Positive Pravasi March 2007 Volume 2 Issue No 3

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					   Pravasi                                         March 2007 Volume 2 Issue No. 3




    Bharatiya
    C O N N E C T I N G   I N D I A   W I T H   I T S   D I A S P O R A




                          INDIA
                          Positive




M I N I S T RY O F OV E R S E A S I N D I A N A F FA I R S
                                                                                                                                     Overview
                                                                                                                                 Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs




                                                                                           W
                                                                                                          hen Finance Minister P. Chidambaram tabled India' national
                                                                                                          budget for 2007-08 on February 28, he made it very clear —
                                  Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs                                     sectors that were doing well should be left untouched and
                               9th Floor, Akbar Bhawan, Chanakya Puri
                                         New Delhi - 110021
                                                                                                          sectors lagging behind should be given a boost. Hence the
                                                India                                      budget gave a thrust to the agricultural sector, which many see as one of
                                      Phone: +91(11)2419 7900                              the key players of the Indian economy.
                                      e-mail: info@moia.nic.in
                                                                                              As Chidambaram said, “Agriculture must top the agenda for policy
                                                                                           makers and hold the first charge on resources.”
                 Vayalar Ravi                                Dr. Ranbir Singh                 Another area that the budget has given boost to is education. And a new
     Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs              Director (Emigration Policy)        cess has been levied for secondary education. This is important given the
     Phone: +91-11-24676839/24676837                 Phone: +91-11-24197952/26874247       rapidly globalising world. As the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs
        email: minister@moia.nic.in                     email: diremig@moia.nic.in         (MOIA) has been pointing out, India is set to become the world’s largest
                                                                                           human resources supplier. And in today's world, there is little place for
                Nirmal Singh                               Ms. Sandhya Shukla              unskilled workers, who form a significant chunk of overseas Indian
                  Secretary                            Director (Social Services Unit)     workers.
    Phone: +91-11-24674144/24674143/                 Phone: +91-11-24197918/26874231          This brings us to the budget and MOIA. This year, the budgetary
            24197902/24197991                            email: dirss@moia.nic.in          allocation for MOIA has been hiked to Rs. 500 million. This issue gives
        email: secretary@moia.nic.in                                                       some insight into the various schemes and programmes for which MOIA
                                                           Yogeshwar Sangwan               plans to utilise the budgetary allocation.
                Malay Mishra                                      Director                    In its efforts to tackle the growing problem of marriages involving
               Joint Secretary                          (Diaspora Services Division)       overseas Indians, MOIA has announced a new scheme under which brides
         (Diaspora Services Division)                Phone: +91-11-24197910/26874246       from India who are abandoned or abused by their spouses abroad will get
      Phone: +91-11-26874240 24197906/                    email: dsds@moia.nic.in          legal and financial support from the Government of India. Details of this
                   24197907                                                                scheme are given in this issue.
           email: jsds@moia.nic.in                              S.P. Tripathi                 Ever since Pravasi Bharatiya became a 48-pager since January this
                                                        Deputy Secretary (Vigilance)       year, we have endeavoured to introduce new and interesting features in
              G. Gurucharan                              (Management Services-I)           the magazine. We are starting two new interesting series beginning with
              Joint Secretary                        Phone: +91-11- 24676145 /24197909     this issue.
        (Financial Services Division)                    email: dsms1@moia.nic.in             One is a series on profiles of the Indian diaspora in different countries
     Phone: +91-11- 24676210 /24197916/                                                    across the world. We start off with the diaspora in the Caribbean, where
                   24197917                                    S.K. Khurana                the cricket World Cup is being held. After all, Guyana and Trinidad &
           email: jsfs@moia.nic.in                      Deputy Secretary (Admin.)          Tobago, two of the nine hosts of the World Cup, are home to a significant
                                                        (Management Services-II)           population of people of Indian origin.
                  J. Panda                           Phone: +91-11- 24197908/24676146         The second one is on investment opportunities in India. This series
       Protector General of Emigrants                   email: dsms2@moia.nic.in           starts off with Maharashtra and the various investment opportunities
       (Overseas Employment Services                                                       available in this western Indian state.
                  Division)                                 T.Q. Mohammad                     Meanwhile, the section on diaspora newsmakers has undergone a
      Phone: +91-11-24197972 /26874250             Deputy Secretary (Financial Services)   change. From now on this section will not have diaspora newsmakers
          email: pge@moia.nic.in                    Phone: +91-11-24197914/24676841        alone but also other news about the diaspora.
                                                        email: dsfs@moia.nic.in               When we talk of the Indian diaspora and their interests, can we leave
                Dr. R.K. Verma                                                             out Bollywood? Hence a new section on Indian films and overseas Indian
           Senior Technical Director                            Shailja Sharma             filmmakers.
         (National Informatics Center)                           Director (ES)                All these and more in this issue of Pravasi Bharatiya. Read on.
       Phone: +91-11-24676147/24197913                      Phone: +91-11-24197902
             email: rverma@nic.in                           email: dires@moia.nic.in
                                                                                                                                            — Editorial Team,
                                                                                                                                                 Pravasi Bharatiya


2   PRAVASI BHARATIYA   MARCH 2007                                                                                                PRAVASI BHARATIYA      MARCH 2007       3
CONTENTS
                                                                                               THE INDIAN DIASPORA                                 32
                                                                                               A new series will profile the Indian diaspora in various
                                                                                               parts of the world. It starts off in this issue with a
                                                                                               profile of the Indian diaspora in the Caribbean where
                                                                                               the cricket World Cup 2007 is being held.




ANALYSIS                       16
The 2007-08 national budget
presented by Finance Minister P.
Chidambaram lays stress on
                                       ECONOMY
                                       Policy documents unveiled by the Government in
                                                                                       6                                                                  Women’s Day Special 38
                                                                                                                                                          A look at how the modern Indian
agriculture and education. A                                                                                                                              woman is conquering male
                                       February shows that India’s economy has decidedly
detailed analysis.                                                                                                                                        bastions.
                                       moved toward a period of sustained high growth.




                                                                DIASPORA
                                                                NEWS
                                                                A review of various news
                                                                related to the Indian
                                                                diaspora across the world in   INTERVIEW
                                                                the month gone by.


                                                                24                             40
                                                                                               Mahatma Gandhi’s
                                                                                               grandson Arun
                                                                                               Gandhi speaks about
                                                                                               how Gandhism
                                                                                               remains timely and
                                                                                               topical.
                                                                       MINISTRY
                                                                       BUDGET                                                                             TRAVEL                       42
INVESTING IN INDIA            20
A new series on statewise
investment opportunities in India
                                                                       A look at the
                                                                       Ministry of
                                                                       Overseas Indian
                                                                                               CRICKET WORLD CUP. . . .                       30          White water rafting on the Ganga
                                                                                                                                                          in winter can be an exhilarating
                                                                                                                                                          experience. A first hand report.
starts with a feature on Maharashtra
which looks at the state
                                                                       Affairs’ schemes
                                                                       and projects in the     BOLLYWOOD . . . . . . . . . .                  36
government          policies    and
infrastructure that is coming up.
                                                                       new fiscal.
                                                                                   10          BOOK REVIEW . . . . . . . . .                  46
       Cover Story




    CATCH THE WIND!                                                                                                                          “
                                                                                                    The two issues were sustaining the
                                                                                                 growth with moderate inflation and
                                                                                                 making the growth inclusive so that          Industry and services have done well. Attention is,
                                                                                                 larger sections of the society benefit in
                                                                                                 terms of more jobs and lower poverty
                                                                                                 levels.
                                                                                                    The three priorities were managing
                                                                                                 the high growth, maintaining fiscal
                                                                                                 prudence and high investment level,
                                                                                                                                               therefore, being diverted to agriculture. A plant
                                                                                                                                                needs nursing and not a firm oak tree... Faster
                                                                                                                                                economic growth has given us, once again, the
                                                                                                                                              opportunity to unfurl the sails and catch the wind.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        “
                                                                                                 and improving the government’s
                                                                                                 efficiency in tackling issues such as
                                                                                                 health, education and support for the       more          inclusive       growth,”        His proposals invited praise from
                                                                                                 poor masses.                                Chidambaram said as he enhanced            the Prime Minister.
                                                                                                    These policy prescriptions were          budgetary allocations for education,          “This budget focuses on fiscal
                                                                                                 immediately addressed a day later by        agriculture, water, child development,     consolidation,” Manmohan Singh
                                                                                                 the Finance Minister when he                urban      renewal,       employment       said, adding an attempt was made to
                                                                                                 presented the $148 billion national         guarantee scheme and social security.      address the concerns and aspirations
                                                                                                 budget for 2007-08 in which the                “Industry and services have done        of a larger section of society, especially
                                                                                                 primary focus was on social sectors         well. Attention is, therefore, being       the common man.
                                                                                                 and agriculture with moderate cuts in       diverted to agriculture. A plant needs        Even the Indian industry was happy
                                                                                                 taxes and import duties.                    nursing and not a firm oak tree,” he       with the developments in the recent
                                                                                                    “Agriculture must top the agenda         later told a press conference              past, with both the Confederation of
                                                                                                 for policy makers and hold the first        explaining the main premise of his         Indian Industry (CII) and the
                                                                                                 charge on resources,” the finance           budget.                                    Federation of Indian Chambers of
                                                                                                 minister said in his 100-minute                The Finance Minister said he was        Commerce and Industry (FICCI)
                                                                                                 speech in the Lok Sabha, the lower          also giving a new thrust to agriculture,   praising the Government’s efforts.
                                                                                                 house of Parliament, setting the tone       on which two-thirds of the 1.17-              “India is now poised for the next
                                                                                                 for his sixth personal national budget      billion population still depends, as       wave        of     growth,        having
                                                                                                 and the fourth for the United               also to the small taxpayer and small       comprehensively established its
                                                                                                 Progressive        Alliance      (UPA)      service providers. “Faster economic        strong economic fundamentals




                                  F
                                             ifteen years after India unveiled its market-       government led by Prime Minister            growth has given us, once again, the       through two consecutive years of nine
            A series of policy               oriented reforms programme in July 1991, the        Manmohan Singh.                             opportunity to unfurl the sails and        percent plus economic growth,” said
                                             nation’s economy has decidedly moved toward a          “The declared objective is faster and    catch the wind.”                           CII president R. Seshasayee.
        documents unveiled
                                             period of sustained high growth, which should
         by the Government                                                                                                                                               The fact that the fiscal
                                  help the Government to play an even more proactive role
      and other agencies in       in making this boom inclusive.                                                                                                    consolidation programme is on
        February, including         This was the essence of a series of policy documents                                                                               target (means that) we are
      the Economic Survey         unveiled by the Government and other agencies in                                                                                 moving in the set direction. That
         for 2006-07, shows       February, including the Economic Survey for 2006-07,
                                                                                                                                                                     itself should be an assurance
       that India’s economy       which is often called the annual report card on the state of
                                  the Indian economy presented by the Finance Ministry.                                                                            that inflation will not be allowed
       has decidedly moved
                                    The Indian economy will grow by a robust 9.2 percent                                                                           to get out of hand... The fact that
          toward a period of
                                  in this fiscal and a sense of optimism had characterised the                                                                           the budget seeks fiscal
     sustained high growth,
                                  developments in recent years as the country heads toward                                                                            consolidation, the fact that
      which should help the       high growth trajectory, said the survey tabled in                                                                                customs duties and excise duties
        Government play an        Parliament by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on                                                                                  have been reduced in a number
        even more proactive       February 27.                                                                                                                       of sensitive commodity areas,
         role in making this        “The economy appears to have decidedly taken off and
                                  moved from a phase of moderate growth to a new phase of
                                                                                                                                                                     will certainly impart the anti-
      boom inclusive. Here
                                  high growth,” the survey said, while listing a set of two                                                                         inflationary bias to the budget.
                     is a look.
                                  issues and three priorities for the policy-makers.                                                                                  — PM Manmohan Singh


6   PRAVASI BHARATIYA   MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                 PRAVASI BHARATIYA            MARCH 2007           7
          Cover Story

                                     FROM THE ECONOMIC SURVEY 2006-07



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  “
     NON-RESIDENT DEPOSITS                    been strong in every single month in          improved investment climate. Outward
   In the last 16 years ending 2005-06,       2006-07 up to November 2006. NR(E)            investment also simultaneously showed
non-resident deposits remained an             RA flows have also been strong in the         signs of a pick up with domestic
important and relatively stable source of     same period, but were marginal in the         companies making deeper forays for                                                                                                    Agriculture must top the
capital flows. As a proportion of total
capital flows, it had strengthened in the
four-year period 2000-04 to above 20 per
cent. But, such deposits became a source
of negative flows in 2004-05. There was
                                              months of April and October. Together,
                                              these resulted in the total inflows of $2.7
                                              billion in both the non-resident accounts
                                              as against $476 million in the
                                              corresponding period of the previous
                                              year.
                                                                                            acquisitions abroad. FDI inflows were
                                                                                            mainly in the form of equity accounting for
                                                                                            about 75.2 per cent of the total FDI into
                                                                                            India during 2005-06. FDI abroad
                                                                                            (outward investment) grew sharply to
                                                                                            reach $3.2 billion on 2005-06.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     agenda for policy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   makers and hold the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       first charge on
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          resources.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 “
a resumption of the earlier trend in 2005-
06, with the proportion rising to 11.5                                                         The rising trend in FDI observed in
percent.                                       FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT                    2005-06 accelerated further in 2006-07.            “The economy is on an                  production,” the report said.               progress fast over the next decade.
   With the discontinuance of Non-              Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows     As per provisional data available, FDI          unprecedented growth momentum                It also said that the prospects looked      First, its savings and investment
Resident (Non-Repatriable) Rupee              (net), which had declined from $4.7 billion   (net) in April-September 2006 at $4.2           and this is a unique opportunity for      brighter for the 11th Five-Year Plan,       rates are rising and from the present
deposits with effect from April 1, 2002,      in 2001-02 to $2.4 billion in 2003-04,        billion was almost twice its level in April -   India to build on this with further       which begins from April 1, 2007, with       level of 32 percent and 34 percent of
the outstanding on the other two forms of     continued its growth for the second           September 2005.                                 rapid economic reforms,” he said,         a focus on four areas — agriculture,        gross domestic product, it has scope to
NRI deposits, namely, NR(E) RA and            consecutive year in 2005-06 to climb back        According to the latest data on foreign      adding the Government’s emphasis          infrastructure, health and education        rise by five percentage points each in
FCNR (B) at $35.1 billion at end-March        to $4.7 billion again. The overall FDI        direct investment inflows, there has been       on social sector, especially in           — to make economic growth                   the next five-six years.
2006 are mainly on account of the former.     reported is inward FDI netted for outward     a 98.4 per cent jump in the equity              education, health and poverty             inclusive.                                     “India will also be the beneficiary of
At end-November 2006, such outstanding        FDI. FDI on a comparative net basis,          investment into India in April-September        alleviation, was welcome.                    In fact, during an address at this       a ‘demographic dividend’ given the
at $37.8 billion, however, indicate growth    year-on-year, exhibited a growth of 27.4      2006-07 over April-September 2005-06               In fact, betting on India’s growth     year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas from         age profile of its population. This
in both forms. FCNR (B) inflows have          percent in 2005-06 reflecting the             levels.                                         story, foreign firms also increased       January 7-9, Planning Commission            demographic dividend itself will drive
                                                                                                                                            their investments in the country by       Deputy Chairman Montek Singh                up growth and the savings rate, apart
Outstanding balances and net flows under various non-resident deposit schemes                                                               151 percent during April-December         Ahluwalia even invited members of           from making India one of the few
                                                                                                                                            2006, according to official data          the Indian diaspora to become part of       countries without a labour constraint
                            Panel A: Outstanding balances under different schemes*                                                          released by Department of Industrial      India’s development process with            for many decades to come,” he says.
                                                                                                   (US$ million)                            Policy and Promotion (DIPP) of the        suggestions and ideas for the next             And third, there was a broad
                                                                    As at the end of                                                        Commerce and Industry ministry.           five-year plan.                             national consensus on economic
                                             March March 01 March 02 March 03 March 04 March 05 Mar-06 Nov-06                                  “Foreign direct investment inflows        “There are many experts in the           policies, even if on a few issues
                                             2000                                               (P.E.) (P.E.)                               during the period April-December          Indian diaspora from whom we can            differences may crop up from time to
Foreign Currency Non-Resident (Banks)        8172  9076     9673     10199        10961 11452   13064 14270                                 had been $9,272 million against           get ideas. If these are good ideas in       time among various political parties.
Non-Resident External Rupee Accounts         6758  7147     8449     14923        20559 21291   22070 23481                                 $3,697 million in the corresponding       any part of the world, we are ready to      This, he said, was quite remarkable
Non-Resident (Non Repatriable)               6754  6849     7052     3407         1746  232                                                 period last year, representing a record   take them,” he said, and added: “We         for a democracy like India.
Rupee Deposits                                                                                                                              increase of 151 percent,” the             want the non-resident Indian                   Indian policy makers believe that
Total                                        21684     23072       25174        28529        33266        32975        35134    37751       department said in its annual report,     community to critique on our 11th           the      overall       macroeconomic
                                                                                                                                            adding this showed the confidence of      Five-Year Plan.”                            fundamentals of the Indian economy
                                      B: Net flows under non-resident deposits*                                                             foreign investors in India.                  In fact, the Prime Minister said that    are robust, particularly with tangible
                                                                                                                           (US$ million)       The period between April-              the basic idea of increasing the            progress towards fiscal consolidation
Schemes                                      2000-01 2001-02       2002-2003 2003-04         2004-05      2005-06      Apr-Nov (P.E.)       December 2006 also saw surging of         budgetary support for Plan allocation       and a strong balance of payments
                                                                                                                       2005-06 2006-07      industrial growth to 10.8 percent         was to support some ambitious               position. With an upsurge in
FCNR(B)                                          904   594          526          762          492         1612         -32     1206         from eight percent in the same period     developmental programmes that the           investment, the outlook is distinctly
NR(E)RA @                                        860   1626         6195         4695         84          1177         508     1509         of the preceding year.                    government has set for itself.              upbeat, they maintain.
NR(NR)RD                                         553   508          -3745        -1816        -1538                                            The industrial growth was led             “We also recognise that there are           While infrastructure is one problem
Total                                            2317  2728         2976         3641         -962        2789         476      2715        mainly by the manufacturing sector,       legitimate additional expenditure           faced by the country, the general
P.E.: Provisional Estimates.                                                                                                                which grew at 11.8 percent in the         demands which will arise as we              belief now is that the recent
* All figures are inclusive of accrued interest.                                                                                            same period.                              unfold the contours of the 11th Five        developments in tackling this issue
@ The inflows of the NR(E)RA deposits from the year 2002-03 onwards may partly be due to crediting of maturity proceeds of the                 “This has been possible due to new     Year Plan and so we will review the         such as public-private-partnerships
NR(NR)R deposits which were discontinued with effect from April 1, 2002.                                                                    investment and capacity addition by       situation towards mid-July, for             had made the outlook promising.
Note: Inflows/Outflows have been calculated by taking the monthly variation in rupee denominated deposits & converting those by
                                                                                                                                            the industry. This augurs well for the    example, and we have a contingency             “The drumbeats of infrastructure
                                                                                                                                            future growth of Indian industry          plan to increase expenditure in due         are gradually getting louder and in the
monthly average exchange rate. All figures are inclusive of interest & valuation changes arising on account of fluctuation in non dollar
                                                                                                                                            because plants, machinery and             course of time,” he maintains.              next few years their rumble will be
currencies against US dollar.
                                                                                                                                            mother goods, which constitute this          India, Manmohan Singh believes,          felt and heard all over the country,”
                                                                                                                             Source: RBI
                                                                                                                                            sector, are needed for further            has three main reasons why it will          maintains the Economic Survey. ■


