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November 8, 2012

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

Issue: XI-16 November 8, 2012
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Mauritius President Rajkeswur Purryag will be the chief guest at the 11th overseas Indians meet to be held at Kochi in January next, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi announced at a pres conference in new Delhi.


Unveiling the website for the 2013 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), Ravi said Purryag will be among the prominent overseas Indians attending the meet, which will focus on 'Engaging Diaspora: The Indian Growth Story'. Minister Ravi also released the brochure for the annual event.


PBD-2013 will have Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurating it Jan 8. President Pranab Mukherjee will be the guest at the valedictory of the event on Jan 9.


Minister Ravi also noted that there would be 2,000 delegates from 60 countries participating at the PBD-2013. A similar number of delegates had attended the event in January this year at Jaipur too.


PBD is a platform established by the Indian government to strengthen the Indian diaspora engagement and to provide them an overview of how they could participate in the country's growth story.


"The PBD provides an invigorating platform for the overseas Indians to network and exchange views and perspectives and to enhance linkages and synergies for Diaspora across the economic, social and cultural sectors," Ravi said.

With an estimated 25-million Diaspora, it is said to be the second largest Diaspora population in the world.


"At the PBD, we will discuss issues that the overseas Indian population may like to raise before the government and find solutions to them. Such discussions are good for the government, as it helps us to know what they want from us and what we have to do for them," Ravi said.


The minister also announced that the Kerala government will be a partner state for the PBD-2013.


A major highlight of the three-day meet would be the 'PBD Oration' which would be delivered by a prominent historian on the 'Gadar movement', an effort by overseas Indian to free India from the British rule.


Among the issues that are expected to come up for discussion at the meet are India's growth and greater opportunity for investment, safe investment environment for overseas Indians, and engaging the youth Diaspora. There will be special discussion on issues concerning the Indian Diaspora living in the Gulf countries.


One of the sessions in the PBD would focus on states, with several chief ministers participating and interacting with the overseas Indians to pitch their states as good investment destinations.


At the valedictory, Mukherjee will present this year's Pravasi Bharatiya Samman (overseas Indian awards) to 15 eminent overseas Indians.

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



PIO International plans 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)


January 7, 2013 (9:00am - 11:00am) 


GOPIO Executive Meeting




GOPIO is collaborating with reputable tour and hospitality groups in Kerala to provide optional tours at discounted rates for delegates attending GOPIO and PBD2013 events in Kochi. These tours are designed to be made in advance of GOPIO and PBD2013. See more details by downloading the document.


Click below for         


Hotel Rooms for GOPIO delegates


Hotel accommodations for GOPIO delegates secured at the Presidency Hotel at discount rates and convenient to events. Early booking is recommended due to potential shortage of rooms.

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 November 15, 2012.




The arrangements for GOPIO Kochi Convention 2013 were discussed at a meeting of the members of Kochi Chapter at The Presidency Hotel in October 23rd. GOPIO Executive Vice President Sunny Kulathakal and Convention Convener Ibrahim Khan briefed the progress of the arrangements to receive nearly 400 dignitaries from 60 countries  for the  Kochi Convention 2013.


GOPIO-Kochi Team at a convention preparation meeting  

Photo above. GOPIO-Kochi Convention committee in meeting chaired by Convener Sunny Kulathakal


The committee will meet again soon to discuss and make further arrangements.


If you like to volunteer in the convention committee, please contact Convention 2013 (Kochi) Chairman, Mr. Sunny Kulathakal at or Convention 2013 (Kochi) Convener, Mr. Ibrahim Khan at



For the first time in the history of GOPIO, a proper chapter was inaugurated in Londonon 18-10-2012 with prominent people from different states of India including professionals and entrepreneurs. The chief guest was Mr. George Raju, the first secretary of the Indian High Commission. Mr. Gauri Shankar, Deputy Director of Nehru Centre , Mr. Sunny Kulathakal Executive  Vice President of GOPIO, Mr.Issac John , GOPIO Media Council Chairman and many community leaders participated in the  event. Professors from London School of Economics & North Greenwich University  who attended the meeting promised to bring  committed people  interested   in the Indian Diaspora  to  the GOPIO Chapter. London YMCA Secretary Mr. Thomas Abraham offered the facilities available there for GOPIO.


GOPIO Exec VP Sunny Kulathakal and Media Chair Isaac John with Virendra Kumar, MP  


Photo above: Veerendra Sharma MP with Isaac John, Media Council Chairman & Mr. Sunny Kulathakal, Executive Vice President , GOPIO International at the Parliament House, UK


Earlier Mr. Sunny Kulathakal & Mr. Isaac John attended the seminar in London Parliament  on Investment opportunities  in South India. They met Mr. Veerendra Sharma M.P in the Parliament and discussed in detail the schemes to involve more prominent people  in the activities  of GOPIO.  Mr. Sharma agreed  to be an arbitrator of any issues  of GOPIO activities in the U.K. region.


