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June10, 2013

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

Issue: XII-6 June 10, 2013
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The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) organized an interactive session with India's Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs at the Utsav Restaurant in New York on May 27th. Attended by a full house crowd and the Consul General of India, Minister Ravi took up several questions on the matters concerning issuance and renewal of Overseas Indian citizenship and other issues.


The meeting started with a minute of silence "on this Memorial Day to remember and pay homage to all who served and sacrificed for their country as well as for the victims of Chattisgargh and other tragedies". In his welcome address, GOPIO President Ashook Ramsaran complimented Minister Ravi for initiating several programs benefiting the overseas Indian communities including the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Kolkata Memorial for indentured laborers, and Gadar Centenary Celebrations planned for this year. Following remarks by India's Consul General in New York, Ambassador D. Mulay and TV Asia Chairman H. R. Shah, then introduction by GOPIO's Founding President Dr Thomas Abraham, GOPIO Secretary J. Nami Kaur and Director of Diaspora Development Mridul Pathak, presented to the Minister Ravi GOPIO's memorandum of global PIO community issues as follows: 


Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card Uniformity for all - Problem of reissue when passports are renewed at age 20 and at age 50, while at age 20-49 carry old passport with U-Visa along with the new passport.


Alternate Documentation for PIO Card - For PIOs who are unable to obtain original documents due to poor records in countries where Indian laborers migrated from 1834-1920.


OIC and continued issue on old Indian passport - Effective date of implementation and procedures.


Indian Development Fund (IDF) - Changes in practices as of January 2013 affect donations.


Education Entrance Exams in India - Medical MBBS and BDS entrance exams for admission in India should be held at convenient time for students in USA and Europe by Medical Council of India.


NRI Tax beyond 60-day stay in India - Waiver needed for families, retirees and emergencies.


Uniformity of information, policies and practices for Visas, OCI cards, etc by Indian missions and ministries.


Provide reciprocity for spouses of temporary foreign workers in India so that H1 visa holders' spouses can also work in the US as stipulated in the new US Immigration Bill


NRI Property Rights and Fast Track Judiciary - A continuing problem affecting NRIs with the increasing number of Indians emigrating or working overseas.


To work in Indian on a Research Visa - Burdensome and unnecessary requirement for special permission for OCI/PIO Card holders to conduct research in India.


Install Indian Indenture Arrival Commemoration Plaques in Countries with large PIO population - Example Guyana 2013.


GOPIO Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham, who moderated the meeting said that OCI renewal at age 20 and 50 have become cumbersome experience with requirements of additional documents and suggested to make the renewal process easier.


There are about 2000 Indian American students going to India for medical studies and with many states adopting MCI's entrance test (NEET) for admission and suddenly implementing it, most Indian American students won't be able to seek admission in India. Dr. Abraham asked to maintain status quo  for NRI students admission as in the previous years. While NEET has a center in the Middle East,  Dr. Abraham requested the Minister to talk to the Health Ministry and MCI to set up entrance exam center in the US and in Europe.


Memorandums on community issues were also presented by FOKANA Executive Vice President Varghese Ulahannan and West Chester Malayalee Association President Joy Ittan. In the open forum, many other issues were raised including community's concern on longer time needed to get the OCI renewal process.


Minister Ravi said that many of these issues raised need to be worked with other ministries and in particular Home Ministry which is concerned about the security of India and terrorists entering India with doctored document. Minister Ravi suggested that community organizations provide suggestions for improvement in these services from the Indian missions and ministries and he would further take concrete suggestions to the Home Ministry.


The meeting was also attended by TV Asia Chairman H.R. Shah, Miss India/Indian Festival Committee Chairman Dharmatma Saran, FOKANA Chairman Paul Karukappillil, Indian National Overseas Congress President George Abraham and the Kerala Center President Thambi Thalappillil. Other India Govt. officers present at the meeting include Director of Diasporaq Services at MOIA Anand Prakash Pandey and Consul for Passport and Visa Ajay Purswani.


