GOPIO Color Logo
Issue: VII-4 May 8, 2008
May 8, 2008
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
In This Issue
Quick Links

NOTE: GOPIO News is a FREE bi-monthly newsletter of GOPIO International, based in the USA. We need your help in reaching out more NRIs/PIOs around the world. Please go to the bottom of the news bulletin and click the FORWARD button and type e-mail addresses of your friends and relatives. One could also subscribe this newsletter by visiting and type in the e-mail address. All preivous issues of GOPIO News are provided at GOPIO News Archives. If you do not wish to receive this newsletter in future, please click SafeUnsubscribe at the end of this newsletter. 


Preparations are afoot to launch GOPIO chapters in Melbourne on May 9th under the leadership of Mr. Karan Narula and in Sydney on May 11th under the leadership of Dr. Rohitas Batta.


GOPIO InternationalChairman Dr. Thomas Abraham of USA recently visited all Australian state capitals to initiate the launch of GOPIO Chapters and there has been a resounding response to this call in the Indian Community in Australia. GOPIO International President Inder Singh (from Los Angeles, USA) will be visiting Australia starting May 7th.


GOPIO's first Australian chapter is being inaugurated on the 9th May, 2008 at the Grand Ballroom at Hotel Windsor in Melbourne. Consul General of India in Melbourne Ms Anita Nayar and  GOPIO International President Mr Inder Singh will speak at this momentous occasion along with several other political leaders from Victoria.


       Venue of Launch -Windsor's Hotel

       Date of Launch -  9th May,2008

       Registration - 6:00 PM

       The Inauguration - 6:30 PM - 7:30PM

       Networking - 7:30 PM to 8:00 PM


RSVP (Ticket $45 pp) Mr. Nilesh Bhandari - Ph: 0432601201; Email: Mr. Arun Sharma - Ph: 0412183157; Email: Ms. Shikha Mahajan - Ph: 03 86089945; Fax - 03 86089999; Email:


GOPIO's second chapter will be inaugurated on May 11th in Sydney with Indian Consul General Sujan Chinoy and GOPIO President Inder Singh as the main speakers.


RSVP GOPIO Sydney Chapter President Dr. Dr. Rohitas Batta 0411478103,


GOPIO Australia National Coordinator is Mr. Gambhir Watts: +61-0413880881,


GOPIO Business Council (Australian Segment) will also be launched to network NRI/PIO businessmen and entrepreneurs and will be chaired by Dr Jagvinder Singh Virk, Mob. 0431 452 407, Email:


GOPIO meeting is also planned in Brisbane. Please contact Mr. Umesh Chandra at +61-0421388465,


GOPIO president Inder Singh will also be visiting Auckland, New Zealand from May 16 to 18 and can be contacted through New Zealand Coordinator Jeet Sachdev by email at or by phone at 6421 222 1020.


GOPIO's Pacific Regional Coordinator is Mr. Noel Lal who can be reached at +61-0413990184, E-mail:



Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi is to hold talks with Bahrain Labour Minister Majid Al-Alawi, to sign a labour pact between the two countries. "We have had the first round of discussions on the labour pact some time back and this is going to be the second round of talks," Ravi said.


There is a record 280,000 Indians working in Bahrain and 80 percent are believed to be from Kerala. Once the agreement comes into force, there would be a proper labor contract between the employer and the employee and the Indian embassy would play the role of a watchdog, Ravi explained.


India has signed similar agreements with the UAE and Kuwait to safeguard the interests of Indians working in those countries.



President Bush invited Asian Americans to The White house to celebrate the Asian American Heritage Month on Thursday, May 1, 2008.  The event took place in the East Room and was followed by a reception.

The President praised the contribution of Asian Americans to the culture and the economy of America.

This time, it was one of the largest groups of the Indian American Community at the event. In the past, the representation of the Indian Community has been relatively very small. India's Deputy Chief of the Mission in Washington
Ambassador Raminder Singh Jassal was also present at the ceremony.


Indian Americans at the White HouseSome of the Indian Americans present at the ceremony were (seen in the photo): Dr. Deepika Dalal, Manesh Shah, Joseph Melookaran, Dr. Piyush Agrawal, Dr. Shambhu Banik, Dr. Joy and Alice Cherian, Dr. Vijaynagar, Gopal Khanna, Dr. Akshay Desai, Akhil Agrawal, and Puneet Ahluwalia.


