December 10, 20110

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

Issue: IX-15December 10, 2010
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NOTE: GOPIO News is a FREE bi-monthly newsletter of GOPIO International, based in the USA. We need your help in reaching out more NRIs/PIOs around the world. Please go to the bottom of the news bulletin and click the FORWARD button and type e-mail addresses of your friends and relatives. One could also subscribe this newsletter by visiting and type in the e-mail address. All preivous issues of GOPIO News are provided at GOPIO News Archives. If you do not wish to receive this newsletter in future, please click SafeUnsubscribe at the end of this newsletter.


GOPIO wishes you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!


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


GOPIO International is holding its annual convention starting on January 5, 2011 and concluding on January 6, 2011 in New Delhi, India, immediately preceding and in conjunction with Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2011 events of January 7-9, 2011. The executive meetings with country, chapter and council reports will be held on January 5, followed by the conference on January 6, 2011, 2011. The events conclude with GOPIO's annual Community Service Awards Banquet on the evening of January 6, 2011.

The program schedule is as follows:

January 5, 2011







GOPIO Executive Meeting

GOPIO General Council Meeting

(Not Open to the Public)

FICCI Conf Center


GOPIO Country, Chapter and Council Reports (Open to the Public)

FICCI Conf Center



FICCI Conf Center



January 6, 2011




  9:00am -  9:30am


FICCI Conf Center

  9:30am - 10:45am

Session I:

Is Single Window Open & Working?

FICCI Conf Center

10:45am -- 11:00am

Coffee/Tea Break

FICCI Conf Center

11:00am -- 12:15pm

Session II:

NRI/PIO Services at Overseas Indian Consular Offices: Issues & Challenges

FICCI Conf Center

12:15pm -   1:00pm


Hon. Sheela Dixit, Chief Minister of Delhi

FICCI Conf Center

  1:00pm -   2:00pm


FICCI Conf Center

  2:00pm --  3:15pm

Session III:

Kolkata Memorial and 19th Century Indian Emigration

FICCI Conf Center

  3:15pm --  3:30pm

Coffee/Tea Break

FICCI Conf Center

  3:30pm --  4:45pm

Session IV:

Cultural Preservation in Expanding Indian Diaspora

FICCI Conf Center

  4:45pm --  5:30pm


Session V:


FICCI Conf Center


Community Service Awards Banquet Chief Guest:

Hon Vayalar Ravi, Minister, MOIA

Ashoka Hotel






Conference Registration:

GOPIO Convention Registration:

Prior registration is recommended as total registration will be limited to 150 delegates

Conference (Rs 500) + CSA Banquet (Rs 1,000), total Rs 1,500 per person.

Early booking:  Conference fee (Rs 500) waived for first 100 registrants before Dec 28, 2010.

Banquet seating is limited. To guarantee banquet seating, you are urged to register in advance.  


Advance registration:

Contact Sameer Seth at


Convention 2011 Coordinator: K N Gupta, President, GOPIO Chapter India

Media Coordinator: Munish Gupta, Chair, GOPIO Media Council


For more information and details, contact:

GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh, USA, at  (Tel +1-818-708-3885)

GOPIO President Lord Diljit Rana, UK, at   (Tel: +44 28-9807-8787)


The installation of the Kolkata Memorial commemorative plaque "in recognition and remembrance of Indian Indentured Labourers of 19th - 20th centuries" will take place at an inaugural ceremony starting at 3:30pm on January 11, 2011 at Kidderpore Depot located at 14 Garden Reach along the Hoogley River in Kolkata. Hon Vayalar Ravi, Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), will preside over the inaugural ceremony. GOPIO International Executive Vice President Ashook Ramsaran and Global Indian Diaspora Heritage Society (GIDHS) Secretary Leela Sarup will be active participants as well, having been and continuing to be actively involved in the planning and coordination leading up to this historic moment with the inaugural ceremony.


Also in attendance will be other officials of MOIA, officials of Ministry of Port Trust, officials of West Bengal Government, GOPIO International and representatives of PIO countries as well as historians and academicians, civic leaders and attendees from various countries. GOPIO International, in collaboration with the Global Indian Diaspora Heritage Society (GIDHS), is holding a commemorative luncheon starting at 12:00 Noon on January 11, 2011 at the Oberoi Grand Hotel in Kolkata preceding the inaugural ceremony.


Demerara Depot, KolkataBoth Ramsaran and Sarup have been at the forefront of this initiative for a commemorative plaque, to be followed by a heritage museum/resource center at a suitably significant site in Kolkata. The planned heritage museum/resource center would house records of Indian indentured laborers' emigration (during the 18th and 19th centuries), literature, works of art, documentaries, films, artifacts, photographs and emigration records relevant to that era and those who left as indentured laborers. (Ref: GOPIO Newsletters of April 1, 2010, August 1, 2010 and October 22, 2010 respectively).


The following are the 2 events to be held:


  • Commemorative Luncheon at 12:00 Noon on Jan 11, 2011 at Oberoi Grand Hotel.
  • Inaugural ceremony at 3:30pm on Jan 11, 2011 at Kidderpore Depot


The inscription on the commemorative plaque states in part: "In honored tribute to Indian Indentured laborers -- By hundreds of thousands they journeyed from other parts of India to this city, bound for long, arduous journeys by ships on treacherous seas of "kala pani" to places unknown to them and despite many false promises, travail they did with unwavering spirit and hopes; With due recognition and lasting remembrance of Indian indentured labourers who left these shores during 19th and 20th centuries seeking better livelihoods in far away lands; for their pioneering spirit, determination, resilience, endurance, perseverance and sacrifices amidst extremely harsh conditions; for their preservation of sense of origin, traditions, culture and religion, and promotion of Indian culture; for their achievements despite insurmountable odds; for their invaluable contributions to  lands they adopted; and  for triumph of the spirit of Indianness they maintained and passed on to their descendants".


Everyone is invited to attend this historic event. Interested persons, organizations and groups are invited to participate. For security purposes, attendance will be by advance registration only on or before January 3, 2011. There is no charge for attendance at the inaugural ceremony, however advance registration is a requirement. There will be no charge for the luncheon for first 100 persons registering in advance by January 3, 2011.


