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Issue: VI-13 November 1, 2007
November 1, 2007
A Publication of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO)
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On October 20th, the Indian-American community achieved another milestone with the election of Bobby Jindal to the governorship of Louisiana, the highest US political post any community member has won. Louisiana voters chose Jindal, handing the 36-year-old Republican wunderkind an electoral prize that eluded him four years ago after a low-key race yielded a historic victory. By winning more than 50 percent of the primary vote against a field of 12 candidates, Jindal became the first candidate to win an open gubernatorial seat since Louisiana adopted its all-party "jungle" non-partisan primary system in 1975 and the first member of a racial minority to become the state's chief executive since Reconstruction.

Jindal, 36, will also be the youngest governor in the US and the first non-white to rule Louisiana since the end of the US civil war. In 2003, he had unsuccessfully run for the governor's office. Undeterred, he followed it up with two successful terms as a member of the lower house of Congress - only the second Indian-American to serve in Congress and the first since 1963.

What got out the vote for Jindal was his uncompromising stance against political corruption and his proven accomplishments as a skilled administrator. Soon after he was declared governor-elect, Jindal promised to call a special session of the state legislature to fight corruption. He warned corrupt politicians "can either go quietly or they can go loudly, but either way, they will go".

Bobby Jindal with family at the victory celebrations

Bobby Jindal with wife Supriya Jolly at the victory celebrations in Louisiana.

As a Bush administration official, Jindal earned national praise for solving thorny healthcare problems. The state's main newspaper, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, endorsed him for his "sense of purpose" and "strong ethical compass".

His Democratic opponents unsuccessfully attempted to play on xenophobic fears by highlighting Jindal's first name "Piyush" and his foreign origins. Jindal visited India last year as part of a congressional delegation to promote the Indo-US nuclear deal.


Jindal's victory speech was a message of optimism and change. "I'm asking you to believe that we can turn our state around," Jindal said in a transcript posted on his campaign Web site. "I'm asking you to give Louisiana another chance."

Jindal's first measure will be to pass "real ethics reform with real teeth," he said in his speech, aimed at corruption in Louisiana's government. He also ran on a platform of hurricane recovery, health care, economic reform, education, crime and spending.

Jindal's parents were immigrants from India who came to Louisiana so Jindal's mother could attend Louisiana State University. Jindal's father was the only child of nine in his family to attend high school. In his victory speech, Jindal said his parents "found the American Dream to be alive and well right here in Louisiana."

At Brown, Jindal was admitted to the Program in Liberal Medical Education, but he decided to concentrate in biology and public policy instead.


"It was a tradeoff because as a politician I wouldn't be able to impact people directly like I could as a doctor, but I knew my policies could affect many people every day indirectly," Jindal told The Herald in 2006. Jindal was the president of the College Republicans while on campus.

After graduating from Brown, he attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Jindal was appointed secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals in 1996, executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare in 1998 and president of the University of Louisiana System in 1999. From 2001 to 2003, he served in the Bush administration as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation of heath and human services.


GOPIO has welcomed Jindal's election victory as a new chapter in community's political involvement. Congratulatory messages were sent from GOPIO President Inder Singh and Secretary General Ashook Ramsaran.


Parvasi Bharatiya Divas is the annual flagship event of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs which aims to connect more 25 Million Indians with India's Economic and Social development.  The Ministry is organizing Sixth edition of the PBD on 8-9 January, 2008 at New Delhi.


The online Registration for PBD-2008 is now open through the website


The ministry official in a communiqué has suggested to those who want participate to register early to avoid any inconvenience related to accommodation and other arrangement at a much later date.



Martin Luther King III, son of the late US civil rights leader and peace activist Martin Luther King II, made a visit to Trinidad and Tobago to encourage the various diverse ethnic groups to work peacefully together to resolve problems. Portions of the trip were coordinated by Subash Razdan of the Atlanta, Georgia based Gandhi Foundation USA in collaboration with GOPIO's Caribbean Coordinator Dr Vijay Ramlal.


 UNC Rally in Trinidad and Tobago

Martin Luther King III (left) with UNC leader Jack Warner (middle) and Gandhi Foundation USa Director Subash Razdan at the UNC rally.

