__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 1


CONTENTS

August 2014

06

06 lotus Blooms overseAs BJP expands its overseas chapters at a rapid pace

14 us CongressmAn’s modi pitCh Eni Faleomavaega speaks highly of PM Modi in Congress

12

14

12 16

meeting with ms priti pAtel Canadian doctor duo meets UK Cabinet Minister

16 new FloridA temple Temple Manav Mandir is coming up 25 miles away from Kennedy Space Centre

18 indiAns in CAriBBeAn Agenda for change

22 AimA AwArds A promise to stop brain drain

26 guAdeloupe A journey into French West Indies

18


Cover Story

BLOOMING

LOTUS There is an unmatched flurry of activity as far as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s overseas activities are concerned. It is a sign that the party’s engagement with overseas Indians that received a break after the first two Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (January 2003 and January 2004) functions during the Vajpayee Government are back on track. For several months now, the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) has been opening up the party’s chapters all over the world with a great deal of gusto, fanfare, and public support. In the last few months chapters have been opened across four continents. We take a look at the rapid expansion of BJP’s activities which are roping in Indians all over the world with the aim of furthering economic and cultural ties between India and its diaspora. It all started when nearly 160 registered delegates of Indian origin attended the Overseas Friends of BJP Global Meet in New Delhi on January 7, 2014. The assembled delegates raised hands and vowed to make “Narendra Modi the next Prime Minister of India.” BJP President at the time, Mr Rajnath Singh honoured Mr Mahendra Chaudhary, former Prime Minister of Fiji for “global fight for democracy”, Lord Raj Loomba, CBE from U.K. for his work on “welfare of widows” and Mr Y.P. Reddy, also from Fiji, for his work on “welfare of Girmitiyas.” A video film on the history and progress of BJP titled “BJP Ke Badhte Kadam” directed by OFBJP convenor Mr Vijay jolly was screened. A 10-point OFBJP agenda to connect NRIs and PIOs with family and friends in India was released by Mr Jolly along with OFBJP coconvenors Amit Thaker, Dr Rajni Sarin and Raj K Purohit. The assembled NRIs supported an OFBJP resolution to allow eligible NRIs to vote through postal ballots in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls

By Sayantan Chakravarty Canada and USA In September, the OFBJP held programmes in the USA and Canada. In Vancouver, Mr Jolly unfurled the Indian tricolor to celebrate India’s 68th Independence Day. A pro-

gramme was organized by Mr Aditya Tawatia, President OFBJP, British Columbia at Bombay Banquet Hall located in Surrey, Vancouver—a central area predominantly inhabited by NRIs and PIOs.

Full House at OFBJP Global Meet on January 6, 2014 at New Delhi 6

india empire | august 2014


American Sikhs in Baltimore Gurdwara present memorandum to OFBJP leader Vijay Jolly and Colonel Rajyavardhan Rathore demanding action against culprits in 1984 Sikh genocide in India

Consul General of India Hon'ble Ravi Shankar Aisola participated in the program as the Chief Guest. OFBJP Global Convenor Vijay Jolly graced the occasion as Guest of Honour and unfurled the National Indian flag at the overcrowded public program in Canada. A book on Prime Minister Narendra Modi titled- A Political Biography in Punjabi language was released by Mr Jolly along with Mr Aisola and Mr Tawatia at the program. Homage was paid to Indian freedom fighters Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru, Sukhdev and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and others. A cultural program of Bhangra, Bharat Natyam and Ghazals were performed by local artists. The American Sikh community in Maryland, USA accorded a grand reception to visiting BJP leaders from India Shri Jolly and Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore, Indian Member of Parliament at Baltimore Gurdwara. During the 12 days tour, BJP leaders visited 10 major US cities of Los Angles, Dallas Texas, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, New Jersey, New York, Cherry Hills, Maryland and Washington DC. They addressed large gatherings of Indian Americans who loudly cheered the new BJP Government of India led by Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi. It was a whirlwind tour for the PM’s September 28 New York programme at Madison Square Garden. Mr Jolly and Col. Rathore were honoured with Saropas and momentos at the Baltimore Gurdwara. A memorandum addressed to Indian PM demanded action against the culprits who participated in the 1984 Sikh genocide in India. Concerns were loudly expressed over the fact that despite 30 years having passed and the culprits still roaming freely has deeply hurt the sentiments of Sikhs throughout the World. There was a loud chorus “Bole So Nihal- Sat Sriya Kaal”. Mr Jolly and Col Rathore addressed the Sikh sangat. At Los Angeles, OFBJP US President Mr. Chandra Kant Patel, LA Convenor Mr. P. K. Nayak, along with a large contingent of BJP supporters greeted the OFBJP leaders. Mr Jolly drove to the residence of US Congressmen and Chairman Foreign Affairs Committee Mr. Edward R. Royce at Los Angles. Both leaders had a 45-minute meeting on IndoUS relations. Mr Jolly visited BAPS Swami Narayan Temple at LA

OFBJP Convenor Vijay Jolly presenting Poem Book on Narendra Modi to UMNO Secretary General and Malayasian Tourism Minister Mr Tengku Mansor

BJP President Rajnath Singh during launch of BJP Hong Kong

OFBJP Convenor Vijay Jolly addressing NRIs in Italy and Nigeria through video conference

OFBJP in Sydney, Australia

august 2014 | india empire

7


Cover Story

Mr Jolly greeting the Leader of Opposition in Japan, Mr Kaieda Banri, in Tokyo

Run for Unity by OFBJP in Oslo, Norway led by Mr Mohan Singh Varma, Convenor, and others

Chino Hills and offered floral greetings on behalf of Mr. Amit Shah. Swami Sarv Darshan, head of the BAPS temple, blessed Mr. Jolly and his mission in USA. Mr. Jolly attended a successful OFBJP Vancouver, Canada program celebrating 68th India Independence Day at Surrey in British Columbia. The Indian Consul General Mr. Ravi S. Aisola attended the program. OFBJP launched in Malaysia OFBJP Convener Shri Vijay Jolly visited Malaysia in July and successfully launched the new OFBJP Malaysia chapter at Spice Garden, Kuala Lumpur. Shri Pradeep Batra a prominent NRI businessman in Malaysia was nominated as the Convenor OFBJP Malaysia to a thunderous applause by a huge gathering assembled on the occasion. Present were Hon’ble Health Minister of Malaysia Dato Sri Dr. S. Subramanium, Indian High Commissioner Shri T.S. Tirumurti, Deputy High Commissioner Mr. Acquino Vimal, Malaysian top bureaucrat Datuk Dr. (Mrs.) Rebecca, prominent Indian hotelier Shri Ashok Khetrapal and Solicitor and Chairman Gandhi Memorial Trust, Malaysia S. Radha Krishnan. OFBJP Convenor Shri Jolly met Shri Tengku Adnan Bin Tengku Mansor, Secretary General of United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the ruling party of Malaysia. He is currently Minister of Federal Territories in the Government of Malaysia led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. The Secretary General of UMNO conveyed his party’s congratulations for Shri Narendra Modi and BJP’s win in Indian elections. RUSSIA / LITHUANIA In May, the Global Convenor of BJP Overseas Affairs Mr. Vijay Jolly launched with great fanfare the new OFBJP Chapters in Russia and Lithuania recently. BJP National Secretary Ms Arti Mehra accompanied him as the Special Guest of Honor. Special announcements were made for Convenor OFBJP Russia Mr. Sammy Kotwani and Convenor OFBJP Lithuania Wing Commander (Retd.-IAF) Mr. Rajinder K. Chaudhary, VSM. Good wishes from senior BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishan Advani, Narendra Modi, Sushma Swaraj , Arun Jaitley, Murli Manohar Joshi, Venkaiyah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Ram Lal, Ananth Kumar, Ravi Shankar 8

india empire | august 2014

OFBJP Convenor Vijay Jolly flanked by prominent NRIs at OFBJP Thailand launch program

