“GOPIO has been at the forefront of networking the global Indian community”
Interview with Mr Inder Singh, Chairman, GOPIO International
Mr Inder Singh wears many hats but the one that has been seen wearing the most over the last three decades is the hat of a community entrepreneur. He’s well respected and much feted in this role world over. Leadership comes naturally to him. As current chairman of GOPIO International—one of the most respected overseas Indian organizations across the globe—he’s been a persuasive livewire when it comes to galvanizing opinion and taking up causes dear to overseas Indians. One such cause he’s pioneered is the Gadar movement’s centennial celebrations in USA and Canada in 2013. He determinedly pushed the Government of India into holding a Gadar oration at the PBD 2013. Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan singh released a commemorative stamp on Gadar at the same event. He speaks with Sayantan Chakravarty, India Empire’s Editor and Publisher
You have been part of the Pravasi movement in a big way. Please talk us through the initial years…
For the first time in the history of overseas Indians, a successful attempt was made in 1989 to bring the global Indian community together on one platform. The National Federation of Indian American Associations (NFIA), a national body of people of Indian origin in the USA, which was headed by Inder Singh, organized the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin (PIO) with Dr. Thomas Abraham as the convention convener. At the conclusion of the five-day convention, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) was formed. Fourteen years later in 2003, Government of India organized a convention of overseas Indians, called Pravasi Bhartiya Divas which is now a highly-promoted annual event.
How much has the Diaspora gained from it?
GOPIO’s initial mission was to address the interests and concerns of overseas Indians—people of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). GOPIO, since its inception, has been creating awareness and promoting understanding of issues of concern—social, cultural, educational, economic, and political—of the NRI/PIO communities around the globe. GOPIO also provides an active and well-recognized platform for dialogue and discussion to the worldwide Indian Diaspora and to further advance that objective, GOPIO has been at the forefront to network the globally spread overseas Indian community by regularly organizing conferences in various parts of the world. GOPIO conferences and conventions have helped bring the Indian Diaspora closer to mother India and have strengthened the inherent bond between India and its Diaspora. After all, the destiny of India's Diaspora, in many ways, is intertwined inextricably with India.
Indian Ambassador to the USA, H.E. Nirupama Rao (second from left) releases the book in Washington in the presence of Mr Inder Singh