Each person or organization desiring to attend must complete the forms below and send by January 3, 2011 to: Ashook Ramsaran at



Attendee Information



Country of Birth

Country of Residence




Tel/Mobile Number

Email address



Attending January 11 Events

  • Luncheon at Oberoi Grand 12:00 Noon   YES/NO
  • Inaugural at Kidderpore Depot 3:30pm     YES/NO


Hotel stay at Oberoi Grand Kolkata

  • Jan 10, 2011     YES/NO
  • Jan 11, 2011     YES/NO
  • Jan 12, 2011     YES/NO


Interest in city, sites tour

  • Jan 10, 2011     YES/NO
  • Jan 12, 2011     YES/NO


Room Type:  Deluxe

Dates: 10th-12th January 2011

Room Rate: INR 8500/9500 for single/double, plus 10% tax


The Oberoi Grand

15, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Kolkata 700 013
Telephone: 91 33 2249 2323
Contact: Shreya Chakravorty Boruah, Assistant Sales Manager
Direct: 91 33 2250 6137; Cellular: 91 98 3638 8661
India Toll Free Reservations: 1 800 11 2030; Facsimile: 91 33 2249 0398


Ashook Ramsaran at

US Mobile 01-917-519-5783; India Mobile 91-97-1185-1144

Leela Sarup at

India Mobile 011-91-98-3105-4801


A meeting all those NRIs/PIOs who live in the Kolkata Metro area and others interested in GOPIO global network are invited to an initial planning meeting with GOPIO International Officers including Chairman Inder Singh, President Lord Diljit Rana, Executive Vice President Ashook Ramsaran, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Thomas Abraham and other officers of GOPIO on Tuesday, Jan. 11th starting at 7 p.m. for a High Tea meeting to initiate GOPIO-Kolkata Chapter. The venue will be announced soon. If you like to attend this meeting and to volunteer with GOPIO-Kolkata, please send a confirmation to Mr. Ashook Ramsaran at or call Mr. S.K. Sarkar in Kolkata at 011-91-9831091317.



The Health Council of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) concluded a first-of-a-kind summit and conference addressing pertinent health issues of interest and concern to the global Asian Indian community, and honored five healthcare professionals and organizations during its inaugural Health Summiton November 12 -14 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel LaGuardia, East Elmhurst, New York.  GOPIO is a non-profit, non-partisan and secular community service global organization working for the well-being of people of Indian origin.  The mission of the Health Council is to engage the People of Indian Origin (PIOs) to raise awareness of the factors contributing to chronic diseases affecting them, and influence them to take proactive action to improve their health, wellbeing and quality of life.  Collaborating organizations for the Summit were American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI0) and Coronary Artery Disease among Asian Indians (CADI) Research Foundation.



GOPIO Health Summit Award Recipients honored

Proto: GOPIO Health Summit Award reciptients with organizers: From L. to R.: Dr. Asha Samant, Dr. Sunanda Gaur, Dr. Jatil Shah, Dr. Ranjita Misra, Dr. B.L. Agrawal, New York City Comptroller John Liu, Rita Batheja, Dr. Suresh Khanna, Sangeta Ahuja, Jaswant Mody, Dr. Rajeev Mehta, Dr. Thomas Abraham


The three-day summit began on Friday evening with opening remarks by Dr. Thomas Abraham, who chaired the program committee for the health summit and he spoke on this new initiative by GOPIO International. Sangeeta Ahuja and Dr. Vivian Rambihar, Chair and Co-Chair respectively, of GOPIO Health Council welcomed all and shared the mission and goals of the health council, emphasizing the importance of this initiative in response to a serious health crisis across the Indian Diaspora.  This was followed by summit inauguration, awards, speaker and sponsor recognitions, dinner and music.  Honored guest Dr. Poonam Alaigh, Commissioner of Health and Senior Services. New Jersey commended the Health Summit initiative, "I look forward to the proceedings of this conference as blueprint for the issues we face, and need to take appropriate action to bring about the necessary changes".   


New York Comptroller John Liu speaking at the GOPIO Health Summit

Photo above:From L. to R.: Lal Motwani, Ashook Ramsaran, Dr. Asha Samant, Dr. B.L. Agrawal, Jaswant Mody, Sangeeta Ahuja and New York city Comproller John Liu


Dr. Binoy Singh, cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University School of Medicine, spoke with passion about the urgent need for diet and lifestyle changes to reduce our increasing risk factors, especially high cholesterol, diabetes and pre-diabetes.  Five individuals and organizations namely, Ms Rita Batheja, Dr. Suresh Khanna, Dr. Jatin Shah, SATHI and SEVAK Project were recognized for their remarkable contributions in the health sector with focus on community service.  The evening surprise was John Liu, New York City Comptroller, who inspired the audience with his personal "Made in Taiwan" background story, and was the guest of honor giving the awards.   


During Saturday's full day conference, a panel of distinguished speakers and health practitioners shared their expertise on Disease Prevention & Health Management with focus on Cardiovascular Health/Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes/Pre-Diabetes, and Stress Management.  The day conference highlighted ways to identify the risk factors specific to the PIOs., practical ways to manage these chronic diseases, and   included interactive sessions with audience participation and breaks for exercise and meditation.  Speakers and panelists included Dr. Enas A. Enas: South Asian Heart Issues; Dr. Wahida Karmally: Nutrition; Master Del Pe: Energy Medicine/Martial Arts; Dr. Prathibha Shah: Ayurveda; Dr. Aparna Bapat: Ayurveda; Dr. Alex Zachariah: Diabetes and Obesity; Dr. Steven Horowitz: Integrative Cardiology; Dr. Binoy K Singh: Cardiology; Dr. Sridhar Nambi: Diabetes; Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya: Holistic Medicine; Dr. S. Shankar Iyer: Oral Health; Dr. Ranjita Misra: Public Health; Lea Kraemer: Yoga; and Surinda Oberai Cavanagh: Ayurveda. The target audience comprised of people of Indian Origin (PIOs) from around the world with a majority from the Tri-State area who seemed committed to healthier living, and eager to learn more about the products and services offered by the diverse set of holistic healthcare providers.


In the opening session of the conference, Dr. Ranjita Misra, Professor & Research Director, Center for the Study of Health Disparities (CSHD) at Texas A&M University said, "Asian Indians have higher rate of diabetes than all other racial ethnic groups (African Americans, Hispanics, Whites, and American Indians) in the US. Hence, primary and secondary prevention can help curb this epidemic."


Dr. Enas A. Enas, Cardiologist and Founder President of CADI Research Foundation who was one of the first persons to bring out the increasing cardiovascular problem among the South Asian community said, "The good news is that heart disease has now become the most predictable, preventable, and treatable of all chronic diseases. Over the  last 30 years, heart disease death rates have decreased by 50 to 70  percent  in Canada, the US and several other countries, whereas rates have increased 300% in India.  We now have the knowledge to combat this epidemic and the alarming statistics among the Indian Diaspora and the Indian subcontinent calls for immediate action by the medical community, general public and the government"


Modern sage and life mentor, Master Del Pe synthesized the best of Eastern Wisdom and Western Practicality in his talk. He demonstrated practical tools to help participants boost their vitality sharpen their minds and awaken the power of their souls. "If followed regularly, these techniques could help heal the past, transform the present and energize the future. They would result in a balanced life where one could experience not only success, but fulfillment as well," said Master Del Pe.