Mr. Philip Abraham, Councilor and a prominent journalist and Publisher in London agreed to involve nearly 200 Indian Councilors and journalists in India for the GOPIO activities. Eleven member Committee was formed and they will select the office bearers soon. Dr. Paresh Rughani a motivational speaker addressed the gathering and agreed to be a member of the Executive Committee of the London chapter.


All participants joined for dinner hosted by Mr. Haridas who has been in London for the past 40 years at his famous Indian restaurant, Malabar Junction. Mr. Anando Mukherjee, India's finest and the only International  Opera tenor  promised that he and his team will perform at the GOPIO  Kochi Convention  2013.


GOPIO-CEntral London Launch on October 18, 2012   Photo above: Participants at GOPIO -Central London Chapter inauguration






The National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA),the umbrella organization representing various Indian American associations, met for its 17th biennial convention in the Chicago suburb of Rolling Meadows on the weekend of October 2-14, 2012. The NFIA delegates came from all parts of the United States after a long time which is a major hub of Indian American population. GOPIO itself was formed at an international convention organized NFIA in 1989 in New York City. The convention was inaugurated by the Consul General of India, Mrs. Mukta Dutta Tomar


Welcoming the delegates from all over the United States to Chicago Tomar paid glowing tributes to the Indian American community saying the people of India origin have proved themselves in a tough global competitive environment.


Through their innovative, dynamic, pioneering qualities, they continue to produce new generation of talented individuals, good corporate and social citizens and enterprising and creative professionals, she said.


Studies support that over 3 million immigrants from India living in the US are one of the most remarkable concentration of Indians, Tomar noted.


Seventy percent of them over the age of 25 are college graduates, 67 percent over the age of 16 are professionals and the median income of Indian household is over $90,000, the highest among all ethnic groups in the United States.


A joint UC Berkeley-Duke University study revealed that Indian American immigrants have founded more engineering and technology companies from 1995 to 2005 than immigrants from UK, China, Taiwan and Japan combined.


NFIA President Lal Motwani and Convention Convener Sohan Joshi welcomed the delegates at the inauguration. Congressman


The convention also saw several seminars spread over 10 sessions put together by NFIA Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham. The first plenary session was titled "Indian American Making an Impact in America".


Dr. Ann Lata Kalayil, General Services Administration Administrator for Great Lakes Region was the keynote speaker. Anju Bhargava, a member of White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership also addressed the session.


There was a spirited discussion on the political involvement of the community and the success it has achieved in this area. Toby Chaudhary, a political activist from Washington DC, urged the audience to wake up and participate in the mainstream politics.




A gala banquet was held on Saturday evening and Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown and Secretary of State Jesse White made remarks at the event. The six individual award winners were: Harkrishana Majumdar and Dr. Najma Sultana for their involvement in community service; Nitin Shah in the field of hospitality and financing; Sid Gautam for promoting entrepreneurship; Rathna Kumar for her excellence in performing arts and Dr. Hemant Patel for his service to medicine and organizational leadership.


NFIA Award Recipients with Officers

Photo above: NFIA award recipients with NFIA convention organizers at the banquet. From l. yo r. Dr. Thomas Abraham, Lal Motwani, Dr. Basanti Sen Banerji, Harkrishana Majumdar, Nitin Shah, Dr. Najma Sultana, Dr. Hemant Patel, Dr. Sid Gautam, Rajeev Bhambri, Haresh Panchal, Anil Kumar Pillai, Sohan Joshi and Sushila Joshi


Three organizations, Sahara TV, India Abroad, the oldest Indian American weekly, and Indo-American Centre of Chicago, an organization that focuses on assisting South Asian immigrants as they adjust to life in the United States, were also recognized for their exemplary achievements.




At the conclusion of the convention, NFIA), an umbrella body of Indian community organizations, has called upon the United Nations to give India a permanent seat on the Security Council.


The NFIA members also approved two other resolutions condemning last August's brutal attack on a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek Wisconsin and requesting the Government of India to establish a Training Centre of Emergency Preparedness and Response.


Click below for



Watch NFIA Convention segments on YouTube as flows:


NFIA Convention 2012 Inauguration

Bharatanatyam Dance -

Invocation Song -

President Lal Motwani welcomes delegates -

Indian Consul General Mukta Dutta Tomar delivering inaugural address -

Bollywood Dance -


NFIA Convention 2012 - Conference Opening Session

Anju Bhargava speaking -

Dr. Sid Gautam speaking on Indian Entrepreneurship at the plenary session -

Sahapedia presentations at the plenary session -


NFIA Convention 2012 - Awards banquet

Illinois Scretary of State Jesse White speaking -


Contact NFIA - President Sohan Joshi at 773-805-4357 or Secretary Satheesan Nair at 847-708-3279. 






