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August 25, 2010
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
Issue: IX-10August 25, 2010
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The National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), established in 1980, has been serving the community for the last 30 years. It has given voice to Indian-Americans to be a participating community in America and motivate them to perform their civic duties and at the same time preserve their rich cultural heritage, thus contributing to the melting pot of America. NFIA has also been promoting India's interest and community interest at various levels of the American society, among the media, intellectuals, and corporate and political leaders. In 1989 at the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin organized by the NFIA, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) was formed.


NFIA ( is celebrating its 30th Anniversary in New York on September 17-19, 2010.  The main venue is at the Crowne Plaza LaGuardia Hotel as well as the World Fair Marina Restaurant in New York   NFIA, the largest umbrella organization of more than 200 associations, representing over 2.7 million Indian Americans, is commemorating its milestone anniversary by a gathering and conference of its members and guests.  The theme of this conference and 16th Biennial convention is "Indian Americans Celebrating Success, Overcoming Challenges"


The program begins with a Welcome Reception on Friday, September 17, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. at the World Fair Marina, Queens, NY.  Meera Shankar, the Indian Ambassador to the U.S. will be the chief guest. The conference will follow at the Crowne Plaza LaGuardia Hotel on Saturday, September 18, beginning at 9:00 a.m. The conference topics will cover contemporary issues affecting the Indian-American community such as education, business, jobs, politics, immigration, and security.  The main event festivities will continue on Saturday evening with a Gala Awards Banquet, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza LaGuardia Hotel in Queens, New York.


 NFIA Convention 2010 Launch in June 2010

Photo above: NFIA Convention 2010 organizers at its first meeting launch held in Queens, New York in June 2010


"This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the formation of NFIA - 30 years of remarkable and unprecedented achievements by NFIA members representing the interests of over 2.7 million Indian Americans from 200+ associations in the US," said Lal Motwani, Convention Convener of NFIA.  "We encourage everyone to be part of this wonderful event at NFIA's 30th Anniversary Convention, to know about it, its significance and how it matters to every one of us Indian Americans, to feel connected, with a sense of belonging and to participate fully," Motwani emphasized.


"This is a celebration of 30 years of achievements, contributions and services by the Indian Americans towards the progress of the American dream on all frontiers of business, commerce, health, education and social welfare." said Dr. Thomas Abraham, founding president of NFIA and past Chairman of GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) International.  "NFIA will re-examine and re-evaluate its role during the last 30 years with respect to goals and aspirations of the 2.7 million+ Indian Americans living in the US," said Ritesh Agrawal, Regional Vice president of NFIA. "We will focus on trends emerging over the next 10 years, to draw out the next generation of Indian Americans,' Agrawal continued. 




 Nominations are invited for the following ten categories:

1 Service to the Indian community

2 Sciences

3 Liberal and Fine Arts

4 Performing Arts

5 Medicine and Health Sciences

6 Education

7 Engineering and Technology

8 Business and Finance

9 Mass Media-Radio, Television, Newspaper

10 Government and Non-Profit Institutions


NFIA Board members and member associations are encouraged to actively seek from distinguished Indian Americans who have done an outstanding job in their chosen field and submit nominations. They should send a copy of the resume of the nominee, a copy each of the document in support of qualifications, publications, awards, recognition letters, etc. The nomination must also include name addresses and telephone numbers of two references.


Nominations must be submitted on or before Monday, August 30, 2010. Please send the nominations addressed to: Mr. Haresh Panchal, NFIA 2010 Award Committee Chair, 134 Sweetberry Ct, San Jose, CA 95136 or Fax to: 1 408 521 2232. E-mail:


More details of the convention will be available at  or contact the Convention Convener Lal Motwani at 718-470-1026, E-mail or Conference Program Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham at 203-329-8010, For all media related information, please contact J. Nami Kaur at 914-476-2082, E-mail



August 15 is a special day for Indians all over the world mainly because it is the day wherein India finally gained its full independence from England. It was in August 15, 1947, which makes today their 64th Independence Day.


Indian Diaspora celebrated Indian Independence Day with fervor and gaiety in many parts of the world. Flag hoisting ceremonies were held at many local and state government institutions. India association worldwide organized cultural programs, festivals and parades in all over the world.


The biggest celebration was in New York with India Day parade on Madison Ave. in Manhattan on August 15th. Thousands of people lined up on both sides of the road as a colorful parade with 40 floats depicting the diverse culture of India led by Bollywood star Preity Zinta passed through Manhattan. The chief guest was Trinidad & Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Photo below left: Digntaries at India Day Parade on Madison Ave., New York City. From L. to R. Indian Consul General Prabhu Dayal, Trinidad Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar and Bollywood star Preity Zinta showing a proclamation. Photo below right: FIA Past Presidents Ram Gadhavi, Dr. Thomas Abraham and Ramesh Patel.
FIA India Day Parade, Nre York City August 15, 2010.
Photos above: Parade viw from the review stand

Parades were also held in Iselin in New Jersey by India Business Association on August 8th, and in Chicago and the Silicon Valley by the Federation of Indian Associations.


