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August 6, 2013

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

Issue: XII-8 August 6, 2013
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Australia has won the bid to host 2013 GOPIO International Biennial Convention together with Women's Conference to be held on November 8th and 9th, 2013. Sydney, the selected city for 2013 Regional PBD, is the obvious location for 2013 GOPIO Biennial Convention. Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) has always been synonymous with GOPIO International. Coinciding with almost every PBD, GOPIO International holds its International convention. GOPIO Members worldwide enjoy a reduced registration fee at the annual PBD's held in India; at regional PBD the fees are dependent on the host country.


Umesh Chandra GOPIO International coordinator (Oceania) as the convention convener called the initial planning meeting to mobilize the Convention planning Team, Harry Walia Chairperson, GOPIO's Committee on By-Laws, Policies & Procedures is the Co Convener of the convention, Lucky Singh, President of GOPIO Sydney volunteered to be the secretary of the convention and two joint treasurers, Mr Rajat Midha and Baljit Pelia were chosen. Mrs. Suman Kapoor from Hamilton New Zealand, Chairperson Women's Council of GOPIO International is in charge of the women's conference.


The overall theme of GOPIO's Biennial Convention 2013 is "The Indian Diaspora in Oceania: Growth and Opportunities". 8th November (Day 1) of the convention is reserved for GOPIO's Executive Council meetings, GOPIO General Council meetings and Country Reports. 9th November (Day 2) is a full day of conference starting with 2 sessions on Indian Diaspora issues, followed by GOPIO 2nd Women's Conference focusing on "Women of the Indian Diaspora - Challenges, Empowerment & Opportunities" to address current, critical issues confronting women of all ages globally. The convention concludes with a full banquet and cultural program on the evening of 9th November (Day 2).


The venue for the convention is Sapphire Function Centre in Blacktown which is in the Western Suburbs of Sydney. Mahavir Arya will be in charge of the logistics. The treasures are working out a detailed budget, based on which the final registration fee will be decided. The convention is likely to attract delegates from around the globe especially from the Asia Pacific region.


Program outline as follows:


Friday, 8th November

1:00pm - 2:30pm     Executive Meeting

2:30pm - 3:30pm     General Council Meeting

3:30pm - 5:00pm     Regional & Country Reports

6:00pm                   Reception/Dinner


Saturday, 9th November

9:00am - 9:30am     Registration

9:30am - 1:00pm     Diaspora Conference

1:00pm - 2:00pm     Lunch

2:00pm - 6:00pm     Women's Conference

7:00pm                   Reception/Banquet


The program is subject to confirmation and change, GOPIO Executive meeting is not open to public, a detailed program, convention theme and the registration details will be forwarded soon.


The convention committee will launch an online registration portal, a complete list of suggested accommodation and transportation details will be forwarded soon. Indian High Commissioner to Australia, His Excellency, Biren Nanda at a meeting with Umesh Chandra on 27th June has confirmed his attendance and has been talking highly of GOPIO Biennial convention coinciding with Regional PBD. He has been going around the country meeting community leaders to muster support for regional PBD which will be held The Convention Centre in Darling Harbour, Sydney from 10th till 12th November.


The convention committee is looking forward to welcoming international delegates and the GOPIO International team to Australia, please mark your diaries for now, and keep an eye out for future updates and progress.


GOPIO 2013 Biennial Convention Organizers at a Meeting in Sydney

Photo above: Standing l. to r. Ravi Singh, President GOPIO Sydney Northwest; Rohitas Batta, Advisor GOPIO Convention; Bhupinder Chhiber, GOPIO Sydney; Balbir Singh, GOPIO Sydney; Dr. Jawahar Thomas, GOPIO Sydney; Umesh Chandra, GOPIO International Coordinator (Oceania) and Convention convenor; Baljit Pelia, Joint Treasurer GOPIO Convention; Harry Walia, Chairperson, GOPIO's Committee on By-Laws, Policies & Procedures and Co-convenor; Rajat Midha, Joint Treasurer GOIO Convention and Mahavir Arya, Logistic in Charge, GOPIO Convention


Sitting from right; Aman Singh, Co-Chair, GOPIO International Youth Council; Kamini Raj Singh; Usha Chandra, Vice President GOPIO Brisbane; Lucky Singh, President, GOPIO Sydney; Neeru Singh GOPIO Sydney North West with Ravi Singh's children




GOPIO 2nd Women's Conference The conference theme is "Women of the Indian Diaspora - Challenges, Empowerment & Opportunities" and it seeks to address current, critical issues confronting women of all ages globally.


The Women's Conference Sydney seeks to address critical issues confronting women globally as evidenced by the recent revelations of abuses against women in many countries. There are several sessions of the conference designed with specific sub-themes on these current issues, highlighting the history, aspirations, challenges and achievements. These topics of discussion are within the context of the relations of women, including Indian women, in politics, government, private sector, NGOs and women empowerment; and the prominent roles of Indian women.


Conference sessions include in-depth discussions on: "Confronting and Overcoming Violence Against Women & Children"; "Equitable Treatment of Women in Business and Profession"; "Women of the Indian Diaspora - Ways of Moving Forward". The organizers of the conference have been diligent in planning and coordinating the sessions and have selected an impressive list of prominent and suitably qualified presenters for the various sessions.


The Women's conference chair is Dr. Suman Kapoor of New Zealand who is also Chair of GOPIO Women Council


More program details and registration information to be disseminated shortly in subsequent issues of the GOPIO News Bulletin.



Umesh Chandra (Convener):

Harmohan (Harry) Walia (Co-Convener):

Lucky Singh (Secretary):

Suman Kapoor (Chair, Women's Council):



A Congressional resolution recognizing the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Gadar party in the US has been introduced in the House of Representatives.


Introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Ami Bera and Mike Honda, the resolution notes that hundreds of Gadar party members fought and died for the freedom of India.


In 1913 Indians nationals formed the Hindustani Association of the Pacific Coast in Astoria, Oregon, popularly known as the Gadar party with an objective of liberating India from British colonialism. Later, Gadar party established its headquarters in San Francisco, California.


The Gadar party launched a magazine titled 'Ghadar' to promote aims, objectives, and activities of the organization and published over 5,000 copies weekly for circulation.


Thousands of Gadar supporters living in the US and Canada returned to India and inspired their countrymen to fight for their independence from Britain.


"The House of Representatives recognizes the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Gadar party in the United States," says the resolution which was introduced on June 12. The resolution has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.


According to the resolution, there are an estimated 3,000,000 people of Indian origin in the United States forming an integral part of the social fabric of the nation.




GOPIO had championed the Gadar Centenary Commemoration with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh who announced it in India at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on January 8th, 2013. GOPIO began its celebrations with a series of programs in the US starting at the Newark Fremont Hotel in the San Francisco Bay Area with a seminar on March 22nd, 2013 in conjunction with the India Unity Dinner organized by the Indo-American Community Federation (IACF-USA)


A full Museum and Library at the current Gadar Memorial in San Francisco will be established soon. Prime Minister Singh had announced the plan and budgeted the cost in the 2013-14 budget of India. Dr. Karan Singh, former Indian Ambassador to US, a former Cabinet Minister in India and a current MP, championed the Gadar Centenary movement cause for GOPIO with the Indian government.