While in Trinidad, Martin Luther King III participated in a Unity Rally with the United National Congress Alliance on Sunday, October 7, 2007 in Chaguanas. He expressed his enthusiasm about the huge crowd estimated at 45,000 attending the unity rally among Indo-Afro peoples. He reminded the people of Trinidad and Tobago how blessed they are and that they should cherish their remarkable history and peaceful co-existence, while working together for the betterment of their society.


Others participating at the Unity Rally included the leadership of the United National Congress Alliance: Basdeo Panday, Jack Warner, Ramesh Maharaj, Kamla Persad-Bissessar and 18 of the UNCA candidates.



In 2004, Congressman Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina) moved HR. 753 calling for the placement of a portrait of former Congressman Dalip Singh Saund in the U.S. Capitol Building or inside a House office building. The historic ceremony for the Portrait Unveiling of Congressman Dalip Singh Saund, First Asian American in Congress (1957-1963) will take place on  Wednesday, November 7, 2007 (5:30 p.m. - 7:30 P.M Rayburn Room H-207). A well written article on Congressman Saund published in many Indian American newspapers to coincide with the tribute dinner in January, 2002 can be downloaded from


In January 2002, three well established organizations - GOPIO (Inder Singh), Indian American Friendship Council (Dr. Krishna Reddy), and Global Punjabi Diaspora (Dr. H. Sahota) organized a tribute dinner to celebrate 45th anniversary of election victory of late Congressman Dalip Singh Saund. Many prominent members who, Like Dalip S. Saund, are the "firsts" of the Indian community, participated in the event. These included Ujjal Dosanjh, former premier of British Columbia, Canada, Kumar Barve, Majority Leader in the Maryland State legislature, Satveer Chaudhary, Minnesota State Senator, and Dr. Joy Cherian, former commissioner of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The event was highly publicized and promoted; all Indian newspapers in the US published articles about late Congressman Saund. These included, newspapers in California, India West, India Journal, and India Post, and Times of India and Tribune in India, and some American newspapers including LA Times. The awareness thus created about the Indian pioneer encouraged some to organize seminars at other places in the US, prompted college students to write term papers on Saund's contributions, motivated some organizations to institute awards in Saund's name.


GOPIO/GPD requested US Stamp Advisory Committee to issue a commemorative stamp on Saund's 50th election victory in 2006. The Government of India honored Saund by naming one of the conference halls as "Dalip Singh Saund Hall" at the first Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in New Delhi in 2003.


At the state level in California, Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez moved resolution AJR 1 calling for an annual day of recognition to honor the late Dalip Singh Saund on Sept. 20, his birthday, for his outstanding achievement  as the  first native  of  Asia to be elected to the US Congress. Resolution AJR 1 officially became law when it was chaptered on July 6, 2005 by California Secretary of State.


US Congressman Darrell Issa (R-California) resolution HR 120 resulted in the naming of a post office building, 'Dalip Singh Saund Post Office Building' in Temecula, Riverside County which was part of Saund congressional district when he was elected in 1956.


"Looking back, the tribute banquet of January 2002 was a small effort to create awareness about Saund's contributions. The event and the media reports it generated about the event, inspired some motivated individuals, many community leaders, and a few elected officials who used their clout, resources, time and energy and got well deserved recognition to a pioneer of the Asian American community, late Dr. Dalip Singh Saund, the first Asian Congressman in the United States," said Inder Singh, GOPIO President.


A resolution recognizing the religious and historical significance of Diwali passed the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives by a unanimous vote. The bill, H.R. 747, calls for the U.S. Congress to acknowledge "the religious and historical significance of the festival of Diwali" and was introduced jointly by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and Jim McDermott (D-WA).


"The Diwali festival is celebrated by nearly two million people here in the United States and many millions more around the world," said Congressman Wilson soon after the resolution passed. "It is an opportunity for Congress to acknowledge the shared values of kinship, knowledge, and goodness celebrated during the five day festival."  He also called upon the full House of Representatives to take up the bill as soon as possible.