Mr. Ajay Bhutoria, President of Gopio Silicon Valley, was recently honored by the Asian American Pacific Heritage Leadership from the California State Assembly. The event was organized by State Assembly Member Bob Wiecowski and Mr. Alan Nagy, Newark City Mayor. The ceremony was held at the Union City on Sept. 20th. Mr. Bhutoria was awarded for his outstanding charity work, strong community leadership and commitment to helping the poor and down-trodden folks in his community..

Ajay Jain Bhutioria recieving award from Assembly Member Bob Wiecowski The award ceremony was attended by many high ranking political officials, key elected officials in the State of California, many community leaders and distinguished guests of the State of California.


Mr. Bhutoria was very humbled and honored by the award and noted that engaging in selfless work for the upliftment of the people is one of his greatest passion. He enjoyed doing such charity works and noted that it gives him great satisfaction knowing that he brings some happiness and smile to people in need.     


Mr. Bhutoria is not only the President of GOPIO Silicon Valley but also the President of Global Business Consulting Services and founder of the Association for Kids and Youth Programs.

  Photo above: Ajay Jain Bhutioria receiving award from Assembly Member Bob Wiecowski




A group of Diaspora organizations, along with GOPIO - Holland members helped to coordinate the Dutch Indian Diaspora Conference on September 30th. Members of GOPIO - Holland were actively involved in the overall planning and coordination of this event, including from choosing the content and topics needed to be discussed, to choosing qualified speakers for the program. Speakers were chosen from different regions, such as, Punjab, Gujarat, NRI, Surinamese, PIO, etc. because they had to speak on their experiences in those countries. It should be noted that the Netherlands is home to the largest number of Indians on mainland Europe.


Many distinguished guests were in attendance, including the Indian Ambassador, the Mayors of Amsterdam, Amstelveen and Haarlemmermeer and many other experts from India and Netherlands also represented the various social and business organizations that were all participants and part of the panelists. The main objectives of the conference were:


1. Strengthening the links between various Indian Diaspora groups with special attention to the elderly and the youth


2. Intensifying and broadening ties between the Netherlands and India in various fields with special attention to Diaspora entrepreneurs.


In an open discussion focused on dialogue, the conference did address complex social problems within the community. In separate sessions, special attention was paid to generational and cultural differences in the Diaspora groups, and also the untapped potential of the Indian Diaspora to play an active role in Dutch society. There was a call for more guidance and coaching of the youth and new entrepreneurs. The conference dialogues generated many ideas for real change and action committees. It was concluded with a enthralling cultural show full of spectacular dances, scintillating musical performances and special acts by Surinamese-Indian talents.


For more information please go to The conference was a real success and the delegates felt that it should be organized on an annually.




The Indian American Community of Washington Metro area (DC, MD, and VA) organized a reception and fund raiser to honor and support Democratic Congressional candidate Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii at Bombay Tandoor Restaurant in Vienna, Virginia. The program was led opened by Jaysingh Bhandari who is also National Delegate of Democratic Party and President of GOPIO Virginia. Many senior community leaders were in attendance, including, Dr. Partha Pillai, Mr. Rajan Anand, Mr. Sambhu Banik, Dr. Ram Singh, Dr. Rajesh Kadian, attorney Mr. Prakash Khatri and many others. Many also assured of their unwavering support to Ms. Gabbard. 


If elected, Ms Gabbard will be the first Hindu Congresswoman. She defeated Mayor of Honolulu in the Democratic primary and is currently the legislator in Hawaii. 


Tulsi Gabbard with Washington, DC area Indian communityPhoto above: Tulsi Gabbard with Washington, DC area Indian community


The program was started with a welcoming speech by the coordinator, Mr. Bhandari, followed by the opening prayers which were offered by Dr. Ram Singh. The event was well attended by the community and media including, TV Asia, Sudershan TV, GTV and Imagine Asia. The event was also graced by Mr. Aziz Haniffa, senior editor of one of the oldest and most popular Indian newspaper India Abroad, Mr. Nayar from the Telegraph and Mr. Lalit Jha, PTI correspondent.


Many people came forward to support Ms. Gabbard's campaign and donated money from $ 100 to $500 to support her. During her speech, she told the Indian community that together they can all make a difference and that she will do her best to resolve common problems facing community.


