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September 1, 2012

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

Issue: XI-13 September 1, 2012
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On a recent trip in early August 2012 by a delegation of the Global Organization of Indian Origin (GOPIO Int'l) met with several officials, executives, academicians, historians and descendants of Gadar heroes to organize a series of events to commemorate the Gadar Centennial in 2013 in various cities in India. The delegation included GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh, GOPIO President Ashook Ramsaran, accompanied by Munish Gupta, Regional Coordinator (Africa), as well as K. N. Gupta, Director, Liaison to Government of India.


GOPIO officilas with Dr. Karan singh 

Photo above: Dr Karan Singh (ICCR), Ashook Ramsaran, Inder Singh, Munish Gupta, K. N. Gupta


GOPIO developed collaborative steps with Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) for commemoration of the Gadar Centennial in a prominent way at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD 2013) in Kochi with an oration, a panel session, an exhibit and release of Gadar Centennial Book by Hon. Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India at PBD2013.

GOPIO officials presenting book to Dr Nisha Dube (VC Barkatullah Univ)   Photo above: Munish Gupta, Inder Singh, Dr Nisha Dube (Vice Chancellor of Barkatullah University), Ashook Ramsaran


In addition to events at PBD2013, GOPIO plans on holding a conference session on "Freedom Movements in the Diaspora - Gadar & others" on January 6, 2013 as well as recognize several descendants of Gadar heroes who would be in attendance at GOPIO's Community Service Awards banquet on the evening following the conference sessions.


GOPIO is collaborating with Dr. Karan Singh, President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to host a GOPIO Gadar Centennial Commemoration event at ICCR's facilities in New Delhi on January 11, 2013. GOPIO is also working closely with Punjab Governor HE Shivraj Patil to hold a special Gadar Centennial Commemoration in Chandigarh on January 13, 2013.


Photo below: From l. to r. Ashook Ramsaran, Prof Arun Grover (Vice Chancellor of Punjab University), Inder Singh

GOPIO Officials with Prof. Arun Grover and Dr. Savitri Sawhney  

Photo above: Brig. V K Sawhney (ret'd), Inder Singh, Ashook Ramsaran, Dr Savitri Khankhoje Sawhney (Gadar descendant), Prof Chaman Lal (Jawaharlal Nehru University)


Prof. Arun Grover, Vice Chancellor of Punjab University in Chandigarh, has agreed to hold a GOPIO Gadar Centennial Commemoration seminar and/or lecture series in 2013 similar to the seminar/lecture series proposed by GOPIO at the meeting held at Punjab University on August 4, 2012. Prof. Nisha Dube, Vice Chancellor of Barkatullah University in Bhopal, also plans on GOPIO Gadar Centennial Commemoration seminar or lecture series in 2013, as well other programs to commemorate India's freedom movement. Barkatullah University was named after Maulvi Barkatullah, a Gadar hero.


Discussions were held with several descendants of Gadar heroes including:  Surinder Pal Singh, a Gadar researcher and writer; Dr Savitri Khankhoje Sewhney who also wrote of her father's history in the Gadar Freedom Movement; and Rajani Patil, daughter of Gadar hero Pingle. Discussions continue with other descendants in India and elsewhere to participate in GOPIO Gadar Centennial Commemoration events in 2013 worldwide.




Sayantan Chakravarty, publisher of India Empire magazine based in New Delhi, has worked in close collaboration with GOPIO to develop a comprehensive, keepsake coffee table publication titled "Global Indian Diaspora: GOPIO Making an Impact".Mr Chakravarty has acquired extensive knowledge of Indian migration and the global Indian Diaspora. He is actively involved with bringing Indian Diaspora news and promoting the activities of the Indian Diaspora through the monthly India Empire publication which is a prominent magazine that is widely distributed globally.



This book, the Global Indian Diaspora: GOPIO Making an Impact discusses how the 28 million strong Indian Diaspora being ambassadors of India and being largely responsible for India's economic growth and prominence. It also describes how the Indian diaspora has fared and the key issues confronted by GOPIO. It contains historical text of various aspects and history of the Indian migration and the Indian diaspora in various continents, along with history of GOPIO and selected profiles of several prominent chapters and life members of GOPIO. To date, several prominent members of government and agencies have been presented with PIOs Global Indian Diaspora: GOPIO Making an Impact and find it very comprehensive and informative.


Contact for publications acquisition details: Sayantan Chakravarty Email: sayantanc@gmail.comTel: (91)-11-2923-1515 or (91)-11-2923-3647.





The 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) will be held from January 7-9, 2013 in Cochin, Kerala, India. Addressing a Press conference here today, Shri Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), said that the Prime Minister will inaugurate this annual flagship event of MOIA on January 8.  The President of India will deliver the valedictory address on January 9 and also confer the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Awards. The pre-conference seminars will also be organized on January 7 followed by plenary and panels sessions beginning on January 8.