Celebrations seminars and banquets were held in San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington DC in June and July. GOPIO News has covered the events in Los Angeles and Atlanta in this issue and will cover events in other cities in the coming issues.


Started in 1913 by patriotic overseas Indians, the Gadar Movement was celebrated for its 100th anniversary by GOPIO in cooperation with other Indian community groups in Los Angeles and Atlanta. Championed by GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh, Gadar Centenary celebrations are being held all over the world.




The Los Angeles Indian Community demonstrated tremendous enthusiasm at the Gadar Centenary Commemoration event at Sheraton Hotel, Cerritos, on June 16, 2013, organized by the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) and several local organizations. The commemoration event started with a seminar in which speakers talked about the history of Gadar Movement, and struggles, sacrifices, successes, and accomplishments of the key people of the movement. The seminar attracted large number of people, filling the hall beyond capacity.  Ashok Madan and V.J Singh moderated the seminar.


The banquet was oversold. GOPIO LA chapter president Kewal Kanda and Dilip Butani welcomed the gathering. GOPIO Int'l Chairman Inder Singh thanked Congressman Mike Honda who introduced a resolution in US Congress - H. Res. 259 - "Recognizing the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Gadar Party in the United States." He also showed a DVD in which Dr.  Karan Singh, M.P, President of Indian Council of Cultural Relations had paid tribute to Gadar heroes. Dr. Karan Singh complimented GOPIO for its persistent efforts in seeking recognition for the NRI initiated India Independence Movement, the Gadar Movement. He also expressed his regrets for not being able to come to preside over the event.


Releasing of the book Gadar Heroics at the LA program by Congressman Ed Royce, Ambassador N. ParthasarathiPhoto above:  Releasing GOPIO Gadar book, The Gadar Heroics, l. to r. GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh, Congressman Ed Royce, Ambassador N. Parthasarathi, Consul General of India  


At the banquet, the keynote speech was delivered by historian Prof. Stanley Woolpert, which was punctuated by frequent applause by the audience. Ambassador N. Parthasarathi, Consul General of India in San Francisco, who presided over the function, paid glowing tributes to the Gadar heroes. In fact, his Consulate office is the only Government office in the world which has portrait of the prime hero of the Gadar Movement, Kartar Singh Sarabha. Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of House Foreign Relations Committee praised the initiative of Indians in America who started the India Independence movement a century ago, after learning that Americans too had liberated their country with the force of arms from the same British colonialists.


Ambassador N. Parthasarathi released newly published book, The Gadar Heroics by Inder Singh and Sayantan Chakravarty. The 176-page book gives brief history of the Gadar Movement and bio sketches of over sixty Gadarites who were either given death sentence, life imprisonment or were sentenced in Hindu German Conspiracy Trial. A complimentary copy of the book was given to all attendees of the centennial event.


The Organizing Committee recognized grandsons of Gadarites by presenting GOPIO shawl to S.P Singh of Atlanta, grandson of Bhai Bhagwan Singh, 2nd president of Gadar Party and Jagdish Khangura grandson of Kartar Singh Dukki who was in-charge of the Gadar Press at the Gadar headquarters in San Francisco. The organizers presented a GOPIO shawl to Ambassador Parthasarathi for his relentless promotion of the centenary celebration of Gadar Movement. They also presented GOPIO shawls to Jagdish Khangura and Bhupinder Singh Mac for their financial support for the publication of The Gadar Heroics. The function started and then ended with the singing of patriotic songs and recitation of Gadar poems.


Deccendants of Gadarites are being honored at GOPIO LA Program
Photo above: Honoring decedents Gadarites and dignitaries, from l. to r. Amrit Bhandari, Jagdish Khangura, grandson of Gadarite Kartar Singh Dukki, GOPIO chairman Inder Singh, Bhupinder Singh Mac, Ambassador N. Partasarathi, Consul General of India, S.P Singh, grand son of Gadarite Bhai Bhagwan Singh, GOPIO LA chapter President Kewal Kanda, Yash Singh.




GOPIO-Atlanta held a celebration banquet, "Gadar di Goonj" to commemorate the Gadar Movement's centenary year and join the year long celebrations initiated by GOPIO International earlier this year. The Atlanta event was held at the Impact Center in Global Mall on June 29th under the patronage of the Consulate of India in Atlanta, and organized in collaboration with the Indian American Cultural Association (IACA). Former premier of British Columbia Ujjal Dosanjh, Consul General Ajit Kumar, visiting Member of Parliament Mohammed Hamdullah Sayeed, GOPIO International Chairman Mr. Inder Singh and eminent community leaders of the local Indian American community graced the event.


The Gadar Movement symbolized the spirit of independence in a free India and was an example of great courage, sacrifice and dedication of overseas Indians. The movement began in 1913 with the launch of the Hindi Association of the Pacific Coast and publishing of the weekly journal "Gadar" designed to free India from British rule, and finally took root as the Gadar Movement. About 8000 people of Indian origin living abroad were directly involved with the movement. Many were jailed under the Defense of India Act and many more lost their lives.


Former premier Dosanjh, noted in his keynote speech that, "the Gadar Movement was an integral part of the history of India's independence" and must be recognized as such. He advised that we need to think of the larger interests at a national and international level versus focusing on regionalism or religionist separatism. He commented that, "there is no contradiction in feeling like a great American and a great Indian" at the same time.


Consul General Ajit Kumar called the Gadar Movement a movement of "progressive, democratic, secular people who represented one religion - that of patriotism." He said that the movement inspired many leaders such as Subhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh. GOPIO International chairman Inder Singh presented a brief history of the Gadar Movement and said, "We have roots of over a century in this country." He added, "We Indian Americans must lay claim to this history and encourage future generations to take pride in our heritage".


Surinder Pal Singh, Atlanta based grandson of Gadarite Bhagwan Singh Gyanee, spoke poignantly about his grandfather's efforts, commitment and struggles. He said that his grandfather left his son and wife in India in 1913 and saw them again only in 1945. He authored several books and articles, and finally returned to India in 1958.


GOPIO Atlanta's 100th Gadar CelebrationsPhoto above left: Inder Singh, Bhairavi Nadgonde, Surinder Pal Singh at Gadar Centennial event in Atlanta in front of the exhibit of century old memorabilia from the Gadar Movement; Photo above right: GOPIO Chairman  Inder Singh presenting GOPIO shawl to Gadarite Bhagwan Singh Gyanee's descendant Mr. Surinder Pal Singh at GOPIO Atlanta Gadar Centennial celebration. In photo: Indian MP M H Sayeed, Manohar Singh, Bhairavi Nadgonde, Inder Singh, Consul General Ajit Kumar, Surinder Pal Singh, Dr. Paddy Sharma, Mrs. Singh, S. P. Singh's sister


Dr. Bikramjit Garcha, Professor Emeritus, Decision Sciences, at Georgia State University spoke about the Gadar Movement as a well-planned and well-connected one with an international network including countries in Europe, Africa and South America. He added, "Their plan was to go to India from all three sides."


