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February 8, 2014

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

Issue: XIII-1 February 8, 2014
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The 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD2014) was held on January 7-9, 2014 at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, India. The theme of PBD2014 was "Engaging Diaspora: Connecting Across Generations". PBD conventions are being held every year since 2003 to mark the contribution of Overseas Indian community towards the development of India. January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, led India's freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever.


These conventions provided a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of the land of their ancestors for mutually beneficial activities. These conventions are also very useful for networking among the overseas Indian community residing in various parts of the world, and enable them to share their experiences in various fields. During the event, eleven individuals were honored with the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award. The event also provided a forum for discussing key issues concerning the Indian Diaspora.


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Inaugurates Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2014 The convention was inaugurated on January 8th at the Vigyan Bhawan by Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, who urged the overseas Indians community to remain engaged in the future of India.


Prime Minister Singh said, "it is not only the size of the Indian expatriate community as the world's second largest, but also your achievements that give you a very significant global profile."


Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Sh. Vayalar Ravi has said India is immensely proud of the achievements of Indian Diaspora which has made a great contribution in shaping the image of India to the world at large. 


On January 9th, President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards and addressed the closing session of the 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention. Addressing the gathering, Mukherjee reiterated that overseas Indians could play an important role in the growth and development of India. He said they had within them the experience, expertise and knowledge gained as a result of their life abroad, which could be of immense benefit to India. "Overseas Indians could play an extremely important role in helping the education institutions of India, most of which are their Alma Maters, rise to world class status. They could be catalysts in transforming Indian higher education institutions and instilling in them a culture of excellence as well as the spirit of innovation," he added.


He called upon all stakeholders to take up this task in a single minded manner. Mukherjee expressed the hope that the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2014 will seed many initiatives for deepening mutually beneficial engagement. He stated that the government on its part will continue to actively engage with the overseas Indian community and explore all possible avenues to make them valued partners in the building of a strong and prosperous India.


Also addressing the Valedictory session, Minister Ravi said that PBD was also a celebration of the home-coming of the global Indian. The Minister emphasized that the bond between India and her Overseas Indians who live around the world remains strong. Appreciating the progress made by Indian Diaspora Sh. Ravi said that it has grown to be recognized as one of the important diasporas of the world.  He exhorted the overseas Indian communities to be engaged in India's great adventure of building India free from hunger and exploitation. He asked the overseas Indians to reach out in new India not just financially but intellectually, socially and culturally. 




GOPIO International was prominent at the 12th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2014 in New Delhi with participation by several GOPIO members making presentations in key sessions.


7th January, 2014 - Plenary Session of Youth PBD - Aspirations of Diaspora Youth:

Kirty Matabadal, Chairperson, GOPIO Youth Council (Netherlands).


7th January, 2014 - Concurrent Session 2 - Young Achievers

Dr. Mamta Singhvi, Former President, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI),Member, GOPIO Youth Council (USA).


9th January, 2014 - Concurrent Session 1 - Innovation and Technology 

Prof. Prasad Yarlagadda, Co-Chairperson of GOPIO Science & Technology Council and GOPIO Life Members and Dr. Birendra Dutt, GOPIO Life Member


9th January, 2014 - Concurrent Session 3 - Meeting of Diaspora Organizations

Ashook Ramsaran, President, GOPIO International


9th Jan, 2014 - Concurrent Session 4 - Making India the Hub of Media & Entertainment Munish Gupta, Chairman & Managing Editor, PIO TV Pvt. Ltd, GOPIO International Coordinator (Africa)


GOPIO International plans to hold its annual Executive and General Council Meetings on January 5 afternoon followed by its conference. This convention will conclude on January 6, immediately preceding and in conjunction with Pravasi Bharatiya Divas PBD2014 events of January 7-9, 2013 in New Delhi, India. 





At the concluding session of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2014, the President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award to eleven 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 eminent Overseas Indians at the valedictory function of the third and concluding day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2014.


The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman 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. Malaysian Minister for Natural Resources and Environment G. Palanivel, president of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), was the chief guest at this year's PBD2014 in New Delhi.