The highlight of the evening program was that both the Democratic candidate, as well as, the Republican members of the community supported her and contributed to her campaign. Republicans such as Dr. Banik and Mr. Prakash Khatri, who were appointed during the Bush Administration, supported Ms. Gabbard and Dr. Anand, who was appointed by Obama supported her. Dr, Partha Pillai president of NFIA, Dr. Anand, Sambhu Banik and CM Prasad also spoke on this occasion. 


The program was emceed by GTV host, Ms. Nilima Mehra. Vote of thanks was delivered by Pradeep Sharma. Ms. Gabbard assured the community that she will work continuously to support Indian American Community. The curtain came to an end with a delicious dinner for all.  




The GOPIO women's chapter in the Netherlands organized debate on the 28th October in Rotterdam on female gendercide.


A documentary named 'It's a Girl' was shown as the first part of the event. This documentary showed female foeticide is being practised in large scale in India but also China. As the Sruti's talk about the respected position of women, they are referred to be as sacred. The question was why in our modern society women, especially in India, don't have the right to life: 'female gendercide' has become quite common. One panellist, Dr. K. Madan from the University of Amsterdam, studied this phenomenon and signalled that in 10 to 15 years there will be 7 million men without a woman.

The GOPIO Women's Council in The Netherlands felt the need to address this issue and to raise its voice against injustice which happening right now in India to women.

The panel discussion representing the Indian and Chinese community living in the Netherlands discussed the issue of female gendercide and the consequences for society. Awareness is necessary to take any action. That's the reason the GOPIO Women's Council in the Netherlands organized this event. The event was closed with a sketch performance by Sheetal Gandhi, a performer from Los Angeles.



GOPIO Sydney North West chapter held their 3rd Caring & Sharing 2012 annual event at Sapphire Function Centre, Blacktown. Over 300 people attended the event. India's Consul General Arun Kumar Goel based in Sydney was the chief guest at the event.   


Over $3,500 were raised in this event and will be donated to the under privileged school children in Punjab (India) to provide them with warm clothes, uniforms, shoes, socks, ceiling fans in class rooms and other basic amenities as per the requirements of the school. This year, Caring & Sharing Dinner & Dance 2012 event not only raised funds for kids in India, but also gave donation of a $1000 cheque to a local Senior Citizen Social Group called RAINS towards the cost of paving the backyard at their Community Centre in Pennant Hills.


A kid's heart is as pure as God, unfortunately a large numbers of kids in the world are not nurtured and educated the way they should be. That's one of the reasons why poverty and falsehood are becoming a major problem for us on this planet. Events like Caring & Sharing are result of spirit; we all carry to care those in need of love and support. It's not how efficient GOPIO Sydney North West chapter is in raising funds or generating any profit; it's all about how effective we are in igniting a candle of compassion in each and every heart that support the event like this. 


Sydney NorthWest Caring and Sharing Fundraiser  Photo above: Consul General of India in Sydney Arun Kumar Goel, Jasbir Singh Kang, Balkar Singh Kang, Harry Walia, Neeru Singh, Paramjit Singh


GOPIO Sydney North West chapter thanked their Platinum sponsors Jasbir Singh Kang and Yogesh Manav of Sapphire Function Centre, Gold sponsors Amit Pall of Kailash Lawyers & Consultants and Sarjit Rahi of Caltex Australia, Silver sponsors Amrjit Khela CEO of Unique International College, Gurmeet Singh Mangat of Ausgrip, Pankaj Khurana of Prime Real Estate, Harinder Kaur of Platinum Bhangra, Raju Sarai of Disco Waves, Vista Home loans and Ravi Singh.


Media supporters were; Harkirat Singh of Daily Ajit, Harpreet Singh of Punjab Times, Amarjit Khela of ApnaPunjab TV, Malvika Santhebennur of Indian Link, Inderjit of The Indian and Surinder Singh of Masala Newsline, Dimple of Desi Entertainment, Hemu Negi of IndusAge, Bikram Cheema of Events News, Urban Lotus, Radio jockeys, Sham Kumar of Mela Getan da, Rajesh Batra of Radio Mirchi and Sukhpreet of Radio Safar Humsafar.


Other dignitaries attending the event included Mr. Vijay Kumar, Secretary Govt. of India (Retd.), Mr. Umesh Chandra, GOPIO International Coordinator - Oceania, Clr. SuSai Benjamin, Clr. Gurmeet Singh, Dr. Yadu Singh, President Indian Australian Association, Mrs. Shubha Kumar, President India Club, Mr. Suba Rao, President CIA and Mr. Moninder Singh, President Punjabi Council for attending the event.


Performers Navjeet Kahlon, Jagpreet Grover, Cheryl Khurana, Mishi Khurana, Tia Singh Group, Shaukeen Babay Group rocked the stage with their scintillating voice, dances and acts. The stage was successfully managed by anchors Neeru Singh, Aman Singh and Indra Ghuman. Ravinder Singh, Prof. Balkar Singh Kang, Baljit Singh Pelia, Rajvinder Singh, Paramjit Singh Multani and Harmohan Singh Walia along with the rest of the team worked tirelessly to make this event a grand success.