 8   PRAVASI BHARATIYA            MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                                                PRAVASI BHARATIYA            MARCH 2007           9
       Ministry Budget



                                                   F
                                                             ollowing calls from the        Ministry are therefore designed to         scheme has been fixed at Rs. 6 million
     With the budgetary                                      Indian diaspora in different   meet these wide ranging needs and          but the ministry expects the total
     allocation for the Ministry                             parts of the world for a
                                                             separate ministry in the
                                                                                            expectations.                              expenditure in this count this year to
                                                                                                                                       be around Rs. 7 million.
     of Overseas Affairs                           Government of India to look after                     OCI SCHEME                       MOIA expects the scheme to fulfill
     increasing, the Ministry is                   their issues, the Ministry of Non-                                                  the aspirations and expectations of
     looking forward to                            Resident Indians’ Affairs was
                                                   established in May 2004. It was
                                                                                               In response to a long and persistent
                                                                                            demand for “dual citizenship”
                                                                                                                                       overseas Indians.
                                                                                                                                          And help bring the overseas Indian
     implementing its various                      renamed the Ministry of Overseas         particularly from overseas Indians in      community closer to the country and
     schemes in the coming                         Indian Affairs (MOIA) in September       North America and the Western              enable them to participate in the
                                                   2004.                                    world and in view of the                   development programmes more
     fiscal year. Here are the                       MOIA is the nodal Ministry for all     Government’s deep commitment               effectively.
     details.                                      matters relating to overseas Indians     towards fulfilling the aspirations and
                                                   comprising persons of Indian origin      expectations of overseas Indians,               KNOW INDIA PROGRAMME
                                                   (PIOs), non-resident Indians (NRIs)      Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
                                                   and overseas citizens of India (OCI).    had announced at the Pravasi                  The Ministry organises four-week
                                                   The mission of the Ministry is to        Bharatiya Divas 2005 in Mumbai the         internship programmes for diaspora
                                                   promote, nurture and sustain a           grant of Overseas Citizenship of India     youth to promote awareness about
                                                   mutually beneficial and symbiotic        (OCI) to all PIOs where local laws         contemporary India, its socio-cultural
                                                   relationship between India and           permit “dual citizenship” in some          diversities, the rapid economic
                                                   overseas Indians.                        form or the other, except Pakistan and     transformation under way and thus
                                                     The year 2006-2007 was the third       Bangladesh.                                help the younger generation of
                                                   budget year for the Ministry with           The scheme has been in operation        overseas Indians bond with India.
                                                   budget estimates (BE) of Rs. 380         from December 2, 2005. OCI has                Earlier called the Internship
                                                   million and revenue estimates (RE)       been introduced by statute to facilitate   Programme for Diaspora Youth
                                                   of Rs. 260 million. The first Outcome    life-long visa, free travel to India and   (IPDY) and now known as the ‘Know
                                                   Budget of the Ministry for the year      certain economic, educational and          India Programme’ (KIP), the scheme
                                                   2006-07 and the Performance Budget       cultural benefits. This is not to be       is implemented in partnership with
                                                   for the year 2005-06 were presented      construed as ‘dual citizenship’ since it   state governments and logistical
                                                   to the Parliament in March 2006.         does not confer political rights.          support from the Nehru Yuvak
                                                     For the year 2007-2008, the BE for        In 2005-06, an expenditure of Rs.       Kendra.
                                                   the Ministry is Rs.500 million.          1.9 million was incurred on                   In 2006-07 the financial outlay for
                                                     Given the diversity and geographic     preparatory work of this scheme.           KIP was fixed at Rs. 2.5 million. For
                                                   spread of the overseas Indian               The financial outlay for the scheme     2007-08, this has been doubled to Rs.
                                                   community and with it, the               in 2006-07 was Rs. 12.5 million with       5 million and the idea is to organise
                                                   emergence of distinct region and         a target of issuing 75,000 cards during    two to three such programmes each
                                                   country specific ethos, the needs and    the period. Given the heavy demand         year.
                                                   expectations of the overseas Indians     for the card, around 102,500 OCI
                                                   vary considerably. The policies,         cards were issued till December 2006.          PROPOSED PIO UNIVERSITY
                                                   programmes and the schemes of the           In 2007-08, the outlay for the
                                                                                                                                         The High-Level Committee on




                                                   “
                                                                                                                                       Indian Diaspora, appointed by the
                                                                                                                                       Government in 2000 had visited
                                                     Given the diversity and geographic spread of the                                  various countries with large
                                                                                                                                       concentration of Indian diaspora and
                                                        overseas Indian community and with it, the                                     had recommended, among other



                                      BUDGET AND
                                                    emergence of distinct region and country specific                                  things, the setting up of new
                                                     ethos, the needs and expectations of the overseas                                 universities     and      professional

                                                                                                                         “             institutions offering courses of




                           THE MINISTRY
                                                         Indians vary considerably. The policies,                                      international standards in streams like
                                                     programmes and the schemes of the Ministry are                                    management,               information
                                                   therefore designed to meet these wide ranging needs                                 technology, media, agricultural
                                                                                                                                       research, medicine, and food
                                                                     and expectations.                                                 processing.
                                                                                                                                         At the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas


10   PRAVASI BHARATIYA   MARCH 2007                                                                                              PRAVASI BHARATIYA           MARCH 2007          11
          Ministry Budget

     (PBD) 2007, the annual conclave of        Diaspora to provide a suitable place to   the American Association of
     the Indian diaspora, in New Delhi in      commemorate the trials and                Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI)
     January this year, Prime Minister         tribulations, as well as the subsequent   in 2006 to take up initiatives in
     Singh announced that the proposal         evolution and achievements of the         healthcare all over the country starting
     for establishing a university for PIOs    diverse Indian diaspora.                  with pilot projects in two States —
     is under active consideration of the         The Kendra would become the            Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. The
     Government and that the challenge is      focal point for interactions between      partnership with AAPI and the states
     to create an enabling framework.          India and the diaspora and would also     provides a framework to tap diaspora
        The Ministry’s mandate is to take      in course of time, become the hub for     knowledge resources to promote and
     up new initiatives in the field of        various activities aimed at creating      implement innovative and best
     education and therefore endeavors to      pride in the achievements of India and    practices in healthcare in Indian
     promote India as a competitive            the diaspora. It would be an ideal        States. The objective of this project is
     destination for the benefit of overseas   centre to facilitate harnessing of the    to create a template in rural healthcare
     Indian students, particularly from        talent pool amongst overseas Indians.     through pilot projects, which can then
     those countries where opportunities          The      Ministry       of    Urban    be replicated in other states.
     for higher education are inadequate       Development has recently allotted            The project envisages canalising the
     or are not within their reach due to      land in New Delhi for the Pravasi         knowledge resource of AAPI to train
     legal, economic or constitutional         Bharatiya Kendra.                         the local medical practitioners for
     compulsions of the home countries.           The Kendra will include a              early detection and medication of
        The policy framework to set up a       convention centre, permanent              different diseases like carcinoma
     NRI/PIO university within a Special       exhibition illustrating the history of    cervix, diabetes, heart disease,
     Educational Zone (SEdZ) in a Special      the diaspora, lecture rooms for           carcinoma prostate and deafness in
     Economic Zone (SEZ) is being              orientation programmes, a well-           children.
     examined and it is expected to be         stocked library and documentation            It also seeks to build capacities in
     finalised during the fiscal year 2007-    centre, a modern theatre and guest        the community to undertake
                                                                                                                                        Then president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) Dr. Vijay N. Koli, centre,
     08.                                       rooms.                                    preventive measures and raise
                                                                                                                                        briefing the press about the plans for providing primary healthcare in India in cooperation with the Ministry of
        No allocation for this has been           An outlay of Rs. 50 million has been   awareness on the need for a healthy
                                                                                                                                                                   Overseas Indian Affairs, in New Delhi on May 30, 2006.
     made in this year’s national budget as    fixed for this purpose in 2007-08.        life style.
     the funding mechanism is yet to be        Work on the project is expected to           The project is expected to start on         OVERSEAS INDIAN FACILITATION               industry associations in the country.             INDIA DEVELOPMENT
     finalised.                                commence in the fiscal year 2007-08       a pilot basis in the states of Andhra                    CENTRE                              To be called the Overseas Indian           PHILANTHROPY FOUNDATION
                                               and will be completed within four         Pradesh and Bihar in the beginning of                                                     Facilitation Centre (OIFC), it will
        PRAVASI BHARATIYA KENDRA               years.                                    the next financial year. The Ministry           India is already the highest recipient    serve as a “one-stop shop” for the            A new foundation to serve as a
                                                                                         of Health and Family Welfare has             of remittances from its diaspora ($23        Indian diaspora.                           nodal point for overseas Indians on
       The proposal to establish a Pravasi        INDIA HEALTHCARE INITIATIVE            agreed to fund the project and a             bllion till 2005). However, given the           Expected to be operational during       investments of philanthropic nature
     Bharatiya Kendra was suggested by                                                   financial outlay of Rs. 10 million has       profile of the Indian diaspora,              the financial year 2007-08, OIFC will      to facilitate social development of the
     the High-Level Committee on Indian          The Ministry signed an MoU with         been fixed for 2007-08.                      investment by overseas Indians has           also establish and maintain a Diaspora     country is being planned.
                                                                                                                                      been far short of its potential. While       Knowledge Network, function as a              To be called the India
                                                                                                                                      there is high interest amongst               clearinghouse for all investment           Development               Philanthropy
                                                                                                                                      overseas Indians to invest in India,         related information and assist states      Foundation (IDPF), the foundation
                                                                                                                                      there is a need for a market driven          to project investment opportunities        will aim at establishing and
                                                                                                                                      institutional platform that will             to overseas Indians in the                 maintaining a diaspora philanthropic
                                                                                                                                      facilitate a two-way flow of overseas        infrastructure and social sectors.         network
                                                                                                                                      Indian investment into India as well as         An outlay of Rs. 2.5 million was           It will promote overseas Indian
                                                                                                                                      promote B-to-B partnerships of               fixed for 2006-07 for this project and     philanthropic investment for social
                                                                                                                                      Indian businesses with overseas              it is expected that a total expenditure    and community development of the
                                                                                                                                      Indians.                                     of Rs. 1.5 million will be incurred by     country especially in the fields of
                                                                                                                                         A need has therefore, been felt for       the end of the fiscal year. For 2007-08,   health, education, rural development,
                                                                                                                                      a trusted and neutral body with state        the outlay has been hiked to Rs. 10        drinking       water     and      energy
                                                                                                                                      of the art facilities to provide a host of   million.                                   conservation
                                                                                                                                      investment         advisory      services       The Ministry believes that OIFC            It will also function as a repository
                                                                                                                                      efficiently and on a real time basis.        will transform ideas into well thought     of      information        related    to
                                                                                                                                      The Ministry of Overseas Indian              out projects in India and give impetus     philanthropic         investment      by
                                                                                                                                      Affairs is in the process of establishing    to projects in the public-private          overseas Indian in India.
                                                                                                                                      a centre as a not-for-profit trust, in       partnership (PPP) mode across a wide          The financial outlay for the project,
                                                                                                            (in millions of rupees)   partnership with one of the apex             spectrum of sectors.                       which was fixed at Rs. 2.5 million in


12    PRAVASI BHARATIYA          MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                                             PRAVASI BHARATIYA            MARCH 2007          13
          Ministry Budget

     2006-07, has been hiked to Rs. 10
     million for 2007-08 and the
     foundation is expected to be set up in
     the new fiscal year.