The names of the awardees, their countries and contributions are as follows:

  • Lisa Maria Singh (Australia): Public service and fostering friendly relations between India and Australia.
  • Kurian Varghese (Bahrain): Business for enhancing India's image and for Promotion better understanding of India abroad.
  • Vasdev Chanchlani (Canada): Community service and fostering ties between India and Canada and efforts in promoting Indian culture heritage. Also a GOPIO Life Member.
  • Ramakrishna Mission (Fiji): Community service and philanthropic activity and enhancing India's prestige abroad.
  • Bikas Chandra Sanyal (France): Education and culture and enhancing India's image.
  • Satnarainsing Rabin Baldewsingh (Netherlands ): Public service and developing closer ties between India and South Africa
  • Sasindran Muthuvel(Papua New Guinea): In the field of Public service.
  • Shihabudeen Vava Kunju (Saudi Arabia): Community service and promoting ties between India and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • Ela Gandhi (South Africa): Public service, enhancing India's image and promoting ties between India and South Africa.
  • Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil Parambath (United Arab Emirates): Health business and in promoting better understanding of India and United Arab Emirates.
  • Shailesh Lakhman Vara (United Kingdom): Public service and in promoting ties between India and the people of U.K.

Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardees with President Pranab Mukherjee

Photo aove: Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardees with President Pranab Mukherjee



How do we say farewell to a global icon, a fighter for freedom, equality, democracy, human rights and social justice; an exemplary leader and an outstanding humanitarian; a champion of reconciliation who cast aside his personal suffering and sacrifices to embrace his oppressors? This was done without any expectation of personal reward (nishkama karma). Madiba's qualities as a leader conform to the norms postulated by the Rig Veda (4-3-1):


"O men, choose from amongst yourselves an illustrious man as ruler, for the peaceful and undisturbed administration of your country, one who would be capable of vanquishing the foes in battle and who is ever ready to sacrifice his life for the state; one who would firmly rule the state and establish truth and justice between disputing parties".


Madiba was an extraordinary person who, in the mould of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, set the highest inspirational standards in terms of ethics, morality and integrity, which many of his successors have struggled to emulate. He served only one term as President, a rare feat in Africa'


Whilst the world and South Africa mourned and celebrated the life of times of late Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), the country's Indian Diaspora were equally saddened by and celebrated this great global icon's legacy and lessons as well as remembering him and drawing inspirations as to what they could learnt from his example.  There were amongst the countless number of activities, tributes, prayers, celebrations, statements, messages etc.. Below are a few examples from the Indian Diaspora of South Africa:


The Indian aimed national radio service, Lotus FM, had an ongoing 24 hour daily broadcast from the first day following Mandela's death up to the day of his funeral. It gave updates and information, aired some of Mandela's speeches, high profile PIOs, leaders, prominent and ordinary Indians sharing their 'Mandela Moments' their views, sadness, lessons learnt from his life and times.


Devotees from the BAPS Swaminarayan Hindu Mandir joined hundreds of fellow South Africans in prayer for Nelson Mandela outside his residence for prayer and celebration on the eve of Monday 9 December 2013. Prayers were also conducted in the Mandir.


The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKON) of South Africa honored & remembered Nelson Mandela by i) joining the world in the mourning the passing of this  world icon in which a statement was issued on 6 Dec 2013 that also related information such as  ISKON's association with the former President, him bowing at the idol of Sri  Prapupadha, his respect for the work of ISKON and multi culturalism ii) organizing a festival for thousands just South of Johannesburg in celebration of the life and legacy of South Africa's most famous son on 8 Dec, and iii) gathering outside Nelson Mandela's home in Houghton, Johannesburg and in true South African style, indeed Maida style chanted, danced and distributed free vegetarian food to the throngs who had come to celebrate Mr. Mandela on 8 Dec. 


The South African Tamil Federation (SATF) laid a wreath and put up a banner At Madiba's Haughton home of former President Mandela. It also held an open-air Memorial at the Rose Park in Lenasia on Sunday, the 8th December 2013 in which almost 3000 people attended. . Bhajans were rendered and speakers included Karthie Mootusamy, Nad Pillay, Sashnee Naicker, Mickey Padayachee, Vis Naidoo, Kishore Badal and Bash Hoosein  The Gauteng Tamil Federation held a memorial service at the Sangam Hall on 10 December 2013 where a number of singers inter-alia performed, these included Edward Reddy, Kuveshan Reddy, Gonna Pillay, Anil Rambaran and Vandana Naran.


The Mount Edcombe Shree Mariaman Temple, the Woodview Ramakrishna Andra Maha Sabha & the South African Raam Bhajan Mandal Association hosted a joint Memorial Service at the at Marieammen Temple, Sunday, 15 December 2013 at 09h00.


In Laudium, an Indian suburb of Pretoria, the African National Congress hosted an Interfaith Memorial Service at the Laudium Civic Centre on 9 December 2013, 7 pm.