  GOPIO-Sydney NW Caring and Sharing Fundraiser, Oct. 2012 Performances 

Photos above: Entertainment at the Caring and Sharing Fundraiser by GOPIO Sydney Northwest. Clockwise from top left: (1) Program Anchors - Neeru Singh & Aman Singh, (2) Dance by Tia Singh Group, (3) Mishi Khurana, Jagpreet Grover & Cheryl Khurana performed songs & dances and (4) Ravi & Raj performing Naughty Babey skit.






On the occasion of 'Hindi Diwas' organized by the International Hindi Society, five NRIs have been honored here for promoting Hindi in the UK.


Lord Gulam Noon, chairman of the Noon Products and chief guest on the occasion, presented the award to Deepak Dogra, managing editor of Mayanewspaper. Others are C B Patel, Editor/Publisher of the bi-lingual English and Gujarati weekly Asian Voice, Dhruv Gadvi of Zee TV, Editor/Publisher of Pardes Weekly Jaskaran Singh and Patron of the International Hindi Society Rajendra Joshi.


Speaking on the occasion, Lord Noon described the UK as a "fair country" and lauded the achievements of NRIs in this country in all walks of life, particularly in the field of education.


Dr Onkar Sahota, Member of Greater London Assembly emphasized the need to promote Hindi in the UK. "In this country Chinese is taught in primary and secondary schools. We should see Hindi is also taught similarly."


Councillor Ashok Kapoor, Vice Chairman of the society, said: "The vision of the society is to promote all Hindustan's culture to unify under one umbrella no matter what religion, language and culture."




Indian entrepreneurs are the faces behind a growing number of US tech startups. A study by Kauffman Foundation shows 33.2% of the cofounders of engineering and technology firms founded by immigrants in the US since 2006 were Indians. Chinese came second at 8.1%.


Sridhar Mitta, founder of social entrepreneurship firm NextWealth Entrepreneurs, attributes the phenomenon to the large number of smart Indian students who went to the US for higher studies and made careers there. Most had mastered frugal engineering and so broke through the US glass ceiling.


First generation entrepreneurs like Vinod Khosla became poster boys of immigrant startups. Some of them donned the avatar of mentor and investor for the immigrant community in the US. Other successful Indianorigin entrepreneurs including Kanwal Rekhi, Pramod Haque, Gururaj Deshpande, and B V Jagadeesh won the goodwill and heart of American investors. Sabeer Bhatia, founder of Hotmail, became the face of internet ventures, drawing admiration from aspiring entrepreneurs who wanted to make it big in the dot com era.




Four Indian Americans were among the 50 researchers recently named as recipients of the 2012 New Innovator Awards.


Harvinder Singh Gill, of Texas Tech University, for 'Pollen Grains as Trojan Horses for Oral Vaccination'; Rahul M. Kohli, of the University of Pennsylvania, for 'Combating Bacterial Drug Resistance by Targeting the Enzymes of Evolution'; Rajat Rohatgi, of Stanford University, for 'Reconstructing Primary Cilia'; and Vikaas S. Sohal, of the University of California-San Francisco, for 'Reverse Engineering the Prefrontal Microcircuit'.


The NIH Director's New Innovator Award addresses two important goals: stimulating highly innovative research and supporting promising new investigators. This award complements ongoing efforts by NIH and its institutes and centers to fund new investigators through R01 grants and other mechanisms.


Gill, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas Tech University, received his B.E. degree in chemical engineering from Punjab University in Chandigarh, his Ph.D. in bioengineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and his post-doctoral degree in microbiology and immunology from Emory University.


Kohli, an assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Disease at the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, received his B.S. degree in biochemistry from the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry and molecular pharmacology from Harvard Medical School.


Rohatgi, an assistant professor of medicine and, by courtesy, of biochemistry and an attending physician in the Thoracic Oncology Clinic at the Stanford Cancer Centre, received his A.B. degree in biomedical sciences from Harvard University and his Ph.D. degree from Harvard Medical School.


Sohal, an assistant professor in residence of the University of California San Francisco, received his Ph.D. degree from Stanford University, where he did his postgraduate training at the Stanford University Medical Centre, acquiring psychiatry residency and research fellowship.




Karnataka Sangha Dubai will felicitate Udupi - Chikmagalur MP Jayaprakash Hegde. His immense contribution towards the benefit of NRIs in general will be appreciated and recognized during the 'Karnataka Rajyotsava - 2012' celebrations to be held at Indian Academy School in Dubai.