The Minister said that the PBD has become a significant forum to connect the overseas Indians from all over the world and the PBD-2013 will be focusing on more connectivity with overseas Indians. He further said that Kerala will be the Partner State of the 11th PBD, which would provide the Diaspora an opportunity to understand the vibrant culture and potential of the State. The Minister said that more than 2000 delegates are expected to participate in PBD-2013 from all over the world.


For any further queries kindly contact:  Mr. Yogeshwar Sangwan, Director (Diaspora Services), Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, at




GOPIO International is planning to hold its annual executive and general council meetings, followed by its conference starting on January 5 and concluding on January 6 immediately preceding and in conjunction with Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2013 events of January 7-9, 2013 in Kochi, India.  
The events schedule and tentative program are as follows: 


January 5, 2013            :    

GOPIO Executive Meeting

Country Reports


General Council Meeting



January 6, 2013   




Conference Session I

Coffee/Tea Break

Conference Session II


Conference Session III

            Coffee/Tea Break

Conference Session IV

Conclusion & Wrap-Up



CSA Banquet (GOPIO CSA + Recognition of Descendants of Gadar Heroes)

For more information and details, contact Convention 2013 (Kochi) Chairman, Mr. Sunny Kulathakal at or Convention 2013 (Kochi) Convener, Mr. Ibrahim Khan at




GOPIO International is planning to hold its annual Community Service Awards (CSA) Banquet on the evening of January 6, 2013 in Kochi, India as the concluding event of GOPIO Convention 2013 (Kochi). In addition, there will be special recognition of attending descendants of Gadar heroes at the CSA Banquet.


 The GOPIO Community Service Awards (GOPIO CSA) are given for outstanding community service, public service and/or significant charitable or philanthropic contributions of benefit to the community.
Nominations of suitably qualified candidates are requested for consideration by GOPIO's CSA 2013 Selection Committee. For details of GOPIO CSA criteria, format for submission of nominations and deadline for submission, please visit .
Nominations are to be submitted using the prescribed form with supporting documents by October 31, 2012 to Chair, GOPIO CSA 2013 Selection Committee at
by October 31, 2012.




The overseas Indian community living all over the world celebrated 65 anniversary of India's Independence with greater fervor organizing flag hoisting, cultural program, fairs, festivals and parades. The biggest celebration took place in new York organized City organized by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) of NY, NJ and CT. India Day Parade was organized for the first time in Long Island, New York and was attend by over 10000 people. Parades were also organized in Chicago, Silicon Valley, New Jersey while large festivals marked the day in other US and Canadian cities.


On August 15th, Indian missions around the world raised Indian flags at their mission and organized other programs to celebrate the day. Many of these events were joined by the Indian Diaspora community.




Thousands of people watched as the sights and sounds of India took over Manhattan's Madison Avenue for the 32nd India Day Parade led by Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan and cricketer Anil Kumble. It is organized by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) to mark India's Aug 15 Independence Day.


An annual feature of the city's cultural scene the procession made its way over blocks with dancing, costumes and floats. A replica of the Cricket World T20 Trophy was featured at the parade.


India's consul general Prabhu Dayal joined Saif on the lead float as a contingent of the New York Police Department led the three-hour long parade while Indian-Americans wearing tri-color sashes waved the Indian flag and patriotic Indian music filled the air.


Hundreds of New Yorkers joined thousands of Indian Americans who had come from neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut to watch the parade showcasing India's cultural heritage and diversity.




Indian High commission had arranged a public celebration of India's 65th independence anniversary at the Indian Gymkhana Grounds. The celebration was in the form of a grand fair with over 40 different stalls.


It was a beautiful summer's day with the green and well trimmed grounds of the Gymkhana at its best. Most Indian communities were represented through their stalls. Institute of Jainology stall represented the Jain community.  Indian Banks and other State organizations were also present in numbers.


Institute's stand with JAINpedia project panels and a running demo was one of the very few stands displaying cultural heritage - most communities were busy preparing their culinary specialties and serving them.


Indian High Commissioner, Dr J Bhagwati raised the Indian tri-color flag. In his speech, High Commissioner Bhagwati referred to the speech given by the first Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to the Constituent Assembly on the independence day quoting 'Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure ...' and went on to elaborate on that. He also referred to Nobel Poet Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore and his composition of the Indian and Bangladesh national anthems. He also quoted Poet Laureate's translation of a poem from Gita. Following the speech, there were few presentations cultural items.