OFBJP Global Convenor Vijay Jolly speaking at the OFBJP Russia launch program at Moscow

BJP leaders in Lithuania (L-R) Ex. Foreign Minister and MP Audronius Azubalis, diplomat Miss Zivile, Arti Mehra, Vijay Jolly, LOP and Ex. PM Andrius Kubilius


Cover Story

Prasad, JP Nadda, Murlidhar Rao, Amit Shah, M.A. Naqvi, Shah Nawaz Hussain, Piyush Goyal, Smriti Irani, Vasundhra Raje Scindia, Shiv Raj Singh Chauhan and Raman Singh, CoConvenors OFBJP Rajni Sarin, Amit Thaker and Raj Purohit etc. were conveyed to NRI and PIO community overseas by Mr. Jolly and Ms. Mehra. POLAND / LATVIA / UKRAINE / LITHUANIA OFBJP Convener BJP Overseas Affairs Shri. Vijay Jolly under took a whirlwind tour of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine for exploring new OFBJP chapters in Europe. BJP supporters greeted OFBJP leader Mr Jolly with great enthusiasm in Warsaw (Poland), Riga (Latvia), Vilnius (Lithuania) and in Kiev (Ukraine). The historic victory of BJP and the charismatic leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri. Narendra Modi were roundly applauded everywhere. OFBJP leader Vijay Jolly was greeted by the Indian Ambassador in Poland Mrs. Monika Mohta and OFBJP Poland Convenor Mr. J.J. Singh. Prominent young Polish Member of Parliament Mr. Michael Szczerba greeted BJP leader Mr. Jolly at the Sejm (Polish Parliament). The Indian community greeted Mr. Jolly on his visit to the historic Hindu temple in Warsaw by temple President and prominent businessman Mr. Rajesh Bojwani. A grand reception was organized in down town “Bollywood Lounge” by OFBJP Poland leaders to celebrate BJP and Mr. Modi ji’s historic victory in Indian Parliamentary polls. IRELAND OFBJP Global Convener Mr Vijay Jolly recently travelled to Dublin, Ireland to launch and inaugurate the new OFBJP (Overseas Friends of BJP) chapter. The keynote address was delivered by Lord Raj Loomba, Member House of Lords, United Kingdom. Earlier Ireland Dublin City Council Mayor Hon’ble Christy Burke welcomed and greeted OFBJP Convener Mr Jolly at the local city council hall. Indian Ambassador Ms Radhika Lokesh was also present on the occasion. A book of Dublin in poetry and songs titled “If Ever You Go” was presented to BJP leader Mr Jolly. A Lord Ganesh statue was presented by Mr Jolly to the Mayor. Warm good wishes of “Friendship and Goodwill” on behalf of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and BJP President Mr. Rajnath Singh were conveyed to the citizens of Ireland.

OFBJP Convenor Vijay Jolly with Indian Ambassador in Poland Smt. Monika Mohta at Warsaw

OFBJP Convenor Vijay Jolly greeting Indian Ambassador to Ukraine, Mr. Rajiv K. Chander, at Kiev

OFBJP Convenor Vijay Jolly welcomed at Riga, Latvia

HONG KONG / NIGERIA / AUSTRALIA / JAPAN The Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party (OFBJP) led by Mr Vijay Jolly has been actively and aggressively promoting the party’s investment, political and cultural policies across the diaspora in these countries. NORWAY / THAILAND The Overseas Friends of the BJP has been meeting likeminded people in the Indian diaspora to garner support for the party in the coming days in these nations. Also the party would like to strengthen its outreach among the Indian com❐ munity in these countries. 10 india empire | august 2014

Ireland Dublin Mayor Mr Christy Burke, Mr Vijay Jolly flanked by Indian Ambassador Smt. Radhika L. Lokesh


UK DIASPorA

CANADIAN DUO MEETS MINISTER PATEL

Dr Vanessa Rambihar and Dr Vivian Rambihar

UK Cabinet Minister Priti Patel

Toronto cardiologist Dr Vivian Rambihar and his daughter Dr Vanessa Rambihar, a new Toronto Family Doctor, met with new UK Cabinet Minister Priti Patel to discuss Indian diaspora heath. Drs Vivian and Vanessa Rambihar were in the UK to present a paper at the Association for the Study of Medical Education annual conference, proposing a complexity thinking for educating health professionals for the 21st century, based on a 25 year experience using complexity science in health promotion and medical education, reported at the conference. They advocate and have used a complexity approach in addressing complex health issues, including the increasing and premature heart disease and diabetes across the Indian diaspora. While in the UK, they took the opportunity to meet with MP Priti Patel in her UK Parliament office, in her role as the UK government Indian Diaspora Champion, the day before a cabinet shuffle naming her to the Cabinet as Exchequer Secretary, a senior role responsible for Finance. Priti Patel studied economics at Keele University and has a background in business, before becoming the first Conservative Asian MP in 2010, and was part of a major change that saw more women appointed to

Ministerial posts. Drs Rambihar and MP Patel discussed the health crises across the Indian diaspora, which includes UK and Canada, and discussed ways in which she can help in her role as Diaspora Champion to address this. She agreed with the need for action and agreed to continue discussion and to offer her assistance in this effort. Dr Vivian Rambihar, as a cardiologist, mentioned the younger age of many people of Indian origin with heart disease, diabetes, heart attacks and death, and they agreed that there was need for new local and global strategies at multiple levels to change this. Dr Rambihar presented MP Patel with a copy of the Global Organization for People of Indian Origin 25th Anniversary Jubilee Magazine, from the recently highly successful celebration of this event in Trinidad in May 2014, where Dr Rambihar received an award for contribution to health promotion across the diaspora. Dr Vivian Rambihar has been the Health CoChair for GOPIO, advocating for health for over 25 years, and also presented MP Patel with a copy of his book on the subject, and a paper written with Dr Vanessa Rambihar on “Time for Health across the Diaspora,” available online. ❐

12 india empire | august 2014


LABA’s New Patron

From left Rani Mahal, Vice President of LABA, Lata Dattani Events Manager at LABA, Japsal Singh Minhas LABA’s President, Fiona Lambert Brand Director at George, Robert Watson Director of LABA and Raja Mahal Board Member of LABA

