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May 10, 2013

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

Issue: XII-4 May 10, 2013
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GOPIO is a community supported non-profit organization taking up issues of the Indian Diaspora and attempting to unifying the community in its common causes. Support GOPIO by becoming a Life Member or chapter member. Once can become Life Member online by visiting



Leading South African Indians joined speakers from India and the US discussed ways to strengthen economic ties with their home country at a series of seminars hosted by the Indian High Commission and GOPIO in Durban and other cities on the last weekend of April. GOPIO International South Africa also launched with fanfare its Durban Chapter on April 28th and was inaugurated by Secretary of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) Rajiv Mehrishi, in the presence of many dignitaries including Indian High Commissioner Virendra Gupta, Indian Consul General V K Sharma, Durban Mayor's representative Councillor Michael Abrahams, GOPIO International's Coordinator for Africa Munish Gupta and GOPIO International's Director for Government Liaison K N Gupta and  nearly 300 South African PIOs and NRIs at a 5-hour-long extravaganza that took place at the chic Jaipur Palace Restaurant in Durban North. GOPIO International South Africa's Durban chapter achieved the distinction of several firsts - marking an inauguration in the city of Mahatma Gandhi, within six months of formation and with 100 members already subscribed (Read history of GOPIO-Durban launch and its accomplishments so far by GOPIO's South African Coordinator Loshni Naidoo by clicking this link). The highly successful inauguration of the chapter is expected to aggregate more than 250 members by the end of 2013.


The GOPIO-Durban launch held at the beautifully decorated Jaipur Palace Restaurant was adorned with drapes and fairy lights, hanging chandeliers and fresh flowers, typical of all the décor that goes with any East Indian function in South Africa that is now home to nearly 1.3 million PIOs and NRIs for over 160 years. Overseas Indians from every walk of life, as well as from cities across South Africa - Zululand, Newcastle, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town - gathered to celebrate the launch of the first truly global Indian Diaspora organization as people and media later reported. Every detail was immaculately planned and executed by GOPIO International's South Africa Coordinator Ms. Loshni Naidoo, with the first team of office bearers that include President Sudesh Maharaj, Vice President Kinesh Pather, Treasurer Pankaj Doorgapersad, Secretary Gerelene Jagganath, Joint Secretary Krishnan Nair and a long list of Executive Committee members who will be working on developing various sectors of the local GOPIO Chapter. The event has been written up in newspapers & magazines, reported on television, talked on radio shows, and has definitely created a buzz in the community, arousing interest and curiosity among thousands of South African Indians. The GOPIO chapter launch event was a sell-out and the restaurant had to extend space to an overflow area to accommodate last minute arrivals.


 GOPIO-Durban Launch with Cake Cutting on April 28, 2013, April

Photo  above - L to R - Pankaj Dooregaparsad Treasurer GOPIO Durban, K N Gupta, Director for Govt. Liaison in India, Munish Gupta, Internationa Coordinator - Africa, Loshni Naidoo Country Coordinator South Africa, Gerelene Jagganath Secretary GOPIO Durban, Sudesh Maharaj President Durban, Amit More Convenor GOPIO Durban inauguration


GOPIO International brings to its fold an important Diaspora country. Timed with the launch, the Indian Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs & the Indian High Commission arranged Diaspora conferences in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, also attended and addressed by GOPIO International Africa Coordinator Munish Gupta. There was overwhelming response and appreciation for the work done by GOPIO, evident to attendees who received a GOPIO brochure detailing the organization's history and accomplishments. Gupta's talk and Q&A with the community leaders, academics and media has sparked widespread interest in GOPIO International activities. Even prior to the Durban chapter launch, community activists held meetings with GOPIO International officials to start chapters in at least 4 cities across South Africa.


The Durban chapter launch on April 28th was the culmination of two and a half years of work that began with the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in October 2010 in Durban attended by Munish Gupta where he met Loshni Naidoo and several others from the community interested in the work of GOPIO International. Several community organizations exist in South Africa, including a GOPIO faction that started in the mid-1990s but faded away soon thereafter. The 2013 April launch of GOPIO International and the connectivity it brings through its chapters in nearly 50 countries as well as the close engagement with India has ushered in a new era for PIOs and NRIs who have accomplished much and are well respected in the nation that was second home to Mahatma Gandhi and still reveres the Mahatma for the non violence message and his fight against Apartheid.