"I was very pleased that the President mentioned the 'Diwali Celebration at The White House' as one of the highlights that makes America's culture more vibrant due to the contribution of the Asian Community," said, Dr. Piyush Agrawal, North American Vice President and National Coordinator of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin.  

In the recent election in Malaysia, 10 Malaysians of Indian Origin were elected as members of the nation's Parliament.  In the outgoing Parliament, Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) which has been part of the ruling Coalition and headed by veteran ethnic Indian Community leader S. Samy Vellu, had nine elected members but only three made to the parliament this time.


Democratic Action Party (DAP) is a major opposition party in Malaysia and is headed by a prominent Malaysian Sikh leader Karpal Singh, a lawyer and current Member of Parliament. The DAP has members of all the three major groups - Malays, Chinese and Indians.  Karpal Singh was re-elected while his lawyer son Gobind Singh Deo was elected to the parliament for the first time. Another son of Karpal Singh was elected to a state assembly. Jailed Hindraf leader M. Manoharan is a member of DAP and was elected to the state assembly also.






The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), St. John's University's Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (SJU/CLACS) and the Guyanese East Indian Civic Association (GEICA) again collaborated on a New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) supported symposium titled "Community Dialogue Among Caribbean & Latin American Immigrants in New York City". The event was held starting at 12:30pm on Saturday, April 19, 2008 at St. John's University in Queens, New York. The event was well attended by a cross section of academic, civic and community leaders.


The Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) of New York City has designated the week of April 14 - 20, 2008 as Immigrant Heritage Week with the fourth series of approved week-long events by several selected organizations, groups and institutions. The 2008 program was developed by Ashook Ramsaran, Secretary General of GOPIO International, who worked in collaboration with Dr. Alina Camacho-Gingerich of SJU/CLACS and Prakash Singh of GEICA.


The primary objective of the symposium is to establish cross-cultural bridges of communication and understanding among immigrants who comprise a significant percentage of the New York City population. While these diverse groups of immigrants originate from countries with distinct historical, language (English, Spanish, French and Dutch) and ethnic backgrounds, they share many common aspirations, challenges and opportunities as immigrants in New York City. The symposium focused on practical ways of creating and strengthening bridges of communication and understanding among these diverse groups.


Community Dialogue to Celebrate Immigration Week in New York

Photo above: Dr. Habibeh Rahim (Global Nexus, Metropolitan Associations), Dr. Gary Girdhari  (The Guyana Journal), Dr. Rafael Javier  (St John's University), Ashook Ramsaran (Secretary General, GOPIO International), Hon. Guillermo Linares (Commissioner, NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs), Amb. Ruben Beltran (Consul General of Mexico in New York), Dr. Alina Camacho-Gingerich (St. John's University's CLACS), Hon. Bayney Karran (Ambassador of Guyana to USA), Hon. Gladys Parades (Consul of Peru in New York), Rev. Robert Fritch   (Our Saviour Lutheran Church) AND Prof. Janice Villiers  (St. John's University)


Keynote speaker Commissioner Guillermo Linares of New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs gave "special recognition of the significance of immigrants in New York City and the contributions of immigrants from the Caribbean and Latin American region". Special VIP speaker  Bayney Karran, Guyana's Ambassador to the United States, provided a unique perspective and comparisons of "various immigrant groups in New York City who share many common interests and concerns". Other VIP speakers include Ruben Beltran, Consul General of Mexico in New York and Gladys Parades, Consul of Peru in New York.


Presentations were made by Prof. Janice Villiers of St John's University (The Future of Immigration Policy: Through the Eyes of Presidential Candidates); Dr. Gary Girdhari of The Guyana Journal (Taking Responsibility for Our Lives - as Immigrants in New York City); Rev. Robert Fritch of Our Saviour Lutheran Church (Issues facing the Caribbean Immigrant Community) and Dr. Habibeh Rahim of Global Nexus, Metropolitan Associations (The case of Muslim Immigrants in Metropolitan New York).


Closing remarks by Dr. Alina Camacho-Gingerich and Ashook Ramsaran were followed by commentaries and thanks from Lal Motwani (President of GOPIO New York Chapter), Satruhan Sukdeo (President of GOPIO Upper New York Chapter) and Roop Narayan Prasad (General Secretary of Indo-Caribbean Council). A publication of the proceedings is being planned.




The GOPIO Guyana Chapter scheduled its Second Indian Arrival Month 2008 Lecture commemorating the 170th Anniversary of the arrival of Indentured Indian Immigrants to Guyana. The Lecture Series identified and addressed issues of interest and concern among PIOs in Guyana as well as the Caribbean region.