GOPIO-CT organized India Independence Day celebration with a flag hoisting, dignitaries and entertainment at the Stamford Govt. Center on Saturday August 18th. Over 100 members of the Indian-American community, from toddlers to seniors, and elected officials gathered to celebrate 65 years of India's Independence and the hoisting of the American, Indian and Connecticut flags while the GOPIO-Youth san American and Indian national anthems. The chief guest at the event was Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri, Deputy Permanent Representative of India to the UN. City of Stamford was represented by Mr. Randall Skigen, President of Board of Representatives and Deputy Mayor of Stamford. The program was sponsored by Dr. Prasad Manoharan and Shashi Prasad of Poughkeepsie, New York.

The US Stars and Stripes, the Indian Tricolor and Connecticut flags were hoisted by event sponsor Mrs. Shashi Prasad, Ambassador Puri and Deputy Mayor Skigen with the singing of the American and Indian national anthems, led by the Indian-American youth dressed in their colorful national attire.


India Independence Day Celebrations with flag hoisting at the Govt. Center in Stamford 

Photo: Clockwise from above left: Ambassador Manjeev Puri and Stamford Deputy Mayor raising Indian flag; Event sponsor Shashi Prasad raising the American flag and GOPIO-Youth singing American and Indian National Anthems


Deputy Mayor Skigen praised the Indian-American community and GOPIO-Connecticut's leadership in organizing these events in Stamford. He said, looking in the internet and reading the Indian constitution, it could have been very well written by Thomas Jefferson.


President Shailesh Naik, President of the GOPIO Connecticut chapter, in his welcome speech wished India and the entire Indian Diaspora spread throughout the far corners of the world a very Happy Independence Day. He described India by quoting Jawaharlal Nehru, as a cultural unity amidst diversity, a bundle of contradictions held together by strong but invisible threads


Ambassador Puri said that India is immensely proud of its Diaspora in the US and was very happy to see the Indian American community very well integrated in America. He further said that the US-India relations have grown leaps and bounds with more trade and economic cooperation.


"In the IT sector, both the US and India are fully integrated and that Indian IT companies alone have created over 300,000 jobs in the U.S," Ambassador Puri added.


Connecticut Assemblyman Gerald Fox representing Stamford thanked the community for bringing the best of cultural traditions to Stamford.


Photo below left: GOPIO-CT officials with dignitaries, from l. to r.: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Prakash Chakravarti, Anju Simon, Shashi Prasad, Namrita Puri, Ambassador Manjeev Puri, Stamford Board of Representatives President Randall Skigen, Assemblyman Gerald Fox, GOPIO-CT President Shailesh Naik and Nandita Suvarna; Phto below right: GOPIO-CT youth artists with digntaries and GOPIO officials

INdependence Day Celebrations in Stamford, August 18, 2012 

 Photo above clockwise: Audience at the GOPIO-CT independence day celebrations


GOPIO-CT also recognized over two dozen high school graduates at the event. Entertainment program included children Shivani Kotikalapudi and Devi Srinidhi Thoka singing 'Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon..' and a Tamil semi-classical dance by Arunodhaya Dance Academy.




YouTube Videos of GOPIO-CT Independence Day Celebrations in Stamford, CT, USA


GOPIO-CT Independence Day Celebrations - Channel 12 News Coverage -


GOPIO-CT Independence Day Celebrations - Ambassador Manjeev Puri speaks -


Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo at GOPIO-CT Independence Day Celebrations -


GOPIO-CT Independence Day Celebrations - Assemblyman Gerald Fox speaks -


GOPIO-CT Independence Day Celebrations - Semi-Classical Dance -


GOPIO-CT Independence Day Celebrations - Connecticut Assemblyman Gerald M. Fox, III speaking -


GOPIO-CT Indian Independence Day - High School graduates honored -

Contact: Shailesh Naik, President, GOPIO-CT, 914-409-2552,, Web: 





GOPIO International Trinidad and Tobago Chapter just concluded its annual award presentation, which included a panel discussion titled "Contributions to the Development of Trinidad and Tobago 50 years of Independence." The event was held at the Xtra Foods Building, Eleanor Street in Chaguanas on Saturday, August, 11th, 2012. 


President of GOPIO International Trinidad & Tobago Chapter, Ms Ena Maraj, welcomed the guests to the event. During her welcoming remarks, she outlined the objectives of the Gopio chapter in the Twin Islands nation. She mentioned that the organization is a non-partisan, secular global organization engaged in promoting the well being of people of Indian origin and enhancing the cooperation between communities and nations of East Indians living in different countries across the globe.  


Among the distinguished guests and honourees who attended the event, was the Former First Lady of Trinidad & Tobago, Ms. Kalahari Hassanali. She received the Awards of Appreciation for her invaluable contributions towards the upliftment of the Trinidadian people through her community services and many charitable works. Mr. Narad Amarsingh was awarded for his sterling contributions towards nation building and cultural development. Ms. Rosiana Ramdeo was recognized for her valuable contribution and dedication in her medical profession. She worked as a 'Mid Wife' for over sixty years, while Mr. Morgan Job received accolades for his contribution towards the enhancement of the community he served and for being a dear friend of GOPIO chapter in Trinidad. Ms. Ria Ramnarine received an award for her tremendous contribution in sports. She was the first female boxer to win four world championship titles.


