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May 15, 2014

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

Issue: XIII-4 May 15, 2014
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The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) has scheduled its 25th (Jubilee) Anniversary in Port of Spain in Trinidad & Tobago, with a 3-day gala celebration on 27th to 29th May, 2014 preceding the annual Indian Arrival Day commemoration in that country. GOPIO International Trinidad & Tobago Chapter will be the convention host, along with a well organized convention team which includes GOPIO's regional and international chapters, executives, councils and life members, as well as businesses, government, organizations and academic supporters. 


Theme: The Indian Diaspora - Today and Tomorrow

Convention Convener: Ena Maraj, (Trinidad) President of GOPIO Int'l Chapter of Trinidad & Tobago

General Convener: Dr. Arnold Thomas (St. Vincent), GOPIO International Coordinator, Caribbean


Program Outline


Tuesday, 27th May

Welcome Reception & Dinner (sponsored by Labidco Port Services)

Buses to take delegates from hotel to venue and back


Wednesday, 28th May

GOPIO Meetings (Radisson Hotel, Port of Spain):

  • 10:00am - 12:00pm - Executive Council
  • 12:30pm - 1:30pm - Lunch
  • 1:30pm -   4:30pm - International Council & Elections
  • 9:30am -- 12:30pm - Business to Business (B-to-B) Meetings
  • Registration
  • Welcome
  • Introductions
  • Investment & Trade Opportunities in Trinidad & Tobago
  • Investment & Trade Opportunities in St Vincent & Grenadines
  • Investment & Trade Opportunities in Guyana
  • Break
  • Success Stories of Doing Business in the Caribbean
  • Free Enterprise, Market Economy and Business Successes
  • The Growth of Education and Medical Services for Bi-Lateral Trade
  • Media as Marketing Tool in Emerging Economies
  • Conclusion
  • Thanks & Appreciation
  • Networking

Wednesday, 28th May

Evening Program (Fernando Hill, Port of Spain)

Buses to take delegates from hotel to venue and back

6:30am -- 9:30pm - An Evening Under the Stars - A dinner evening extravaganza

  • Welcome
  • Dinner
  • Film #1
  • Performance
  • Film #2
  • Song & Dance
  • Cultural Presentation
  • Milestones
  • Thanks & Appreciation

Thursday, 29th May

Conference (Radisson Hotel, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago)

Theme: The Indian Diaspora - Today and Tomorrow 

Conference Program










Session I - Inaugural Session

Indian Diaspora Today & Tomorrow

Chief Guest: Shri G. Gupta, Indian Ambassador to Trinidad & Tobago



Session IIA

Global & Regional Diaspora Investments & Economic Opportunities

Session IIB

The Indian Diaspora: Issues, Challenges & Opportunities






Session III

Diaspora's Youth, Children, Gender & Inter-Generational Issues






Session IV

Multi-Cultural Diversity & Inter-Ethnic Cooperation in the Indian Diaspora



Session V

Education, Science & Technology as Significant Assets in the Indian Diaspora






Session VI

Health, Wellness, Lifestyle & Nutritional Factors in the Indian Diaspora



Session VII - Resolutions

GOPIO's 25th Anniversary Resolutions



Session VIII -  Conclusion

Wrap-up & Conclusion



Thursday, 29th May - starting at 6:30pm

  • Awards Banquet and Gala Radisson Hotel, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago

GOPIO Jubilee Recognition & Cultural Presentations - For outstanding achievements in selected categories which contribute to benefit or betterment of life for people of the Indian Diaspora.


Friday, 30th May 10:00am - 2:00pm (Indian Arrival Day, Trinidad & Tobago)

Unveiling of Indian Arrival Monument at Waterloo-by-the-Sea

Buses to take delegates from hotel to venue and back

  • Seating
  • Introductions
  • Historical Background
  • Unveiling
  • Remarks
  • Recognition
  • Thanks and Appreciation
  • Lunch

Friday, 30th May 5:30pm - 9:00pm (Indian Arrival Day, Trinidad & Tobago)

Indian Arrival Commemoration at National Centre for Indian Culture (NCIC) at Diwali Nagar

An evening of culture and commemoration by National Centre for Indian Culture (NCIC) 

Buses to take delegates from hotel to venue and back


Saturday, 31st May (Optional) Visit to Nelson Island Arrival Site

Buses to take delegates from hotel to venue and back

Cost per delegate $40 USD

Contact: Dr. Kumar Mahabir at


Saturday, 31st May (Onwards - Optional)

  • Tourism 2-day Visits - nearby Tobago, Barbados, Aruba, Guyana, etc
  • Amral/TravelSpan based in New York & Trinidad ("GOPIO Packages")
  • Urmila Persad at or Vasti Ballieraj at
  • Tel: 1-718 845-0437 Ext. 1153 or Ext 1166.