The Lecture Series are as follows:


May 9     LeMeridien Pegasus                 Indian Women and Religion       Ms. Bibi Shaddick


May 15  LeMeridien Pegasus                 Guyana-India Link                      Mr. Yesu Persaud


May 19  Cheddi Jagan Res. Centre        Tracing Indian Ancestry              Mr. Dudley Kishore


May 22  Hotel Tower                             Reflections on Indian Women      Mrs. Indra Chandarpal  


May 28  Buddy's Int'l Hotel                    Indians in the Diaspora                           Dr. Prem Misir               


Admission is free.


For registration and details, contact Chandra Doobay 592-223-3243, 592-226-1315 or 592-226-4404 orat




When GOPIO-Connecticut celebrated its second anniversary at the Italian Center of Stamford, three Indian Americans and a Congressman were honored by the GOPIO chapter for their outstanding achievements and service to the community at its second Awards Banquet on April. They were Mr. Nayan Chanda of Yale University for his accomplishments and contributions to Arts and Letters, Dr. Prasad Srinivasan for his contribution to community service, and Mr. Sameer Ahuja for his accomplishment as "A Young Professional of the Year."


In addition, Congressman Christopher Shays was inducted by the organization as a "Friend of India." Deputy Consul General Dr. Ajai Gondane also made a presentation to Congressman Shays on behalf of the Indian Consulate in New York. Dr. Gondane complimented GOPIO and the NRI/PIO communities worldwide for their "significant contributions in making India an emerging power."


Accepting the Friend of India award, Congressman Shays said "the Indian American community has made a major contribution to the economic growth of America." He was also very optimistic on US-Indian relations. "The US relations with India will be very close in future as both nations stand on democratic principles," Shays said.

Welcoming the guests, Sangeeta Ahuja, President of GOPIO-Connecticut said "in the last two years, we have made some major inroads and have become a very active and dynamic organization involving the Indian-American community through interactive sessions with local policy makers, youth mentoring, networking workshops, and health awareness seminars."


GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham said "there is wide support for GOPIO all over the world with new chapters being launched in various cities. "


Earlier, Connecticut State Senator Andrew McDonald, who is also the Deputy Majority Leader, complimented the Indian American community for their contribution to the state of Connecticut.

Photo Below: GOPIO-CT Award recipients with GOPIO officials and dignitaries. From L to R: GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, Connecticut State Senator Andrew McDonald, award recipients Dr. Prasad Srinivasan and Nayan Chanda, Congressman Christopher Shays, Young Professional of the Year award recipient Sameer Ahuja, India's Deputy Consul General Dr.  Ajai Gondane and GOPIO-CT President Sangeeta Ahuja

GOPIO-CT Awardees 2008 and Yale University's ACapella Group

Photo above: Yale University's all-female A Cappella "Proof of the Pudding" performing at the Awards Banquet

The awards banquet which was attended by 250 guests included a sitar and taus performance by the Chana brothers, Bharat Natyam by Lakshmi Damodar and Maya Rau-Murthy

who are students of Natya Anubhava Academy, Odissi by Guru Anindita Nanda and a Bollywood fusion by Ramya Gunasekhar and Zanib Naveed. The entertainment ended with a special appearance by Yale University's all-female A Cappella "Proof of the Pudding" who delighted the audience with several music numbers and ending with their soulful rendition of "Om Jai Jagdish Hare."




GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago Chapter will be commemorating the 163rd Anniversary of the arrival of Indentured Indian Immigrants to Trinidad & Tobago with the Indian Arrival Day Seminar and Awards Ceremony on Saturday May 10th, from 3 to 7pm, at Divali Nagar, Chaguanas. The Seminar and Awards ceremony are Free and open to all.


Indian High Commissioner Jagjit Singh Sapra will deliver the opening address. GOPIO Trinidad & Tobago will honor four nationals who have made sterling contributions towards the development and progress of Trinidad & Tobago.


Professor Kenneth Ramchand, for distinguished and meritorious service in Literature, Education, and Culture.


Kamaluddin Mohammed, for distinguished and meritorious service in Politics, Culture, and Religion.

Ajeet Praimsingh, for distinguished and meritorious service in Culture, Business, Religion, and Social and Community work.

Pandit Hari Prashad ji (posthumous), founder of SWAHA, for distinguished and meritorious service in Religion, Education, Culture, and Social and Community work.