Shrandhanjali Prarthana - Sunday 8th Dec - 6pm at Veda Vidya Mandir.


The Springs Tamil Association has honored Nelson Mandela by making every Sunday Bhajan at the Sitthi Vinayagar Alayam in memory of the former President. The first was on 9 December at 09h00.


A Candlelight Vigil was organized by the Shree Pretoria Hindu Seva Samaj, Laudium, and Pretoria, Gauteng at their Mandir on Saturday, 7 December 2013 at 20h00.


A Bhagavad Gita Recital and Tribute to Nelson Mandela was organized by the Lakshminarayan Temple of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society, Lenasia, Gauteng, Thursday 12 December 2013 from 18h00 - 21h00.





GOPIO Sydney NW officials present check to Blue Mountain City Deputy MayorGOPIO Sydney NorthWest chapter made a donation to Blue Mountains and Springwood bushfire victims. Harmohan Singh Walia, Chairperson, GOPIO's Committee on Bylaws, Policies & Procedures and Prof. Balkar Singh Kang, Co-Chair GOPIO Academic Council presented a check to Councillor Brenden Luchetti, Deputy Mayor of Blue Mountains City Council at Town Square, Springwood. This donation was announced at Caring & Sharing event on 2nd November 2013 at Bowman Hall, Blacktown, Australia.



Photo left: GOPIO Sydney NW officials Harmohan Walia and Prof. Balkar Singh Kang present Check to Blue Mountain City Deputy Mayor Brenden Luchetti


Contact: GOPIO-Sydney Northwest Chapter President Ravi Singh, Tel +61-433 179 303 and E-mail: or Harmohan Walia, Tel: +61 402 842 375.




GOPIO-CT held its annual Holiday Party and General Body meeting on Friday, December 13 at the Hampton Inn. After successfully running the organization as its President for four years, Mr. Shailesh Naik handed over the charge to Mr. Shelly Nichani who had served as GOPIO-CT Executive Vice President for the last two years. The new GOPIO-CT team is as follows:


President - Shelly Nichani

Executive Vice President - Pradeep Govil

Vice President - Varghese Ninan

Secretary - Yash Khandelwal

Joint Secretary - Leena Ramchandani

Treasurer - Viresh Sharma

Trustees - Dr. Thomas Abraham, Sangeeta Ahuja, Bhom Banta, Anita Bhat, Ravi Dhingra, Amarjit Singh


GOPIO-CT Team for 2014  

Photo above left: GOPIO-CT Team for 2014, from l. to r.: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Shailesh Naik, Sangeeta Ahuja, Viresh Sharrma, Shelly Nichani, Leena Ramchandani, Pradeep Govil, Bhom Banta and Anita Bhat, Above right: from l. to r.: Shailesh Naik hands over the presidency to Shelly Nichani, from l. to r.: Sangeeta Ahuja, Shailesh Naik, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Anita Bhat, Shelly Nichani and Dr. Rupam Saran


GOPIO-CT chapter has lined up several programs for this year including its Annual Awards Banquet on May 7th. The soup kitchen at the New Covenant House will continue six times a year. GOPIO-CT also plans to bring several youth activities as part of the program this year.


Contact: Shelly Nichani, President, GOPIO-CT, Tel: 203-550-7747or e-mail:




GOPIO's outreach initiatives and role in making progress in the Indian Diaspora were the topic of discussion on 8th January, 2014 at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) at a presentation by Ashook Ramsaran, president of GOPIO International. The session was organized by Dr. Sadananda Sahoo, Assistant Professor of School of Interdisciplinary and Trans-Disciplinary Studies at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). It was chaired by Dr. Denison Jayasoria of Malaysia (Co-Chair of GOPIO's Academic Council), and also attended by Prof. Prabhu Guptara (Chair of GOPIO's Academic Council) and Mridul Pathak (Director of Diaspora Development, GOPIO International) among many faculty and participants from JNU and IGNOU.


In his presentation, Ramsaran stated that, "GOPIO is aggressively continuing its outreach mission to engage and embrace the Indian Diaspora with rapid expansion and growth of its programs, chapters, councils and membership at all levels, adapting to the changing dynamic of mobility, migration and second journeys within the Indian Diaspora. GOPIO is engaging the Indian Diaspora at all levels and in all regions with local, regional, national and international seminars, conferences and symposia on matters beneficial to the Indian Diaspora. GOPIO advances its collaboration with Government of India (Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and other departments), other governments, agencies, organizations, institutions and associations to better achieve its objectives and goals"


At the interactive session following the presentation, Ramsaran, ably assisted by Guptara, responded to queries, comments and suggestions from faculty and participants, including discussion on closer collaboration among academic institutions on programs for global Diaspora interaction and research.


