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September 15, 2012

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

Issue: XI-14 September 15, 2012
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GOPIO is a community supported non-profit organization taking up issues of the Indian Diaspora and attempting to unifying the community in its common causes. Support GOPIO by becoming a Life Member or chapter member. Once can become Life Member online by visiting



The Global Organization of People of India Origin (GOPIO International) is launching GOPIO Gadar Centennial Commemoration in the USA with a Gadar lecture seminar followed by a major announcement on October 20, 2012 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The program starts at 2:00pm and concludes at 4:30pm.


The event is being coordinated by the GOPIO Gadar Centennial Commemoration team in collaboration with the GOPIO chapters in Metro Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia region along with several officials, executives, academicians, historians and descendants of Gadar heroes. The launch is supported by Indian Ambassador Nirupama Rao, who plans on attending.


Program at National Press Club:


2:00pm              Seminar on Gadar Centennial on Theme: The Gadar Freedom Movement

3:30pm              Press Announcement

4:00pm              Refreshments


Admission is complimentary; advance registration required.


GOPIO plans on holding a series of consecutive lecture seminars beginning in early 2013 in major US cities, highlighting the history and lessons of the Gadar Movement as a significant diaspora initiative in the struggle for the independence of India. These events are being planned for: Washington, DC; Los Angeles; New York; Houston, Atlanta; Miami; Boston; Chicago; Seattle; culminating in the finale on November 1, 2013 in San Francisco at the site of the Gadar Hall.


As previously reported in the September, 1, 2012 GOPIO's News Bulletin, GOPIO is collaborating 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. In addition to events at PBD2013, GOPIO plans on holding a GOPIO 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.


For registration details and further information on GOPIO Gadar Centennial Commemoration at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, please contact national GOPIO Gadar Centennial Commemoration coordinators:  Inder Singh at; Ashook Ramsaran at; Dr Piyush Agrawal or  Dr Renuka Misra 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 India Centre for Migration (ICM), a 'not for profit' society established by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), invites suitably qualified candidates for its internship programs with opportunities for young and dynamic students to explore the field of international migration. ICM seeks to lead 'evidence based' work on international migration to support informed policy making and enable strategic interventions for a coherent and harmonised response to the transnational movement of people. To this end, ICM partners with individuals, institutions and governments to drive empirical, analytical and policy related research; enhance capacities and pilot good practices in international migration and its governance.


Internship at ICM is designed to bring together talent from across the globe to understand and support ICM's work and also provide excellent learning opportunities for ICM's interns. Through practical work assignments and interactions with key stakeholders involved in migration management in India, the internship programme aims to enhance the educational experience of ICM's interns. ICM seeks to encourage students from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to explore new ideas and media to respond to the opportunities and challenges posed in migration. Expected outcomes of the internship programme are not confined to research papers or presentations, and may include innovative research within the scope of migration.


It is intended to enhance the scope of work for mutual benefit, with ICM providing interns mentors at ICM. The scope for flexibility in our internship programme is reflected in the types of internship being offered, namely, on-site, off-site (under the supervision of a partner institution) and part-time internship (a combination of on-site and off-site internship).There are two (2) types of internships: (a) The ICM Junior Internship Programme (ICM-JIP) provides undergraduate and graduate students a platform to explore the various dimensions to issues related to international migration, and (b) ICM Young Scholars' Internship Programme (ICM-YSIP) is geared towards individuals who have already completed their graduate programme and/or are enrolled for an MPhil/PhD programme.


The aspiring candidates may apply in the prescribed application format provided by ICM  with the following attachments: A copy of synopsis approved by the university, with a designated supervisor, or (if submitted) an executive summary of the dissertation/thesis; Project synopsis for internship on any of the international migration themes stated above and a timeframe required with a detailed plan of action for completing the study; A recommendation letter from the supervisor/department concerned supporting the candidate's application, duly endorsed by the Head of the Department; Updated curriculum vitae (CV).


Applications are invited throughout the year with a maximum of twelve (12) internship positions available for each year. All candidates selected for internship at ICM shall be granted a stipend commensurate with their respective qualification and experience during the course of their internship.