Minister Vayalar Ravi speaking at a community interactive session organized by GOPIOPhoto. Minister Ravi speaking at the Interactive Session. From l. to r. Mridul Pathak, Director of Diaspora Development, GOPIO Int'l; Ashook Ramsaran, President, GOPIO Int'l; Amb. D. Mulay, India's Consul General in New York; MOIA Minister Vayalar Ravi; Dr. Thomas Abraham, former President, Exec Trustee GOPIO Foundation; H R Shah, Chairman of TV Asia; Darshan Bagga, President, GOPIO Nassau County, New York  



GOPIO-CT organized a breakfast meeting with Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool on Tuesday, May 21st at the Hampton Inn and Suite in Stamford. A person of Indian origin, Ambassador Rasool grandparents had migrated to South Africa from Surat in Gujrat. Ambassador Rasool has had extensive experience in South African government, having led various departments such as Health, Welfare, Finance and Economic Development. He had served as the Premier of the Western Cape Province. For his contribution to South Africa, Rasool has been the recipient of a number of leadership awards including the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights.


Ebrahim Rasool has a long history of involvement in the anti-apartheid struggle, starting in high school and including leadership in the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the African National Congress (ANC). He has spent time both in prison and under house arrest. As ambassador the US, one of his missions is to attract business and investments from the US and spoke on Global Indian Diaspora and Global Development - Opportunities in South Africa.


The early immigrants struggled and made their successive generations a contributing community to South Africa. They managed to maintain their distinctive identity whether migrated from different parts of India or of different religion. However, they also maintained their larger identity as person of Indian origin.


With Apartheid in South Africa, the extend of discrimination and human rights violations were not only to Black Africans but also to Indians and Malays and other communities. It was legal to discrimination. Mahatma Gandhi found South Africa as a laboratory to test non-violence and non-cooperation to achieve the rights of Indians and the colored people. Gandhianism and Madelaism have not only contributed to the economic prosperity of the masses but also helped in the spiritual uplift of people all over the world.


In terms of the global economy, the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) could play a major role in the world economy. BRICKS Business Council is planning a $50 Billion equity for a development bank and a BRICS Think Tank. The Indian Diaspora could contribute to the human resource development of the BRICS countries and other developing countries.


GOPIO-CT organizers with Ambassador Rasool  GOPIO-CT organizers with Ambassador Rasool and other guests. From l. to r.: Dr. Anil Diwan, Barry Berold, Meera Banrta, Shailesh Naik, Nami Kaur, Ambassador Rasool, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Adrian Bethray, Safia Mehta, Biru Sharma, Bala Nair, Ashok Nichani, Praveen Banker and Paul Ahuja


Ambassador Rasool called upon the Indian Americans to utilize opportunities in Africa through South Africa. African rate of return is currently 8% and investments can provide a return of 5% to 10%.


Ambassador Rasool further told the Indian Diaspora community to do reverse movement to invest in their home countries.


Please see the full speech of Ambassador Rasool at the YouTube video



The nomination of 46-year-old legal eagle Srikanth Sri Srinivasan was historic as a judge to the country's second highest court. Srinivasan has become the first South Asian to be appointed to the top American court.


Srinivasan's nomination to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was unanimously approved by the Senate with 97 voting in favor. More importantly, the appointment is expected to bring him in line for the Supreme Court - four of its current judges, including chief justice John Roberts, are from the DC circuit court.


Sri Srinivasan has worked in the US Solicitor General's office three times for both Republican and Democratic administrations and argued 24 cases before the Supreme Court.


The court on which he will serve is considered the most important in the country after the Supreme Court and often decides cases involving government regulations and the power of federal agencies. Its judges have become Supreme Court justices.


Earlier the US senate judiciary committee cleared Srinivasan's nomination with 18-0 approval. Srinivasan will become the first Indian- American judge at a circuit court, roughly the equivalent of India's high courts.


"I am glad we are moving forward with this fine nominee in a bipartisan way," senate judiciary committee chairman Patrick Leahy said in a statement. The nomination process hasn't been without hurdles. President Barack Obama nominated Srinivasan to the DC circuit court a year ago, but his hearing took place only in April this year.