Indian High Commissioner Malay Mishra also graced the presentation ceremony. He brought special greetings on behalf of India, which was also celebrating its sixty-five years of Independence on August 15th. He congratulated everyone for their efforts, hard work and dedication in making GOPIO International Trinidad & Tobago Chapter a success for all. He said he felt the presence of the GOPIO Chapter as it is well-known in Trinidad and Tobago.


For the panel discussion, the panellists included Ms. Aneela Bhagwat, Dr. Rakib Buckridan, Mr. John Ramsaran and Ms. Ria Ramnarine. The discussions were vibrant, lively and very energetic and the panellists touched on some very critical points needed to move the country forward. 


Ms. Bhagwat (post graduate history student) spoke about the problems of nationalism and identity among Trinidadian Indians. She mentioned the biased views of one foreign-based academic who focuses more on the first Prime Minister during this country's observance of 50 years of Independence.


Dr. Buckridan, who is a representative for Muslim population, spoke of the Muslims presence and the important role they played in the development of Trinidad and Tobago. He mentioned the excellent performance of the late Mr. Noor Hassanali, the former President of Trinidad and Tobago, both as a human being and as the President of this country. Also Mr. Kamaludin Mohammed and the role he played in Government, the various Awards he received and the exemplary life he lived and the Muslims in the Judiciary division who fought for one cause or the other.


Mr. Ramsaran, who is a retired principal, dealt with the contribution of the Presbyterian church in laying the foundations for the emergence of outstanding Trinidadians. He also discussed the controversial issues of conversions among the denominational schools. He spoke on the Presbyterians presences and growth in Trinidad, especially the great role they played in the education field. He mentioned the Canadian missionary system and the dedicated Principal of the primary schools who made home visits to the holistic development of the children.


Ms. Ramnarine, who is the champion Boxer athlete, spoke of her personal experiences as a young female boxer. She felt somewhat ostracized for being a female boxer because of her involvement in this male-dominated sport. She she also revealed the neglect by previous and current Governments to address this pivotal issue.


Photos below showing presentation of awards; Left: President Ena Maraj presenting Ms. Zalayhar Hassanali;

Middle: President Ena Maraj  and  Ms. Rosiana  Ramdeo and Right: Vice President  Oscar  Ramoutar  presenting  Ms. Ria  Ramnarine

GOPIO International Trinidad and Tobago Chapter organizes conference and presents awards 

Photo above: l to r: GOPIO Intl. T&T Chapter officials with seminar panelists: Mahadaye Ramlagan (Asst. Treasurer), Mr. Latiff Mohammed (Treasurer), Pamela Mangroo (Asst. Secretary), Ms. Aneela Bhagwat (Panelist),

Ena Maraj (President), Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh (Moderator), Shivanie Ramcharitar (Secretary),

Oscar Ramoutar (VP), Mr. John Ramsaran (Panelist), Seeta Sahatoo (Asst. P.R.O.), Karan Nancoo (P.R.O)


Both the panel discussion and the award ceremony were successes. The turnout was excellent and the program drew attention to the great work that GOPIO International Trinidad and Tobago Chapter is doing in that country for the Indians there. All the members of this chapter played an important role in making this event a grand success. Without their hard work, dedication, time and effort, this could not have happened. They must be complimented their great contribution towards a successful event.




GOPIO held a very productive and successful meeting on Saturday, August 25, 2012 in Rockville, Maryland, coordinated and chaired by Dr. Renuka Misra, GOPIO National Coordinator (USA). Her key collaborators on this initiative include Dr. Zafar Iqbal, President of GOPIO Washington Metro-DC chapter, Jay Bhandari, President of GOPIO Northern Virginia chapter, and respective Board members of these GOPIO chapters. Ashook Ramsaran, President of GOPIO International and Dr. Piyush Agrawal, Senior Vice President of GOPIO International, were invited to meet with chapter members and guests at the meeting. The objective was to meet and interact with executives and members of the area's GOPIO chapters, as well as members of the Indian community of Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland area.


GOPIO International and chapter officials at the meeting on August 25, 2012 

Photo above: GOPIO International and Chapter Executives (l-r): Dr Zafar Iqbal, Dr Piyush Agrawal, Dr Renuka Misra, Ashook Ramsaran, Jay Bhandari


The meeting was well attended with an excellent, diverse, cross section of the Indian community in Metro Washington DC and Northern Virginia. The meeting was highly informative and interactive. The attendees participated at all levels, including an interactive segment with audience participation. GOPIO President Ashook Ramsaran and Senior Vice PresidentDr. Piyush Agrawal discussed GOPIO's achievements to date; its goals and objectives; plans for growth and expansion; and planned participation at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PB2013) in Kochi, India from Jan 7-9, 2013. The points raised during this meeting are important organization and community matters, that help GOPIO and its chapters respond to the interests and concerns of the NRI/PIO community in more effective ways.