       AWARENESS CAMPAIGN ON NRI
              MARRIAGES
                                               “
                                               The Ministry has, with the assistance of the Indian Society
                                                of International Law, published a guidance booklet on
                                                  ‘Marriages with Overseas Indians’ for the benefit of
                                                   prospective brides and their families. This booklet
                                                contains information on safeguards available to women
                                                                                                                                     computerisation of its emigration
                                                                                                                                     wing’s functioning. The initiative
                                                                                                                                     comprises two projects.
                                                                                                                                       One is a project that has been
                                                                                                                                     assigned to the National Informatics
                                                                                                                                     Centre (NIC) for implementation.
                                                                                                                                     Automation of the office of Protector
                                                                                                                                     of Emigrants (POE) in Delhi has
                                                                                                                                                                               language and culture of the
                                                                                                                                                                               destination country. The scheme
                                                                                                                                                                               finances a week-long module for
                                                                                                                                                                               refreshing the skills of the potential
                                                                                                                                                                               emigrants compatible with the needs
                                                                                                                                                                               of different countries and for
                                                                                                                                                                               familiarizing them with good
                                                                                                                                                                               working practice safety norms and use
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            An outlay of Rs. 15 million has been
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         fixed for this purpose. The council
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         will be set up in 2007-08 after
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         obtaining necessary approvals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         PRAVASI BHARATIYA BIMA YOJANA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The Pravasi Bharatiya Bima Yojana
        MOIA, in collaboration with the
     National Commission for Women
     (NCW), has started an awareness
     campaign         through     booklets,
     pamphlets and by holding seminars
                                               deserted by their NRI spouses, legal remedies that can be
                                               pursued, authorities that can be approached for redressal
                                                of grievances and non-governmental organisations that
                                                                can provide assistance.
                                                                                                                                 “   been taken up and will be completed
                                                                                                                                     by April 2007.
                                                                                                                                       The remaining seven POE offices
                                                                                                                                     will be automated by July 2007. This
                                                                                                                                     will replace the existing manual
                                                                                                                                                                               of tools. There are inputs on human
                                                                                                                                                                               behavior, recruitment, visa and
                                                                                                                                                                               emigration procedures as well as
                                                                                                                                                                               elementary inputs in bookkeeping.
                                                                                                                                                                                  An outlay of Rs. 80 million during
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         (PBBY) is a compulsory insurance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         scheme which provides insurance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         cover of Rs.500,000 and some other
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         benefits to overseas Indian workers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         The Ministry mandate is to ensure
     to address growing menace of                                                                                                    system of granting emigration services    2007-08 has been projected for this       the mandatory cover to all emigrant
     fraudulent marriages involving                                                                                                  to prospective emigrants with a           purpose.                                  workers for their welfare and better
     overseas Indians, particularly NRIs. .    prospective brides and their families.    of booklets, pamphlets and holding of       computerised system, which will lead         The scheme, which was launched         protection when problems in the
        In 2006, MOIA and NCW                  This booklet contains information on      seminars.                                   to greater transparency, better           recently, is likely to benefit about      foreign country arise.
     organised two regional workshops in       safeguards available to women                                                         monitoring, less discretion, less         75,000 workers during the course of
     Chandigarh and Trivandrum with            deserted by their NRI spouses, legal         ASSISTANCE FOR VICTIMS OF                harassment, speedier processing and       the year.                                     OVERSEAS INDIAN CENTRE
     the objective of involving the state      remedies that can be pursued,                 FRAUDULENT MARRIAGES                    greater control on data.
     commissions for women as well as          authorities that can be approached for                                                  The project is expected to be              COUNCIL FOR PROMOTION OF                 The Government has approved
     the women organisations of the states     redressal of grievances and non-             In its bid to assist Indian women        commissioned in all locations by the          OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT                   setting up one Overseas Indian
     concerned to spread awareness.            governmental organizations that can       who have either been deserted or            end of financial year 2007-08.                                                      Centre in Dubai to provide medical,
        The Ministry also organised parallel   provide assistance.                       divorced by their overseas Indian             The financial outlay for the project,     In a rapidly globalising world, there   legal and financial counseling to the
     sessions during PBD 2007 in which            The Ministry has also published        spouses within two years of marriage,       which was fixed at Rs. 5 million in       is a need to bring a strategic            overseas Indian workers in the Gulf
     issues relating to problems of overseas   pamphlets in various languages to         MOIA has introduced a scheme to             2006-07, has been tripled to Rs. 15       dimension to the process of               countries, where there are frequent
     Indian marriages were discussed.          educate the masses about the issues       provide them financial assistance for       million for the fiscal year 2007-08.      emigration of Indians abroad in           reports of exploitation of foreign
     NGOs, women organisations and             involved in such marriages and the        obtaining legal and counseling                The second project of this e-           search of employment and to forge         workers by employers.
     state government representatives          precautions that should be taken. In      services, through Indian missions           governance programme will be              partnerships that will best serve India     The centre, to be headed by a
     besides the overseas Indian delegates     addition, a publicity campaign            abroad.                                     implemented through the National          as a supplier of skilled and trained      counselor, will provide professional
     attended these sessions.                  through electronic scrolls on regional       The Ministry has introduced the          Institute for Smart Government            manpower and meet the expectations        assistance and requisite guidance to
        The Ministry has, with the             television networks was done in the       scheme, to start with, in the US, UK,       (NISG) and is aimed at a                  of the overseas Indian workers as a       the needy workers.
     assistance of the Indian Society of       states of Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.      Canada, Australia, New Zealand and          comprehensive transformation of the       significant constituency across the         The centre is expected to start
     International Law, published a               To continue with this campaign, a      the Gulf, which are countries from          emigration process.                       world.                                    functioning within the 2007-08 fiscal
     guidance booklet on ‘Marriages with       financial outlay of Rs. 2.5 million has   where several such cases are being                                                      To take full advantage of the           and Rs. 10 million has been set aside
     Overseas Indians’ for the benefit of      been fixed will go into the publication   reported. The assistance will be            PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION AND             emerging employment opportunities         for this purpose.
                                                                                         provided to Indian women who are              SKILL UPGRADE PROGRAMME                 abroad and meet the challenge of
                                                                                         victims of fraudulent marriages and
                                                                                         deserted by their overseas Indian
                                                                                         husbands or are facing divorce
                                                                                                                                        The demand for unskilled workers
                                                                                                                                     is rapidly declining in the overseas
                                                                                                                                                                               competition from other labour
                                                                                                                                                                               sending countries, the Ministry has
                                                                                                                                                                               initiated a proposal for constituting a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         O     ver the last three years, the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Ministry has undertaken a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         number of policy initiatives and has
                                                                                         proceedings in a foreign country.           employment market. The future             Council for Promotion of Overseas         taken up a wide variety of
                                                                                            The Indian missions concerned            belongs to those who have skills,         Employment (CPOE).                        programmes and schemes to fulfill its
                                                                                         will involve credible Indian women’s        preferably multiple skills and are          The benefits would broadly include      mandate. The Ministry has also
                                                                                         organisations and NGOs working in           willing to upgrade their skills. Hence,   forecasting of future opportunities for   grown with the posting of some more
                                                                                         these countries and give them               it is extremely important for India to    overseas        employment         and    officers and staff, though a large
                                                                                         financial assistance to the tune of         take immediate steps for preparing its    corresponding skill requirements,         number of posts still remain vacant.
                                                                                         $1,000 per case.                            young workforce to meet the               making projections and plans for             The Budget of the Ministry is fully
                                                                                                                                     challenges of future needs in the         overseas deployment of workers,           been on the non-Plan side. Though in
                                                                                           E-GOVERNANCE IN EMIGRATION                overseas employment market.               disseminating information and             the first three budget years the
                                                                                                                                        The Ministry has therefore             upgrading skills of intending             Ministry was not able to fully utilize
        This June 20, 2006 file photo shows chairperson of the the National                To bring in greater transparency,         launched a scheme in order to bring       emigrants to match the market             the budget allocation, it is now well
      Commission for Women Girija Vyas speaking at a workshop on ‘Problems               efficiency and accountability in the        the skill levels of Indian emigrants at   requirement, benchmarking, testing        placed to ensure that the financial and
      related to NRI marriages and suggested measures’ in Chandigarh. On the             emigration process and to support the       par with the overseas market              and certification of skills, imparting    physical targets are achieved and the
            extreme right is Nirmal Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas               legislative framework, MOIA has             requirement and to equip them with        foreign language skills and on-site       targeted outcomes of its programmes
                                    Indian Affairs.                                      planned              comprehensive          a basic knowledge about laws,             welfare measures for emigrants.           and schemes are met.                  ■


14    PRAVASI BHARATIYA          MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                                        PRAVASI BHARATIYA           MARCH 2007          15
          Analysis


      BUDGET 2007 A FINE-TUNED ONE
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          teaching at the higher level.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The consequence is that within a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          few years the same corporate sector
     Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has presented a carefully fine-tuned                                                                                                                                                 starts bitterly complaining about the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          shortage of skills, without awareness
     Budget so as to least disturb the arrangement of policies that have                                                                                                                                                  of the fact that it is their own action
     generated such impressive growth, writes Badal Mukherji.                                                                                                                                                             that is partly responsible for the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          problem.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             But this is not the full story;
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          agencies like the University Grants
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Commission (UGC) have for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          decades permitted colleges and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          universities to virtually contribute
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          nothing towards the cost of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          education. Both tuition for students
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          and salary for teachers are miserably
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          low. Growth depends on savings,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          investment and knowledge. I am
                                                                                                                                    Budget documents under security check in front of the Parliament in New               afraid there seems to be no awareness
                                                                                                                                                       Delhi on February 28, 2007.                                        of the last factor.
                                                                                                                                   Chidambaram has still avoided the          make is that whereas RBI has                   With the Government losing its
                                                                                                                                   most powerful contra-cyclical              responded with the monetary policy          importance in overall economic
                                                                                                                                   instrument of inflation control, which     to contain inflation, the discussions       activities, its responsibilities towards
                                                                                                                                   is increase in private and corporate       about the supply side problems are          proper regulation of economy and
                                                                                                                                   income taxes.                              slightly irrelevant in the short run;       towards social welfare increase
                                                                                                                                      Indeed, if a combination of the         there is serious need for appropriate       substantially. But it has now become
                                                                                                                                   monetary policy already instituted by      management on the demand side.              a standard practice that plan
                                                                                                                                   the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and           With the savings rate of 32 percent      documents make noble statements
                                                                                                                                   the reduction of indirect taxes            and the investment of 33 percent, a         about social welfare and budgets
                                                                                                                                   introduced in the Budget fail to           good rate of growth is almost assured,      largely ignore them.
                                                                                                                                   significantly lower inflation, then an     especially as it is driven by the service      To sum up, this has been a carefully


     I
            ndia’s Finance Minister P.        technology bottlenecks in agriculture      court cases. The state must intervene
            Chidambaram, until very           have to be lifted. Secondly, in order to   with a suitable instrument and            increase in income-tax rates across the    sector, almost independently of what        fine-tuned Budget so as to least
            recently, was heading to Budget   provide gainful employment to a very       protocol.                                 board will be inevitable.                  the government does. It is a matter of      disturb the arrangement of policies
            2007 quite comfortably. With a    large number of unemployed people,           As for inflation, it is observed that      Hindsight is so easy that I almost      some concern that the service sector        that have generated such impressive
     GDP growth rate over 9 percent and       non-agricultural jobs must be found.       there has been 6.2 percent increase in    decided not to talk about mistakes of      in turn is facing a very serious            growth as of the recent years,
     foreign exchange reserves in excess of   Within a year none of these problems       the wholesale price index, implying       the recent past, but to the extent that    constraint in the form of supply of         especially as that growth is almost
     $180 billion, the Indian economy         can be solved by an annual budget; if      something like a 12 percent increase      they have a bearing on the current         skilled manpower. I have not seen           entirely due to the private sector.
     seemed to be well under control. But     anything, it is a five-year plan that      in the consumer price index, which is     policy, they need to be sorted out.        anything in the Budget that takes this         With large revenue collections in
     inflation and state elections created    should address these issues.               not extraordinarily high but high         One of the biggest sources of              constraint head on.                         hand, the state can turn to urgently
     concern.                                    However, in the approach                enough to adversely affect the budget     generation of incomes is capital gain,        I am afraid the problem of higher        required investment in infrastructure
        The latter gets into the Budget       document of the 11th Five-Year Plan        of the lower middle-class and the         both on land and buildings and on          education is far more complex than a        sectors. It will hope that better
     debate through the agrarian              there are some general discussions on      poor.                                     equity.                                    simple enhancement of budgetary             foodgrain output plus imports,
     constituency that most MPs have.         the subjects but no tangible policies.       It is in order to grapple with this        In a country where income               allocation can handle. One needs not        wherever necessary, will, together
     This perhaps explains why                   To make a realistic dent in the         that Chidambaram has lowered the          distributions are so grossly skewed,       only a flow of quality students coming      with monetary policies already taken,
     Chidambaram began his Budget             unemployment problem the most              import duties, sales, excise and other    capital gain must be taxed. But last       up through schools to colleges and          help contain and lower the rate of
     presentation this year with the          important instrument is the small and      indirect taxes; measures that will also   year taxes on long-term capital gains      universities and research institutions,     inflation. But until such time as the
     statement that to him agriculture was    medium enterprises (SME) sector.           increase imports and further lower        of equity shares were in fact abolished.   one also needs just as importantly a        analysis that explains the growth
     the first priority.                      But I have not seen any serious            prices.                                   In January, there were published           matching supply of skilled teachers         process is reasonably complete, no
        However, with its share in GDP        understanding of the problems of the         Again, international steel, cement      estimates of the loss of revenue on        who can train the students.                 hard action on any front for who
     below 20 percent, there is no way that   sector either in the approach              and petroleum prices have increased       this account — it is somewhere                But the academic scene has               knows what might upset the apple
     agriculture can play a dominant role     document or in the Budget. Vast            sharply, and the tax component of         between Rs.150-250 billion.                changed drastically in the recent past      cart!
     in the economy. There are two major      majority of the SMEs do contract jobs      each of these has been substantially         The simple re-imposition of this        in as much as the top students going
     policy corrections required.             for large corporates but get               lowered. Whereas industry seems to        tax will immediately mop up a              out of the universities are being bid          (The views expressed here are of the
        First, in order to enhance            bankrupted because those contracts         be unhappy about the lack of any tax      substantial percentage of aggregate        away by the private corporate sector        writer and not of the Ministry of Overseas
     productivity, infrastructure and         cannot be enforced. They get broke in      sops, they should be thankful that        demand. The point I am trying to           and hence there is nobody left for                      Indian Affairs.)


16    PRAVASI BHARATIYA          MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                                         PRAVASI BHARATIYA             MARCH 2007           17
Feature




                RTI AND
                                                                          and can be punished for it!
                                                                             To provide the information, every Indian government
                                                                          department has a Public Information Officer or PIO
                                                                          responsible for collecting the information you need and
                                                                          giving it to you within a short, specific period. Of course,




                THE NRI
                                                                          some information on defence, scientific and economic
                                                                          matters and foreign affairs and other sensitive areas cannot
                                                                          be disclosed. Since most people do not require
                                                                          information on these matters, RTI can serve them well.
                                                                             You can file an RTI application on a plain paper either
          The Right to Information (RTI)                                  by post or give it personally with a small fee. The
                                                                          application fee for the Central government departments
          Act has heralded a new era in                                   is just Rs.10. For getting information, you have to pay Rs.2
          government accountability and                                   per page of information provided by a central government
          transparency and NRIs will have                                 department.
                                                                             There is also a fee for inspecting documents. There is
          less to complain about when it                                  no fee for the first hour of inspection, but after that, you
          comes to dealing with the                                       have to pay Rs.5 for every hour of inspection. You can
          government, writes Kul                                          deposit the fee in cash or through a demand draft, banker's
                                                                          cheque or a postal order. However, different states have
          Bhushan.                                                        different fees.



          A
                       n NRI has used a new Indian law to get his            You can file your application with the PIO of the
                       income tax refund without bribing. After           department you are questioning and obtain a receipt and
                       waiting for five years without any reply from      you must receive information within 30 days. For more
                       the income tax office, 60-year-old Tushar          details, go to www.rti.gov.in among other websites.
          Dalvi, an NRI living in Mumbai, filed an application under         All NRIs moan about the apathy and corruption of
          the Right to Information (RTI) Act and got his refund           government offices and how they are sent from one
          pronto - in fact, in a week.                                    dreary office to another to get nowhere. Now RTI can
             Earlier, he tried to use the services of a chartered         help them but, like all government departments, it has
          accountant who wanted Rs.50,000 ($1,130) as his fees and        piled up hundreds of cases and a large number of irate
          “other expenses”. Since this amount was almost half of the      applicants accuse PIOs of dismissing their applications
          refund, Dalvi looked for a solution and filed a query under     summarily.
          RTI and got speedy action.                                         The authorities say that the number of applications has
             People are now taking the RTI route in a big way to get      increased so much that they are unable to handle them as
          what is rightfully theirs. Take, for example, Radhey            enough staff is still to be appointed. A new government
          Shyam, a construction worker. He wanted to go to the            body just over a year old is drowned in paperwork.
          Gulf for work, and applied for a passport in May 2006. He          Instead of appointing more clerks, perhaps technology
          didn't get it till October. Fed up, he filed an RTI             can solve registering and tracing applications with a heavy-
          application in the Regional Passport Office. Sure enough,       duty scanner to create a computer database. But an
          he got his passport by December.                                application pointing to high corruption got ‘lost’ although
             Though it’s been more than a year since the RTI Act          most officers know about it! A suggestion is that PIOs be
          came into effect, not many know about it. So a series of        appointed from the private sector and not from
          awareness campaigns in different cities and parts of India      government departments.
          has been organised. These awareness drives have been a             RTI came into effect on October 12, 2005, but has not
          great success as the poor people get to know about their        been fully implemented in all states and at all levels. RTI
          rights to get information on their applications or dealings     requires an aggressive and massive campaign to inform the
          with the government.                                            people about their fundamental right to information.
             RTI is a fundamental right of every citizen buried by the       Despite its slow start, RTI heralds a new era for
          red tape and corruption. But if the right to information is     government accountability and transparency for the
          a fundamental right, then why does it need a law? Simply        common man. The next time an NRI is frustrated with
          because if you go into a government office and demand           the apathetic response of government departments, there
          that it tell you why your work has not been done, it will       is hope of speedy action as Tushar Dalvi discovered.
          not entertain you or might even throw you out. If it’s a law,
          then it becomes harder to do this. If the office did not give      (The views expressed here are of the writer and not of the
          you the information you wanted, it will have broken a law                   Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.)