Dr. Steven Horowitz, Cardiologist and Director, Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness at Stamford Hospital (Stamford, CT) said, "Much of the increased burden of cardiovascular disease in the South Asian community is related to the metabolic syndrome, a condition which is caused by a lifestyle out of balance interacting with genetics. Integrative Cardiology uses all the spiritual, physical and intellectual resources of the patient to regain energy balance and diminish and reverse the disease process."


Dr. Pratibha Shah, Ayurveda Practitioner (Winchester, MA) spoke about the myths and facts about treatment of diabetes in Ayurveda and preventive home remedies to achieve and maintain low blood sugar levels.  Dr. Lakshmi Prakash, Vice President of Innovation & Business Development, Sabinsa Corp. (East Windsor, NJ and Bangalore) said that over the last 22 years, based on Sabinsa CEO Dr. Muhammed Majeed's founding principles of "Innovating for the Future from the Past", Sabinsa Corporation has been developing dietary and cosmetic applications from standardized natural extracts, and educating consumers across the world on phytonutrients from the Ayurvedic tradition. The talk highlighted examples of nutraceuticals pioneered by the group, to address common preventive health maintenance needs.  


Dr. Alexander Zachariah, Prof. Emeritus and Research Associates of PHIRE (Public Health Institute for Research in Excellence) of Champaign-Urbana Public Health District in Illinois said, "The epidemic of obesity among Indian Diaspora needs urgent attention starting with eating heart healthy food and sweat soaking exercises."  The day concluded with a relaxing dinner and an enlightening talk on Oral Health by Dr. Shankar Iyer introduced by Dr. Asha Samant, Professor of Dentistry and co-chair of GOPIO Health Council.


Sabinsa Draw for Nutraceuticals - Winner Dr. Rajeev Mehta



There were many exhibitors dissplaying their products in the health related areas including nutraceuticals, vitamins, books and CDs. One of the books which got sold out at the show was "How to Beat the Heart Disease Epidemic Among South Asians," by Dr. Enas a. Eans ( There was also a draw for $500 worth of nutraceuticals from Sabinsa corporation which was won by Dr. Rajeev Mehta.


Photo: Sabinsa Draw at the health Summit - Dr. Rajeev Mehta receiving winner's take from Sabinsa's Lakshmi Prakah


On Sunday morning, GOPIO celebrated the occasion of "India's Children's Day" to mark the birthday of late Pandit Jawaharlal "Chacha" Nehru by offering a free event on children's health and wellness, as well as a diverse set of entertainment that included dances of Indian, Caribbean and American origin. This special health fair for children provided education on oral health and obesity amongst children, and was delivered by Dr. Asha Samant and Dr. Alex Zachariah in novel ways that included audience participation, games, prizes, hand and finger puppets, ventriloquism, songs and music, followed by a healthy box lunch.  Not only was this fun event a big hit with the children, it brought out the "inner child" in the adults as well, and contributed to closing out the overall successful GOPIO Health Summit.


GOPIO Health Summit Children's Health Program

Photos: Children's Day with Children's Health. Photo Left: Dr. Asha Samant and assostant demonstrating Dental Hygiene to children. Photo Right: Dancers at the Children's Day with organizers.


"The Health Summit was successful in bringing the message of preventive care and health awareness to the Indian Community.  We need to continue to make the information available to the people of Indian Origin so they can manage the risk factors involved with Diabetes and Heart disease." said Sangeeta Ahuja, GOPIO Health Council chair, as she thanked the sponsors, supporters and the dedicated team of volunteers.  Sponsors and supporting organizations included Merck; Bristol-Myers Squibb; Arora Foundation; Society of Indo American Engineers and Architects; Indian Dental Association of North America- New Jersey; Hindu Vedic Mandir; Arya Samaj of Suburban NY; Sabinsa Corporation; Arya Samaj of Garden State - Om Temple; TravelSpan; Hindu Temple of Tristate; Diva America Incorporated, and local chapters of GOPIO, viz. GOPIO-CT, GOPIO-NY, GOPIO-LI, GOPIO-Upper NY, andGOPIO-Central Jersey.   


GOPIO Health Children's Day with Master Del Pe


Photo above: Master Del Pe demonstrating good health techniques to chldren at GOPIO Health Children's Day.


Dr. Vivian Rambihar, cardiologist and co-chair of the GOPIO Health Council, called for "an urgent Action Plan for change at all levels, including policy, politics, social, cultural and grassroots", inviting everyone to become part of the global collaboration for health across the Indian Diaspora.  "The list of suitably qualified speakers and presenters with respective knowledge and experience on these topics certainly enhanced the proceedings and provided the delegates and the global Indian community with more in-depth understanding and insights on these health issues. Furthermore, these deliberations and discussions advanced dialogue and further motivated and encouraged NRIs and PIOs towards needed community actions," summarized Ashook Ramsaran, Executive Vice President, GOPIO International, in his post-summit note congratulating the team of organizers and volunteers for the Health Summit. 


More details on the GOPIO Health Summit are available at, or contact GOPIO Health Council Chair Sangeeta Ahuja at email or 203-329-9744. For additional media related questions please contact J. Nami Kaur at 914-476-2082, E-mail




Highlight of some the speeches, presetnations and demonstrations are provided in YOuTub. Visit: YouTube. Visit



Links to individual talks and speeches and some fo the Chidren's Day Program are shown below:


Dr. Thomas Abraham -


Sangeeta Ahuja -


Dr. Vivian Rambihar -


Dr. Poonam Alaigh -


Dr. Binoy Singh -


Dr. Rajeev Mehta -


New York CityComptroller John Liu -


Dr. Enas A. Enas -


Dr. Wahida Karmally -


Dr. Lakshmi Prakash -


Dr. Steven Horowitz -


Dr. Alexander Zachariah -


Surinda Oberai Cavanagh -


Children's Health with Children's Day Program -


Children's Day at the Health Summit - Bharata Natyam by Sohini Upadhyay -


Children's Day at the Health Summit - Entertainment by Rishika Jikaria and Ashika Jikaria Performing Baile Baile


Master Del Pe at the Children's Program -



The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) in partnership with the Government of NCT of Delhi and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is organizing the 9th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention (PBD 2010) from 7th - 9th January 2011 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is the annual flagship event of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) which aims to connect more 25 Million Indians with India's Economic and Social development.


 The theme of PBD 2011 is: "Engaging the Global Indian" with a special focus on the north eastern states of India.


It will provide an opportunity to interact with:


(i)             Cabinet Ministers from Indian on matters of interest and concern to them.