A strong group of staunch GOPIO International Durban chapter activists must be thanked for their relentless contributions over the past six months since the chapter was formalized and leading up to the launch. Other than the office bearers, GOPIO International's Executive Committee roster included Prof. Anand Singh (Co-Chair, Academic Council, Gopio Intl), Ms. Rita Abraham (Co-Chair, Women's Council, Gopio Intl), Ms. Priyanka Naidoo (Co-Chair, Youth Council, Gopio Intl), Mr. Amit More, Dr. Atul Padalkar, Mr. Jerome Naidoo, Mr. Rajiv Sitaram Terwadkar, Ms. Romy Gajudhar, Durban Councillor Mr. Brian Jayanathan, Ms. Rashree Maharaj, Ms. Sally Subramoney, Ms. Devash Govender, Dr. Krish Naidoo, Mr. Ravi Govender, Mr. Lalit Kohli, Ms. Jyoti Kohli, Ms. Vijayluxmi Balakisten, Mr. Naufal Khan, Ms. Anusha Reddy, Ms. Anitha Hariram, Mr. Rahul Ramlugan, Mr. Kesin Raman and Mr. Dean Reddy. Local GOPIO luminaries and well known success stories attending the event included Mr. Ishwar Mangaroo, Mr. Ishwar Ramlutchman, Mr. Ashwin Desai, Mr. Sam Pilllay, Mr. A V Mahomed, Mr. J N Reddy, Mrs. G R Naidoo, Ms. Linda Naidoo, Ms. Riasha Singh, some of who were specially recognized for their outstanding contributions.


Media attended in full strength - local, to regional to national; print to TV to Radio. Kevin Joseph, event photographer as a sponsor, snapped away more than a hundred beautiful pictures. National ethnic TV channel, Saffron TV, was busy interviewing members, dignitaries and capturing the swashbuckling attendees at what seemed like a red carpet Oscar gala! Sunday Tribune from Johannesburg made it a point to interview (and later publish a nice piece) on the purpose and goals of GOPIO's local chapter. PIO TV from USA captured the whole ceremony. Mini South African and Indian flags adorned each table with the stage that presented the GOPIO name and banner were centre-stage as the show got on the road.


The evening began with messages from India's MOIA Minister Vayalar Ravi through video who spoke highly of GOPIO International's role and engagement with India in reaching out to and serving overseas Indians. Mr. Ravi congratulated Durban on the launch event and talked about the historic ties between India and South Africa.


Mahatma Gandhi's grand-daughter Ela Gandhi sent a wonderful message, speaking of a special role the Diaspora must assume and play to assimilate in their country as much as they cherish and stay with their roots. GOPIO International President Ashook Ramsaran congratulated Indians in South Africa on the momentous occasion and welcomed them into the growing GOPIO fraternity worldwide. Mrs Navanethum Pillay, United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, based in Geneva, a PIO from South Africa, also sent her congratulatory note on the launch of GOPIO International chapter.


Mr K N Gupta exemplified the voluminous task for GOPIO India in conjugating the aspirations, issues and concerns of the chapters and members with Indian government and the people. Mr Munish Gupta underlined the essence of GOPIO International's founding, its democratic principles, an evolving charter and a constitution that truly enshrines conjugating the Diaspora in more than 100 countries around the world. Munish said GOPIO took up challenges and especially working with the youth considering the changing landscape and challenges of a transforming world.


India High Commissioner to South Africa Virendra Gupta at GOPIO-D Ambassador Virendra Gupta applauded the role of organizations like GOPIO International and especially the hand they lent the Indian government and its missions overseas in reaching out to the community and meetings its changing aspirations. Ambassador Gupta echoed Munish's sentiments in working closely with the youth.






GOPIO-Durban Launch - MOIA Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi Speaking MOIA Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi made an important presentation on the role of the Ministry and its various programs and activities. An important chord was struck by him with the audience when he reached out to say that all should write to him about problems especially in obtaining PIO and OCI cards. The South African Indian community has let it be known that due to their 3 to 5 generation old history, and the lack of record keeping by the Apartheid government, they are at a loss sometimes to produce documentation to establish their Indian origin. The Secretary welcomed the GOPIO International chapter and lauded the role of GOPIO International as an important partner among community organizations in all of Ministry's programs and activities including the PBDs.


