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Issue: VI-10 August 25, 2007
August 25, 2007
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
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The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) are planning a four-day program in New York City under the banner of 'India at 60' starting on September 23rd.  The Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Commerce will also participate in the event. It will be a sort of a mini Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD New York 2007) and would be geared to attract participation of those NRIs who had not been able to attend the annual PBD in India.


The objective of the PBD New York 2007 is to provide tangible roles for the Indian Diaspora in North American and its neighboring regions to contribute in a tangible way to the development challenges that India faces today.

This one day conference will set itself apart by presenting an action oriented agenda focused on how the Indian American community can be involved with India's progress. By prioritizing key areas like education, investment, infrastructure and health, PBD New York 2007 will showcase thought leaders from the social and financial arenas. This event is a unique platform for the individual Indian American to get engaged with India via contributing their expertise and knowledge capital.


Programme outline


a.  Inaugural - India's Minister of External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee and Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi plus Sunil Mittal, President CII and Nandan Nilekani, Co-Chairman, Infosys Technologies.

b.  Plenary I - Focus on Education and Engagement of Overseas Indians

c.  Luncheon Plenary - Keynote Prof Dr C K Prahalad

d.  Plenary II - Focus on Investment in India

e.  Plenary III - Focus on Infrastructure Development in India


Theme - Sustaining India's Growth: Integrating Overseas Indians


Venue : Pier 60 - The Lighthouse, 23rd St and West Side Highway, New York, NY


Details of PBD New York 2007 and other programs are provided at  The direct link for registration is


Contact: Confederation of Indian Industry, 1700 North Moore Street, Suite 1928, Arlington, VA 22209, Tel: 703-807-0310, E-mail:



India Asia News Service (IANS) reports that NRIs in trouble can seek help from welfare centers being set up at Indian missions to provide financial, legal and medical help. Initially, there will be three such centers - in Dubai, Washington and Kuala Lumpur - and these will come into operation by October, 2007. 


According to MOIA, cabinet approval had been granted for the center in Dubai, which would be a full-fledged one under the jurisdiction of the Indian ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


The Washington center will cover the US and Canada, the one in Kuala Lampur will cater to Southeast Asia, while the Dubai center will serve six Gulf nations. Apart from the UAE, the other Gulf nations are Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. There are around five million Indians in the region, and many of them working as contract workers.


MOIA spokesman said that each of these centers would be headed by a consular level officer under the jurisdiction of the Indian envoy in that country. But the officer would report to MOIA. Legal, financial and medical counselors will assist the officers.


"These counselors will be taken preferably from Indians settled in that country but we are not averse to taking local citizens of the country concerned," the MOIA official said.


The spokesman said while the Dubai center would have all the three counselors, the Washington office would have only the legal and financial counselor. The Kuala Lumpur center would have the legal and medical counselors.

At the Washington center, the consular will have the responsibility to resolve problems relating to marriages between Indian citizens and overseas Indians. In Dubai, the consular responsibility will include issues of workers' rights, providing psychiatric help to traumatized workers, especially domestic maids, as well as advice to workers for investments.


There have been numerous reports of Indian brides being abandoned, abused or betrayed after getting married to Indians in those countries and the MOIA has been taking several steps to stop this trend.


The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has also announced the setting up of 24 hours toll-free helpline for complaints at Indian missions in the Gulf countries by September this year. The helpline will enable overseas Indians to register their complaints which will be given an identification number through which the complainants can keep track of the complaints filed by them.




Britain's parliamentary joint human rights committee termed the changes to immigration rules that adversely affected thousands of Indian origin professionals and others as "unfair and unlawful". In a report released this month, the committee said professionals under the High Skilled Migrants Programme (HSMP) would face deportation due to the retrospective changes that came into effect in November 2006. The migrants' campaign for a reversal of the changes has enlisted support from MPs from across the political spectrum.


The changes have also been challenged in court even as many professionals under the programme have been served deportation notices as they do not meet the criteria for continued employment and stay in Britain under the new rules. "The changes to the rules are so clearly incompatible with article 8 - the right to respect for home and family life - and so contrary to basic notions of fairness, that the case for parliament immediately revisiting them is overwhelming," says the report.