For the first time,Atlantic City's Boardwalk saw an Indian Day Parade on August 15th. The first-ever Atlantic City India Day parade made its way - eventually - from New Jersey Avenue to the Tropicana Casino and Resort, complete with music, dancers and floats. South Asians from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are among the largest-growing ethnic groups in the region and New Jersey state - a trend that local Indian Americans said naturally led the idea of a Boardwalk parade. Participants included the Indo-American Senior Citizens Organization of Atlantic County, the Indian Business Association and the Mokshaa Dance Academy of Galloway Townshship.


'It's absolutely magnificent," said Atlantic County Freeholder Alisa Cooper. "Authentic dancers and acrobats, to see Jay Sean, it's absolutely amazing, out of this world. It's a wonderful event to bring young and old, one, two three generations together.

A delegation of GOPIO life members met with Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Hon Kamla Persad-Bissessar on August 16, 2010 in New York. The Prime Minister was on a week-long visit to New York, including invitation to be the Chief Guest of the India's Independence Day parade in New York on August 15, 2010. The meeting was arranged in advance and coordinated by Ashook Ramsaran, Executive Vice President of GOPIO International. Other members of the GOPIO delegation were: Dr Thomas Abraham (Immediate past chairman of GOPIO); Nohar Singh (Guyana-USA); Bhanu Dwarika (Trinidad-USA); and Dr Najma Sultana (India-USA). With Prime Minister Hon Kamla Persad-Bissessar at the meeting were Hon. Sen Rudrawatee Nan Ramgoolam MP (Ministry of Public Administration) and Hon. Chandresh Sharma MP (Ministry of Local Government).   


Following the introductions, Ramsaran conveyed GOPIO's congratulations to the Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the governing PP government, stating that the victory is a major achievement for women and for PIOs everywhere. It was also conveyed to the Prime Minister that her participation as Chief Guest at the India Independence Day Parade (in New York on Sunday August 16, 2010) was spectacular and generated a lot of pride among all Indians as well as bring PIOs and NRIs closer. "Waving the Trinidad and Tobago flag in the midst of Indian and US flags was especially moving and a wonderful sight to behold". 


Trinidad born community advocate Bhanu Dwarika reminisced about her introduction of then Trinidad and Tobago Attorney General Kamla Persad-Bissessar before Ms Kamla Persad-Bissessar made her speech at the 2002 GOPIO Entrepreneur's Conference Dinner at the Crowne Plaza, LaGuardia in New York. Following a discussion on activities of GOPIO International and GOPIO chapter in Trinidad and Tobago, Ashook Ramsaran extended the invitation to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to be GOPIO Guest of Honor at GOPIO's Annual Community Service Awards Banquet to be held on January 6, 2011 in New Delhi.


In addition, the invitation was extended on behalf of GOPIO by Ashook Ramsaran to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to be an honored guest and participate in the installation of the Kolkata Memorial plaque at the Kidderpore Depot in Kolkata on January 11, 2011 following the PBD 2011 events in New Delhi. The goal of the Kolkata Memorial project is to install a commemorative memorial plaque on January 11, 2011 to be followed by a museum at a suitably significant site where Indian indentured laborers were housed and processed while awaiting the ships for emigration to plantations in colonies of West Indies, Mauritius, Fiji, Africa and elsewhere from 1834 thru' 1920.


Guyanese born community advocate, long time New York resident and businessman Nohar Singh expressed the collective community concern about personal security issues in Trinidad and Tobago and appealed to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to take necessary steps to address the problem affecting all people of Trinidad and Tobago, in particular the attacks on persons of Indian origin.

GOPIO Delegation with Trinidad Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar 

Photo above, from L. to R.:  Dr Najma Sultana (GOPIO), Hon Sen Rudrawatee Nan Ramgoolam MP (Ministry of of Public Administration), Nohar Singh (GOPIO), Dr Thomas Abraham (GOPIO), Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Ashook Ramsaran (GOPIO), Bhanu Dwarika (GOPIO), Hon Chandresh Sharma (Min of Local Government)     


GOPIO made the proposal to convene a 2-day Business Investment and Entrepreneurship conference in Port of Spain on May 28-29, preceding Indian Arrival Day on May 30, 2011. The objective is for GOPIO to use its extensive global outreach and its Business Council to bring investors to come to Trinidad and make it a place of doing business, by utilizing the academic centers and collaboration with CII, FICCI and various investment groups. Dr Thomas Abraham, an expert on nano-technology, added that the intent would be to also increase the level of tourism to Trinidad and Tobago.