Former Member of Parliament and now Councillor Michael Abrahams read out an important welcome and message on the special launch occasion from Mayor James Nxumalo of eThekwini (Durban Municipality). The Mayor spoke of the immense contributions and accomplishments of the Indian community in South Africa and welcomed GOPIO International chapter that would help Durban and South Africa connect globally.


GOPIO International Community Service Awardee Mr. Ishwar Ramlutchman as a special Ambassador of The King of Kwazulu Natal showered welcome and blessings on all dignitaries, delegates and attendees.  The King has especially requested Mr. Ramlutchman to bring a GOPIO International chapter into Zululand that is home to several hundred thousand PIOs.


The evening's ceremonies began with the anthems, followed by Emcee Vijayluxmi Balakrishna reading out a Universal prayer. GOPIO International South Africa Coordinator Loshni Naidoo traced the history of the formation of and activities up to the launch of the Durban chapter. Reflecting on the early days since her meeting with GOPIO International Coordinator Munish  Guptanearly two and a half years ago, Loshni highlighted that the spirit, enthusiasm and the work of GOPIO International Durban had already made the organization one to be reckoned with by the mainstream South African brethren as well as the Indian community. The Durban chapter has participated in festivals, helping the needy, philanthropic activities and more. Youth were being encouraged to join and create programs. She highlighted the benefits of joining GOPIO and then hinted on a few upcoming projects planned for the communities and schools.


GOPIO Durban Officials with DignitariesPhoto above - GOPIO-Durban officials with dignitaries MOIA Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, High Commissioner Ambassador Virendra Gupta and Consul General Ambassador V K Sharma  


Mr. Deepak Sharma, Executive Vice President of Kotak Mahindra Bank and head of the Bank's NRI Services, attended the event specially and promised to forge strong links with the community in South Africa. Sharma said Kotak was in discussion with South African banks to offer a diverse range of products for investment and money transfers to India. Sharma's presentation on Indian economy was much appreciated.


Mrs Naziema Jappie of the South African Women's Forte spoke on behalf of Ms Rita Abrahams, Co-chair, Women's Council, GOPIO International, as Rita was away in Malaysia. Speaking for Rita and other women members, Naziema said GOPIO's agenda locally would focus on acts of compassion for the abused women and children. Well-known writer, sociologist, TV personality and controversial speaker Dr. Ashwin Desai talked of the power of history, highlighting the arrival of Indians in South Africa from 1860 until the early 20th century. Dr. Desai brought the plight of the poor of Chatsworth and Phoenix, two Indian townships in Durban and added a lot of humour to his speech and had the audience in stitches. Mr Sam Pillay of the Chatsworth Drug Forum emphasized the scourge of drugs and its effects on the youth, especially Indians in the Chatsworth area. He sought assistance in funding for the eradication of this social ill and urged GOPIO's attention to youth issues. Miss Priyanka Naidoo, Co-chair, Youth Council, GOPIO International, spoke softly but surely about her heart-warming trip to India as part of MOIA's Know India Program. A nostalgic Priyanka beautifully sketched out the details of her travels and meetings that she said she could have never dreamt or achieved otherwise.


The dignitaries, attendees and the media were unanimous in complimenting the stewardship of the Durban chapter by Sudesh Maharaj as President and Kinesh Pather as Vice President and ably supported by the three other office bearers - Gerelene, Pankaj and Krishnan. The unique, flawless, colourful and momentous evening was a result of sheer hard work, planning and immaculate execution. The attendees gave a standing ovation to the tens of volunteers, executive committee members, office bearers and the country coordinator for an event to be remembered for a long time to come.


The invocation dance was performed by the talented and beautiful Miss Varsha Sharma, a Kathak dancer from the Indian Council for Cultural Research (ICCR), headed in Durban by Dr. Leslie Jacobs. Emcee Vijayluxmi, also an Executive Committee member, accompanied by famed Tansen Nepaul on harmonium, Raj Chetty on table and Sarvesan Solai on mridingam regaled the audience. The fusion of North Indian Kathak dance with South Indian Kuchupudi dance was captivating. Artists Mr Priyen Naidoo and Miss Varsha Sharma wowed the audience with a Telegu rendition. Ms Nicolyn Dayanand performed a beautiful Bharatanatyam dance.


ICCR, Consulate general provided another classical dancer who is Zulu by birth, but studied classical Indian dance at the ICCR in Durban. The star of the performance was a little South African black girl, Letoya Cebilie, impeccably attired in Bharatnatyam dress, who enchanted all with her classical and Bollywood performances that came together with her lip syncing Indian language words and expressions that stole the hearts of the guests.