The rules were tightened in last November amid claims that the scheme, which is designed to attract doctors, scientists and computer specialists, was being abused with some who qualified taking low-skilled jobs once they got here. But the changes also led to making it more difficult to earn the right to settle permanently in Britain for those who had already arrived under a different criteria.


Andrew Dismore, chairperson of the joint committee on human rights, said: "These changes are patently unfair - truly a case of moving the goalposts during the match. What is being proposed is to cheat on the deal through which people have legitimately made their decisions over their life and livelihood here in the UK."


"The government is entitled to introduce these changes to protect its economic interests for future migrants, but it is not right to pull out the rug from under those who have already given up lives, homes and jobs elsewhere in the world and settled themselves and their families here based - let's not forget - on the huge contribution they make to our country, economically and socially."


Dismore said the government was entitled to introduce the changes for future migrants to protect its economic interests, but it was not right to pull out the rug from under those who had already given up lives, homes and jobs elsewhere in the world.


MPs and peers quote an estimate from the campaign group Highly Skilled Migrants Forum that 90 per cent of the 49,000 professionals - many of them Indians - now face deportation.


However, a Home Office spokesperson said it was anticipated that the "vast majority" of those on the programme who made an economic contribution would be able to extend their stay in Britain either under new rules or special transitional arrangements. He added that "the changes were needed to ensure that tougher checks on foreign workers are carried out both here and abroad to guard against the risk of abuse and make sure those on HSMP visas are actually doing highly skilled work."





Maxene Fabe Mulford and Anand Ahuja, head of Uniquely U. College Essay Consultants, shared their ten years of college admissions expertise at a free informational seminar, "Maximizing Your College Essay for the New 2007-2008 Common Application," on Sunday, August 4, 2007 at Meera Indian Cuisine in Stamford, Connecticut. This seminar was designed to inform college-bound high school students and their parents about writing the college essay and its role in the application process. The free luncheon seminar was co-sponsored by The Connecticut Chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) and Uniquely U and was open to all.


GOPIO-Ireland inaugurated at Dublin Castle on July 29th
"Everyone worries, 'What are colleges looking for?'" says Maxene Mulford, co-owner of Uniquely U., "and, in so doing, inevitably produces superficial, cliché-riddled essays. Instead, the application process should be about defining what makes you unique-what are your goals and expectations for a given college?"


"Paradoxically," adds her partner, Anand Ahuja, "by articulating that for yourself and ignoring the perceived external expectations of some faceless admissions officer, you end up giving colleges exactly what they want. I know," Ahuja adds, "because I've personally experienced our amazing 5-step process-twice: once, when I applied to college as an undergraduate and was admitted to Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Penn, Northwestern and Michigan, and again this year when I gained admission to Harvard Business School."


To help participants attain similar satisfaction, the seminar provided inside information about how to make the most of the high-tech features of the newly retooled Common Application.  The seminar also showcased actual college essays, explaining why they were successful, and how one should begin to think about your own.


"Thanks for organizing the event, getting into the right college is so important and knowing these tips would definitely help in the immensely competitive environment", expressed Mr. Harpal Mangat, one of the parents who attended the seminar with his daughter Sandy.


"Both Kirit and I felt a sense of relief at having found a non-gimmicky, wonderful, realistic presentation of the subject.  We were very impressed with both Maxene and Anand.  They are quite a team - articulate, honest and well-meaning" said Sonal Vora who was with her daughter Mallika at the seminar.




The all Ireland Chapter of the GOPIO was officially inaugurated on July 29th at the prestigious Dublin Castle. The newest GOPIO Europe unit covers all 32 counties of island of Ireland. GOPIO Ireland chapter is unique since it will unite PIO and NRI communities from two states with different cultural traditions in a single organization to reflect changing political climate in Ireland after a long troublesome period.


Inauguration took place in the magnificent St Patrick's Hall in the historical Government building of Dublin Castle. The St Patrick's Hall has been a venue for a number of major EU meetings during Irish Presidency of the European Union in the past. It was also the birth place of Anglo-Irish agreement that culminated in devolution and the power sharing government in Northern Ireland.


