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February 3, 2013

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

Issue: XII-1 February 3, 2013
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The Global 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.


GOPIO Officials and Dignitaries at GOPIO Community Service Awards banquet on Jan. 6th, 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. Jacob.


Delegates at the GOPIO Convention Banquet on Jan. 6th evening at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Kochi

 Photo above: Delegates at the GOPIO Convention 2013 at the CSA Banquet on Jan. 6th.


The convention, 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.


The resolution 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.


The resolution 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.


Another 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.


The convention 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 GOPIO Executive 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.


GOPIO International General Body Meeting held at Presidency Hotel, Kochi on Jan. 5th, 2013

 Photo above: GOPIO Executive committee and General Body Meetings held at the Presidency Hotel, Kochi on Jan. 5th, 2013



Regional & 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 Council).


Executive Vice 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.


GOPIO 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 r. Dr. Ramesh Caussy, Lucky Singh and Mr. Kapoor



The inaugural session

The main 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.


GOPIO Convention Inaugural Session and Book Release by Gov. M.M. Jacob

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


Delivering a 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).


GOPIO Conv. 2013 in Kochi. Speakers at the Session on Diaspora IssuesPhoto 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


Session II: 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).  

GOPIO Convention Kochi 2013 - Session on Gadar Heros

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



There followed 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.


GOPIO.Gujarat Univ. Conf Proceedings presented to GOPIO Gadar Panel at GOPIO Conv. 2013 in Kochi

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 Wycliff


Luncheon Speaker 


The guest 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 Investments

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 Arvind 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. 


Speakers at the session on Diaspora Making Economic Progress  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).


Speakers at the Session on Diaspora and Investment in India at GOPIO Conv. 2013

 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. Thomas Abraham


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.


Women Delegates Demonstrating on Atrocities to Indian Women at GOPIO Conv. 2013  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 India.


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.


The capacity 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 Gadar heroes.


GOPIO Community Service Awards were accorded to:

  • Murray Bullock (St Vincent & Grenadines)
  • George Subraj (Guyana-USA)
  • Dr Anil Mehta (Netherlands)
  • Vasu Chanchlani (Canada)
  • Ishwar Ramlutchman (South Africa)
  • Sunny Augustine (Dubai)


Special Recognition was given to:

  • Dr A. Didar Singh (India)
  • Manpreet Kaur Singh (Australia)
  • Ashok Rao (USA)


GOPIO CSA Award Recipients with GOPIO Officials and DignitariesPhoto 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 Singh


Posthumous recognition for outstanding community service was given to Dr. Awtar Singh, received by nephew Sherri Chhabra.




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).


Ten resolutions 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


  • RESOLUTION 1:  Unreasonable & Unrealistic Custom Duty
  • RESOLUTION 2:  Property Related Matters
  • RESOLUTION 3:  Cultural Conflicts of New Indian Immigrants settling in other Countries
  • RESOLUTION 4:  Extremely Slow System of Indian Justice
  • RESOLUTION 5:  Contradictory Provisions for Research in India 
  • RESOLUTION 6:  Image of India as a Country
  • RESOLUTION 7:  International Indian Emigration Day
  • RESOLUTION 8: Terrorism: Safety of Life & Property
  • RESOLUTION 9:  Selection of Speakers for PBD
  • RESOLUTION 10: 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 its image"


The other 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.


Another resolution called for an International Indian Emigration Day in order to better connect the Diaspora.


GOPIO requests feedback on the convention. Please send it to GOPIO Secretary Nami Kaur at


    GOPIO officials with delegates from different countries at GOPIO Convention 2013
Photo clockwise from top left, GOPIO Intl. officials with GOPIO-Tel Aviv officials, GOPIO USA officials and with GOPIO-Australia.

YouTube Videos

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 -



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 PBD-2013.


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.


PM Manmohan Singh releases postage stamp honoring Gadar Heroes

 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.


MOIA Minister 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. 


Chenda Mela (Drummers) at the opening of Pravasi Bharatiay Divas in Kochi on Jan. 7th -  




At 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.




At 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.


The 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.


PBD Awardees 2013

 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.


On behalf of all award recipients, Subash Razdan gave a note of thanks to MOIA and President Mukherjee.




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 and Spain. 


PBD.2013.Cultural Program - Bharata Natyam by Geeta Chandran Group

 Photo above: PBD.2013.Cultural Program - Bharata Natyam by Geeta Chandran Group



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 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 for India.


Moderator: Dr. Thomas Abraham, President, Innovative Research and Products, Inc. and Executive Trustee, GOPIO International Foundation, USA

Keynote Address by: Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) and Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

Speakers: 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.


PBD Seminar Session on Pure Sciences held in Kochi on Jan. 7th, 2013

 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 Bhikhu Parekh



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 this situation?


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?


Two speakers Lord Bhikhu Parekh and Dr. C. Shekhar Misra did interact on many of these issues brought out by Moderator Dr. Abraham.


Lord Parekh 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 fundamental sciences."


"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.


Parekh said 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."


Finally, Parekh 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.


Dr. Sekhar 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 including cosmology.


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 speaks -

PBD 2013 - Session on Pure Sciences. Dr. Abraham remarks and Dr. S. Ayyappan speaks -

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 speaks -

PBD 2013 - Session on Pure Sciences on Jan. 7th, 2013. Prof. G.K. Sasidharan speaks -  


8th January: Plenary Session on "Heritage and Diaspora"


This plenary 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 geographies.


Moderator: Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Gov't of India

Keynote Address by: Sir Anand Satyanand, Former Governor General, New Zealand

Speakers: Dato 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.


PBD 2013 Session on Diaspora and Heritage

Photo above (l-r):  

Ashook 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.     





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 Movement centenary.


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 movement".


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 them."


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.


PBD2013 Oration on Gadar

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 2013. 




GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh's email ID has been hacked. Please use his new email instead of for correspondence with him.




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.

GOPIO at Human Rights Conf. in New Delhi  Photo (l-r): Justice 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 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 that answer.


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 Netherlands, email at or visit





An 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.




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 a few. 

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. Srini discovered 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." 




The Governor 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.


Jha, who 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."




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.


Named are Shreeram Abhyankar 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.


Also recognized 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.


Others honored 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.





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 ceremonial duties. 

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 headgear. 

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 - including Bhullar's 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. 

An 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."





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,


The Indian couple facing criminal charges of child abuse were convicted by a district court here with the father getting an 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 other wrong.

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."


Source: PTI



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: +1-818-708-3885, E-mail:


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


GOPIO Executive Vice President - Sunny Kulathakal, Bahrain, Tel: +973 39441956 or +91 9845756692, E-mail:


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 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 of GOPIO Intl. and Executive Trustee, GOPIO Foundation (Stamford, CT, USA)

Editor: Nami Kaur, Secretary, GOPIO International (New York, USA)

Co-Editors: Bina Mahabir, Co-Chair GOPIO Media Council, GOPIO International (Guyana-New York, USA) and Nilofar Pardawala (Portland, Oregon, USA)

Webmasters: 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:


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