The two major themes of the Seminar are:


(1) The ALCOHOLISM problem in Trinidad & Tobago: Causes, Effects and Solutions.]There will be three professional presentations by experts in the field and a panel discussion on the pros and cons of the increasingly popular 'Rum Chutney Songs' that have taken the airwaves by storm. Panelists will include chutney artistes themselves. All the sessions are interactive.

(2) Opportunities for Trade & Business in the India and the International Indian Diaspora. Representatives from the India, Pakistan, Mauritius, Fiji, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago will deliver 20 to 30 minutes presentations- on such opportunities in their respective countries.


Contact: Deosaran Bisnath, President of GOPIO TnT at




Satruhan Sukdeo, President of the newly established GOPIO of Upper New York Chapter, announced two community events to be held in the coming months: Commemoration of 170th Anniversary of Indian Arrival Day in Guyana on Saturday, May 10th, 2008 in Bronx, New York.


GOPIO of Upper New York Chapter Is also organizing a golf outing on June 11, 2008 at the Dunwoodie Golf Course, Wasylenke Lane, Yonkers, New York (Tel: 914-231-3490). The theme will be "Remembering Sewsankar 'Papwa' Seegolum" and proceeds will be used for funding GOPIO of Upper New York Chapter community activities.


To register for these events for more information, contact: Satruhan Sukdeo at 917-747-9523  E-mail:




British Member of the Parliament and former minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Office Keith Vaz has been appointed by the European Commission as one of its 10 UK ambassadors for the 2008 year of cultural diversity.


Welcoming the appointment, Vaz said in a statement that it belied the anti-diversity sentiments voiced by Enoch Powell, former Tory MP, 40 years ago. Vaz, who is also Chairman of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select committee, said: "This year marks 40 years since Enoch Powell spoke about what he saw as the folly of immigration. This initiative will go some way in proving that the rivers of blood that he predicted are far from being the reality that we see today."


"Europe has a great deal to contribute to the furtherance of intercultural dialogue. Europe's diversity is a rich source of vitality and creativity. Europe needs to make the most of its open borders", Vaz continued.


Other ambassadors appointed include French song writer-activist Charles Aznavor, Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho, Swedish author Henning Mankle and the 2007 Eurovision song contest winner, Marija Serifovic of Serbia.




Trinidad born PIO Davan Maharaj was named managing editor of the Los Angeles Times, a unique achievement. Maharaj advanced from the position of business editor he occupied in 2007 to his new duties overseeing the newsroom and oversight of Foreign, National, Metro, Sports and Business departments whose editors will report to Maharaj. Maharaj, 45, has worked as a reporter for The Times in Orange County, Los Angeles and East Africa. His six-part series "Living on Pennies," in collaboration with Times photographer Francine Orr, won the 2005 Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Writing and inspired readers to donate tens of thousands of dollars to aid agencies working in Africa.


Another Maharaj story, an investigative report about a Leisure World attorney who inherited millions of dollars in stock, land and other "gifts" from his clients, led to changes in California probate law.  Maharaj has been an assistant foreign editor and, in Business, served as a deputy editor before assuming leadership of the department last year. During Maharaj's tenure, the Business section revamped its coverage to give greater emphasis to consumer issues. It also redesigned its Sunday section to focus on personal finances.


A native of Trinidad, Maharaj holds a political science degree from the University of Tennessee and a master's degree in law from Yale University.  "Anyone who has worked closely with Davan knows him as a passionate advocate for good stories, and for the people who work hard to produce them," said LA Times Editor Russ Stanton.




Indian artist N.S. Harsha, known for combining details for everyday life with world events and images, has bagged the UK's prestigious 40,000 pound Artes Mundi Prize, in recognition of his outstanding work focusing on human condition. The award was presented to Harsha at the National Museum in Cardiff by Jack Persekian, Chairman of the Judging Panel, and Chinese artist Xu Bing, also a judge and the winner of the first Artes Mundi Prize.


An accomplished story-teller, 39-year-old Harsha has turned the Indian tradition of miniature painting into a form that enables him to mix the specific with the universal. He uses it to draw attention to the whimsical, the absurd as much as the tragic and to the internationally significant.


The artist plans to share some of his prize money with the arts community, although he said he had not had time to think about how he will use his prize.

Harsha studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda in 1995. Since then he has taken part in a variety of collaborative projects and exhibitions internationally including the Singapore Biennale 2006, the 2nd Fukuoaka Asian Art Triennial 2002 and the Asia Pacific Triennial of contemporary Arts, Australia 1999.