GOPIO has been prominent and well recognized for its service to the NRI/PIO community through various forums. GOPIO's contributions have included health seminars and assistance, food for homeless, legal services and assistance with consular matters; interest in youth and young professionals as an inclusive part of GOPIO's chapter, and overall plans. Prior to the conclusion of the meeting, the GOPIO Gadar Centennial Commemoration (GGCC) Washington Metro-DC & Virginia team was formed. Members include GOPIO chapters' members as well as others from several Indian-American organizations in the region. Prominent community advocates Dr. Rajen Anand, Dr. Joy Cherian and Dr Shambu Bhanik, also in attendance, were named as GGCC advisors. The GGCC upcoming events in Washington include a seminar on "The Movement for Independence and Initiatives of Gadar", followed by an announcement at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.


Global Indian Diaspora book presented to prominent Diaspora members 

Photo above: Presentation of Global Diaspora Book (l-r): Dr Renuka Misra, Dr Joy Cherian, Dr Piyush Agrawal, Ashook Ramsaran, Dr Sambhu Banik, Dr Rajen Anand


Jay Bhandari, President of GOPIO Northern Virginia chapter, thanked everyone for their attendance and participation, including the support of Spice Xing Restaurant.


Contact: Dr. Renu Misra, National Coordinator, GOPIO America, 




GOPIO enhanced its close collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) with another Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) signed on August 13, 2012. This follows the existing MoU between GOPIO International Women's Council (GIWC) and FICCI's Ladies Organization (FLO) signed in 2012 to further the cause of empowerment of women of Indian Origin and their individual objectives and missions.


The agreement was reached after discussions between Dr. Ramesh Caussy GOPIO's Chairman of Science & Technology Council, in collaboration with Mr. Munish Gupta, GOPIO Regional Coordinator (Africa), and Nirander Saxena, Director of FICCI, representing FICCI's Center for Technology. The MoU stresses promoting the connection between India and its Diaspora in areas and issues encompassing Science & Technology. This will benefit India, the Diaspora, as well as bilateral and multilateral relations between India and Indian Diaspora countries.


GOPIO and FICCI agree "to cooperate in promoting enhanced interaction and exchanges between India and the Indian Diaspora in the fields of science & technology to create a unique platform offering the ability to garner and share the knowledge and experience of India and Indian Diaspora scientists, researchers, academics, inventors, discoverers and manufacturers".




R. Dayakar, GOPIO International Coordinator for South AsiaFormer Indian ambassador Ratakonda Dayakar has been appointed GOPIO Regional Coordinator, South Asia, effective August 23, 2012. Dayakar joins the ranks of 8 other regional coordinators covering the designated regions of the Indian Diaspora world. Included in the portfolio of GOPIO Regional Coordinator, South Asia, is the outreach and expansion of GOPIO in solidifying existing chapters towards full compliance; as well as establishment of bone fide chapters in the region; recruitment of suitably qualified candidates for GOPIO's several councils; increasing membership in chapters and at GOPIO International level; coordinating the activities of GOPIO's chapters in South Asia region (including organization of conferences, seminars and symposia); and providing activity reports in a timely manner.


The selection of Dayakar as GOPIO Regional Coordinator, South Asia was based on his many years of outstanding service in the Indian Diaspora countries, his relevant experience and knowledge in serving in the larger Indian community, in combination with his commitment and interest in GOPIO and its objectives. Dayakar has an impressive resume of positions as an astute, seasoned, polished and accomplished diplomat, including his pioneering work as the first Joint Secretary in the then newly created NRI Affairs Ministry.  


In confirming the appointment to Dayakar, GOPIO International President Ashook Ramsaran stated that "your selection was based on your many years of outstanding service in Diaspora countries and the Indian community, your relevant experience and knowledge in serving in the larger Indian, in combination with your commitment and interest in GOPIO". "I am glad to be associated with GOPIO under your stewardship and look forward to working with you in giving concrete form to the action plan and agenda of GOPIO, in respect of South Asia', remarked Dayakar in response.





Brooklyn-based filmmaker and eco-activist Shalini Kantayya has been chosen for this year's prestigious MacArthur Foundation filmmaking grant of $125,000. Her documentary, 'Solarize This' takes a look at the human side of the green economy by focusing on three unemployed Americans in a solar jobs training program in Richmond, California.