Hotel Accommodations at Radisson Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, Trinidad

  • Single or double occupancy $135 USD + tax
  • Includes breakfast and internet; early check-in and late check-out
  • Direct booking:  Tel: 1-868-625-3361-6 Ext 6604
  • Booking code:  CPGOPIO

Hostel Accommodations at University of West Indies, St Augustine (Port of Spain), Trinidad

  • $50USD per room within University of West Indies complex
  • Contact: Mahadaye Ramlagan, Convention Secretary, at

Hospitality Accommodations - families hosting international delegates

Airport Pick-up  - for small groups of delegates arriving together

  • Send name, country, arrival date & time, airline & flight number to:

Ena Maraj at and Mahadaye Ramlagan


Air, Hotel, Tourism Package Bookings  - air, hotel and holiday packages with options

Advertising & Sponsorships

  • Advertising per 1-page and ½ page in commemorative Souvenir Brochure
  • Sponsors and Patrons available at grand, platinum, gold and silver levels
  • Contact: Deo Gosine (Grand Patron)

Advertising & Sponsorships

  • Table top displays - limited number available for display of services, books, film, ect.
  • Contact Dr Indrani Rampersad & Dr. Kumar Mahabir (Displays) ,

Souvenir Brochure -a comprehensive commemorative keepsake 120-page Souvenir Brochure

Registration - for all convention events

  • No charge to delegates registering before May 15, 2014.
  • After May 15: Nominal charge of $25 USD per delegate payable upon registration.
  • Contact: Mahadaye Ramlagan, Convention Secretary, at


Ena Maraj (Convener)

Dr Arnold Thomas (General Convener & Conference Coordinator)

Deo Gosine (Grand Patron & Business Co-Chairperson)

Shalima Mohammed (Public Relations Coordinator)

Seeta Sahatoo (Hospitality Coordinator)

Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh (Conference Co-Coordinator)  

Dr Indrani Rampersad (Conference Co-Coordinator)

Dr. Kumar Mahabir (Conference Co-Coordinator)

Mahadaye Ramlagan (Convention Secretary)



Cox & Kings Global Services Pvt. Ltd. Is the new service provider for Visa, OCI, PIO and passport renunciation certificate. The support services are with effect from may 21st, 2014.


The Embassy of India in the USA has awarded the new contract for providing Visa/OCI/PIO/Renunciation of Indian Citizenship Certificate application support services to the Cox & Kings Global Services Pvt. Ltd., to be operational from May 21st, 2014.


The current Service Provider, BLS International Limited, will be closing all its operations with regard to Visa/OCI/PIO/Renunciation of Indian Citizenship Certificate support services in the evening of 20th May, 2014 at all locations in USA.


Applications in person viz. 'walk-in application" will be accepted by BLS International Ltd till the afternoon of  16th May 2014. Only Emergency Visa applications will be accepted by BLS till forenoon of 20th May 2014.


Applications sent through mail up to 13th May 2014 and reaching the BLS International Ltd. on or before 15th May 2014 will be accepted.  Thereafter, applicants, who propose to send their applications by mail, may send them, so as to reach offices of the Cox & Kings Global Services Pvt. Ltd. at jurisdictional locations on or after May 21st, 2014. It may also be noted that Banker's checks/Money order accompanying these applications are drawn in favor of the new service provider Cox & Kings Global Services Pvt. Ltd with the revised service fee.


From the 21st of May, 2014 all Visa/OCI/PIO/Renunciation of Indian Citizenship Certificate application support services will be provided by the Cox & Kings Global Services Pvt. Ltd.

Applicants, who have already submitted their applications to BLS International Ltd, may check online status of their applications from BLS International Ltd website till May 20th, 2014. The status of these Pending applications will be available on the website of Cox & Kings Global Services Pvt. Ltd. from 21st May 2014 and can be tracked from their website.


The website details and locations of the CKGS offices would be announced shortly.  




GOPIO-CT organized a reception and interactive session with the newly elected Stamford Mayor David Martin at the Stamford Hampton Inn and Suites on Friday, April 25th. The interactive session started with a welcome by GOPIO-CT President Shelly Nichani who said that Indian American community is the fastest growing ethnic group after Hispanics in Stamford.


Mayor Martin was introduced by his close friend and supporter Ashook Vasudevan. Mayor Martin said that he wants to work with the Indian American community to bring new businesses to Stamford. He also called upon the community to participate in the various city agencies to improve the quality of life in Stamford.


GOPIO-CT Reception for Stamford Mayor David Martin

Photo above: Shailesh Naik, Leena Ramchandani, Stamford Police Seargent Steve Perrota, Varghese Ninan, Mayor avid martin, GOPIO-CT President Shelly Nichani, Sangeeta Ahuja, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Meera Banta and Viresh Sharma


At the interactive session, Mayor Martin was urged to explore inviting businesses from India and China to set up shops in Stamford and also to improve the school system in Stamford. He welcomed these suggestions. The program ended with a vote of thanks by GOPIO-CT past president Sangeeta Ahuja.


