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GOPIO NEWS

June 1, 2011

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

Issue: X-6June 1, 2011
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In This Issue
INDIAN PASSPORT SURRENDER AND VISA ISSUANCE ISSUE - MEA DELEGATION VISITS THE US AND GOPIO SUBMITS MEMORANDUM
GOPIO FETES SPEAKER OF LOK SABHA MEIRA KUMAR IN MIAMI
EIGHT INDO-CANADIANS ELECTED TO CANADIAN PARLIAMENT - TWO BECOME MINISTERS
PRAVASI BHARATIYA KENDRA GROUND BREAKING DONE ON APRIL 28, 2011
PIOs COMMEMORATE INDIAN ARRIVAL DATES IN THE CARIBBEAN REGION
GOPIO CONVENTION TO BE HELD IN TORONTO, CANADA, OCT. 14-16, 2011
GOPIO STILL SEEKING DONATIONS FOR JAPAN DISASTER RELIEF FUND
GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS
NRIs/PIOs ACHIEVE
NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs and PIOs
GOPIO LIFE MEMBERSHIP AND CHAPTER FORMATION
EDITORIAL BOARD
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GOPIO is a community supported non-profit organization taking up issues of the Indian Diaspora and attempting to unifying the community in its common causes. Support GOPIO by becoming a Life Member or chapter member. Once can become Life Member online by visiting http://www.gopio.net/online_membership.html.

INDIAN PASSPORT SURRENDER AND VISA ISSUANCE ISSUE - MEA DELEGATION VISITS THE US AND GOPIO SUBMITS MEMORANDUM

 

High ranking officials of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of the Govt. of India visited three US cities to get feedback from the community on a 'fact finding mission' on current issues and hardships relating to the surrender certificate requirements, OCI, PIO cards and to learn the grievances of NRIs about the VISA issuance. The delegation was headed by Dr. Ajai Choudhry, Secretary, and included Mr. B.K. Gupta, Additional Secretary and Cherian Thomas, Under Secretary. GOPIO representatives met the delegation members in all three U.S. cities they visited.

 

The team met the community activists and members from various organizations on May 22nd in New York, on May 24th in Houston and on May 26 in San Francisco area. The New York meeting was organized the Consul General of India while the meetings were organized by GOPIO in Houston and San Francisco where Consul Generals from both these places also attended.

 

 

MEA Delegation with GOPIO Representatives in New York and Houston 

Photo left: MEA delegation with GOPIO representatives in New York. From L. to R.: Dr. Najma Sultana, Shailesh Naik, Dr. Thomas Abraham, Additional Secretary B.K. Gupta, Secretary Dr. Ajai Choudhry and Sangeeta Ahuja. Photo right:. The delegation at the Indian House in Houston, From L. to R.: Sam Kannappan, Jugal Malani, Ajai Choudhry, Mahesh Shah (in the back ground), B.K.Gupta, Anil Matta

 

GOPIO representatives who met the delegation included GOPIO Founder President Dr. Thomas Abraham, GOPIO-CT President Shailesh Naik and GOPIO Health Council Chair Sangeeta Ahuja in New York; GOPIO-Houston President Mahesh Shah and Immediate Past President Sam Kannappan in Houston; and GOPIO Chairman Inder Singh, Treasurer Haresh Panchal and GOPIO-San Francisco President Jeevan Zutshi in San Francisco. 

 

The team leader, Mr. Choudhry heard complaints and took notes of input from the attendees. He promised to resolve several issues and streamline the visa process. GOPIO submitted the following memorandum to the delegation on the issues pertaining to surrender of Indian passport and issuance of Indian visa:

 

 

Problems relating to issuance of visa to visit India started in the third week of May, 2010. Indian Embassies/High Commissions and consulates started charging $175 USD fee for surrender of old Indian passport and additional penalties for various "violations".  The visas to India were given only after the passport was surrendered and payment of fees and penalties was made.

 

Those people who had lost their passports or could not locate old passports long after obtaining US citizenship could not obtain visa no matter what emergency they had in India.

 

After massive petition initiated by GOPIO, the fee of $175 was reduced to $20 for those who had become US naturalized citizens before June 1st, 2010 and penalty fees were also waived. However, after a few months, the penalties were enforced for those who had become US naturalized citizens and citizens of other countries after June 1, 2005. It continues to be major source of unhappiness, frustration and irritation among the Indian community outside of India, in particular the USA, Canada and Europe.

 

GOPIO supports the GOI policy requirement that surrender certificate should be obtained; but only if the passport is valid. However, GOPIO does not see any justification in surrendering a passport which had expired decades ago.

  

GOPIO Houston Chapter arranged a community leaders meeting at India House on May 24th Chapter President Mahesh Shah welcomed the gathering. Chad Patel, Vice-President presented community's concerns in a well organized power point presentation. Community leaders one by one spoke for about three minutes about their views on the problems encountered due to visa and surrender certificate issues. Uma Mantravadi intruced the guests. Sam Kannappan, Founder President of GOPIO Houston Chapter presented a memorandum requesting changes in the rules.

 

 

Sanjiv Arora, Consul General of India in Houston addressed some of the concerns. Additional Secretary B.K. Spoke very convincingly about the rules by Government of India. Secretary Ajai Choudhary said some of the issues will be taken up soon and others will require longer inter-departmental consultations in New Delhi. Audience expressed satisfaction that their concerns were heard by high ranking officials visiting from New Delhi. Some said they hoped to get resolution very soon.