                                                                                          PRAVASI BHARATIYA              MARCH 2007       19
        Investing in India



                                          A
                                                       sustained interest shown     industry base of 26 per cent.                   An essential prerequisite to



     MAHARASHTRA
                                                       by domestic and foreign         The latest IMD Switzerland world          industrial development and growth is
                                                       investors in Maharashtra     competitiveness survey shows that            the existence of a sound capital market
                                                       in preference to other       Maharashtra’s ranking in the world           and Maharashtra is home to three
                                          states in India has given Chief           has improved from 42 to 37 — above           stock exchanges: the Bombay Stock



     calling
                                          Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh the            Italy, Korea, South Africa, Indonesia        Exchange (above), the Over the
                                          much needed confidence not only to        and Russia.                                  Counter Exchange and the Pune
                                          tide over the current power crisis but       Maharashtra has the largest number        Stock Exchange. The National Stock
                                          also consolidate the state’s leadership   of export oriented units — 560.              Exchange too is situated at Mumbai.
                                          position in the nation’s economy.         Under the aegis of an ambitious                 The Bombay Stock Exchange
                                             The state received a record number     industrial development policy of late        (BSE) and the National Stock
                                          of 3,893 proposals worth Rs. 389.3        sixties, the Maharashtra Industrial          Exchange (NSE) here account for
                                          billion foreign direct investment         Development Corporation (MIDC)               over 70 per cent volume of trade
                                          (FDI) during 2005-06 alone. This was      developed 250 industrial parks in the        across all stock exchanges in the
                                          followed up with 126 new, much            state spread over an area of 25,000          country.
     Starting with this issue, we are     bigger proposals worth Rs. 397.4          hectares.                                       With the highest number of traded
                                          billion in the next financial year           Though many units in these                securities and listed companies here,
     starting a series on investment      making the state the most favoured        sprawling industrial estates in the          as many as 98 per cent of
     opportunities in various states of   investment destination.                   state’s 35 districts are sick, an infusion   commodities turnover transactions
     India. We start off with                Indeed, the total worth of as many     of investment and professional               and 90 per cent of merchant banking
                                          as 13,366 industrial projects —           management can bring them back to            activities happen in Mumbai.
     Maharashtra, a state which has       domestic and multinational — under        health.                                         A clutch of centrally assisted
     established its strength in every    way or proposed in the state, is a           With 27 information technology            projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru
     sector of industry. Shyam            whopping Rs. 30,374.9 billion with        parks in the public sector and 102 in        National Urban Renewal Mission
                                          Gujarat, which had, for some time in      the private domain, the state has 32         (JNNURM) are promising to lend a
     Pandharipande writes.                the      recent     past,    surpassed    percent of India’s IT professionals and      redeeming touch to this vastly
                                          Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu,               an equal number of Internet                  overcrowded maximum city by
                                          trailing far behind.                      subscribers. It contributes 20 percent       streamlining its road and rail traffic,
                                             With 42 percent of its total           to the country’s software export and         improving its sewerage disposal
                                          population of nearly 100 million          boasts of the presence of 25 percent of      system and cleaning up its sprawling
                                          living in urban areas, the state          the world’s software companies.              slums.
                                          contributes 13 percent to the nation’s       While some other cities in the state         If that happens, the metropolis,
                                          gross domestic product (GDP) and          (notably Nagpur, which has been              which the 2002 Gartner study
                                          has a per capita income 39 percent        reckoned as the fastest growing city of      certified as the most attractive
                                          higher than that of the country. It       India today) too are attracting              destination for BPOs in India and a
                                          accounts for 40 percent of the national   investment, it is true that the state        recent Gallup/Business Today survey
                                          fiscal receipts.                          capital Mumbai has mainly scripted           described as the number 1 city for
                                             Having maintained an economic          its success story.                           business, will also be less suffocating
                                          growth rate of 7.1 per cent in the last      The economic capital of India that        and more livable.
                                          decade, the state is aiming to increase   boasts of the sixth largest metro area          Four cities in Maharashtra are
                                          it to nine percent in the next few        in the world is home to the                  among the top 10 in India. A recent
                                          years. It boasts of the largest service   headquarters of the nation’s most            World Bank-Confederation of Indian
                                          sector contribution of 61 per cent of     corporate houses, banks and financial        Industries (WB-CII) study has
                                          the country’s GSDP and has an             institutes.                                  certified to Maharashtra’s best
                                                                                                                                 industrial climate and the highest




                                          “
                                                                                                                                 firm-level analysis of competitiveness.
                                                                                                                                 It has highest industrial productivity
                                          Four cities in Maharashtra are among the top 10 in                                     rate.
                                                                                                                                    As leading industrialist Shekhar
                                             India. A recent World Bank-Confederation of
                                           Indian Industries (WB-CII) study has certified to
                                             Maharashtra’s best industrial climate and the
                                          highest firm-level analysis of competitiveness. It has
                                                  highest industrial productivity rate.
                                                                                                                   “             Bajaj puts it, Maharashtra has a good
                                                                                                                                 work culture and the attitude of the
                                                                                                                                 government (towards development)
                                                                                                                                 is positive. “With the biggest
                                                                                                                                 information technology infra-
                                                                                                                                 structure in the country, the state has


20   PRAVASI BHARATIYA   MARCH 2007                                                                                        PRAVASI BHARATIYA           MARCH 2007          21
           Investing in India

     unlimited opportunities of attracting                                                                                           Chandrapur in Vidarbha where the
     investment in that sector,” the                                                                                                 state’s biggest thermal power station
     chairman-cum-managing director of                                                                                               exists. An electricity and textile SEZ
     Bajaj Electricals told Pravasi Bharatiya.                                                                                       each has also been proposed besides a
        While abundant investment                                                                                                    chemical industry zone in Amravati in
     opportunities are available in the state                                                                                        the same Vidarbha region. There is
     in a wide range of industrial activities,                                                                                       also ample scope for those willing to
     the main among them are                                                                                                         set up steel plants, cement plants and
     automobile, aviation and infra-                                                                                                 coal mines in the mineral rich
     structure besides biotech, pharma                                                                                               Vidarbha.
     industries and food processing.                                                                                                    The mega projects policy,
        Ironical though it may seem, the                                                                                             introduced in 2005, which provides
     state, which is reeling under an                                                                                                customised packages for industry and
     unprecedented power shortage,                                                                                                   facilities like single window clearance,
     affords the largest scope for                                                                                                   has already begun to pay dividends.
     investment in power sector — to the                                                                                             As many as 38 mega projects have
     tune of $27 billion. The Mumbai                                                                                                 been approved with an investment of
     makeover requires an investment $60                                                                                             Rs. 4,320 billion under the mega
     billion.                                                                                                                        projects category.
        The state needs dedicated freight                                                                                               Facilitation for arranging requisite
     rail corridors from hinterland to ports                                                                                         infrastructure and an institutional
     through PPR model. Development of                                                                                               framework of high power panels are
     greenfield airports in Navi Mumbai,                                                                                             the hallmarks of the mega projects
     Pune and Nagpur is another area of                                                                                              policy.
     opportunity for foreign investment.                                                                                                Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh                                 Nagpur is another major industrial city in Maharashtra.




                                                 “
        In the automobile sector,                                                                                                    is leading the phenomenal industrial       Airport at Nagpur – MIHAN) and a                proof enough of the success of these
     manufacturing units are required for                                                                                            push like a man possessed. His road        visit to the US earlier fetched huge            high-level initiatives.
     all segments — passenger cars,              An essential prerequisite to industrial development                                 show in Bangalore recently was a real      investment commitments.                           The state has signed MoUs with
     commercial vehicles and two- and                and growth is the existence of a sound capital                                  demonstration of his zeal after a            The state’s minister for industries           majors like Boeing (Rs. 50 billion),
     three-wheelers. Major oil engine                                                                                                similar road show in Singapore late        too led delegations to Korea and                General Motors (Rs. 135 billion), LG
     manufacturers and auto ancillary               market and Maharashtra is home to three stock                                    last year for the cargo hub project        China. A steady stream of foreign               Electronics (Rs. 53.5 billion), Bajaj
     units in the state belong to Skoda,
     John Deree, Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto,
     Fiat, M&M, Bharat Forge and
     Cummins. New additions to the list
     are General Motors, Volkswagen,
                                                   exchanges: the Bombay Stock Exchange (above),
                                                 the Over the Counter Exchange and the Pune Stock
                                                    Exchange. The National Stock Exchange too is
                                                                 situated at Mumbai.
                                                                                                                       “             (Multi-modal International Hub

                                                                                                                                              MAHARASHTRA: STATE FACTS
                                                                                                                                                                                industrial delegations in the state is          Auto (Rs. 200 billion) Mahindra &
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mahindra (Rs. 375 billion that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                includes Logan, Ingenio &
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                International Truck project), Gulf
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Finance House (Rs. 1,000 billion),
     Daimler Chrysler and Renault.                                                                                                                                                                                              Ballarpur Industries (Rs. 120 billion),
        As for the pharmaceuticals and                                                                                                                                                                                          Mico Bosch (Rs. 70 billion) and
     biotechnology sectors, Wockhardt               Textile SEZ and food-parks are           In the relatively hassle-free special                                                                                              Volkswagen (Rs.235 billion)
     Serum Institute is setting up biotech       coming up in Nagpur.                      economic zone (SEZ) coming up in                                                                                                       As many as 72 SEZs spread across
     SEZs in Aurangabad and Pune.                   The state aims to be power surplus     Butibori     near     Nagpur,      the                                                                                               the state have been approved by the
     Foreign companies, namely Glaxo-            again by 2010 and is facilitating non-    government is creating an IT city in                                                                                                 Government of India. Prominent
     Wellcome, Novartis, Pfizer, Johnson         conventional energy initiatives.          which leading companies have already                                                                                                 among them are Navi Mumbai,
     & Johnson and Abbott have a                 Besides, it wants to establish natural    evinced interest.                                                                                                                    Mahindra, MIHAN, Bharat Forge,
     presence here along with Indian             gas grid and distribution network too.      Besides two existing IT parks in                                                                                                   Bajaj Auto and Videocon. As many as
     majors like Cipla and Lupin besides         Broadband          connectivity    and    Nagpur where several domestic IT                                                                                                     49 IT parks were set up in the State in
     Wockhardt.                                  networking is another activity it aims    companies are working, three IT                                                                                                      the last one year with an investment
        Facilities for wineries and              to initiate with an infusion of foreign   parks have been proposed in Butibori                                                                                                 of Rs. 592 billion.
     distilleries are being created in           investment.                               — two by the Raheja group and one                                                                                                      These committed investments will
     western Maharashtra including                  For all this to happen expeditiously   by the Mantri group. An IT park,                                                                                                     generate employment opportunities
     Nashik, known as the wine capital of        and in a streamlined manner, the state    besides a textile SEZ, has also been                                                                                                 to over 700,000 persons.
     India, and Sangli. Soybean extraction       is committed to nurturing industrial      proposed in Nagpur’s Empress City
                                                                                                                                      Capital: Mumbai                           Sex ratio: 922 females per 1,000 males
     units are being set up in the upcoming      clusters for IT and IT-enabled            project being developed by Tayal           Area: 307,713 sq.km.                      Prinicipal languages: Marathi, Hindi, Urdu
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   (The views expressed here are of the
     food parks in Buribori near Nagpur          services; biotech, winery and food        Group.                                     Population (2001): 96,752,247             Governor: S.M. Krishna                          writer and not of the Ministry of Overseas
     and Sangli.                                 processing and also textiles.               A power SEZ has been proposed in         Population density: 314 per sq.km.        Chief Minister: Vilasrao Deshmukh                           Indian Affairs.)


22    PRAVASI BHARATIYA            MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                                                PRAVASI BHARATIYA          MARCH 2007           23
                      Diaspora News

                Top award for India-born Aussie woman cricketer

                I
                      ndian-born Australian woman cricketer Lisa Sthalekar
                      has been named Women’s International Cricketer of
                      the Year at the coveted Allan Border medal ceremony,
                the most important cricketing award in Australia.
                   The Pune-born Sthalekar pipped Australian captain
                Karen Rolton by one vote at Allan Border Medal count on
                February 5 to become just the third member of the
                Australia women’s team to win the award.
                   Sthalekar, 27, enjoyed a superb individual year with the
                Southern Stars, and averaged 44.71 as a top-order batter
                and 22.55 as an off spinner from one Test and eight
                limited-overs matches against India and New Zealand.
                   In a one-off Test against India last year at Adelaide, she
                was the player of the match scoring 72 runs and bagging
                five wickets for 30 runs in the tourists’ second innings.
                   She steered her state team New South Wales to victory
                in the 2005-06 Women’s National Cricket League in her




                                                                                                                                                   INDIAN STUDENTS
                first season as captain.
                   “Lisa’s strength is her all-round game,” an Indian Link
                report quoted Rolton as saying. “She makes runs at the top        my dreams.”
australia




                of the order, even under pressure and has been in really            “The smell of the sun, the grass and sunscreen again has
                good form lately. She can also bowl 10 tight overs (and)          got me excited,” she told the newspaper. “In Sydney,
                pick up some wickets on the way, so she’s a very valuable         everyone goes, ‘the smell of sunscreen is like you’re going

                                                                                                                                                    hit by changes to UK immigration rules
                member of the team.”                                              to the beach’, but for me it’s the cricket ground.”
                   Lisa had spent just three weeks in India before her family       Sthalekar, who works full time for Cricket New South
                moved to Australia, where her father introduced her to the        Wales as high performance coach, also has an arts degree



                                                                                                                                                  S
                                                                                                                                                            everal students from India who completed their       creating hardships for one and all. Highly qualified and
                game, when she showed promise as a backyard cricketer.            majoring in psychology.                                                   studies in British universities and switched to      experienced professionals are being denied further visa
                   “I first picked up the bat at the age of six or seven in the     “I would like to pursue further study in psychology but                 employment here face an uncertain future due         extensions based on the new rules.
                backyard with my father,” she said. “Throughout my                that will come when I finish cricket as I just don’t have the             to changes made to the Highly Skilled Migrants          “This shows that the new legislation introduced by the
                career, my family supported and encouraged me to follow           time,” she said.                                                Programme (HSMP) in November 2006.                             UK Home Office is not only unfair but is designed
                                                                                                                                                    The number of students from India enrolling in British       without taking into consideration the ground realities.

                   New Hindu temple in Austin
                                                                                                                                                  universities has been increasing every year. All of them pay   Also given the fact that the UK Home Office has been
                                                                                                        Sikh NGO helps rebuild                    fees that are at least three times more than that paid by      going back on its promises very often, people from the sub-
                                                                                                           church in Florida                      British students, and seek to recover the costs of their       continent should think twice before making life changing


                A
                         ustin city in Texas has got a     February 11 by Senator John Cornyn.
                                                                                                                                                  studies through employment.                                    decisions by coming to UK as the Home Office cannot be
                         new Hindu temple and
                         community centre.
                                                              “The great thing about this culture
                                                           is that it is not exclusionary, it is       U      nited Sikh, an international
                                                                                                              non-profit organisation, is
                                                                                                       helping authorities rebuild a church
                                                                                                                                                    In recent years, after completing their courses, many
                                                                                                                                                  Indian students have switched to the HSMP and sought
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 taken on their word anymore.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Kapadia cites the example of Nirupam Kumar, an
                   The      76-acre     temple      and    inclusive,” Cornyn said. “People are
                                                                                                       in Florida that was devastated by a        employment based on qualifications gained in Britain.          engineer who worked for Reliance Info in India,
united states




                community centre cost $15 million,         welcomed without regard to religion,
                                                                                                       deadly tornado early February.             However, the recent changes mean that most of the Indian       completed his MBA from the De Montfort University in
                funded mostly by donations from the        nationality or race.”
                                                                                                          The NGO swung into action after         students who switched to HSMP will not be able to meet         Leicester and got his HSMP visa early last year. However,
                Hindu community and some from                 He said the Indian-American
                                                                                                       it received information that the 31-       the new criteria and will have to return home.                 he will not qualify for extension of his visa under the new
                corporations such as Dell, Inc.            community in Texas was well
                                                                                                       year-old church at the Lady Lake area        Campaigners working to reverse the recent changes to         rules that require the migrant to hold a job that earns a
                   “The centre is available to everyone.   educated and productive and would
                                                                                                       was turned into rubble by the              HSMP say that it is ironic that on the one hand the British    salary of £35,000 per annum.
                There are only a few restrictions,         enrich the culture and the quality of
                                                                                                       tornado,      according    to     the      government is seeking to increase the number of students          Kapadia quotes Kumar as saying: “I spent around
                which include no meat, no alcohol          life in Austin.
                                                                                                       organisation’s website.                    from India, and on the other it is making it difficult for     £20,000 on my courses and got my HSMP but now due
                and no shoes,” said Harish Kotecha,           The centre will offer educational




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 britain
                                                                                                          The 150 mph tornado which hit           them to continue in their jobs after securing qualifications   to the unfair new changes introduced in November 2006
                treasurer of the centre.                   classes that will include teachings on
                                                                                                       Florida and adjoining areas on             from British universities.                                     I don’t qualify for HSMP extension as my earnings are less
                   Earlier, the Hindu community of         discipline in life and Hinduism,
                                                                                                       February 2 blew trees, ripped roofs          Amit Kapadia, coordinator of the HSMP Forum who              than £35,000. If I knew this before hand then I would
                Austin had to move from facility to        according to the Daily Texan.
                                                                                                       and threw mobile houses off their          did his MBA from Strathclyde University in Glasgow,            never have done my studies from UK.”
                facility for daily ceremonies and             “The classes will teach about why
                                                                                                       foundations, leaving thousands             and runs a consulting firm, told IANS: “Many students             A large number of Indian students come to Britain for
                cultural activities.                       we practise Hinduism,” said
                                                                                                       without power and killing at least         who came to UK with a thought that after studies HSMP          higher studies every year. Indians are prized by universities
                   Hundreds of people attended the         Jagannath Vedula, a religious
                                                                                                       killing 20 people.                         would be a payback period are proved wrong.                    here for their academic achievements. They consistently
                ribbon-cutting        ceremony       on    coordinator.
                                                                                                                                                    “The unpredictable nature of UK immigration rules is         achieve high results in the courses they enrol in.