"I was interested in the idea of people who are impacted by the economic crisis trying to retool by looking for jobs in the solar industry - and in Richmond, a Chevron Oil town." The film is now in the editing stage, and Kantayya hopes to release it next year.


Kantayya's family hails from Chennai and she has lived in India and traveled back and forth many times. It was during one of her trips there that she experienced the 2004 Tsunami, she said. "I realized that climate change affects the poor, and women and children, most of all - and I realized that the ways we make and use energy have a serious impact." The experience of making Solarize has also given her a new respect for renewable energy.


Earlier, Shalini finished in the top 10 out of over 12,000 filmmakers in 'On the Lot' a reality show produced by Steven Spielberg about the search for Hollywood's next great director.




India born internationally acclaimed Heart Surgeon and Research Scientist Dr Mukesh Hariawala, has been unanimously selected by the National Healthcare jury to be honored with the prestigious 'India's Most Admired Surgeon 2012 Award'.


The ceremony will have in attendance top dignitaries from government, celluloid personalities, industrialists and eminent public figures, led by His Excellency, Maharashtra Governor Shri K. Sankaranarayanan, who will present the award.


Dr Mukesh will also deliver the much anticipated 'Keynote Lecture' on Cardiac Angiogenesis, which is his pioneering research work on the dynamic cutting edge scientific technology of stimulating growth of new blood vessels on the heart by using 'Low Energy Laser Beams'. This is projected to significantly give relief of symptoms and bring down the cost of healthcare. A rechargeable lithium ion battery powered 'Titanium Mechanical Artificial Heart Device' will be showcased as part of the lecture.


In a career span of 25 years across 3 continents, Dr Mukesh has performed open heart surgeries on worldwide celebrities, including being a key member of British surgeon Dr. John Wright's surgical team that has operated on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his first bypass surgery in the early 1990's in London.




Indian American entrepreneur Karl Mehta has been selected among the 18 'Presidential Innovation Fellows' who will work on five 'high-impact' projects in Washington DC.


Selected from among 700 innovators from across the country, the 'Fellows' will spend six months working on five high-impact projects aimed at supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and the economy, while significantly improving how the Federal Government serves the American people.


Mehta, the only Indian American to be present in this list of 18 fellows would work on 'The 20 percent Initiative' program. "The 20 percent Initiative will work to transition 'the last mile' of international development assistance payments from cash to electronic methods lowering administrative costs, promoting financial inclusion, and reducing theft, fraud, and violence," the White House said.


A member of TiE Silicon Valley, Mehta is founder & CEO of PlaySpan, which was acquired by Visa in March 2011. With more than 18 years of experience in founding, building and funding technology companies in the US and international markets, Mehta before founding PlaySpan, was part of the founding team at MobileAria Inc (acquired by Wireless Matrix) based in Mountain View and co-founder/CEO of OmniLabs Inc, based in Singapore and India.




Several prominent NRIs, including director general of the Commonwealth Business Council Dr. Mohan Kaul, were honored by the Indian Overseas Congress (London) at a function to celebrate the 66th anniversary of India's Independence Day.


Other recipients of the honor for their services to the community were Dr. Onkar Sahota, member of the greater London assembly for Ealing & Hillingdon, R S Nangla, founder chairman of travel agency Brightsun, former councilor and former mayor of London Borough of Ealing Madhav Patil, publisher Neermal Suri, Gurnam Singh Sahni, Veerindra Rishi, Rajinder Singh Dhutt and Lord Sardar Singh.


Speaking on the occasion, President of the Indian Overseas Congress (London) D L Kalhan said, "While we proudly share the joys of getting voting rights for Indians residing abroad, we are now advocating for getting representations for them in Indian Parliament."


Labor MP Virendra Sharma lauded the progress made by NRIs in the UK and elsewhere because "they took their values with them wherever they went."


Both prime minister of Britain David Cameron and leader of the opposition and Labor leader Ed Miliband sent messages congratulating India on its 66th Anniversary of Independence and growing India-UK relations in different spheres including science and technology, education and climate change.




Deepak Kakkar migrated to the United States and kept pursuing his love for horse racing. He is perhaps the first Indian to have his horse run at the Belmont Stakes, an American Grade I stakes.


For the uninitiated, Belmont Stakes is almost at par with the cricket World Cup or the Olympics, and the race is the third and the final leg of the US Triple Crown, the other two being Kentucky Derby and Preakness. "Being a part of the Belmont Stakes was an experience of a life time for me. Having my horse run that race is as great as it could get in horse racing in the United States," shared Deepak.


Out of the 12 furlongs, Kakkar's horse, Unstoppable U, ran neck to neck with other top horses owned by Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prince of Dubai. "Our horse was the least experienced in the race, but he came up with a superb show," added Deepak.