Girish Shetty, president of Karnataka Sangha said that the felicitation is due for this great leader, as he follows up the progress of any work that he promises, unlike some other politicians who promise several things when they come here, and then completely forget their promise once they go back. "But J P Hegde has done everything possible to realize all that he promised to us during his visit to Dubai in April 2012."




Yusuffali M A, the managing director of Emke Group which runs the LuLu Hypermarkets, tops a new list of powerful Indians in the Gulf. He has been ranked top for the second successive year on the Arabian Business Indian Power List.


Kataria Holdings chairman Raghuvinder Kataria, a founding shareholder of Bharti Airtel, ranks second on the list, while IFFCO Group's Feroz Allana is in the third place. Saudi Arabia-based Ravi Pillai, chairman of RP Group of Companies, took the fourth place and Landmark Group founder Micky Jagtiani the fifth place.


The top 10 on the list also inlcude: Sanjeev Mehta - chairman of Unilever North Africa and Middle East (sixth); Ajay Bindroo - Group CEO, Super Max Group (seventh), V. Shankar - Standard Chartered Bank CEO (eighth); Harshad Mehta - chairman of Rosy Blue Trading (ninth) and B R Shetty - NMC Group chairman (tenth).


The 2012 list is dominated by retailers, who account for 26 places on the list, ahead of bankers and industrialists with 24 spots.




Kirty Matabadal, Netherlands PIO of Surnamese Indian descent, the Youth Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations, addressed the Third Committee, 2nd meeting - 67th General Assembly on 8th October 2012 in New York on the topic of Social, Humanitarian & Cultural Committee on Social Development: Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly. At the session, the Under-Secretary-General said that, "Income Inequality Slows Effort against Poverty". Over speakers from various countries spoke at the Committee Began its 2-day Social Development Debate. Significant progress was made towards development goals, but several multifaceted challenges remain, "none more daunting' than rising inequality, the Third Committee was told.


Kirty Matabadal was selected among several applicants and nominees and won the prestigious position of the Youth Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations. Matabadal functions as the Dutch youth's voice with politicians and policymakers and spoke at the UN event, stating that at the national and community level, programs must be put in place to ensure that children could get basic education, as well as the higher education and training needed to be successful on the job market; Child marriage must be ended and nothing must prevent adolescent girls from achieving their full potential; Young people must be able to participate in governance and hold Government accountable.  All that must happen in partnership with young people, she stressed, through independent, transparent and democratically-elected national youth councils.  Time was running out to face the development needs of the largest generation of young people in history, especially young women, who would determine the future of their communities, their countries and the world. Young people, most of the time, were fighting such problems on their own, she maintained.  "It is time to implement all those promises that were made to us in the past", she said.






Arun Mehra has started work on a billion-dollar ornate, functioning replica of the Taj Mahal, three times bigger than the wonder of the world at Agra. Romantic at heart the 53-year-old chairman of UAE based Link Global Group wants to dedicate this new monument to 'love in the world'.


It'd be practical to build the Taj given the rock-bottom construction costs. "The cost of steel is low and cement is easily available today as many firms in China have built surplus capacities over the years," he tells. Love and romance apart, Mehra says the project is a financial proposition that will attract customers from across the world. He plans it to be a Las Vegas where you could also wear sarees and sherwanis and get married.


The Taj Arabia, as it is being called, is at the heart of a mega purpose-built tourist city called 'Falconcity of Wonders' that will have a direct link with the Dubai airport. The city will also have pyramids, Great Wall of China, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It will be part of an area called 'Land of India' and will house a 300-key five-star hotel, a 3,000-seater banquet hall and apartments. The huge Mughal Gardens, thrice the size of a football field, could organize large concerts like, say, the Grammys. His team has set itself an ambitious target to finish all of this in two years, by end-2014.


Mehra, who has been involved in projects like the iconic Palm Jumeirah artificial archipelago, says the Taj is a symbol of love and it won't be limited to Agra anymore.




A Sikh-American community organization has raised over $250,000 to fund scholarships for needy students striving to acquire higher professional education in Punjab and neighboring Indian states. The funds were raised at an event in Vienna, Virginia, a Washington suburb in support of Sikh Human Development Foundation (SHDF)'s mission to provide need-based scholarships for higher professional education in India.


In the last 12 years SHDF had awarded nearly 2,400 scholarships at a cost of nearly a million dollars. About 800 of these scholars have graduated and are working as professionals in some 31 disciplines. Foundation chairman Amar Jit Singh Sodhi said, "These scholarship recipients in turn are changing the lives of their families by educating their siblings and helping their parents live their golden years with a smile on their faces."