Ashook Ramsaran stated that GOPIO can assist in networking various groups of PIOs as well as NRIs to consider making Trinidad a lucrative place of doing business by utilizing its excellent infra-structure, ideal location, educated work force with high education level, stable currency and other assets. The objective is to coordinate plans for the proposed Business Investment and Entrepreneurship conference with GOPIO Chapter of TnT, various business and community organizations, chambers of commerce, the Indian High Commissioner in Port of Spain and respective agencies and ministries of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. 

GOPIO plans on holding an international conference on 26th October, 2010 to be held at the Nehru Centre in London in London, UK. The conference theme is "Indian Diaspora's Role in New Economic World Order" and will be inaugurated by Hon Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA). Other keynote addresses include: Lord Navnit Dholakia (House of Lords, UK); Lord Bhikhu Parekh (House of Lords, UK); Dr Amit Mitra, Secretary General - FICCI (New Delhi, India).


Sub-themes for the conference sessions are: Lessons from Indian Heritage in Sustainable Development; Relevance of Gandhian Economics in Today's World; Empowering Youth with Skills Training. For registration and more information, see below:


Info on GOPIO Annual Meeting in London, October 26, 2010

Contact: Conference Convener Lord Diljit Rana, President of GOPIO International,



GOPIO plans on holding the First Women's Conference on 27th October, 2010 to be held at the Nehru Centre in London in London, UK, following GOPIO's annual  conference on 26th October, 2010. The conference theme is "Women of Indic Origin: Issues and Solutions" and will be inaugurated by Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi. Other keynote addresses include: Lord Meghnad Desai (House of Lords, UK); Baroness Sandip Verma (Life Peer and Minister in UK Government); Lord Lester (House of Lords, UK); Baroness Shreela Flather (House of Lords, UK).


It will be one-day conference with speakers from UK and other countries.  The speakers would be both Women of Indic Origin (WIOs) as well as eminent persons who are authorities on personal, social, religious or economic issues regarding women and gender issues. The goal is to raise awareness on issues affecting women across the world in general, and in particular women of Indic origin. It further seeks to revisit how, families, communities, institutions and governments can influence these issues and how education and awareness building can play its part in finding solutions. The keynote speakers will be parliamentarians, social workers and educationists.


Sub-themes for the conference sessions are: The Role of Women in Sustainable Development; Legal and Marital Issues of Women of Indic Origin; Gender Issues in Education and Culture and Ways and Solutions for Success. For registration and more information, see below:

Global Indian Diaspora Women's Conference Info. 

Contact: Lady Shruti Rana, Conference Convener & Chairperson, GOPIO International Women's Council at





On Saturday, August 21, 2010, several GOPIO life members, council members and chapter representatives from the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut Tri-State area met and discussed ways and means of enhancement, expansion and becoming more responsive to PIO/NRI community issues and concerns in the area. The meeting was organized and chaired by Ashook Ramsaran, Executive Vice President of GOPIO International and ably assisted by Dr Thomas Abraham, immediate past chairman of GOPIO International. The meeting preceded the Health Council planning meeting held at the same venue: Royal Palace in Greenburg, New York.


In outlining the purpose of the meeting, Ashook Ramsaran solicited "recommendations, suggestions, ideas and commentary how GOPIO can be further enhanced to respond in timely and effective ways to the needs and concerns of our PIO/NRI community".  The meeting was quite productive with interaction and discussions that were informative. Preceding the interactive session, there was discussion on GOPIO initiatives and activities to date as well as 12-month calendar of events.


GOPIO New York/New Jersey/Connecticut meeting of Life Members and Chapters

Photo above): GOPIO NewYork/New Jersey/Connecticut Meeting of Life Members and Chapter Representatives, From L. to R: sAshook Ramsaran, Jean K. Jacob, Nohar Singh, Bhupi Verma, Meera Vasudevan, Dr. Gyan Aggrawal, Dr. Renu Grace, Thomas Koovallorr, Dr. Najma Sultana, Sudha Parekh, Boysie Siew, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Netram Rambudhan, Jaswant Mody, Paul Ahuja, Dr. Asha Samant, Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Dr. Bhagwati J. Mistry, Arif Kadwani and Dr. Bajrang Agarwal


The general consensus and main points reached are: That GOPIO is viewed by many PIOs as primarily Indo-centric and this perception needs to be changed; that the need for a GOPIO "Think Tank" to develop plans, global manifesto and strategies to cater to today's issues and concerns of the global Indian Diaspora; that GOPIO should address issues of social development, economics, political awareness and advocacy, safety and security of PIOs, addressing poverty in poverty in PIO countries, develop partnership with other groups and organizations; that GOPIO needs to develop strategy and programs for youth and seniors; that GOPIO needs to learn from the Jewish Diaspora which has been successful, avoid the pitfalls; that GOPIO should pattern chapters' responsibilities and performance after Rotary Club (International); that GOPIO should expand chapters to be representative of population (according to demographics -- without boundaries), including new chapters in New York (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau County) and north New Jersey.