GOPIO Lecture at the JNU  Photo above: Some of the faculty and participants at JNU on 8th January, 2014




The Belize Chapter of GOPIO International is co-sponsoring the upcoming conference on "Indian Diaspora in Belize and the Wider Caribbean" to be held in Corozol, Belize on August 5-11, 2014. The conference Convener is the Corozal Organization of East Indian Cultural Heritage (COEICH), supported by The National Institute of Culture & History (NICH), the Indo-Cultural Union of the Caribbean and the Americas. This is the first Indian Diaspora conference of its kind to be held in this English-speaking country in Central America. This conference is in the series of Indian Diaspora conferences in the Caribbean region: 2011 Trinidad & Tobago; 2012 - St Vincent; 2013 - Suriname.


2011 - Conference in Trinidad & Tobago

2012 - Conference in St Vincent

2013- Conference in Suriname

2014- Conference in Belize

2015- Conference in Trinidad

2016- Conference in Grenada

2017 - Conference in Jamaica

2018 - Conference in St. Lucia


The conference aims to bring together academics, scholars, teachers and students at all levels with an interest in the Indian Diaspora in the Caribbean to discuss their research findings. Space will be provided for less formal presentations from activists and practitioners in the field in order to contribute to the limited store of public knowledge on Indians in Belize


Formally known as British Honduras, Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America. Bordered by Mexico in the North and Guatemala in the West and South, it lies at the heart of the Caribbean Basin. Unlike any other Caribbean country, Belize experienced three waves of East Indian migration, commencing in 1858. The first wave of migrants consisted of 1000 deported ex-soldiers (and their families) who had rebelled against the British Government in India's First War of Independence/Sepoy Rebellion. The second wave of Indians came to Belize in 1872 as ex-indentured workers from Jamaica. The third wave of Indian migrants to Belize left from Guatemala, from where they had gone to work in the coffee plantations in Cafe Mountains. Unique to Indian history in the Caribbean is the fact that early immigrant labourers worked in Belize in the sugarcane, as well as lumber and banana plantations. As early as the 1860s, they worked under the employment of American ex-confederates. Indians now comprise about four percent (7,000 persons) of the multi-ethnic population of Belize.


Contacts:  Sylvia Gilharry Perez, President, GOPIO Belize at or Dr. Kumar Mahabir, University of Trinidad & Tobago, Co-Chair GOPIO Academic Council, at





Software giant Microsoft has named India-born Satya Nadella, 46, as its new CEO to replace Steve Ballmer, making him perhaps the most powerful Indian-born tech executive in the world.Nadella, 46, who was said to be in the race for the top job with another Indian American, Chennai-born Sundar Pichai, a senior vice president at Google, took over immediately to allow Ballmer to retire early.


"There is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella," said Gates in a prepared statement. "Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision, and the ability to bring people together. His vision for how technology will be used and experienced

around the world is exactly what Microsoft needs as the company enters its next chapter of expanded product innovation and growth."


Nadella's naming to the post, effective immediately, makes him the third CEO since the Redmond, Washington company was founded in 1975.


"Today is a very humbling day for me," said Nadella, a 22-year veteran of Microsoft who currently heads the company's Cloud and Enterprise group, in an internal memo to Microsoft employees.

"It is an incredible honour for me to lead and serve this great company of ours," he wrote outlining why he has stayed on at Microsoft. "While we have seen great success, we are hungry to do more. This is a critical time for the industry and for Microsoft. Make no mistake, we are headed for greater places - as technology evolves and we evolve with and ahead of it. Our job is to ensure that Microsoft thrives in a mobile and cloud-first world."


In choosing Nadella, "Microsoft has turned to a highly accomplished executive in the mould of Gates, who reportedly held out for a candidate with sufficient technical gravitas to inspire - and if need be, change - Microsoft's engineer-driven corporate culture," wrote CNet, a technology site.

"At the still relatively young age of 46, Nadella oversaw one of Microsoft's fastest-growing divisions - the Cloud and Enterprise Group - which accounted for $20.3 billion in revenue and $8.2 billion in operating income during the company's last fiscal year," it noted.


Nadella, who grew up in Hyderabad, attended Hyderabad Public School in Begumpet before getting a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and Communication from the Manipal University.

After moving to the US, he earned a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago.




Attorney Nandita Berry has been appointed as the Secretary of State for Texas by Governor Rick Perry, making her the first Indian-American to occupy this top position in the Southern State.