GOPIO Durban chapter recognized the work of five stalwarts the community. Mr. J. N. Reddy was honored for his parliamentarian work, being a successful Indian businessman in the 70's and 80's and for being the leader of the Solidarity party. Mr. G. R. Naidoo was recognized posthumously for being the first Non-white Editor of DRUM and for his political activism as a photojournalist: Nelson Mandela had his last home meal at the Naidoo home before being arrested and imprisoned for 27 years. Teenager Riasha was recognized for her exemplary academic excellence, making the entire Indian community proud. Mr. Ishwar Ramlutchman, also a GOPIO 2013 Community Service Awardee, was recognized for his philanthropy, community activism and for being a special Ambassador of The King of Kzazulu Natal.

Mr. Amit More of the GOPIO Durban Executive Committee closed the evening with the stupendous task of thanking a long list of many dignitaries, delegates, attendees and sponsors for making the event a grand success. To top off the celebration, a three tiered cake with the logo of GOPIO all around the third layer, the full word GOPIO on the top layer and a world map on a ball sitting right on the top was cut and dedicated to GOPIO International by South Africa's GOPIO office bearers, executive committee members, volunteers and guests K N Gupta and Munish Gupta.


For more information on GOPIO or to start a chapter in South Africa, contact: Loshni Naidoo, Coordinator, GOPIO South Africa,




GOPIO, in collaboration with several community organizations and groups in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut tri-state area, held a well attended and highly successful welcome reception and dinner in New York for incoming Indian Consul General Dnyaneshwar Mulay. The event was held on April 26, 2013 at the Asia Society in New York and provided a unique opportunity to welcome, meet and greet Ambassador Mulay.


The Indian Consul General in New York is a high profile position in the largest city in USA amongst the highest concentration of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), and host to numerous visits on a regular basis by prominent officials of the Government of India for meetings with US officials, the United Nations and the Indian-American community on issues of interest to NRIs and PIOs.


The welcome reception and dinner was a combined community event, organized by GOPIO in partnership with GOPIO Chapters of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut; GOPIO Health, Cultural, Youth, Women's & Business Councils; Life Members; GOPIO News Team. The event was co-sponsored by various prominent community organizations and companies, with support from media groups and others as co-sponsors. Sponsors include: Indian American Chamber of Commerce - USA, Tulsi Restaurant, Asia Society, Bharat Travel, Kingfisher, Parikh Media, HH-Resorts, Peter Advani, TV Asia, Society of Indian American Architects & Engineers of America (SIAEA); Media-Sponsors: Sahara, PIO TV, GloboSat, India Abroad; and participating organizations: Hyderbadi Cultural Assoc, Association of American Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI), Indian Dental Assoc, Indian Jewish Council IJC), National Federation of Indian Associations (NFIA), Association of Indians in America (SAIA); attending organizations: TelugU Association, Bengali Association, Gujarati Association, and several others.


Also in attendance were Ambassador of Trinidad & Tobago to USA, Dr. Neil Parsan; Ambassador of Mauritius to United Nations Milan Meeterban; former Ambassador of Suriname to United Nations, Krishna Nandoe; Deputy Speaker of New Jersey Assembly Upendra Chivukula; New York City Councilwoman, Leticia James; John Bartlett, Jr, Freeholder of Passaic County in New Jersey.


Event coordinator was J. Nami Kaur, Secretary of GOPIO International, ably assisted by Mridul Pathak, GOPIO's Director of Diaspora Development. Other members of the organizing team included: Anita Bhat, Dr Asha Samant, Ashook Ramsaran, Jaswant Mody, Lal Motwani, Patsy Leopold, Quddus Mohammed, Dr. Renuka Misra, Sangeeta Ahuja, Dr. Thomas Abraham.


Following a video biography highlighting Amb Mulay's career and his impressive accomplishments, GOPIO International president Ashook Ramsaran made the formal welcome, stating that, "the Indian American community of the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area is a significant population of NRIs and PIOs, very progressive, quite supportive - and also very vocal on matters of interest and concern". Ramsaran added that, "we bid you a warm welcome with open hearts and open arms, with confidence that you will achieve much success during your tenure as Consul General if India in New York".