Sagnika Mukherjee performed beautiful exotic Odissi and Bharat Natyam dances to Vande Matram and Basant. Students of Planet U. gave vigorous dance performances to the tunes of Jai Ho and Rand de Basanti. Dr. Vaishnav played the flute. A book, "The Gadar Heroics" by Inder Singh and Sayatan Chakravarty and commemorative coffee mugs were made available to the attendees.


S. P. Singh, his sister, and Mr. Ujjal Doanjh, who are all descendants of Gadarites, were presented with honorary plaques by IACA and GOPIO officials. GOPIO International chairman, Mr. Inder Singh, also presented them with GOPIO shawls to honor the occasion.


Opening remarks were made by Kaushal Tripathi, president of IACA. GOPIO Atlanta chapter President, Bhairavi Nadgonde introduced Inder Singh and Dr. Paddy Sharma made the closing remarks. The event was well attended and spread awareness about the Gadar movement.


Congress MP M.H. Sayeed said that he was touched by the Gadarite kin's appeal. He added that the Government has taken notice.    


Decedents of Gadarites with dignitaries and GOOIO officials at the Atlanta CelebrationPhoto above: . From l. to r. Dr. Paddy Sharma, Bhairavi Nadgonde, Inder Singh, Kaushal Tripathi, MP M H Sayeed, C G I Ajit Kumar, Surinder Pal Singh, his sister  



On the occasion of Nelson Mandela International Day (or Mandela Day), GOPIO sent messages of good wishes on the annual international day in honor of Nelson Mandela, celebrated each 18 July (on Mandela's birthday). The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first UN Mandela Day held on 18 July 2010. Other groups began celebrating Mandela Day on 18 July 2009. Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact. The Mandela Day campaign message is: "Nelson Mandela has fought for social justice for 67 years. We're asking you to start with 67 minutes."


GOPIO Durban's message stated:

"GOPIO Durban would like to wish our revered President Nelson Mandela on his birthday. "Our heartfelt wishes and blessings are coming your way on the wonderful occasion of your birthday Tata Madiba. We will pray that you receive more than you have hoped for this birthday, with a speedy recovery and good health. We call on our members to dedicate time today to serve less fortunate people and communities, making someone's day better today, in the name and honor of our leader Nelson Mandela. We want to continue and build on the legacy you have given direction to, in making South Africa and the world a better place for all. With all our Love and our Prayers for you Tata, have a blessed day" - by Dr Kinesh Pather, Vice-President, GOPIO Durban


GOPIO International's message stated:

"On the occasion of "Mandela Day 2013",the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) joins in solidarity with GOPIO's chapters in South Africa, other organizations, institutions and individuals worldwide to pay honored tribute to Mr. Nelson Mandela his immeasurable contributions to freedom and betterment for people in South Africa due to his persistence, determination, example and selfless service to his people despite overwhelming opposition and insurmountable odds. Through his lifelong struggles for freedom, he is a revered teacher to the world in his "quest for peace, justice and equality" that resonates so deeply, it's carried in the hearts and minds of every single man, woman and child on this earth, transcending time and place".




While the world prayed for South Africa's founding democratic-era President Nelson Mandela to recover from his failing health condition, the man who kept South Africans and the global communities updated on Mandela's medical treatment and health conditions is Mac Maharaj, a prominent political stalwart of Indian origin.


Sathyandranath Ragunanan Maharaj was born on 22 April 1935 in Newcastle, a coal-mining town in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, where the 1860 Indian indentured laborers once worked. Mac Maharaj is among the most notable anti-apartheid leaders who were famously known for having transcribed Mandela's notes on his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, and smuggled it out of Robben Island in 1976 when he was released from the maximum security prison for political prisoners near Cape Town.


Maharaj completed a BA degree, an MBA, and part of a BSc degree in prison. He was among the six Indian ministers President Mandela appointed to his first, all-race Cabinet in 1994, as the new country's transport minister. He was a strong political activist and member of the ANC and the South African Communist Party. He worked tirelessly on anti-apartheid activities with Mandela who spent 18 of his 27 years imprisonment for sabotage activities on Robben Island.


Soon after his release from prison, Maharaj fled to join the ANC in exile in Zambia in 1977, and was elected to the outlawed organization's national executive committee in 1985. From 1988 to 1990, he worked underground in South Africa as part of the ANC's Operation Vula, a subversive mission to infiltrate the ANC's top leaders back into the country. Maharaj reported to the then ANC intelligence Chief Jacob Zuma, who is now South Africa's fourth President after Mandela.


In 2011 President Zuma recalled Maharaj who left government in 1999, to be his spokesman. His job includes commenting on Mandela's health on behalf of the presidency.





New Zealand's Labor MP Sue Moroney with speakers and guests at the Firth Anniversary of GOPIO Waikato held in Hamilton on June 9.Women volunteered answers to the persistent domestic violence towards their sex at a Women's Forum. It was held as part of the fifth anniversary of the Waikato Branch of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) at the Celebrating Age Centre in Hamilton on June 9.Aspiring to a better world where respect for their sex is widespread and assured of physical and psychological security for women (particularly from men), Dr Pushpa Wood of Massey University questioned the time it takes to change deeply embedded cultural beliefs. 


Embarrassing moments 

"It embarrasses me as an Indian with a Doctorate in Indian religions to be called to Court as an expert witness to quote what Indian culture or religion says, knowing this to be only one individual from India and not what India as a whole does. I sit there knowing that our religion or culture is being used, and how our parents may actually teach submissiveness to their daughters," she said.


She spoke about outmoded ideas that persist in the community."Bringing home money is not the only way to help one's family. Women are probably working at home from dawn till midnight, contributing to the family but in a different way," she said. 


Colour prejudice 

Gurmeeta Kaur, whose ancestors settled in Pukekohe more than 100 years ago, admired their tolerance, even as they encountered the 'White League' prejudice. "The silence of women needs to change if we're to preserve family harmony. The pioneer women never asked for help over domestic violence, accepting it as normal.  To change, we need only look to what's happening on the outside; crime increasing among our men and women," she said.


Silence deadly

Anjum Rahman, a candidate for East Ward in the forthcoming Hamilton City Council elections (Indian Newslink, June 15, 2013), stressed the need for social work and counseling to reach women, who might otherwise feel isolated by  language, culture or lacking friends to confide."Silence is not the answer. About 90% of assault victims do not report their assailants. The biggest issue is safety in the home. We are not able to get justice for these women, even when we know who has done it," she said.