Applications to intern at ICM and requests for further details can made at\





The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) expressed "strong and unequivocal condemnation of the recent and continuing wave of violent protests in Africa and the Middle East directed against foreign persons as well as own citizens, resulting in the unnecessary loss of many innocent lives, damage, social unrest and fear among law abiding citizens of the affected countries and elsewhere".


The press statement released on September 17, 2012 read in part: "We join with several community organizations and agencies in our condemnation of these violent actions. We also convey our condolences to the families of the victims and offer prayers for the speedy recovery of those injured. While we acknowledge the indisputable right to lawful protest, we urge all concerned parties to resolve disagreements and conflicts in non-violent and peaceful ways. We fully support all measures being taken by local police and security personnel to bring security, calm and confidence to the people and urge all efforts be made to stop the violent protests and prevent similar attacks in the future".



Diva America Inc hosted the third Miss India Connecticut Pageant on September 9, 2012 in New Haven, CT, at the Shubert Theater from 4pm to 7pm with the theme "Unity in Diversity". Endorsed GOPIO Youth Council, this year's pageant was hosted by Gujarati Association of Connecticut. It was a sold-out event with 1,400 people attending the show. New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. extended a warm welcome to the pageant and released the souvenir brochure.


Following a V.I.P. cocktail reception, sponsored by Indian Master Chef Prasad Chirnomula, the culinaryvisionary and owner of Thali & OaxacaKitchen, attendees of the Miss India CT 2012 Pageant made their way to their seats at New Haven's triple-tier Shubert Theater. Over the next three hours, the audience was entertained and enthralled by the talent demonstrations and colorful dresses worn by the 17 Pageant contestants, dance performances, knockout medleys from Indian Idol Mohit Lalwani and hilarious stand-up comedy from Dan Nainan. Bollywood choreographer Rajeev Khinchi stole the show with his dramatic choreography and Bollywood dances. Shalini Madaras from Kick for Nick Foundation inspired the audience with her mission. This was all a lead-up to the grand finale.


The Miss India CT Pageant 2012 winner Ronita Choudhuri, who was also recognized as Miss Popular, will have the opportunity to travel on a chartered flight to Guatemala on September 29, 2012,as part of AmeriCares' Airlift Benefit. The Pageant Runner-Up is Preeti Srinivasan, who was also named Miss Facebook. Other special award winners are: Aesha Patel - Miss Smile; Khushbu Amin - Miss Catwalk; Manjula Bangalore - Miss Photogenic; Mona Sheth - Miss Congeniality; Anesha Agarwal - Miss Talent; and Shayla Ranmal - Miss Best Dressed.


Miss India Connecticut is not only a beauty pageant but also a movementto bring a greater assimilation of Indian Americans with the local American community. "We believe that respecting other cultures, respecting other religions and getting respected for our own is the way to live in peace and harmony. Keeping that as a motto, the Pageant's theme this year was set as Unity in Diversity," said Diva America President Mrs. Anita Bhat who is also serving as the National Director for GOPIO Youth Council..


Miss India Connecticut is also the first beauty pageant to introduce BMI (Body Mass Index) as one of the selection criteria for the contestants.  "We believe that the Fashion Industry influences our next generation in its attitude towards health and fitness. To target the Fashion Industry, we have introduced BMI and we hope that by bringing this awareness, we can help reduce obesity, anorexia, bulimia, low self-esteem and depression amongst the next generation. If we succeed in bringing about this change in other beauty pageants, it will be historic!"  Mrs. Bhat commented. 


Diva has been engaging several local Indian American community groups. The Pageant was endorsed by CAPI (Connecticut Association of Physicians of Indian Origin), AAPI (American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin), YMCA and GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) Youth Council.


Miss India Connecticut Pageant 2012Photos clockwise from top left (1) New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. releases the souvenir brochure, from l. to r.: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Mayor DeStafano, Anita Bhat and Meera Banta, (2) Miss-India Connecticut Pageant Winner Ronita Choudhuri with Runner-Up Preeti Srinivasan, (3) Diva America President Anita Bhat, Winner Ronita Choudhri and AmeriCares CEO Curt Welling, (4) Pageant winner with organizer Anita Bhat and other contestants. 