In this position, effective January 7 onwards, Berry will serve as the state's chief elections officer, the governor's liaison on border and Mexican affairs, and Texas' chief protocol officer for state and international matters.


"Nandita Berry personifies what is possible through hard work and dedication in the State of Texas," Perry said in a statement. "Arriving from India at the age of 21 with nothing but $200 to her name, she worked diligently to earn her law degree and has since become one of the most accomplished attorneys in the state," he continued.


The Secretary of State's Office serves as the formal repository for official and business records, publishes government rules and regulations, keeps the state seal and attests to the governor's signature on official documents.


"Her work ethic, intelligence and wide array of experiences will serve her capably in her new duties as Secretary of State, and I look forward to working with her to keep Texas the best place in the country to live, work and raise a family," Perry said.


Berry said that she is humbled to follow "in the footsteps of Stephen F Austin, Texas' first Secretary of State." She replaces John Steen. "Like him, I came to Texas in search of a better life and the limitless opportunities to be found across our great state," she said. "Every day, I see Austin's pioneering spirit alive in Texas, and this great honour proves once again Texas is the land of opportunity, both in the private sector and public service," Berry said.


A senior counsel at Locke Lord LLP, Berry is a member of the State Bar of Texas and Houston Bar Association. Berry received a Bachelor's degree from Mount Carmel College in Bangalore, a Bachelor's degree from the University of Houston, and a law degree from the University of Houston Law Centre.




Professor Nirupa Padia became the 1st non-white women to head the School of Accountancy adding to her groundbreaking achievements in recent years.


This young PIO is an Associate Professor in Auditing has come full circle to now having being appointed as Head of the School of Accountancy at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) - her Alma Mater where she first completed her B. Com degree in 1985.


Her three children are now professional dentists leading to a lull in her academic career, but 10 years later, Ms Padia began studying for a Bachelor of Accountancy. She then did her articles at PriceWaterhouse Coopers qualifying as a Chartered Accountant.  This energetic and inspiring lady went back to Wits, not as a student but as a lecturer.


She made significant contributions to develop undergraduate and post graduate modules whilst a lecturer and the same time continued to further her studies.  Her students were consistently at the top ten in the examinations set by the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). Ms Padia serves on the Auditing Guidance Committee of this Institute as well as the PwC Business School. She also teaches Yoga at the Art of Living Foundation.




Indian-American professor Rakesh Khurana has been appointed dean of the prestigious Harvard College, becoming the latest addition to a long list of Indian-origin academicians assuming leadership roles at renowned global universities.


Khurana, 46, is currently the 'Marvin Bower' professor of leadership development at Harvard Business School (HBS), professor of sociology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), and co-master of Cabot House at Harvard.


He succeeds Evelynn Hammonds, professor of history of science and of African and African American studies at Harvard and will assume his new role on July 1.


Harvard College is the school within Harvard University that grants undergraduate degrees.

Khurana earned his PhD through a joint programme between HBS and Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1998.


Harvard president Drew Faust described Khurana as a "faculty leader who embodies the interconnectedness" of Harvard. "His experiences as a graduate student, an award-winning teacher at HBS, and the master of an undergraduate house give him a unique perspective on the university, and his deep respect for the liberal-arts model and the residential education will serve him well as he guides Harvard College," Faust said in a statement issued on Wednesday.


Following the announcement, Khurana said he is "honoured" to have the opportunity to serve the college and work with the faculty, students, and staff to create a "transformative educational experience for our students. I am convinced that, working together, we will have a significant and positive impact on the college."


Although Khurana did not attend the college himself, he said, "One of the benefits of being a house master is that you get some window into student experiences."


FAS dean Michael Smith, who announced the appointment in an email to the FAS community, praised Khurana as a scholar and teacher with deep experience working with undergraduates and a strong commitment to the college. He said Khurana is a "distinguished scholar of organizational behavior and leadership" and a dynamic house master who has also deeply engaged with undergraduate issues on important committees. "He brings to the deanship an intimate understanding of the Harvard College experience," Smith said.


Harvard Business School's India-born Dean Nitin Nohria also welcomed Khurana's appointment saying his selection is a testament to his skill and vision as a teacher and scholar. "I think the appointment is wonderful news, and I am looking forward to working with Rakesh to identify and strengthen efforts across the College and HBS that will benefit us all," Nohria added.