Empowering women

Labour Party MP Sue Moroney said that women of Indian origin should be involved in decision-making for the community - in kindergartens, school boards and in Parliament. "After troubled times, shocking turmoil and tragedy in Rwanda, the nation decided to make women a part of decision-making in building a democracy. Rwanda has now the highest representation of women in the Commonwealth with about 40% of MPs being female. New Zealand is second with 32%," she said.


Family strength

Janet Franks (Prokopova), President of the New Zealand Russian Friendship Society (Waikato), said that the world knew the strength of the Indian family and its care towards elders, devotion of parents in raising their children."Families are not always so blessed. I have seen how family violence undoes devotion to children and family life," she said and agreed that seniors in a family unit should play a role in settling domestic upheaval amicably; having given their best to their children in the years they were young.


GOPIO-Waikato organizers with the speakers a the Women's Forum on June 9, 2013  

Photo above: GOPIO-Waikato organizers with the speakers a the Women's Forum. Sitting on the extreme right is Dr. Suman Kapoor, GOPIO Women's Council chair, who organized the forum with GOPIO-Waikato.

Contributed by Melvan Driscoll, a Court Monitor for a domestic violence intervention organization in Hamilton, and a volunteer broadcaster.




A strong contingent of 23 Members of Parliament (MPs), including ministers, were hosted by GOPIO Berlin President Barjinder Sodhi recently to engage in a dialogue with India and was lead by well known diplomat and India's Ambassador to Germany Sujata Singh. The dialogue is a continuing effort of Sodhi, who is a well known hospitality entrepreneur, to bring India and Germany together to discuss issues of significance to the bilateral relationship.


Sodhi has been instrumental as leader of the Indian community to support exclusive interactions that allow both a formal and informal exchange of thoughts and concerns. The meeting at the famous 'Neumanns' restaurant across from the German Bundestag on June 5 was extraordinary with the presence of MPs and heads of almost all political parties of Germany.


The India delegation primarily comprised Ambassador Sujata Singh, the Deputy Chief of Mission and other Indian officials, besides some select members of the Indian community. Germany is at the core of the EU, which in turn is India's largest trading partner in Europe. As the global economy becomes more inter-dependent and knowledge driven, the EU and India will have many macro-economic, trade and technology related investment opportunities. Within this domain, Germany and India can identify many areas for potential co-operation which range from imparting language skills - on both sides - to the transfer of technology and enabling provision of manufacturing / vocational skills by Germany to Indian entities and individuals.


Contact Barjinder Sondhi, President, GOPIO-Berlin,




GOPIO Israel - Tel-Aviv Chapter recently held a networking session for Indians living in Israel on June 13. The honorary guests were Mr. Ashok Motwani, Founder Member of GOPIO, India and Editor of Diaspora Network News and Mr. Ravi Kumar Iyer, Gold Medalist in Vedic Mathematics - University of Chennai.


Mr. Yehoshua Naor, the President of the GOPIO Tel Aviv Chapter made the opening remarks and welcoming the guests, in which he expressed concern that the Foreign Ministry of India should ease visa rules for both Indian and Pakistani Jews of Indian origin now residing in Israel.


Several leaders from different Indian organizations graced the event, including, Mr. Nissim Moses, President of the Indian Jewish Heritage Center (IJGC); Mr. Isaac Ashkenazi, Representative of the Baghdadi Jews from India and Vice-President of the IJHC; Mr. Michael Daniels, representative of the Pakistani Jews of Indian origin; Mrs. Zippora Meir, representative of the Jewish community of Cochin; Mr. Benny Walters, Head of the Central Organization of Indian Jews in Israel; Mr. Enoch Isaac, President of the COIJI; Mrs. Aviva Miller, writer and member of the Women's Organization of Lod; Mr. Moshe Chandgavkar, former member of COIJI and "Maiboli." All of these leaders delivered informative speeches on their respective organizations.


Mr. Ravi Kumar Iyer gave a very passionate speech in Hindi, in which he highlighted the role of the Indian Jews living in Israel and their contributions to that country. His discussion inspired the audience to organize a grand centennial celebration in 2018 for the Indian Soldiers who laid their life fighting during the Ottoman Empire in 1918.


Mr. Ashok Motwani spoke on the role of GOPIO in Indian communities abroad. He cited the glowing history of GOPIO in the US, which despite the hurdles it faced, triumphed to become a great success story today.


The networking and dinner session was a grand success and at the end, the audience interacted with the honored guests from India. The event was held in Maharaja, an Indian vegetarian restaurant that served delicious Indian delicacies during the speeches given by the distinguished personalities of the community.


The function was brought to a grand finale by surprising Mr. Ashok Motwani with the traditional cutting of the cake on his birthday. A vote of thanks to all the guests wound up the successful and pleasant evening, leaving a taste for more such events.


GOPIO-Tel Aviv Meeting on June 13  

Photo above:  GOPIO-Tel Aviv Meeting on June 13, From l. to r. - Jacqueline Solomon, Joshua Naor, Ashok Motwani, Ravi Kumar Iyer, Yosef Reuven, Yaffa Samson Gupte



GOPIO-CT hosted its annual picnic at the Greenwich Polo Ground on July 14th. It was a well attended program. People came with their children with generations of the community present at the picnic. A polo match followed where the team Heathcote Polo won the game.


GOPIO-CT picnickers at Polo Ground in Greenwich, CT  

Photo Above: GOPIO-CT picnickers


YouTube Videos

GOPIO-CT Picnic 2013 Start of the Picnic at the Greenwich Polo Club -

GOPIO CT Picnic   Singing Brazilian and American National Anthems before starting the games by Cinque Terre vs. Heathcote Polo -

GOPIO-CT Picnic 2013 Start of the Polo Game between Cinque Terre vs. Heathcote Polo -




Several community groups are gearing up to organize parades and festivals to mark the 66th anniversary of India Independence Day. The biggest India Day parade outside India will be in New York city on August 18th starting at 1 p.m. on Madison Ave. Parades are also planned for Chicago, Hicksville New York,


GOPIO Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham The India Cultural Society of Rockland County in cooperation with Jeevan Jyothi, Hudson Valley Malayalee Association, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (Rockland County Chapter) and several Indian community groups is organizing an Indian Day's Parade in New York City on Saturday, August 17th. Dr. thomas Abraham, GOPIO Founder President who also served as Founder President of FIA New York and the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA) will be the Grand Marshal.