GOPIO Ireland Inauguration at Dublin Castle

Photo Above: Dignitaries listening to Irish music at GOPIO-Ireland Inauguration.

GOPIO-Ireland President Dr. Prabhu Kulkarni said that it is a historic event for Indians in Ireland and Northern Ireland to come together under GOPIO platform. GOPIO-Ireland Chairman Lord Diljit Rana of Malone said that the new all-Ireland section of GOPIO "signals the changing political landscape and increased business collaboration between North and South. GOPIO-Ireland will bring many benefits to this Ireland," Lora Rana added.


Photo Above: Dignitaries listening to Irish music at GOPIO-Ireland Inauguration. Photo Below: GOPIO Officials and Irish musicians at the reception following the inauguration.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Enterprise, Trade and Employment John McGuinness highlighted the connections between Ireland and India. "Ireland, like India, had a major Diaspora, and "this international network has served us well, and will continue to do so in future," said McGuinness. GOPIO, "in tapping into the potential

of the network of 25 million people of Indian origin living outside India, mirrors many of our own goals and aspirations in the promotion of our country abroad."


McGuinness pointed to India as a priority market in Ireland's Asia trade strategy and noted the shared recent history of economic growth. "India is today acknowledged as a key research and development destination because of its high-quality talent pool, while Ireland's dynamism has been similarly driven."


The Chairman of the GOPIO International Dr. Thomas Abraham said, "India needs faster economic, social and technological development, and GOPIO-Ireland will work towards encouraging investment and development of entrepreneurship" in Ireland by Indian companies and those of Indian origin from other parts of the world.


Indian Ambassador to Ireland Saurabh Kumar complimented GOPIO for its tremendous network and mobilizing the overseas Indian community for common cause for the last 18 years.


The meeting was also addressed by Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr. Paddy Bourke and Jasbir Sachar, GOPIO official from London.


Similar to other GOPIO chapters, GOPIO Ireland will be a non-partisan secular organization engaged in promoting the well being of people of Indian origin and enhancing their contribution and cooperation in the island of Ireland.


Contact: Dr Prabhu Kulkarni, India Director of Asia Trade Forum of the Irish Exporters Association is the chapter president, E-mail: or Dr. Satish Kumar, Lecturer, School of Geography, Archaeology & Paleoceology, Queen's University Belfast is Hon Secretary, E-mail:




GOPIO-Chicagoland is a not-for-profit organization set up in 2003 and registered in Glenview, Illinois. It supports charitable projects and organizations in India which direct aid to the weaker sections of society, mainly through education and health initiatives. In a like manner, it supports education, health and welfare initiatives in the US, targeted at people of Indian origin.


In April 2007, GOPIO-Chicagoland instituted the Subhash Mehta Memorial scholarships, in honor of a leading GOPIO member (Mr Subhash Mehta) who passed away in mid-2006. He had spent his life championing activities that led to improvements in the quality of life for the poor, elderly, women, children and the disabled in India.


The objective of this scholarship program is to recognize and encourage high-school graduates who not only stand out in academic achievement, but also display a record of sustained volunteerism and service to the community. Under this program, three merit-based scholarships of $1500, $1000 and $500 have been established for Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin high-school students of Indian origin, graduating in 2007.


This year, the chapter awarded the scholarships to three outstanding candidates.


Contact: Samir Shah, E-mail:




GOPIO hosted a luncheon meeting at the Nehru Center in London on July 27th. Over 30 community leaders and activists participated in the planning meeting, which decided to host GOPIO's Fourth Global Indian Entrepreneurs and Businessmen meeting in April/May in 2008.

GOPIO-London Planning Meeting for Global Indian Entrepreneurs Meet
GOPIO-London Meeting at the Nehru Center on July 27th, 2007

GOPIO-London President Raj Lakha welcomed the guests. Lord Diljit Rana, who is also the Executive Vice President of GOPIO International, said that London offers a unique opportunity to hold this meeting since the many of the Indian Diaspora communities have close relations with U.K.


GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham said that the First Global Indian Entrepreneurs Meet took place in Singapore in 1996 while the second and third were organized in New Delhi and New York respectively in 1998 and 2002.