Bharat Suresh Joshi, a Briton of Indian origin, has replaced Mike Nithavrianakis as the British deputy high commissioner in Chennai. Born in Croydon in the UK in 1969, Joshi is the first person of Indian origin to represent the British mission in Chennai, an indication of the growing influence and spread of the Diaspora in the UK.


Joshi joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1995 and has had diplomatic postings in Gambia, Dhaka, Qatar and Cameroon. He would focus on enhancing the trade and investment partnership between the UK and Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, in specific, his office said.


The appointment comes weeks before British Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to India on November 14. Indian diplomatic circles expect an assurance from Cameron that the UK will not enforce a restrictive visa regime that hurts trade ties.


"It is a huge honour to represent the UK in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala. And returning to my country of origin at a time when the UK's relations with India are growing at a faster pace than ever before is a dream come true," Joshi said in an official release.


He is married to Bhakti Joshi, and the couple has two daughters. The envoy has been private secretary to two British Ministers, and has held positions in departments of the Foreign and Common Wealth Office (FCO), including the European Union Department and Press Office. According to his biography on the FCO website, he has experience of crisis management, and has been deployed to the scene of major incidents involving British nationals, including the aftermath of bombing of the British Consulate-General in Istanbul in 2002.


Joshi is likely to focus on garnering support for trade and investment, especially in information technology and information technology-enabled services.




Prof. Prabhu Guptara, Chairperson of GOPIO's Academic Council, has been appointed Chairman of the Relational Thinking Network which comprises Relational Analytics and Relational Research. The focus is on learning to think relationally as the first step towards building a more relational world by learning to see public policy and personal issues through a relational lens, changing goals, values and practices of organizations, and developing an analytical framework appropriate to relationships. This means learning to see life from the perspective of relationships, as opposed to seeing it from the viewpoint of materialism or individualism, changing the priorities and goals of organizations and of nations, and a framework for analysis using directness, continuity, multiplexity, parity and commonality.


Prof Guptara is speaking at several global events including: 7th February, 2014 NetSAP on "Why some Indians make it to the top and some don't"; 8th February, 2014: Relational Thinking; 9th February, 2014: The Trinity Forum: "Beyond Money: What it will take to put relationships again at the heart of American life"; 10th February, 2014: New Hampshire Institute of Politics on "How Governance Became Unethical - and what To Do about it".


Prof. Guptara is Executive Director, Organizational Development, Wolfsberg (a subsidiary of UBS - one of the largest banks in the world). He is also Freeman of the City of London and of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, and Chartered Fellow of the of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development; Fellow of the Institute of Directors, of the Royal Commonwealth Society, and of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts Commerce and Manufactures. He has supervised PhD research at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) as well as been Visiting Professor at various Universities and Business Schools around the world.   




The Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO) Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed to Dr. Sudhir Parikh, an Indian-American physician, publisher of News India Times and recipient of India's Padma Shri award. Dr Parikh is also a Pravasi Saman Awardee and a gold life member of GOPIO and prominent supporter. The other lifetime award recipient was Dr. Sandip Mukerjee of India. An additional 14 members were bestowed the GAPIO Service Excellence Award. "The criteria for the Lifetime Achievement Award we gave to Dr. Parikh recognize his 35 years of experience in the medical field and the service he has given to healthcare and humanity," Dr. Anil Tandon of Apollo Hospitals told News India Times. GAPIO's International Conference was held 11th - 12th January 2014 in Kolkata with West Bengal Minister of Finance, Commerce and Industries Amit Mitra as the chief guest.


Representing approximately 1.2 million physicians globally, GAPIO believes it can make a significant contribution to quality and access issues that plague healthcare services worldwide. The theme of the conference was "The Non Communicable Diseases Epidemic - Meeting the Challenges." A landmark achievement announced at the conference was the launch of a web portal,, to match the skills of Indian physicians abroad with changing needs in various parts of India. State governments in India cooperated with GAPIO's members, the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), and British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), to develop the website where doctors abroad can view and apply for the opportunities listed by various Indian state governments.


During the conference Dr. Sanku Rao took over as president of GAPIO, Dr. Ramesh Mehta from the United Kingdom became vice president, Dr. Anupam Sibal from India the secretary general, Dr. Nandakumar Jairam as joint secretary and Dr. Sudhir Parikh was appointed treasurer.




Dr. Sanjeev Kulkarni, professor of electrical engineering at Princeton, has been appointed Dean of the Princeton University Graduate School effective March 31. The Graduate School enrolls about 2,600 students pursuing masters and doctoral degrees in 42 departments and programs.