Born in Ferozepur district of Punjab, riding horses and watching them gallop was nothing new for Kakkar, but owning a Thoroughbred horse and have him run in one of the top horse races in the world surely rake as the dream moments of his life.




Leading Cambridge economist Professor Ajit Singh accepted the 'Dr Manmohan Singh Chair' named after Indian Prime Minister at the Punjab University. Launched in 2009, the 'Dr Manmohan Singh Chair' is based at the Department of Economics, Punjab University.


"I regard it as a great honor not only because of Dr Manmohan Singh's outstanding qualities but also because he was my teacher at Punjab University when I started doing economics," said Prof Ajit, an alumnus of the Punjab University, who has spent all his academic life teaching and researching at Cambridge since 1964.


After retiring in 2007, he continued his research as an Emeritus Professor of Economics and a Life Fellow of Queen's College, Cambridge. Prof Singh's current research is concerned with the rise of India and China and their economic interactions with advanced and emerging countries. The research re-examines, among other lines of inquiry, structural questions such as the respected roles of manufacturing and services as engines of long-term economic growth in the two countries.


Prof. Singh has published numerous research papers, advised several governments at the highest level (including India) and assisted international organizations focused on development, during his career.





Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday claimed that schools in UK were spending two hours on 'Indian dance' rather than on competitive sports. Indian dance is growing in Britain, with several workshops and dance classes teaching the steps accompanied by popular Hindi film songs. Besides its cultural value, Bollywood dance is also seen as an exercise. Contrary to Cameron's remark, there have been few instances of it being taught or performed regularly in schools.


Cameron has scrapped the two-hour target for schools to spend on sports because some youngsters ended up spending two hours performing Indian dance instead of playing sport. He said: "The trouble we have had with targets up to now, which was two hours a week, is that a lot of schools were meeting that by doing things like Indian dance or whatever, that you and I probably wouldn't think of as sport, so there's a danger of thinking all you need is money and a target.


Cameron's remarks prompted a wave of online comments by readers. A reader wrote to the Guardian: "Back in the seventies we did county dancing as part of PE in primary school. Indian dancing is quite physical and if it engages some pupils who think running around after a ball is not enjoyable then why not? Cameron's comment just seems racist to me".


"Indian dance or any form of dance would seem to me to be an excellent way of engaging students in physical activity", another reader wrote.




Pravasi Investment Consortium & Equity Holding Ltd (Prince Holding), a Dubai-based consortium of non-resident Indians (NRIs), will set up a business park for IT and IT enabled services (ITES) in Kochi with an investment of over Rupees 2,000 crore.


Sebastian Joseph, chairman of the consortium is a chartered accountant by qualification and currently serving as chief financial officer and chief operating officer in the office of the ruler of Abu Dhabi, one of the emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


The consortium has floated a society called Global Advanced Technology Enabled Society, or Gates, to collectively pool the resources of the individual members of the Consortium to create infrastructure for promoting technology-based firms.


The project, planned to be developed in a campus of over 100 acres, will have a special business zone, a centre for excellence in advanced technology and innovation, international financial centre, and education zone. Its hospitality zone will comprise of clubs, spas and service apartments.


There will also be a health care zone, NRI facilitation centre, shared facilities zone consisting of sports academy, retail strip mall, multiplex, food courts, library and a residential zone with villas, row houses and apartments. The whole project would create 20,000 jobs, Joseph said. Prince Holding is banking on the expectation that 3 lakh NRIs will return to India over the next five years. "Kerala is a very preferred destination as the majority of the returning NRIs is from Kerala.


Roughly 350 to 500 NRIs will invest in the project. "After successful conclusion of various tie-ups and putting the project on track, we intend to replicate the same model in other major south Indian cities," Joseph revealed. "Our attempt is to establish an eco-system to enable the integration of global advanced technologies. The combined experience, expertise and resources of the global Indian Diaspora will facilitate the development, transfer and commercialization of technology," Joseph said.


The collective investment by NRI professionals is first of its kind in the country. Lead consultants and planners of the project are Ernst & Young and Burt Hill Stantec. 





Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs in India has enacted a special NRI Matrimonial Law to protect brides from being duped by deceitful Non-Resident Indian grooms. The 'special NRI matrimonial law' provides "distressed and abandoned brides with much needed remedial armour", comprehensively dealing with marriage, divorce, maintenance, child custody and other related issues.


The parliamentary panel's recommendation came in the backdrop of increasing number of cases of women being cheated by NRI men through fraudulent marriages. The cheated women find it difficult to seek justice, as the 'NRI marriages' were governed, not only by legal system of India, but also by the laws of other countries.


"Amending current laws and introducing new rules and regulations would help victims of NRI marriages reclaim their fundamental rights to property, equality in marriage, the protection of family, freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment and, above all, dignity," observed the committee.