The parade will start 11 a.m. at New City's South Main Street at the junction of Rte 304 and ends at the County Court House where an Indian festival will be held. Festivities include vibrant cultural program, Henna artists, exhibition and booths for Indian clothes/jewelry, children's rides and Indian food. Contact
Smriti Sridhara, President of Indian Cultural Society of Rockland County at or visit




GOPIO-CT is organizing its annual India Independence Day Celebrations with flag hoisting and entertainment at the Govt. Center in Stamford (888 Washington Boulevard, Stamford) at 11 a.m. on Sunday, August 18th. All High School graduates from Connecticut and nearby Westchester areas will be recognized at the event. The guest of honor is Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia. After the ceremony, participants are invited for a lunch at Spice Affaire restaurant (26 Mill River Rd., Stamford, CT). Contribution for lunch is $12. Contact Shailesh Naik, President of GOPIO-CT at




GOPIO News Co-Editor Kishor Kapitan Veteran writer and diplomat Kishor Kapitan, Durban, South Africa has been appointed as a Co-editor of GOPIO News. Kapitan was born in India in 1944 and retired since 2009. He lived & schooled studied in SA having several Diplomas & other post graduates qualifications, three of which are from different scholarships. Kishor was a businessman, held senior positions in politics, cultural & creative arts bodies and was a career diplomat for 15 yrs, 7 of which were as Head of the South African embassy in Uruguay. An author, researcher, interested in Indian and Hindu Affairs and an artist, Kishor had won several awards and traveled 42 countries to date.





Awarded her PhD in 2011 for her work focusing on the struggle for basic services in post-apartheid SA, Ms Prishani Naidoo has a long history in activism, beginning in the early '90s, when she joined the ANC. Now a writer, researcher and lecturer in the sociology department at the University of the Witwatersrand, Naidoo is the co-editor of the New South African Review. She is also the author of a number of academic and popular essays on a wide range of issues. Before joining Wits, Naidoo co-founded the research collective Research and Education in Development.


The Alan Paton Award is prestigious sought-after South African literary award that been conferred annually since 1989 for meritorious works of non-fiction. Sponsored by the Johannesburg weekly the Sunday Times, recipients represent the cream of contemporary South African writers who produce works that are judged to demonstrate: compassion; elegance of writing; illumination of truthfulness, especially those forms of it which are new, delicate, unfashionable and fly in the face of power; and, intellectual and moral integrity.


This year's Award saw 42 titles competing for the R75 000 prize, her co-judges were Peter Harris and Ben Williams.




India-born wonder kid Ritankar Das became the youngest graduate topper of the University of California in more than a century. He has been felicitated by the Indian Embassy here for his outstanding academic achievements.


Indian Ambassador to US Nirupama Rao felicitated 18 years old Das, who has taken just three years to complete his studies with a double major in bioengineering and chemical biology and a minor in creative writing from the University of California, Berkeley.


Kolkata-born Das is 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 USD 2,500 scholarship.


Das, who now heads to Oxford University to pursue a master's degree in biomedical engineering with a fully funded Whitaker Fellowship, has founded 'See Your Future', a student-run non-profit that presents scientific content to middle and high school students through in-class demonstrations, videos, interactive activities and games.


At Berkeley, Das helped manage a USD 1.7 billion budget as an academic senator, founded the Berkeley Chemical Review research journal, designed a chemistry DeCal course and was a graduate student instructor.




Vedant Kumar, a Grade R learner at Stepping Stones Pre-Primary School in Sandton, Gauteng Province, managed to reach this level.


Vedant has displayed an exceptional memory from an early age.  At age 4,  he managed to recite the names of the capital cities of 217 countries in a flash - a fact thru which this PIO child genius became a world accomplishment on the Record Setter website as a result of this amazing feat.


Vedant only recently developed a passion for chess and has been receiving coaching from a chess master, Musatwe. In January 2013 Vedant joined the Gauteng West Chess Club and presently he usually participates in Under 10 tournaments.  This tournament involved over 14 players of all ages, and Vedant managed to win all his matches having come first due mainly to his exceptional self-confidence and outstanding ability at then game.




Devanand Sharma, popularly known as Dave Sharma is Australia's new envoy to Israel. The 37-year-old Australian diplomat has made history by becoming the country's youngest ambassador after he was appointed as Canberra's envoy to Israel. He is only the second Australian-Indian to be appointed ambassador, the other being Peter Varghese who was Australia's Ambassador to India.


Sharma, who was born in Vancouver and moved to Sydney in 1979, said he wants to change how Australians think of the Middle Eastern country. "When Australians think of Israel, they think of conflict in the Middle East. But I want to broaden the understanding of what Israel is to a country like Australia," he said.


Sharma has earlier served in the Australian diplomatic offices as counselor at the Australian embassy in Washington, third secretary at the Australian high commission in Port Moresby and as senior civilian adviser with the Peace Monitoring Group in Bougainville. He was also an adviser to foreign minister Alexander Downer from 2004 to 2006.


The Indian-origin diplomat is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and was most recently assistant secretary in the Africa branch, and previously, acting first assistant secretary, international division in the department of prime minister and cabinet.


Sharma will be accompanied to Israel by his wife Rachel and their three daughters.




Zubin Mehta, Indian-Parsi conductor of western classical music, will be felicitated with the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony.


A four-member jury led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and comprising Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir, leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Gopalkrishna Gandhi unanimously selected Mehta to be the second recipient of the Tagore Award 2013 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cultural harmony.


The award was instituted by the government of India during the commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. The award carries an amount of Rs 1 crore, a citation in a scroll and a plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft or handloom item.


Mehta was born into a Parsi family in Mumbai, the son of Mehli and Tehmina Mehta. His father was a violinist and founding conductor of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra.




The Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) honored 11 outstanding Indo-Canadian achievers at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Among those honored were Deepak Chopra, president of Canada Post, Raj Kothari, managing partner for Toronto for PriceWaterhouse Cooper, and young achiever Bilaal Rajan.


Deepak who was honored as the 'Corporate Executive of the Year' said the award "is truly a tribute to numerous unsung heroes who helped shape my thinking along the way". Terming Canada Post as one of the crown jewels of this North American country's economic infrastructure, Chopra helped sharpen the focus on physical delivery as well as digital delivery networks.


Raj was honored as 'Male Professional of the Year'. He has always been focused on how he can make a difference - first in the profession and second in the community".


Rajan, 16 who was honored as the 'Young Achiever of the Year', is a motivational speaker and the UNICEF's children ambassador. An environmental and social activist, he was only four years old when in 2001, the Indian state of Gujarat was devastated by an earthquake. He then raised funds to help the victims by selling oranges.


Others who were honored at the event are Sarabjit Hans as 'Female Entrepreneur of the Year', Sujay Shah as 'Male Entrepreneur of the Year', Sadhna Joshi as 'Female Professional of the Year', Sapna Shah as 'Young Achiever of the Year', Nilesh Bansal as 'Technology Achiever of the Year', Chandrasekhar Sankurathri as 'Humanitarian of the Year', and Jananath Wani for 'Lifetime/Outstanding Achievement'.


The ICCC is one of the largest membership-based national business organizations in Canada with over 1,500 members representing all sections of the nation's economy.




NRI hotelier Joginder Sangar has been conferred with the prestigious "Pride of India" award for his outstanding contributions towards promoting art and culture of India in the UK. Sangar, the CEO and Chairman of a Group of Hotels in Central London and West London, was conferred with the "Pride of India" award for 2012 by India International Foundation.