Srinivasan was born in Chandigarh but raised in Kansas City when his parents moved there. He went on to graduate from Stanford University and did a joint law and business masters from Stanford Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business.


 "His appointment would be historic for the Indian American and Asian American community," said Ami Bera, the only Indian-American in the US congress now.


US President Barack Obama has described Indian-origin Srikanth Srinivasan, who created history by becoming a top federal judge, as one of his favorite persons.


"One of my favorite people right now [is], Sri Srinivasan, who has just been confirmed," Obama said at a White House reception held to celebrate the month of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).


"I was proud to nominate Sri, and he was just confirmed unanimously to become the first South Asian American federal appeals court judge," Obama said addressing the gathering at the White House. 




Vasant Iyer with perfect score in SAT won the top award and revolving trophy "Profiles in Excellence" in the high school category at the 27th annual awards function on April 28, 2013, jointly organized by Indian American Heritage Foundation and GOPIO Los Angeles chapter. The award has been instituted by Sanjiv & Rajesh Chopra in memory of their parents, and was presented by Ashok Madan and his wife Manju.  The other nine winners in high school category are: Deeksha Goel, Nikeeta Shah, Anshal Gupta, Deven Patel, Vighnesh Iyer, Spandana Madhava, Kirav Patel, Shilpa Mantri, and Bansari Patel. Outstanding Achievement Award in Math, Science and Technology instituted by Dr. Mani Bhaumik, was won by Deven Patel; Community Service instituted by Dr. Rajesh Kadakia won by Anshal Gupta,  Visual & Performing Arts instituted by Kumar Jawa won by Nikeeta Shah, and  Sports instituted by Jack Khangura by Kirav Patel. Each winner was given cash award and revolving trophy for excellence in the respective field.


2013 Heritage Award for Performign Arts Winner with Sasha Singh with Tolanis 




In Middle school category, Sandeep Kambhampati won the top award. Sunil Tolani who funded the award and the revolving trophy presented the cash award and trophy to the winner. The other winners included Agam Vadecha, Sasha Singh, Shaina Patel and Jay Garg.  Sasha Singh won the Visual and Performing Arts award instituted by Mollie Rachna Singh in honor of "Teachers, parents and family." Both award check and plaque were presented to Sasha Singh by Rachna Singh who flew in from Seattle to present the award.





Photo above: Heritage Award for Performign Arts Winner with Sasha Singh with Tolanis


In the entertainment program, Vasant Iyer presented a short Carnatic violin piece while Sneha Krish presented Bharat Natyam dance. Shaina Patel & Shane Patel presented a very upbeat fusion dance. Three dance items were presented by Corinne, Kara, Savannah and Jennifer of Bollywood Performers.


Financial support for the annual event was provided by Ashok & Manju Madan, Dr. M.C & Usha Gupta, VJ & Simi Singh, Dr. C. R. Viswanathan,  Harbhajan Singh Samra,  Jagdish Khangura,  Kumar Jawa of India Sweets & Spices, Dr. M.L. Bhaumik, Mollie Rachna Singh, Dr. Rajesh Kadakia,  Sanjiv & Renu Chopra, Dr. Satinder-Ranjit Bhatia, Uma-Avadesh Agarwal, Sunil Tolani, BU Patel,  Munish Makkar, Vas and Kusum Arora, Uma and Satsh Chander and Nishat Ahmed. 


Indian American Heritage Foundation is the leading organization to publicly recognize, reward and celebrate excellence of the community's best and brightest graduating students. Prof. Phillip Clayton, Dean of Faculty, Claremont Lincoln University, was the keynote speaker. His motivational speech touched several hearts. 


Heritage Awards 2013 - All Award Winners with Heritage and GOPIO Committee Members  Photo above: (Bottom row, l-r): Awardees seen with their trophies only are Anshal Gupta (Community Service), Nikeeta Shah (Visual & Performing Arts), Vasant Iyer (top High School Academics), Kirav Patel  (Sports), Deven Patel (Math & Science), Sandeep Kambhampati (top Middle school), Sasha Jyote Singh (Visual & Performing Arts - Middle school).(Standing, l-r): Organizing Committee members Amrit Bhandari, Manju Madan, Ashok Madan, V.J. Singh, Inder Singh, Anil  Verma, Kewal Kanda, Ajmer Singh, Aparna Handa, Keshav Patel, and Abdulgani Shaikh (behind awardee).  