Connecticut Chapter to Host 8th Annual Awards Banquet in Stamford


GOPIO-CT has scheduled its 8th Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, June 7th at the Italian Center, Stamford, Connecticut.The chief guest for the evening is Indian Consul General in New York, Ambassador Dnyaneshwar Mulay. Other dignitaries include Rep Jim Himes (D, CT 4th District), Stamford Mayor David Martin, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, New Jersey State Assembly Speaker Upendra Chivukula and Connecticut Assemblyman Dr. Prasad Srinivasan. Entertainment will include an evening in Bollywood with Dhoom Machale with DJ Tony.



Photo Above: Dignitaries to attend GOPIO-CT Banquet. Clockwise from top left: Ambassador Mulay, Congressman Himes, Stamford Mayor Martin, CT Assemblyman Dr. Prasad Srinivasan, NJ Assemblyman Chivukula and Norwalk Mayor Rilling


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




GOPIO Sydney Southwestorganized "GOPIO MASTERS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP" Tournament last month in Sydney. The games were played at two different golf courses "The Ridge Golf Course - Barden Ridge" and "Camden Lakeside Country Club - Catherine Field" in New South Wales for two days over the Easter long weekend. A grand gala evening dinner followed the tournament where the prizes were given to all the different category winners.


The event was a great success and everyone enjoyed both the golf and the gala dinner. The gala evening was attended by all players along with their spouses and friends.


The "GOPIO MASTERS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP" Winner was Mr. Vishnu Deo playing on 10 Handicap and the runner-up was won by Mr. Anil Gangaram playing on 14 Handicap.


The stroke event winner was Mr. Nitya Narayan playing on 10 handicap. Various novelty prizes such as Longest Drive, Drive-and-Pitch and Nearest-to-The-Pin were given on different holes for both days' events.


The following individuals and business supported the event: Citizen Watches Australia, James Gangaram of Australian Automotive Enterprise, Muttu Menon of Travelworld Epping, Russell and Robin Gramme of The Water shop and Lord Jewellers.


The organizing committee included Tournament Organizing Committee Chairman Raj Maharaj (Secretary, GOPIO-Sydney Southwest), Tournament Finance committee Chairman Neel Maharaj (Treasurer GOPIO Sydney Southwest), Tournament Handicapping Committee Chairman Suraj Maharaj, Tournament Rules and Disciplinary Committee Chair Sada Reddy, Awards Function committee Chair Sunil Anand and GOPIO International Life Member Mahavir Arya.


Partnering with GOPIO Sydney Southwest was 'NSW-Fiji Golfers Association.'


GOPIO-Sydney Southwest Golfers  Photo Above: GOPIO-Sydney Southwest Golfers


Contact Jagdish Lodhia, President, GOPIO Sydney Southwest,, Tel: +61 296011999.




The welfare of the Non Resident Indians (NRIs) who sent home 75 billion USD last year should be given priority by the new government at the centre, opined experts. Participating in a discussion on 'what NRIS demand from the new government', organized by the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) in Kochi, leading NRIs, professionals, social activists and legal advisors pointed out the various problems faced by Indians, especially Malayalis, living and working abroad , and how and why they need the government's immediate intervention.


K V Shamsudheen, chairman of Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, delivered the keynote address, and highlighted the financial chaos in the lives of many Malayalis who have spent decades in the Gulf countries. "Keralites contribute 19 percent of the total remittance made by NRIs, but only a part of it is deposited in banks. There has not been any concrete measures by the government to tap this immense potential of Malayalis working and living abroad. Instead, there are a number of rules and regulations that discourage investments by NRIs," he said.


From restrictions on buying farm land, excess tax on bank deposits, outdated baggage rules and lack of support for children's education, to high flight charges and absence of online voting system, the problems plaguing NRIs are endless, said Shamsudheen.


While C J George, MD, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services, said that the government should extend all possible help to increase NRI investments, Abraham Tharyan, executive director of South Indian Bank, that a corruption-free country would invite more participation from NRIs in development issues.


P C Cyriac, president of GOPIO, Kochi, who was the moderator at the panel discussion, said that the government should sort out confusions regarding policy making and implementation, and provide the best infrastructure facilities to attract genuine investors from abroad.


Jose Kannamthanam, senior advocate, C T Kuruvila, president, World Malayalee Society, K S R Menon, author, and Adv Sivan Madathil, social activist, participated in the discussion. GOPIO-Kochi Vice President Kurian Abraham and Secretary Jose Thomas were also present. Anita Pratap, contestant in Ernakulam Parliament constituency, also took part in the program.




The president of GOPIO Sydney North West chapter received a charity request from a boy who lost his legs in an unfortunate accident in January 2013. The boy's school principal, Mr Jaskaran Singh Kahlon got GOPIO's contact from the Principal of another school of Gurdaspur, where GOPIO Sydney North West chapter had helped through Caring & Sharing event and provided warm clothes, uniforms, shoes to all students and fans in all classrooms.