Diva America's team presented a spectacular show with seven different classical dances of India simultaneously on the stage, which was a unique offering at the Pageant. All of this, in addition to the talent shows by brilliant contestants and Bollywood, Folk and fusion dances by the talented local community, showcased magical India for the audience. Michael Morand, Deputy Chief of Communication at Yale University, and celebrity TV anchor Kanika Chadda entertained the audience as Emcees. Celebrity Chef Maneet Chauhan, award-winning filmmaker Tom George Kolath, Executive Director of IAAC Aroon Shivdasani,  Yale University Associate Professor Bonnie Fleming, President   & CEO of AmeriCares Curt Welling, President and CEO of YMCA Greater Hartford James Morton and Ex-President of AAPI Dr. Sunita Kanumury were on the Pageant's esteemed panel of judges.




The GOPIO-Tel Aviv Chapter organized its 2nd visit to the Indian Embassy in order to strengthening social and cultural ties between Israel and India. The event occurred in August 2012.


On August 1st 2012, GOPIO officials visited the four ships of the Indian Navy at the Haifa Port, in Israel. That was a goodwill visit to the country and occurred from July 30th 2012 to August 2nd 2012.


The Indian Navy has commissioned the Israeli public to tour the boats as a way of strengthening ties between the two countries.  The names of the ships are INS TRISHUL, INS ADITYA, INS MUMBAI, and INS GOMATI.


When GOPIO Tel-Aviv Chapter received the notification, the members organized a group of 120 Israeli Indians, including adults and children, from the central part of the country to visit the ships. In addition, other groups also visited the ships from around the country.


The tour of the ship began around 10:15 A.M. Indian soldiers gave visitors a very warm welcome and a guided tour of the ships. Everyone was allowed to take pictures of the soldiers and the ships for their families back home. Light refreshment was served to all.


The atmosphere was very pleasant. Indian soldiers were very happy to see such a great group of Indians from Israel and said that the visit of so many people of Indian origin warmed their hearts. All participants from Israel were also very glad about this meeting and the rare opportunity of exposing their children and grandchildren to their unique Indian roots.


Immediately after the tour of the ships, around 12:00 noon, GOPIO representatives, along with the other groups, they all went to Elijah Cave and celebrated the traditional thanksgiving ceremony of the Bene Israeli Jews called "Malida". There the congregation sat around a plate full of roasted, puffed rice, fruits, spices and flowers, and sang songs in praising Prophet Wlijah as the precursor of Messiah.


Later, the "Gate of Mercy" Synagogue in Haifa hosted the group. This synagogue has a rich history of the Indian Jews.


The group later visited The Israel National Museum of Science, Technology and Space in Haifa where everyone can explore, experience, discover and learn through play and fun.




GOPIO is hosting a talk and dinner reception with PIO delegation from South Africa who will talk on the topic PIOs of South Africa - History, Achievements & Opportunities to be given by prominent members of the delegation, including Rita Abraham of Durban, South Africa.  It will be held on Wed, September 19, 6.30 pm at Bombay Palace Restaurant, 30 West 52nd Street (bet. 5th and 6thAve.) Tel: 1-212-541-7777. Contribution: $40 per person (includes soft drinks, wine & beer).  


The PIO delegation from South Africa is visiting New York to attend the "Global Indian Business Meet" (GIBM) which is being organized by the New Global Indian (NGI) group.


The program is being coordinated by Dr Renuka Misra, GOPIO National Coordinator USA and Mr Satruhan Sukdeo, President of GOPIO Upper New York chapter. Guests include Amb. Prabhu Dayal, Consul General of India in New York and Amb. Milan Meeterbhan, Consul General of Mauritius in New York.


Persons of Indian origin (PIOs) in South Africa, approximately 1,400,000 representing 2.5% of total population of 49,000,000, are descendents of indentured immigrant laborers from colonial India during late 19th-century through early 20th-century, with the first arrivals in 1860.large concentrations of PIOs in Durban and Natal.


Please confirm your participation by email to program coordinators: Dr Renuka Misra at 732-647- 5978, or Mr Satruhan Sukdeo at 347-429-1924 email:




GOPIO, through its Cultural Council, joins with several other prominent community organizations in support of the 17th Annual Mahatma Gandhi Peace March being held on September 30, 2012 in observance of Mahatma Gandhi's birthday (October 2). The Peace March begins at 2:00pm from Liberty Avenue and 123rd Street to the Arya Spiritual Center ground in Richmond Hill, Queens, New York.