"It is an excellent opportunity to network and look at the business opportunities all over the world," said, Dr. Abraham. The conference is expected bring all PIO political leaders from all over the world. It will also explore new hot technologies for investments. Preceding this meet will be a day long Indian and NRI/PIO Economic Summit which will discuss the issues of India's and PIOs' economic development in the global context of NRIs, PIOs and changing goals and strategies. 


The planning meeting concluded with comments from Jasbir Sachar, GOPIO Life Member who has served as GOPIO Vice President for the last two terms.


Contact: Lord Diljit Rana of Malone, E-mail:; J. Sachar, E-mail:; Raj Lakha, +44 1474 329985 (T), +44 7768 685397 (M), E-mail:




Mayor Dan Malloy and Consul Praveen Kumar raise Indian flag at StamfordOn August 11, 2007 Stamford, Connecticut witnessed a cheerful gathering of Indian Americans from Fairfield and Westchester County celebrating the 60th Anniversary of India's Independence. GOPIO - Connecticut Chapter sponsored this event at the Stamford Government Center with Stamford's Mayor Dan Malloy as the chief guest along with Praveen Kumar, Consul for Community and Political Affairs at the Indian Consulate, New York. The event was attended by about 250 people ranging from toddlers to seniors. There was certainly a feeling of pride and unity in the room decorated with balloons, banners and Indian and American flags. Children from Gurukul Hindi School sang patriotic songs and waved the flags.

Mayor Malloy praised the manner in which Indian struggle for Independence was conducted and said, "The grace by which you won your freedom stands as a great monument to the people of India. In his proclamation, he added, "As the Indian flag is raised and its national Anthem is sung, I encourage all citizens to join the Indian Community in celebrating the 60th anniversary of their home country's Independence. We extend best wishes to all our Indian neighbors along with our appreciation for their continued support and commitment to America".


Mr. Praveen Kumar complimented the gathering and delivered a message from the Indian Consul General of India Mrs. Neelam Deo. 

Paul Ahuja,
 board member of GOPIO-CT and chair of the organizing committee for the event said, "Events like this bring the whole community together and make us proud to be Indians. We have a rich heritage and by uniting we can make significant contributions to our adopted country."

American National Anthem followed by Indian flag raising ceremony and the united voice of "Jana Gana Mana" filled the air on this spectacular August day. Sangeeta Ahuja President of GOPIO-CT said "the Independence Day always brings memories of people who made many sacrifices for India's freedom." Ahuja added, "For me it is like Memorial Day, Veteran's Day and Independence Day all together."


Contact: GOPIO-CT President Sangeeta Ahuja at 203-329-9744 or






St. Vincent's born PIO Norris Lincoln Bullock has been elected Mayor of Luton in the United Kingdom. The 61-year old Councilor, married and father of two grown sons, contested the election as a representative of the Labor Party. The newly elected mayor has served in many community positions over the years, including: Lifelong Learning Scrutiny, North Luton Area Committee, African Caribbean Elders working group, Starlight Youth Club, Limbury Community Center, Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership, the Partnership Improvement Board, and School Governor at Norton Road Primary School.


Mayor Bullock stated that "I am quite pleased - it is something I have always wanted to do. I have done voluntary work in the town for the past 25 years so I think I well deserve it." Mayor Bullock has stated that he intends to focus on healthcare issues during his term as Mayor of Luton.




Dr. Mohan Gautam, Co-Chairman of GOPIO's Academic Council, was among the 38 scholars honored at the three-day 8th World Hindi Conference held in New York beginning on July 13 -- 15, 2007. The conference was organized by the Government of India and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and was based on the theme "Hindi on the World Stage". It was attended by over 900 delegates, notable scholars and prominent representatives from government, academic and cultural entities.


Prominent speakers include United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon who stated that "the Hindi Language is a beautiful language, redolent with the culture and history of the Indian sub-continent". Chairman Dr. L. M. Singhvi's speech focused on the historical roots of Hindi and "its unifying nature". Conference Chairman was Dr. Karan Singh who was the Special Envoy of India's Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma also spoke to the delegates.