The President of LABA Jaspal Singh Minhas has announced that George at ASDA based at Magna Park in Leicestershire is now a patron of LABA. The contract was signed at the LABA Women Awards 2014 launch ceremony. Fiona Lambert the Brand Director at George said “we are absolutely delighted to forge this link with LABA and the vibrant communities it represents. It is based on a sound business proportion of meeting customer needs, as an employer and increasingly as partner is supply chains. At George we are keen to be an integral part of the local community. In Leicester and Leicester-

shire the British Asian community makes a significant contribution to the economic vitality of the region and the country. I am absolutely delighted that George will be LABA’s patron in supporting a number of activities, including an award for the prestigious Women’s Awards in October 2014” confirmed Fiona. “Added to this said Jaspal Singh Minhas “we are developing a number of initiatives around recruiting young people to join the world of fashion and design. Jointly hosting seminars and roadshows with George at local schools, colleges and ASDA local stores.” ❐

august 2014 | india empire 13


INDo-US reLAtIoNS

FALEOMAVAEGA’S PROMISING REMARKS In late July at the hearing on U.S.-India relations under the Modi Government, the first hearing held in the U.S. Congress since India’s 2014 elections, Ranking Member Eni F. H. Faleomavaega released the following statement:

Mr. Chairman: As Prime Minister Modi said, “Good days are coming.” I agree. I am grateful to Heavenly Father for good days – and good friends. I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to personally thank you, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Bera for your support, thoughts and prayers during my time of recovery. I also thank the Members of this Subcommittee as well as my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives. I am grateful to each of you and very grateful to be back working with you on the important issues facing Asia and the Pacific. I believe together we still have a difference to make. And so, I thank you for holding this important hearing at my request on U.S.-India relations under the Modi government. History will remember India’s 2014 elections as unprecedented. I will remember the 2014 elections as an epoch triumph because – on May 16, 2014 – in the most Congressman Faleomavaega

14 india empire | august 2014


historic elections since India’s independence – Shri Modi won India in a landslide victory that gave Shri Modi the most decisive mandate for an Indian Prime Minister in three decades despite the United States using every recourse it could to disrupt his destiny. No doubt, Prime Minister Modi’s destiny is to lift up the masses, assure social justice, and bring new hope for any and all who, like him, step forward and transform challenges into opportunities by sheer strength of character and courage Prime Minister Modi’s victory is India’s victory. It is our victory, too, and I join with the people of India in celebrating a new dawn of development for all. The U.S.-India partnership should be, could be, one of the most defining of the 21st century. While it is shameful that the United States failed to develop a strong friendship and comprehensive partnership with Shri Modi when it mattered most, I thank Prime Minister Modi for accepting President Obama’s invitation to meet at the White House on September 30 of this year. Prime Minister’s willingness to put the past in the past is a testament to his track record of good governance. He is a selfless leader who puts India first. In recognition of his visit to our Nation capital, I join with my colleagues in calling upon the House and Senate Leadership to invite Prime Minister Modi to address a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress. I commend the co-chairs of the House Caucus on India and Indian Americans and their counterparts in the Senate, and also Congressman Brad Sherman, Congressman Ami Bera, Mr. Sanjay Puri of the Alliance for U.S.-India Business (AUSIB), and all those who are working together for this purpose. I also thank Mr. Puri for introducing me to Shri Modi in 2010. In 2010, Shri Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat and I was Chairman of this Subcommittee. I flew to Gujarat to meet the Chief Minister at his residence. I knew then what I know now. Shri Modi is dedicated. He is determined. He is dynamic. He is different. He is the key

player for improved relations between the U.S. and India. Today he is the leader of the world’s largest democracy, and I have every confidence he will cut across caste, creed and religion and bring alive the dreams of over a billion Indians, and a world that needs his leadership. As a man of vision and action, he, together with each and every citizen of India, will create something special – an India of sustainable development and inclusive growth and an India that will rightfully assume its place in the political and economic affairs of this world. You can be assured Prime Minister Modi will usher in India’s new era. And the U.S. would be wise to support his goals. India “will not threaten nor be intimidated by any country.” India will deepen partnerships regionally and globally in areas of defense, nuclear energy, space research, and trade and investment. India will also invest heavily in infrastructure, affordable housing, healthcare, education, and clean energy. India will advance the interests of the developing world and lead the way in establishing a new model for maintaining stability without constraining growth. Prime Minister Modi will devote it all to eradicate poverty. Good days are coming – no matter the pundits and critics who have too long maligned Shri Modi and his supporters. And so, once more, I congratulate Shri Modi on his path-breaking campaign, and I praise BJP Party President Singh for working shoulder-to-shoulder with Shri Modi to ensure that the spirit of democracy has triumphed. I also commend Mr. Sanjay Puri for championing the cause and work of Shri Modi in Congress at a time when others were not courageous enough, and for holding firm even though he was also unjustly and wrongly maligned. Above all, I praise Prime Minister Modi. From his beginnings as a son of a tea seller to a ground-breaking victor, I wish Shri Modi every success on his poetic journey forward as the Prime Minister that the people of India have ❐ long-awaited.

august 2014 | india empire 15


INDIANS IN USA

NEW FLORIDA TEMPLE

M

anav Mandir Temple Brevard is coming up at Suntree community in Brevard County, Florida, about 25 miles from the Kennedy Space Centre Its grand opening rituals, titled Pranpratistha Kumbhabhishekham, include Shobha Yatra (parade of utsav murtis), Garbhagruh Navratan Dan (donation of navratan to God), Kalash Yatra (procession of kalasha filled with water), Gayatri Havan, Yantra Sthapna, Panch Dhatu Murti Sthapana, Sthapna Aarti, Mala Arpan, Mukut Shringar, First Darshans, Chavi Darshan (one young girl holds mirror in front of God), Annkut, First Aarti, Community Aarti, Gopuram Abhishakams, Dhawaja Sthapna, pujas, tilakam, satsang, stuti dance, etc. Lunch and dinner will be served 16 india empire | august 2014

on all three days. Meanwhile, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) has applauded efforts of temple management and area community for realizing this wonderful Hindu temple complex. Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that this new temple would help in this direction. Zed stressed that instead of running after materialism; we should focus on inner search and realization of Self and work towards achieving moksh (liberation), which was the goal of Hinduism. Deities being installed include Ganesh, Shreenathji,


Rajan Zed

Saraswati, Radha Krishna, Satyanarayan, Mahalakshmi, Durga / Amba, Kartikeya, Shivalingam, Rajarajeshwari, Ram Parivar, Hanuman, Shirdi Sai Baba, Bhudevi, Shreedevi, Venkateshwara and Navagrahas. According to reports, this temple, spread in 36 acres, will include a 7,200 square foot sanctuary, a 35,000 square foot fellowship hall to hold community activities and celebrations, private worship room, two open courtyards, classrooms, etc. Its groundbreaking was held on August 27, 2011. Suntree is claimed to be the largest

master planned unincorporated community in Brevard County. Notable people associated with it include baseball players Tim Wakefield, Cecil Fielder and Prince Fielder; and wrestler Devon Hughes. Brevard County, also known as Space Coast, houses John F. Kennedy Space Center. Mary Bolin Lewis is the Chairman of County Commissioners, while Stockton Whitten is County Manager. Hinduism is oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents. There are about three million Hindus in USA. â?? august 2014 | india empire 17


