand Prize in the Individual category for research that sheds new light on how stars are born. Akash Krishnan and Matthew Fernandez, juniors at Oregon Episcopal School in Portland, Oregon, will share the $100,000 Grand Prize in the Team category for developing a computer algorithm to more accurately detect emotion in the human voice.


"The team built a computer algorithm that allows us to listen to an auditory signal from a human, analyze it and assess the emotional state of the speaker," said competition judge Gert Lanckriet, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California, San Diego. "It can help identify, for example, if the speaker is angry, sad, bored, anxious or happy. They came up with a strong creative idea and brought it from theory into practice."


The team was inspired by the movie I, Robot, in which a robot can sense when its user is under stress. Using an emotional speech database with 18,215 files and five emotions (anger, positive, neutral, emphatic, rest), the team developed, trained and tested a classification engine to determine emotions from an input signal. The team achieved a 60% accuracy rate in identifying emotions versus 41% with a previous award-winning system. Their work has a broad range of applications, from autism research to computer games and lie detection.


"Their work could even be used to enhance cell phone technology," said Dr. Lanckriet. "With cell phones today most encoding is designed to ensure words are understood, but the emotional background of the conversation may be lost. Their work could help ensure the emotion comes through."


Krishnan and Fernandez have been working together as a team since the seventh grade. Dr. Bevin Daglen served as their mentor on the project. While continuing to improve on methods used in their study, the team has filed for a patent and is developing a device designed to help autistic children identify and interpret emotions they are hearing. The students indicate they have also had interest in their project from the US government.


Krishnan is a veteran of numerous science competitions. He placed first in his district's First Lego League competition for four years running, was a semifinalist in the 2010 Oregon Computer Science Competition, and was awarded Best of Fair with Mr. Fernandez in the Intel ISEF Competition. He plans to pursue computer science and electrical and mechanical engineering in college. He speaks Telegu, plays the piano and clarinet, and has a black belt in Okinawan-style karate.


A number of Britons of Indian origin figure in the New Year's honours list announced on December 31st. This years list includes, for a change, many ordinary hard-working "unsung" heroes and heroines from different walks of life.


They include artistes, rights activists, doctors, teachers, public sector workers and charity volunteers who have quietly worked to improve the quality of life around them.


London-based Indira Patel has been appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) for her services in the field of human rights.


Ravi Parkash Chand, Head of Equality and Diversity, Home Office in Northamptonshire; and Dr. Minaxi Sharad Desai, Consultant Cytopathologist and Clinical Director at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, have been made Commanders of the British Empire (CBE).


Among those who have been appointed Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) are Buckinghamshire-based Nirpal Singh Riat for services to charity; and Purnima Tanuku for services to families in Lancashire.


Sarup Singh Dhandia, a Leicester-based artist, is among the three NRIs who have been made Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). Others are: Carolyn Dhanraj for services to the public and voluntary Sectors, and Surinder Kaur Dhillon for services to community relations.


Doctors honoured in various categories include Dr. Sanjoy Kumar, Dr. Ashok Pathak and Dr. Satya Vrat Sharma.


Leicestershire-based sitar player and teacher, Dharambir Singh Dhadyalla, has been recognised for services to Indian music; and Ratilal Devchand Shah for services to the Indian community in London.


Also honoured are Adil Rajput, executive officer, Jobcentre Plus, Department for Work and Pensions, Durham; Dr. Jacques Rangasamy, senior lecturer, University of Salford, for services to multicultural arts education, in Greater Manchester; Urmila Thakkar for services to the community; Pam Vedhara for services to local government; and Chelliah Yogamoorthy of Highways Agency, Department for Transport.





Four Indian-American students have been selected for the Rhodes Scholarships for 2011 for studying at the University of Oxford, the award which is widely considered the "world's most prestigious scholarship".  The Rhodes Trust named Aakash K Shah of New Jersey, Prerna Nadathur & Priya M Sury, and Varun Sivaram of California.


Aakash K Shah, Cliffside Park, graduated from Ursinus College is a first year student at Harvard Medical School.


Prerna Nadathur, Roseville, is a senior at the University of Chicago where she majors in mathematics and minors in linguistics and philosophy.


Priya M Sury, Roseville, graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in May, summa cum laude, in anthropology and Spanish. She is currently studying for an MD degree at the University of Minnesota.

Varun S Sivarum, Monte Sereno, is a senior at Stanford majoring in engineering physics and international relations. A Truman Scholar and junior mentor at Phi Beta Kappa, Varun has won Stanford prizes for excellence in humanities and political science, as well as in engineering.

The thirty-two Rhodes Scholars chosen from the United States will join an international group of Scholars chosen from fourteen other jurisdictions around the world.

The Rhodes Scholarship, named after Cecil Rhodes, is an international postgraduate award for study at the University of Oxford in the UK.

Approximately 80 scholars are selected worldwide each year, including several non-US Scholars who have attended American colleges and universities.