Awarded every two years, the Artes Mundi Prize is the largest international art prize in Britain and one of the largest art prizes in the world.


Among Harsha's work entered for the award is the painting Mass Marriage, which at first seems a gentle and amusing narrative on Indian marriage around the world. But, on closer inspection, it also reveals loss, sadness and the complex nature of human relationships.


Harsha beat off competition from eight other finalists, including a duo, to win the prize. Chairman of the judging panel Jack Persekian said, "We were impressed by the scope of his work and its range and variety of approach, from painting and installation to community activities.


The biennial award was launched in Wales in 2004 to recognize outstanding emerging artists from across the world. Harsha is the third person to win the Prize. Xu Bing won the Prize in 2004 and Eija-Liisa Ahtila was awarded the second Prize in 2006.


Two selectors - Isabel Carlos, a freelance curator based in Lisbon, and Bisi Silva, director of the Centre for contemporary Art, Lagos - travelled the globe to choose this year's finalists.


The judges were particularly interested in pieces that added to the understanding of humanity and the human condition. Work displayed in the exhibition ranges from film and installations to sculpture and textiles.




Former Indian President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper presented the Canada India Foundation's first Chanchlani Global Indian Award to Sam Pitroda, Chairman, India's National Knowledge Commission, at a gala dinner April 18 in Toronto. The specially crafted trophy was presented to Pitroda in a glittering ceremony at the prestigious Liberty Grand, part of a 200-year-old Canadian National Exhibition complex in Toronto, in the presence of about 500 guests, including federal and provincial politicians, and with town criers ushering in the guests and helping onstage. The award includes a check of $50,000 which could go to a charity of the recipient's choice.


"I am very happy that the Canada India Foundation is honoring my friend Sam Pitroda who has demonstrated global leadership, vision, and personal excellence which has made a difference to India in the telecom revolution and his contributions for the National Knowledge Commission," Dr Kalam said in his keynote address, 'India Vision: Dynamics of Development'.


Prime Minister Harper said, "I am delighted to join you in recognizing Sam Pitroda, this year's recipient of the Canada India Foundation Chanchlani Global Indian Award, for his laudable achievements."




Arun Sarin, the Indian-born head of Vodafone, has topped a list of Britain's leading businessmen in the technology and telecoms sector.  The Daily Telegraph, which will run lists of the top 100 businessmen in all leading sectors through the week, also put Nikesh Arora, Google's 40-year-old president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, at number four.


"Sarin survived a boardroom rumpus and a slew of shareholder dissent in 2006, but he made 2007 his year. The man in charge of the world's biggest mobile phone network finally persuaded investors that his strategy stacks up," the newspaper said.

It said the Indian-born American has "silenced many of his former City critics in the process," with Vodafone's move into India last year "starting to look like a masterstroke" emulated by rivals seek to offset slowing growth in western Europe.


"Vodafone shares have lost a little momentum but, with a toehold in China, Sarin is well placed to take advantage of an impending shake-up of the mobile market in the world's most populous country," it added.


Arora, one of Google's most senior executives outside Silicon Valley, joined the company after being interviewed by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin as he was wandering around the British Museum, the paper disclosed. \


Hired to help Google emulate its American growth in other markets, particularly Britain, Arora is now responsible for Google's business across 28 offices with a team of more than 2,500 people.


"His success has seen US-educated Arora linked with several high-profile UK chief executive positions," the paper said, describing Arora as, "Dressed-down in style, yet hugely ambitious."




Justice Anoop Singh Chowdary, a 58 year old Ugandan born Sikh, was sworn in as the first Sikh High Court judge in Uganda in East Africa. President Yoweri Museveni nominated 16 judges on February 9 and the parliament approved it.


Anoop Singh Chowdary was born in a small town called Masaka in Uganda. He obtained a bachelor of science (BSc) degree from the University of London, studied law at Corpus Christi College at the University of Cambridge and the College of Law at Chester and Guildford. Chowdary has been in private practice in London for 20 years until 2000. He has written several books.


The forefathers of Justice Chowdary migrated to Uganda from Punjab in the early nineteenth century. Justice Choudry is married with 3 children who were all born in England. Justice Choudry's mother was also born in Uganda.