With Diwali approaching on November 9, the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has been actively involved to develop their strategy to push for a rapid vote in the full House on H. Res. 747.  A similarly worded bill, H. Res. 245, with a matching Senate version, S. Res. 299, has nearly 40 co-sponsors and is awaiting consideration in the House Oversight Committee. 


Ishani Chowdhury, HAF Executive Director appreciated the efforts of senior staffers in both offices, such as Dino Teppara, Chief of Staff in Congressman Wilson's office, for working closely with the HAF and highlighting the significance of the bill throughout the process. 


The National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), an umbrella organization comprising of more than 200 association members representing 2.3 million American who trace their roots to India held a Congressional Luncheon attended by over a dozen Congressmen at the Capital Hill on October 18, 2007. It was followed by a White House Briefing in the Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building.



NFIA delegates at the Capital Hill and the White House
NFIA delegates a the Capital Hill (above) and at the White House (below)

On the following day, Ambassador Ronen Sen hosted lunch for the NFIA delegates.


Contact NFIA, President Radha Krishnan 228-682-2106, E-mail: or Chairman Dr. Rajen Anand 703-642-3156, E-mail:






GOPIO International is planning to hold its annual executive and general council meetings, followed by its conference starting on January 6 and concluding on January immediately preceding Pravasi Bharatiya Divas events of January 8 - 9, 2008.  


The program schedule is as follows:


January 6, 2008: Executive and council meetings, country reports and seminar, followed by the GOPIO's Community Service Awards Banquet.


January 7, 2008: GOPIO Conference - Education Submit - Education for the Masses in India: Role of NRIs/PIOs.


For more information and details, contact: Inder Singh, President of GOPIO International at




GOPIO International is planning to hold its annual Community Service Awards Banquet on January 6, 2008 in New Delhi preceding GOPIO's conference on January 7 and Pravasi Bharatiya Divas events of January 8 - 9, 2008. 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 suitable qualified candidates are requested for consideration by GOPIO CSA Selection Committee. For details of GOPIO CSA criteria and format for submission of nominations, visit


Nominations are to be submitted by November 25, 2007 to the attention of Ashook Ramsaran, Secretary General of GOPIO International at




Global organization of People of Indian Origin - Connecticut Chapter GOPIO-CT held a free health awareness program "Heal Your Fatigue and Stress Fast" on Thursday, October 18, 2007, at Hampton Inn in Stamford, Connecticut. Renu Agrawal who is an ESOCEN Trainer/Coach- Healer and the Country Coordinator-India was the invited speaker.


GOPIO-CT President Sangeeta Ahuja compliments Dr. Renu AgrawalRenu Agrawal talked about why maintaining high vitality and stamina is critical to overcome stress. She said "if vitality is low, the person is like a cell phone with dead battery and no matter how intelligent, determined or enthusiastic a person may be, when the energy and will power are down they cannot function properly." She showed a 5-minutes "8-steps exercises" routine and a "3 minutes breathing technique". This routine is especially designed for people with busy lives. She mentioned that these simple exercises can be done anywhere and at anytime without any special equipment. Participants enjoyed experiencing these 5 - 10 minutes techniques that help to release stress, improve vitality and stamina, Renu mentioned that if done regularly these exercises also calm the emotions and mind and in turn overcome the negative effects of stress on health, relationships and performance.

GOPIO-CT will plan to continue with the Health Awareness Program for the community members.

                                                                                                   Thanking with flowers, From L. to R. Renu and Sangeeta
Sangeeta Ahuja, President GOPIO-CT thanked Shelly Nichani
from Hampton Inn for sponsoring the program.  



GOPIO Chapter of Washington Metro DC organized a health seminar titled "MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES" on Saturday October 27, 2007, 4:00 - 6:00 PM at Woodlands Restaurant in Langley Park, Maryland, USA. This is in a series of continuing community activities by various GOPIO chapters to address issues of interest and concern in their respective communities.


Collaborating organization was the Thakur Hari Prasad Institute for the Mentally Challenged People, Hyderabad, India.