Princeton's President Christopher L. Eisgruber said Kulkarni would make a "spectacular dean" taking over from William Russel, the dean since 2002, a Jan. 27 release from Princeton said. Kulkarni was born in Mumbai and grew up in the United States, first in Indiana and then in upstate New York.


Despite being on the Princeton faculty since 1991, and holding some administrative positions, he said none had been equal to the level he was now going to occupy. Asked what his biggest challenge was, Kulkarni said, it was "just trying to get my head around everything. I will spend the first several months listening to folks around the campus; to understand the scope of things." In his initial interactions, it has been "Academics, campus life, diversity and professional development that have come up quite a bit in conversations - there's always room to do better," he said.


He has served as associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Engineering and Applied Science from 2003 to 2005; was the master of Butler College, an undergraduate residential college, from 2004 to 2012; and since 2011 has been the director of the Keller Center, which aims to "educate students to be leaders in a technology-driven society."


His research covers areas related to understanding fundamental limits and developing methods for processing data and information, with a focus on information theory, machine learning, statistical pattern recognition, and signal and image processing. He has advised dozens of undergraduate and graduate students and taught a variety of courses, winning several teaching awards along the way.


Kulkarni holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics, all from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. He also got a master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University, and earned his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.





The Indo British Cultural Exchange and the British Sikh Association in partnership with the Sardar Patel Memorial Society UK, National Congress of Gujarati Organisations of UK and Society of Asian Lawyers held a historic event to mark the centenary of Bharat Ratna Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's call to the Bar-at-Law on 27th January 2014 at the Middle Temple, London. A plaque was unveiled by the Chief Guest, Member of Parliament Dominic Grieve QC; the Attorney General for England and Wales, Advocate General for Northern Ireland. The momentous ceremony was presided over by Indian High Commissioner Ranjan Mathai.


Over 150 prominent members of society attended the Unveiling Ceremony which included Mr. Sailesh Mehta, President, Society of Asian Lawyers; Dr. Chandra Kant Patel, author of the article in the souvenir booklet "A Homage to Sardar Patel"; Baroness Verma of Leicester, The Junior Minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change; Dr. Rami Ranger MBE, FRSA, Chairman of the British Sikh Association; Ms. Vyjayanthi Kumar, Director IBCE and the Compere of the Ceremony; Mr Sharad Parikh, President National Congress of Gujarati Organisations UK; Master Jai Diptesh Patel, City of London School for Boys; Mr Shailesh Vara, MP, Junior Minister in the Justice Ministry of the United Kingdom; Ms. Ranjanbala Patel, Chairperson of the Charotar Ladies Group Brent; Mrs. Leslie Whitelaw, Archivist at the Middle Temple; Mr. Pravin G. Patel, President of the Sardar Patel Memorial Society UK and Mr. Praful Patel, Chairman of the Indo-British Cultural Exchange.


GOPIO Life Member Dr. Rami Ranger MBE, FRSA, Chairman of the British Sikh Association welcomed the guests by sharing the message of the British Prime minister, the Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP, "Please accept my best wishes to the British Sikh Association and the Indo British Cultural Exchange. I would like to welcome the unveiling of this commemorative plaque honouring the anniversary of Bharat Ratna Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's call to the Bar. His contribution to modern India as a barrister and statesman are very widely respected".


The Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC, MP then unveiled the commemorative plaque to an audience that had been waiting in anticipation. He spoke in admiration of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel coming from a humble background and how through his hard work he transformed himself into a successful lawyer and statesman. He excelled in his exams at Middle Temple and gained entry to the Bar. The Attorney General added that the plaque would remind future generations of students and people alike of the remarkable life of Bharat Ratna Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.


Baroness Verma of Leicester unveiled the brochure that had been specially printed for release on the evening. This contained archival documents of the work of Sardar Patel and were possible thanks to the courtesy of the Middle Temple's archivist, Ms Lesley Whitelaw.


Indian High commissioner Ranjan Mathai spoke of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as being a man of self-discipline, with clarity of mind and determination. He was rightly called the Iron Man of India. He praised the Sardar for his vision and determination to unite India within a matter of months. HE narrated some interesting facts about Sardar Patel - how he walked every day from his flat in Bayswater to Middle Temple and how he gave his savings to his brother so that he could travel to the UK for his Bar. The High Commissioner thanked the organisers for their hard work in organising such an historic event.


Master Jay Patel, 13 years old and from the London School of Boys spoke about the legacy of Sardar Patel, what he represented and how he personally became inspired by him. He added that schools should teach more about Sardar Patel to ensure the legacy of such an amazing mind was not forgotten.