The plus 2 student, Abhinav Mahajan, son of Ashwani Kumar Mahajan, of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Dinanangar, Gurdaspur slipped from the train on 9th January 2013 while he was getting off the train at Dinanagar railway station. The train crushed both his legs. As a result of this accident an immediate operation was necessary, where the doctors had no other option but to cut his legs from the knees down as seen in the picture.


GOPIO-Sydney NW helps Abhinav Mahajan Abhinav Mahajan belongs to a poor family. His father died 8 months before his accident and there is no source of income to the family. The family approached the school principal for help to provide prosthetic legs, so that he can resume his normal life.


Upon receiving a request from the school principal, GOPIO Sydney North West chapter members contributed for the asked amount for the expenses of Abhinav's prosthetic legs. The money is being sent to the school principal by the Treasurer of the chapter.



Photo left: Abhinav Mahajan with Mr. Amrik Singh Pelia on the left and Jaskaranjit Singh Kahlon (Principal of Govt. Model Senior Secondary School, Dinanagar, Gurdaspur) on the right.








A new initiative by GOPIO Queensland is the Business Council and the Women Council, led by Ramanathan K and Amy Jaggesar respectively.


Business Council intends to cater to the business opportunities and networking, while Women Council looks after the needs and active participation from the community's women folks, across the state. Business Council endeavors to create and support a platform for all businesses, services and professional practices for people of Indian origin.


As a part of Business Council, the first event as a part of multiple interactions in the coming time, "A Night of Motivation and Leadership", was organized by the chapter on Wednesday, 7th May. The guest speaker was Pele Ramdhani, National Sales Manager for Good Life Health Clubs. A well-known presenter and a champion of business, marketing and human resources development among the international Entrepreneurs, Pele is a renowned name in the industry.


Pele talked about the leadership qualities and what it takes it to reach the next levels of success. Partnership and unity are the key drivers for the growth of any society. Talk on philosophy of Tagore on reaching the next level of success was a great path-shower. One of the best lines from the night which most of the participants were talking about was "You can get a hand over a season, but heart is for a lifetime".


Ramanathan opened the event with a rousing welcome to the guest speaker, Pele, Freya Ostapovitch, sponsors and all the participants. He said, "It takes a life time to be an achiever but to learn from their stories in an hour or two is what this event is all about".


Photo above: Speakers at GOPIO Queensland Business Council Meet and section of audience


Yousuf Alikhan, the president of GOPIO Queensland chapter while addressing the audience appreciated the active participation of the audience and the effort put in by the committee members and the volunteers. He welcomed everyone and gave an overview of GOPIO and its chapters to the audience. Yousuf mentioned the inclusive growth of Queensland chapter in the last 5 years and how it has helped in fair representation of Indians living in the region.


The event was attended by a good gathering from the business fraternity of Brisbane.


Chapter to Organize Multicultural Festival on August 10th


Thousands from the multicultural communities in Brisbane will come together to celebrate the iconic "India Day Fair 2014" on Sunday, the 10th of August 2014, at Roma Street Parklands. There will be parades from various Indian communities, Indian music, dance and cultural items running throughout the day, Indian henna - hand painting - will be available and the event will conclude with a mammoth fireworks.


GOPIO with the support of Federation of Indian Communities Queensland (FICQ) and other Indian associations celebrate India Day Fair every year with real vigour, charm and an abundance of colours. The event has been well attended by dignitaries in the past. 


Contact: Ashutosh Raina, PRO - GOPIO Queensland, +61-4-0320-8908




The Police Chiefs of Stamford, Norwalk and Darien met with the South Asian Community in the lower Fairfield County to address community's concerns of increased burglaries along with other issues of security and safety. It was organized by the Stamford Cricket Club, the Connecticut Chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO-CT) and Shaheen Cricket Club at Belltown Fire Station in Stamford on May 1st. Stamford Police Chief Jonathan Fontneau, Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik and Darien Police Chief Duane Lovello along their detectives addressed many of the concerns pertaining to the South Asian community.

Photo above: Police chiefs with organizers: From l. to r.: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Darien Police Chief Duane Lovello, Stamford Police Chief Jonathan Fontneau, Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik, Shaheen Cricket club Chair Shahzad Khawaja and Stamford Cricket Club Chair Sahul sharma




GOPIO-Sydney Southwest organized a evening cocktails reception welcoming the new executive committee which will take over from the present committee in July 2014.It was held at the Himalaya Function Center in Liverpool in Sydney Southwest. The new team is headed by Joseph Thomas as President.


Contact: Jagdish Lodhia, President, GOPIO Sydney Southwest,, Tel: +61 296011999 or Incoming President Joseph Thomas, Tel: +61-404 053 186




Times Award for Suman KapoorGOPIO Life Member and Chairperson of GOPIO International Women's Council Suman Kapoor of New Zealand received NRI OF THE YEAR 2014 (Philanthropy) award conferred by Times Now at the channel's NRI of the Year awards recently in Mumbai. The NRI of the Year awards aim to acknowledge non-resident Indians who have achieved success in various fields in the countries they have chosen to make their homes.