To contact GOPIO Washington Metro DC chapter, contact its president Dr. Renu Misra at 301-330-5098, e-mail address  or Kaleem Kawaja at 410-730-5456 by Thursday Oct. 25, 2007




Guyanese born Ashook Ramsaran, Secretary General of GOPIO International and prominent civic and community leader in New York, continued his annual tradition as Principal For The Day on Thursday, October 18, 2007 at PS90Q Horace Mann School in Richmond Hill, New York. Ashook Ramsaran is one of the New Yorkers who showed their outstanding commitment to public education in New York City by participating in the program in collaboration with the New York City Board of Education. As in past years, Ramsaran held discussions with Principal Adrienne Ubertini, her core advisory staff members, and PTA board members. Programs old and new, as well as matters of nutrition and social interaction, were discussed in depth, as well as visiting several classrooms and having discussions with the students on their curriculum.


On his continuing participation, Ramsarannoted that "it is essential that we make the effort to give of our time and talent to the future of our children - which is actually our own future". He contributes significantly by giving US Savings Bonds to several deserving graduating students and have shown marked improvement. "I encourage all parents to become actively involved in your children's education. You can be assured that your efforts will be a significantly positive factor in their success", Ramsaran advised.




Different Diaspora groups are reaching out to GOPIO to learn how GOPIO has been organized effectively on a global basis. The latest group to reach out GOPIO has been the Basque Diaspora.


A think tank of the Basque Diaspora appointed by Basque Presidential advisor invited GOPIO Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham to interact with the group on how the Indian Diaspora has been organized under GOPIO. With the new revolutions in communications, the Diaspora groups have been finding is easier to reach out its members. Worldwide Diasporas have been catching up to get organized for common programs and mutual benefits.


Dr. Abraham spoke on the Indian Diaspora movement on October 19th at Bilboa, Spain. He spoke on how the Indian Americans in 1989 organized under the aegis of the National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), mobilizing the global Indian community activists to come to New York at its First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin which resulted in the formation of GOPIO organization. GOPIO has established chapters in over 25 countries. GOPIO has now adopted the Lions International and Rotary International formula in chapter formation and delivering services to not only to the Indian communities by also to the larger society.




GOPIO-CT is holding its first "Festival of lights- Diwali Celebration" Saturday, November 3, 2007, from 5.00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Large Auditorium, University of Connecticut, Stamford, CT. The evening will be a fun-filled evening with dances performed by various dance troupes, Mehndi (henna application), appetizers, dinner and music to keep everyone dancing with a DJ.  Special children's games, magic show, and art projects have been organized for the children. Tickets for the program have already been sold out.


GOPIO-CT is also organizing a Mini Indian Film Festival.  Films courtesy of Mahindra Indo American Arts Council's ( seventh annual film festival will be shown. The event runs the weekend of November 16, 2007 to November 18, 2007 at the University of Connecticut auditorium in Stamford, Connecticut. Free parking is available in the U-CONN parking lot. 

Film schedules are as follows: 

November 16, 2007- 8:00 p.m. Double Feature: "The Peace Tree" & "Losing Ahmad". Shorts: "Guitar" & "Astoria Park

November 17, 2007- 6:00 p.m.  "India Untouched" -  Short  "Shanu Taxi" &  "Pot of Gold

November 17, 2007-9: 00 p.m. "Grahanam" - Shorts:  "Unfinished" &  "Kali Ma"

November 18, 2007- 5:00 p.m.  "The Speaking Tree"- Shorts: "Guroor" and "Love Story

The films are produced both by well known and not so well known film makers and each has a message of its own. All of the films have been granted prestigious awards and some will be released for general viewing after the festival. This is the first year the festival is being screened in Connecticut.   The festival is well worth attending, not only because the screening of Indian films in Connecticut are few and far between, but also because of the films unusual content.  


Tickets are priced at $10 for each. For Tickets and synopsis of the films please visit through their events link.


Contact: Sangeeta Ahuja (203) 329-9744.



A coalition of minority community groups in Vancouver, Canada has called for the removal of music promoter Bruce Allen from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics Organizing Committee because of his racist remarks directed Sikhs. Allen is a talent manager and is expected to help secure Canadian stars for the Opening and closing ceremonies at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.