The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has a scheme for providing legal and financial assistance to Indian women deserted by their NRI and foreigner husbands for defraying initial costs of documentation and preparatory work for filing the cases by the empanelled NGOs, who have lawyers on their panel who render free services. The amount of legal and financial assistance has of late been enhanced from US$1,500 to US$3,000 per case for developed countries and US$2,000 per case for developing countries.




The 6th Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention will be held in Mauritius on October 27-28, 2012.  Regional PBDs are organized by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), Government of India in collaboration with the host Government, the respective Indian Mission and organizations catering to the needs of the Indian Diaspora. They serve the objective of reaching out to a vast majority of over 25 million-strong diaspora, who for various reasons, are unable to attend the annual main PBD conventions in India and benefit from its deliberations. Regional PBD conventions are also helpful to local populations who are not of Indian origin, and are interested in doing business and/or collaborating with India.


The Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI) in Moka, Mauritius has been chosen as the venue for hosting the PBD Mauritius 2012.  Hon. Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of Mauritius, will inaugurate PBD Mauritius 2012 on October 27. Shri. Vayalar Ravi, Hon. Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Government of India, will address the gathering. Hon. Rajkeswur Purryag, President of the Republic of Mauritius, will be the Chief Guest at the Closing Ceremony on October 28, 2012.


PBD Mauritius 2012 will be centered on a particular theme, and will also have several pre-Convention and breakaway sessions/discussions on various issues relevant to the Indian Diaspora including Education, Tourism, Academia, Science & Technology, etc..  A Business Event comprising seminars/sessions aimed at enhancing business ties between the Indian Diaspora and India is an integral part of every regional PBD convention. The Business Event is usually held with participation from a renowned Indian business chamber along with their partners and counterparts in the host country. The Business Event serves as a platform for business leaders from within the Indian Diaspora to network and forge mutually beneficial partnerships with each other. 




The Indian Government will sponsor an ambitious Pension and Life Insurance Fund (PLIF) for skilled and unskilled Indian workers employed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) revealed MK Lokesh, India's Ambassador to the UAE.


A delegation from the Ministry of Indian Overseas Affairs (MOIA) will promote the scheme among the workers. Bank of Baroda, the only Indian bank with a fully-fledged banking operation in the UAE, has been selected as the bank for the scheme. The Dubai-based Indian Workers Resource Centre (IWRC), a support centre for Indian expatriates, will also have a major role in the scheme.


The voluntary scheme offers three important benefits; help skilled and unskilled workers save money for their old age, they will have financial means when they go back home and life insurance cover for Rupees 100,000 during their work abroad.


Workers between the age of 18 and 50 who hold Emigration Clearance Required (ECR) passports are eligible to enroll in the scheme. About 65 per cent of more than two million Indians in the UAE are blue-collar workers.


The Indian Government will provide a contribution of up to Rupees2,000 per year for male workers and Rupees 3000 per year for women workers for up to either five years or until the worker returns home, whichever is earlier.


A worker with a bank account has to contribute a minimum of Rupees 5,000 per annum towards the scheme. The pension fund requires a contribution of between Rupees 1000 and 12,000 per annum and the return and resettlement fund requires a minimum of Rupees 4,000.




Central government in India has decided not to charge NRIs the proposed service tax on their overseas remittances. The earlier proposal to impose 12.36% service tax on NRIs' remittances had generated resentment. The commissioner for NRI affairs had taken up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for review of the decision to levy service tax.




Reserve Bank of India has allowed NRIs to be appointed as nominees by sole holders of the 6.5 per cent or eight per cent savings bond in respect of interest or redemption value of the investment. The nomination would have to be registered in the books of the bank or agencies. Until present, NRIs were not eligible to invest in these bonds nor were allowed to be nominees.




Punjab government has decided to launch a unique card for NRIs of Punjab origin to enable them to show their identity for any official work.


Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said, "Punjab has to involve NRIs in the process of development by assuring them total support of the state government and offering them legal support in their cases."


Every NRI would be able to apply for this card on the website of NRI department.


Besides giving identity to the NRIs for every official purpose, the card would assure quality medicare and discounts on shopping in Punjab.


A comprehensive website and portal of NRI Affairs department has been finalised and would become operational next month. A 24-hour NRI helpline would register complaints of NRIs from next month.


Also expressing concern over forcible possession of properties of NRIs, Badal has issued directions to initiate amendments in the law to ensure protection of their properties.



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,


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


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, GOPIO International (Guyana-New York, USA) and Nilofar Pardawala (Portland, Oregon, USA)

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

Contributors of this issue: Ashook Ramsaran (President, GOPIO Intl.), Ena Maraj (President of GOPIO International Trinidad & Tobago Chapter), Shailesh Naik (President, GOPIO-CT)


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


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