(ii)            PIO ministers/dignitaries from other countries on the expectations and aspirations of the overseas Indian community from the land of their ancestors and how they could work towards strengthening the relationship between India and the country of their residence.

(iii)           Chief Ministers on issues of their States need to attend on priority and facilities and incentives available in their states for the overseas Indian community.


Concurrent sessions will be held on Education, Health Services, Youth, and Information Communication and Entertainment.


PBD2011 will also see the continuation of an annual lecture series under the overarching theme of "Engaging the Global Indian, this year there will be a memorial lecture on Prof C K Prahalad.


The Convention will be inaugurated by Prime Minister of India on 8th January.  The President of India will deliver the valedictory address on 9th January and would confer Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards for 2011.


GOPIO delegates are urged to register

at discounted rate of $100 per registrant.


For further details and registration, visit PBD website at


GOPIO has been in the forefront to take up issues of common interest of the Indian community living outside India for the last 21 years since its inception. It recommended and campaigned with Govt. of India on PIO Card, Overseas Indian Citizenship (OCI), Ministry for Overseas Indians and in 2010 issues in the surrender of old Indian passport by naturalized citizens. Although Govt. of India relented on the high passport surrender fee of $175 to $20, we have been getting feedback from the community on the difficulties and nightmares they go through to get the Surrender Certificate from Indian missions abroad and in the issuance of entry visas. These new rules were decided by the Home Ministry officials on the security concerns so that no one will misuse the old passport. However, GOPIO feels that these decisions were taken arbitrarily without proper thinking and has caused enormous problems for NRIs and PIOs who are especially the naturalized citizens of other countries. Indirectly, Govt. of India is telling you that to visit Mother India, you will have to first pay an enormous amount and then go through all hassles. GOPIO presented an appeal in July 2010 to Mr. Vayalar Ravi, Minister for overseas Indian Affairs on the Passport Surrender rules which GOPIO has recommended that they should be changed without compromising on the security concerns raised by Home Ministry. These include the following:


1.       Reduce the passport surrender fee of $175 from those who became naturalized citizens after June 1, 2010 to $20 and give 3 months for surrender and if not surrendered, charge a fee of $175.

2.       GOPIO suggests that those who have become naturalized citizen before 2000 and whose Indian passports are already expired need not obtain surrender certificate since those passports are no more valid travel documents.

3.       GOPIO also requested that Government of India should relax the current rigid requirements to obtain surrender certificates for those whose passports have been misplaced or lost.

4.    Increase the staff at Indian Missions handling the passports and visa especially in countries such as the USA, UK, Canada, Australia till these issues are resolved.


On June 1, 2010, the Consul General of India, New York, in his press conference stated that overseas Indians who acquired foreign citizenship on or before 31st May, 2010 will pay $20 and no penalties to obtain surrender certificate. However, consulates in the United States and Canada have started charging retention penalty if a person has held an Indian passport which expired on or after 1 January 2005 and the passport remained un-cancelled for a period of 3 years after the acquisition of the foreign nationality. This is retroactive enforcement of surrender certificates rules which were relaxed.


We want to make a new representation to Govt. of India on the difficulties NRIs/PIOs face in these issues. GOPIO would like to hear your experience in the Indian passport surrender issues as well as obtaining your Indian visas and OCI/PIO cards from Indian missions abroad. Please visit GOPIO Blog at and post your experience in obtaining your surrender certificates or Indian visas as well as your suggestions and recommendation to Govt. of India.  GOPIO urges Indian community groups, organizations and individuals to write to the Prime Minister at, the Secretary of Home Affair (HM), Secretary of the  Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) at, and the Secretary of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) at, with a copy to GOPIO at To volunteer your time to do an effective campaign on these issues, please write to or or visit



A longstanding wish of millions of NRIs for voting rights in India has come true with Govt. of India issuing a notification to this effect to enable them to exercise their franchise.


Indian Parliament had in the monsoon session passed the Representation of People (Amendment) Bill, 2010 to allow NRIs to vote in Indian elections and now government has issued a gazette notification in this regard.


"Gazette notification has been issued giving voting rights to Non-Resident Indians," Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi told the Lok Sabha.


An estimated 11 million NRIs with Indian Passport are living in various countries across the world. However, the person will be able to exercise the franchise only if he or she is present in the constituency on the polling day.


Minister Ravi said NRIs "who have not acquired citizenship of any other country and are living abroad owing to employment, education or otherwise, are now eligible to register their names in the electoral rolls" in their places as mentioned in their passport. He said the Election Commission is likely to soon finalise the rules and regulations prescribing modalities for entry of names of NRIs in electoral rolls.


The government had decided to allow NRIs to participate in the democratic process to further boost the two-way engagement. As per the existing rules, an NRI's name gets deleted from the voters' list if he or she stays outside the country for more than six months at a stretch.


The new law will allow an Indian citizen residing abroad to enrol in voter's list and exercise his franchise even if he or she remained away from place of residence in India for more than six months owing to employment, education or otherwise.


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, addressing the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas earlier this year, had indicated that Indian passport holders living abroad could get voting rights by the time of next Lok Sabha elections in 2014.






GOPIO held the first of a series of grassroots community meetings globally on a regular basis to with the objective of identifying issues of interest and concern to the global Indian Diaspora community. That is, to conduct interactive sessions with the NRI and PIO community, with consular officers in attendance when necessary, for timely information on issues to be addressed and feedback on such matters


Indian Consulate San FRancisco Officials at the GOPIO MeetingThe first such meeting was held in Los Angeles on November 13, 2010, chaired by GOPIO International President Inder Singh and ably assisted by GOPIO International Regional (North America) Vice President Dr Piyush Agrawal. The support of the two newly formed GOPIO Chapters GOPIO Los Angeles East and GOPIO Los Angeles South West was crucial in the outreach meeting. Officials from those chapters included: Ajoy Dube, Ashok Madan, and Mahesh Parekh. Many community activists were also present, including NFIA president Chandu Patel, Rajinder Dhunna, Vinita Vineet, Amrit Bhandari and Bobby Kumar.


Indian Americans traveled long distances to get answers from Ambassador Susmita Thomas, Consul General of India, San Francisco to their questions relating to visa for travel to India. For two hours, Ambassador Thomas and Consul Ashok Sinha answered written questions from the audience. Several people, at the end, thanked Ambassador Thomas and Consul Sinha and also the organizers for arranging the meeting, thus enabling them to have face-to-face interaction with the Consul General.


Prior to the community meeting with the Consul General, lunch was arranged for a small no. of community activists and prominent people who informally met with Ambassador Thomas and Consul Ashok Sinha. Besides the community activists, City of Cypress Mayor Prakash Narayan, Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Haryy Sidhu, prominent businessman Uka Solanki, hotelier BU Patel and several others also attended the luncheon meeting.