INDIANS IN CArIBBeAN

AN AGENDA FOR

CHANGE By Paras Ramoutar

I recall the visit by C.F. Andrews, a wellknown confidante of Mahatma Gandhi who visited the Caribbean in the early 20th century to look at the conditions of the Indian indentured labourers. This was the first intervention of the then Indian Government in these parts. Today, we are at the beginning of the 21st century, are faced with a similar exercise, even though the rationale might be different. Now is the time to record our progress

18 india empire | august 2014

and also to chart a new paradigm in relationships between Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and India. Indo Trinidadians since their entry on May 30, 1845 have arrived and have continued to make an indelible, constructive and critical support to the socio-economic, cultural and political development of this twin-island nation. This they have done selflessly and they will continue to do so into infinity. The relationship between India and Trinidad and To-


STRATEGY FOR ENHANCED CO-OPERATION: TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO AND INDIA ●

Bilateral air communications between Caribbean Airlines and Air India. Immediate construction of the Mahatma Gandhi Cultural Centre. This Centre was the focal point of discussions between the late Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Dr Eric Williams. Increase scholarships in such areas as Information Technology, Culture, Arts, Hindi and Sanskrit. Government of India should embark on a deliberate programme to assist in clay, batik, bamboo and craft products through small business. Closer co-operation on the environment, space technology. Aquaculture farming is another avenue for economic co-operation. The Indian Council for Cultural Co-operation(ICCR) must play a dynamic role in cultural projects. Its role must not be restricted to specific Indian celebrations. High-profiled persons should be accorded ICCR Fellowships to visit the Indian heritage and civilizational projects The works of India’s greats—Gandhi, Tagore, ehru and Vivekananda among others must become more accessible and scholarship and awards should be made in their names to our national citizenry. There must be a Permanent Commission to oversee Trinidad and Tobago/India relations. The awarding of the PBD Awards must continue unabated, and must be restricted to high profiled persons in the Indian diaspora…after all India is still in all of us. India can assist in the development of the movie/film industry. There is an urgent need to establish a Diaspora Sec-

bago has shifted from a mere manifestation of cultural and religious ties to the Indian heritage of a large proportion of our island’s population, to a business relationship in real economic terms premised on business pacts. Evidence of this has been seen in recent investments which, although small, have been significant in steel, paints, banking and technical assistance in several areas of technology and agriculture. This marks the new conduct of economic diplomacy that characterizes the Indian approach to the Caribbean. The dynamics of the new global environment have enabled our two countries to overcome the many miles that separate us and realize several new opportunities for deepening our relationships. Following the recommendations of the International Conference of People of Indian Origin held in New Delhi, which I attended as Trinidad and Tobago’s representative, in February 2000, the Government of India established a High Level Committee to find ways and means of forging a mutually-beneficial relationship between the Indian Diaspora which amount to over 27 million people

retariat within the Ministry to oversee the workings, issues, challenges of the Indian Diaspora Globally. It must comprise of a selected few of persons of repute(journalists, cultural activists, religious think-tank) who would be able to visit Diaspora Countries at regular intervals and meet with leaders in the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs to discuss strategies and forward-thinking proposals to further enhance the Diaspora in collaboration with the Government of India. This Secretariat will attempt to diffuse India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru statement he made to all overseas Indians that, “India will not stand by them where their interest will clash with local interest”. This ultimatum remains a standard one even up today, as no successive Prime Ministers or Governments ever attempted to reverse that statement. The Government of India should, with all urgency at its command, embark on an academic study within its educational system to include a course in Diasporic Studies so that the home-based Indian people would become more aware of the beginning and growth of Indians abroad. What about a visit by a Parliamentary Committee to the many Diasporic Countries to assemble the thoughts, feelings, aspirations and also to engender a paradigm on the Global Indian Diaspora. The Government of India should conduct promotional advertising campaigns worldwide in some of the major media to alert the respective countries about India’s new role as a leading member of the BRICS countries, telling the world that India has come of age and investors, entrepreneurs, corporate entities and service organizations could set up shop there.

scattered across the globe, and India. The Committee was expected to outline concrete steps that need to be undertaken by the Government of India to facilitate and strengthen interaction of the Indian Diaspora with the country of their origin, especially their participation in India’s economic investments and technology transfers. Former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vaypayee, in his address to the Antar Rashtriya Sahyog Parishad (ARSP) in New Delhi in 2000, which is the forerunner parley to today’s annual Bharitya Pravsai Diwas (PBD) noted that there were different forces of history that our people, “to leave India and settle abroad. This kind of trans-national movement of people will only accelerate in the increasingly inter-dependent and inter-connected world of the 21st century.” Vaypayee continued: “The expansion of the Indian Diaspora in the new century and new millennium however, will follow a very different trajectory. In the past, people left India out of distress or some economic compulsion, because ours was then a country under colonial subjugaaugust 2014 | india empire 19


INDIANS IN CArIBBeAN

tion. This will no longer be the case in the future.” The early entry of Indian investors in steel and other manufacturing industries have led to a growing Indian business presence in the Caribbean region based in Trinidad and Tobago. Since 1845, two members of the Indian Diaspora have become Prime Ministers. Firstly, it was Basdeo Panday, and the incumbent, Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the first woman, and a Hindu as well. Both of have visited India while in office, and Prime Minister Bissessar was awarded the PBD in 2012. The visits of both Prime Ministers were to a large extent an attempt to explore new prospects for co-operation. Indian banking and insurance interests have made forays into the local financial services industry. Following from India’s continued cultural and religious links, scholarships in various disciplines continue to be offered and Indian professionals have been playing a role in education and information technology. We must continue to add to the cultural frontiers. IndoTrinidadians have made a serious statement via the political arena through its cultural penetration. Like calypso and steelpan which our African brothers claimed to develop and to demonstrate, Indo-Trinidadians can now claim to the production of the famous chutney presentations, which have now been factored on the entertainment stage.

The Diaspora’s contribution to Trinidad and Tobago co-operates with every facet of the politics and sociology as well. One can easily recognize the commonality of the two distinct races in the arena of cultural presentations. The celebration of Divali, Phagwa, Ram Leela, Hosay, yagnas and other cultural episodes is intricately linked as major contributions of the Indian Diaspora. We must never forget the presentations of Divali Nagar which has caused the national and international imagination. The contribution of Indian culture in Trinidad and Tobago is well-noted and it is now being comprehensively documented. Media portrayals continue to improve and expand. Indian culture continues to flourish and the foundations for national reconstruction and inspiration for national regeneration. The claim that cultural relations have a crucial note to play in the unfolding order is not limited to individuals or nations. Indeed, it is being advocated by prominent people the world over—politicians, statesmen, corporate executives, scientists, scholars, artistes, humanists and philosophers. The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has been at the crossroads in this respect. It has promoted the concept of multiculturalism and multi-religions. ❐