Britain's transport minister Stephen Hammond, MP presented the award in the presence of leading dignitaries like Lord Swraj Paul and SS Siddhu, minister (coordination) in the Indian high commission. Receiving the award, Sangar who played a key role in building the new Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan centre here, said Indian culture is appreciated all over the world and "we must not only preserve them but also try to promote them."


NRI solicitor Hari Singh, founder chairman of HSLaw Solicitors and Notary received the award in the field of judiciary/law while Deepak Kuntawala, founder of DVK, a global commodity trading and finance Boutique Company enhancing interests in private equity, wealth management and fund management was chosen for the award for his achievement in the field of Business.


Other recipients were Kamel Hothi, Head of Nice Markets at Lloyds TSB responsible for Asian Strategy; Deepak Khazanchi, pioneer of modern Bhangra (Art and Culture); Sonal Minocha, dean, University of Bedfordshire Business School, (Achievements in Education) and Natasha Mudhar (Achievement in Media). Winners also include Amarjit Sethi (Medicine); Seema Malhotra (Legislature); Professor Tejinder Singh Virdee (Science); Mahima Pandey (Social Services); Rajiv Ouseph (Sports) and East End Foods plc (Indian Business House of the Year 2012).


Rami Ranger, chairman of the Sun Mark ltd was declared the outstanding businessman for winning the Queen's Award for the fifth year in succession. Dinesh Shonchhatra, a leading Mortgage broker received the President's Award.




Guests of honor at the event were Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor, MK Lokesh, ambassador of India to the UAE, and Nasser bin Aqeel Al-Tayyar, president of Arab Publisher House, the publishers of Forbes Middle East.


Keynote speaker Tharoor said: "Given the historical links between the Middle East and India, and this region's own unique location at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe, it gives me great pride to celebrate the remarkable contribution of Indians to the economic resurgence of the Middle East."


Starting out with numerous companies and individuals meriting consideration, the final list comprises 100 top names. A total of 75 business owners/founders are featured in the list. Those from the retail sector dominated, accounting for approximately 28 percent overall. Close behind were the industrial and real estate sectors, with 19 percent and 9 percent, respectively. As for India's leading C-level executives, a total of 25 skilled individuals made it onto the list: 20 chief executive officers and five chief financial officers.


Individuals solely involved with government entities, social and cultural organizations and professional associations have not been included on this occasion.




In a big leap towards creating an artificial human liver, a scientist of Indian origin from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has for the first time managed to keep live liver cells functional outside the body. Dr Sangeeta Bhatia, a professor of health sciences and technology has identified a dozen chemical compounds that can help liver cells not only maintain their normal function while grown in a lab dish but also multiply to produce new tissue.


After screening thousands of liver cells from eight different tissue donors, the researchers identified 12 compounds that helped the cells maintain those functions, promoted liver cell division, or both. Two of those compounds seemed to work especially well in cells from younger donors. Publishing the breakthrough in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, cells grown this way could help researchers develop engineered tissue to treat many of the 500 million people suffering from chronic liver diseases such as Hepatitis C.





Guadeloupe in the French West Indies is a beautiful island that reminds you at various points of the excesses of the French empire and a self-serving colonial system. In fact, some of those self-serving systems that existed nearly 350 to 400 years ago when the islands were colonized are still at times visible. Over the years, though, the lines dividing man and man have blurred considerably.

Indians landed up in Guadeloupe for the first time in 1854, six years after the abolishing of slavery in France. In the next thirty five years, over 42,873 Indians left the shores of India to find a better life in Guadeloupe. But only 39,800 arrived alive. Even though they were promised free return journeys, only about 20 per cent managed to come back to India as returning ship convoys were rare. The mortality among Indians was not unexpectedly very high-----in the commune of Moule, for instance, 45 per cent died within the first five years of their arrival. One could put this down to severely inhuman conditions of working, the savage nature of the plantation owners and, of course, the unforeseen incapacity of the Indians to toil like animals in foreign climes. When they signed up for indenture, they were clearly not prepared for the harsh life in the plantations.

Some of the Indians were tricked into leaving India. They never ever found the promised pot of gold. Instead they were handed sickles and scythes to mow down sugarcane fields. There was no training or acclimatization. It was assumed that they were fit for such physical work. When the tricked Indians wanted to return, they were treated roughly, and injected with generous doses of fear. The more rebellious ones were whipped or shown the gun. It was at the island of Ilet A Cabrits that 34 Indian men and one woman were moved to the House of Corrections. It was a prison, meant to correct human beings who were simply asking to be sent back home and made free from their bonded entrapment. Instead of being looked after in the manner human beings should, they were left to rot and die at the Ilet A Cabrits. It was a message to the rest on how rebels would meet the same fate. The story of the 35 Indians was a well-kept secret that toppled out of the archives in 2012, and today a memorial stands in their name (see cover photo) at the island of Les Saintes. It is dedicated by the local mayor to those Indians who were left to die for wanting to breathe the sweet air of freedom.

The history aside, Guadeloupe has much to showcase in terms of its scenic, volcanic beauty spread across its five main islands-Grand-Terre, Basse-Terre, Les Saintes, La Desirade, Marie-Galante-and its numerous archipelagoes. It is a vibrant cruise stop among those who love to sail the waters of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. There is a rich tapestry of food and music on offer, and a milieu of culture with a recorded history that dates back to the time of the visit of Christopher Columbus in 1493.


Weblinks of the Story Appearing in India Empire Magazine




A new book on HISTORY OF TAMIL DIASPORA by V. Sivasupramaniam covers Tamilians settling worldwide. The dispersal of Tamils around the globe is not of recent origin and at the moment there are seventy million of them spread in over fifty countries of the world. Theirs is a growing togetherness living in many lands and across distant seas, many thousands as refugees and asylum seekers. It is a togetherness rooted in an ancient heritage, a rich language and literature, and a vibrant culture. But it is a togetherness which is not simply a function of the past, but also one that is growing and consolidated by struggle, suffering and, given purpose and direction by the aspirations of a people for the future - a future where they and their children and their children's' children may live in equality and freedom in an emerging one world.


Their passion for and the love of their language and culture which has a cherished heritage is the one that binds the Tamil Diaspora worldwide and their coherence and unity is fast growing to be recognized as an international force. According to Father Heras, "Tamil is the oldest of the present languages and 'one of the powerful Dravidian languages is perhaps the only example of an ancient language which has survived as a spoken language for more than 2500 years with its basic structure almost unchanged'.


The name Tamil is itself unique meaning "sweetness" and "coolness". Language and culture are two facets of the same identity, and language is a major cultural element.


The full article is at





The Sandton Hindu Seva Samaj showed an innovative approach to build a Gujarati school - an initiative that demonstrates determination to succeed and make things work despite all odds.


What they did was to put up pre-fabricated multipurpose classrooms (Pictured below) on their temple premises.