 

GOPIO Inyernational submitted a memorandum to the high level delegation offering suggestions based on community input:

 

 

 

1.     All consulates and embassies should implement uniform policies regarding passport surrender and visa issuance and this information should be identical on consular websites. In fact, it is preferable that the Indian embassy website should post the set of policies and fees regarding passport surrender and visa issuance and all consular websites should have link to the embassy website.

 

2.     Those who became naturalized citizen before 2001 need not obtain surrender certificates since their old passports are no longer valid documents.

3.     Reduce the passport surrender fee of $175 to $20 if the new naturalized citizen surrenders his/her passport within three (3) months from the date of becoming citizen of the adopted country. If not surrendered within three months, charge full fee of $175.

 

4.     Insert notation on each Indian passport that if the holder becomes citizen of another country, he/she must surrender the passport to the nearest Indian Mission abroad and obtain receipt for surrender.

 

5.     Eliminate penalty fee being charged currently from those who have become citizens of other countries after January 1, 2005.

 

6.     An applicant should not be required to send his original US passport with his/her OCI application. Since the OCI application has been taking longer than three months to process, the applicant should send his/her passport on receipt of approval letter of his/her OCI application from the Indian Consulate or High Commissioner's Office.

 

7.     An applicant who previously had a long term visa should be given short term visa in emergency without completing the lengthy formalities for surrender certificate.

 

8.     Monthly visa camp in Los Angeles should be started again to reduce the number of people who have to travel to San Francisco for consular services.

 

9.     Travisa Outsourcing has so far proven to be a failure. It has added another layer of bureaucracy with inefficient and untrained staff. Neither Travisa office nor the Consulate takes responsibility of the status of the VISA applications. Each blames the other for delay at the cost of the applicants. Element of sensitivity is lacking by both agencies. If Travisa has to be retained as the outsourcing agency, their staff should be trained. The staff also needs to change their attitude and behavior in dealing with the applicants. 

 

Inder Singh, GOPIO International chairman attended the meeting in San Francisco area. He reminded the MEA team, "During the last several years, efforts have been made by government of India to develop goodwill between India and her Diaspora. Organization of annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Mini PBDs, grant of OCI Card and PIO card and establishment of a separate ministry for Overseas Indians are decisions in the right direction and are appreciated by the Diaspora. But the rules of passport surrender are causing undue hardships and delays in obtaining visa for visiting India and consequently alienating NRI/PIO communities all over the world." He urged the MEA team to resolve these issues immediately. 

   

GOPIO offcials with MEA delagation in San Jose, Califirnoa

Photo above: GOPIO officials with MEA delegation in San Jose, California. From left to right: Niraj Baxi; Rajeev Awasty; AshokSinha; Inder Singh; Consul General Sushmita Thomas; Ajai Choudhry; Basant Gupta; Haresh Panchal; Jeevan Zutshi; Ashok Madan; Cherian Thomas and Gursharan Nat.

 

"In the coming months of June and July, many people will be applying for visa to visit India as the schools are closed in Canada and America during July and August.  Prompt resolution will avoid crisis situation which might develop during the coming months," GOPIO urged to the delegation.

 

 

For more info, contact Inder Singh at 818-708-3885, e-mail: gopio-intl@sbcglobal.net.

GOPIO FETES SPEAKER OF LOK SABHA MEIRA KUMAR IN MIAMI

   

The Speaker of the Indian Lok Sabha (House of Representatives) Mrs. Meira Kumar accompanied by members of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) and the Lok Sabha (Lower House) attended a Dinner Reception hosted by Dr. Piyush C. Agrawal, GOPIO National Coordinator for USA at the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami.

 

In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Agrawal emphasized the need for a very balanced and positive relationship between the Indian Diaspora and the Government of India. This relationship, since 1947, has been precarious and needs to be placed on a very solid ground for the benefit of both. 

 

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas of 2003 was a great effort by the Government of India to woo the Indian Diaspora.  But, certain recent knee jerk policies of Government of India, such as the issue of "Surrender Certificate" have antagonized the Diaspora unnecessarily

 

India has the good fortune of having an extremely vibrant Diaspora which always thinks to do something worthwhile for their motherland and the land of their ancestors.  This unsolicited assistance is available to India at no cost.

 

The exemplary support provided by the Indian Community in USA for the passage of US-India Nuclear Treaty is just one illustration of how deeply the Diaspora loves India. Why does Government of India create irritants like the "Surrender Certificate" to alienate the Diaspora is beyond comprehension.

 

 This reception in honor of the current Speaker Ms. Meira Kumar is a continuation of Miami's tradition of hosting Indian Speakers such as Dr. Balram Jhaker, Honorable Manohar Joshi, and Honorable Somnath Chatterjee. 

 

Honorable Sanjiv Arora, Consul General of India in Houston defended the policies of the Indian Government in his sophisticated and diplomatic manner.   The Indian Diaspora in South Florida is convinced of the hard work his Office does to make the public happy.