During the two hour session with the community, several questions from the audience were answered. Following are the repeat questions with their answers:

Q:         Is Surrender Certificate required for travel to India?

A:         No. Any person of Indian origin who held an Indian Passport is required to surrender his passport after acquisition of US citizenship.

Q:         Is Surrender Certificate pre-requisite to getting OCI/PIO card from the consulate?

A:         Yes. Surrender/renunciation certificate is required.

Q:         If Indian Passport was cancelled while obtaining VISA/OCI/PIO, is surrender certificate still required?

A:         If the Indian passport was officially stamped with the wordings "PASSPORT CANCELED AS ACQUIRED U.S. NATIONALITY," no need for Surrender Certificate.

Q:         My Indian passport expired long time back. Do I need to obtain a Surrender Certificate?

A:         Yes

Q:         Should application for Surrender Certificate be sent separately or along with PIO and OCI application?

A:         Send both at one time.

Q:         If Indian passport is lost, how can one get a Surrender Certificate?

A:         If the passport is lost or details of last held Indian passport are not available, the applicant should apply for renunciation of Indian citizenship along with a notarized affidavit explaining why details of Indian passport are not available. 

Q:         If someone has PIO/OCI/Long term VISA, does he need Surrender certificate?

A:         If the Indian Passport is NOT cancelled with the wordings "PASSPORT CANCELED AS ACQUIRED U.S. NATIONALITY", apply for a surrender certificate and the cancellation of the Indian passport whether it is valid or not.




Four new GOPIO chapters have been established within the last month in the USA and Canada.


7         GOPIO Edison, New Jersey     

o    Contact: Arvin Sood, President at

7         GOPIO Los Angeles East, California

o     Contact: Mahesh Parekh, President at

7         GOPIO Los Angeles South West, California

o     Contact: Ashok Madan, President at

7         GOPIO Toronto East, Canada  

o    Contact: Jay Banerjei, President at


GOPIO International Regional Vice President (North America) is enthusiastic about the new chapters formed and "look forward to more GOPIO chapters being established" to service the NRI/PIO community in USA and Canada.


 GOPIO Los Angeles Chapter Community Meeting

Photo: GOPIO International Chairman Inder Singh with GOPIO Regional Vice President (North America) Dr Piyush Agrawal with members of newly formed chapters GOPIO Los Angeles East and GOPIO Los Angeles South West.




What more a Person can ask if he/she gets to spend a Family Fun Day with friends and Family over a Sunny Sunday Afternoon which relaxes everybody's mind and help them prepare for a working day on Monday morning.


So keeping this in mind Gopio Glenwood organised a Family Fun day on 11th Sept 2010 which had involvement of everybody ranging from age group of year 2 to our respected elders of age 70. That was the beauty of the event.


Sports like Cricket including elders, kids, youngster and ladies who were the openers in this format of cricket, fun events like Lemon Race for Ladies, and drawing competition for Kids were main attractions of this event.


Who can forgot the mouth-watering Chicken Tikka and Paneer Tikka which was served during the lunch break and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. The event had thorough involved from all the GOPIO Chapters and there family members.


The winner of the cricket match was GOPIO Ryde who dominated the tournament with their sixes. Congratulations to them.


All chapters heartily congratulate GOPIO Glenwood team for their excellent effort and hope that these kinds of events take place in future also.




GOPIO Sydney held a free health seminar on 4th December 2010 at 3 Hudson Ave, Castle Hill from 3.00pm thru 5:00pm.  A panel of Indian doctors gave presentations for awareness on health matters and will perform physical checks. 


7         Health Checks and Presentation y Leading Health Experts and Doctors

7         Health Assessment

7         Dental Check

7         Blood Pressure

7         Diabetes Check

7         Nutrition Advise


Other areas covered were as follows:

7 Health & Beauty 7 Family & Children's Health

7 Weight Loss 7 Beauty & Skin Care

For more details, contact Lucky Singh at or  Harmohan (Harry) Walia at





With overwhelming support from the people of Sydney, more than 300 guests attended GOPIO's Diwali Antakshri Night on 6th November 2010. GOPIO North West hosted the event with the full support of other GOPIO chapters in Sydney. Over $2500 was raised by the event and the funds raised will be used to build a clean drinking water facility and to purchase winter clothing and shoes for kids in Wara Pohvindian Govt. Middle School in Tehsil Zeera and District, Ferozepur, Punjab, India.


GOPIO in Australia and abroad has now set its priorities in pooling its resources, both financial and professional, for the benefit of people of Indian origin and the countries they come from. GOPIO North West has come up with the idea to help underprivileged school kids in India. Antakshri 2010 has left a lasting legacy for the students of a selected school by providing them with well needed basic amenities.


The highlights of Antakshri Night 2010 were live music by Minto & group, DJ Bali and abundant food from Kings Parramatta Restaurant.  The other attractions were song performances by Minto, Preet and Harry Singh. Additionally Palak Gupta's dance added the Bollywood masala to the event.


How can we forget our Antakshri teams, Anaar (Navneet Sarna & Ayush Sharma) Chakri  (Tajinder Kaur  & Gurjot Singh), Phuljhari (Rishab & Rithika)  and Rocket (Preet Sargam & Kanchan Bassi) complimented Diwali's atmosphere !! All the team players were seasoned music trivia champions and were selected through a rigorous audition process which took place at Yama's Music Academy at Glenwood, NSW.


Antakshri Night Guests were welcomed bgy Mr. Harmohan Walia. Aman Singh & Neeru Singh delightfully managed the stage and their commentary was applauded by all. Raj and Amit brilliantly managed the guest list and their seating arrangement.


GOPIO North West member Ravi Singh donated the wine for the event which was cherished by all and it added an extra zing to the event. The young team from GOPIO Glenwood, Aayush, Harpreet & rest of the team worked tirelessly to make this event a grand success. Harminder Singh, member GOPIO North West organised the Bhangra event which was brilliantly choreographed by Rooh Punjab Dee group. GOPIO Parramatta President, Amit Pall shared his generosity by donating tasty and colourful Indian sweets which was welcomed by all our guests.


GOPIO Sydney Co-ordinator Mr. Harmohan Walia thanked all Chapter Presidents, Lucky Singh (Sydney), Neeru Singh (North West), Amit Pall (Parramatta), Aayush Sharma (Glenwood) and Parmanand Singh (Ryde), sponsors, attendees and volunteers of the event for their exceptional support in making the event a resounding success.


GOPIO Sydney Anthakshari Night to benefit School in India

Photo: L-R: Lucky Singh, President GOPIO Sydney; Aman Singh: Neeru Singh, President GOPIO North West; Harmohan (Harry) Walia, Area Coordinator - Sydney; Aayush Sharma, President GOPIO Glenwood; Amit Pall, President GOPIO Parramatta; Rajvinder Singh, Secretary GOPIO North West.