Amb Mulay thanked GOPIO and the community organizations for the warm and overwhelming welcome. In his remarks, he stated that, "huge opportunities exist for the Indian Diaspora in connecting India and the USA. India requires massive investments, is looking for technologies, continuously expanding education sector and health services and looks forward to proactive contributions of Diaspora in its developmental aspirations". He added that, "the Government of India has taken enormous measures for promoting the wellbeing of the diaspora and connecting them with India. Since the setting up of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs Ministry several special steps have been taken and a number of schemes introduced".


"Global Indian Diaspora - GOPIO Making an Impact" a comprehensive publication authorized by GOPIO, was presented to Amb Mulay as part of the New York release during the program. In addition, GOPIO's founding life member and former secretary general Dr Jagat Motwani presented his latest book "India Reborn: Bharat Mahan, As Perceived by Westerners, Gandhi, Nehru, Tagore & Others" to Amb Mulay.

Release of the book, Global Indian Diaspora - GOPIO Making An Impact
Photo above: Release of the book," GLOBAL INDIAN DIASPORA - GOPIO Making an Impact."From(l-r, Ashook Ramsaran, Peter Advani, Hon. Upendra Chivukula, Norman Solovay, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Amb. Dnyaneshwar Mulay, H. R. Shah, Sant Singh Chatwal, Dr Thomas Abraham, J. Nami Kaur, Mridul Pathak, Atul Kumria  


GOPIO's founding president, Dr. Thomas Abraham, spoke about GOPIO and its long history of serving the interests of the diaspora on a global scale. Prominent community leaders and supporters also welcomed Amb Mulay, extending good wishes and support: Dr. Sudhir Parikh (Parikh Media); H. R. Shah (TV Asia); Norman Solovay (Indian American Chamber of Commerce - USA); Hon. Upendra Chivukula (Deputy Speaker of New Jersey Assembly); and others.


GOPIO presented to Amb Mulay a "Memorandum of critical issues and suggestions from the Indian American community of the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area". These issues include recommendation for improved communication with the Indian-American community, including more responsiveness to telephone calls placed to consulate and staff for regularly needed consular services; recommendation to provide answers on a timely basis to more FAQs on current issues on website, email advisory. Examples: OCI card, Passport Surrender procedures and fees; recommendation to set up a community feedback system on matters of interest and concern via community and consulate meetings, interactive forum, interviews on television and print, outreach to Indian-American community and other ethnic groups; posting a "calendar of events" which can be readily viewed for advance planning purposes; holding or collaborating on seminars on current critical issues such as youth, health, inter-generation, inter-ethnic, etc. as well AS Mnotable events such as Gadar Centennial commemoration in USA.


GOPIO Memorandum to Ambassador Dnyaneshwar MulayPhoto above: GOPIO Memorandum to Amb Mulay (l-r) - Dr. Asha Samant, Jaswant Mody, Dr. Sudhir Parikh, Quddus Mohammed, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Ashook Ramsaran, Amb. Dnyaneshwar Mulay, Dr. Renuka Misra, J. Nami Kaur, Anita Bhat, Patsy Leopold, Mridul Pathak, Sangeeta Ahuja

At the conclusion of the program Amb Mulay took time to interact with attendees individually and in groups, as well as conducted several interviews by the media.


The newly released coffee table book, Global Indian Diaspora - GOPIO Making an Impact, can be obtained by sending a check for $23 to GOPIO, P.O. Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904. For more information, please contact GOPIO International at +1-818-708-3885.






GOPIO and other Indian community organizations have made an appeal to help save the life of Dr. Nalini Ambady. She has been given a few weeks to find a bone marrow donor and time is running out!


Nalini is originally from Kerala. She is a renowned scientist whose work was featured in Malcolm Gladwell's best selling book Blink.  She is the first Indian woman to have been on the faculty of both Harvard and Stanford's psychology department. She is also the mother of two young girls.


Nalini needs your help. She is suffering from leukemia and needs a blood stem cell donor soon in order to survive.  Due to certain genetic markers, her match will almost certainly be a fellow Keralite. Right now, there is no match in the registry for her.


Indian community organizations are requested to host a bone marrow donor drive to register KSouth Asian community? Hosting a drive is easy!  Be the Match, the national bone marrow registry, will help every step of the way.  Registering takes only minutes - a simple cheek swab and a little paperwork. Anyone between the ages of 18-44 can be a donor.  If you can't donate, you can help us find donors.  