Need to re-engage with the Indian diaspora, says UWI principal A call has been made to re-engage with the Indian Diaspora to build a sustainable platform for our own development. Principal of the University of the West indies, St. Augustine, and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Prof. Clement Sankat underscored this point at the opening at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) at Divali Nagar on Friday night. Theme of the international conference, "Towards A Vision For The Indo-Caribbean Diasporic Culture". "This development comes with a strong focus on science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. This is why this conference, dedicated to shaping a vision for Indo-Caribbean Diasporic Culture is so important. Some 169 years after the East Indian arrival in the Caribbeanit provides a platform whereby the link between the East Indian diaspora, the Caribbean and India can be nurtured and harnessed to bring value to our respective countries. We must look to the future," Prof. Sankat said. Prof. Sankat said that the conference would reveal, "we are getting today a broader, deeper and richer sense of our East Indian ancestry, with many more descendantssons and daughters of the diaspora, and the daunting voyage between India and the Caribbean being investigated and chronicled. Many more persons are connecting with their East Indian ancestry, their roots as we say." "As communications become less challenging and as the first hand interchanges occur, new insights and revelations will also occur. Many facets of indentureship may in fact be rewritten as new stories unfold. The work that has been done to date, therefore, steadily updated and intensified. There is still much to be done as we look

20 india empire | august 2014

to a new future with India," Prof. Sankat added. He said that the several East Indian conferences have stocked up a comprehensive body of knowledge has been created—papers, books and journals which can be found in the West Indian Section of our Main Library at the campus and in many other libraries around the world. "This is testimony to the rich chronicle of the East Indian presence and research done by the University of the West Indies to have this recorded for posterity. This information and research that has been garnered will continue to play an important role in the future development of our people as it will give them a better understanding and appreciation of their ancestral roots, the challenges of indentureship and their hopes and aspirations for a better future in the lands of the Caribbean, he said. Prof. Sankat said that as the leading regional tertiary educational institution, the UWI is cognizant of its role and responsibility to advance developmental issues such as the importance of the East Indian Diaspora to contribute to the development of our region. "I can speak similarly to advance developmental issues such as the importance of the African or the Chinese Diaspora in the Caribbean and building links with Africa and China. In this regard, as Principal of the St. Augustine Campus, it is my goal not only to fulfill our mandate to serve as a centre of scholarship, research and learning in a global world but more importantly, to extend our reach and engage our communities including the Diaspora with special emphasis on the historical links of the Caribbean with India, China and Europe."


trINIDAD AND toBAGo

MINISTER ADDRESS

DIASPORA By Paras Ramoutar, Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Works and Infrastructure, Dr Surujrattan Rambachan has called for, "tough negotiations with the authorities responsible for resource distribution and policy formulation". He was delivering the feature address at the opening of the National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) 50th anniversary celebrations at Divali Nagar on Friday night said that the, "attitude we have had of silently complaining about lip service to the support of our culture must be replaced with tough negotiations with the authorities responsible for resource distribution and policy negotiations." "We must become fully participating stakeholders and not appendages, or be invited to contribute after decisions have been made in matters of policy discussions on culture. We must help shape the future and not be shaped by what others think are best for all of us. We must ensure that the destiny of the Caribbean is also shaped by our presence and by our way of life, which has many facets for inspiring economic growth, a value driven society, excellence and prosperity," he said. "The role of Divali Nagar is vastly underestimated in ensuring the preservation and further development of our cultural traditions in a diverse nation. Every year, the culture moves forward into new realms of expression as performers strive for creativity, innovation and excellence on the big stage. The Nagar is both a journey and a destination, but it is also a fortress where the culture is shown with pride and love. The Nagar is an every year restatement of identity and identification," Dr Rambachan said. He said that no nation can survive without the nurturing of the spiritual and intellectual parts of our being. The NCIC has, over the past five decades, regularly invited distinguished philosophers from this nation and abroad, who have addressed appreciative audiences on many aspects of Indian culture, providing great enlightenment. "Our prosperity today is a gift of our ancestors who dreamed of new possibilities for us and practiced self-control to make this a reality. Community cooperation crossed religious and other boundaries and had a spontaneous quality that is rarely seen today," he said. President of the NCIC, Dr Deokienanan Sharma pointed out that the NCIC has been in the forefront of preserving our cultural heritage in Trinidad and Tobago and, has also helped within its limited resources in the revival and preservation of East Indian culture in many of the Caribbean islands where for various reasons the culture had

Dr Surujrattan Rambachan Minister of Works and Infrastructure

been virtually lost. "Much more needs to be done. The interest in the revival is there and a concerted effort is needed far beyond what the NCIC can manage. I hope that the conference will come up with durable solutions to assist our less fortunate Caribbean brothers," Dr Sharma said. Dr. Primnath Gooptar, conference coordinator, said that in considering the future of Indian culture in the Caribbean, while the organization is mindful of the fact that culture is a dynamic thing, never static, ever-changing, it remains committed to preserving and transmitting traditional aspects of our culture from one generation to the next. "Cultural change is, therefore, one of the major concerns that will be addressed during the conference" Joe Ramkissoon, chairman, Organizing Committee, said that this International Diaspora Conference will provide, "a snapshot of Indian Culture as it exists worldwide, and give us the incentive to preserve historical artifacts, cultural relics, recordings and cultural presentations to the international Indian Diaspora." Delegates have come from USA, Mauritius, India, â?? Netherlands, Canada, and Jamaica.

august 2014 | india empire 21


AIMA AWArDS

“Yes, we can succeed in India” By Kul Bhushan

India's Home Minister Mr Rajnath Singh outlines 3-I government priorities: Inflation, Investment and Infrastructure for top managers who were honoured by him at a glittering event in New Delhi

Top movie director Mr Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra says sports and entertainment have great potential in India now after he gets his award for hit movies like Bhag Milkha Bagh and Rang de Basanti

Albert Einstein left Germany and moved to USA where he became famous for his work and the credit for this work goes to USA. Hargobind Khorana was an Indian who worked in USA and was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine. Again, the credit goes to USA and not India. The Home Minister Rajnath Singh started his speech at the annual management awards function with these two references to immigrants with a declaration that the new government wants to stop this brain drain and create an enabling environment so that everyone could contribute to national progress. The All India Management Association (AIMA) awards also posed a pointer for overseas Indians by honouring eleven outstanding captains of industry and trade who had achieved success despite the so-called tough business environment of India. In some cases, they started from scratch and built multi-billion dollar enterprises employing thousands of people. The message is clear, 'Yes, it is possible to succeed in India.' Significantly, the new government is working hard to create an enabling environment for the expansion of busi-

ness and industry. The Home Minister said that government's first priority was to control inflation; the second priority was to encourage investment and the third to create infrastructure. In brief, 3Is. In a few weeks, new policies for manufacturing and infrastructure will be announced to boost the economy and create more jobs, declared Rajnath Singh. The government was trying to turn India into an investor-friendly country to encourage domestic investment as opposed the local investors investing in foreign countries as in the recent past. “We will see how to bring back the domestic investment which has gone out of the country. We have great hopes and strong confidence. Till we revive economy, till we bring back confidence of investors, we will make all effort,” he said in Hindi. “We are making our constant efforts to turn this mandate of hope into a mandate of confidence. We are taking steps to revive economy and as a first step, we are trying to control inflation,” he said, adding the interest rate would come down only when we are able to check price rise. The Home Minister said the NDA government wants to

22 india empire | august 2014


NTPC has been conferred with the outstanding PSU of the year 2014 at the prestigious All India Management Association (AIMA) Managing India Awards -2014 by Mr Rajnath Singh, Union Minister of Home Affairs

make India an economic super power and this government has the political leadership as well as the zeal to do it. When India become a super-economic power then it will also become a super-spiritual power or ‘Jagat Guru’ and regain its glory in the 21st century, he declared.