As a direct result of the Kolkata Memorial project being spearheaded by GOPIO International Executive Vice President Ashook Ramsaran and Global Indian Diaspora Heritage Society (GIDHS) Secretary Leela Sarup, there is much more global awareness and interest in organizing a global Indian Diaspora Conference in 2011. The general consensus is that GOPIO should take the lead and convene the conference with collaboration from other organizations and groups from countries with significant populations of persons of Indian origin.


An international conference team is being formed with the tasks of formulating plans for dates, venue, conference theme(s), speakers and supporters. Historians, researchers, leaders of civic and cultural organizations, media groups, women and youth advocacy groups, and individuals are encouraged to participate.


For inquiries and more details, contact Sandew Hira at  or Satish Rai at or Ashook Ramsaran at 




Some of the speeches and presentation of GOPIO London conferences are provided on YouTube as follows:



GOPIO Community interaction Sessions, October 25, 2010



GOPIO. Community Interaction Session.- London Meeting,.Oct. 25.2010 -


GOPIO. Community Interaction Session and Dinner.2.London Meeting,.Oct. 25.2010 -



GOPIO Conference, London, October 26, 2010



GOPIO.Conference.London. Baroness Shreela Flather Speaking.Oct. 26.2010 -


GOPIO.Conference.London Virendra Sharma MP.Speaking, Oct. 26.2010 -


GOPIO.Conference.London Rami Ranger.Speaking, Oct. 26.2010 -


GOPIO Conference London J C Sharma Speaking, Oct 26 2010 -


GOPIO.Conference.London. Prabhakaran Ganesan MP.Speaking, Oct. 26.2010 -


GOPIO.Conference.London Dr.Pritam Singh.Speaking, Oct. 26.2010 -



GOPIO International Women's Conference, London, October 27, 2010


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Inauguration. Oct,  27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Lady Shruti Rana Speaking, Oct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London H.H.Anandmurti Guruma  Speaking, Oct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Lord Meghnad Desai Speaking, ct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Lord Narendra Patel Speaking,  Oct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Asha Khemka OBE Speaking, Oct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Rita Abraham Speaking.Oct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Author Lakshmi Rampersaud Speaking, Oct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Barrister Usha Teji Speaking, Oct. 27.2010 -


GOPIO Intl. Women's.Conference.London Baroness Sandip Verma Speaking, Oct. 27.2010 -





Raj Loomba, Chairman of the Loomba Foundation and GOPIO International Regional Vice President (Europe), has been selected to become a member of the House of Lords in the UK. While Mumbai-born Sir Gulam Noon, a leading entrepreneur popularly known as the 'Curry King', was nominated by the Labour Party, Loomba becomes a Peer on behalf of the Liberal Democrat party. They are among the appointment of 53 new members to the House of Lords.


Loprd Raj LoombaWidely known today as the pioneer of widows' rights and instigator of International Widows Day, Raj Loomba's campaigning achievements are founded on a successful business career as founder of Rinku Group, the fashion and clothing company of which he is Executive Chairman. Mr. Loomba received CBE - "Commander of the British Empire" award in Her Majesty Queen's Birthday Honours in June 2008. In 2006, the Loomba Trust organized an International Widows Conference at the Foreign Office in London.


The International Widows Conference was chaired by Cherie Booth QC and it received support from the Prince of Wales and Sir Richard Branson as patrons, and heard contributions by Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon, India's cabinet minister for Women and Child Development Mrs. Renuka Chowdhury, UK cabinet minister and leader of the upper house Baroness Amos, John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono, politician and Aids campaigner Baroness Margaret Jay and representatives of widows organizations from many countries in Africa and Asia. Senator Hillary Clinton addressed the conference via video link and messages of support were received from Conservative Leader David Cameron and Liberal-Democrat Leader Sir Menzies Campbell.


Raj Loomba was born on 13 November 1943 in Dhilwan in the Punjab, India. He was educated at D.A.V. College in Julllandhar (1958-1960) and State University of Iowa, U.S.A. (1960-62). He and his wife Veena have two daughters and one son. They have three granddaughters. Raj Loomba has British nationality. He hold several prominent positions in various organizations such as University of East London, Safer London Foundation and many others. He is the recipient of many prestigious awards such as NRI Institute of India Achievers Award 2008, The Asian Who's Who "The Charity of the Year Award, Pride of India Gold Medal(India) and many others.




Sun Mark Ltd celebrated receiving the Queens Award for Enterprise for consecutive years 2009 & 2010 in style on 20th November 2010 at the Radisson Hotel, Portman Square, London.


The celebration was attended by many Members from both the Houses of Parliament and European Parliament including Baroness Verma, Baroness Prashar, Lord Popat, Lord Sheikh, Lord Rana, the Rt. Hon Dominic Grieve MP, Attorney General, Mr. Richard Harrington MP, Mr. Bob Blackman MP. Mr. Mike Freer MP, Mr. Stephen Pound MP, HE the High Commissioner of India, Mr. Nalin Surie, the Deputy High Comissioner Mr Rajesh Prasad and Minister Coordination at the High Commission, Mr Asif Ibrahim, Dr Charles Tannock MEP and Mr Syed Kamall MEP all graced the occasion with their presence.


The Queen's Lieutenant, Mr. Robert Leader DL, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, presented Dr. Ranger with the two awards and praised him and the company for such a coveted honour, not once but twice in a row. He said that this was indeed a rare achievement as this award represented the "best of Britain" and there were only 21 companies like this in the whole of London.



Cypress Mayor Dr. Prakash Narain, Mayor Pro Tem Douglas Bailey, and Councilmember Leroy Mills were installed to serve their second four-year term on the Cypress City Council. An oath ceremony was held at the November 22, 2010 City Council meeting.


The City of Cypress had three open seats for the November 2, 2010 election.  As of the close of the nomination period on August 6, 2010, there were no challengers to the incumbents.  A special meeting was held on August 17, 2010 pursuant to the State Election Code to appoint the incumbents to their second terms.


"I am honored to have the opportunity to serve this wonderful community for a second term," said Mayor Narain.  "We will continue to move Cypress forward in keeping with our tradition as a community of progress," added the Mayor.  Cypress is a southern California city of about 50,000 population, located in Orange County.  


Dr. Prakash Narain was elected to the City Council in 2006, served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2009, and Mayor in 2010. Narain's second and final term ends in 2014.



Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission has announced the winners of the 2010 Marshall Scholarships chosen by the eight regional committees. These were confirmed at the meeting of the Ambassador's Advisory Council. Four Indian Americans have been selected to Marshal Scholarship for 2011.