The Peace March, sponsored and organized by the Federation of Hindu Mandirs, is to be followed by a Cultural Presentation which includes the 2012 Mahatma Gandhi lecture by Mr Satruhan Sukdeo, President of GOPIO Upper New York chapter, plus the presentation of the GANDHI PEACE PRIZE 2012 to a prominent and deserving community activist.


Naidoo Veerapen, Co-Chair of GOPIO Cultural Council remarked that, "we feel honored, yet obligated, to hold this annual peace march in commemoration of the birthday of one of the most influential persons of all time". Veerapen is also proposing a GOPIO sponsored conference in 2013 to coincide with Mahatma Gandhi's birthday in 2013. The theme of the conference is based on Mahatma Gandhi's non-violence initiatives that influenced the civil rights marches and successes in the USA through the late Dr Martin Luther King which made it possible for more non-Caucasians, including Indians and persons of Indian origin, to come the USA as immigrants.


For details and further information, please contact Naidoo Veerapen, Co-Chair of GOPIO Cultural Council at




After several months of planning and coordination initiated by Loshni Naidoo in collaboration with Munish Gupta (Regional Coordinator, Africa), GOPIO Durban chapter has been formed.


Officers of the newly formed GOPIO Durban chapter are:

President - Sudesh Maharaj

Vice President - Dr Kinesh Pather

Secretary - Urmilla (Molly) Patel (Head of HRC)

Treasurer - Pankaj Doorgaparsad

Joint Secretary - Gerelene Jagganath

SA Co-ordinator/ Facilitator - Loshni Naidoo


Loshni Naidoo said that by joining GOPIO, "we can partake in an organization that will be there to assist in addressing some of the needs of the Indians in South Africa. This will allow South African Indians to be part of and build a better South African society for all".


Persons of Indian origin (PIOs) in South Africa, approximately 1,400,000 representing 2.5% of total population of 49,000,000, are descendents of indentured immigrant laborers from colonial India during late 19th-century through early 20th-century, with the first arrivals in 1860. Large concentrations of PIOs are in cities of Durban and Natal.


For details and further information, please contact Loshni Naidoo at




The Global Organization of People of India Origin (GOPIO International) participated in an international lecture series on "Empowering Rural Youth" held on Monday, 10thSeptember, 2012 organized and held at Shivaji University (Kolhapur, Maharashtra) in association with the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) and Dnyaneshwar Mulay Education Society (DMES). The conference was coordinated by Dr. Vasanti Rasam, head of the Program Organizing Committee, Program Anchor and Kurbushan Birnale, Head, Program Organizing Committee.


Session 1: (10:30am to 12:30pm) Inaugural Function - Lamp Lighting & Felicitation Program

Speakers:  Hon'ble Vice Chancellor Dr. N. J. Pawar (Shivaji University); Video Message by Amb Dnyaneshwar Mulay (Indian High commissioner to Maldives);  Video Message by Mr. Ashook Ramsaran (President of GOPIO International);  Dr. Didar Singh (former Secretary of MOIA); Video Message by Hon'ble Minister Mr. Vayalar Ravi (Minister of MOIAI).


Session II: (1:30pm to 3:30pm) Panel Discussion on "Building the 21st Century Business Enterprises"

Speakers: Mr. Upjitsingh Sachdeva (Honorary Consul of India in Liberia): Vision for building the competent global business houses; Dr. Gajanan Sabnis (Distinguished Member of American Society of Civil Engineers and Emeritus Professor, Howard University, USA): Present Global Economy - Challenges & Opportunities for Indian Business World; Dr. Didar Singh: "Role of World-class human resources and Technology in building the successful  enterprises"; Hon'ble Vice Chancellor Dr. N. J. Pawar: Universities as Business Research Centers ;  Amb Dnyaneshwar Mulay:  India's super power aspiration - Share of business sector;  Video Message by Mr. Ashook Ramsaran: Indo-US business relations and road ahead.

Followed by: Open Discussion/ Question Answers Session.


Session III: (4:00pm to 6:00pm) Panel Discussion on "Role of Quality Education in Nation Building, upcoming global challenges and road ahead".