Based on the success of this area meeting, GOPIO chapters are encouraged to coordinate and hold similar meetings with respective area chapters throughout the GOPIO family.




GOPIO-Sydney hosted a dinner for visiting Minister of State for External Affairs of Government of India, Mrs. Praneet Kaur, who visited Sydney on an official visit to Australia. The dinner was also attended by Indian High Commissioner Sujatha Singh on 7 August 2010. The Punjabi Council organized a dinner in her honor at Haveli Indian Restaurant, where GOPIO team was also invited. The host presented a charter of issues of concern that have affected the Indian community in Australia to Minister Kaur. She promised to look into the problems for appropriate solutions.

GOPIO team presented memento to Minister Kaur and apprised her of some important events held by GOPIO in Sydney. She appreciated the team efforts of GOPIO chapters in Sydney. Mrs. Kaur, who is wife of Captain Amarinder Singh, former chief minister of Punjab, has been representing Patiala of Punjab in the Lok Sabha for three consecutive terms. She is considered a social and cultural icon in Patiala. Prior to her elections as a MP, she worked as an active social worker with Indian Red Cross and various other organizations for betterment of masses. 

 GOPIO Sydney Chapters with Minister Praneet Kaur

Presenting GOPIO momento to Mrs Praneet Kaur. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Right to Left: Lucky Singh, president GOPIO Sydney, Harry Walia, GOPIO Area Coordinator, Sydney Region; Mrs. Praneet Kaur, Minister; Neeru Singh, president of GOPIO Sydney North West and Dr. Avtar Singh Gill.


GOPIO Sydney High Achievers Presented Laptops


During GOPIO Sydney's Young Achievers Awards Nite in May 2010, two top achievers in High School Certificate Exam with ATAR 99.95 received pleasant surprise when awards of lap tops were announced from the floor. Lap tops have been awarded as follows:


a)       to Kamal Parkash Singh by Sub Continent Friends of Labor and

b)       to Rohan Dalal jointly by Sharma Kitchen & India Club respectively. 

GOPIO Sydeny Chapters present laptops to high achivers 

Photo above left - From L. to R.:Harry Walia, GOPIO Area Coordinator, Sydney Region; Kamal Parkash Singh; Hon. Mr. Nathan Rees MP, former Premier of New South Wales; Lucky Singh, President GOPIO Sydney and Avtar Singh Billu. Photo above right - From L. to R.: Aksheya Kumar, Chairman India Club; Bipen Sharma, Owner & Managing Director Sharma Kitchen; Harry Walia, GOPIO Area Coordinator Sydney Region; Rohan Dalal; Shubha Kumar, President India Club.




The Health Council of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) (,  together with GOPIO chapters of Connecticut, New York, Long Island and Upper New York and The Kerala Center of New York, hosted a Diabetes Awareness Program on July 27, 2010 evening at the Indian American Kerala Center in Elmont, New York.  Well attended by over 50 people, the seminar spearheaded by Ms. Sangeeta Ahuja, Chairperson of GOPIO Health Council, aimed to promote understanding of the basics of Diabetes and healthy meal planning practices to manage this pervasive disease.  The session also served as a launch pad for the upcoming GOPIO Health Summit to be held on November 12-14, 2010 at the Crowne Plaza LaGuardia, New York.   Handouts at this educational event included meal planning menus as well as a free Glucose Monitor for all participants, courtesy of Diabetes Care Division of Bayer HealthCare.
The program started with a welcome by Jose Chummar, Kerala Center President, followed by brief remarks about the formation of the GOPIO Health Council by Ashook Ramsaran, Executive President of GOPIO International, who welcomed "everyone on behalf of GOPIO International and commended Sangeeta Ahuja on bringing the Diabetes Awareness Program to various communities as part of an ongoing effort to make GOPIO's Councils more active and responsive".   Introducing the evening speaker, GOPIO Founding President Dr. Thomas Abraham said, "GOPIO Health Council has been providing such health related talks to bring more awareness among the PIO community on the preventive measures that could be taken especially for diseases which are more prone to people of Indian origin".  

Photo below: GOPIO Health Seminar organizers with some of the particiapnts
GOPIO Health Seminar at the Kerala Center 
 Photos Above: GOPIO Health Seminar in progress at the Kerala Center

Sangeeta Ahuja, Chair of the GOPIO Health Council added her welcome and invited audience participation during her presentation on Diabetes and suggested treatment plan to manage this silent-killer disease amongst the global Indian Diaspora.  She promoted the understanding of the basics of Diabetes and how it can be controlled and managed by the Carbohydrate constituent in our everyday food.  She talked about several Carbohydrate-controlled meal plans to maintain and improve one's overall health with a focus on managing Diabetes.    