For more information, visit or call 650-318-1297 in the US or contact: Taylor Phillips: or Sribala Subramanian:





An Indian delegation of parliamentarians stopped by in Miami en route to India was hosted by GOPIO with a welcome dinner in Miami. The delegation was headed by the Indian Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Kariya Munda and consisted members from the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and a few high officials of the Government of India.


The Indian Consul General Ajit Kumar and his staff were also present at the dinner. The Delegation visited the newly installed statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the town of Davie, where Mayor Judy Paul welcomed the guests.


Indian Parliamentary Delegation in Davie, FloridaPhoto above: Indian Parliamentary delegation with Davie Mayor Judy Paul and Indian community leaders of Miami area


Deputy Speaker Munda praised the Mayor and the Indian Community for installing the statue and for bringing the Apostle of Peace to this part of the World. He said that Gandhi's message of peace is evergreen and is relevant for all times.  The peaceful atmosphere at the site was obvious.


Welcoming the delegation at the dinner, GOPIO Senior Vice President Dr. Piyush C. Agrawal expressed his great pleasure of hosting parliamentary delegations from India for the last fifteen years.  The Indian Community of South Florida is a vibrant community that values these interactions and raise issues of common concerns.  For example, during this meeting, a strong voice was heard about the rampant corruption in almost all walks of life in India.  Parliament being highest law making body can initiate and make laws to curb the corrupt practices.  The delegation was beseeched to do something about corruption that shall make future of India much brighter.


Questions were raised about the plight of Hindus thrown out of Bangladesh & Pakistan and about forced conversion of Hindus in these countries. Question of  plight of Kashmir Hindus was also raised. 


The delegation in a very polite manner tried their best to respond to these issues.  It truly was a family affair where opinions differ in certain cases but the spirit of affection took over in this great get-together.


Deputy Speaker Munda expressed his pleasure to hear the views of the community on various aspects of politics and sociology in India and that it has kept such a close contact with the happenings in India.  Members of Rajya Sabha & Lok Sabha , namely, Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya, Sudarshan Bhagat, Sheikh Saidul Haque, Dr. Vijaylaxmi Sadho, and Shrimati Putul Kumari took their turns to address the issues raised by the Community.


Finally, Consul General Kumar, in his seasoned diplomatic manner, offered the bridging remarks to entice the appetite for a sumptuous dinner.





GOPIO Sydney, as part of its ongoing activities for the promotion and welfare of the Indian community in Australia organised a cruise party for senior citizens. The cruise ship Rosemary set out from Woolwich Warf with around 170 people on-board, packed to the brim but with plenty of space to move around to capture the moment with Opera House, Circular Quay and Darling Harbor in the backdrop providing a perfect scene for cameras. Excellent weather complemented the occasion and made it lively. Everyone enjoyed sunshine whiling on the upper deck to enjoy the magnificent views across the harbor.

GOPIO Sydney President Lucky Singh welcomed all the respected seniors, guests and families of GOPIO and many inspiring words were spoken by her. The excerpts of the poetry which she dedicated to the seniors are-

"Dil se hum sab ker paaye samman Bujurgo ka,

 Hai kismat walo ko milta wardaan Bujurgo ka."


Seniors were looked after and served with complimentary food, wine and drinks amidst the ambient sound of melodious music was played by DJ Upkar, mesmerizing old Bollywood songs by Anand Arora and scintillating dance performances by Usha Bariya and evergreen young  Satpal Dhingra of Minto Cellars. Musical games and Trivia hosted by Raj Bhandari added spice to the cruise. Seniors recitation of poetry kept everyone so absorbed that no one realized how quickly 5 hours elapsed. It was an exceptionally pleasant, relaxing and entertaining environment.

GOPIO Sydney Cruise for Senior Citizens

    Photo: A section of the attendees before boarding the ship



Sponsors were Minto Cellars, Woodville Road Cellars, Milan Bazaar, Patel Brothers, Laju Bhojwani who donated wine, attractive gifts and gift vouchers. The three course meal was provided by Maya-da-dhaba. Bhupinder Chhibber, Secretary of GOPIO Sydney gave a vote of thanks at the end.


The GOPIO Sydney team included Rajat Midha, Raj Bhandari, Bhupinder Chhibber, Dr.Thomas, Satpal Dhingra, K.L.Dhingra, Balvinder Ruby, Balbir Singh, Jaswinder Bhogal, Sukhwinder Rajput, Dr.Nadeem Khaja, Poonam Chhibber, Kamini Raj Singh, Manju Mittal, Maxine Salma, Himmat Singh, Shiv Saini, Gagandeep Kaur, Kavita Saini, Shallu Kundra, Manu Kundra, Mrs Dhingra, Anita Bhandari and Dr.Lubna Thomas. The event raised funds of $1390.00 for the 18 months old child Twisha Makwana for her surgery in USA.