Foundation president Inder Singh, while thanking the volunteers, said, "An individual, howsoever brilliant, intelligent and smart, would find it difficult, if not impossible to match the collaborative efforts of an effective team. The team included Abdulgani Shaikh, Ajmer Singh, Ashok Madan, Dr. Mallappa Yerasi, Deepi Singh, Kewal Kanda, Simi Singh, Amrit Bhandari, Dilip Butani, Aparna Hande, Yash Singh, Keshav Patel, VJ Singh, Anil Verma and Sangita Chauhan.




GOPIO-CT joined hands with Hampton Inn and Suites in Stamford to participate in the Annual Cancer Walk to benefit Bennett Cancer Center and their patients through a fun annual event, the Hope in Motion Walk, Run & Ride. Sikhs of Connecticut have been participating at this event every year. This year also they participated as group. The GOPIO-CT participation was coordinated by its Executive Vice President Shelly Nichani.


The event was held in Columbus Park in Stamford on Sunday, June 2nd, 2013. The whole Stamford downtown turned into in a festive atmosphere with several thousand people participating. Proceeds of the walk help support various patient and family support programs, including exercise and nutrition education, transportation during treatment, and integrated medicine programs that offer therapies such as reiki massage, and music and art therapy.


GOPIO-CT Organizing Committee Walk to Benefit Cancer Patients

Photo left - GOPIO-CT officials at the Cancer Walk in Stamford, CT, from l. to r.: Biru Sharma, Roopa Madan, Prakash Chakravarti, Anita Mathur, Shelly Nichani and Dr. Thomas Abraham. Photo right: GOPIO CT officials with Sikhs of Connecticut walkers.


The event may have brought in close to $800,000 of the $1 million goal, and 100% of the funds raised will go to important services that are offered to Bennett Cancer Center patients free-of-charge.  In addition to supporting the Bennett's range of services, this year's proceeds would aid in integrating new technology to allow for the more rapid and convenient sharing of electronic medical records for the hospital's cancer patients.


Contact: Shelly Nichani, Executive VP, GOPIO-CT,




GOPIO Academic Council Chairman Professor Prabhu Guptara was invited to deliver a lecture on "Swami Vivekananda and the transformation on Indian philanthropy" at Oxford University's Centre for Hindu Studies on Tuesday 21 May 2013 as well as at the Nehru Centre in London, England, UK.


These lectures, and one in February at the invitation of the National University of Singapore, arise from Professor Guptara's research towards a book on the history of Indian philanthropy from Vedic times to the present.


Professor Guptara said: "This year is the 150th anniversary year of Swami Vivekananda's birth - an appropriate time to state what has so far not been stated in the scholarly literature of which I am aware:  i.e. that Vivekananda's influence helped to transform Indian philanthropy entirely from its earlier focus simply on gods and priests; and paved the way for the current engagement of Indian philanthropy not only with the enormous human and cultural challenges in India, but also challenges in other parts of the globe".




GOPIO International in collaboration with GOPIO's chapters in the Metro-DC area, along with several Indian-American organizations and prominent civic leaders, historians and academicians, is holding the GOPIO Gadar Centennial Commemoration event on July 27, 2013 in the Washington DC area. The chief guest will be Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao. The planned event incorporates the GOPIO recommended seminar format of "GOPIO GADAR Centennial Commemoration" with qualified historians, academicians and civic representatives. GOPIO's Gadar documentary 20-minute DVD will be shown and "Gadar Heroics" book will be complimentary to all attendees.