Suman is founder President of GOPIO Waikato in New Zealand, the first chapter of GOPIO in New Zealand. She actively contributes to local, national and international issues of concern to help Indians Diaspora gender based, age based and overall quality of life based time to time relevant needs. She is recipient of several other awards including multicultural input to the communities.




For Ashvin Vishwanath, a professor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley, winning a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship represents more than just a validation of his research.


As would be expected, the Indian American physics professor was very happy about winning the prestigious award, announced April 10 along with 176 other fellowships by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.


"On the practical side, this will allow me to devote a semester entirely to research," he told India-West. "But what is special about the Guggenheim is that it is awarded to individuals working across a wide range of human endeavors, and for the first time I find myself grouped not just with other scientists, but, for example, with writers and filmmakers whose day-to-day work could not be more different from my own." "But I find myself thinking," he added reflectively, "that although we are trying to understand and express very different things, maybe deep down our goals are not that different. Perhaps emphasizing this unity within the diversity of human endeavors was one of the objectives of the foundation."


The South Asian Guggenheim Fellows named in the U.S. and Canada this year certainly showcase the overall diversity of grantees honored in the creative arts, humanities, social and natural sciences.


In addition to Vishwanath, South Asian winners of grants of various amounts include British Indian novelist Hari Kunzru of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Bangladeshi American filmmaker and visual artist Naeem Mohaiemen of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Sri Lankan-born science writer Ray Jayawardhana of Toronto, Canada; and Indian American mathematics professor Kiran Sridhara Kedlaya of the University of California at San Diego.


The son of a Kashmiri Pandit father and a British Anglican Christian mother, Kunzru has written four novels, a collection of short stories and does travel writing for U.K. newspapers such as The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.


His fourth novel, "Gods Without Men," a mysterious metaphysical story set in California's Mojave Desert at Pinnacle Rocks National Park, was well-received by critics.


He told India-West, "I feel honored to be named a Guggenheim Fellow. As the foundation puts it, this is a 'mid career' award, and it feels like a staging post, a recognition that the work I've done so far is of value, and that I have the potential to do more and better in the future." He added, "For me, as a writer who moved from the U.K. to the U.S. six years ago, it's a particular validation - I feel that my work, which has lately centered around understanding American history and culture, is considered worthwhile by the intellectual community here."


Kunzru studied English at Wadham College, Oxford, and then received an M.A. in philosophy and literature from the University of Warwick, U.K. His wife is novelist Katie Kitamura. From 1999-2004 he was music editor of "Wallpaper" magazine and since 1995 he has been a contributing editor to "Mute," a culture and technology magazine.


Mohaiemen, a graduate of Oberlin College in 1993 with a B.A. in economics and a concentration in history, describes himself on Twitter as "a writer and visual artist, working in New York and Dhaka, researching borders, wars and belonging through essays, photography and film."


He directed "Muslims or Heretics," a documentary about struggles between moderate and radical Islamists in Bangladesh; directed and co-produced "Rumble in Mumbai," a documentary on globalization; and directed "United Red Army, The Young Man Was, Part 1," about the 1977 hijacking of Japan Airlines Flight 472 by the Japanese Red Army.


He also co-founded Visible Collective, a collective of New York-based artists and lawyers investigating security panic. Visible's work has been exhibited internationally, including at the 2006 Whitney Biennial of American Art.


Asked to comment on receiving the fellowship, he told India-West, "While marking the specific (geographic, and otherwise) context of the research many of us are doing, it's necessary to also note the wider interpretative possibilities. "If you consider the recent scholarship on Haiti's slave rebellion as the inspiration for 'universal history,' I would argue that Bangladesh's trajectory before and after 1947 (as East Bengal, East Pakistan and finally Bangladesh) can be a template for understanding the conditions, and possibilities, of post-liberation disenchantment."


Kedlaya, holder of the Stefan E. Warschawski Endowed Chair at U.C.-San Diego, has a B.A. in mathematics and physics from Harvard University, an M.A. in mathematics from Princeton University and a doctorate in mathematics from MIT.


After receiving his Ph.D., he held postdoctoral posts at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at U.C.-Berkeley and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and taught at MIT.


The Indian American mathematics professor is known for his work related to arithmetic algebraic geometry and number theory, especially p-adic cohomology, p-adic Hodge theory and computational number theory.


The author of 49 research papers, Kedlaya is a winner of National Science Foundation five-year Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and Sloan Research and Clay Liftoff fellowships.