The value of the Rhodes Scholarship varies depending on the academic field and the degree (BA, master's, doctoral) chosen. The Rhodes Trust pays all college and university fees, provides a stipend to cover necessary expenses while in residence in Oxford as well as during vacations, and transportation to and from England. The total value of the Scholarship averages approximately $50,000 per year. 





NRIs visiting India in January are invited to attend the 3rd Shaheed Nanak Singh Memorial Lecture ( on 14th January 2011 at 11.30am at the Punjabi University Patiala.


Punjabi University now runs classes on "Nation Building" to make next generation appreciate that they can follow any religion of their choice for a peace of mind. However, the interests of their country must always come first and every time or else we harm ourselves in the name of religion.


A special coach will leave from Taj Man Singh Hotel, Delhi at 2pm on 13th January to the Punjabi University Patiala and you are invit4e to board this coach.


A dinner will be hosted by the Vice Chancellor Mr. Jaspal Singh Ji and accommodations for overnight stay are also provided by the University. There will also be lunch after the lecture on 14th January for the guests. The coach will return to Delhi after lunch and will reach at approx 6pm on the same day.


To register, contact Rami Ranger. GSM Tel No. 0044 7836 261196 or 011- 9953-973-384 , E-mail:





India has retained its position as the top remittances recipient country, according to the latest estimates put together by the World Bank.


India has recorded remittances of $55 billion so far in 2010, followed by China with $51 billion. Other leading recipient countries include Mexico, the Philippines, France, Germany and Bangladesh.


Remittances to developing countries are expected to reach $325 billion in 2010, up from $307 billion last year. Worldwide, remittances are projected to reach $440 billion by the end of the year, says the 'Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011' brought out by the World Bank.


The top remittances sending countries in 2009 were the US, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Russia and Germany. There are recipient countries where the share of remittances in GDP is more than 25 per cent with Tajikistan topping the list with 35 per cent, followed by Tonga (28 per cent) and Lesotho (25 per cent).


According to the Factbook, remittances flows to India grew robustly in the last quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, but appear to have levelled off in the second quarter of 2010. Remittances to South Asia as a whole are estimated to have grown by 10.3 per cent in 2010, but are expected to grow at relatively slower rates of 5.1 per cent and 6.3 per cent in 2011 and 2012, respectively.


The top migrant country is the US, followed by Russia, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Canada. The top immigration countries relative to population are Qatar (87 per cent), Monaco (72 per cent), the UAE (70 per cent) and Kuwait (69 per cent).




The spotlight shines on the plight of some 245 million widows around the world, many of them poor and destitute, following unanimous passage in the UN General Assembly of a resolution declaring 23 June International Widows Day. Loomba Foundation President Cherie Blair and Founder and Chairman Raj Loomba CBE, congratulated and thanked the Central African Republic of Gabon, a Member of the United Nations Security Council, and Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, the First Lady of Gabon, for sponsorship of the Resolution and their tireless support and championing of the cause.


This rare designation of an international day of recognition by the UN follows independent verification of shocking levels of violence and deprivation faced by hundreds of millions of widows worldwide. The resolution, approved by the 192 representatives of the Third Committee of the General Assembly, was a passionate personal initiative of Madame Bongo. The Loomba Foundation has spearheaded the advocacy for widows globally since its inception in 1997.


Mr. Loomba, who serves GOPIO's Vice president from Europe, was elated regarding the passage of the resolution. "I saw my own mother suffer after my father died of tuberculosis. As soon as my father stopped breathing my mother also stopped being an individual. My grandmother ordered my mother-who was still a young woman--to remove her jewelry and bindi (a sign for married women on their forehead) and only wear white clothes. She was belittled and ostracized. She lived in this shadow for 37 years until her death," said Mr. Loomba. "I started this charity and began this journey in honor of my mother, and with the passage of International Widows Day we can help widows worldwide so that they do not suffer the injustices my mother had inflicted upon her." He added "The dream of my life has come true."


The Loomba Foundation was established by Raj Loomba CBE and his wife Veena in the UK in 1997. It promotes fundamental freedoms and human rights of widows and their children around the world by raising awareness of the gross injustices widows face and seeking to remove stigmas associated with widowhood.



GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in several countries, actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin worldwide by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in various countries.


GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one- time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and half the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.


GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world so as to network people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have chapter in your city, please visit GOPIO website (

and get details of chapter initiation (visit Process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more.  For more information, contact:


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

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

GOPIO Executive Vice President - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York City, Tel: 718/939-8194, E-mail:


To become a Life member of GOPIO, one can sign up online at or fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO International, PO Box 560117, New York NY 11356, USA.



Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus, GOPIO (Stamford, CT, USA)

Editors: Ashook Ramsaran, GOPIO Executive Vice President (New York, USA)

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

Contributors of this issue: Inder Singh (GOPIO Intl., USA), Chan Chowdhry (GOPIO-UK), K N Gupta (New Delhi); Ruben Niranjan (GOPIO Trinidad and Tobago), Sharon banta (GOPIO-CT, USA), Drs Rajindre Tewari (GOPIO Netherlands), Raj Loomba (GOPIO-UK) and Rami Ranger (UK)


GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter. Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail:

Visit GOPIO's Official site at or