 

 

Photo below left: From Left to Right: Consul General Sanjiv Arora, Speaker Meira Kumar, Sudha Agrawal & Dr. Piyush C. Agrawal; Photo right: GOPIO's National Coordinator Dr. Piyush C. Agrawal honoring Speaker Meira Kumar with a Commemorative Silver Coin minted at the occasion of First Diwali at The White House embedded on the plaque.

Indian Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar feted in Miami, May 2011

Photo above - Speaker Mira Kumar with invitees to the event

 

Responding to   Dr. Agrawal's comments, Speaker Meira Kumar in her poetic communication also emphasized the need for a good relationship between India and its Diaspora.  She said that the blood relationship is very strong but when the relationship is built through a common mission, it becomes much stronger.  She hoped that the policies followed by India and expectations of the Indian Diaspora would always converge! And thus we hope that this convergence shall produce a strongest relationship between the two.

 

The event was attended by more than twenty different Indian organizations, local intellectuals, academicians, and business and industry personnel. The Speaker's delegation consisted of about twenty people from the Legislative & Executive branches of India.

EIGHT INDO-CANADIANS ELECTED TO CANADIAN PARLIAMENT - TWO BECOME MINISTERS

 

EIGHT INDO-CANADIANS ELECTED TO CANADIAN PARLIAMENT - TWO BECOME MINISTERS

 

Six Indo-Canadians were elected to the Canadian Parliament on the conservative ticket and two others got elected on the New Democratic Party (NDP) ticket. The total tally of Indo-Canadian MPs has reduced from 9 to 8 in these elections. Interestingly all 5 sitting Indo-Canadian MPs from the Literal Party lost and all 4 sitting Indo-Canadian MPs from the Conservative party won.

The winners are Nina Grewal, Tim Uppal, Deepak Obhrai, Devinder Shorey, Parm Gill, Bal Gosal from Conservative and Jasbir Sandhu & Jinny Sims from NDP.

Among prominent Indo-Canadians who lost were former Federal Health Minister and first Indo-Canadian Premier of British Columbia Ujjal Dosanjh, Beauty Queen Ruby Dhalla, Five time winner Gurbax Malhi, Navdeep Bains and Sukh Dhaliwal.

The Conservative party of Canada under the leadership of Stephan Harper has got Majority in Canadian Parliament with 167 seats and NDP forms the official opposition with 102 seats and Liberal party managed only 34 seats. Many Indo-Canadians who were strong supporters of Liberal party supported the ruling Conservative and wanted to give them a Majority Government.

 

TWO BECOME MINISTERS

 

Among the ministers appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper are first time MP Bal Gosal and Tim Uppal. Gosal representing the Toronto constituency of Bramalea-Gore-Malton is minister of state for sport. A Sikh from Mukundpur village near Jalandhar, 50-year-old Gosal, who is an insurance broker by profession, had defeated Sikh stalwart and six-time MP Gurbax Malhi. Malhi himself had created history in 1993 by becoming the first Sikh turbaned MP in the western world.

 

Tim Uppal, a 37-year-old Canadian-born turbaned Sikh from Edmonton, was also made minister of state for democratic reform. This is Uppal's second term in the Canadian parliament.

 

 

However, what shocked many in the Indo-Canadian community was the omission of senior-most MP Deepak Obhrai from the ministry. A six-time MP from Calgary, Obhrai was a parliamentary secretary in the outgoing ministry. Many community leaders, who had pushed his name for a Cabinet berth, were disappointed with his omission

 

It is the first time that there will be two Indian faces in the Canadian cabinet. Former health minister Ujjal Dosanjh of the Liberal Party was the last Indian face in the Canadian Cabinet from 2004 to 2006.

 

 

PRAVASI BHARATIYA KENDRA GROUND BREAKING DONE ON APRIL 28, 2011

  

Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi Thursday laid the foundation stone here for a "Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra" which is intended for discussions and research on the issues of Indian abroad to strengthen ties with the 27 million strong Diaspora in 130 countries. "This Kendra is going to be a major centre of activity for 'Pravasi Bharatiyas'. The centre will have exhibitions and library and other facilities for the overseas Indians," Ravi said in his address on the occasion. The 9,800 square-meter center, in the diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri, would be used to host a number of seminars, exhibitions and will provide a forum for discussion on the issues relating to the Indian Diaspora.

 

Vayalar Ravi at the Pravasi Bharatiya Ground Breaking, April 28, 2011

Minister Vayalar Ravi does the ground breaking for the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in New Delhi on April 28, 2011.

 

The objective is for the centre to be a regular place for discussions and seminars on the issues and matters of the overseas India, their contribution and close association to India and their contributions to their respective countries. It is being built the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) at a cost of Rs.80 crore and is expected to be completed by April 2013.

PIOs COMMEMORATE INDIAN ARRIVAL DATES IN THE CARIBBEAN REGION

 

During the months of May and June, several former British colonies of the Caribbean region commemorate Indian Arrival Day in the respective countries. During the period 1834 through 1920, Indian laborers were brought to several former British colonies worldwide to work in plantations. While some returned to India upon completion of the indenturedship contracts, many remained and their descendants are successful positioned in many prominent aspects of society including academics, politics, professional, business, agriculture, sports and civic organizations.