Vishwanath, who lives in Berkeley with his wife, Rashmi, and their two young sons, told India-West that he grew up in Bangalore, where his parents still live. He attended IIT-Kanpur, "which has a world class physics program," he said. "Our entire class consisted of only about 10 students a year, and we got a lot of attention from the many strong physicists on the faculty. We were a small minority in many ways - not just that we were in a science department in what was predominantly an engineering institute, but also that we had decided to pursue a subject that we were passionate about, when the norm was to pick an engineering major dictated by one's entrance exam rank.


The Indian American received a Ph.D. from Princeton, did postdoctoral work as a fellow at MIT and has taught physics at U.C.-Berkeley since 2004.


"My work centers on understanding phenomena such as superconductivity, magnetism and other remarkable properties of matter, starting from basic theories like quantum mechanics," he explained. "Historically, my area of inquiry, which is called condensed matter physics, has also led to numerous important applications, such as the transistor, magnetic memories and magnetic resonance imaging, which have automatically emerged as we deepened our understanding of fundamental principles." He added. "I am a theorist - which means I have trouble explaining to people exactly how I do my research. Most of my work gets done with pencil and paper, sometimes with a computer but always with a lot of talking with my collaborators."


"The goal of my Guggenheim project is to move towards a physical realization of interesting states of matter that have been predicted in my recent theoretical work. One of them is termed a 'Weyl semimetal,' which can be thought of as a three-dimensional analog of grapheme," he said.


Grapheme is a super strong, light crystalline form of carbon.




The New York City Council has confirmed Mayor Bill de Blasio's nominee to head the agency that oversees taxis and car services.


Meera Joshi was unanimously confirmed April 10 to serve as chairwoman and CEO of the Taxi and Limousine Commission. Joshi has worked in city government for more than a decade. The Indian American served most recently as general counsel to the taxi commission.


Mayor De Blasio announced her nomination in March, saying she oversaw initiatives that brought better service to thousands of taxi riders.


She also prosecuted financial injustices against victimized taxi drivers.




Four Indian-Americans are among recipients of this year's Paul and Doris Soros Fellowships for New Americans. Each year, the fellowships honor and support the graduate education of 30 New Americans, permanent residents or naturalized citizens if born abroad; otherwise children of naturalized citizen parents.


Arnav Chhabra, Sundeep Iyer, Ramya Parameswaran and Sana Raoof were selected from more than 1,200 applicants, and will each receive tuition and stipend assistance of up to $90,000 in support of graduate education, according to the fellowship website.


Also selected is Indonesia-born Salmah Y. Rizvi, the daughter of a Pakistani father and Guyanese mother and will use the award to support work toward a JD at the New York University School of Law.


Chhabra's fellowship will support work toward a PhD in medical engineering and medical physics. Coming to the U.S. as a teenager, Chhabra began working as a researcher at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas in high school.


His work there was so impressive that he was asked to lead a project investigating chemotherapy resistance, and in 2009, he was first author on a paper in the Anticancer Research Journal, according to his bio data on the fellowship website.


Chhabra's interest in medical technology led him to the Mechanical Engineering program at the University of Texas-Austin, where he investigated nerve regeneration and biomedical polymers. After achieving a perfect 4.0 GPA, he began a PhD in medical engineering at Harvard Medical School and MIT.


In graduate school, Chhabra is creating an on chip model of the liver which will replicate the pathophysiology of human livers, thereby enabling a noninvasive study of liver function. He is concurrently funded by the National Science Foundation.


Iyer, who will use his fellowship toward a JD, was born in New Jersey. After graduating from Harvard, Iyer worked for the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School, a non-partisan think-tank where he directed statistical research to evaluate democratic reforms, his bio data on the fellowship website says.


His research was used in several federal voter rights cases, and his work has been cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, Politico and National Review. In 2011, he founded the Statistical Reform in Redistricting Project, whose data have been used by the Sunlight Foundation and Georgia's Legislative Black Caucus.


Currently Iyer is studying for a JD at Yale Law School. By integrating academic research with real-world litigation, Iyer hopes to become an effective voice in safeguarding democracy, the website said.


Parameswaran, who grew up in the Bay Area in California, will use her fellowship to support work toward an MD and PhD in biophysical science. A gifted violinist and Bharatha Nataym dancer, Parameswaran got her first exposure to scientific innovation during a summer internship at NASA while in high school, her bio data says. A few years later, as an undergraduate at Stanford University, her study of cancer in genetically engineered mice earned her the Firestone Medal, given to Stanford University's top undergraduate theses.


Her love for science and her concern for women's health issues influenced Parameswaran's decision to pursue a dual career as a research scientist and practicing physician. Now an MD/PhD student at the University of Chicago, she combines her research in nanoscale biomaterials that can interface with immune cells, with time spent volunteering at the Maria Shelter for women and children on Chicago's South Side.