Speakers:  Mr. Upjitsingh Sachdeva (Liberia): Importance of skills development in academics;  Dr. Gajanan Sabnis: Need of Integration between Campus and Corporate; Dr. Didar Singh: Excellence in Administration and Academics in educational institute;  Hon'ble Vice Chancellor Dr. N. J. Pawar: Promoting the Innovation, creativity and research facilities;  Video Message by Amb Dnyaneshwar Mulay: Global outlook of Indian education system and road ahead; Video Message by Mr. Ashook Ramsaran: Pervasive comparison of Western and Indian Education System.

Followed by: Open Discussion/ Question Answers Session.


A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed during the Inaugural Function by GOPIO and DMES to collaborate for building better connectivity and bringing the untapped assets and expertise of the worldwide Indian Diaspora and the communities in rural and urban areas of India as well as other countries of the Indian Diaspora.





On August 15th 2012, GOPIO members attended the Independence Day function, along with 70 people of Indian origin who participated in the flag hoisting ceremony and the other cultural activities that took place at H.E. Navtege Sarna's residence.


H.E Navtej Sarna ended his 4 years' term as India's Ambassador to Israel. GOPIO chapter is grateful to Mr. Sarna for being active in promoting cultural ties between India and Israel. He was the first Ambassador to begin the custom of India Festival in Israel since 2010.


Every year, GOPIO members and others were pleased to attend the different functions of arts, classical music and dance, cultural shows and movies organized by Mr. Sarna from India. These events helped tremendously in maintaining tradition and connection with the land of our birth. 




Prof. Ponisseril Somasundaran will be inducted as one of the newest Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada in a ceremony on November 17th in Ottawa, the only one from outside Canada to be elected this year. A member of the faculty of Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science since 1970, Dr. Somasundaran has been honored in many countries.


Dr. Somasundaran is currently Director of the National Science Foundation I/UCR Center for Advanced Studies in Novel Surfactants and Langmuir Center for Colloids and Interfaces. He was one of the youngest members to be elected in 1985 to the National Academy of Engineering, the highest possible distinction then in engineering in the U.S. He was awarded Padma Shri by the Indian Government in 2010. He has authored 15 books and close to 700 scientific publications and patents. 




Sundaresh Menon has been named as the new Chief Justice of Singapore, making him the first from the community to head the courts. Presently Singapore's Judge of Appeal, he will assume the office of the Chief Justice from November 6.


Reacting to his appointment, Justice Menon said, "I am greatly honored and privileged to be entrusted with this awesome responsibility; and humbled by the caliber of those who have been so entrusted before me".


Menon obtained his Master of Laws from Harvard University, after graduating with First Class Honors in Law from the National University of Singapore.


Justice Menon has been a leading lawyer and later became Singapore's Attorney General before he was appointed to the position of Judge of Appeal. Chief Justice Chan has served in the public service for 26 years, including six years as Chief Justice.




Romesh T. Wadhwani, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Palo Alto, a California-based Symphony Technology Group, has been appointed by President Barack Obama to the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.


Symphony Technology Group is a strategic private equity firm that invests in software and services companies. The company's portfolio of 15 global companies has combined revenues of $2.5 billion and 15,000 employees worldwide.


In announcing the appointment of Wadhwani and other new appointees Aug. 31, Obama said, "These dedicated men and women bring a wealth of experience and talent to their new roles and I am proud to have them serve in this administration. I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come."


Before Symphony, Wadhwani was Founder, Chairman and CEO of software and information technology companies, including Aspect Development, which was acquired in 1999 by i2 technologies for $9.3 billion, the largest merger at that time in the software sector.

Forbes 2012 listed him in 634th place worldwide on its billionaires list with a net worth of $2 billion.




A leading NRI entrepreneur and two other people were honored in London for their outstanding contribution to Heart and Stroke Research and their support to the Northwick Park Institute for Medical Research.


Atul Pathak, Managing Director of Appt Corporation Limited, Northwick Park Institute for Medical Research founder Colin Green and Dominic Grieve, MP, Attorney General, received a trophy each for their "invaluable support over the years." The trophy was handed over to them by Dr. Rami Ranger, Chairman of the Golden Heart Club.


The Northwick Park Institute was set up in 1994 and is one of the UK's leading charity-based independent Medical Research Institutes, working to translate ground-breaking medical research into patient care. It is affiliated with University College London which is consistently rated as one of the top five medical schools in the world.