Guyana Prime Minister Samuel Hinds said his South American nation is a modern day example of successful and peaceful co-existence of two ethnic diversities - Afro-Guyanese and Indo-Guyanese. On a visit to India for an energy summit, Hinds spoke to PIO TV Chief Editor K N Gupta in an exclusive interview on October 10, 2012, at an event organized by Antar Rashtriya Sahyog Parishad (ARSP) to felicitate the Prime Minister of the country with a significant Indian Diaspora population. The Guyanese Prime Minister lauded the role of international Diaspora organizations led by the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) International that worked hard to engage the overseas Indian community with India. The Guyana Prime Minister and the country's High Commissioner in India, H.E. Jairam Gajraj, spoke highly of the contribution to Diaspora engagement made by the Government of India's Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, ARSP and GOPIO International, in particular GOPIO and MOIA's efforts towards the establishment of the Kolkata Memorial to recognize and remember the indentured laborers who left India from 1834- 1920.


The Guyana government has welcomed the initiative by GOPIO International President Guyana-born Ashook Ramsaran and GOPIO Guyana chapter Chairman Dr Yesu Persaud to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Indian arrival in Guyana, and has expressed support for this milestone commemoration. India and Guyana enjoy a wonderful relationship and partnership, with a growing economic input from India in Guyana's growth and development. PM Hinds also welcomes ARSP's initiative to establish a Dr Cheddi Jagan library at ARSP, supported by efforts of GOPIO International President Ashook Ramsaran. The late Dr Cheddi Jagan, the pioneering freedom fighter and political advocate, was the first PIO president of Guyana. 

Speaking at the event, High Commissioner Gajraj praised the work of Diaspora outreach organizations like ARSP and GOPIO International to connect the overseas Indian community, to highlight their issues and address their concerns. A former Army General and Home Minister, High Commissioner Gajraj said the Guyanese Diaspora, including people of Indian origin, had made a mark in countries like the USA. There are more than 250,000 Guyanese PIOs in just the New York area of USA.


Watch video interview at:

(News item contributed by Munish Gupta, K N Gupta and






The South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) is the only independent non-profit organization working to document, preserve and provide access to the rich history of South Asians in the United States. Since its founding in 2008, SAADA has digitized nearly 1,000 unique archival items, all of which are freely accessible through its website. Stories in the archive include that of Congressman Dalip Singh Saund, who in 1956 became the first Indian American elected to national office; Anandabai Joshi, the first Indian woman to do her MD in the United States from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1886; the Gadar Party, a revolutionary organization founded in 1913 that agitated for India's independence from its headquarters in San Francisco. These stories and more can be accessed online at


SAADA is now launching its first major fundraising campaign, to help ensure that these important stories are preserved and available for future generations. Learn more about SAADA and donate online at




The Sikh American community launched its centennial celebration at the University of the Pacific here Sept. 22 with a conference about "The Sikh Journey in America" and the inauguration of a Gadri Baba Museum.


The museum is located at Gurdwara Sahib Stockton, the first Sikh settlement in the United States. To celebrate the settlement, 16 scholars prepared 19 academic papers on the history and culture of the Sikh American community. 


Traveling from as far as India and Canada, the scholars gathered at the home of Dr. Sohan Singh Mahil on the night of Sept. 21 to plan for "The Sikh Journey in America" conference. 


An audience of 700, many of whom were Indian Americans, listened to speeches about how early Sikh pioneers founded the Stockton Gurdwara in 1912 and formed the Gadar Party in 1913. The party's goal was Gadar, meaning "revolution," against British occupation of the Indian subcontinent. 


Speeches also addressed the racial bias suffered by many Sikh immigrants to the United States and their struggles to secure rights to land-ownership and citizenship. 


Between lecture sessions, the audience enjoyed an exhibition hall featuring posters depicting the history of Sikh Americans, the Gadar Party, India's independence movement and Sikhs in both world wars. 


In his opening remarks, Dr. Amrik Singh of California State University in Sacramento declared: "This conference is about the truth that escapes our grasp." 


Mayor Ann Johnston of Stockton also greeted the conference, praising the Sikhs for their democracy and defense of equal rights, saying they have "continually contributed to the good in the city of Stockton."


Session I opened with Inder Singh, chairman of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin who spoke about "Dalip Singh Saund: From Stockton Gurdwara to the U.S. Congress." 


"His victory was a landmark of epic proportions for the United States. He was born of uneducated parents, from a small village in Punjab, and identified with middle-class values of the people. Saund has become an iconic figure," Singh said.


While Dr. Jasbir Singh Mann spoke on the origin of the Gadar movement and three of its leaders - Har Dayal, Savarkar, and Bhardwaj - Dr. Nirmal Singh Mann from the University of California at Davis recounted the plight of Pakher Singh Gill, a precursor of civil rights hero Cesar Chavez. 