Allen offended the B.C.'s Indo-Canadian community when he referred to the Sikh turban as "handkerchiefs" and said those who don't respect the customs and laws of Canada should go home. Allen's remarks were aired on September 27 on CKNW Radio and since then have prompted several complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The coalition members have launched a public petition to oust Allen from the Committee as he is unfit to hold a public office given the Olympic ideals of "mutual understanding, friendship, solidarity and fair play."


Charan Gill, GOPIO's Canadian Coordinator said that Allen's comments hurt the Indo-Canadian community deeply by suggesting that only Caucasians belong in Canada. "This is our home," said Gill. "If he wants to leave Canada, he can leave. We are going to stay here." Allen's remarks are reminiscent of Canada's colonial past, when Chinese, Japanese and Indian were not welcome and remind of a Sept. 7, 1907 riot by a Caucasian mob in Vancouver for an end to Asian immigration.




India American filmmaker Mira Nair who produced movies such as Salaam Bombay, Mississippi Masala, Monsoon Wedding, Vanity Fair and The Namesake will be honored at the 17th annual Gotham Awards next month for her contributions to independent cinema. She will receive a Gotham Awards Tribute on November 27 at Brooklyn's Steiner Studios.


Salaam Bombay, which won several awards, is considered a classic which is often discussed in classrooms where young students are trained in the art of film making. It was nominated for Oscar in the foreign film category.


Besides making movies on themes which most commercial filmmakers shun, the citation notes, Nair founded in 2003 a film laboratory Maisha dedicated to support visionary screen writers and directors in East and South East Asia. Nair's company, Mirabai Films, is currently producing a series of four films to raise awareness about AIDS epidemic in India. Among her other successful movies are Mississippi Masala that profiles a family of Ugandan Indians living in the United States and 'Monsoon Wedding' which shows the chaotic Punjabi marriage. Her latest film The Namesake has also brought her honors.


Receiving the Tribute along with Nair is the Spanish actor Javier Bardem, who became first Spaniard to be nominated for Oscar for best actor for his portrayal of the Cuban poet and dissident Reinaldo Arenas in Before Night Falls,


Also, getting the award are film industry veterans Jonathan Sehring, President of IFC Entertainment; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and film critic Roger Ebert for championing the cause of independent cinema. Bloomberg gets the award for making New York a growing film production centre and a world class centre for the creative community.


Along with Tributes, awards will also be presented for Best Feature Film, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Actor, Breakthrough Director, Best Ensemble Cast and Best Film Not Playing at a Theatre Near You. The nominations are expected to be announced sometime next week. The Gotham Awards recognize the work of independent filmmakers who work with small budgets but produce high quality movies.




Professor Ponisseril Somasunsaran was honored with Columbia University Distinguished Achievement Award at a black tie dinner organized by Columbia Alumni Association and Asian Columbia Alumni Association in Sunday, October 13, 2007 at Columbia University. Others recognized at the evening were Margaret Fung, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and Janice Min, Editor in Chief of Us Weekly.


Dr. Somasundaran is the LaVon Duddleson Krumb Professor of Mineral Engineering at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. In 1985, he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering and later into Chinese, Indian and Russian National Academies. He is the author/editor of 15 books and of more than 400 scientific publications and patents. Dr. Somasundaran is the honorary editor in chief of the international journal Colloids and Surfaces. He has served on many prominent international and national committees.


Somasundaran in his acceptance speech emphasized the importance of education to eliminate poverty and sited the example of Kerala State in India which has accomplished 100% literacy. He also appealed to the new generation to work harder. "Once you reach your goal, you should lend a hand to those who are left behind," Somasundaran said.




The Sikh Scholarship Foundation has awarded the first annual $10,000 Harvard Sikh Scholarship to Tarun Singh of Santa Maria, California. Singh is an undergraduate student at Harvard University where he is in his second year. He plans on concentrating in economics with a possible secondary field in statistics. Tarun is interested in politics and is active in Harvard's John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Institute of Politics.