        24       PRAVASI BHARATIYA            MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                                        PRAVASI BHARATIYA            MARCH 2007          25
                Diaspora News


                      Indian diaspora respected for
                         ethics, success: Tory MP                                                                                                                                                                                   Indian
          T
                       he Indian community in                                                           is a member of the Conservative
                       Britain       is    widely
                       respected and liked, says
                       a Tory MP, putting into
                                                                                                        Friends of India committee, said there
                                                                                                        was growing awareness in Britain,
                                                                                                        especially in political circles, about
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    community’s
          perspective the escalating racism
          debate in Britain, particularly after
                                                                                                        India’s economic growth and its
                                                                                                        increasing importance as a regional                                                                                         contribution
          verbal attacks against Bollywood
          actress Shilpa Shetty on the TV show
          Celebrity Big Brother.
                                                                                                        power and a strategic ally.
                                                                                                           “While there is still some concern,
                                                                                                        often fuelled by trade unions, among
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    to Bahrain
             “Indians are respected for their
          work ethic, business success and the
          way they have integrated into British
                                                                                                        the general population about job
                                                                                                        security as a result of outsourcing to
                                                                                                        India, many people are recognising
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    praised
          society,” said Stephen Crabb(in                                                               that India has arrived on the world

                                                                                                                                                       B
                                                                                                                                                                ahrainis hold Indians, the        Bahrain and said such exhibitions          booming and it offers tremendous
          picture), who at 34 is the youngest                                                           stage and will help shape global                        oldest expat community in         would further strengthen commercial        investment opportunities to both
          Conservative member of the House              victory on Celebrity Big Brother by             economic         and       geopolitical                 the country, in high esteem       and economic ties, according to the        Indian and foreign nationals. We hope
          of Commons.                                   viewers in Britain in January this year.        developments in the decades ahead.”            and value their contribution, says         Gulf Daily News.                           investors in Bahrain will use this




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         bahrain
             “There is little jealousy or                 “During my visit to India, I realised            When asked what key areas his               Bahrain’s Industry and Commerce              Close to 30 builders from India are      opportunity,” Shetty said.
          animosity towards the Indian diaspora         that Shetty is truly a celebrity, unlike        committee had identified for                   Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro (in              taking part in the exhibition with the       “At a nine percent annual growth,
          among British people and that is one          Jade Goody and others, who are far              engagement with New Delhi, he said             picture). The minister was speaking        aim of attracting the large number of      India has proved to be an attractive
          of the reasons why Bollywood actress          from being famous in the UK.”                   the highest on the agenda was trade.           after jointly opening the Homes of         NRIs in the region to invest in the        destination      for      international
          Shilpa Shetty attracted so much                 “Whether Jade Goody’s comments                “The fear is firms in the UK are not           India property exhibition with Indian      country’s booming real estate sector.      investors,” he added.
          support during the dispute over Jade          were motivated by racism or not, they           capturing enough of the huge increase          Ambassador Balkrishna Shetty in              The exhibition features ‘semi-             Well known developers, architects,
          Goody’s behaviour,” Crabb told                were unquestionably rude and                    in India’s international trade.”               Manama last month.                         luxurious’ apartments and villa            banks, financial institutions, interior
          Pravasi Bharatiya during an India tour        offensive. Goody’s behaviour was                   According to Crabb, the concerns               Fakhro also recalled the centuries      projects in major Indian cities.           designers and legal advisers from India
          with      British      human      rights      ugly and many British people want to            of the committee included                      old relationship between India and           “The real estate market in India is      are also taking part in the exhibition.
          organisation Christian Solidarity             distance themselves from it,” added             educational links, especially in the
          Worldwide.                                    Crabb, who won the Preseli                      fields of science and engineering, and
                                                        Pembrokeshire seat in the 2005

                                                                                                                                                       T
             Shetty, who was allegedly subjected                                                        healthcare. His party is also eager to                  he lone survivor                                                                               According to media
          to racist bullying by fellow participant
          reality TV star Goody, was voted to
                                                        general election.
                                                          The British parliamentarian, who
                                                                                                        see an increasing diplomatic role of
                                                                                                        India in the area of regional security.
                                                                                                                                                                of a racially-
                                                                                                                                                                motivated              Indian American                                                       reports, Patel, 32, who
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             had been confined to the


                   India-origin police officer appointed to top post in Oxford
                                                                                                                                                       shooting spree in 2000,
                                                                                                                                                       an Indian American, has         survivor of 2000                                                      wheelchair after a single
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             bullet severed his spinal

                                                                                                                                                                                     shooting spree dead
                                                                                                                                                       died in hospital. Sandeep                                                                             cord,     died      after

          A    n India-origin police officer has been appointed to a top post   coordinator and architectural liaison officer, drugs adviser, income   Patel was paralysed from                                                                              complications arising
               in Oxford, marking a landmark in race relations for the police   generation officer and as chief officer and coordinator of the         the neck down after he                                                                                out of pneumonia at the




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         united states
          forces in Britain.                                                    county’s Special Constabulary.                                         was shot in the neck and upper back by Richard                   University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC),
             Chief inspector Jack Malhi, 52, who hails from India, has             He told the Oxford Times, a leading local newspaper, “The best      Baumhammers, a former lawyer, on April 28, 2000. He was          Passavant, in Pensylvania.
          replaced chief inspector Steph Cook as number two to Oxford’s         times are always on the front line. When I was a rural policeman,      shot at his sister Leena Patel’s grocery store in Scott,            “He died a very peaceful death,” a report in the Tribune
          police commander, superintendent Jim Trotman.                         an elderly lady was charged £600 for £50 worth of work by some         Pensylvania, where another Indian American was killed.           Review quoted Dr. Mohan Chabra, a cardiologist and
             Malhi, who joined the Thames Valley Police from the                very dodgy people.                                                        Patel, who had a degree in accounting, had been in            friend of the family, as saying. “He didn’t suffer at the
          Bedfordshire force, said: “When they offered me a job in Oxford          “She didn’t want to report it, but I persuaded her to make a        America for less than 20 months before the shooting spree.       end. The way he died was so peaceful.”
          I was delighted. When you talk about Oxford, you talk about an        complaint. When she did, the greatest satisfaction was when the           Baumhammers, a white, had then gone on to kill four              Patel was given the city’s first Voice of Tolerance Award
britain




          international landmark.                                               offender had to pay back the woman and meet her.”                      more people, all minorities, in the Mount Lebanon and            in 2002 for speaking out against racial intolerance.
             “You go to China or any part of India and say you come from           He was also chairman of the Bedfordshire Black Police               Scott, Robinson and Center townships in Pensylvania.                “He believed in God and he believed in humanity,”
          Luton or Bedford and no one knows where you’re from. Everyone,        Association for eight years. Despite holding such high-ranking            ‘Hey’ was the word Patel hated to hear. For when              Chabra told the Tribune Review. “He forgave Richard
          everywhere in the world, knows where Oxford is.”                      roles, however, Malhi believes getting justice for the victims of      Baumhammers strode into the store in April 2000 with a           Baumhammers. He had pardoned Richard
             Local reports in Oxford say that Malhi joined the Bedfordshire     crime has been the most satisfying part of his career.                 .357-caliber Magnum handgun, it was the only word he             Baumhammers in his mind.”
          Police in 1982 and worked as a local beat officer before working          “I’m looking forward to working in partnership with Oxford City    had used before he pumped a bullet into Patel.                      Baumhammers was convicted in 2001 on five counts of
          his way up the ranks. He has worked as a crime reduction              Council,” he added.                                                       Patel did not want to testify about the fateful day,but his   first degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
                                                                                                                                                       friends and family members persuaded him.                        He is now on death row.


    26     PRAVASI BHARATIYA             MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                                                     PRAVASI BHARATIYA            MARCH 2007           27
                      Diaspora News                                                                                                                                                                                                               Ministry News


                                                                                                                                                Financial aid for victims of fraudulent marriages
                                                                               Indian                                                           The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs will financially assist women
                                                                               American’s                                                       who fall victim to fraudulent marriages with overseas Indians.

                                                                               research
                                                                               could lead to
                                                                               improved MRI
                A
                        n Indian American professor’s project on magnetic      single-molecule magnets might produce greater contrast
                        resonance imaging (MRI) could revolutionise            in medical imaging, meaning MRIs would be much more
                        healthcare by providing a more accurate tool for       accurate.”
                diagnosing cancer and other illnesses.                            Working at the FSU and the National High Magnetic
                   Naresh Dalal, professor of chemistry and biochemistry       Field Laboratory, Dalal and another FSU researcher,
                at the Florida State University (FSU) and a graduate of        chemistry graduate teaching assistant Vasanth
                Panjab University, conducted experiments with other            Ramachandran, were able to synthesise a substance known
                researchers from the University of Colorado and the            as Fe8 that is one of the strongest magnets known.
                National Institute of Standards and Technology that               “Fe8 is a molecule made up of eight iron ions that form
                uncovered unique properties in a molecular magnet —            a tight molecular bond,” Dalal said. “It has a powerful
                properties that could significantly increase the resolution    magnetic field, which is obviously important in generating
                of MRIs, according to the FSU website.                         a very clear image with an MRI device. What’s more, Fe8
                   Their paper on the “Efficacy of the single-molecule         is non-toxic and water-soluble, making it safe for injection
                magnet Fe8 for magnetic resonance imaging contrast agent       into the body.”                                                    Minister for Overseas
                over a broad range of concentration” was published in the         Molecular magnets such as Fe8 hold great potential for          Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi.
                Polyhedron, a prestigious science journal.                     other applications as well, he said. However, Dalal
                   “There are continual efforts to enhance the level of        admitted that there still are some hurdles to overcome



                                                                                                                                                I
                                                                                                                                                        n the wake of increased cases of   told Pravasi Bharatiya.                    obtained by the overseas Indian
                image clarity found in today’s MRI devices,” Dalal said.       before Fe8 becomes a viable MRI option.
                                                                                                                                                        Indian women falling prey to          An estimated 30,000 women have          husband and a case of maintenance or
                “MRIs utilise injectable dyes, but those in current use,          Dalal graduated from Panjab University in 1962 and
                                                                                                                                                        fraudulent marriages with          been abandoned by their NRI                alimony is required to be filed.
                while easy to manufacture, offer a relatively low contrast.    later, in 1971, did his doctorate in physical chemistry from
                                                                                                                                                        overseas       Indians,     the    husbands in India.                            The Indian missions abroad have
                Our experiments show that a class of materials known as        the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
                                                                                                                                                Government has announced financial            “The Indian missions concerned          been asked to circulate the scheme
                                                                                                                                                aid for such women to seek legal and       will involve credible Indian women’s       among the community associations.
                   Indians will be second largest recipient of US visas                                                                         counselling services through its
                                                                                                                                                foreign missions.
                                                                                                                                                                                           organisations and NGOs working in
                                                                                                                                                                                           these countries and give them
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         “It will be sent to women’s groups
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and NGOs inviting them to apply for


                 I
                     ndians wishing to travel to the      of a mouse by visiting the embassy’s       personnel. In the same breath, he             Under the new scheme, to be             financial assistance to the tune of        empanelment under the scheme for
united states




                     US can expect an easier ride with    website www.vfs-usa.co.in.                 added that all efforts were being          initially introduced in the US, Britain,   US$1,000 per case,” the Minister           providing legal services. The
                     the American embassy expecting          “We have mastered the backlog in        made, including deploying extra            Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the        stated.                                    women’s organisation/NGOs will
                 to issue 800,000 visas this year — a     visas. We expect to issue 800,000          personnel, to correct this and fast-       United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar,            According to the Minister, the          make efforts to enlist community
                 feat that will make India the country    visas from India. This will make           track issuance of visas.                   Kuwait and Bahrain, the Government         scheme is to provide advisory and          advocates to extend further legal
                 from where the US issues the largest     India only next to Mexico in terms of         As India and the US focus on            will provide $1,000 to women who           legal services to women of Indian          assistance/appearance in court etc,”
                 number of visas after neighbour          the number of US visas issued,” US         expanding business bonds between           have either been deserted or divorced      origin in distress as a welfare measure.   the statement said.
                 Mexico.                                  Ambassador to India David C.               them, especially after the civil nuclear   by their overseas Indian spouses              “Legal services would be provided          The missions will examine the
                   This projected increase from           Mulford told reporters in New              deal last year, the US embassy here        within two years of marriage.              by a panel of community advocates          applications received by its legal cells
                 500,000 visas last year has been         Delhi.                                     has made it its mission to cut down           “The assistance will be provided to     through credible Indian associations       and a committee will examine the
                 spurred by the focussed efforts of the      “And we don’t even share a border       on delays in granting visas to Indians     Indian women who are victims of            and women’s organisations,” the            requests that come to MOIA. The
                 US missions in India to reduce the       with India,” Mulford added in a            wishing to travel to the US.               fraudulent marriages and deserted by       Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs        committee can recommend their case
                 waiting time for those seeking visa      lighter vein.                                 The US has consulates in Kolkata,       their overseas Indian husbands or are      (MOIA) said in a separate statement.       for financial assistance.
                 appointments.                               The envoy, however, admitted            Mumbai and Chennai and a fourth            facing divorce proceedings in a               Legal aid will also be provided in         MOIA has been running an
                   One can now get a US visa              that getting visas takes slighter longer   would be opened in Hyderabad by            foreign country,” Minister for             the cases of an ex-parte decree of         awareness campaign to restrict such
                 appointment in six days at the click     in Mumbai due to a lack of adequate        the year-end.                              Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi       divorce or annulment of the marriage       fraudulent marriages.


        28       PRAVASI BHARATIYA          MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                                          PRAVASI BHARATIYA            MARCH 2007          29
           Cricket World Cup

                                                                                                                               Indian origin in the Kenyan side, who had made his          against Scotland being his highest.


     W
                      hat is common to Navdeep Poonia,             then, he has played many a cameo in the east African
                      Tanmay Mishra, Hiren Varaiya, Ashish         nation’s international outings.                             debut against Pakistan in the 2004 Champions Trophy            Having captained Canada’s under-19 side when he
                      Bagai and Ashif Mulla? Sure, the names         Giving company to Mishra is veteran Ravindu Shah,         in England. He, however, had very little opportunities to   was only 15, he made his international debut at the age
                      sound familiar with the cricket World        Hiren Varaiya, Malhar Patel and Rajesh Bhudia.              showcase his talent.                                        of 17 in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.
     Cup currently on in the West Indies. Yes indeed, they           A veteran of over 50 one-dayers, Shah has been a key         Rajesh Bhudia, a right hand batsman and a right arm         The standby wicketkeeper in the Canadian team is
     are all cricketers, and they are all representing teams       character in Kenya’s campaigns in the international         fast medium bowler, is also in the Kenya side, but is yet   also of Indian origin. Ashif Mulla was born in the Indian
     which many are calling ‘minnows’ despite the giant            cricket scene. Having made his debut, he has a career       to make his international debut.                            state of Gujarat in 1980s. He represented in the
     killing acts some of these teams have come up in the          best score of 113, which he made against Scotland in an        Glasgow-born Navdeep Poonia is an important              Americas Under-19s in the 1999-2000 Under-19 World
     past.                                                         International Cricket Council (ICC) development             member of the Scotland side. Having played for English      Cup and made his one-day debut for Canada in the
        And they are among the lesser-known Indian origin          programme tournament in Kenya.                              county side Warwickshire, this right hand batsman made      2006-07 against the Netherlands in the 2006-07 season.
     players turning out in the colours of other countries.          He enhanced his reputation, scoring valiant half          his international debut against Ireland in 2006.            He is a right hand batsman but has yet to make a half-
        Much like the more illustrious personalities like          centuries against South Africa and Canada during               He has also made a mark in cricket’s latest format,      century.
     Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and                  Kenya’s foray to the semifinals of the 2003 World Cup.      Twenty20, becoming part of the World Cricket League            And finally, Saleem Mukuddem, the all-rounder who
     Denesh Ramdin of hosts West Indies, Jeetan Patel of             In the 2007 edition, despite his side’s loss, he made a   squad that participated in the Twenty20 World               is appearing for Bermuda. A right hand batsman and
     New Zealand and Monty Panesar and Ravinder Bopara             creditable 71 in a group match against New Zealand.         Championships in Kenya.                                     right hand medium fast bowler, Mukuddem was born
     of England.                                                     Born in 1984, Hiren Varaiya shares the same                  Canadian wicketkeeper Ashish Bagai is another player     in South Africa in 1972. He made his one-day
        Born in Mumbai in 1986, Tanmay Mishra was                  nickname as India’s explosive batsman Virender Sehwag       of Indian origin taking part in the World Cup. Born in      international debut for Bermuda in May 2006 against
     brought into Kenyan squad in 2006 in that country’s bid       — Viru. A left arm spinner, he made an impressive           New Delhi in 1982, slightly built Bagai is known for his    Canada and comes to the World Cup with the
     to infuse young blood into the team. A right hand             debut in 2006, taking three wickets for 24 runs against     clean work behind the stumps. As a batsman, he has          experience of 18 ODIs. He has scored a career best 57
     batsman, who also bowls right hand fast medium, he did        Canada in Toronto. He boasts of a career best record of     acquired a reputation for being calm in pressure            against Canada and has best bowling figures of four for
     not disappoint the selectors, scoring 46 in just his second   4/25 in that same series against Canada.                    situations and has to his credit two international          40 which he took against the Netherlands.
     against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo last year. Ever since              A right hand bat, Malhar Patel is another youngster of    hundreds and four half centuries, an unbeaten 137              Indeed, wherever cricket grows, Indians appear.     ■




                                                  CRICKETERS OF




                                                                                                                                       Shivnaraine Chanderpaul
                                                  INDIAN ORIGIN




                                                                                                                                                                    Ramnaresh Sarwanl




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Ravinder Bopara
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Denesh Ramdin




                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Monty Panesar
                                                                                                                                            WEST INDIES




                                                                                                                                                                      WEST INDIES




                                                                                                                                                                                                 WEST INDIES




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ENGLAND




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ENGLAND
                                                               From Shivnaraine Chanderpaul




                                                                                                                                       NEW ZEALAND




                                                                                                                                                                    Tanmay Mishra




                                                                                                                                                                                                 Ravindu Shah




                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Hiren Varaiya




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Malhar Patel
                                                                                                                                        Jeetan Patel
                                                              and Ramnaresh Sarwan of West




                                                                                                                                                                       KENYA




                                                                                                                                                                                                   KENYA




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  KENYA




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  KENYA
                                                                 Indies to Jeetan Patel of New
                                                                 Zealand, cricketers of Indian
                                                                   origin have worn colours of
                                                                different countries which they




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Saleem Mukuddem
                                                               call home. At the cricket World




                                                                                                                                                                    Navdeep Poonia
                                                                                                                                       Rajesh Bhudia




                                                                                                                                                                     SCOTLAND




                                                                                                                                                                                                 Ashish Bgai




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     BERMUDA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Ashif Mulla
                                                                                                                                                                                                  CANADA




                                                                                                                                                                                                                               CANADA
                                                                 Cup 2007 in the West Indies,.


                                                                                                                                          KENYA
                                                                           where 16 nations are
                                                             participating, there are a number
                                                                     of players of Indian origin
                                                             representing different countries.
                                                                                 Here is a look.