"As a Certified Diabetes Educator, I am counseling more and more Indian clients each day. Most Indian foods are generally high in carbohydrates which directly affect the Blood Glucose. We all know that Diet and Exercise can reduce the risks of developing Diabetes along with its progression...yet we face the challenges of closely adhering to the plan.  My role is to simplify the message and motivate the participants to set realistic goals for improvement", said Sangeeta Ahuja. a Registered Dietitian and Chair GOPIO Health Council. 


Ms. Ahuja invited all participants of Kerala Center Health Awareness program to the First Annual GOPIO Health Summit which is scheduled to be held at Crowne Plaza LaGuardia Hotel in New York. "The three-day summit with a panel of distinguished speakers and health practitioners will include interactive sessions with audience participation, breaks for exercise, meditation and cooking demos. This year's summit will focus on Diabetes, Cardiovascular Health and Stress Management", Ms. Ahuja continued.   

More details on the upcoming GOPIO Health Summit will be available shortly at  or contact the Health Summit Chairperson Sangeeta Ahuja at 203-329-9744, E-mail


Attached Photo - GOPIO and Kerala Center officials with some of the participants at the Diabetes Awareness Workshop.




On May 16, 2010 GOPIO Houston held back to back seminars at the University of Houston, Main Campus. The first seminar "Immigration for Students" was presented by a very well known Immigration Attorney Uma Mantravadi. The seminar was organized to benefit Indian students.  Uma Mantravadi returned to the University of Houston main campus to provide very valuable information about the current immigration laws which would impact graduating university students and currently employed professionals. She described what options are available in general and specifically for STEM which stands for Science Technology Engineering and Math.


The second seminar was the continuation of the seminar held on May 2010. Master Del Pe, was kind enough to return to Houston at the request of GOPIO Houston and he talked about what holds a person back in life and gave insight of how to overcome these obstacles. The modern sage and world renowned miraculous healer described the concept of flying with fully stretched wings of spirituality and material aspect of life in order to live your greatest life. He explained that without this balance none of them could be sustained. He emphasized the importance of consistency and staying focused on ones goal in order to reach it.




Deep Ghelani was a 22-year old Indian national who had just secured a new job and finished his second semester at university in Sydney, Australia just before his drowning death at Kiama beach on 18th of June.2010 in Wollongong, Sydney, Australia. Mr Ghelani decided to visit Kiama for a long weekend holiday with his friends and that decision cost him his life as he fell off the cliff into the waters. Rescue crews began a search that afternoon but it was later halted due to bad light. The search resumed on Monday and Mr Ghelani's body was located about 2pm in waters 4km north of Kiama Blow-hole


Deep Ghelani's cousin in Sydney, Ms Mavani, launched a public appeal to help raise the $6000 needed to send Mr Ghelani's body home to his parents in Gujarat. Ms Mavani said that "all I want is for people to help his father and try to help the family out. "We can't help his father with losing his son but we can help him by sending his son back to India". GOPIO Sydney president, Mrs. Lucky Singh, then appealed the community to help in sending the student's body back to India. With the selfless efforts GOPIO Sydney raised $2480.00 and gave the chqck to his cousin for the deceased father in Gujarat who had taken a huge amount of loan for his son's studies in Australia.


Contact: Harmohan (Harry) Walia, GOPIO Area Coordinator, Sydney Region, GOPIO Australia, Tel: 02-9836 3861, Mob: 0402 842 375




On a picture-perfect Saturday, August 14th morning, over 100 members of the Indian-American community, from toddlers to seniors, and elected officials gathered to celebrate 63 years of India's Independence and the hoisting of the American and Indian flags at the Government Center in Stamford.

It was on August 15, 1947 that India began its "tryst with destiny." The festive event with colorful balloons, banners and Indian and American flags, was organized by the GOPIO-Connecticut chapter, and has become increasingly popular over the last four years, attracting crowds from across Fairfield and Westchester counties.

The US Stars and Stripes and the Indian Tricolor were hoisted by Hon. Mayor Michael Pavia and Consul Pramod Bajaj of the Indian Consulate New York, followed by the singing of the American and Indian national anthems, led by the the Indian-American youth dressed in their colorful national attire. Mayor Pavia praised the Indian-American community and GOPIO-Connecticut's leadership in organizing these events and "helping bring the community together." He said "I will always remember your kindness and support when I was running for Mayor and always value your friendship."

Consul Pramod Bajaj in his address, talked about the remarkable progress that has been made in all fields in the short 63-year history of free India. He said "the dynamic economy and 8% growth are the result of the hard work of millions of Indians around the world."

Lt. Governor Michael Fedele in his proclamation wrote "the India communities throughout Connecticut continue to make significant contributions and enrich our state through their cultural and historic traditions. The office of the Lieutenant Governor hereby commemorates this day as India Independence Day in the State of Connecticut."