Tarun Singh and four other scholars recently completed the Mata Sahib Kaur Course which is part of the scholarship requirements and Mata Sahib Kaur Summer Program at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. The summer course provided the scholars with the foundation and background of Sikh thought and doctrine through a combination of readings, lectures, facilitated discussions and activities.


In its five years of existence the Sikh Scholarship foundation has provided 6 scholarships to Sikh students of Oxford University, UK via the Tercentennial Sikh Scholarship to University of Oxford. This year in addition to arranging for the Tercentennial Sikh Scholarship to Harvard University, the Foundation has added a Quadcentennial Sikh Scholarship to Cambridge University, UK. The recipients of the 2007 Oxford and Cambridge Scholarship will be announced in January 2008.




Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams was conferred the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Vishwa Pratibha Award by the World Gujarati Society. Williams is the first non-resident Indian to receive this award. It was presented in Ahmedabad by Gujarat Governor Naval Kishore Sharma.


During her visit to India in September, Williams attended the 58th International Astronautical Congress. Over 2000 space scientists, heads of leading space agencies and astronauts attended the five-day long meeting in Hyderabad.


Williams also visited New Delhi and called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.




US Department of Defense scientist and head of the Materials Science and Component Technology Directorate and Associate Director of the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Dr. Bhakta B. Rath is the winner of the Acta Materials, Inc. J. Herbert Hollomon Award. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to interactions between materials science and technology that have had a major impact on society.


At NRL, Bhakta is responsible for planning, supervision and administration of all basic and applied research in condensed matter.




Deven Sharma has been named president of the financial research firm Standard & Poor by its parent company McGraw Hill. Sharma joined the company in 2002 and has held a number of leadership positions within the company. He was highly influential in indetifying and leading a number of the corporation's key acquisitions, including CRISIL, Capital IQ and J.D. Power and Associates.





University of North Florida (UNF) hosted a week long ( September 30- October 6, 2007) event under the banner of "Peace Awareness Week" at the dedication of statue of Mahatma Gandhi to spread and inculcate the spirit of Peace among all. Activities included interactive art exhibits, theatrical performances, a festival, lectures, panel discussions, dialogue circles, a symposium on conflict transformation. The whole idea of all these activities is to bring the effective action from study to society proactively for the overall good.

Besides UNF and Gandhi Memorial Society (founded by Florida based Indian Americans) many more local Town based voluntary organizations actively participated in this "Peace Awareness Week".

Whether it was through visual arts, an inspiring musical, provocative theatre, stimulating lectures, thoughtful dialogues or community action and whether the issue was conflict within or conflict without, this week was addressing the challenge of Peace development and conflict transformation in personal lives, local community, nation and around the World. The whole prompting of this program was to think Peace, do Peace, construct a culture of Peace and consequently live in Peace.

Out of this week long program Gandhi Memorial society was allocated the October 2 event, the noble way of non-violence, the birth day of Mahatma Gandhi, the International non-violence day and the first anniversary of dedication of statue of Mahatma Gandhi at UNF.

Gandhi Memorial Society had invited Padma Shri Dr. Ravindra kumar (former Vice- chancellor of CCS University Meerut, India), a Gandhian scholar, religious thinker and social scientist to take part in this "Peace Awareness Week" by lecturing, speaking and sharing his experiences with the respective audiences.

On the forenoon of October 2, Gandhi memorial Society took Dr. Ravindra kumar to Rudolph Philips Academy for a pre-arranged interactive session with the select group of students of the school. The topic of interaction was "Students and their duties" in the modern day.


There were other programs including spell bound violin and flute recital by the artists was heart rendering. The theme of these musicals was "Oh peace Why? You are evading us". The Peace dance with the theme of religious harmony and tranquil living moved everybody present in the theatre. The 2007 Gandhi essay competition awards were distributed among the recipients on the stage itself.

Dr. Ravindra Kumar delivered a lecture on Satyagraha, conflict transformation and sustainable culture of Peace, whereby he emphasized the importance of non-violent methods of conflict resolution. The Event of the day was closed with a pledge that all of us may try to work towards adopting human values in our day today lives in order to be  Peaceful with ourselves first and then with around.