Raoof, who ran track at school and university in a boy's uniform, will use her fellowship to support work toward an MD and a PhD in molecular oncology. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Raoof was raised on Long Island, N.Y. After studying knot theory at MIT, she won the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2008 and the Taiwan International Science Fair in 2009, her bio data says. Hoping to teach kids the chemistry of smoking versus running, Raoof created a class, BreatheStrong, in 2010, and also became editor-in-chief of the Harvard Science Review and the youngest keynote speaker for the American Mathematical Society. Her published thesis, which used statistical mechanics to model protein interactions, illuminated the process of antibody optimization.


She represented Harvard at the World Debate Championships in Botswana, hoping to sharpen her persuasive skills to eventually fight tobacco-related illness through policy. Her mother's battle with breast cancer inspired Raoof to enroll in Harvard-MIT's MD/PhD program. She will study resistance mechanisms to targeted therapies for non-small cell lung cancer.




India-born poet Vijay Seshadri has won the prestigious 2014 Pulitzer Prize in the poetry category for his collection of poems "3 Sections."


The 98th annual Pulitzer Prizes in Journalism, Letters, Drama and Music were announced on Monday by Columbia University here.

Seshadri's '3 Sections' is a "compelling collection of poems that examine human consciousness, from birth to dementia, in a voice that is by turns witty and grave, compassionate and remorseless," the announcement said.

The prize for the poetry category was given for a "distinguished volume of original verse" by an American author. A Columbia University alum, Seshadri would receive $10,000 reward.

According to Seshadri's biography on the Pulitzer website, he currently teaches poetry and nonfiction writing at liberal arts college Sarah Lawrence in New York. Born in Bangalore in 1954, Seshadri came to America at the age of five and grew up in Columbus, Ohio.

His collections of poems include James Laughlin Award winner The Long Meadow and Wild Kingdom (1996). His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in prestigious publications including the American Scholar, the Nation, the New Yorker, the Paris Review, Yale Review, the Times Book Review, the Philadelphia Enquirer and in many anthologies, including Under 35: The New Generation of American Poets and The Best American Poetry 1997 and 2003.

Seshadri has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been awarded the Paris Review's Bernard F Conners Long Poem Prize and the MacDowell Colony's Fellowship for Distinguished Poetic Achievement.

Seshadri is the fifth person of Indian origin to bag the prestigious award, the first being Gobind Behari Lal in 1937. Lal, a science editor, was awarded the Pulitzer in the reporting category for his coverage of science at the tercentenary of Harvard University when he was working for Universal Service. He died of cancer in 1992.

Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri got Pulitzer for fiction in 2000 for her collection of stories "Interpreters of Maladies".

Journalist-writer of Indian origin Geeta Anand was the next to get the award. Anand was the investigative reporter and feature writer for the Wall Street Journal and won the award in 2003 for "clear, concise and comprehensive stories that illuminated the roots, significance and impact of corporate scandals in America".

Indian-American physician Siddhartha Mukherjee's acclaimed book on cancer, 'The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,' won the 2011 Pulitzer prize in the general non-fiction category.




The Society of Interventional Radiology added 29 fellows to the Fairfax, Va.- national organization's roster during SIR's 39th annual scientific meeting March 22-27 in San Diego, Calif.


The honor, achieved by fewer than 10 percent of the SIR membership, goes to members who have demonstrated excellence in research and published works or teaching and leadership within the field of interventional radiology and/or the society.


Among the 29 fellows named this year are three Indian Americans: Dr. Rajesh I. Patel, of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, N.Y.; Dr. Aalpen A. Patel of Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.; and Dr. Shawn N. Sarin, of George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C.


Interventional radiologists are physicians who specialize in minimally invasive, targeted treatments using X-rays, MRIs and other imaging technologies.




Seven Indian American college students have been awarded the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship that would fund their educational expenses in the coming years, a media report said Tuesday.


Of the over 1,660 students who applied for the award this year, 283 were selected, making this one of the most competitive years for the award, American Bazaar online reported Tuesday.


The Indian American students selected this year are: Swati Sureka, a biology and chemistry double-major at Cornell University; Radhika Agarwal, a biochemistry and biology double-major at Indiana University in Bloomington; Adam Ramsaran, a neuroscience major at the University of Delaware; Sivabalan Manivasagam, a chemistry major from the University of North Texas; Tushar Swamy, an electrical engineering and physics double-major from Northeastern University; Loveprit Singh, a chemistry and applied mathematics double-major from the University of Oregon and Nitin Anantha Krishna, a mathematics and computer science double-major at Western Kentucky University.


Established in 1986 and named after former Republican Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, the scholarship seeks to award individuals who are pursuing high-level careers in the hard sciences.


The scholarship given by The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, has been one of the most prestigious undergraduate award given in the sciences.

The scholars include undergraduate sophomores (second-year students) and juniors from the US.


The one- and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.




Fellows of microbiology academy in America select its followers annually after a thorough selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that individual have made in advanced microbiology.

In more than 50 years, 2,700 scientists have been elected to the Academy. Recently, 88 microbiologists were elected as the Fellows of the academy, out of which two are Indian Americans and a Bangladeshi microbiologists.