 

Indians were indentured in fourteen different colonies in the Caribbean Basin/South and Central America as follows:

 

INDIAN EMIGRANTS TO THE CARIBBEAN1838-1917

Year First arrived

Total Emigrants

95% of emigrants from Northern India, 5% from South India

Former British Colonies

 

 

 1838

 

 

238,909

Guyana

Trinidad

1845

143,939

Jamaica

1845

37,027

St. Vincent

1856

2,472

Grenada

1857

3,200

Belize

1857

3,000

St. Lucia

1858

4,354

Former Dutch Colony

Suriname

1873

34,304

Former Danish Colony

St Croix

1862

321

Former French Colonies

Martinique

1853

25,509

Guadeloupe

1854

42,326

French Guiana

1855

8,500

Total

543,861

 

GOPIO CONVENTION TO BE HELD IN TORONTO, CANADA, OCT. 14-16, 2011

GOPIO's Convention 2011 is scheduled to be held in Toronto on September 2 - September 4, 2011. The convention will be a 3-day event with GOPIO of Canada holding its first international event along with its several GOPIO chapters. 

 

Tentative program outline is as follows:

Friday, Oct. 14 (day): GOPIO Meetings

Friday, Oct. 14 (evening): Inaugural Reception

Saturday, Oct. 15 (day): Conference

Saturday, Oct. 15 (evening): Banquet

Sunday, Oct. 16 (day): Conclusion

 

GOPIO of Canada will take the lead, supported by all the GOPIO chapters in Canada, taking the lead role in planning and coordination. The organizing committees are being established. The conference program would be addressing current, relevant PIO/NRI issues.

 

Contact: Jay Banerjei, GOPIO of Canada at jay@jaybanerjei.com

 
 
GOPIO STILL SEEKING DONATIONS FOR JAPAN DISASTER RELIEF FUND

 

GOPIO-Edison and Central Jersey Chapters in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Plainsboro, New Jersey announced a Japan Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Fund.  At the launch of the disaster relief and rehabilitation fund, the two chapter presidents Arvind Sood and Rajeev Mehta said, "Japan and India have accomplished great things together. People of Indian Origin would like to show their solidarity with the brave people of Japan by mobilizing the resources of the Indian Diaspora worldwide.

 

This effort will be coordinated under GOPIO Foundation. All funds will be routed through "GOPIO International" which is a 501 (c) (3) non profit entity in the US. 100% of your generous tax-deductible contributions will go to organization(s) that directly help victims recover from the devastating effects of the earthquake and tsunamis that struck Japan on March 11, 2011.

 

For further details, call Arvind Sood at 732-277-6313, Email: ak-sood@hotmail.com or Rajeev Mehta at 908-917-4081, rajimehta@hotmail.com.

 

DONATE TO JAPAN DISASTER RELIEF FUND NOW

 

One can also send a check to GOPIO International - Japan Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 1413, Stamford, CT 06904-1413, USA

 

GOPIO INTERNATIONAL AND CHAPTER NEWS

 

 

GOPIO CALENDAR OF MAJOR INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE EVENTS 2011

 

June 8 - 9, 2011: PBD Canada (Toronto)

October 14 -16, 2011: GOPIO Convention (Toronto)

 

GOPIO-CT CELEBRATES HONORS FIVE AT SUCCESSFUL AWARDS BANQUET

 

GOPIO Connecticut honored five for their achievements and contributions to the community - Dr.

Madhu Mathur, Dr. Vijay Prashad, Mrs. Vidya Teredesai, Mr. Paul Semanski and Ms. Mequitta Ahuja.

 

The elegant gold, pink and orange-themed event which included a cocktail reception, dinner, dance performances by local artists and live music, was attended by over 200 Indian-American community leaders, supporters and public officials - including Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia, Dr. Ajai Gondane, Deputy Consul General from the Indian Consulate in New York, and former Lt. Governor, Michael Fedele. Also attending, were several members of the senior management team of Stamford Hospital, Silver Sponsor of the event.

 

The award for achievement in arts and letters went to Dr. Vijay Prashad who holds the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History, and is Professor of International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT. He has published several books on world governance.

 

Dr. Madhu Mathur is a tireless advocate for children's health. She is the founding member of Stamford's Childhood ObesityTask Force. In addition, she is Medical Director of the Regional Medical Home Initiative and Chair of the Health and Wellness Committee of Childhood Blueprint Initiative in Stamford.

 

Mrs. Vidya Teredesai was recognized for her community service here and in India. She has raised funds for homeless shelters, Norwalk Senior Center, Evergreen Foundation as well as Women's Hospital in Baroda.

 

Friend of India Award went to Mr. Paul Semanski who serves as a Co-Coordinator for Asha Hartford, which organizes several fundraisers each year on behalf of the Navsarjan Trust Schools for disadvantaged girls in Gujarat and the DF Blind School in Kolkata.

 

The Young Person Awardee was Ms. Mequitta Ahuja, who is a visual artist. Her work has been exhibited across the United States, in Paris, Brussels, Berlin, India and Dubai. In February 2010, she was profiled in ArtNews as "Artist to Watch."

 

In welcoming the guests and dignitaries, Shailesh Naik, President of GOPIO-CT said "we are celebrating the achievements of five distinguished individuals, who deserve our recognition. We

congratulate them and are proud of their achievements."

 

Mayor Pavia said "I am honored to be here to celebrate among friends and am thankful for the warm welcome the Indian community has always extended to me and my wife, Maureen." He also congratulated GOPIO-CT for its five years of service and bringing the Indian community together.