30    PRAVASI BHARATIYA          MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                                      PRAVASI BHARATIYA             MARCH 2007   31
          The Indian Diaspora

                                                                                                                                        Canada as a matter of preference, the
                                                                                                                                        East Indians, whether they are Indo-
                                                                                                                                        Trinidadians or Indo-Guyanese
                                                                                                                                        longingly look to India for inspiration
                                                                                                                                        without being any the less Indo-
                                                                                                                                        Caribbeans.
                                                                                                                                           As Trinidad & Tobago’s Leader of
                                                                                                                                        the Opposition Kamla Persad-
                                                                                                                                        Bissessar is often fond of saying: “For
                                                                                                                                        us, India is not Mother India. It is
      Starting with this                                                                                                                Grandmother India.”
                                                                                                                                           That synergy was the result of a
      issue, we feature                                                                                                                 valiant struggle in the face of deep
      profiles of the Indian                                                                                                            disdain the White plantation masters
                                                                                                                                        nursed against them treating them as
      diaspora in various                                                                                                               inferior. It was a history of an illiterate,
      parts of the world.                                                                                                               half-starved,       deprived        Indian
      And what better place                                                                                                             migrants holding out against
                                                                                                                                        enormous pressure of a hostile
      to start than the                                                                                                                 environ, never wavering from their
      Caribbean, where the                                                                                                              tenets of faith, their cultural
      2007 Cricket World                                                                                                                inheritance and identity.
                                                                                                                                           Between 1845 and 1917, some
      Cup is being held.                                                                                                                134,183 indentured labour arrived in


              CONNECTING TO THE
                                                                                                                                        Trinidad & Tobago from Uttar
                                                                                                                                        Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal and in                  A bronze replica of the vessel Whitby at the Indian Immigration Monument in
                                                                                                                                                                                       Georgetown, Guyana. The vessel was one of the two that had brought the first batch




             CARIBBEAN
                                                                                                                                        course of time proved their worth so
                                                                                                                                        much that they were given plots of                           of Indian indentured labour to Guyana in May 1838.
                                                                                                                                        land to build their cottage and                  Following Trinidad & Tobago’s            chose to appoint Patrick Manning of
                                                                                                                                        continue in the sugarcane plantations.         independence in 1962, there were           the People’s National Movement
                                                                                                                                        After the British abolished slavery in         reports of social tension between the      (PNM) as the Prime Minister.
                                                                                                                                        all its colonies, the plantation owners        Afro-Trinidadians, who were                   But, even today, Indo-Trinidadians
                                                                                                                                        kept on bringing indentured                    imported originally as slaves, and the     continue       to     occupy     high
                                                                                                                                        labourers on contract who, however,            Indo-Trinidadians, the indentured          constitutional posts. Both the offices
                                                                                                                                        remained in virtual slavery.                   labourers. There were also allegations     of the president of Trinidad’s Senate
                                                                                                                                           By 1917, the winds of change                that there were efforts to keep away       and speaker of the House of


     R
                 oti Hut, Roti Corner and     like Jamaica, Barbados and Antigua.         secretary-general Sridath Ramphal is
                 Roti Palace as names of         From the days of indentured              another name in international                 started blowing. By that year, Indian          the Indo-Trinidadians from the             Representatives are occupied by Indo-
                 restaurants. Hindi film      labour, of unending servitude,              diplomacy. The name of Rohan                  migrants owned over one-fifth of land          national mainstream.                       Trinidadians — Linda Baboolal and
                 music blaring out from       unrequited toil and indigence, the          Kanhai of Guyana is known all over            in Trinidad & Tobago. By 1921 the                However,         Indo-Trinidadians       Barindra Sinanan respectively. And
     cars and music shops. Movie theatres     Indian diaspora in the Caribbean            the cricket world. And so are                 migrants moved to jobs other than              continued to remain in the political       both belong to the ruling PNM.
     screening Bollywood films with           today has secured an acclaimed place        Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh             those in sugar plantations. The                limelight and in 1995, the United             And the country’s leader of the
     subtitles. Yoga and Sanskrit classes     of honour and excellence. The likes of      Sarwan and Denesh Ramdin in                   migrants, both Hindus and Muslims,             National Congress (UNC), which             opposition, as mentioned before, is




                                                                                                                                    “
     that are packed to capacity. Indeed,     Basdeo Panday in Trinidad & Tobago          today’s world of cricket.                     set up their own educational                   draws its support from the Indo-           also a person of Indian origin —
     India can be very much felt and seen     and Cheddi Jagan and Bharrat Jagdeo           The relevance and permanence of             institutions.                                  Trinidadian voters, came to power          Kamla Persad-Bissessar of the UNC.
     when one visits Guyana and Trinidad      in Guyana, are some of the names that       the Indian diaspora in the West Indies                                                       and Basdeo Panday became the first            Apart from the Indo-Trinidadians,
                                                                                                                                     From the days of indentured                       Indo-Trinidadian to become the             there is also a small number of non-
     & Tobago, two Caribbean countries        burn bright in the battle the Indo-         has been achieved by a wonderful
     with a huge Indian origin population.    Caribbeans fought and won.                  adaptation of the Caribbean ethos as            labour, of unending                          prime minister of Trinidad &               resident Indians, some 700 in
       While ethnic Indians comprise 43.5        And the glory extends beyond             marked by the three Cs — cricket,         servitude, unrequited toil and                     Tobago.                                    number, who are into professions like
     percent of Guyana’s population of        politics into the fields of literature as   calypso and carnival — while                                                                   Under the leadership of Panday,          medicine, engineering and teaching.
                                                                                                                                        indigence, the Indian
     over 750,000, Indo-Trinidadians
     form a little over 40 percent of the
     country’s total population of over one
     million.
       Indians in smaller numbers are also
                                              personified in Sir V.S. Naipaul and
                                              Samuel Salvon (who was, of course,
                                              of mixed ancestry) and a host of
                                              women writers like Mahadai Das,
                                              Ramabai Espinet and Niala Maharaj.
                                                                                          retaining its cultural distinctiveness
                                                                                          that has given them an identity as East
                                                                                          Indians among a homeland
                                                                                          population known as West Indians.
                                                                                            Except for a small portion of the
                                                                                                                                      diaspora in the Caribbean
                                                                                                                                         today has secured an
                                                                                                                                      acclaimed place of honour
                                                                                                                                                                        “              the UNC went on to win the 2000
                                                                                                                                                                                       elections too but internal strife in the
                                                                                                                                                                                       party forced another election in 2001
                                                                                                                                                                                       which resulted in a tie.
                                                                                                                                                                                         Without any clear constitutional
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Looking up to greater glory and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  assimilation with the their adapted
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  homeland, Indo-Trinidadians expect
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  dual citizenship from India, more
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  trade opportunities for them with
     there in other Caribbean countries       Two        times      Commonwealth          East Indians that look to the US and              and excellence.                            guidelines, the country’s president        India and more socio-cultural links


32    PRAVASI BHARATIYA          MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                                                 PRAVASI BHARATIYA           MARCH 2007         33
           The Indian Diaspora
                                                                                                                                                                                                              www.jagan.org
                                                                                          achieve what was rightfully theirs,        sector is not very developed in                                                          in the Guyanese capital Georgetown
                                                                                          disputing every inch of ground and         Guyana but there are a few industries                                                    has been quoted as saying. “And these
                                                                                          stopping at nothing before it touched      owned by the Indian diaspora. Most                                                       included people from all ethnicities.”
                                                                                          the summit.                                of the farmers growing paddy are                                                            The centre is today even holding
                                                                                            In 1992, Jagan, described by his         Indo-Guyanese.                                                                           exams in Sanskrit with students from
                                                                                          admirers the country’s ‘heart and            The number of Indo-Guyanese                                                            as far away as Canada appearing for
                                                                                          soul’, finally came to power as the        bureaucrats in senior position is                                                        them.
                                                                                          country’s first Indo-Guyanese              surprisingly miniscule as compared to                                                       So, when the Indian Vice President
                                                                                          president after his party, PPP,            their number in professions like law                                                     Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, during the
                                                                                          defeated the PNC which had ruled           and medicine.                                                                            course of a visit to the Caribbean last
                                                                                          the country from 1962 to 1992.               Guyana has a very small                                                                year, inaugurated a Rabindranath
                                                                                            Jagan’s administration saw many          community of non-resident Indians                                                        Tagore Resource Centre at the
                                                                                          constructive policies to improve the       as unlike in Mauritius, Trinidad &                                                       University of Guyana — named after
                                                                                          country’s socio-economic condition         Tobago and Fiji there was no                      Guyana’s first Indian origin           the revered Nobel laureate — and
                                                                                          transcending the racial divide. He         migration of professionals from India              President Cheddi Jagan.               announced that a new Mahatma
                                                                                          dreamed of bringing the Indo-              during the 1960s and 1970s. The total          “We may not speak Hindi but these         Gandhi Cultural Centre would be
               A steel pan orchestra playing Hindi numbers in Trinidad.                   Guyanese and the Afro-Guyanese             number of NRIs in Guyana is no               religious chants have been passed           constructed in Port of Spain, the
     like larger number of scholarships to      Forbes        Sampson         Burnham     together as partners in progress           more than a hundred.                         down by our ancestors from                  capital of Trinidad & Tobago, there
     study in India, bilateral visits,          representing the Afro-Guyanese.           through ‘participatory democracy’.           The Indo-Guyanese community is             generation to generation,” she said.        was cause for much cheer among the
     exchange of students and the like.           The racial policy of successive PNP       Hence, it was no small loss for          keen to see that the Indian private            And there is more. Along with             Indians.
                                                governments between 1964 and 1992         Guyana that Jagan breathed his last in     sector is encouraged to invest in the        Bollywood, religion and festivals,             Apart from retaining their Indian
                                                                                          1997 while in harness.                     Caribbean country.                           there is a growing awareness about          traditions, the Indian diaspora in the
     I  ndian migrant labourers started
        arriving in Guyana in virtual
                                                disenchanted the Indian diaspora and
                                                many complained that India was not          However, his legacy lived on.                                                         Sanskrit and yoga across the                Caribbean has also created a unique
     slavery as indentured contract labour
     from 1838, the flow peaked after 1850
                                                doing much to alleviate their
                                                sufferings. A large number left to
                                                                                          Jagan’s American wife Janet assumed
                                                                                          the role of president. But she resigned    T     he history of the East Indians in
                                                                                                                                           the Caribbean countries is
                                                                                                                                                                                  Caribbean nations thanks to the             culture blending with the culture of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              the Afro-Caribbeans. And nothing




                                                                                                                                                                                  “
     and continued till 1920. Ninety per        settle in US and Canada.                  two years later and passed on the          almost the same — an uphill fight to                                                     exemplifies this better than the
     cent of the Indian migrants came             But there were those who remained       mantle to a bright young Indo-             keep their distinct identity against                                                     immensely popular ‘chutney music’.
     from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and the       to leave their signature on the           Guyanese politician, Bharrat Jagdeo,       heavy odds that was won with an                                                             Chutney music derives its elements
     rest from Tamil Nadu and other             Guyanese society, sketching a profile     an economics postgraduate from             admirable singularity of purpose.             Jagan’s administration                     from the Caribbean’s unique soul
     south Indian states.                       in courage and grit. Many of them         Moscow University and groomed in              The Indian diaspora, whether in                                                       calypso or soca and Indian film songs.
                                                                                                                                     Guyana or Trinidad & Tobago, has
                                                                                                                                                                                   saw many constructive                      The lyrics are in Hindi, Bhojpuri or
        It was only after 1900,the migrants     won their community and their             politics by Cheddi Jagan. In the
     stepped out of the sugar plantations       country of adoption great honour in       general elections held in 2001,            been able to retain its cultural identity.    policies to improve the                    English the songs are sung to the beats
     and started taking up other jobs. The      diverse fields like business and          Jagdeo’s      People’s      Progressive    They built a large number of temples         country’s socio-economic                    of soca and Hindi film songs. An
     community gradually acquired the           industry and in professions like law      Party/Civic (PPP/C) again swept to         and mosques. And celebrate religious                                                     uptempo song, it is suing to the
                                                                                                                                     festivals with as much fervour as
                                                                                                                                                                                   condition transcending                     accompaniment of the dholak,
     ability to play a meaningful role in the   and medicines.                            power and he got a second term in
     socio-political arena of the country         Jurist Sir Lionel Luckhoo has found     office.                                    Indians in India.                              the racial divide. He                     harmonium and dhantal. Though
     with tremendous grit and persistence       an entry into the Guinness Book pf          In August 2006, Jagdeo started a            “We celebrate Diwali and Phagwah          dreamed of bringing the                     originally, chutney music was
     against odds.                              World Records as a criminal lawyer who    third term in office after his party was   (Holi, as it is called in the Caribbean)                                                 religious in nature, today, it is rare.
                                                                                          again elected to form the government.      in a big way,” Trinidad’s Persad-
                                                                                                                                                                                   Indo-Guyanese and the                         Pioneers of this unique style of
        Guyana became independent in            won the largest number of murder
     1966. Under a British-made                 cases. Dr. Mohamed Shahabudeen              Jagdeo, at 43 one of the youngest        Bissesar has been quoted as saying in         Afro-Guyanese together                     music are Trinidad & Tobago’s
     constitution aiming at self-rule,
     elections were held in 1953 that was
     overwhelmingly won by Dr. Cheddi
     Jagan’s People’s Progressive Party
     (PPP). The PPP formed the
                                                became a judge of the International
                                                Court of Justice. Dr. Harry
                                                Annamunthodo was acclaimed as a
                                                distinguished surgeon. Sir Sridath
                                                Ramphal left his mark on
                                                                                          heads of state in the world, has
                                                                                          continued to keep the policies of his
                                                                                          mentor alive, working for unity
                                                                                          among the Indo-Guyanese and the
                                                                                          Afro-Guyanese.
                                                                                                                                     an interview. “Why, I am sure, there
                                                                                                                                     are a number of festivals we celebrate
                                                                                                                                     here which are not even observed in
                                                                                                                                     India.”
                                                                                                                                        And when a visiting Indian
                                                                                                                                                                                   as partners in progress
                                                                                                                                                                                   through ‘participatory
                                                                                                                                                                                         democracy’
                                                                                                                                                                                                                “             Sundar Popo and Drupatee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ramgoonai and Suriname’s Ramdeo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chaitoe. Among the current crop of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              artistes are Rikki Jai, Adesh Samaroo,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Devanand Gattoo and Heeralal
     government with Jagan as prime             international diplomacy as the              “We can allow our real and               journalist, struck by the popularity of                                                  Rampartap.
     minister which was dissolved four          secretary-general         of        the   perceived differences to divide us to      Bollywood films and songs,                                                                  The Indian diaspora in the
     months later because the British           Commonwealth for two times.               our peril and dissipate our national       wondered aloud whether it was                                                            Caribbean from the years of
     thought the prime minister was             Rohan Kanhai has taken his place in       energies. Or we can resolve to             Bollywood alone that defines India in        Indian cultural centres that have been      indentured labour to this day have
     moving to socialist bloc.                  the list of the Caribbean cricketing      harmonise our diversity to our             the Caribbean, an Indo-Guyanese              set up by the Indian government over        been a fighting lot, determined to
        Guyanese politcs moved along            greats.                                   national benefit, if not glory. It is a    scribe was quick to reply, “No, we are       the years.                                  keep their prized identity while
     racial lines as sharp antagonism             From 1938 to 1992, the journey had      destiny we have to choose,” he said in     very particular about the religious             “When we started a yoga                  merging with the society of the
     developed between the PPP and              been, indeed, arduous. But the Indo-      his swearing-in ceremony last year.        rituals.” She went on to recite the          programme, as many as 150 people            adapted country contributing to its
     People’s National Party (PNP) of           Guyanese community, true to their           The Indo-Guyanese control much           Gayatri Mantra, a Vedic invocation,          signed up in the first month itself,” an    culture and progress. That saga will
     Jagan’s one time associate Lynden          spirit and aim, fought tirelessly to      of Guyana’s trade. The industrial          to prove her point.                          official of the Indian Cultural Centre      continue in future.                     ■



34    PRAVASI BHARATIYA           MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                                            PRAVASI BHARATIYA            MARCH 2007           35
           Bollywood

                                                                                                                                        Sushmita set to produce Jhansi Ki Rani
        Deepa Mehta’s Water
                                                                                                                             B
                                                                                                                                     ollywood actress Sushmita Sen has decided to
        loses out in Oscars                                                                                                          produce Jhansi Ki Rani, in which she plays the role
                                                                                                                                     of the warrior queen, because she feels others
                                                                                                                             cannot translate her vision satisfactorily on screen.
                                                                                                                                “This is the kind of year that I look forward to,” said
                                                                                                                             Sushmita about her big plans for 2007.
                                                                                                                                “And I don’t see my vision being translated to screen by
                                                                                                                             any other producer. For my interpretation of the ultimate



       I
             ndian-born Canadian director Deepa Mehta’s
                                                                                                                             warrior queen I need to create a situation conducive to a
             Water, a film on the plight of Hindu widows in
                                                                                                                             free-flowing creativity,” Sushmita said.
             the India of 1930s, lost out to Germany’s The
                                                                                                                                She says it isn’t a random decision.
             Lives of Others for an Oscar.
                                                                                                                                “Nor have I come to this decision only to accommodate
          But as The New York Times said, “Win or lose
                                                                                                                             myself as an actor. But yes, there’s a definite economic and
       tomorrow (February 25) night at the Academy Awards
                                                                                                                             creative method to my plans to go into film production.”
       ceremony in Los Angeles, one contender — Deepa
                                                                                                                                At the moment Sushmita is in serious closed-door
       Mehta’s Water, a nominee for best foreign-language
                                                                                                                             discussions with her scriptwriters. She hopes to zero in on
       film will already have scored its greatest triumph
                                                                                                                             a director (one of the top names in show business) in the        I’ve always created a situation where I can make my dreams
       simply by existing.”
                                                                                                                             next couple of months.                                           come true. This is my chance to play the one historical
                                                                                                                                “Every actor has a dream role. Mine is Jhansi Ki Rani.        character that I most closely empathise with,” she said.
                                                                                                   BAFTA nomination
      Big B to mentor Depp in Nair project                                                        for Rang De Basanti
                                                                                                                                 Nadiadwala ties up with Fox, Australia