Dr. Anand K. Parekh, who has been serving as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health (Science & Medicine) in the Office of Public Health & Science at the Department of Health & Human Services has been named Deputy Assistant Secretary. In this capacity, and previously as Senior Medical Advisor, he provides oversight, direction and coordination of activities pertaining to (1) a range of emerging public health and science issues, (2) the continuum of medical research - including clinical science and health services research and (3) issues requiring expert medical analysis and advice, particularly those concerning policy, planning, formulation, and presentation of public health issues affecting the Department. Previously, Dr. Parekh served as Special Assistant to Dr. William Raub, Science Advisor to the Secretary. His duties involved the formulating, implementing, and evaluating of federal policy related to public health emergency preparedness for bioterrorism and other medical threats, including pandemic avian influenza.


Dr. Parekh completed his undergraduate studies in political science as well as his graduate school training in medicine and public health at the University of Michigan. He subsequently completed his residency training in the Osler Medical Training Program of the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. In addition to engaging in health services research at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Parekh has completed separate stints as a research fellow at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.




Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd conducted his Cabinet meeting in Sydney on 15 April 2008. More than 500 people attended the function in Jamison High School in Penrith, a prominent suburb of Western Sydney in Australia. This was the third community cabinet meeting organized in NSW after two forums in Brisbane and Perth. Addressing this forum, Mr. Rudd said the meeting was aimed at "anchoring his government to the community. We can lose touch with the community at grass root levels if we are always in Canberra. We are determined to keep in touch with working families across Australia."


GOPIO-Sydney President with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Photo above: GOPIO-Sydney President Dr. Rohitas Batta and other community members with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

The residents of the area gave Mr. Rudd a standing ovation. Among various problems highlighted were the cost of living, poor public transport in Western Sydney, the environment and better education funding, the cost of living in the mortgage belt.


The forum was organized at the persuasion of a local Member of Parliament David Bradbury.


Among the attendees from the Indian Community were Dr Rohitas Batta, Dr Ajit Sidhu, Dr Narsimha Reddy, Harpreet Singh, Dr Gurmit Brar, Naib Sangha, Dr Paramjit Singh and Dr M. S. Brar.


Issues related to the Indian community were brought to the notice of Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burnke by Dr. Rohitas Batta, President of GOPIO-Sydney Chapter.




Trinidad-born Sgt Dayne Darren Dhanoolal, of Brooklyn, New York, was killed in Baghdad on March 31. Dhanoolal, 26, originally from Acono Road, Belle View, Maracas, St Joseph, migrated to the United States in 1997 when he was 15 years old. He was due home from Iraq in three weeks' time, when he died. Dhanoolal was wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near his vehicle. He was the son of Monica Mary Brown, who now lives in Killeen, Texas, and Sylvon Dhanoolal, of Acono Road, Belle View, Maracas, St Joseph. Dhanoolal is the 4,012th American soldier to die in the war in Iraq. His sister Natalie Dhanoolal said the US Department of Defence yesterday announced the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was Dhanoolal's second tour in Iraq. Natalie said he was assigned to the Second Battalion, 69th Armour Regiment, Third Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Georgia.


He attended New Dorp High School in Staten Island and went on to Brooklyn College to start his higher education studies. Natalie said Dhanoolal decided not to continue with his studies and then joined the Army in 2002. Dhanoolal was the only son of his parents. He had three sisters, Karlene Fenton, Jillene Fenton, also a soldier in the US Army, and Natalie. Natalie said her sister Jillene was on her fourth tour in Iraq and rushed home to attend to the funeral arrangements. He is believed to be the first Trinidad born casualty in the Iraq war that has also seen thousands of US soldiers wounded.




East Indians from colonial India were brought to work in the sugar plantations in the West Indies, including, British Guiana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago by the British owners of the plantations one hundred and seventy years ago. The first batch of Indians arrived in British Guiana on May 5th 1838 on board the ships Whitby and the Hesperus.


Until today, the descendents of Indians in Guyana celebrate Indian Arrival Day in grand style across the country. The government of Guyana has designated May 5th a national holiday in commemoration of the great sacrifices, hardships and struggles our Indian forebears were forced to endure while working on the sugar plantations.  


In honor of this year's celebration, the Indian Arrival Committee (IAC) has launched its first ever colored magazine, called Kal Aaj Aur Kal (which means Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow) in observance of the 170th Anniversary of the arrival of East Indians in Guyana. The first copy of the commemorative magazine was present to the President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, who was instrumental in designating May 5th as a national holiday.