AIMA honoured eleven top business leaders: Lifetime Contribution Award - Deepak Parekh, Chairman, HDFC Ltd. Indian Multinational of the Year - TCS Ltd. - N Chandrsekaran, CEO and MD TCS Ltd. Outstanding PSU of the Year - NTPC Ltd - Arup Roy Choudhury, Chairman and Managing Director, NTPC Ltd. Outstanding Institutional Builder - Dr. Sengamedu Srinivasa Badrinath, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya. Emerging Business Leader of the Year - M. G. George Muthoot, Chairman, the Muthoot Group. Entrepreneurs of the Year - Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, Chairman and Managing Director, Bandhan Financial Services. Outstanding Contribution to Media - Mammen Mathew, Chief Editor and Managing Director, Malayala Manorama Group.

MNC in India of the Year - Samsung India Electronics Ltd. - B D Park, Managing Director Samsung India Electronics Ltd. Director of the Year - Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Film Writer, Producer, Director. Transformational Business Leader of the Year - Uday Kotak, Executive Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd Corporate Citizen Award - Shiv Nadar, Founder and Chairman, HCL, Shiv Nadar Foundation

In this glittering function, those who announced the citations were outstanding achievers and the recipients made short memorable speeches outlining their motivations and success secrets after receiving their awards from the Home Minister. Every overseas Indian would have loved to hear these luminaries as each one had basically the same underlying message: “Yes, I can do it in India!” ❐

august 2014 | india empire 23


GUADeLoUPe

The ship L'Aurélie sailed from Pondicherry to Guadeloupe in 1854 (left). The Indian workers who went to Guadeloupe

JOURNEY TO FRENCH

WEST INDIES Puducherry, or Pondichery, was the point of departure for many Indian workers who were taken to colonies of France, writes Shubha Singh Indian Arrival Day is commemorated in Mauritius and the Caribbean islands as the day the first group of Indian workers reached the island colonies in the 19th century. It falls on different days in Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Reunion Island and is the occasion for holding parades, cultural displays and a government sponsored official commemoration. Several events are held in December in Guadeloupe to mark the event, but for the first time, the 160th anniversary of Indian departure day to Guadeloupe was observed on August 23 in Puducherry at the Puducherry University campus. Pondicherry, as it was known then, was a French enclave on India’s eastern coast and the point of departure for many Indian workers who were taken to the French colonies. The ship L'Aurélie sailed from Pondicherry port in August 1854 and reached Guadeloupe on December 26, 1854 with 314 24 india empire | august 2014

passengers on board including 15 children. A cultural organization, Souvenirs des Indes and a nongovernmental organization, Ader India organized a commemorative function at the Indian Workers memorial at the University campus. The university campus has a memorial ‘Route of Indian Workers’ that was set up with support from the state government of Puducherry, UNESCO, the French Consul from University of La Reunion from Reunion Island and diaspora organizations in January 2010. It is a monument in the memory of Indian workers who migrated to Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean and the French Caribbean territories of Mauritius, Martinque and Guadeloupe. One of the main organizers of the event, Christelle Gourdine-Mandjiny’s ancestors had gone to Guadeloupe as indentured workers. Now settled in Puducherry and dividing her time between Puducherry and France, Christelle feels a strong connection with Puducherry and its history


Muruganandam Mandjiny and Christelle Gourdine-Mandjiny at the Indian Workers memorial in Puducherry

as the place of departure of Indian emigrants. She was keen to mark the 160th anniversary of the departure of Indian workers to the French island territory. “It was a simple ceremony and our chief guests were Mannar Mannan and G. Bharaty, (son and grandson of the well known Tamil poet Bharatidasan, who opposed the French colonial administration in Pondicherry). The students of Bless Boarding School, who are children of migrant workers from Andhra Pradesh lit candles and sang songs. We explained the story of migration to the audience,” Christelle explained. “Our association goals are to commemorate each year our ancestors’ departure from Puducherry, Karikal or Kolkata, to create awareness about this history among the French and Indian people and to promote the local culture: poetry, folk music and dance, etc.” Guadeloupe is a group of tiny islands in the western Caribbean and is an overseas territory of France. As one of the 26 regions of France, Guadeloupe is part of the European Union. The Indian community forms just over 10 per cent of the population of Guadeloupe. From 1854 to 1889, 93 ships sailed from Indian ports carrying 42326 Indian workers to Guadeloupe. According to Christelle, while indentured workers in the British Caribbean colonies had the right to return to India after five years, it was practically impossible to return from Guadeloupe. The French authorities used various means to prevent their return as it was too expensive. Indians were forced to give up their culture, tradition, language as well as their religion. Some people tried to

maintain their rituals and traditions in secret. In the past few years there has been a revival of the old religious traditions and Indian culture of songs and dance; most of which have a strong similarity with the songs and dance traditions in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu. “I decided to organise the commemoration of the departure from India with the participation of the local people as it’s their history too. Some people know about the emigration to Mauritius and Reunion Island but very few are aware about the West Indies,” Christelle said. She hopes to make it an annual remembrance of a migration that links the people of Guadeloupe and Puducherry. ❐ —Courtesy: www.theindiandiaspora.com august 2014 | india empire 25


reALty MArKet

NEW REITs By Anshuman Magazine The biggest announcement for the real estate sector proposed by the newly elected Government in its Union Budget 2014–15 was the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) being directed to introduce Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts in India. We expect the entry of this much-awaited investment instrument to provide alternative funding channels to the realty sector. Going forward, it will also act as a key enabler for capital markets in the country, and provide investors with exit options. The industry perceives this announcement as the single most consequential reform witnessed in India’s realty sector in recent times, which will have significant positive impact on the market in times to come. Investments in India’s commercial real estate has largely remained out of bounds for the country’s average citizen, as the realty sector so far lacked any monetization vehicle for the capital intensive sub-sectors of the commercial sector. Additionally, since such projects require huge capital inflow, broad based portfolio investments by individual investors has hardly been feasible. A possible solution to this could now be the introduction of REITs and Real Estate Mutual Funds (REMFs). These investment vehicles are characterized by their investment in real estate assets as well as limited liability for unit holders. REITs, for instance, provide low and mid-income investors with the opportunity of becoming stakeholders in a portfolio of real estate assets, which would otherwise have not been feasible. REITs originated in the USA, and following theirsuccess were replicated across numerous economies across the globe. The USA, Australia, Japan and Singapore are among the most developed REIT/REMF markets in the world today, with their necessary regulatory frameworks in place, and significant representation of such listed instruments on their respective stock markets. Meanwhile, although India had issued draft regulations in December 2007, and draft guidelines in October 2013, SEBI was yet to formalize