GOPIO took a bold initiative beginning in early 2012 to highlight the extraordinary contributions of the heroes of the Gadar Movement with the objective to inform, promote, recognize, acknowledge and commemorate the Gadar Centennial. GOPIO's initiatives and solicitation to various departments of the government, in particular the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs and Indian Council for Cultural Relations, had a very positive result, with approval by the Office of the Prime Minister to make Gadar a prominent part of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD 2013). These events included: An Oration at the plenary session; release of Gadar postage stamp by Hon. Prime Minister and speech with reference to Gadar movement to honour the Gadar Babas, the heroes of this great national movement". India's Minister of Finance, Hon P. Chidambaran, in his 2013-2014 budget announcement on February 28, 2013, allocated funding for construction of Gadar Memorial & Museum in San Francisco. The statement read: To mark the centenary of the Ghadar movement, the Government will fund the conversion of the Ghadar Memorial in San Francisco into a museum and library".


GOPIO Gadar Centennial Commemoration event on July 27, 2013 follows its very successful launch of its GOPIO Gadar Centennial Commemoration in the USA on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at the Embassy of India in Washington, DC with Amb. Rao as the Chief Guest.


Contacts: Renuka Misra, Ph.D., GOPIO's National Coordinator, USA at

Zafar Iqbal, PhD, President of GOPIO Metro DC at

Jay Bhandari, President of GOPIO of Virginia at






Please click on button "Watch Video" below the picture and play it




GOPIO Upper New York chapter celebrated its 5th anniversary with motto "Be in the Know and Celebrate with GOPIO"at the World's Fair Marina in Flushing, New York on May 18, 2013.


Highlights of the evening's event included guest appearance by New York City Comptroller John Liu who commended GOPIO Upper New York chapter on its excellent community efforts. GOPIO Upper New York's 1st vice president Premnauth Singh spoke on the experiences of Indian indentured laborers in Guyana, president Jhairam Persaud on Indian Immigration to the US, coincident with the 175th Anniversary of Indian in Guyana.Presentation of a book on golfing was made to Satruhan Sukdeo in recognition of his many years of service to GOPIO Upper New York; presentation of GOPIO's Indian Diaspora book to NYC Comptroller John Liu and DJ Mike. GOPIO Upper New York's treasurer, Tony Roopnarain, concluded with anecdotes from Guyana and Director Prof Paul Erriah conveyed thanks and appreciation at the conclusion.


The program was emceed by outgoing president Satruhan Sukdeo who has been promoted to the new position of Director, Chapter Development, North America Region, at the conclusion of his term as president of GOPIO Upper New York chapter. The newly elected GOPIO Upper New York chapter team for the next term was introduced: Jhairam Persaud, president; Premnauth Singh, 1st vice president; Mahendra Sawh, 2nd vice president; Patsy Leopold, secretary; Dev Chedda, joint secretary; Tony Roopnarain, treasurer.


GOPIO International president Ashook Ramsaran conveyed greetings from GOPIO's Executive Council and global membership, stating that "GOPIO Upper New York is a shining example of an active and progressive chapter in the GOPIO family and a model for so many others to follow". Other GOPIO International members in attendance included: Sangeeta Ahuja, Chairperson of GOPIO's Health Council; Netram Rambudhan, Treasurer; Nohar Singh, platinum Life Member.


GOPIO Upper New York Anniversary Banquet, May 16, 2013Photo GOPIO Upper New York orgtanizers with guests, (l-r) Dar Singh, Kesh Basanta, Prof Paul Erriah, Patsy Leopold, Tony Roopnarain, Satruhan Sookdeo, Premnauth Singh, Nohar Singh, New York Comptroller John Liu, Sangeeta Ahuja, Ashook Ramsaran, Jhairam Persaud, Netram Rambudhan.  




On May 18, 2013 the Interfaith Council for Growth and Sustainability convened a conference on "The Emancipation and Immigration of the Indian People in the Caribbean" in commemoration of the 175th Anniversary of Indian Immigration Celebration, and coincident with the 175th nniversary of Indian in Guyana. The event was held at York College, City University of New York and included a well balanced representation among scholars, academicians, historians, civic leaders, performers and artistes. The conference focused on history and perspectives, recognizing the emancipation and migration of a people who were far from home and were forced to live in strange lands under harsh conditions. The objective was to bring more awareness and encourage inclusion in curriculum of US schools. The organizing committee included: Bishop Ebony Kirkland, Dr. Mohamed Hack, Glenn Weissman, Lachman Buhai.