The US Environmental Protection Agency's Pacific Southwest Region named Neelam Sharma of Community Services Unlimited of Los Angeles as 'Environmental Justice Champion' among the 12 winners for the 2012 annual Environmental Awards to acknowledge significant contributions to protecting the environment.


Community Services Unlimited Inc. (CSU) is a 501c3 established in 1977 and headquartered in South Central Los Angeles. It has created community programs and organized campaigns like the Early Safe Seniors to the more recent Free Medical Screening Program and the most recent From the Ground Up.


Sharma currently serves as executive director for CSU and has worked with CSU in various capacities since moving to Los Angeles in 1996.


Over the years, she has been involved in the creation of an employee rights center, several campaigns against racist attacks, police abuse, and illegal deportations, and a campaign against spousal abuse within her own community of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent.




 '9 Eleven', a Bollywood-style thriller by Indian American director Manan Singh Katohara, has won the Best Narrative Feature Award at the 2012 Third World Independent Film Festival ( TWIFF).


The San Francisco festival celebrates established and emerging filmmakers from third world countries and filmmakers from developed countries whose topics deal with issues of the developing world. The film earlier won the Best Feature and Best Director awards at the 2012 World Music & Independent Film Festival (WMIFF) in Washington.


Written and directed by Katohora, who also won the 2012 Rising Star Award for the film at Canada International Film Festival, the fast paced thriller with undertones of terrorism, poses the question how does one survive collectively in meeting the growing phenomenon of terrorism head on.


It portrays the life of 11 people terrorized to the core by an unknown entity in an unfamiliar place. Each individual is petrified and is hesitant to talk or take each other into confidence for one simple reason: The fear of the unknown!






The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been focusing heavily on tracking offshore accounts of its residents and citizens. Two developments in the last two weeks which will impact Indian Americans:


  1. 1.     Tax Evasion

US residents, green card holders and citizens are required to comply with the following:

Must declare income earned from offshore assets and pay tax on those assets in the US. Interest and dividends from foreign financial assets must be disclosed on Schedule B on the Form 1040. Foreign financial assets must also be declared in Form 8938 along with Form 1040.

Must file the FBAR if they have a financial interest in, or signature or other authority over, a financial account in a foreign country with assets in excess of $10,000

Failure to comply with these can attract civil as well as criminal penalties. Civil penalties can be as high as 50% of the account balances in addition to penal interest and criminal penalties can extend to up to 10 years imprisonment.


If you have been a defaulter, inadvertently or otherwise, Jim Mastracchio, Partner at Washington DC based law firm Baker Hostetler advices, "The IRS is encouraging people to enter the 2012 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). Through the OVDP, the IRS is allowing non-compliant taxpayers to come into compliance without the risk of criminal penalties and with a reduced rate of civil penalties. We have seen that if the process is followed correctly, the OVDP can be an effective means to come into compliance."


Silent disclosure, that is, filing amended returns for delinquent years and hoping the IRS will not notice is becoming less and less of an option. "The filing of an amended income tax return has heighted audit risk (probably significantly greater than the original filed return). The filing of a delinquent FBAR also has heighted audit risk (probably significantly greater than a timely filed FBAR)," says Parag Patel, a tax attorney at New Jersey based law firm Patel Law Offices.

With the new regulation FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) now almost imminent, the IRS is soon going to get more details about foreign financial accounts. Most experts agree that there is going to be little scope to say 'I am not going to report small accounts.'


  1. 2.     New filing procedure for non-resident US taxpayers

With effect from September 1st 2012, a new IRS procedure went into effect to help 'low compliance risk' US citizens and green card holders living abroad to comply with their offshore disclosures., termed as 'EZPass' or 'Express OVDP' for non-resident US taxpayers.

This initiative is targeted at 'taxpayers who have recently become aware of their filing obligations and now seek to come into compliance with the law.' The IRS clarifies that this new procedure does not provide protection from criminal prosecution if the IRS and Department of Justice determine that the taxpayer's particular circumstances warrant such prosecution.