26 india empire | august 2014

any definite introduction of the investment instrument in the India realty market. The much-awaited clarity on taxation of REITs was provided in the recently presented Union Budget. Long-term capital gains and dividends to investors have also been made tax-free; while Infrastructure Investment Trusts (for Public Private Partnership arrangements in infrastructure projects) were provided a pass through taxation status too. While we are still awaiting detailed guidelines from the government on the implementation of REITs in India, the draft guidelines circulated by SEBI in October 2013 proposed a minimum capitalization of INR 1,000 crore, and an initial offer size of INR 250 crore. At least 90% of the investment was required to be in ‘revenue generating completed’ properties. The minimum subscription size was to be INR 2 lakh, with resident as well foreign investors to be allowed to invest in the REIT. Numerous funds such as Blackstone have already started building a corpus of well-leased or sold completed commercial and residential properties, so that they are ready to issue as and when the Government of India releases its final policy framework on REITs. At a time when the realty sector is struggling for alternate avenues of funding—other than traditional banks and financial institutions—and private players are sourcing institutional capital, permitting REITs can act as a key enabler for capital markets in the country, and provide investors with exit options. Although a detailed clarification on the tax structure for REITs is still awaited, nonetheless, this is a positive move that would go a long way in reviving global investor sentiments in the India market. Apart from a low entry level, this will now provide an avenue for channelizing retail funds into the realty sector. Once formally introduced by SEBI, the instrument will provide for a safe and diversified investment option at reduced risks—all under professional management, to ensure ❐ the highest returns on investment. —The author is CMD, CBRE South Asia Pvt. Ltd.


MeDICAL toUrISM

USD 6 BILLION MARKET

E

ven though India has yet to develop a fully dedicated website for marketing its existing super medical facilities to tour operators and medical facilitators, the Indian medical tourism industry is still anticipated to reach a value of US$ 6 billion by 2018, boosting the number of medical tourists arrivals in India to a projected level of 4 lakh in next four years. The aforesaid estimates are condensed in a paper on Medical and Wellness Tourism, brought out by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with RNCOS, however, adds that the Indian medical tourism industry in value terms would be growing at CAGR of 20 per cent between 2014-18. Currently, the size of medical tourism industry in India in value term is estimated at little over US$ 3 billion with tourists arrivals estimated at 2.3 lakh. Commenting on the findings of the paper, Mr. Sharad Jaipuria, President, PHD Chamber said that since Indian corporate hospitals enjoyed a large pool of skilled doctors, nurses and supporting staff and with its highly skilled doctors coupled with their relevant international exposure, prospects of ballooning the size of its medical tourism would go up many a time in longer future too. “The vast pool of medical professionals, expanding private healthcare infrastructure, growing technical expertise,

28 india empire | august 2014

cheaper medical procedures, world class healthcare infrastructure and government support are likely to boost the number of medical tourists arrivals in India to a projected level of 4 lakh by 2018”, said Mr. Jaipuria. The paper, however, also points out that one of the biggest factors, retarding the industry growth in today’s era of web/internet/cloud computing is the fact that Indian government has yet not devised and developed a fully dedicated website for medical tourism, where PAN India public/private hospitals, tour operators, medical facilitators are listed with all their specialists and best of the doctors. As of now, a foreign resident has to go hospital by hospital surfing their websites and then deciding how to go about the medical treatment they are looking to avail in India. It also further states that in India, there is a stark lack of interoperability. For instance, if a medical patient got treated at one hospital for an ailment and he/she wants to switch to another hospital for another ailment, then the underlying procedure of document preparation, transfer, billing, shifting is in itself a challenge. This is basically because not all the hospitals have implemented computerized systems like hospital management information system (HIMS) and associated software packages in their administrative framework. ❐


INveStING IN INDIA

For the investor, stability and an enabling environment are key decision-making factors. From indications already coming in, several investors are poised to engage vigorously with new state Governments and the central Government in terms of investments across sectors. In the coming pages find excerpts from the India Attractiveness Survey, prepared by Ernst and Young and shared with Invest India and FICCI. In January 2014, India Empire had partnered Invest India and FICCI to put together a day long investment summit known as the Global Indian Business Conference

30 india empire | august 2014


WWW.ey.CoM/AttrACtIveNeSS

august 2014 | india empire 31


INDIA eMPIre BooK exCerPtS

SILICoN vALLey ChAPter

Diaspora Voice Country: USA

G

OPIO’s Silicon Valley Chapter is one of the most active organisations among the Indian diaspora in America. California, especially the Bay Area, is home to a large number of professionals from India. The chapter is truly representative of what can be achieved when Indians of all backgrounds work together for a common cause. As well as substantial work in the social arena, they have taken a keen interest in the political field and have pushed India’s case in the corridors of power in their adopted country. The Unity Dinner, which is a project of the Indo-American Community Federation (IACF-USA) in association with GOPIO-Silicon Valley, is one of the most important events of the Indian-American social calendar. A large number of organisations whether Indian or mainstream come together at this event to send messages of peace and unity to the world. The Bay Area’s ethnic organisations and elected city, state and federal representatives have also supported this endeavour over the years. The Unity Dinner has become a power event and has been attended by the Governor of California, hundreds of senior State and local level politicians, as well as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. “The support from the community at the Unity Dinner has just been overwhelming,” says GOPIO Silicon Valley President Mr Jeevan Zutshi. “It is gratifying to see that the vision we began with in 2002, after the twin towers collapsed, to unify and strengthen the community is gradually being realised. We do hope to keep the annual event ongoing, making it better every year.”

Another area where GOPIO-Silicon Valley played a leading role was during the passport surrender issue in 2010. 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 a fee of $175 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 made. Those 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. When high-ranking officials of India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) visited San Francisco to get feedback from the community on current issues and hardships relating to the surrender certificate requirements, Mr Zutshi and Mr Inder Singh and other leading GOPIO members were part of the delegation that met the officials from India. The GOPIO team reminded the MEA team that

© GLOBAL INDIAN DIASPORA — GOPIO Making an Impact | Published by: India Empire Publications 32 india empire | august 2014


during the last several years, efforts have been made by India to develop goodwill between India and her diaspora, but the rules of passport surrender were causing undue hardships and delays in obtaining visas for visiting India and consequently alienating NRI/PIO communities all over the world. After a massive petition initiated by GOPIO, the fee was reduced to $20 for those who had become US naturalised citizens before June 1, 2010 and penalty fees were also waived. Today, if an increasing number of Americans are aligning themselves with India on Kashmir , it is because of the tireless efforts of the GOPIO-Silicon Valley President. Mr Zutshi and his team have succeeded where officialdom has struggled, by highlighting the plight of Kashmiri Pandits who have become the biggest victims of terrorism in Kashmir. A graduate civil engineer, practicing realtor and property manager, as well as an expert in commercial real estate and lending, Mr Zutshi has been a member of the Kashmiri Overseas Association (KOA) since its inception. The Fremont resident became the founding President of the California Chapter in 1986, and served as an elected Director for three terms and the National

