From the Editor's Desk

February 2009

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Best Regards

Sayantan Chakravarty


At the 7th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the Government of India’s flagship event for the Indian diaspora, there were 13 Samman awardees. From among them we chose Ylias Akbaraly on the cover because he represents a very small Indian diaspora in the world’s fourth-largest island, Madagascar. While those who’ve made enormous contributions to the Indian community and their larger society in the Gulf, Americas, Europe, South Asia and Asia Pacific have often been highlighted, contributions in smaller settings are truly providing a fillip to the Indian image worldwide. On our cover this issue we talk about Akbaraly, chairman of Groupe Sipromad, a third generation PIO businessman who has also helped improve India’s ties with the Malagasy people.

We also talk about the affable Ashook Ramsaran, a businessman who is now part of the large Indo-Guyanese community present in New York. On his shoulders rests a considerable burden. Ramsaran is also the secretary general of the GOPIO International and in many ways is seen as a bridge between the divided units of the organization, mainly because he in some ways represents both the older and the newer immigrants. His forefathers emigrated from India to Guyana, and then Ramsaran moved to New York. In a strange way, his past and present have come together to propel Ramsaran into a point man who can unite the world’s largest diaspora body, the GOPIO.

We have some key interviews like those with UK based businessman Raj Loomba whose trust has been recognized by both the Government of India and the state Government of Punjab as carrying out splendid service for rehabilitation of schools, and helping orphaned children and children of widows. The very articulate Dasrath Chetty has been featured on his vision for the GOPIO chapter in South Africa which he has recently come to head. A distinguished academic and social worker, Chetty brings with him a broad canvas of experience that will help direct GOPIO towards becoming a stronger, more structured organization. Dato S Veerasingam is a former Malaysian minister and currently a national vice president with the Malaysian National Congress. Along with the likes of Dato Samy Velu, he has a crucial role to play to revive the Malaysian India’s trust in the MIC, and make it a more representative body of PIOs in this south Asian nation. He too is part of our interview package.

You will find several other stories from different parts of the world that can be of interest. We hope that all of them add more value for you in knowing more about the Indian diaspora.

Happy reading.

Sayantan Chakravarty

Consulting Editor
Rakesh K. Simha

Contributing Editors
Vatsala Kaul, Dinesh Raheja, Indrani Talukdar (all India), Srikanth Beldona, Dharminder Diwan, Arnelle Hartenstein (all US), Rajesh Kumar (New Zealand), Ramesh Mathew (Qatar)

Correspondent: Ummul Saba

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