 

Dr. Gondane congratulated the awardees for "bringing honor to your Indian heritage. We are all very proud of you."

 

Mr. Michael Fedele who attended along with his wife Carol said he was delighted to be at the event to honor the accomplishments of so many talented individuals.

 

Proclamations from Governor Malloy to the awardees were read out at the awards ceremony. Sarina Jain who was the Mistress of Ceremonies had the crowd on their feet in a group masala bhangra energy workout, prior to dinner of course! Good conversation, great food and rhythmic Bollywood music by DJ Magic Mike - a celebration of the vibrant Indian-American community in Connecticut.

 

Photo below - GOPIO-CT officials with award recipients and dignitaries Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia, former CT. Lt. Governor Michael Fedele and Deputy Consul General Dr. A.M. Gondane

 

 GOPIO-CT Officials, Dignitaries, Award Recipients at Awards 2011

Photo above - Dancing with Sarina Jain of Masala Bhangra

 

GOPIO WAIKATO ORGANIZES MUSICAL EVENING IN HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND

 

GOPIO-Waikato & INDIANZ fulfilling the value of unity, organized a memorable musical evening on May 22nd in Hamilton., New Zealand. Shaam-E-Awadh Mehfil had a chief guest Dr. Ashraf Chowdhry (M.P.) & Mrs Samina Chowdhry. Many people from Auckland attended the program hled in Hamilton. Many of attendees were originally from Lucknow India (HAMILTONIANS & AUCKLANDERS now) many were from Pakistan & all enjoyed Paan, Shayery & Ghazals, mesmerizing & soulful. Hookah was also ready to taste a puff.

 

To begin with Ganapati Vandana Mrs. Malathi Vasudevan created lot of   positive energy (Marathi) followed by peace prayer. Mr. B.K. Madan compeered & spearhead --Mini Mushaira-- Brijinder Sagar (Auckland) recited  amazing poems of his own composition. Dr. Anis-ur-Rehman recited Zameer Jafri's ghazal. Dr. Rulia Singh Sidhu sang Sahir's ghazal. Som Nath Gupta (Diwana raikoti) read his own composition. Mr.Santosh Sharma & Baljit Kaur sang Panjabi song. Mr.B.K.Madan recited Shakeel Badauni's kalaam. Mohd. Taqi Mehdi recited Faiz's Ahmed Faiz -'mere man mere musafir' which made many a person in the audience emotional.

 

Ghazals   From Shobha ji --"voh jo hum mein tum mein quarar tha, tumhe yaad ho ki na yaad ho," with huge round of applause from audience followed and the gathering appreciated her duets with Arun Khotkar "Kaun kehta hai ki mohabbat ki zuban hoti hai." Arunji sang "Kal chowdhwi ki raat thi shabber raha chehra tera" and then by Viraj Maki "hosh walon ko khabar kya, bekhudi kya cheez hai."The accompaniments included Mr. Hemant Thakar (on Keyboard), Mr. Vijay Murthi (on Guitar), Mr. Vivek Anturkar (on Tabla). Ms Davender Sahni served as the master of ceremony.

 

GOPIO Waikato Musical Evening in Hamilton, May 22, 2011 

Photos above:Photo 1 (L.to R.)  Pradeep Kapoor, Suman Kapoor( president GOPIO Waikato, Dr. Ashraf Chowdhry (M.P. labour Party), Mrs. Samina Chowdhry, Mrs. Shobha Pathak (Ghazal queen); Photo 2 - (L.to R.) Mr. Santosh Sharma (Punjabi geet Singer), Mr. Brijinder Singh(composer & poet), Mr. B.K. Madan (great shaayer & urdu poetry), Mr. Somnath Gupta (poet composer); Photo 3 - (L.to R.) Ranjita Malviya, Suman Kapoor, Mrs D. Srivastava, Mrs. Shobha Pathak

 

"The events success motivated us to have it celebrated  bigger & better as SAALAANA JALSA, as yearly event," said Suman kapoor, President of GOPIO Waikato.  --" To our knowledge the best ever attended by all major faiths in brotherhood of Hamilton & Auckland .It was a unique feature rarely observed in our gatherings. Sikh, Muslim & Hindu had all equally taken part. This concert proved that the amazing poetry can enlighten minds and unite hearts, a powerful binding  factor . Mr. Pradeep   Kapoor was a perfect host with VEGE KING sponsored tasty meal.

 

Contact: Suman Kapoor, President, GOPIO Waikato, E-mail: sumankapoor2002@yahoo.com.

 

GOPIO UPPER NEW YORK CELEBRATES ITS 3RD ANNIVERSARY AND INDIAN ARRIVAL DAY

 

The Upper New York Chapter of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) celebrated its Third Anniversary, and Indian Arrival Day, with a Grand Dinner and Dance at the World's Fair Marina, Flushing, on Saturday, 7th May, 2011

 

The gala event was well attended by more than two hundred members and supporters of GOPIO, and included GOPIO International officials Mr. Ashook Ramsaran and Dr. Thomas Abraham. Both officials brought greetings from the parent Organization, and congratulated the Upper NY Chapter for its many achievements in just three short years. In his remarks, Dr Abraham also challenged the Chapter to develop programs and activities that will attract the participation of our society's next generation, and senior citizens.