The program was emceed by Dr. Mohamed Hack, president of the organizing committee. Prominent speakers included: Prominent historian Prof Basdeo Mangru; Dennis Ramdhain (Vihara Foundation); Dr Satish Prakash; Ashook Ramsaran (GOPIO) Dr Dhanpaul Narine; cultural presentations by Ghungaroo Dance Group, Pally Dass, Naimoon Majeed; NYC Councilman Ruben Wills; and many more. GOPIO International president Ashook Ramsaran delivered a riveting presentation titled "From Kolkata to Highbury (1838 - 2013):  A Journey to Remember" - with emphasis on: "Our journeys, the footprints left for us, the footprints we leave and the footprints we are making; our obligation in documenting the journeys as duty and responsibility; monuments, markers and inscriptions along the way; achievements; historical perspectives and the impact on history; preservation of culture and heritage; first and second migration trends".




GOPIO's continues its efforts to identify and appoint suitably qualified persons to fill various vacant positions in the GOPIO's committees and councils. GOPIO International President Ashook Ramsaran, ably assisted by GOPIO international coordinators, council chairpersons and chapter officials, announces the following appointments. "My objective is to work collaboratively to further expand and grow GOPIO, to make it much more globally representative as GOPIO continues its vital outreach and service to an ever increasing population in the global Indian Diaspora," says Ramsaran.


GOPIO Youth Council Co-Chairperson Aman Singh  


Anan Singh (Australia)

Co-Chairperson GOPIO Youth Council

Formerly Secretary of GOPIO Sydney NW, Australia. Active Member of GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) -North West Sydney Chapter since 2009; currently Secretary of GOPIO Sydney North West. Member of "Overseas Student Support Group" - Presented Career Building Seminars for International Students, which involved resume building, interview workshops and assistance in job finding. A key speaker at seminars which had approx 50-100 students for individual professional profile building



Shvietta Sharma (Hong Kong)  GOPIO Women's Council Co-Chairperson Shveitta Singh

Co-Chairperson GOPIO Women's Council

MBA (Hong Kong). A motivational speaker, happiness facilitator, personal coach and an expert on relationship matters. Operates a non-profit 'School of Happiness' and holds talks at schools and corporate. Published author on various in house publications, e-zine and self growth websites. Specialties: Negotiation, mitigation, motivation, and relationship advise. Specializing in increasing work related satisfaction and productivity. Widely traveled for lectures in Asia, Australia, Europe and the USA.





GOPIO Women's Council Co-Chairperson Lucky Singh  

Lucky Singh (Australia)

Co-Chairperson GOPIO Women's Council

Formerly president of GOPIO Sydney Chapter, Australia. Appointment effective upon conclusion of term as president of GOPIO Sydney in June 2013. Very active GOPIO Sydney Chapter with several community programs including the annual GOPIO Youth Achievers Awards Night 

(GYAAN). To provide collaboration on for upcoming GOPIO Women's conference organized by GOPIO Women's Council in conjunction with GOPIO Convention 2013 Sydney and regional PBD 2013 Sydney.



GOPIO Director, Chapter Development, North America Satrugan Sukhdeo  
Satruhan Sukdeo (USA)

Born in Guyana, Former president of GOPIO Upper New York for two (2) highly successful terms, with remarkable chapter leadership that enabled GOPIO Upper New York to become an active and vibrant of chapter in the GOPIO family. Responsibilities include enhancing the efforts of GOPIO at the community grass roots level by establishing new chapters, and increasing awareness, promotion and outreach of GOPIO in the North America Region that includes USA, Canada and Mexico.





12-year-old Sathwik Karnik of Norfolk, Mass. nailed the National Geographic Bee held in Washington DC on May 22. He also won a $25,000 college scholarship and a lifetime membership of the National Geographic Society. 


He bested 13-year-old Conrad Oberhaus, of Lincolnshire, Ill., by answering all of the final five questions correctly.


Born in Mangalore and brought up in Plainville, Mass., where the family has lived since he was 2, Sathwik remembers his mother playing geography games with him from the age of 6, when his older brother, Karthik, was 9. 