The scholarships were founded by an Act of British Parliament in 1953 and commemorate the humane ideals of the European Recovery Programme (Marshall Plan). They are funded by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and administered by the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission in the UK (for which the Association of Commonwealth Universities provides the Secretariat). The selection process in the US is managed by the British Council, on behalf of the British Embassy in Washington DC, and the regional Consulates-General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

Among the thirty two recipients this year, the following are the Indian American winners, with their current affiliation, the school they plant to join in UK and the field they plan to pursue.


Akash K. Shah (Cliffside Park, NJ) - Harvard Medical School
Comparative Social Policy at University Oxford

Prerna Nadathur- University of Chicago
General Linguistics and Comparative Philology at University of Oxford

Priya M.
Suri- University of Minnesota School of Medicine
Medical Anthropology at University of Oxford

Varun S. Sivarum
- Stamford School of Engineering
Solar Energy Materials at University of Oxford




Six Indian Americans are among 31 recipients of the Prestigious Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans this year. The purpose of The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans is to provide opportunities for continuing generations of able and accomplished New Americans to achieve leadership in their chosen fields. The Program is established in recognition of the contributions New Americans have made to American life and in gratitude for the opportunities the United States has afforded the donors and their family. This year's Indian American award recipients are as follows:


Zahir Dossa - Born in Canada to parents of Indian heritage who had settled in, and then fled during the socialist regime from, Tanzania and later moved to Texas. Zahir graduated from MIT, where he and a fellow student founded an organization to distribute low-tech but very inexpensive irrigation pumps to low-income farmers in Sudan.  Their efforts were featured in an article in Popular Mechanics and a report on BBC World Radio.  Their organization has received various awards, including the $10,000 Davis Peace Prize.  He has remained at MIT, where he is now pursuing both a MEng in electrical engineering and a PhD in urban studies.  


Amit Jain - Currently a second-year MD student at Johns Hopkins, Amit under mentorship of an eminent pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Hopkins is keenly studying implant related fractures and spinal deformities in children. Amit graduated magna cum laude in bioengineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 2008. At Cal, Amit co-invented a novel method of examining tumor behavior in a three dimensional micro-environment and published his award winning work in Biomaterials. Amit was born in Ambala, India and 1999 immigrated to the US in 1999 with his family.


Hari Prabhakar - Born in Dallas, TX to parents who migrated from India, Hari majored in public health studies at The Johns Hopkins University, graduating in 2007 and was selected to be a British Marshall Scholar.  While at Johns Hopkins he became aware of, and committed to alleviating, the grossly inadequate health care provided to indigenous populations in India.  He has conducted extensive health services research in tribal areas of India and has become a leading advocate of efforts to improve access to care for Sickle Cell Disease, a major public health problem internationally, over the past 6 years. To that end, he established the Tribal India Health Foundation and the Sickle Cell Disease Center in South India. Hari received his MScPH from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an MSc in international health management from the Imperial College in London.  He is now a first-year student at Harvard Medical School.


Deep Shah was born in Atlanta, GA eight years after his parents immigrated to this country from Gujarat in India.  He entered the University of Georgia and won a Truman scholarship and later received a Rhodes scholarship.  He has served as a Legislative Fellow in the US Senate.  Subsequent to beginning his medical studies, he worked as a project manager with the Georgia Governor's Office to design a low-cost private health insurance plan for the working poor.  Deep's research on Parkinson's disease resulted in two jointly-authored publications. At Oxford, he earned a master's degree in comparative social policy with a focus on health care.  He is currently a second year MD candidate in New Pathway at Harvard Medical School and expects to graduate in 2013.


NAMAN SHAH - Born in Charlotte, NC, Naman graduated from the University of North Carolina (UNC) majoring in environmental health in the School of Public Health.  He was a North Carolina Leadership Fellow and an IBM Watson fellow. Naman developed and helped introduce in Cambodia a test that identifies drug resistance in malarial parasites. Following graduation he worked in polio case surveillance and related immunization activities in a rural district in India. His meta-analysis of research on malaria drug resistance provided an evidence base for Indian officials to modify their malaria drug policy. Naman is now a third-year candidate for the MD and PhD degrees in the Medical Scientist Training Program at UNC.  His recent projects include entrepreneurial ventures such as the introduction of a new, low-cost water purifier into emerging rural markets.


Aarti Shahani - Born in Casablanca, Morocco to parents of Indian heritage, Aarti attended University of Chicago, where she was an honors graduate in anthropology in 2002.  While she was growing up, her father and uncle ran afoul of immigration requirements. She spent the better parts of nine years in an effort - eventually successful - to avert her father's deportation. She drew on these experiences with immigration-related bureaucracies and courts systems to establish and lead Families for Freedom, a non-profit which assists families that have members who are under threat of deportation.  Aarti is currently a first year student in public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.




Four Indian American researchers were named 2010 recipients of the national Institute of Health Director's New Innovator Award. The award addresses two important goals: stimulating highly innovative research and supporting promising new investigators. Many new investigators have exceptionally innovative research ideas, but not the preliminary data required to fare well in the traditional NIH peer review system. As part of NIH's commitment to increasing opportunities for new scientists, it has created the NIH Director's New Innovator Award to support exceptionally creative new investigators who propose highly innovative projects that have the potential for unusually high impact. This award complements ongoing efforts by NIH and its institutes and centers to fund new investigators through grants and other mechanisms.


The Indian American recipients of the award and their research project titles rre as follows:


Ritesh Agarwal, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Project Title: Optoelectronic Nanowire Probes for Investigation of Intracellular Processes


Sandeep Robert Datta, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard Medical School, Project Title: Revealing fear: New Methods to Study Neural circuits, Behavior, and Disease


Balaji Sitharaman, Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, Project Title: Nanotechnology-based Theranostic Technology for Bone Tissue Engineering


Luke S. Theogarajan, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, Project Title: Bio-ionic Neural Interfaces




President Obama hosted the first ever White House Science Fair  on October 18th, bringing together middle school and high school students from around the country and their award winning science, engineering and technology projects.  The White House Science Fair was a part of the President's Educate to Innovate initiative to move American students from the middle to the top of the pack in science and math achievement over the next decade. 


The tree Indian American students honored at the Summit were Raina Jain, Gulrukh Shaeen and Anmika Patel.


Raina, a senior at Freedom  High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania had won earlier the first place International BioGENEius Challenge (GOPIO News June 10, 2010) for her research. Raina analyzed whether cells adhere better to rough or smooth surfaces of bioglass, which could lead to improved bone implants.


Freshman Gulrukh Shaheen along with students May Chiang and Thomas Wiygul from Madison  Central High School in Madison, Michigan won the Chrostopher Columbus Awards' grand prize for their invention, "Arthritis Magic," a device that allows arthritis sufferers to turn to standard doorknob by pulling downward rather than by twisting motion to reduce the pain of opening door.