Eligibility - This procedure is available for non-resident US taxpayers who have resided outside of the US since January 1, 2009 and who have not filed a US tax return during the same period. However, these taxpayers must present a low level of compliance risk (discussed in next point)

Low compliance risk - In the absence of any high risk factors, if the submitted returns and application show less than $1,500 in tax due in each of the years, they will be treated as low risk and processed in a streamlined manner. The risk level may rise under several circumstances such as if the return filed under this program is an amended return or it the taxpayer has not declared all of his/her income in his/her country of residence or if the taxpayer is under audit or investigation by the IRS etc.


Procedure to participate - You must submit complete and accurate delinquent tax returns and mention 'Streamlined' at the top of the return to indicate that these returns are being filed under the new initiative. You must also pay all the taxes due along with interest and penalty, if any, for delay. You must also submit a questionnaire as prescribed by the IRS to present your compliance risk profile.


One can find the entire process on the IRS website -





The New Global Indian (NGI) group has scheduled a "Global Indian Business Meet" (GIBM) to be held on September 20-23, 2012 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York,USA. The theme of this global event is "Managing Business in Challenging Times - the Indian Way - with Global Networking for Entrepreneurship and Inclusive Growth". According to organizer Kanchan Banerjee, the overall objective is to "to inspire and strategize; to explore new opportunities; and to network and support. Specifically, to impact global business, and thereby human development, by taking the best Indian run enterprises and the new resurgent India to the world, thus chartering new avenues for investment, partnership, entrepreneurship and building sustainable growth models."


GIBM intends to bring together Indian origin CEOs and heads of businesses from around the world, leaders from various Indian, North American and other states and cities along with entrepreneurs and investors. It is billed as India-focused global business platform with participation of the Indian Diaspora from more than 25 countries in New York City, the center of global business. GIBM intends for this event to meet as a global platform for forward-thinking Indians living all over the globe, connecting them to generate resources, interactions, visibility, branding, networking, technology and knowledge share, business partnerships, new ideas and investment opportunities.


The 4-day event includes several business conference sessions in global investment, partnerships, entrepreneurships and networking. An array of suitably qualified speakers has been selected for the sessions with experts for keynote presentations. The evening inauguration, receptions and gala dinner include prominent VIPs and notables from various regions of the Indian Diaspora.


Program includes: Business Leaders' Summit; Entrepreneurs' Summit; Investors' Summit; India Business Summit; Partnership Summit.


Contact for details and registration:   Email:    Website:




According to a study conducted by the RBI, remittances made by overseas Indians from Gulf countries accounted for an average of 27% of the total remittance inflows.


The Government has launched the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Suraksha Yojana (MGPSY) for Indian workers holding Emigration Check Required (ECR) passports and a valid work permit in an ECR country. By providing a co-contribution from the Government, this scheme encourages and enables Overseas Indian Workers to save for their return and resettlement and to save for their old age. This also provides a free life insurance cover against natural death during the period of coverage, under the scheme.


The following facilities are also available to returning NRIs/PIOs:


  1. Returning NRIs/PIOs may continue to hold, own, transfer or invest in foreign currency, foreign security or any immovable property situated outside India, if such currency, security or property was acquired, held or owned when resident outside India.


  1. The income and sale proceeds of assets held abroad need not be repatriated.


  1. (a) Returning NRIs /PIOs may open, hold and maintain with an authorized dealer in India a Resident Foreign Currency (RFC) Account to transfer balances held in Non-Resident (External) Rupee/Foreign Currency Non-Residential NRE/FCNR(B) accounts.

(b)   Proceeds of assets held outside India at the time of return can be credited to RFC account.

(c)   The funds in RFC accounts are free from all restrictions regarding    utilization of foreign currency balances including any restriction on investment in any form outside India.

(d)   RFC accounts can be maintained in the form of current or savings or term deposit accounts, where the account holder is an individual and in the form of current or term deposits in all other cases.


This information was given by the Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, Shri Vayalar Ravi.




Nineteen senators, led by California Senator Dianne Feinstein, issued a bipartisan letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, urging the Justice Department to track hate crimes against Sikhs.


Pointing to the August 5 attack against Sikh worshipers in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and the persistence of hate crimes against Sikh Americans, the senators noted that "Sikhs are particularly susceptible to violence committed because of their Sikh identity."