"This is truly an honor for me to be selected along with the other honorees", said Dr. Gautam who has been an advocate of preserving and promoting Hindi. Dr. Gautam has written widely on this subject as well as history and culture of the global Indian Diaspora.




The first ever Caribbean Indian Music Awards event was held on July 15 at the famous Club Tobago in Richmond Hill, New York, to honor local artistes in the performing arts, chutney and filmy songs. The historic red carpet event was organized by the Dheeraj Cultural Foundation in association with Achievers, Inc.


Popular Kathak dancer and head of the Dheeraj Cultural Foundation, Guyanese-born Mr. Dheeraj said that the idea of the awards show was born about five months ago. He, along with many other like-minded people in the West Indian community, worked assiduously to put together this spectacular awards package, which was reminiscent of the Bollywood Musical Awards show. Many community leaders, including prominent civic leader and businessman Ramesh Kalicharran, turned out to support this once-of-its-kind event. Mr. Kalicharran remarked that "this program recognizes the sterling contributions made by the local artistes to promote the this unique culture was long overdue"


There were many categories up for nomination namely, filmy songs, chutney, TV talk show hosts, DJs and radio talk show hosts. The event culminated with a scintillating cultural presentation showcasing a mixture of talents in the community. Performers, such as Anand Yankarran, Sharon Ghanny, Neal Mohammed, the Jumping Jack Danny and the little dancing princess, Nikita wowed the packed audience.


Contributed by Bina Mahabir





Europe is looking for migration from India. A rapidly aging population coupled with an increasingly better standard of living amongst its citizens has prompted the European Union to look towards Asia, specifically India, to bridge a yawning labor supply gap. In recent months, the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) is negotiating with Belgium, Poland, Sweden and France to facilitate migration of skilled professionals from India over the next few years. It is a win-win situation. While Europe requires skilled personnel like engineers and health workers and those in other semi-skilled professions, the EU provides a good alternative for Indians facing laws that discourage migration in US and UK and human rights issues in the Gulf countries.

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) recently signed a MoU with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to facilitate legal migration of Indian workers to EU. As a starter, the IOM - an independent inter-governmental organization with 120 countries as its members - will kick-start a pilot project in Germany, UK, Italy, Spain and Ireland. IOM will assess the needs of these five countries before training Indian workers and sending them. It also plans to set up a toll-free helpline and a resource center in India that will provide migration related information.

"In a world where borders don't exist for information, goods and services, it is very hard to erect effective borders to stop human beings. Europe prefers internal migration but they cannot sustain that very long. With a shrinking population, countries are looking at labor outside of their own countries," Brunsom McKinley, IOM director general, said.

Poland has already taken the first step. Its minister for labor and social policy Anna Kalata was in India last month to discuss ways in which movement of Indian workers could be managed.

The country is preparing to host the European championship in 2012 and hopes to gain from a first mover advantage by getting skilled professionals in construction and management fields for the large-scale preparations.

India and Poland have formed a joint working group to hammer out an agreement on the issue of migration and social security for professionally skilled workers. Poland is also likely to reduce the high cost of work permit visas. Another step in this direction is signing of a social security agreement with Belgium, by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his counterpart Guy Verhofstadt that exempts NRIs working in Belgium for up to five years from contributing to the social security system provided the employee is paying provident fund in India.

Belgium has an expatriate population of 20,000 while the number is about 2,000 for Poland compared to the 2.54 lakh workers going to UAE in 2006 alone - officials in India are keen to point out that it is important to gain a foothold in Europe. "We are concerned about the Indian Diaspora and are keen on social security agreements with other EU countries," Vayalar Ravi, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, said.


According to a report, 49,000 Indian professionals migrated to UK in 2006-'07. Indian workers numbered the second highest among foreign workers (after Polish workers who numbered 222,000) who were given national insurance numbers.




Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) from Kerala have decided to set up a world-class business school in Kochi, the state's commercial capital. The International Business School (IBS-Kochi) will be established in partnership with the Management Center Innsbruck, Austria.


The institute will offer an 18-month MBA program especially designed to produce graduates who are commercially astute, socially responsible and international in outlook, Birla Public School chairman Mohan Thomas has said. Mr Thomas, along with Professor Jay Kandampully, promotes the joint venture.