Other celebrations in honor of our ancestors will be held at the National Park, Georgetown; Anna Regina Community Center and the Albion Sports Complex, Berbice. Meanwhile, mandirs and other Indian organizations across Guyana also organize cultural programs to celebrate the Indian Arrival Day. (Reported By Bina Mahabir)




Senior Malaysian Indian leader S. Samy Vellu has once again spoken out against the demolition of a Hindu temple a week before Diwali last year, saying that it caused the Indian vote to swing away from the government.


Vellu blamed the then chief minister of Selangor, Mohamad Khir Toyo, for refusing to heed his plea that the Hindu temple in Padang Jawa in Shah Alam not be demolished following a long dispute between the temple management and the civic authorities.


On the day it was brought down, Vellu said he had rushed to a hotel in Shah Alam to meet Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Khir who were attending a function.


"I begged him (Dr Khir) not to demolish the temple but he refused, citing a court order. I told him that if the temple was demolished, it would mean demolishing the Barisan Nasional."


However, according to Vellu, Khir refused to listen despite the prime minister's intervention.


Vellu had last week called the incident an "atom bomb" that caused the "political tsunami" against ruling coalition Barisan Nasional, reducing its two-thirds majority support in parliament to a simple one in last month's general elections.


Vellu supported Badawi in the current tussle within the BN and said: "Let us stop blaming the prime minister for everything."


According to a post-poll study, 69 percent of ethnic Indian votes that traditionally went to MIC and 43 percent of ethnic Chinese vote swung in favor of the opposition, giving it an unprecedented 82 seats in parliament and control of five states.


Ethnic Chinese comprise 33 percent and Indians 8 percent of Malaysia's 29 million population.




Data from the recent census suggest that immigrants are coming to Canada in record numbers. An article in the Globe and Mail indicates that the number of visible minorities has reached five million. This represents 16.2 per cent of Canada's total population (data released April 02 2008). Now for the first time ever, South Asians form Canada's largest visible minority group, surpassing citizens of Chinese origin. Included among South Asians are Indo- Caribbean peoples.


"Visible minority" is the term to describe persons who are not of the majority race in a given population. In March 2007, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination described this term as racist, since it singles out a specific group. Despite this, Canadians have grown accustomed to its use. To us, "visible minorities" refers to "persons (other than Aboriginals) who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in color". Statistics Canada uses it as a demographic category to reflect our country's multiculturalism. Visible minorities are designated as a protected group under the Canadian Employment Equity Act.


In Canada, the term "South Asian" refers to any person whose ethnicity is associated with the southern part of Asia, or one who self-identifies with the South Asian visible minority group. This definition encompasses people from a great diversity of ethnic backgrounds-Afghanistan, Bangladeshi, Bengali, Goan, Gujarati, Hindu, Ismaili, Kashmiri, Nepali, Pakistani, Punjabi, Sikh, Sinhalese, Sri Lankan and Tamil ancestry. South Asians may have been born in Canada, on the Indian sub-continent, as well as in Africa, Great Britain, the Caribbean (Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago), or elsewhere. The growth in the visible minority population was driven largely by immigration (as opposed to natural birth). Between 2001 and 2006, it soared 26.2 per cent, five times faster than the 5.4 per cent increase for the population as a whole.


South Asians are now Canada's largest visible minority people-a 38% increase. The next largest visible minority group comprises Canadians who self-identified as Chinese increased 18.2% to 1.2 million. Indo-Guyanese arrivals showed a 4.2%, and Trinidad & Tobago (2.5%). Over the past 25 years Canada's visible minority population has grown steadily. In 1981, the estimated 1.1 million represented 4.7 per cent of Canada's total population. Today, this figure stands at five million. If current immigration trends continue, visible minorities will account for about one fifth of Canada's population by 2017 (Reported by Roop Misir, PhD).




Infosys Technologies, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and HCL Technologies not only have one or more foreigners on their boards but also hire people overseas to work at the entry level. It is estimated that as many as 40,000 expatriates are currently working in India, of which 15 per cent are in top leadership roles.


Infosys has hired from 82 US colleges and universities, Wipro has hired 200 from colleges in the US and Europe while TCS has hired from 24 colleges in the US and Canada. Many of the newly hired are stationed in India while those to be deployed outside India are generally given orientation course for a few months in India.


Due to the appreciation of rupee against foreign currencies, particularly the dollar and rapid increases in salaries of Indian IT professionals, the hiring of workers overseas is becoming cheaper than sending Indians abroad.