 

The NYC's City Comptroller, Mr. John Liu, was in attendance at the event and extended warm congratulations and best wishes to the GOPIO chapter on its Third Anniversary and for its celebration of Indian Arrival Day. Mr. Liu, an Asian immigrant himself and an acknowledged friend of GOPIO, expressed pride at the development and achievements of Immigrant groups in NYC, and paid tribute to the rich cultural diversity that they add to our great city.

 

GOPIO Upper New York Offcials at the Third Anniversary  

Photo above: GOPIO Upper New York Executives. (L to R) A. Singh, K. Jardine, T. Roopnarain, D.Chedda,  P. Singh, S. Sukdeo, J. Persaud, R. Budhram, N. Rambudhan, N. Veerapen, P. Erriah and M. Mangru.

 

The President of GOPIO Upper New York, Mr. Satruhan Sukdeo, spoke of the significance of the Arrival Day observances, and paid homage to our ancestors, the first batch of whom landed in the then British Guiana on May 5, 1838, after a long grueling trip from India. He briefly described the harsh conditions that these new immigrants were subjected to and to overcome. But survival and success they achieved, and we are the beneficiaries of their sacrifices. Mr. Sukdeo also outlined some of the programs and achievements of this GOPIO chapter since its establishment, and had high praise for the diligent and hardworking executive committee that made these successes possible. "No one person by himself can achieve much in social changes and community progress, but as a group there is so much more that can be done" he said. "We are honored to have the opportunity to add the Indian and Caribbean fertilizers that will nourish the roots of the American family tree."

 

 

GOPIO Upper New York 3rd Anniversary - Dr. Clem Seecharan receives plaque.The high point of the evening was the feature address byProfessor of Caribbean History at London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom. Dr Seecharan, of Guyanese origin, made a short but brilliant presentation based on his new book, "Mother India's shadow over Eldorado; Indo-Guyanese politics and Identity 1890s -1930s". He outlined the identification of the Indo-Guyanese with a mythical India which, though nonexistent, serves as a rallying point against a tyrannical, closed existence. Dr. Seecharan traced the development of Indian intellectualism in Guyana, and the rise of Indian voices against tyranny in the colonial British Guianese society. He concluded with new information on the formative Indian political awareness, and the brave pioneering leaders who made their mark during the era covered in his work. The book was officially released at this event, and many of those in attendance seized the opportunity to secure an autographed copy.

 

The evening's program included a well received Bharatnatyam dance venerating Lord Shiva by Priya Madhavan. There were also two excellent poetic presentations by next generation Executive Members of the chapter, Karen Jardine who read Rooplall Monar's poem "Babu", and by Anniesa Singh who read Guska Kissoon's "Let me tell you about myself".

 

This memorable event was also graced by prominent Guyanese academics and writers including Dr Basdeo Mangru, Retired Judge D. Bissessar and Dr. Dhanpaul Narine.

 

The time came for DJ Mike to help the enthusiastic attendees celebrate the event on the dance floor, and he succeeded in keeping them there with an entertaining combination of Indian and Caribbean rhythms. It was a fitting end to a successful Anniversary and Arrival Day celebration.

 

The next event on the calendar for GOPIO Upper New York is its Annual Golf Outing which will be held at the Marine Park Golf Course on Saturday 18th June, 2011. Tee off is at 11:00 am. For more information you may contact Satruhan Sukdeo at 347-429-1924 or at satsukdeo@hotmail.com.              

 

GOPIO-SAN FRANCISCO HOLDS HEALTH AWARENESS SEMINAR

 

GOPIO Health Council held Health Awareness Seminar on Thursday April 28, 2011 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM in Fremont Senior center (in the San Francisco Bay Area) in association with GOPIO-San Francisco chapter.

 

The speaker was Dr. Dalvir Pannu from Pannu Dental who discussed a variety of topics related to dental health and how it impacts the overall health of an individual. He also discussed dental diseases in depth and how those can be addressed.

 

Dr. Pannu also spoke about dental implant procedures and how effective those were compared to dentures and bridges. There was a Q & A from nearly 57 people and Dr. Pannu responded to all questions in depth.

 

GOPIO-San Francisco Health Seminar 

Photo above: Some of the participants at GOPIO-San Francisco Health Seminar with Dr. Dalvir Pannu. GOPIO-SF President Jeevan Zutshi is in the middle.

 

GOPIO Health is a global initiative of GOPIO International's Health Council. The seminars have been started since October 2010 and are held on every Thursday at the Fremont Senior center in the San Francisco Bay area. These are sponsored by

 

The first seminar was held at Fremont Resource center on October 16, 2010 on the safety of foods and drugs in partnership with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other health issues discussed since then have been on Alzheimer, Colon cancer and dental health.

 

The next seminar will be on the Dangers of dietary supplements and the speaker will be Jeevan Zutshi, the author of The Last Smile. The book has a well documented and researched chapter on dietary supplements which will be shared with parents and youth.