Two Indian Americans are Dr. Hiten D. Madhani of the University of California, San Francisco and Dr. Siba Samal, of the University of Maryland, College Park, while Dr. Firdausi Qadri, of the International Center for Diarrhoeal Diseases in Dhaka, Bangladesh is Bangladeshi fellow.

Dr. Hiten D. Madhani is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF. Madhani has earned his degree in medicine in 1995 and his Ph.D. in genetics in 1993 at UCSF itself. Later, he received postdoctoral degree in signal transduction from the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass.

Dr. Siba Samal, who is a recognized expert on three important animal viruses that are namely Newcastle disease virus, bovine respiratory syncytial virus, and avian metapneumovirus, was an associate dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Samal's work on the Newcastle disease virus, which is a contagious bird disease was very good and fruitful. As, the expertise on this virus has involved establishing a molecular basis for how it causes disease, engineering improved vaccines. Also, he developed new vaccines against other human and animal diseases using the virus.

Scientific achievements in enteric and diarrheal infections and vaccines are achieved by Dr. Firdausi Qadri. Apart from this, Qadri led his studies the immune response in H.pylori infected people in Bangladesh and the responses in patients with typhoid fever as well as vaccines.





India received foreign exchange remittances worth $70 billion in 2013 from its migratory workforce to retain the top spot in the world amid a broad slowdown caused by regulatory hindrances on both movement of people and capital. China ($60 billion), the Philippines ($25 billion), Mexico ($22 billion), Nigeria ($21 billion), Egypt ($17 billion), Pakistan ($15 billion), Bangladesh ($14 billion), Vietnam ($11 billion) and Ukraine ($10 billion), rounded up the Top 10 remittance recipient nations, according to a World Bank report.

The report, an annual World Bank exercise that underscores the point that remittances are an important source of foreign exchange often surpassing earnings from major exports, said India's $70 billion in remittance receipts in 2013 was "more than the $65 billion earned from the country's flagship software services exports".

Such trajectory was even greater in countries such as Nepal, where remittances are nearly double the country's revenues from exports of goods and services, while in Sri Lanka and the Philippines, they are over 50% and 38%, respectively. In Uganda, remittances are double the country's income from its main export of coffee.


In terms of remittances as a share of GDP, the top recipients were Tajikistan (52%), Kyrgyz Republic (31%), Nepal and Moldova (both 25%), Samoa and Lesotho (both 23%), Armenia and Haiti (both 21%), Liberia (20%) and Kosovo (17%). Authors of the report said recipient countries could do much more to enhance remittances while obliquely criticizing the roadblocks in terms of high costs and increased restrictions on movement of people, including a surge in deportations.

"In addition to the large annual flows of remittances, migrants living in high income countries are estimated to hold savings in excess of $500 billion annually. These savings represent a huge pool of funds that developing countries can do much more to tap into," said Dilip Ratha, manager of the migration and remittances team at the bank's Development Prospects Group, and an authority on remittances.

The report also noted that Nigeria is readying a Diaspora bond issue to mobilize Diaspora savings and boost financing for development.





President Obama first group of ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship includes Salman Khan, founder of the extremely popular tutorial company Khan Academy based in Mountain View, Calif. Khan and 10 other entrepreneurs met the President April 7 at the White House to kick-start the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) organization established by the U.S. Department of Commerce. President Obama had announced his intention to form such a group at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last October.


Obama urged the group to use their platform as to help others learn from their experiences, benefit from their networks, and inspire new businesses, a blog entry by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, says on the White House website. is a non-profit educational site that offers free tutorials to students, that Khan says he wants to be able to deliver a free, world-class education to anyone anywhere in the world. It gained a high profile after Microsoft founder Bill Gates said he used it to teach his son.


Khan is the son of an Indian mother and Bangladeshi father. The idea for the business emerged in 2004 when Khan prepared some math tutorials for a cousin, Nadia. It soon became popular with other members of the family and kept growing. In 2009, he began devoting all his time to the effort and the website shows a host of young techies and subject specialists working to develop the course materials.


According to TED Talks blog in January, has more than 10 million unique users per month for lessons that are delivered in 29 languages; 5 million exercises are completed daily on the site. Khan has collaborations with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has received funding from Google ($2 million) and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation ($1.5 million).


Each of the 11 entrepreneurs on the President's PAGE program "has a unique and valuable perspective" and have created jobs in the U.S., Pritzker said in her blog. "They are passionate about spurring creativity and entrepreneurship in the United States and recognize the positive impact of new business formation on economic growth and job creation," Pritzker added, noting that young companies today are responsible for almost all new job growth across the United States. 


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 FREE, 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), Shelly Nichani (President, GOPIO-CT, USA), Suman Kapoor (Chair, GOPIO Business Council, New Zealand), Jagdish Lodhia (President, GOPIO Sydney Southwest, Australia), Ashutosh Raina (PRO - GOPIO Queensland)
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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