GOPIO-Connecticut Chapter honored three Indian Americans, two outstanding achievers and one person for community service at its Annual Awards Banquet held at the Italian Center in Stamford on April 20th. The three Indian Americans are Yale University professor Dr. Ramamurti Shankar, industrialist Mr. Rakesh Narang and community organizer Mr. Suresh Sharma.


Dr. Ramamurti Shankar, John Randolph Huffman Professor of Physics and Professor of Applied Physics Yale University, New Haven was recognized for his contribution toBasic Sciences.  Mr. Rakesh Narang, President and Founder of Wire & Plastic Machinery Corporation, New Haven, CT will be recognized in the category of Entrepreneurship and Business Acumen. For Community Service, the honor went to Mr. Suresh Sharma, Founder of Milan Cultural Association, Hartford, CT. In addition, GOPIO-CT honored the American charity AmeriCares withService to India Award. AmeriCares award was received by its Chairman of the Board Directors Mr. Dean Maglaris.


The chief guest for the evening was Active Consul General of India Dr. Devyani Khobragade who said "GOPIO is the prime organization which goes in between Govt. of India and the Indian Diaspora since GOPIO has the network to convey information from the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs and from the Ministry of External Affairs as well as it brings Diaspora issue to the attention of India Govt."


New Jersey Legislative Assembly Deputy speaker Upendra Chivukula, Connecticut Assemblyman Dr. Prasad Srinivasan and former CT Lt. Governor Michael Fidele in their remarks recognized GOPIO's contribution for improved US Indian relations and its contribution in bringing the Indian American community together as well as in interacting with the local communities.


GOPIO-CT President  Shailesh Naik said that in eight years GOPIO-CT has excelled in service to the Indian American community as well to the local community such as hosting soup kitchens for homeless in Stamford. The Awards Banquet was chaired by Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President of GOPIO International who is also a Trustee of GOPIO-CT. The program was compeered by TV Asia Anchor person Radhika Vasudeva. The award ceremony was followed by entertainment by GOBBA Dancers of Norwalk and dinner.


GOPIO-CT Offcicials with Dignitaries at Awards Banquet 2013Photo above: GOPIO-CT award recipients with dignitaries and GOPIO-CT officials. From Row, from l to r: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Anita Bhat, former CT Lt. Governor Michael Fidele, AmeriCares Chairman of the Board Dean Maglaris, Yale Univ. Professor Ramamurti Shankar, Milan Founder Suresh Sharma, Leena Ramchandani, Industrialist Rakesh Narang, Deputy Consul General Dr. Devyani Khobragade, Sangeeta Ahuja, Ritu Johorey and Nandita Kotian; Back row, from l. to r.: Stamford City Board of Finance Chair Jerry Bosak, Shelly Nichani, Pradeep Govil, Prakash Chakravarti, Lovella D'Silva, GOPIO-CT President Shailesh Naik, Varghese Ninan, Mohan Yadav, NJ Assembly Deputy Speaker Upendra Chivukula and Nisha Arora




The 12th Annual Unity Dinner event was held in Newark/Fremont Hilton on Friday March 22, 2013 by Indo-American Community Federation (IACF-USA) and tribute was paid to Gadarites. A seminar was organized with a diverse group of speakers. Chaired by GOPIO International Chairman Inder Singh, the seminar was addressed by Congressman Eric, Swalwell as the keynote speaker and by IACF President Jeevan Zutshi, academic Dr. Sudarshan Kapoor and GOPIO-Los Angeles President K3ewal Kanda. Dr. Kapoor Kapoor brought pictures of Gadar heroes all the way from Fresno and helped in putting the seminar together.


Entrepreneur and philanthropist B.V.Jagadeesh in his keynote speech at the dinner spoke on power of giving. It really rubbed on everyone present at the program. His spouse Annu Jagadeesh is helping organize Sevathon on July 14 in association with India Community Center (ICC). It is a commendable effort putting 100 organizations and 5000 people together to help organizations raise funds for various causes. IACF will participate and support the event for the first time and urges other non-profits to do the same.