According to the letter, "it is important to collect data on hate crimes committed against Sikhs because this data can identify trends and help federal, state and local law enforcement agencies properly allocate resources."


The request that the Justice Department and FBI track hate crimes against Sikhs is a longstanding demand of the Sikh Coalition, the nation's largest Sikh civil rights organization. In April, working with the Sikh Coalition, Congressman Joseph Crowley led over 90 members of the House of Representatives, calling on the Justice Department to begin tracking hate crimes against Sikhs.


"We are grateful that more than 100 members of Congress have supported our call for improved data collection by the Justice Department," said Rajdeep Singh, director of Law and Policy for the Sikh Coalition. "It is impossible to address a problem unless it is being measured, and Sikhs who experience hate crimes at the very least deserve the dignity of being a statistic."




Indian-origin chef Anjum Anand has made an immune-boosting curry using humble ingredients like garlic, cinnamon and chillies which she claims can ward off illness.


Presented at BBC2's Indian Cooking Made Easy, Anand said that a dish made with vitamin C-packed ingredients like pomegranate seeds and fenugreek leaves has healing powers and can fight infection.


"Spices in food are like medicine in Indian families and I wanted to make a simple, immune-boosting dish. I read research showing that fenugreek leaves were rich in Vitamin C," Anand said.


"They are also very tasty so I have combined them with superfoods like pomegranate seeds," she said. British nutritionists have backed her claims.




The Australian Government has decided to give five-year tourist visas for parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents to enable them to visit their families. The five-year tourist visa holders can stay up to 12 months on each entry. The grant of long term visa is expected to start by the end of this year and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

An applicant for the tourist visa must meet Australia's health and character requirements, have access to adequate funds and have health insurance to cover any healthcare costs during their stay.




India received over $66.13 billion in remittances in the years 2011-12 as compared to $55.62 billion in the previous year. In 2009-10, India received $53.63 billion while in 2008-09, the amount was $46.9 billion. During the first half of 2009-10, remittances from Gulf countries were about 27 per cent of the total remittances to India.




The license to recruit non-UK and non-European students to London Metropolitan University has been revoked. Many Indian students who were affected by the cancellation of the license, now has a ray of hope.  A student helpline is being set up to enable their transfers to other UK universities that are willing to sponsor the students.


After October 1, 2012, the UK Border Agency will be writing to each student and give them detailed instructions on what to do.  Overseas students pay higher fees than UK and European students, an average of about $10,000 pounds. The also spend a similar sum on living costs.  UK has established a $2 million pound fund to help legitimate overseas students of LMU to transfer to other UK universities. The fund is meant to assist with extra costs which the students may have to incur in transferring to other universities.




Universities in the West have been wooing Indian students to enroll in their campuses. They have organized education fairs, road shows and special admission campaigns to  encourage them to pick up brochures that show college life in Europe.  During the last decade,  the number of Indian students in foreign countries has grown by 256%.


Traditionally, students from north India sought admission for higher education in universities in the West but increasingly, the number of students from Gujarat and the southern states have also been on the increase. And when it comes to scholarships and grants, most of them are bagged by students from southern India.


In 2000, more than 53,000 Indians went abroad but at the end of the decade, the number went up to 190,000.  The US attracted the largest number, while UK came in a close second. Australia has been aggressive in seeking Indian students to enroll in their universities. Germany and France are also attracting Indian students.  Indian students are now exploring Sweden, Italy and Ireland, where cost of education is considerably cheaper.




The US embassy has unveiled a new visa application processing system starting from September 26, 2012.  The new system utilizes the Internet and mobile phones for fee payment and scheduling appointments for interviews.  The collection of biometric data has been outsourced but visa interviews will continue to happen at the US embassy or consulates. The new system is expected to reduce the number of people visiting the US embassy or consulate for visa applications.


Applicants will be able to fill out forms or apply directly online, pay visa application fees, schedule appointments for the collection of biometric data and fix an interview at the US embassy or consulate by visiting the new website. They can also make appointment by calling the call center agents who can answer questions in English, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil and Telugu.


The US is boosting efforts to market itself as a tourist destination. The new simpler visa system is aimed at increasing tourism between India and the US.  



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.), Inder Singh (Chairman of GOPIO International), Anita Bhat (USA National Director, GOPIO Youth Council)


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


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