     J
            ohnny Depp and                                     extensively shot in Australia,
            Amitabh Bachchan,                                  China and India, is a story                                                                                                               Eklavya has a heart for the
                                                                                                                                                                                                               classics: NYT
                                                                                                                                                                   W
            two actors representing                            with true global appeal, she                                                                                          ell-known
            the best of Hollywood                              said.                                                                                                                 Bollywood
                                                                                                                                                                                     producer Sajid
     and Bollywood, sharing
     screen space. Mira Nair could
                                                                  Shantaram is a screen
                                                               adaptation of Gregory David                                                                                           Nadiadwala’s                                T     he New York
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Times describes
     not have hoped for more for
     her next film Shantaram.
                                                               Roberts’ book of the same
                                                               name.
                                                                                                 R     ang De Basanti,
                                                                                                       starring     Aamir
                                                                                                 Khan, was nominated by
                                                                                                                                                                   banner, Nadiadwala Grandson
                                                                                                                                                                   Entertainment Pvt Ltd (NGE),
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 new film Eklavya: The
       While the Hollywood star                                   The film will show how                                                                           has clinched a deal with Fox                                  Royal Guard as a
                                                                                                 the British Academy                                               Studios Australia for the pre
     of films like Pirates of the                              Roberts (played by Depp), a                                                                                                                                       sombre drama that
                                                                                                 Film Awards (BAFTA)                                               and post -production work of
     Caribbean and Finding                                     convicted Australian bank                                                                                                                 clearly has a heart for the classics. “Dharma,
                                                                                                 in the ‘Best Non-English                                          Heyy Babyy being extensively
     Neverland will be playing the                             robber and heroin addict,                                                                                                                 the time-honoured concept of proper
                                                                                                 Film’ category. Directed                                          shot in the exotic locales of that
     central role in the film,                                 escapes from Pentridge                                                                                                                    conduct, is a recurrent notion” in the film
                                                                                                 by Rakeysh Omprakash                                              country.
     Amitabh will be the kind-                                 Prison, Australia, and flees to                                                                                                           that opened on February 16 in the New
                                                                                                 Mehra, the film, which                                               This makes Heyy Babyy the
     hearted Mumbai gangster.                                  India to make his base in                                                                                                                 York-New Jersey metropolitan area, said
                                                                                                 caught the imagination        first Indian film to be processed in Australia and NGE the first
       The New York-based                                      Mumbai.                                                                                                                                   critic Andy Webster.
                                                                                                 of Indians with its           Indian production house to have an office at Fox Studios.
     Indian filmmaker, who was                                    In Mumbai, Roberts has to                                                                                                                 “...And while the film takes place in the
                                                                                                 patriotic      overtones,        The film has Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Fardeen Khan
     approached by Depp to direct                              deal with the Mumbai mafia.                                                                                                               present, it clearly has a heart for the classics,
                                                                                                 eventually lost out to        and Vidya Balan in important roles.
     Shantaram, couldn’t have                                  He later decides to help slum                                                                                                             particularly those of eastern philosophy,
                                                                                                 Guillermo Del Toro’s             “Fox Studios Australia provides filmmakers with the most up-
     asked for a better deal.                                  dwellers and starts a health                                                                                                              Shakespeare and genre cinema,” he added.
                                                                                                 Pan’s Labyrinth. But the      to-date, integrated production and post production environment.
       “It was an honour for me Bachchan (above) and centre that provides free                                                                                                                              Shakespeare’s sonnet (“Shall I compare
                                                                                                 selection of the film for     We have been home to many highly successful US films and now
     that Depp asked me to make                                medical facilities to the poor.                                                                                                           thee...”) is twice invoked in the film and its
                                                Depp                                             one of the most coveted       welcome our first Bollywood film to the lot,” said Nancy
     the film.                                                    It is here that Roberts                                                                                                                dark palace interiors and scheming evoke
                                                                                                 categories was a perfect      Romano, CEO Fox Studios Australia, in a press release.
       When asked about other members of the befriends Kader Bhai (Amitabh) who                                                                                                                          ‘Macbeth’, NYT noted.
                                                                                                 start for the Indian film        Nadiadwala is quite happy with the deal.
     cast, Nair said it was just Depp and eventually becomes his mentor and guide.                                                                                                                          “The main tribute in the ‘Guard’, however,
                                                                                                 industry this year after         He said: “It’s a privilege for NGE to be the first Indian company
     Amitabh right now.                              Asked about her views on Bollywood                                                                                                                  is to Mr. Bachchan, an aging Bollywood
                                                                                                 2006       saw      more      to be associated with Fox Studios for Heyy Babyy. The studio is
       The Monsoon Wedding director describes and the chances of her making a typical                                                                                                                    monument, whose sunken, heavy-lidded
                                                                                                 Bollywood         movies      simply the most up to date with the best production facilities.
     herself as a very intuitive person and one potboiler, she said: “I am all for                                                                                                                       eyes, grizzled countenance and noble bearing
                                                                                                 entering the UK Top 10           "Our company would always like to support our talented
     who selects her projects on the basis of her commerciality. I love Bollywood formula                                                                                                                indisputably convey the presence of a
                                                                                                 compared to British           technicians with the best facilities for the changing needs of our
     instincts.                                    but other people make better than me. I                                                                                                               seasoned star,” NYT said.
                                                                                                 films           produced      audience,” he said.
       And Shantaram, which will be make my own kind of cinema.”                                 domestically.


36    PRAVASI BHARATIYA          MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                                  PRAVASI BHARATIYA            MARCH 2007         37
           Women’s Day Special
                                                                                                                            AFP




SUPER WOMEN!
                                                                                                                                          “Education helped me see what was
                                                                                                                                       wrong and gave me the confidence to
                                                                                                                                       question it,” she said.
                                                                                                                                          Indian women are breaking barriers
                                                                                                                                       and entering fields which have been
                                                                                                                                       male bastions until recently.
                                                                                                                                          Take, for instance, the Indian
                                                                                                                                       women’s squad that stepped out of
                                                                                                                                       their homes and emerged triumphant
                                                                                                                                       at the World Boxing Championship            Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, centre, releasing a set of four stamps on the
                                                                                                                                       held in the capital last November.         occasion of International Women’s Day in New Delhi on March 8, 2007. Also seen are
                                                                                                                                          Spearheading the group was 24-           Minister for Communications and Information Technology Dayanidhi Maran, left, and
                                                                                                                                       year-old M.C. Mary Kom (in picture,
                                                                                                                                                                                         Minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury.
                                                                                                                                       facing page) from the northeastern
                                                                                                                                                                                  difficult customers. It’s not the gender     am successful, they respect me, they
                                                                                                                                       state of Manipur who helped break
                                                                                                                                                                                  but the attitude that matters.               listen to me,” said a confident Anita.
                                                                                                                                       Russian dominance over the sport by
                                                                                                                                                                                  Moreover, I am in this profession               And it’s not just for themselves that
                                                                                                                                       winning four gold, one silver and
                                                                                                                                                                                  because I want to be. It’s liberating,”      these women are standing up for.
                                                                                                                                       three bronze in the tournament.
                                                                                                                                                                                  said Shroff with confidence.                 From tackling problems like cleaning
                                                                                                                                          Unfazed by the raised eyebrows in
                                                                                                                                                                                     She’s among the rising number of          up the community well to spreading
                                                                                                                                       the society at large about a woman in
                                                                                                                                                                                  young women in the country who are           awareness about HIV/AIDS, they are
                                                                                                                                       what is called a “male sport” as well as
                                                                                                                                                                                  getting into professional bartending         taking issues in their hands and not
                                                                                                                                       by the medical complications, which
                                                                                                                                                                                  because they choose to be.                   relying on their men folk to help
                                                                                                                                       could arise due to the physical
                                                                                                                                                                                     If there are girls like Amy in the        them.
                                                                                                                                       aggressiveness of the sport, these
                                                                                                                                                                                  glitzy cities, there are others like Anita      In November last year, for instance,
                                                                                                                                       women say: “Boxing has given us
                                                                                                                                                                                  Khushwaha in the laidback lanes of           teams of women bikers rode across
                                                                                                                                       everything. Hopefully we will
                                                                                                                                                                                  rural India who are standing up for          Maharashtra spreading awareness
                                                                                                                                       become household names one day.
                                                                                                                                                                                  their rights of choosing the way they        about HIV/AIDS and sensitising
                                                                                                                                       We want to do our country proud.”
                                                                                                                                                                                  want to live.                                people about violence against women.
                                                                                                                                          Flipping the bottle with ease, Amy
                                                                                                                                                                                     A beekeeper in Bochaha village of         Amongst them was 19-year old
                                                                                                                                       Shroff of Mumbai is equally
                                                                                                                                                                                  Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, Anita          Shabana Abdul Rezzak Sheikh of
                                                                                                                                       determined to live her life to the
                                                                                                                                                                                  had to try hard to convince her father       Solapur who said she is proud to have
                                                                                                                                       fullest, never mind the security risks
                                                                                                                                                                                  to let her go to school instead of           been associated with such a noble
                                                                                                                                       or the raised eyebrows that come
                                                                                                                                                                                  looking after the goats at home. When        cause. And she has her parents
                                                                                                                                       along with the fact that she is one of
                                                                                                                                                                                  she did not get his support after            backing her up.
                                                                                                                                       the few Indian woman bartenders.
                                                                                                                                                                                  attending school for some time, she             “Both my parents understood the
                                                                                                                                          “I am a professionally trained



                                         T
                                                     he odds are stacked heavily           “The status of women in India has been                                                 started teaching other children and          importance of this message and were
                                                     against her right from             subject to great many changes over the past    bartender so I know how to handle
                                                                                                                                                                                  earned enough money to pay for her           more than happy to let me go,”
                                                     conception to the moment she       few millennia. Women in India now are




                                                                                                                                       “
                                                                                                                                                                                  books and school fees.                       Shabana said.
                                                     breathes her last. But ever so     not far behind in sectors such as education,                                                 In a village where mostly men keep           Add to their numbers the millions
                                         often women in India break free of the         politics, media, art and culture, service                                                 bees and make honey, Anita was the           who are full time homemakers and
                                         shackles of tradition and prejudice that fix   sectors, science and technology,” Renuka       I always do what I want                    first woman to give it a try. From the       mothers, or those who slog in
                                         them in defined roles to take on — and         Chowdhury, Minister of State for Women            and what makes me                       money she saved, she bought two              humdrum jobs to supplement their
         March 8 is observed as          conquer — male bastions.                       and Child Development, told this writer.
                                                                                                                                       happy, and when no one                     queen bees and started her business.         family income, or those who slog in
                                            Female foeticide, domestic violence,           Bhauri Malavat, a 24-year-old village
   International Women’s Day.            dowry, sexual harassment, subjugation of       woman from Rajasthan’s Bikaner district,        helps me I find my own
                                                                                                                                                                                  Today she has 100 boxes of bees,
                                                                                                                                                                                  makes honey and even goes to college
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               construction sites working as hard as
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               the man next to them, or even those
 Azera Rahman looks at how               the girl child, discrimination... women        is one such example of the never-say-die       way. I have learned that                   on her bicycle. And she is just 17.          who break the glass ceiling to reach
  the modern Indian woman is             fight these and more everyday. And             spirit of the Indian woman. A victim of                                                      “I always do what I want and what         the top of their careers and the
breaking free of the shackles of
tradition that fix her in defined
  roles to take on and conquer
                                         sometimes win.
                                            Some 70,000 women die every year
                                         while giving birth and the girl child
                                         struggles to survive with a gender ratio,
                                         according to UNICEF, of roughly 927
                                                                                        child marriage and caste discrimination,
                                                                                        she was determined to axe the odds with
                                                                                        the aid of education.
                                                                                           Standing proud as a police constable
                                                                                        now, Bhauri believes that her
                                                                                                                                       it is never easy for a girl
                                                                                                                                         to do something new;
                                                                                                                                         people say bad things
                                                                                                                                               about her.
                                                                                                                                                                     “            makes me happy, and when no one
                                                                                                                                                                                  helps me I find my own way. I have
                                                                                                                                                                                  learned that it is never easy for a girl
                                                                                                                                                                                  to do something new; people say bad
                                                                                                                                                                                  things about her. A lot of people,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               realisation dawns — a new dawn
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               might just be round the corner.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Do we dare to hope?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (The views expressed here are of the
        what were thought to be          females per 1,000 males.                       determination to go to school has brought                                                 including my own family, were upset          writer and not of the Ministry of Overseas
      traditional male bastions.            Now, things could finally be changing.      her where she is today.                                                                   with me at first, but today because I                    Indian Affairs.)



   38   PRAVASI BHARATIYA   MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                                                   PRAVASI BHARATIYA             MARCH 2007           39
        Interview



                                                  T
                                                               reading the peace path led   East. The problem with militarily                                                             Hindu or Muslim in India bears no ill
                                                               by     his   grandfather     tackling terrorism is that it has proved                                                      will against each other. But
                                                               Mahatma Gandhi, Arun         to be self-defeating as it results in the                                                     sometimes issues like the Ram temple
                                                               Gandhi (in picture, left),   annihilation of innocents as well.                                                               (in Ayodhya) and ‘Vande Mataram’
                                                  who is working on milder ways of             What about terrorists who                                                                       (national song that ran into
                                                  conflict resolution, censures the         use RDX, human bombs                                                                                 controversy) have been used
                                                  United States’ eye-for-an-eye policy      and the latest techniques                                                                              for political gimmickry to
                                                  in fighting terror.                       to eliminate innocents?                                                                                 gain electoral mileage in
                                                     “Violence cannot be controlled            I feel in this kind of                                                                                India.
                                                  with military might and fight because     scenario,      our     work                                                                                  The best method for
                                                  in the eye-for-an-eye formula, no one     redoubles        as      the                                                                              Indians to come to terms
                                                  finally wins. The winner — or             prevention and healing of                                                                                  is that voices of sanity
                                                  perpetrator — leaves behind a bitter      violence becomes an                                                                                        from       both      the
                                                  enemy,” Gandhi said in an interview.      ever-increasing need in                                                                                    communities must take
                                                     “I have been voicing my views not      our hearts and homes, our                                                                                  care of the communalist
                                                  only to the US government but to the      streets and communities,                                                                                  elements. A saner Hindu
                                                  world that for every terrorist killed,    in our nation and world.                                                                                  must sanitise a Hindu
                                                  we are raising hundreds like in Iraq,     Our research and work                                                                                    communalist and a saner
                                                  Afghanistan and the Middle East,” he      echo and affirm the                                                                                      Muslim must sanitise a
                                                  said.                                     prophetic nature of Mahatma                                                                             Muslim communalist within
                                                     Gandhi, the director of the M.K.       Gandhi's            prediction:                                                                       the community.
                                                  Gandhi Institute for Non-violence in      “Undreamed of and seemingly                                                                            Is there any remedy for
                                                  Memphis, US, says he set up the           impossible discoveries will be                                                                    mishaps like the Samjhauta
                                                  institute to help reduce the “hate that   made in the field of non-violence.”                                                            Express (India-Pakistan peace
                                                  consumes our hearts, homes and               Is it possible to win the war                                                              train) blasts in Panipat in India?
                                                  societies”. Excerpts:                     against terror?                                                                                 Unless peace efforts by all agencies
                                                     Question: What moved you to               It is possible as globally we now                                                          involved       are    absolute    and




                                                                                                                                         “
                                                  set up an institution in the US and       have growing communities of friends,                                                          unconditional, such disasters might
                                                  not in India, where the                   students and practitioners of non-                                                            continue.
                                                  Mahatma’s practical philosophy            violence who are forming a moral                 ...Mahatma Gandhi is                           These demonic acts are committed
                                                  is required most?                         support network and fortifying the                 timely and topical.                        by people who have been completely
                                                     Answer: Not just to me but to the      collective project of peacemaking all                                                         brainwashed.
                                                                                                                                            Moreover, he is one man
                                                  world at large Mahatma Gandhi is          over the world. All of us can do it by                                                          We should try to get in touch with
                                                  timely and topical. Moreover, he is
                                                  one man who is above the
                                                  geographical and religious barriers of
                                                  regions and faiths. With my wife
                                                  Sunanda, I founded this institute in
                                                                                            anger management, diversity training,
                                                                                            relationship
                                                                                            building.
                                                                                                              and

                                                                                               How can Indian Hindus and
                                                                                                                        community


                                                                                            Muslims come to terms with their
                                                                                                                                                who is above the
                                                                                                                                                geographical and
                                                                                                                                              religious barriers of
                                                                                                                                               regions and faiths.
                                                                                                                                                                             “            such people and try to brainwash
                                                                                                                                                                                          them against terrorism by a process
                                                                                                                                                                                          of unlearning.

                                                                                                                                                                                              (The views expressed here are of the
                                                  1991 to promote and teach the             mutual hatred?                                                                                interviewer and the interviewee and not of
                                                  philosophy and practice of non-              I think that the heart of a common                                                          the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.)