This project was initiated by a few parents eight years ago as they recognized a need to maintain our Gujarati language and culture. The school started of with a handful of children of various ages and one teacher and today it has grown in leaps and bounds with almost 80 children with 10 teachers attending classes on a Saturday.


As the existing facility was no longer adequate to meet the growing interest in learning Gujarati mother tongue, the Samaj took a decision to build classrooms in the Mandir premises. The best option was to use pre-fabricated structures and the cost of putting up 5 classrooms and a multi-purpose room is in the region of R600, 000. Though the Samaj has agreed with a cash flow of this project, the school still needs to raise funds.


They have made an appeal to the local community to contribute. You could get more information from Prakash Bhagwan on 082 870 7809 or e-mail or also e-mail.


South African University marks Bollywood centenary


The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg marked the Centenary of Indian cinema with two special events - a week-long screening of five famous Indian films from different eras and a talk by academic Dilip Menon, Director of the Centre for Indian Studies, titled 'Making a Song and Dance of it: taking Bollywood seriously'.


The  event  showed how Indian cinema has developed from director Franz Osten's 'Achoot Kanya' of 1936, in which an untouchable girl and a Brahmin boy fall in love, but the strict caste system threatened to keep them apart.


Other films showed the recurrent social themes of poverty, Muslim-Hindu tensions, politics and corruption, as well as the love stories of the new generation as reflected by Shahrukh Khan and Rani Mukherji in 'Chalte Chalte'.


Geeta Pather, the recently-appointed Indian-origin Director of the Wits Theatre which hosted the screenings, said the celebration had been inspired by her childhood experiences of Indian cinema in Durban, which is home to three-quarters of South Africa's 1.4 million Indians.




New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney addressed a crowd at the Indian Consulate in New York to rally support for the issuance of a commemorative Diwali stamp. She spoke before the Consul General of India to urge its members and leaders in the Indian American communities to continue supporting an effort to get the Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee of the United States Postal Service to issue a commemorative Diwali stamp. Ranju Batra, president of the Association of Indians in America-NY was a major catalyst in the effort to get the Diwali stamp issued.


Issuing a Diwali stamp would officially recognize the size and significance of the country's Indian American population, which comprises over three million people, and would provide the USPS with sorely needed revenue.




Congressman Ami Bera introduced bipartisan legislation to allow international doctors to remain in the United States longer than their visas initially permitted if they agree to practice in underserved areas of the country that are in dire need of more doctors.


The Association of American Medical Colleges projects there will be a shortage of 63,000 doctors by 2015 and more than 130,000 by 2025. The Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Act will help address that shortage.


"America's strength has always been built on our ability to attract the best and the brightest people from around the world to innovate and help us here in the U.S. This bill is simply common sense and, I will work to make sure it's part of any comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced in the House."


Under current law, most international physicians who are trained in the United States on J-1 visas must return to their home country for two years after their residency ends before they can apply for a new visa or a green card.


But under the Conrad 30 program, these doctors can stay in the country without returning home if they agree to practice in an underserved area for three years.


The "30" refers to the number of doctors allowed per state to participate in the program. Bera and Meadows' legislation would increase the number of visas allowed per state, remove the program's expiration date, improve its functioning, and allow it to expand its scope to better meet the needs of the country.




The United States senate passed an immigration reform Bill that makes it harder and costlier for Indian tech firms to use H-1B workers at their US operations.


But the Bill is not law yet, and it may never become one in its present form because the House of Representatives, the other chamber of US Congress, is considering its own set of bills. And they don't tally with the senate version.


The bill has three central themes: strengthening border security, citizenship for 11 million illegal, and legal immigration revamp to expand talent pool and keep American jobs home. The third part, which seeks to overhaul the H-1B and L-1 visa programs for highly skilled foreign workers, hits Indian tech firms such as Infosys, TCS and Wipro directly.


They depend heavily on foreign workers, mostly from India. But they will find it increasingly difficult and costlier. And from 2016, they will have to maintain a 50-50 balance.


The bill also seeks to fast-track permanent residency -- Green Card -- for foreign students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math courses to keep them in the US.


This will encourage Indian students, who are the second largest component of foreign students in the US, to come to the US and stay. It will also discourage those in the US from thinking of returning home, a trend that had begun picking up recently specially for those stuck in the immigrations system.




Subhash Ediga's first birthday last month was bereft of any lavish celebrations in Metuchen, New Jersey. Instead, the $4,000 saved on the party and gifts was donated for a noble cause - 10 widows of Maharashtra's Vidarbha region.


The boy's father, software developer Suresh Ediga said their 6-year old daughter Surina also chipped in - by emptying all the coins from her piggy bank - for the worthy cause after hearing an inspirational talk by her parents. He also sent out an appeal to his friends in the US and through his NGO, i4Farmers, and asking people to chip in - instead of buying gifts for Subhash.


The money collected goes towards rehabilitation schemes for the most deserving Vidarbha farm widows, through the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) NGO.


In February, too, Ediga and his group of friends, employed or entrepreneurs in the US, had adopted 10 widows and given them aid worth $4000 for various domestic, farming, academic or medical purposes.


Three years ago, on Surina's third birthday, the Edigas had "celebrated" by donating the party bash money - $1,000 - for a year-long mid-day meal scheme for 75 children at a school in his native village of Patancheruvu in Andhra Pradesh through an NGO, Akshaya Patra.


Ediga was inspired to work for the cause after reading about an elderly Parsi couple - Cyrus Guzder and his wife Lyla - who donated over Rs.10 lakh for the Vidarbha widows.


nhrc appoints indian-american to foster ties with community


An Indian-American has been appointed by a Republican Congressional panel to strengthen ties between the Republican Party and the community. The Indian American Executive Council of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) will be headed by Shalli Kumar of Chicago.


Kumar and the Indian American Executive Council will help facilitate communications between NRCC and the Indian-American community. The NRCC will seek his input regarding how to increase Republican outreach efforts in the coming elections and identify potential candidates, the media statement said.




The famed Silicon Valley venture capitalist, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and initiator of many green enterprises Vinod Khosla hosted President Obama at his Portola Valley home.


The intimate dinner with New Delhi-born Khosla, his wife Neeru, and selected guests that included three key US Senators, was part of Obama's fundraising for Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.


Khosla, a green guru, now a well-known figure in Washington DC circles, is obviously in with the Democratic Party. The entire Khosla family including his four children was present at the event, along with what were evidently two very big dogs. "I want to thank Vinod and Neeru and the entire family - and these beasts - for hosting us here today. These two could eat Bo in one gulp," Obama was quoted as saying amid laughter. Bo is the Presidential First Dog.


fBi's move on hate crimes against sikhs, hindus applauded


The Indian-American community has applauded the recommendation of a FBI panel to track hate crimes against Sikhs and Hindus in the US, noting that this is the first step in the right direction.