"It was like - search for this country, or this city," his mom would urge them.. The boys scrambled to be the first to meet her challenge using the numerous National Geographic atlases and "and other travel resources" lying around the house, Sathwik said. 


Sathwik, who likes to play the clarinet and compete in chess, has another feather in his cap - he won on his first try at the national level, besting his older brother who competed twice at the national level, securing fifth place in 2011 and sixth in 2012.


"My brother inspired me to do geography," Sathwik said. After congratulating Sathwik, Trebek remarked to the audience, "As we said before, geography is obviously very important in the Karnik household." 


Of the 10 finalists who competed, eight were Indian-Americans. The Indian-American finalists included Karnik, Uppaluri and Rekulapelli as well as Pranik Nanda of Colorado, Neha Middela of Michigan, Neelam Sandhu representing New Hampshire, Harish Palani of Oregon and Asha Jain of Wisconsin.




Indian-American student Arvind Mahankali,  after years of heartbreakingly close calls, triumphed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The 13-year-old from Bayside Hills, New York, correctly spelled 'knaidel,' the word for a small mass of leavened dough, to win the 86th Scrips National Spelling Bee. The bee tested brain power, composure and, for the first time, knowledge of vocabulary.   

Arvind outlasted 11 other finalists, all but one of whom had been to the National Spelling Bee before, in nearly 2 hours of tense, grueling competition that was televised nationally. In one round, all nine participants spelled their words correctly.

When he was announced as the winner, Arvind looked upward at the confetti falling upon him and cracked his knuckles, his signature gesture during his 
bee appearances. He'll take home $30,000 in cash and prizes along with a huge cup-shaped trophy.


Arvind becomes the sixth consecutive Indian-American winner and the 11th in the past 15 years, a run that began in 1999 when Nupur Lala captured the title in 1999 and was later featured in the documentary "Spellbound.''   




Thirteen year old Neha Ramu, 13, has achieved 162 IQ on the Mensa IQ test. To put it in perspective, that's a higher IQ than Einstein, Bill Gates or Stephen Hawking, who are all believed to have a score around 160.


The high score places Ramu, the daughter of Indian eye specialists in London, in the top 1 percent of intelligence ratings among people in the United Kingdom, according to Asian News International.


Even though Ramu is only 13, she's already besting American college-bound students. The Telegraph reports Ramu scored 740 out of 800 on a section of the SAT. Comparing her score to data from the National Center for Educational Statistics, that places her among the top students at Ivy League.


The teen lives in London, where she emigrated with her family from Bangalore at the age of 7, and aspires to go to Harvard and become a neurologist. Despite (or perhaps because of) her brilliant brain, Ramu insists she "doesn't study loads" and charmingly adds that art and music, for her, are very "difficult."




Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley honored filmmaker Susi Ganeshan for his contribution to Indian cinema. Recalling his 15 years of service and hard work to promote Indian movies, Rajan Natarajan, Deputy Secretary of State of Maryland, presented the award and the replica of great seal of the State of Maryland to Ganeshan at an event in New York.


Ganeshan has directed some award winning movies in Tamil such as 'Virumbukiren', 'Five Star', 'Thiruttu Payale' and 'Kanthaswamy'. His latest Hindi movie is 'Shortcut Romeo' with actor Neil Nithin Mukesh in the lead.




Ritankar Das is to be named University Medalist, the prize given to the year's top graduating senior. Not only is Das completing his studies at UC Berkeley with a double major in bioengineering and chemical biology and a minor in creative writing, he is doing so in only three years. And at the age of 18, Das is the youngest University Medalist in at least a century, reports UC Berkeley in a press release.


The young Indian American is also the first student from the College of Chemistry in 58 years-and the first ever from the Department of Bioengineering-to earn the honor, which includes a $2,500 scholarship.


Established in 1871, the University Medal is awarded each year to an exemplary graduating student with a minimum GPA of 3.96. Das is graduating with more than 200 credits and a GPA of 3.99, which includes eight A+ marks, and received the medal May 18.