Eighth grader Anika Patel along with Angela Riggins from Mercer Island's Forest Ridge School won first place at the 18th Annual Toshiba ExpolraVision Awards.


During the event,President Obama viewed the exhibits of winning student projects, ranging from breakthrough basic research to new inventions, and delivered remarks congratulating the students on their desire to tackle hard problems, and drive to invent and discover.





The Indian government hopes to set up a Chair at the University of Chicago to spread the ideals of Swami Vivekananda, 117 years after the monk delivered his landmark address in the US city.


The Consulate General of India in Chicago is in contact with the university to set up the Chair, which would focus on inter-faith dialogues.


Vivekananda had delivered his speech at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago on September 11, 1893, where he introduced Hinduism as a faith that had taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance.


"Sisters and Brothers of America, it fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us," Vivekananda had begun his speech. "I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects."


The proposed Chair is part of the government's plan to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Vivekananda.




The Bahrain based Gulf Who's Who business publication has received special praise from the Singapore President S R Nathan. Mr Nathan issued a letter of appreciation to the editors of Gulf Who's Who, in which he described it as 'most informative, with the contents focused on objectivity and accuracy'. He had received a copy of the directory from managing editor Sunny Kulathakal and business editor Elizabeth Kulathakal in Istana prior to his official visit to Bahrain.


GOPIO Intl Coordinator Kulathakal with Singapore President S.R. Nathan 

Mr Kulathakal, who is also GOPIO's International Co-ordinator, met the Singapore President at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa on Nov. 23rd. Mr Nathan arrived in Bahrain on Sunday for a state visit, which will last several days. He was welcomed on arrival by Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Muharraq Governor, ambassadors of both countries and Shura Council second deputy chairman Alice Samaan









The first Indian film festival was held in Trinidad and Tobago on November 17-23 with a selected series of Indian movies shown at local cinemas. The event was organized to mark the 75th year of Indian films being shown in theaters in that country. The Indian High Commissioner in the Twin Island Republic, along with several local media and business organizations, pool their efforts to put together the first ever Indian film festival at Movietown, Port-of-Spain and Chaguanas to treat movie-lovers, a large percentage of whom are of Indian origin, to some oldies and classics of yesteryear.


Mr. Malay Mishra, the Indian High Commissioner, for that country, stated that the film festival has showcased several movies which were huge hits over the years. The festival highlighted movies in Hindi, Rajasthan, Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Marathi, all different dialects of the Indian Sub-continent.The films that were shown included, "Dharam", "Kanchivaram", "Kutty Srank", "Gulabi Talkie", "Dulha Mil Gaya", "Harish Chandrachi Factory", "Dev D", "The White Elephant", "Janala", "Haat: The Weekly Bazaar" and "Little Zizou".


The movies were sponsored by the Indian government's Directorate of Film Festivals. The first ever Indian movie came to Trinidad and Tobago in the 1940s. Since then, like many other countries where East Indians are settled, Indian movies became a large part of that country's cultural landscape. It was one medium that allowed the Indentured ancestors to connect with their ancestral motherland.




Australia is no longer desired destination for Indian students. Many thousand Indian students have left Australia since last year in the wake of racial attacks in which some students were killed, several injured. Australia also made stricter rules on admission of Indian students who were primarily seeking admission to obtain permanent residence status. There are some other factors too, such as slowdown in the economy which has dried up jobs for the students in Australia, denial of permanent residency to students who after graduation fully meet the requirements and strength of Australian dollar which has made higher education in Australia more expensive for Indians. Australia education industry still earns Aus$18 billion annually.


Indian students seeking foreign education are turning to Canada. Out of 150,000 Indian students who enrol in foreign universities for higher education each year, Canada gets only about 3,000. The United States got over 100,000 students last year. This year, Canada is making a bold attempt to attract more Indian students. During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Canada in last June, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on higher education. A delegation of 15 Canadian university presidents visited India between Nov 15 and 22 to recruit Indian students. They also announced that Canadian universities would be offering $4 Million in scholarships to Indian students. Indian students seeking admission in foreign universities may find Canada welcoming them with open arms.




The Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce Industry & Agriculture (MACCIA) have organized Global Maharashtra Conference & Trade Fair 2011, from 5th to 9th January, 2011 at Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India.


  • To Provide a Platform for local Industries to register themselves as a supplier to global supply chain
  • To identify and explore new business opportunities in the era of global economic slow down
  • To build a strong business linkage to fulfill the heightened quest for cost effectiveness in today's economic environment
  • To promote networking among the industrialists, traders, importers, large and Medium & Small enterprises
  • To showcase the strength and core competence of local industry for promotion of outsourcing
  • To provide an insight in recent changes and tomorrows challenges in order to facilitate transfer of technology to local industry


For more details, visit;

Contact: Atul Kulkarni at

Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture (MACCIA), Oricon House, 6th Flr., 12, K.Dubhash Marg, Fort Mumbai - 400 001




A week-long festival of all things Indian held in western Sydney as part of the NSW Government's plan to inject $500 million into the state's weak economy.  Dubbed ''Parramasala'', the festival of Indian art, music and film in Parramatta's streets and laneways joined an already crowded calendar of food and wine, music and arts events held in NSW this year, began with the opening of the Sydney Festival.


Launch of the state's major events program at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Premier, Kristina Keneally, said the Australian Festival of South Asian Arts hoped to capitalise on the huge Indian population in the Parramatta area. Playing on the Hindi word masala, which means mix, Parramasala held from 4 November to 7 November 2010 highlighted the Indian calendar, Diwali, the Festival of Lights.


Ms. Keneally said plans for the festival were ''particularly pertinent'' at a time when Australian-Indian relations were being tested over a spate of attacks on Indian students, particularly in Melbourne. Ms Keneally and delegates from government agencies will meet Indian community leaders next month about safety concerns.


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


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


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

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


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

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

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


To become a Life member of GOPIO, one can sign up online at or fill up the form and send it with a check to: GOPIO International, PO Box 560117, New York NY 11356, USA.



Chief Editor: Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and Chairman Emeritus, GOPIO (Stamford, CT, USA)

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

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

Contributors of this issue: Inder Singh (GOPIO Intl., USA), Sangeeta Ahuja (GOPIO Intl, USA), Nami Kaur (GOPIO/NFIA, Yonkers, NY, USA), Bina Mahabir (Guyana-USA); K N Gupta (New Delhi); Ashok Motwani (Mumbai); Shefali Mehta (New Zealand); Harmohan (Harry) Walia (Australia), Sam Kannappan (Houston, USA), Dr Piyush Agrawal (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