Shailesh Naik, President of the GOPIO Connecticut chapter in welcoming the guests, said "India today is politically stable and with its strengthened economy is marching towards a golden future. Today is a day to also remember and honor all those jawans who sacrifice their lives to keep India's borders safe and secure. Today we celebrate the triumph of numerous martyred souls who gave their lives so we could dream."

"For Indian-Americans, it is an occasion to rejoice, not just the birth of India's freedom and the diversity of its people, but the freedom and continuing struggles of people around the world," said Ravi Dhingra, Vice President of GOPIO Connecticut. 


Photos below: Children singing national anthem and part of the audience
GOPIO-CT India Independence Day, Stamford, CT, August 14th
Photo above: GOPIO-CT officers with dignitaries: From L. to R.: Pradeep Govil, Maureen Pavia, Ritu Johorey, Ravi Dhingra, Stamford Mayor Machael Pavia, GOPIO-CT President Shailesh Naik, Consiul Pramod Bajaj, Shelly Nichani, Shamla Sharma and Harry Arora


A bake sale was organized by the youth group to raise monies for Aksahya Patra foundation and was completely sold out. Ashish Ramachandran, 15, GOPIO Youth representative said, "We were touched by the mission of Akshaya Patra, a not-for-profit organization that provides meals and education for the underprivileged children in India. Akshaya Patra, with their mid day meal program, provides a healthy, balanced meal to 13.5 million underpriviliged children in India."

"Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge... At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom." - Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister




GOPIO-Chicagoland presented its annual Subhash Mehta Scholarship Award and Gandhi-King Medical Awards to high school students and UIC medical students. At a function held at Skokie Holiday Inn on July 11, 2010.


Subhash Mehta Scholarship was instituted in memory of the late Subhash Mehta, a leading Chicago-based social activist and a GOPIO Chicagoland member, who passed away in 2006. He dedicated a great part of his life to improving the quality of life of the poor, the elderly, the disabled, women and children in India.


The scholarships are merit based and are awarded to high school students from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin. The purpose of the scholarship program is to recognize, reward and encourage high school students who have not only excelled academically, but have displayed tremendous volunteerism in their communities. This year's recipients are Avinash Agarwalla, Shikkar and Urveed Shah.


A second series of awards was the Gandhi King Medical Award. This year's awards were presented to Blakle Freeman,Adriana Kashuba and Marra Terras. The recipients will spend four weeks in India and provide medical assistance in maternity and infant clinics as well as HIV clinics. This will be their first visit to India.





To honor India's Independence Day, the representative of the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut led by President Nirav Mehta were invited by Nasdaq to preside over the opening bell ceremony on August 17th morning. FIA's parade Grand Marshall Preity Zinta was also present at the ceremony.


Also, for the third consecutive year, India's Consul General in New York Prabhu Dayal presided over the closing bell ceremony at Nasdaq on August 16th.




Indian American lawyer Sohini Chatterjee, who has been involved in development work worldwide, is appointed as Senior Advisor in the Office of Donor Engagement in the U.S. Agency for International Development's newly created Policy Planning Bureau. Chatterjee will work closely with USAID administrator, Dr Rajiv Shah, the highest ranking Indian American in the Obama administration, and another Indian American, Nisha Desai Biswal, recently appointed as the Assistant Administrator for Asia in the agency.


The new bureau is envisaged to consolidate policy-planning functions within USAID and evaluate what natural disasters, civil unrest outbreaks or refugee crises are most urgently in need of the agency's limited resources.


Born in Rourkela, Orissa, and raised in Cary, North Carolina, Chatterjee earlier worked in the Development Economics Prospect Group at the World Bank on the issues of migration and remittances.


Before her stint with the World Bank, she spent five years as an associate in the Washington, DC office of Steptoe & Johhson LLP, a top-notch law firm, where she was a member of the Regulatory & Industry Affairs Department and the International Department. Here, she provided legal and strategic advice on expanding access to foreign markets with a specific focus on access to the Indian market, and US trade and civil litigation, which included working on the first ever international trade case to reach the US Supreme Court.


Prior to joining Steptoe & Johnson, Chatterjee worked on European Union regulatory and tax matters for the global firm of Linklaters LLP, in their office in Brussels.


She is an alumnus of Columbia University, from where she received her BA in Literature, The Johns Hopkins University from where she received her MA in International Relations and International Economics and Duke University School of Law from where she received her Jurist Doctor.


Before attending law school, Chatterjee worked for the US Department of State's Mission to the United Nations and for The Protection Project, a legal human rights research institute, where she focused on the issues of trafficking and child slavery in South America and Africa.






The first-ever comprehensive research study titled Invisible, Forgotten Sufferers: The Plight of Widows Around the World, highlighting the global crisis because of the human right violations widows suffer was presented to the President of India, Shrimati Pratibha Devisingh Patil by Raj Loomba, Chairman and Founder  of Loomba Foundation, an United Nations accredited NGO. 