On October 5, morning Dr. Ravindra Kumar read his paper in the Conflict Transformation Symposium at UNF. And in the evening Dr. Ravindra Kumar gave an insight to Sardar Patel, the integrator of free India, at Hindu Temple Hall, Jacksonville.

The whole week's program was closed on October 6 with the theme"walking the talk". Gandhi an way of community walk of healing was undertaken from Friendship Fountain to JAX Library auditorium in the downtown area of the Town , where in Dr. Ravindra Kumar said the walk is a  vibrant message; that Peace is possible, when we all come together , work together and reach together at the destination. The Peaceful living makes purposeful living.

Reported by Ashok K Bazaz, for Gandhi Memorial society, Jacksonville, Florida, USA.




The University of Fiji launched The Gandhi-Tappoo Centre for Writing, Ethics and Peace Studies at its Saweni Campus, Lautoka. The Centre is named after Mahatma Gandhi whose birthday on October 2 is celebrated by the UN as the International Day of Peace and Non-Violence.  It is a rare honor by the UN General Assembly to an individual.


The Tappoo Family of Fiji is funding the Centre in honor of their 91-old father Shri Tappoobhai Kanji, the founder of the Tappoo Group, and a disciple of Gandhi since his youth.


Professor Satendra Nandan is the Foundation Director of the Centre. The Centre has an Advisory Board, and many International Associates from various parts of the world.


The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rajesh Chandra, said that the local and international associates at the Centre could provide valuable service to our multicultural community and the Centre will be actively involved in education, ethics and peaces studies.


The Indian High Commissioner, Professor Prabharkara Jha, gave a talk at the launch on Gandhi's Legacy. Mr Kanti Tappoo the Chairman of the Tappoo Group commended The University of Fiji and its imaginative initiative. The Tappoo Family has set up a Charitable Foundation to support a variety of community oriented projects. The Gandhi-Tappoo Centre is their major undertaking for the benefit of the community. The Centre was launched by Shri Tappoobhai Kanji in a moving ceremony.


Professor Nandan said the Centre's main focus is to promote and foster new ideas and ideals of the most remarkable man of the millennium.  The construction of the Centre will begin shortly and its first international conference will be organized around October 2, 2008, when the Centre is officially opened.


The Centre's major areas will be to encourage writing, reading and publishing, the place of ethics in private and public life and the generation of ideas for peaceful resolution of problems in our society and the region.


"t is a wonderful gesture from an enlightened group of our business community.  The Centre could be a catalyst for creative thinking. The Centre's activities will help shape many aspects of our society and contribute significantly towards building a vibrant Fiji with new visions of our common future nourished by the many ideas of Mahatma Gandhi relevant and meaningful to Fiji and our world," Prof. Nandan added




World leaders have mourned the death of Indian spiritual guru Sri Chinmoy and paid rich tributes. Chinmoy died of a heart attack at his home in New York. He was 76.


The Indian-born guru's body was kept in an open casket in the meditation centre he had founded and named after him in Jamaica, Queens. His disciples and friends came in from many parts of the world to pay their last respects.


Many world figures who had known the guru have sent their tributes. Sri Chinmoy was a spiritual master who dedicated his life to inspiring and serving mankind. He inspired his followers to feats of extreme physical endurance.


Sri Chinmoy spent some years in the Aurobindo Ashram at Puducherry in south India, before coming to the US in 1964 to work in the Indian consulate in New York.




Efforts are underway to design and construct a new Cultural and Arts Center in the Essequibo section of Guyana under the auspices of by the Wakenam School Association (WSA). The main goal of the WSA is to help provide the tools to improve the educational facilities for the children in the community and to enrich their educational experience. WSA a not-for-profit entity and works closely with other partnerships in Guyana. It has successfully built the Play Land near the Police Station in Sans Souci and the Computer Learning Center and Library between Sans Souci and Good Success.


Guyanese PIOs in the USA have embarked on fund raising efforts to assist the WSA project. Such fund raising efforts include one held on Saturday October 20, 2007 at Indian Palace in located in Richmond Hill, New York. Organizers of this Fall Dinner & Dance event included Aftab Karimullah, Ramesh Persaud and Kris Prasad who recognized the Guyanese PIOs in the Diaspora for their continuing support.