Mr. Praful Patel, Chairman of the Indo-British Cultural Exchange closed the formal part of the evening by presenting mementos of the event to all dignitaries present. He also announced that a Sardar Patel Scholarship would be launched to enable students from India and the UK to study at Middle Temple.





For the first time, India has topped the list of non-UK born residents in the country, displacing Ireland, which held the top spot in every census since 1951, when there were 1.9 million non-UK born residents in the UK. By 2011 this had increased to 7.5 million.


Due to reasons of history and geographical proximity, Ireland was the place of birth of the largest number of residents in the UK who were born abroad. In 1951, Poland held the second spot and from the 1961 census onwards India emerged as the second-largest group in this category.


But newly analysed results of the 2011 census show that India has overtaken Ireland. UK residents born in India now number 694,000.


The ONS analysis says: "This (India) group has consistently accounted for a large proportion of the non-UK born population of England and Wales. The largest inter-censal percentage increase for this group was between 1961 and 1971, where this population almost doubled from 157,000 to 313,000. In 1971 those born in India accounted for 10% of the whole non-UK born population."


In 1951 the top ten non-UK countries of birth represented 60% (1.1 million) of the total foreign born population, compared to 45% (3.4 million) in 2011. There are several major groups identified in this data that have continually been present in the top ten non-UK countries of birth, such as those born in Ireland, India and Poland, the ONS says.


In 1951 there were 1.9 million non-UK born residents in England and Wales (4.5% of the usually resident population) and by 2011 this had increased to 7.5 million (13% of the resident population).


According to the ONS, underlying reasons for migrations to the UK are complex, but often include 'push' factors such as civil conflict, political instability and poverty, and 'pull' factors such as employment and education opportunities.




In a speech at the recently concluded PBD2014, Haryana Chief Minister announced that the state of Haryana, India, has reserved 10% of industrial plots for Non Resident Indians (NRIs), and a Foreign Investment and Non-resident Indian (NRI) Cell to help the overseas Indian in setting up business ventures and other investment related matters. The state government of Haryana offering incentives to the overseas Indian as the state has emerged as a land of opportunity and enterprise with its modern industrial infrastructure. The state has put in place a single window clearance system to streamline taxation and attract investment from NRIs.


The state's economy has an impressive average growth rate of 9.1% during the 11th Plan, which is remarkably higher than the national average of 7.9%. These impressive growth rates mirror Haryana's enviable status in terms of its per capita income and investment. The state's multipronged approach towards progress has created several avenues of investment that have collectively catalyzed its inclusive growth story. One of the major focus areas of the state has been education. The Rajiv Gandhi Education City is attracting attention of global universities and colleges, in addition to the Global Centre for Nuclear Partnership and a national cancer institute is coming up in Jhajjar.




As the election draws nearer, political parties are gearing up into full campaigning mode. Even the ways in which we remember Nelson Mandela, that towering political visionary, has been dragged into electioneering.


In the Western Cape, election hinges on the so-called "coloured vote" whilst in KwaZulu-Natal the so-called "Indian vote" has often proven to be decisive.


Some may well argue that today's ANC is a very different organisation from the one that Indian political stalwarts like Dadoo, Naicker, Nair and others supported.


The ANC should not think that Indian people will only vote for a party with Indian heroes. The idea that Indian people may cast their vote on the basis of principle, or support of particular policies or personalities rather than out of ethnic identification should also be factored in by the ANC. The ANC is committed to non-racialism, after all.


The Indian vote has always been something of a myth. Back in the 1990s Adam Habib, now the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand, first made his name when, as a lecturer at the former University of Durban-Westville, he wrote a paper debunking the myth of the "Indian vote". Habib showed that in upper-class Indian areas Indian people overwhelmingly voted for the ANC, while in working class areas there was strong support for rival parties.


This pattern was explained by the fact that upper-class Indians were well placed to benefit from affirmative action and were therefore thriving in the new democracy. On the other hand working-class and poor Indians were losing jobs in clothing and shoe factories in great numbers and had often found that the new democracy had made their lives more difficult.



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, Guyana-New York, USA), Nilofar Pardawala (Portland, Oregon, USA) and Kishor Kapitan (GOPIO Durban, South Africa)

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

Contributors of this issue: Ashook Ramsaran (President, GOPIO International), Harmohan Singh Walia (GOPIO's Committee on Bylaws, Policies and Procedures, Sydney, Australia),  Shailesh Naik (Immediate past President, GOPIO-CT, USA)
GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter. 


Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail:


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