The President said she was aware of the plight of widows and was happy that the Loomba Foundation was working to address this problem in India. The President appreciated that poor widows were being empowered to become self reliant. She suggested a project to the Loomba Foundation through which widows could be empowered in Maharashtra and other states in the country. Raj Loomba thanked the President for her appreciation and suggestions. The book was officially released on June 22nd at the United Nations (see GOPIO News, July 1, 2010) and presented to the UN Secretary General, who advised the Foundation to present a resolution to the 3rd Committee which deals with the Humanitarian issues for women.


Vijay Dutt, author of the book and the publisher KPR Nair were also present at the presentation of the book, along with Trustees K.M. Singh, Balbir Singh Kakar and Aruna Oswal and advisors Raj Khanna and Dr. Surinder Malhotra.


Raj Loomba also serves as Vice President GOPIO International for the European Region.

GOPIO VP Raj Loomba presents a study to President Patil 

Photo above: Founder Raj Loomba presents Research Study book to Hon'ble President of India, HE Shrimati Pratibha Devisingh Patil.




Hundreds of foreign student nurses, mostly from India, are facing deportation from Australia for lack of proficiency in English.

Nursing students are facing the threat of being sent back home after almost completing their courses and having landed lucrative job offers.

The students estimated to number 400 from India, China, Thailand and Philippines are in this situation as according to them the authorities have changed "goal posts" midway, by raising minimum English language standards.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board raised International English Language Testing System minimum score from 6.5, which means a student has to be more proficient and a competent speaker, to an academic 7 levels.

The Australians are following UK in applying these strict standards in written and speaking knowledge in English as a must for allowing work permits and citizenship.

The troubled nursing students have received backing from the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF), which has described the change in registration requirements as an "absolute bureaucratic debacle."

"The goal posts have been changed on these students," ANF Victorian branch secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick was quoted by 'The Australian' newspaper.

Fitzpatrick said the students would struggle to pay back their loans on nursing salaries in India, and that many had sold their homes to finance coming to Australia in the first place.

An Indian nursing student Prince Joseph said that he already had completed an 18-month course from Ballarat University but to meet Australian standards for a registered nurse he will have to qualify under the eligibility programme as a good speaker or else face deportation.

"I spent around ASD 25,000 to be a registered nurse right now but now there is no registration and no job. It is clear discrimination," he added.

The tragedy struck the students, who have just graduated mid-year or are about to graduate. They say they receive no notice of the change before it came into effect on July 1.

Those whose visas are due to expire within weeks complain they don't have the time to take additional language studies or sit the tests before being made to return home.

They would then have to re-apply for migration, despite many having job offers from hospitals and aged care homes desperately trying to find new staff amid a national shortage of nurses.




Bowing to the persistent demand for voting rights from Indians living outside the country, the government today introduced a bill in the Rajya Sabha to enable them to register their names in the electoral rolls. Introduced by Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill 2010, seeks to amend the Representation of the People Act, 1950.

The fresh bill was aimed at providing Indians, who have not acquired the citizenship of any other country and are away, entitlements to have their names registered in the electoral rolls.

Their names will figure in the constituencies in which their place of residence falls, as mentioned in the passport.

The Central government would specify, after consulting the Election Commission, the time within which the name of the persons shall be registered in the electoral rolls.

Government had introduced a bill in this regard in 2006 in the Upper House and the same was referred to the concerned Parliamentary Standing Committee.

The Committee had accepted the bill in letter and spirit and recommended for bringing a comprehensive bill with regard to enrollment of non-resident Indians, the mode of voting and the conditionalities for contesting elections.

Accordingly, the government has decided to withdraw the 2006 bill and introduced the fresh bill.

GOPIO has been campaigning on NRI voting tights since 1989 when it passed a resolution at the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin held in New York City. Since then, resolutions were passed in subsequent conventions and had submitted to the Prime Minister and Ministers of External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs.




Massive floods of July 2010 in Pakistan have wreaked havoc on large sections of the country with unprecedented devastation and displacements of millions of people. The continuing problem is a huge humanitarian crisis of tremendous magnitude and requires immediate help of all types and in all areas to alleviate untold misery and deaths. With monsoon rains yet to complete the cycle, the situation gets worse each day.

The United Nations is struggling to meet even the most basic needs of food, clean water and shelter for the millions displaced by the floods, which have inundated areas stretching from Pakistan's far north to the deep south. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the creation of the Pakistan Relief Fund to provide the opportunity for people to help with donations going directly to help the people of Pakistan. The Government of India has offered USD $5 million in aid. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called his Pakistani counterpart Syed Yousef Raza Gilani to express sorrow over the humanitarian crisis and reminded him of India's offer. "The prime minister said that the government of India had already made an offer of assistance and was ready to do more to assist in the relief effort," said a Government of India statement.

Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment Inc.Is Raising Money To Help Over 21 Million Survivors in Both India & Pakistan


Vaishnava Center based in Lansing, Michigan has partnered with Save the Children of USA, which is a team of dedicated, committed experts in disaster response working in both India &B  Pakistan for the last thirty to

to forty years. The target is to reach Over 2 Million men women and children devastated by the worst flood of the century. Through Save the Children, the Vaishnava Center hopes to give food, clean water, tents, medical help, clothing, hygiene kits and other essentials.


According to Vaishnava Center, your donations can help the following:


$50 provides hygiene kit and utensils for a family

$100 repairs a hand pump-potable water for 250

$200 provide safe shelter for a family for 12-18 months

$400 provides friendly space for 50 children for counseling


Send your generous gifts to: (100%Tax deductible in USA) to VAISHNAVA CENTER, 2601 Cochise Lane, Okemos,Michigan 48864 USA. For more information,  contact : Shrikumar Poddar, Tel : 517-337-7888,  


Vaishnave Center has said that 100% of all gifts go to help flood S=survivors since the trustees pay all costs. Also, any gifts over $250 or more will be matched by Vaishnava Center Trustees from a special $25,000 fund.




PTI reports that in view of rising incidents of Indian brides being deserted by their NRI husbands, Government of India has decided to shortly put in place a system of uniform marriage registration process to curb the practice that has ruined the lives of thousands of women.


The registration form is being introduced to easily track overseas grooms who desert their wives and for initiating legal action against them. It will be applicable for marriages registered across the country under any of the three marriage registration acts.


The idea was discussed and ratified recently during an inter-ministerial meeting with representatives from the Ministries of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), Law and Justice, External Affairs and National Commission of Women, and is currently awaiting a final clearance from the Ministry of Law and Justice.


The number of deserted NRI brides currently stands at over 25,000 according to some government estimates. Over a year after the MOIA launched a scheme to provide legal aid to Indian women deserted by their overseas spouses, the ministry has been flooded with requests from deserted Indian brides seeking to know the whereabouts of their husbands.


"In most cases deserted wives are unable to provide much detail of their husbands. The new registration form will have columns for social security number of the overseas husband, passport details and ID/labour card details," a highly placed official of the MOIA, told PTI.


The bride and the groom will also have to state that there had been no exchange of dowry, they are not blood relations, and other details in the four-page form.


"We are hopeful this will act as a formidable deterrence for even habitual offenders as a database of all the marriages will also be maintained," said the official.


The new marriage registration form will have provisions for punishing the signatories for wrong declaration of any of the information as per provisions under the Indian Penal Code.


Once the draft registration form is cleared by the Ministry of Law and Justice the registration format will be applicable to all states and union territories.


The scheme to provide financial assistance to deserted Indian wives was launched by the government last February and the maximum number of requests for aid have been received from Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.


"A maximum number of the over 275 complaints that we have received is from Punjab. In about 24 cases financial assistance of $ 1000 each was provided by the Indian embassies of Australia, New Zealand and United States to aid in registration and representation for divorce suits," said another MOIA official here, adding, "our efforts are just a trickle so far and much more needs to be done."


Officials noted that in most cases the assumption that a NRI groom is always "well off" often leads to parents marrying off their daughters in a rush and in secrecy. The ministry is worried that the trend pervades class distinctions making even well-educated women victims of this phenomenon.


Now holding that "prevention is better than cure", the MOIA is trying its level best to raise awareness on the issue.




Immigrants from non European Union Countries will need to pass an English language test if they wish to join their spouse or partner with permanent residence or British Citizenship.


The change will mean that partners will need to show English language skill at the same level as required for skilled workers. In future, they will also have to pass an English language test by an approved test provider. UK Border Agency will require that the relationship is genuine and that the sponsor can support the new immigrant financially under a "partner" visa. The tougher English language requirements for entry on a spouse or partner visa will reduce immigration to the UK from South Asia and Africa where English is not the main language.


From November, 2010, if the spouse or partner of someone already settled in the UK wishes to migrate to UK, he/she should be able to both speak and understand English. Besides, he/she will need to pass an acceptable English language test with an approved test provider

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: 818-708-3885, E-mail:

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

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


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, GOPIO (Stamford, CT, USA)

Editors: Ashook Ramsaran, GOPIO Executive Vice President (New York, USA)

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

Contributors of this issue: Inder Singh (GOPIO Intl., USA),

Lord Diljit Rana (GOPIO Intl, Belfast, UK), Lady Shruti Rana (GOPIO Intl, Belfast, UK), Sangeeta Ahuja (GOPIO Intl, USA), Shailesh Naik (GOPIO-CT, Stamford, CT, USA), Nami Kaur (GOPIO/NFIA, Yonkers, NY, USA), Harmohan Walia (GOPIO Australia), Lucky Singh (GOPIO-Sydney, Australia), SDam Kannappan (GOPIO-Houston, USA), Sameer Shah (GOOPIO-Chicagoland, 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:

Visit GOPIO's Official site at or