Reported by Bina Mahabir




Indian scientist Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  and former US vice president Al Gore were named as joint winners of Nobel Peace Prize for their work on global warming.


The IPCC is the top authority on global warming, comprising of more than 2,000 leading climate change scientists and experts. As its chairman, Dr Pachauri is well-placed to combat environmental damage posed by rapid industrialization. He is also founder director of the Energy and Resources Institute, India's leading environmental think-tank.




India has the largest number of computer techies in the world but has a dire shortage of computer science PhDs and if no urgent action is taken, the country may loose its role  as the world's leading information technology services outsourcing hub.


There are many Indians who pursue post-graduate studies overseas, but India's universities produce only about 35 computer science PhDs a year as compared to about 1,000 in the US. India badly needs qualified faculty in her teaching institutions to continue cutting edge innovation in the field of computer science.




Over 120,000 Indian students enroll in foreign universities annually, out of which Japan gets barely 300-500 students.  In an attempt to tap into the rapidly growing base of students aspiring for international degrees, the Japan Student Services Organization (JSSO), a facilitation organization for overseas students, made its maiden two-city India visit to Pune and Delhi recently.


Japan is the second-largest economy in the world. The Japanese government gives scholarships to encourage foreign students to study in their country. With a partial scholarship, Japan could be a cheaper destination to do MBA than many countries. The Japanese universities offer courses from the humanities to engineering, medicine, MBA, chemistry, life sciences and some even offer post-graduate courses only in English. The cost of higher education could be at par with that in the UK.


Some Japanese companies are making investments in various projects in India. In their recruitments efforts, they may prefer  Indians who have studied in Japan, understand their culture and are familiar with the Japanese language. A degree from a Japanese institution could more or less guarantee a job with a Japanese company in India.




The number of wealthy people in Asia -- people with more than US$1 million in financial assets excluding their homes grew 8.6 percent to 2.6 million in 2006, according to a report by Merrill Lynch.


The NRIs/PIOs worldwide have an estimated US$1 trillion in assets. A growing number of NRIs rely on independent asset managers or their banks to provide professional services. The wealth managers in Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong and elsewhere have been stepping up efforts to cope up with the demand for wealth management services. The customer growth among Indians living abroad has lead to shortage of wealth managers and hence turnover in Asia's fiercely competitive wealth management sector.


Last year, three Asian countries -- Singapore, India and Indonesia had the fastest-growing population of high-net-worth individuals. The NRIs in Singapore are younger, entrepreneurial type and thus belong to the new rich class while the NRIs in Hong Kong have been very well-established and belong to the older rich type of people. The real estate boom in Singapore is partly escalated by the money that has been brought out from India.


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


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


GOPIO is looking forward to opening chapters in all major cities of the world so as to network people of Indian origin all over the world. If you do not have chapter in your city, please visit GOPIO website (

) and get details of chapter initiation (visit Process involves sending a letter of intent to start a chapter by a committee of five people or more.  For more information, contact:


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

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

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


To become a Life member of GOPIO, visit, print and fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO, P.O. Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904, USA.


GOPIO welcomes the following new Life Members:


Gold Members

Dr. Sudhir Parikh, MD, Watchung, NJ, USA

Prof. Subhash C. Sharma, Carbondale, IL, USA          

Silver Members

Darshan Singh Bagga, Syosset, NY, USA

Ramesh Chellani, Mumbai, India

Charanpal Gill, Vancouver, Canada

Munish Gupta, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Dr. Prabhu Kulkarni, Dublin, Ireland

Dr. Rajeev Mehta, MD, Piscataway, NJ, USA

Dr. Chand Badrinath Misier, The Netherlands



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

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

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

Contributors of this issue: Inder Singh (USA), Sangeeta Ahuja (USA), Bina Mahabir (Guyana-USA), Sangeeta Ahuja (USA), Charan Gill (Canada), Dr. Renu Misra (USA and Ashok K Bazaz (USA)


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


Visit GOPIO's Official site at or