At the Gadar seminar, speakers told the stories of the young freedom fighters. In one of the most touching speeches during the two-hour seminar, Kewal Kanda, president of GOPIO's Los Angeles chapter, said that the Gadarites who went back to India to work towards her freedom were often captured by the British in the course of their travels, and often sent to one particularly notorious prison in the Andaman Islands, known as Kala Pani, or black water.


Kanda spoke about the brutality meted out to the prisoners, who were often chained to walls for several days. Several Gadarites held an unsuccessful hunger strike for 155 days, said Kanda, before reading out a list of prisoners who died at Kala Pani.


An arrangement of photos of the freedom fighters and other Gadarite memorabilia was set up at the venue. A permanent tribute to the Gadar movement is housed in San Francisco.


GOPIO Chairman Singh proposed that the "Gadarites" be recognized at each Memorial Day by the more than three million Indians who live in the U.S. Celebrations for the brave freedom fighters will be held at venues throughout the U.S. this year with a final celebration in October.






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GOPIO joined with 4 other national organizations to endorse Mr. Sri Srinivasan, who was nominated by President Obama to be an Appeals Court Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit. The letter was signed by the presidents of the following collaborating organizations:


  • 80-20 National Asian American
  • Association of Indians America (AIA)
  • Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International)
  • Indian American Forum for Political Education (IAFPE)
  • National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA)


The joint letter was sent to Sen. Patrick J Leahy, Chair, Senate Judiciary Committee with copy to

Senator Chris Coons of Delaware.


The letter "urged the approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to be followed quickly by a confirmation vote of the full Senate"




The Human Achievers Foundation honored 15 people at the Le Meridian Hotel in New Delhi for their humanitarian works on 22nd of April, 2013. The Chief Guest of the ceremony was the Union Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Hon. Vayalar Ravi who presented the awards to all the recipients.


The Human Achievers Foundation was setup with the single objective of empowering women globally, particularly in India, focusing on areas of works being done for child education advancement and programs that enhance the quality of life for all in society.  The foundation organizes such annual events to acknowledge people from India and some from the International community.


Ms. Lucky Singh, President of GOPIO - Sydney chapter, was awarded for her sterling community services and humanitarian work in her community. She was amongst the 7 recipients chosen from all over the world from various fields.


Ms. Singh has a deep passion for community service and has made a positive contribution to the Australian Indian community. Under the banner of GOPIO-Sydney, she has organized a number of fundraising events to help those in need in Australia and other parts of the world.


GOPIO-Sydney President Lucky Singh Receives Community Service Award in New Delhi  Photo: GOPIO-Sydney President Lucky Singh and other awardees with Minister Vayalar Ravi


Some of the activities of GOPIO - Sydney are the annual GOPIO Youth Achievers Awards Night (GYAAN awards) where youths are acknowledged for their achievements in various fields such as academic, sports, social welfare, art, music, drama, media, aviation, photography and Indian languages; fund-raisers for the victims of the Victorian Bush fire, Bihar Relief fund, Tsunami in Samoa, Earthquake in Indonesia, Floods in Fiji; and organized blood-drives, among other activities.


Ms. Singh attended the Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas in Kochi, India in January, 2013 and co-chaired a session titled "Diaspora issues - Challenges and Opportunities in GOPIO's Annual convention in Kochi this year".


A teacher by profession, she is with the Department of Education in New South Wales and was the only teacher chosen from the state to be in the department's film "Freedom from Fear" which dealt with refugee children.


Congratulations to Ms. Lucky Singh from the GOPIO family. Keep up the great work!  





Nisarg Patel of the Arizona State University (ASU) won the changing entrepreneurship and outstanding teaching awards at the annual Pitchfork Awards ceremony for co-founding a company that can detect bacteria in water. It reprograms bacteria to produce a protein biosensor that then purifies from the bacteria.


The idea for this technology came when one of Patel's laboratory partners, who went to Guatemala, saw children there looking at water and drinking it if it seemed clear.


"They don't realize it's contaminated with bacteria that they can't see, so that's one of the issues we're trying to solve," Patel was quoted as saying.


A total of 95 students were selected as finalists by a committee of university faculty and staff.




The White House honored Aparna Bhattacharyya, Pramila Jayapal, Shireen Zaman and 12 other Asian American and Pacific Islander women as Champions of Change.


A part of the White House's observance of AAPI Heritage Month, the event recognized women who are doing extraordinary things to create a more equal, safe, and prosperous future for their communities and the country.