IBS-Kochi will nurture management education and research in India by providing students with an opportunity to undertake innovative business education and research equivalent to international business schools, Thomas has said.




Airlines in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are expecting a huge rush as nearly a million amnesty seekers, including many Indians, are likely to leave the country before the September 2 deadline. The UAE Government declared a three-month amnesty in June, but an exodus of illegal workers is expected in the coming weeks as the deadline approaches.


Indian carriers - Air-India, Indian and other regional airlines like Emirates and Etihad Airways - are offering promotions to generate sales, and some are also considering adding frequencies to accommodate the rush.


Emirates said it would slash tickets by up to 55 per cent for flights to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. "Special fares can be 22 to 55 per cent cheaper than the normal fares," Emirates said in a statement.


Etihad Airways uses direct marketing to promote its discounted fares which start at Dh400, posting fliers at the embassies of seven countries on the subcontinent and East Asia.


Air-India is offering discounted fares to five Indian cities until September 2. Flights to Mumbai and Delhi cost Dh590, including taxes, with additional promotions for Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram and Hyderabad.



The Convention is designed to benefit Indian-American men and women - in business or considering going into business. Prominent U.S. and Indian officials, business leaders and leading experts are expected to share their insight into emerging business opportunities - and how to succeed - in areas such as: IT, Telecom, Franchising, Health Care, Nanotechnology, Alternate Energy, Clean Water, Human Capital Management, Social Entrepreneurship, Agriculture, Export-Import, Doing Business with the Federal Government, Doing Business with Latin America, Women in Corporate Leadership, and more.

There will also be a special White House Briefing.

The early bird registration date has been extended to August 30.

For more information, visit



The Ministry of Agriculture of Guyana and the United States Agency for International Development will be hosting a Seminar for the Guyanese Diaspora on "Agro-Business Investment Opportunities in Guyana" on August 22, 2007 at the Chateau Royale in Richmond Hill in Queens, New York. The presenters at the Seminar will include Honorable Robert M. Persaud, Minister of Agriculture of Guyana, and His Excellency David Robinson, Ambassador of the United States of America to Guyana.


Hon. Brentnold Evans, the Consul General of the Republic of Guyana, New York, has issued the invitation to all persons interested in Agr-Business investment opportunities in Guyana.


Contact: Consul General of Guyana in New York, Hon. Brentnold Evans, at 212-947-5110




Trinidadian born PIO writer Jang Bhagirathee's book "Chalo Chinidad" is to be made into a film with filming to be done in India. Following the success of Rohit Jagessar's 2004 Indentureship Diaspora Movie, "Guyana1838", Jang Bhagirathee will be embarking upon an expeditious movie-making bonanza to India based on his book, "Chalo Chinidad," (Let's Go Trinidad) published in 2003. The film will tell the ancestry story of the Trinidad Indian Indentured laborer's journey from India to the Caribbean during the 1800's-1917.


"The film is dedicated to the memory of our ancestors who were led to lands across the world to toil in the sugarcane plantations seeking a better life for themselves and their offspring...amidst all calamities and treacherous schemes," commented Mr. Bhagirathee. "The conditions which the Indians faced in the West Indian sugarcane plantations were no less than what the former African slaves had experienced," writes Bhagirathee.


An established historian, Mr. Bhagirathee is versed in Hindi and Indian philosophy, and has produced and directed stage plays in Trinidad during the 1980s.The film will be directed by Irfan Jami, a veteran Bollywood director of 20 years. The project is supported by government agencies as a historical and documentary undertaking. Manoj Bajpai is among one of the top Bollywood stars being considered for the leading role among other actors and actresses, while the film will also accommodate Caribbean actors and singers as well.

Interested actors and actresses are invited to audition for roles in this film. Contact Jang Bhagirathee at (Tel: 718-322-9170) or Seorie Autar at (Tel: 718-426-6742).