Because Asians were denied the right to own land, Gill made a verbal agreement with white owners to lease and cultivate their farmland. In 1925, after they cheated him out his profit from the crops, he killed two of them. Upon his release after 14 years in San Quentin Prison, he lectured on equal rights for all in the United States, England, and India, Mann noted.


Dr. Paul Englesberg of Walden University concluded the first session with a speech on the 1907 Bellingham riot in the state of Washington, when a mob drove nearly 200 hard-working Sikh immigrants out of the town.


In Session II, Dr. Hugh Johnston of Simon Fraser University talked about the immigrant ship Komagata Maru. In 1914, immigration authorities turned the ship away from Vancouver. When it returned to India, British authorities accused its passengers of involvement with the Gadar party and massacred 19 of them. 


Dr. Karen Leonard of the University of California at Irvine spoke about the origins of the Punjabi-Mexican community. Because restrictive immigration laws prevented immigration by South Asian women, she said, many Sikhs married Mexicans. There were almost 400 of these couples; their children embraced both cultures.


Dr Amrik Singh concluded the second session with an examination of the Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan Society, formed in 1912 by Teja Singh, a Harvard alumnus who studied at Columbia University and Cambridge University. 


Session III featured a series of lectures on the Gadar Party by Dr. Jaspal Singh of Regional Institute of English, Chandigarh; Dr. Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon of Punjab University; Dr. Tejwant Singh Gill of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar; and Dr. Gurmel Singh Sidhu of Fresno State University.


The Sept. 23 program was held at the Stockton Gurdwara, where the brand new Gadri Baba Museum, which houses an exhibition of historical panels depicting the Gadar movement and other aspects of Sikh American history, was inaugurated.


Its premier artifact is the printing press used by Kartar Singh Sarabha to print The Gadar newspaper, the first Punjabi-language publication in the United States. In 1915, Sarabha was hanged by the British at the age of 19.




South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a coalition of South Asian community organizations has launched a national, non-partisan campaign called South Asian Vote! in seven South Asian languages to engage the community in the Nov 6 US elections.


Strategies include distribution of voter education materials in Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Nepali, Punjabi, Tamil and Urdu. The material covers Know Your Rights, How to Get Involved, and the Election Process; voter outreach and voter registration by civic leaders throughout the country; and election monitoring and protection for language access.


Are You Ready To Vote? is a checklist is for US citizens at least 18 years old by election day, and have met their state's residency requirements for voting to make sure they are ready exercise their fundamental right to vote.


"Unfortunately, in past elections, many South Asians have faced challenges at the polls due to voter intimidation and suppression and have encountered difficulties in casting their ballot due to language barriers," SAALT said.


SAALT has appealed everyone, citizen or not, to become involved in the civic and political process in the US.



Following the success of her first movie "Once More Removed", Guyanese PIO Shundell Prasad has directed a new movie titled "Festival of Lights" which "shows a side of the Indian diaspora as you've never seen on film" according a press statement. The movie was filmed on-location in both Guyana and New York City with an all-star cast of Aidan Quinn, Melinda Shankar, Jimi Mistry, Ritu Singh Pande. The movie was written and directed by Shudnell Prasad, former Co-Chair of GOPIO Cultural Council.


 The film's website, which includes the trailer, is at:

The story is about a family ripped apart by a decision beyond their control, a young Guyanese mother must fight to survive in a new country, while her rebellious teenage daughter aches to return to her homeland. Inspired by true events, "Festival of Lights" is an absorbing and ambitious film that pits an intimate family portrait against a global landscape, breathing fresh life into the Indian family drama.


Wrote one reviewer, "it shows gorgeous opening scenes of's a fascinating window into the Guyanese-American community...full of heart, beauty, and hope."


A Durga Entertainment release:

New York City: Nov. 2-8 - AMC Loews Village 7 

Atlanta: Nov. 2-8 - Landmark Midtown 

Los Angeles: Nov. 9-15 - Laemmle Noho

Detroit: Nov. 29  (Single Night Showing) - Landmark Main Art Theater


Contact Nevette Previd, GS Entertainment Marketing Group at 1-917-841-0656



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, E-mail:


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


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.), Sunny Kulathakal (President, GOPIO Intl. Bahrain), Yogeshwar Sangwan (MOIA, India), Ajay Jain Bhutoria (President, GOPIO-Silicon Valley, USA), Dr. Rajen Anand (Washington DC, USA), Harmohan Singh Walia (GOPIO-Sydney North West), Jaysingh Bhandari (President, GOPIO Virginia). Munish Gupta (GOPIO Intl. Coordinator for Africa)


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


GOPIO NEWS welcomes NRI/PIO related stories from all over the world. Be a volunteer correspondent or reporter.

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