 

These seminars are on the last Thursday of every month and are held at the Fremont Senior Center on Paseo Padre Parkway. For more information contact Jeevan Zutshi atjeevanzutshi@aol.com, or Shruthi Reddy at shruthi1.reddy@ml.com

 

GOPIO-TRENTON/PRINCETON (NJ) IN THE OFFING

 

A planning meeting to launch GOPIO-Trenton/Princeton was on May 1st Yardley, PA. The coordinator for this effort was GOPIO Life Member Dr. Greesh Sharma. At the event, the Founding President, Dr. Thomas Abraham of GOPIO International, GOPIO Cultural Council C0Chair Jaswant Mody, GOPIO-Edison Vice President Mahendra Pratap and Treasurer Navin Pathak were present.

 

 Participants at GOPIO-Trenton/Princeton Planning Meeting

Photo above: Participants at GOPIO-Trenton/Princeton Planning Meeting

 

GOPIO has two other chapters in New Jersey, i.e. GOPIO-Central Jersey and GOPIO-Edison. The new chapter will be officially inaugurated in the later part of this year.

 

People of Indian origin (PIOs) living within 30 miles radius of Trenton city including Princeton and from parts of Pennsylvania (Bucks County) are requested to organizers of this new chapter.

 

For more information and participation, contact: Dr. Greesh Sharma, Tel: 267-467-4878, E-mail: drgreesh@yahoo.com.

 

NRIs/PIOs ACHIEVE
 

TWELVE INDIAN AMERICAN STUDENTS WIN GOLDWATER SCHOLARSHIPS 
 
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation has awarded 321 scholarships for the 2011-2012 academic year to undergraduate sophomores and juniors from the US. The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,095 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. One hundred eighty-nine of the Scholars are men, 132 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their degree objective. Thirty-three Scholars are mathematics majors, 227 are science and related majors, 52 are majoring in engineering, and 9 are computer science majors. Many of the Scholars have dual majors in a variety of mathematics, science, engineering, and computer disciplines.
 
The one and two year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.
 
Goldwater scholarships have been a stepping stone to the most prestigious fellowships in the country. Goldwater scholars have gone on to claim Rhodes scholarships, Marshall Awards and National Institute of Health fellowships.
 
The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on November 14, 1986. The Scholarship Program honoring Senator Barry M. Goldwater was designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in these fields.
 
This year's South Asian American recipients are: Utsav Bhat and Isha Himani Jain of Harvard University, Vivek Bhattacharya of Duke University, Apporv Gupta of the University of Maryland College Park, Anjali Yashasvi of Virginia Commonwealth University, Ethan Mallick Hossain of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Shaunak Kishore of MIT, Tara Mahendrarajah of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Aisha Mahmood of the University of Arkansas, Sajjan Singh Mehta of Drexel University, Amar Mirza of the University of Georgia, Sujata Murty of Oberlin College, Faizan Haider Naqvi of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Ishan Ashwin Patel of Oregon State University, Suchita Rastogi of the Washington University St, Louis, Rahul Rekhi of Rice University, Lorenzo Rakesh Sewanan of Trinity College, Vineet Singal of Stanford University, Jeevaka Indrajith Somaratna of Clarkson University, Durga Thakral of Yale University and Adeel Shakil Zubair of St. John's University.

 

FIVE INDIAN AMERICAN STUDENTS NAMED TRUMAN SCHOLARS

 

Five Indian-American students have been named 2011 Truman Scholars by the Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation.

 

Ishan Nath from Georgia, Anjali Bipin Thakkar from California, Veena Irene Patel from Iowa, Niharika Sanjay Jain from Louisiana and Aditya Attiguppe Ashok from New Hampshire are among 60 students from 54 American colleges and universities who will receive the award, which provides up to USD 30,000 for graduate study to students committed to careers in public service.

 

The award is one of the US' most prestigious national fellowships, given annually to college juniors who have demonstrated exceptional leadership potential and who are committed to careers in government, nonprofit or advocacy sectors, education or other public service.

 

FOUR INDIAN AMERICANS ARE SELECTED AS GUGGENHEIM FELLOWS

 

The five South Asian American are winners of this year's Guggenheim Fellowships. They are Arun Agrawal, Professor and Associate Dean of Research at the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment; Choreographer Ananya Chatterjea, Associate Professor and Director of Dance in the department of Theater Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota; Vijay Vazirani, Professor of Computer Science at Georgia Tech and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, professor and Doshi Chair of Indian History at UCLA.

 

Agrawal intends to use his grant for research on what he calls "perhaps the most important long-term threat to the livelihoods and lives of poorer populations - climate change and the challenge of adapting to it."

Chatterjea will use her grant to continue a project she began last year exploring the different ways in which women in global communities of color experience and resist violence.

Vazirani plans to use his grant to use algorithms as "a lens of economics," designing efficient algorithms for computing equilibria for fundamental market models.


Subrahmanyam, Professor and Doshi Chair of Indian History at UCLA, will use his award on "Between Ethnography and Realpolitik: from Europe to South Asia in the 17th Century."

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation this year picked 180 fellowship winners from over 3,000 applicants. The various-sized grants are awarded to mid-career individuals.

 

THREE INDIAN AMERICANS NAMED BY AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES AS 2011 CLASS OF MEMBERS

 

Some of the world's most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The 212 new members join one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy studies of science and technology policy, global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities, and education.

Among the 2011 class of scholars, scientists, writers, artists, civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders are winners of the Nobel, Pulitzer, and Pritzker Prizes; the Turing Award; MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships; and Kennedy Center Honors, Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy awards.