May Trieu, a Chinese Buddhist born in Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam War, has spearheaded the construction of what will soon be the first Buddhist temple in the Caribbean: the Nirvana Temple in Estate Mandahl, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The turquoise waters and swaying palms of St. Thomas could not be much farther from the Indian birthplace of Buddhism, but local practitioners of the eastern religion, as well as others seeking spiritual enlightenment or simply a clear mind, soon will have a space for meditation on the northern shore of St. Thomas.

Trieu said the temple is a long-held dream of her family. As president of the Trieu Foundation, she has seen that dream turn to reality in the form of concrete and wood.  "We are building it because we want to promote love, compassion and a spiritual life," Trieu said as she looked out at the sparkling water from the second floor of the temple. Two years and more than $600,000 into the construction of the three-building compound, soaring ceilings and curved rooftops invite energies and tropical breezes to flow freely through the buildings. Trieu said the design concept of feng shui was used to promote spiritual energy. Robert Hoskinson, a builder and friend of Trieu, designed the temple and two-building retreat facility.

While there may not be a large Buddhist population in the Virgin Islands, Trieu said the temple will be a center of engaged Buddhism, where people of all faiths can practice and learn Buddhist philosophy and take it into their everyday life. "The philosophy of self-awareness with a goal to end all suffering, can help the Virgin Islands be a better place", Trieu said. It is also expected to bring people from around the world to the temple and the two retreats being built next door to house visitors. Trieu said, "We want to bring spiritual teachers and leaders, meditation masters and leaders from other religions. Even political leaders or others who work for peace, love and caring." Trieu said the temple is still seeking sponsorship to finish the more than $600,000 of construction remaining. Volunteers for landscaping or other work will also accepted, she said. 




Guyanese born PIO Samuel Singh, the son of a pastor in the Lutheran Church in New York, has published a compilation of thematic poetry on life in Guyana and its culture. The title of the publication is "MY VOICE" and it has received positive reviews from various quarters as a unique compilation of poems inspired by life of the author while growing up as a PIO in Guyana.


"It took time in crafting this collection of poems to show great beauty, thought and personal conviction", said author Samuel Singh. "This book is a collection of poems inspired by my homeland, Guyana. For many years there were incidents and stories, both good and bad, that attracted the attention of Guyanese and Guyanese related people the world over", added Singh.


Samuel Singh was born in 1981 on the Corentyne coast of Guyana, South America where he spent his childhood. The family then moved to Jamaica, West Indies where he lived for four years and was also where he found a love for writing. He retuned to Guyana in 1996 where he completed secondary education and during that time he developed more of a passion for creative writing and poetry. In 1999, he emigrated with his family to New York where he continued his education and graduated from Queens.




Reserve Bank has allowed resident Indians to open, maintain and hold foreign currency accounts in banks outside India up to $100,000 hoping to flush out excess foreign capital. Resident individuals can utilize the amount deposited in foreign bank accounts to invest in mutual funds, venture funds, unrated debt securities and promissory notes or to acquire and hold immovable property, or purchase any other asset without any prior approval.

However, individuals are not allowed to invest money in countries like Bhutan, Nepal, Mauritius and Pakistan or to transfer money to individuals and entities that are identified as capable of committing acts of terrorism.




Chandu Patel, president-elect of National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA) will be hosting Sunita Williams at a gala banquet in Ahmedabad during her visit to India from September 19-21, 2007.


Sunita Williams is the second woman of Indian heritage to have been selected by NASA for a space mission after Kalpana Chawla. She took a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, a small figurine of Lord Ganesha and some samosas during her space flight. Her father, Dr. Deepak Pandya migrated from Gujarat and is a famous neuroanatomist. Sunita has been to India to visit her father's family.


Chandu (C.K) Patel is already in India and can be reached by telephone at 79-2755-3248 (H) or 98243-95519.



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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Contributors of this issue: Inder Singh (USA), Dr. Rajen Anand (USA), Raj Lakha (UK), Dr. Prabhu Kulkarni (Ireland), Dr. Raveendra Kumar (India), Sangeeta Ahuja (USA); Bina Mahabir (Guyana-USA); Vishnu Bisram (Guyana-USA); Pt Indrani Rampersad (Trinidad/USA).


GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter. Contact Dr. Thomas Abraham, Tel: 203-329-8010, E-mail:


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