"It's a good first step to addressing and quantifying these kinds of crimes and getting to their root cause," said Dr Ami Bera, the only Indian-American Congressman in the current House of Representatives, who was one of the leading lawmakers behind such a move.


The FBI Advisory Policy Board recommended tracking hate crime against Sikhs, Hindus and Arab Americans, thus meeting one of the long pending demands of these minority communities, who have increasingly been targeted post 9/11 in the United States.


After years of pressure from civil rights groups and lawmakers, the FBI Advisory Policy Board recommended tracking hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus and Arab Americans. To date, the FBI has not collected and tracked hate crimes against these communities - despite serious hate crimes perpetrated against the community members.


"Law-enforcement agencies will now be better able to track and assess trends in hate crimes against these communities and, most importantly, provide better protection," said Samir Kalra, HAF director and senior human rights fellow. HAF had submitted comments to the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Advisory Policy Board, specifically focusing on the importance of creating an anti-Hindu hate crime category and its significance for tracking hate crimes against Hindu American institutions and individuals.


According to Sikh Coalition surveys, approximately 10 per cent of Sikhs in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area alone have experienced physical violence or property damage because of their religion.




The large Gujarati and South Asian community settled on the US East Coast will soon be able to savor 'The Taste of India.' Amul is gearing up to start a dairy plant in Waterloo village in upstate New York, about 550 km from New Jersey.


The Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Limited, better known as Amul Dairy, has signed a tripartite agreement to start the plant that will initially manufacture paneer and ghee. Amul will utilize an existing dairy plant owned by New Jersey-based NRI Piyush Patel for manufacturing.


"New York is a milk surplus state and with this arrangement we will be able to produce and supply Amul products in the US as well as Canada, and export it to Europe," said Patel, owner of Summit Milk Products.


Amul will initially manufacture three tonnes of paneer and five tonnes of ghee per day for which another plant is being exported from India.




An educational trust formed in 2000 with contributions from more than a thousand non-resident Indians, mainly from the UAE, is setting up two new engineering colleges which will offer scholarships to needy and meritorious students.


P K Ashokan, Chairman, Vidya International Charitable Trust (VICT), a collaborative effort of overseas Keralites in the Gulf, said an engineering and technical college under the trust will open at Kilimanoor near Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.


Many self-financing engineering and medical colleges in Kerala charge huge sums of money as capitation fees from students, especially NRI students. VICT is using half of the income generated from its existing engineering college to give scholarships to the meritorious and needy students.


The Kilimanoor campus will offer engineering courses in four streams and admit about 240 students. It will offer courses in mechanical, civil, electronics and electrical and electronics and communication engineering.


Vidya Academy of Science and Technology, Thalakottukara in Trichur was the first institute formed under the trust in 2003 on 23 hectares of land. Currently 840 students enroll every year in the academy for seven undergraduate and four post graduate courses.


The trust also plans to start short term courses using the available infrastructure of the engineering colleges to train people for technical jobs in India or abroad, especially to the Middle East.


new uk visa law to hit india-uk trade ties


Home secretary Theresa May's new plan to demand upfront cash bonds, reportedly set at around £3,000 for visitors from "high risk" countries including India has dealt a body blow to UK government's declared attempts to create a special relationship with India and increase bilateral trade ties.


Reacting to the proposal, Anwar Hasan, head of the Tata UK and co-chair of the CII-India Business Forum, which represents the hundreds of Indian companies operating in the UK said: "We urge the British government to act with great caution, and to ensure that no new measures affect the exchanges between our countries, particularly business and education, which are so strongly in our mutual interest. As in every other area of public policy, business needs fair rules of the game."


Coming as this does recently after Prime Minister David Cameron's much publicized visit to woo Indian business to come to Britain, the move seems somewhat counter-productive.


UK's home office sent ET May's statement said: "This is the next step in making sure our immigration system is more selective, bringing down net migration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands while still welcoming brightest and the best to UK."


What the business community is worried about is that this statement does not distinguish between tourist, business, or student visas.




A Singapore-based NRI is launching a bank in London to provide latest services to its customers in the UK.


"We are launching the Smart Global Bank in London tomorrow because London is global hub and a global city where most of the thinking is going on," BK Modi, founder-chairman of Spice Global.




The first edition of a comprehensive directory that could serve as a one-stop reference guide on Indian entrepreneurs and professionals in the UAE has been published.


The manual 'Indian Businessmen and Professionals Manual', compiled by India Trade and Exhibition Centre Middle East (ITEC ME) was released by Indian Ambassador to the UAE, M K Lokesh. The IBPM project will have far reaching impact in future on the business and professions run by Indians in UAE.


It will act as a link and one-stop reference guide on Indian businessmen and professionals and major business establishments, for use by members of all nationalities in the UAE, the GCC and MENA regions, government bodies, embassies, consulates, trade organizations, and high profile individuals. 


GOPIO is a non-partisan, non-sectarian global organization with chapters in several countries, actively promoting the interests of people of Indian origin worldwide by monitoring and addressing current critical issues of concern, and by enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in various countries.


GOPIO Individual Life membership is open to all who believe in the mission of GOPIO. The one- time fee is $5,000 for Platinum Life Membership, $2,500 for Gold Life Membership and $1,500 Silver Life Membership and half the amount for each category for those from developing countries and India.


GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world so as to network people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have chapter in your city, please visit GOPIO website ( and get details of chapter initiation (visit Process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more. For more information, contact:


GOPIO Chairman - Inder Singh, Tarzana, California, USA, Tel: +1-818-708-3885, E-mail:


GOPIO President - Ashook Ramsaran, Fresh Meadows, New York, USA, Tel: 718/939-8194, E-mail:


GOPIO Executive Vice President - Sunny Kulathakal, Bahrain, Tel: +973 39441956 or +91 9845756692, E-mail:


GOPIO Senior Vice President - Dr Piyush Agrawal, Weston, Florida, USA, Tel: +1-954-684-6494,


To become a Life member of GOPIO, one can sign up online at or fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO International, PO Box 560117, New York NY 11356, USA.



Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus of GOPIO Intl. and Executive Trustee, GOPIO Foundation (Stamford, CT, USA)

Editor: Nami Kaur, Secretary, GOPIO International (New York, USA)

Co-Editors: Bina Mahabir (Co-Chair GOPIO Media Council, Guyana-New York, USA), Nilofar Pardawala (Portland, Oregon, USA) and Kishor Kapitan (GOPIO Durban, South Africa)

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

Contributors of this issue: Inder Singh (Chairman, GOPIO Intl.), Ashook Ramsaran (President, GOPIO Intl., USA), Umesh Chandra (GOPIO Intl Coordinator for Oceania, Australia), Dr. Suman Kapoor (GOPIO Women's Council Chair, New Zealand), Loshni Naidoo (GOPIO South Africa Coordinator), Munish Gupta (GOPIO Intl. Coordinator for Africa), Dr. Piyush Agrawal (GOPIO Senior Vice President, USA), Shailesh Naik (GOIO-CT President)


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


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