The Australian government has made changes to its visa system so that Indian citizens studying in Australia will automatically become eligible to work part time during their courses.


Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Senator Chris Evans said, "Under new processing arrangements, which come into effect April 26, all student visas will be granted with work rights attached, removing the need for people to make a separate application."


Until now, Indian students had to apply separately for permission to work part time while pursuing their studies in Australia.The new law in Australia for the grant of visa to Indian citizens for study in Australia will automatically allow them to work part time up to 20 hours per week. Under the current system, students have to apply separately for permission to work. The new procedure will reduce red tape and allow the students to begin earning as soon as their coursework starts, which would help them reduce the funds needed to finish schooling.


Under the new arrangement, Indian citizens would also have to shell out less for the overall student visa fee.The minister said: "Applicants from India will now be charged Australian $450 (Rs.17,000) for the visa and work permission, a saving of $40 (Rs.1,500) on the previous arrangements. The process for applying for a student visa has also been streamlined.


"Successful applicants will now not need to have an Australian visa label in their passports as evidence of their visa grant. Instead, their visa information will be stored electronically for access through the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service," Evans said.


The advantage of the online service is that it allows employers, government agencies, education providers and the visa holders themselves to check visa conditions such as expiry date, work and study restrictions.


Indian students contribute significantly to Australia's international education market of $12 billion. India is the second largest source of overseas students in Australia. As many as 34,146 student visas were granted to Indian citizens in the year ending June 2007. Overall 228,592 students from 191 countries got visas during the same period.




Britain has announced new strict criteria of rules regulate entry of skilled non-European workers in the second phase of the biggest overhaul of immigration policy for a generation. The strict new criteria announced on May 6th require British employers to prove they cannot fill skilled posts with resident or European workers. Non-European skilled workers will need to have a firm job offer in hand even before they apply for visas.

Skilled non-Europeans would also need to speak fluent English and earn the equivalent of 24,000 (Sterling Pounds) in their home country in order to have any chance of entering Britain legally to work.

The new rules were announced by Immigration Minister Liam Byrne as a "system (that) means British jobseekers get the first crack of the whip and that only the skilled migrants we actually need will be able to come".

The new announcement comes barely eight weeks after Britain formally inaugurated an Australian-style points-based system in the hope it would have "one of the toughest borders in the world" by year-end.

On February 29, rules governing the controversial, existing highly-skilled migrants program were overhauled and a new licensing system put in place for employers wanting to recruit from overseas locations outside Europe.

The February changes dealt with Tier 1 of the immigrant worker category. Tier 2 is the second of five tiers due to be rolled out over the next 12 months. It will be introduced along with Tier 5, for temporary workers such as musicians, actors and sportsmen. Tier 4, which covers students, will follow at the beginning of 2009.

The government has already said that had the new rules been in force, 12 per cent fewer skilled non-European migrants would have entered the UK last year. The Home Office said that in the 12 months to September, 65,000 skilled workers from outside the EEA - the European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein - entered the UK. The new criteria, it said, would have trimmed that figure by 8,000.

The government's analysis also showed that its tighter rules could have shaved off skilled and temporary non-European migrants by roughly 20,000 people last year.

On Tuesday, it was also confirmed that low-skilled non-Europeans, officially categorized as Tier 3, would no longer be allowed to enter Britain to work. The UK said it would only ever allow entry to this tier of non-European worker if specific shortages are identified that cannot be filled from the domestic or European labor force.

The crackdown on immigration policy and implementation also includes some of the toughest penalties in the world for employers who break the rules and illegally hire non-Europeans.

The government said that in the first 80 days of the new immigration regime, 137 British companies were issued with Notices of Potential Liability worth almost half a million pounds for illegally employing non-Europeans. This is more than ten times as much as the entire number of prosecutions last year for the same offence.


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

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

GOPIO Secretary General - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York City, Tel: 718/939-8194, E-mail:


To become a Life member of GOPIO, visit, print and fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO, P.O. Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA.



Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman, GOPIO (Stamford, CT, USA)

Editors: Ashook Ramsaran, GOPIO General Secretary (New York, USA); and Munish Gupta, GOPIO Media Chair (Los Angeles, Calif)

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

Contributors of this issue: Inder Singh (USA), Gambhir Watts (Australia),Sangeeta Ahuja (USA), Bina Mahabir (USA), Deosaran Bisnath (Trinidad & Tobago), Chandra Doobay (Guyana) and Dr. Piyush Agrawal (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:


Visit GOPIO's Official site at or