 

Three Indian Americans are named among the new members. They are Shree K. Nayar is professor computer science at Columbia University and has also been involved in artificial intelligence and information technology. Amita Sehgal is at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine with expertise in neurosciences, cognitive sciences, and behavioral biology. Visva Dixit, with Genentech in San Francisco, lists his discipline in the medical sciences (including physiology and pharmacology), clinical medicine and public health.

 

INDIAN AMERICAN SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE WINS PULITZER

 

Reputed Indian American computer scientist Satish K. Tripathi, a Banaras Hindu University alumnus, has been appointed president of the prestigious University at Buffalo (UB) in New York state.

 

Indian-American physician Siddhartha Mukherjee's acclaimed book on cancer, 'The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer' has won the prestigious 2011 Pulitzer prize in the general non-fiction category.

 

According to the Pulitzer citation, the book by the New York-based cancer physician and researcher is "an elegant inquiry, at once clinical and personal, into the long history of an insidious disease that, despite treatment breakthroughs, still bedevils medical science".

 

The Pulitzer for general non-fiction is awarded to a "distinguished and appropriately documented book of nonfiction by an American author that is not eligible for consideration in any other category".

 

It carries a $10,000 award. India-born Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a staff cancer physician at Columbia University Medical Centre. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times and The New Republic.

 

In his book, Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories and deaths, told through the "eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out war against cancer".

 

An award-winning science writer, Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist's precision, a historian's perspective and a biographer's passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with--and perished from--for more than 5,000 years.

 

The "riveting, urgent and surprising" book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist. It is a profoundly humane "biography" of cancer -- from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the 20th century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.

 

"From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave cut off her malignant breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee's own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive--and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease," according to information on the book on Pulitzer's website.

 

The book provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments besides providing hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.

NEWS OF INTEREST TO NRIs AND PIOs AROUND THE WORLD

 

DELHI REALTOR ARRESTED FOR GRABBING PROPERTIES OF NRIs

 

Express Indian New Service reported that a 46-YEAR-OLD real estate developer was arrested in South Delhi on Sunday on charges of land grabbing. The accused, Dheeraj Singh, used to fly abroad and befriend NRIs living there to collect information about their properties in India. Later, he would return to India and, with forged documents, take possession of their property through fake power of attorney, police said. He usually targeted NRIs who did not visit India often.

 

According to police, Singh has two companies -D S Industry and Himland Real Estate -in Punjab and had recently undertaken a construction project in Baddi, an industrial area in Himachal Pradesh. Police said Singh, his wife and brother Ram Niwas was earlier arrested by the Anti-Corruption Branch of the CBI in Chandigarh for cheating Punjab National Bank, Chandigarh, of crores of rupees by taking a loan for the said project on forged documents.

 

According to police, one Surender Malhotra had filed a complaint in January that two persons -Singh and Niwas had allegedly usurped the property of an NRI based in the UK.

 

"The complainant told us that he had been given the power of attorney by the NRI woman in the UK. During investigations, it was found that Singh and Niwas were arrested earlier and are out on bail. Singh used to visit foreign countries, befriend Indians and collect information on their properties in India," said Chhaya Sharma, DCP (South).

 

After getting details, he would select vulnerable victims like old NRIs who rarely visit India but having opulent properties in India. After that, he along with the co-accused, would prepare forge documents of the targeted property of the NRI and usurp the same.

 

Police said Singh visited the UK last year and met Raj Rani in Birmingham. He took photocopies of the documents of her property, located at R-4 Green Park Extension. He then prepared a fake `receipt-cum-possession letter' by forging the signatures and took possession of the second floor of the property, police added. Niwas is yet to be arrested.

 

INDO-AMERICAN COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER VOICE OF ASIA STARTS ONLINE EDITION

 

Voice of Asia (VOA) the largest Indian News weekly in Texas has recently launched a new web portal www.VoiceofAsiaonline.com to reach out to the people where Voice of Asia Newspaper, established in 1987, cannot reach.

 

Voice of Asia has been partnering with GOPIO since its inception. The online edition also includes a service directory to serve the Indian Diaspora across the world.

 

According to Voice Asia editor Koshy Thomas, VOA Service Directory is the answer to many of community needs. The editor said that they would upload live news and pictures of current events. Please explore the way one can use this services to one's benefit.

 

Contact: voice Asia, Tel: 832-419-7537, E-mail: voiceasia@aol.com

 

GOPIO LIFE MEMBERSHIP AND CHAPTER FORMATION

 

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 (www.gopio.net) and get details of chapter initiation (visit http://www.gopio.net/chapter_initiative.htm). 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-intl@sbcglobal.net

GOPIO President - Lord Daljit Rana, UK, Tel:  +44 28-9807-8787, Email: president.gopiointl@googlemail.com

 

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

 

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

 

 

EDITORIAL BOARD

 

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), Dr. Piyush Agrawal (GOPIO-America, Florida, USA), Suman Kapoor (GOPIO-Waikato, New Zealand), Jay Banerjei (GOPIO-Toronto), Shailesh Naik (GOPIO-CT, USA), Satruhan Sukdeo (GOPIO-Upper New York, USA) and Jeevan Zutshi (GOPIO-San Francisco, 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: gopio@optonline.net.
 

Visit GOPIO's Official site at www.gopio.net or www.gopio.com