                                                                                                MK GANDHI INSTITUTE FOR NON-VIOLENCE
                                                  violence to help reduce the hate that


     Taking on terrorism
                                                  consumes our hearts, homes and
                                                  societies.
                                                     Do you think the US has had            T   he M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence was founded in
                                                                                                1991 by the grandson of Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's
                                                                                            grandson, and his wife, Sunanda. The Gandhis provided seed
                                                                                                                                                                    dedicated to nonviolence worldwide. Arun’s nationwide lecture
                                                                                                                                                                    series in the US makes thousands aware of non-violence yearly,
                                                                                                                                                                    and this has spurred the development of non-violence groups


     THE GANDHI WAY
                                                  any success in curbing terrorism?
                                                     Violence cannot be controlled with     money for the institute through the sale of Gandhiji’s letters to his   throughout the country.
                                                  military might and fight as in the eye-   son and daughter-in-law (Arun’s parents), Manilal and Sushila.             These growing communities of friends, students, and
                                                  for-an-eye formula, no one finally           Sustaining funds come from contributions, publications,              practitioners of non-violence are forming a network of moral
                                                  wins. The winner — or perpetrator         program fees, and grants. The institute is hosted by the Christian      support for each other and fortifying the collective project of
     Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi        — leaves behind a bitter enemy.           Brothers University, which graciously provides an office for its        peacemaking all over the world.
                                                                                            work on non-violence.                                                      In the United States, new groups committed to nonviolence,
     tells Firoz Bakht Ahmed that he set up the      I have been voicing my views not
                                                                                               Many of the Institute’s educational programs are aimed at            and inspired by the Gandhis, have sprung up in Los Angeles, San
     MK Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence in      only to the US government but to the
                                                  world that for every terrorist killed,    conflict prevention, anger management, diversity training, and          Antonio, Chicago, Houston, Portland, Rochester, and many cities
     Memphis, US, to help reduce the ‘hate that   we are raising hundreds others like in    relationship and community-building.                                    in between.
                                                                                               The Gandhi Institute is in communication with organisations                            (From the institute’s website.)
     consumes our hearts, homes and societies’.   Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle


40   PRAVASI BHARATIYA   MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                 PRAVASI BHARATIYA             MARCH 2007           41
                         Travel




                                                        B
                                                                    y the time the 32-seater bus had
 Pix: Gaurav Schimar



                                                                    roared up the Garhwal Himalayas




                        Rapids ahead!
                                                                    past Rishikesh, darkness had fallen.
                                                                    We could see the signboards,
                                                        though, from the bus’s headlights as it
                                                        zigzagged up — Aqua Terra, Snow Leopard,
                                                        Glass House on the Ganges, Adventure Links,
                                                        Mercury Adventure Park, Himalayan River
                                                        Rafters... Exotic names, river rafting camps.
                                                          The bus eventually came to a stop in the
                                                        middle of nowhere. At least that was what we
                                                        thought as we alighted into pitch darkness.
                                                        And the roar of the Ganga as it rushed down
                                                        the Himalayas to the north Indian plains.
                                                          And then we saw. Our camp — Camp 5
                                                        Elements. Down, down below, two rows of
                                                        lights — lanterns, we later learnt — like a very,
                                                        very short airport runway.
                                                          We saw our guides trudging up a steep
                                                        hillside lanterns in hand.
                                                          “Careful,” they warned as we negotiated our
                                                        way down a narrow slippery path.
                                                          The river’s roar rose. And then some relief.
                                                        Some flat ground and a bridge. We crossed the
                                                        river and then further down we finally put our
                                                        feet on sand. We have arrived. One could see
                                                        two rows of tents a lantern in front of each.
                                                        Remember the airport runway?
                                                          Camp 5 Elements. Earth, water, fire, wind,
                                                        space. Spread over 800 metres along the river
                                                        and surrounded by thick forests and
                                                        mountains, one cannot miss the rush of
                                                        excitement within.
                                                          Coffee and snacks later, we went to the tents
                                                        allotted to us.
                                                          “Freshen up and come over,” our camp
                                                        supervisor Brijmohan had said as he prepared a
                                                        large bonfire.
                                                          We did so. After all, it was quite a long
                                                        journey from New Delhi. We had started off
                                                        in the morning, breakfast on the way, and
                        White water rafting on          lunch at a heritage hotel in Haridwar and
                                                        crossed Rishikesh — that was 225 km from
                        the Ganga in winter can         where we had started - and then a further 37
                        be an exhilarating              km up the Himalayas till Kaudiyala where our
                        experience, as                  camp is located.
                        Aroonim Bhuyan                    It was the typical tent in the wild but luxury
                        found out.                      thrown in. Zip up to open the tent flap to
                                                        enter. Inside, there are two beds on a carpet


42                     PRAVASI BHARATIYA   MARCH 2007               PRAVASI BHARATIYA      MARCH 2007       43
        Travel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pix: Gaurav Schimar
                                                                                                                        Morning. As our raft rocked wildly
                                                                                                                        on the rough waters, Maddy rattled
                                                                                                                        away instructions to paddle,
                                                                                                                           Paddle, paddle, paddle. Paddle
                                                                                                                        right, paddle left, paddle right, paddle
                                                                                                                        left.
                                                                                                                           Waves rose above us and water hit
                                                                                                                        us with force. But the ice cool chill
                                                                                                                        couldn’t stop us from sweating after
                                                                                                                        that hard bout of paddling.
                                                                                                                           Bad morning!
                                                                                                                           But that was just the starting. That
                                                                                                                        rapid was what pros call Grade 1+.
                                                                                                                        And there was another in the same
                                                                                                                        grade — Black Money.
                                                                                                                           The tougher ones were ahead —
                                                                                                                        Three Blind Mice (Grade 3+) Cross
                                                                                                                        Fire (Grade 2+), God’s Gift (Grade
                                                                                                                        2+), Return to Centre (Grade 2+),
                                                                                                                        Roller Coaster (Grade 4+), Tee Off
                                                                                                                        (Grade 2+), Golf Course (Grade
                                                                                                                        4+), Club House (Grade 3+),
                                                                                                                        Initiation (Grade 3+), Double
                                                                                                                        Trouble (Grade 2+).
                                                                                                                           Every other rapid seemed tougher
                                                                                                                        to tackle.
                                                                                                                           It took a minute or even less to
                                                                                                                        tackle the rapids which would try to
                                                                                                                        throw us back or flip our raft. But
                                                                                                                        everytime it seemed like a lifetime.
                                                                                                                           But Maddy with his constant
                                                                                                                        shouts of “Cheat him!” or “Kill it!” as
                                                                                                                        a new rapid appeared would keep us
                                                                                                                        going.
                                                                                                                           In between there was a stretch of




     “
                                  laid over sand. There was another         around eight km downstream to a             calm water. We decided to float
                                  section within, which had a               place called (guess what?) Marine           around in the crystal clear, ice cold
                                  washbasin, and a tap, bucket and mug      Drive.                                      water, courtesy our life jackets.
     Waves rose above us and      for taking a bath.                           It is here that our rafting expedition   Bodysurfing.
      water hit us with force.       But if you have to go to the toilet,   begins. Our instructor Madan —                 Three hours later, 26 km
        But the ice cool chill    you have to go to the second row of       “Call me Maddy”— helped us to our           downstream, at a place called NIM
                                  tents behind.                             helmets and life jackets. Six of us got     Beach close to Rishikesh, our
       couldn’t stop us from         Refreshed, we sat around the           on to the raft, rafting oars in hand,       expedition ended. Much like many of
     sweating after that hard     bonfire to kill the winter chill. As a    after a series of instructions from         others around us. Lunch on the beach
        bout of paddling... It    local guitarist treated us to popular     Madan and his partner.                      was relaxing.
                                  Bollywood numbers under a bright             As we glided on to the middle of            The bus that had followed on the
       took a minute or even      moon, Brijmohan regaled us with           what was then a comparatively calm          road above all the way down to NIM
     less to tackle the rapids    tales of the Garhwal jungles as the       river, Maddy exhorted us into               Beach took us back to our camp.
                                  silver-shimmering river flowed by.        chanting “Ganga Mata Ki Jai!”                                                                         Camp 5 Elements, above, and tackling a rapid.
                         “
         which would try to
        throw us back or flip
      our raft. But everytime
     it seemed like a lifetime.
                                     Dinner was an elaborate affair.
                                  Under a huge tent, the different
                                  dishes were laid out buffet style with,
                                  yes, lanterns for light.
                                     The big day dawned. After
                                                                            clacking our oars in the air.
                                                                               One could here it much before
                                                                            reaching it.
                                                                               Rapids ahead! Rough, roaring
                                                                            white water.
                                                                                                                           In the evening, there was the
                                                                                                                        bonfire again. We met a veteran rafter
                                                                                                                        who narrated us his experiences.
                                                                                                                           And that was when we learnt why
                                                                                                                        we were taken eight km downstream
                                                                                                                        to start our expedition.
                                                                                                                                                                   had to tackle a rapid called the Wall.
                                                                                                                                                                   Apparently, sometime before we
                                                                                                                                                                   went there, the Wall had held back an
                                                                                                                                                                   Australian rafter by — hold your
                                                                                                                                                                   breath — six hours!
                                                                                                                                                                                                            asked. Only one word could describe
                                                                                                                                                                                                            the experience — exhilarating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                               (The views expressed here are of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                            writer and not of the Ministry of Overseas
                                  breakfast, we were taken by bus              This one was called Good                    Had we started closer by, we have         “So, how was it like?” the veteran                 Indian Affairs.)



44   PRAVASI BHARATIYA   MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                                   PRAVASI BHARATIYA             MARCH 2007            45
            Book Review


      JRD, a man of
                                                                         then. When asked whether he missed having a son, JRD
                                                                         had famously replied: “I miss not having a daughter.”
                                                                            She adds: “Each day from the large bouquet of fresh
                                                                                                                                              SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMME FOR DIASPORA CHILDREN
      steely values
                                                                         flowers in his room, he’d pick a rose and take it home for           The Ministry of Overseas                                    least five years of education
                                                                         his ailing wife (Thelma who he married in Paris in 1930)...        Indian Affairs is introducing a                               in any foreign country during
                                                                         every single day.”                                                 Scholarship Programme                                         the last eight years and must
                                                                            “He loved to live dangerously,” says Bhartania, asking,
                                                                                                                                            for Diaspora Children                                         pass        the      qualifying
                                                                         “Had he not piloted a plane at ’78, skied on the mountains
                                                                         and performed the most difficult workouts in the gym in
                                                                                                                                            (SPDC) to study at higher                                     examination (inclusive of
                                           FOREVER JEH!                  his house nearly till the end?”                                    and technical institutions in                                 11th and 12th standard or
                                        Author: Surekha Tenneti             Russi Lala, who has written multiple biographies of             India.                                                        equivalent) from the foreign
                                              Venugopal                  JRD, says: “He was in essence a very great human being.              The              Educational                                country.
                                        Publsher: Purple Peacock         There was this undeniable aura about him wherever he               Consultants India Limited                                       All candidates must have
                                                 Books                   went.”                                                             (Ed.CIL), a Government of                                     passed       the     qualifying
                                                160 pp                      The private letters between JRD and his father, too, are        India enterprise, has been                                    examination as recognised
                                                                         touching testimony to his affection and ambition even as
                                                                                                                                            designated as the nodal                                       by Association of Indian
                                                                         a little boy. In one letter, he writes: “Papa I am sure that
                                                                         you merit the Legion de’Honeur in your business because
                                                                                                                                            agency for implementation of the                Universities (AIU) with requisite subjects
                                                                         you work as no many persons did work. When I shall be              scholarship programme.                          and must have secured a minimum of at
                                                                         big I shall be like you...and I kiss you so much that I can't        Ed.CIL will provide all assistance            least 60 percent aggregate marks or 6.75
     A cross between a coffee table                                      tell you.”                                                         required before and after the admission.        CGPA on a 10-point scale or equivalent
     book and a research treatise,                                          Anonymous pals vouch for JRD’s provocative sense of             Each student admitted under the                 grades in aggregate of all the subjects in
                                                                         humour while top officials of Tata Steel remember an               scholarship programme will be provided          the qualifying examination.
     Forever Jeh is a veritable photo                                    irreplaceable mentor. On his death on November 29,                 financial assistance up to $1,800                 The selection test will be of objective type
     album with rare footage of JRD in                                   1993, the Parliament, in an unusual gesture for a private          (Rs.80,000).                                    of two hours’ duration. The test will consist
     both personal and professional                                      citizen, was adjourned in his memory and Maharashtra
                                                                                                                                              The last date for receiving completed         of       English language, reasoning
                                                                         declared three days of mourning.
     spheres, writes Shinie Anthony.                                        The author, who was married to a Tata Steel engineer            application forms is March 31, 2007.            ability/quantitative abilities and general
                                                                         and was a columnist for TISCO News, quotes Sir Homi                  The main objective of the scholarship         awareness.



     J
            ehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata is an easy man to              Mody as saying, “JRD had a very keen intellect... his              programme is to make available India’s            Short-listing and selection process will
            write about. With his iconic status and corporate            versatility is truly amazing. Whether it is a blast furnace or     highly developed higher education system        be based on common written examination,
            accolades, JRD the businessman could have                    an ice-cream freezer, an aircraft engine or a cigarette            to children of the Indian diaspora —            which will be held on Sunday, April 30,
            overshadowed JRD the man and yet the book Forever            lighter, he is equally at home with all of them.”
     Jeh details the humanitarian side of the astute
                                                                                                                                            persons of Indian origin (PIOs), and non-       2006 in the respective countries. The
                                                                            A cross between a coffee table book and a research              resident Indians (NRIs) — living in different   venue and timings of the examination shall
     entrepreneur. Instead of showcasing his by now legendary            treatise, Forever Jeh is a veritable photo album with rare
     impact on the country’s commerce, the book picks up                                                                                    countries.                                      be informed to individual candidates by
                                                                         footage of JRD in both personal and professional spheres.
     strands from his social and public commitments.                     The book is a must, not just for die-hard Tata fans, but for
                                                                                                                                              The scholarship covers a wide range of        email or through Indian missions in their
        A collection of interviews, photographs and quotes,              anyone who is in need of a motivational fix.                ■      subjects,       including      engineering,     respective countries.
     Forever Jeh describes a gentleman tycoon who could “look                                                                               humanities, commerce, management,                 The medium of examination shall be
     beyond labels”. Clarifying that “this is not another                               About the author                                    journalism, hotel management and                English only.
     biography of JRD Tata” in the preface, author Surekha

                                                                                        C      oming from   by her.                         agriculture.                                      The shortlisted/selected candidates on
     Tenneti Venugopal pledges the emotive tribute to a
                                                                                               a literary     She has also authored two       The programme is applicable to                the basis of scores obtained in the written
     subjective analysis of the Bharat Ratna awardee and first
     airline pioneer of India.                                                          aware family,       books of poems in addition to   undergraduate studies in professional and       examination and meeting all the eligibility
        Born June 29 1904, in a pretty house in Rue de Halevy             her education at the Besant       her all-pervasive commitment    general courses (except medical and other       requirements shall be admitted to the
     in Paris to French girl Sooni and Indian Parsi R.D. Tata,            Theosophical High School          to teaching, learning and       related courses).                               scholarship scheme and shall be eligible
     JRD was named Jehangir — conqueror of the world.                     enlarged Surekha Tenneti          communicating.                    To opt for the scholarship the minimum        for assistance according to the scheme.
        When he was a teen he was sent to the Tata Iron and               Venugopal's vision and gave         She was swept into life in    age of the candidate should be 17 years           Interested candidates can submit the
     Steel Company in Jamshedpur and, at just 34, became the              wings to her spirit.              the Tata industry after she
                                                                                                                                            and maximum 21 years as on October 1,           completed application forms to the project
     chairman of Tata Sons.                                                  She has scripted, produced,    married a Tata Steel engineer
                                                                                                                                            2007.                                           manager, Educational Consultants India
        Aloo Bhartania, JRD’s former secretary, reminisces: “He           directed and choreographed        and arrived in Jamshedpur.
                                                                                                                                              Candidate must be a PIO and citizen of        Limited, Ed.CIL House-18-A, sector-16-
     was most perturbed about the way people carelessly used              shows and plays. Actors             It was when she first met
     articles — ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’. An article has such significance,    Madhavan and Simone Singh,        J.R.D Tata one day that
                                                                                                                                            any country or an Indian national studying      A, Noida-201 301 (India). For more
     he often said.”                                                      had been trained and first been   Forever Jeh! began to be        abroad.                                         details, log on to www.edcil.co.in or
        The non-chauvinist and romantic Jeh surfaces now and              presented on the proscenium       composed in her mind.             The Indian nationals must have had at         www.educationindia4u.nic.in.


46    PRAVASI BHARATIYA             MARCH 2007                                                                                                                                                          PRAVASI BHARATIYA     MARCH 2007     47
The Victoria Memorial in Kolkata is a memorial of Queen Victoria of Britain. The
structure was designed by Sir William Emerson in an architectural style similar to Taj
Mahal. It was built between 1906 and 1921. It is a majestic white marble building at
the southern end of the Maidan and surrounded by a sprawling garden. A black
bronze angel known as Victory, holding a bugle in her hand, was placed at the apex
of the dome above the Memorial. It is fixed to its pedestal with ball bearings and rotates
when the wind is strong enough.




                     Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs
                                    www.moia.gov.in
                                  www.overseasindian.in

    (Designed and produced by IANS [www.ians.in] on behalf of Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs)

				
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