Vice-President from 1989-1991. When the turmoil began in Kashmir in early 1990, Jeevan formed the Kashmir Task Force which became a very important committee of NFIA to educate the US Congress about the violations of human rights of Kashmiri Pandits and to fight Congressman Burton’s House Resolution 87 which asked for a plebiscite as a solution to the Kashmir crisis. These measures have helped in presenting the Indian viewpoint across to Americans. Over the years, Mr Zutshi and his Indo-American friends have organised fundraisers for prominent Senators, Congressmen and other politicians such as Stephen Solarz, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Frank Pallone, Anna Eshoo, Ed Royce, Gary Ackerman, Mike Honda, Pete Stark and John Edwards, who was the US Presidential candidate in 2004. Mr Zutshi has helped organise the Festival of India since 1993 and is a trustee of FIA of Northern California and has served as a delegate of NFIA as its Regional Vice-President. He received “Hind Rattan award” at the 19th international congress of NRIs in the year 2000 in New Delhi. v

© GLOBAL INDIAN DIASPORA — GOPIO Making an Impact | Published by: India Empire Publications august 2014 | india empire 33


INDIA eMPIre BooK exCerPtS

Mr NohAr SINGh

Travel Star Country: Guyana Designation: Life Member

N

ohar Singh was born in Guyana and migrated to the United States of America at the age of 12. He is presently the President and CEO of Travelspan Inc. NY, Travelspan GT (Guyana), Amrals Travel (Trinidad) and Globespan Technologies (Guyana). From a very early age Mr Singh was very sure of the future he wanted and that was to be a successful and distinguished business man, and with that over whelming desire his entrepreneurial skills have always been at the forefront. He is often described as a very versatile individual; simply because his experience spans a vast business arena affording him the ability to relate at many levels to many sectors. He started off his first business Majestic Inc. in 1984 in the clothing and fashion industry with a vision to be involved in presenting quality products. As a result of that vision Nohar was able to design and manufacture his own clothing line by being involved in every stage of the process. In 1989 he ventured out to pursue his first love which was the aviation industry, and after twenty two years he has remained with his first love. During these twenty two years Nohar has acquired a vast wealth of knowledge and experience. He was able to breakthrough many Caribbean Markets like Trinidad by providing top quality, unbeatable service and prices via his “Charter Programs” which was unheard of in his time. His negotiation skills enabled him to venture into multimillion contracts for various types of equipments like the B757, B737 and B767 aircrafts. He was able to move over 120,000 passengers with a staff of 175; allowing him to tap into other markets like Guyana, Grenada and the Dominican Republic. Mr Singh was also able to develop, operate and manage a “Tour Pro-

gram” to service specific leisure markets such as Puerto Plata and Punta Cana. Expanded with over 35,000 hotel contract accessible through his online booking engine Travelspan.com Though being in the airline industry, Mr Singh has constantly kept abreast with the changing climate of the business arena and is always looking and securing other ventures; thereby keeping him in a volatile mode. While he has the interest of business he has endeavored never to leave his roots behind. He has a deep desire to contribute his experiences of business and real life issues to his community and the younger generation. That is why being a part of the GOPIO is important to him. The organization, he says, allows him to give back to his people in a very tangible way. Mr Singh is very much interested in seeing the West Indian future generation carrying with them the knowledge and appreciation of the history of their ancestors. In doing so he thinks we can build a stronger future while preserving history and at the same time forming alliances that will only propel the younger generation to its fullest potential. With his vast knowledge and experience he is a ❐ great asset to the GOPIO.

© GLOBAL INDIAN DIASPORA — GOPIO Making an Impact | Published by: India Empire Publications 34 india empire | august 2014


CoLUMN: yoGI AShWINI

MIND AND BoDy

The secreT of om By Yogi Ashwini Yogi Ashwini

H Continued...

uman being has been on this planet for atleast 5 lakh years of recorded history. And all this time he has thought that only he exists, no one else and he continues to live for himself. When the time comes to leave the body he starts looking upwards, even the biggest of non-believers or atheists do this, but then it is too late and once again the cycle starts. This is the reality of om. It is the reality of OM only that can take you towards reality, that can take you from darkness to light. Besides this, no matter what you do, will get you stuck in the unreal. This was the reason why in the times of Vedas there was no religion. There was onlyshakti and humans would connect with those shaktis and go with them only. There are more than 8 billion people inhabiting the earth right now, and since each person has a specific desire, there are as many desires as well. Have you ever seen two people with the same desire? If two people had the same desire, then they would become one, even the bodies would merge. It is desire that differentiates one from the other and desire that got the creation to start. There are 8 million desires, how many can you fulfill? Even if you fulfill them all, at the end of it there will still be pain. Because that object of desire too will leave you one day, as that too is time bound. So whether the desire is fulfilled or not, you will still get pain. Neither you nor those around you will be happy still. When you cannot even make yourself or anybody else happy then what are you trying to do? Everybody who is in your house, was in someone else’s before that and after your house s/he will go to some other house. If you do not believe in this, you can come to Dhyan Ashram for a past life session to know what all houses have you been in. We had done a past life session at the last havan where a lady went back to her previous life and traced the house where she used to live – a temple in which she got cursed. She went back, found out about the temple and met an old pujari who confirmed the episode of the curse. So she got all the details and is certain that she actually did live in a village in Jhansi in her last birth. But now she is in more pain, unable to decide which is her real house and identity. So much so, that on the marriage in38 india empire | august 2014

vitation of her son, she has got the letters ‘khoob ladi mardani wo toh Jhansi wali rani thi’ printed (since she was a part of the troop). Imagine this written on a marriage card. Think of the emotions running inside her. That is why we do not conduct past life sessions with many, because not all can handle the truth. But the truth is that you are nobody’s, not even your own body and yet you are everybody’s. But to become of everyone, you have to first become your own self, you have to understand your reality. Those small oms are youryonis, your myriad lives, which are a lie. And the ooooomm is real, you are that. Some might still argue – ‘that is also om, this is also om. What is the difference?’ The difference is only of real and unreal. If you go towards the real, then you will reach before time, go beyond the bondage of time. If you stay in unreal, then you will get tied in the cycle of time and stay stuck in the small oms again and again. Think about it, in your life of fifty something, you must have had more than one relationship…If in this life itself you have had more than one relationship, how many relationships would you have had in all your births combined? As soon as one relationship ends, another one starts. Is anyone satisfied with a single person? That is the swaroop of maya, that is reality. The thing which is unreal is real for you because you only want the unreal. Had you wanted the real, you would have left everything and come to the ashram, but you just do not want it. You can see that you are eventually going to fall off the cliff, but you still want take few steps more. You can see the funeral pyre waiting for you but you would rather cover your eyes with your hands and go on a little longer. So keep going on for as long as you please, the end is still the same – pain. This is the secret of om and the nights like diwali, holi, shivratri and gurupurnima are for awakening theshakti of om only. Instead of wasting them in useless temporary things, move towards real from the unreal. Focus on the sloka – tamaso maa jyotirgamayo (from darkness take me to light) or keep going on. Just think of the person moving towards the ❐ edge of the cliff with hands on his eyes… —The writer Yogi Ashwini Ji is the head of Dhyan Foundation, Delhi. For details contact: ashwiniyogi@yahoo.co.in


An inspiring business autobiography of an award winning businessman

Dr. Rami Ranger MBE, FRSA Chairman, Sun Mark Ltd.

His life story is available online from


Profile for India Empire

INDIA EMPIRE August 2014  

INDIA EMPIRE August 2014  

Advertisement