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COMMUNITY | News in Brief: July 2010

Indians 4.3 Percent of U.S Immigrants
10th Anniversary of the Jain Bhawan
Faiz Celebration
STAR TV: Talent Hunt
Bhagwati Jagran
Sikh Folklife Festival
UNITED WAY: Chennai Expansion
First Woman PM
GOPIO NY Anniversary

Indians 4.3 Percent of U.S Immigrants

(Graphic: Migration Policy Institute)

Migration Information Source, the online journal of the Migration Policy Institute, has presented an analysis of U.S. government data on Indian immigrants of the U.S.

According to its analysis of federal government data:

The 1.6 million foreign born from India accounted for 4.3 percent of the country's 38.0 million immigrants in 2008. Between 2007 and 2008, the Indian foreign-born population surpassed the Chinese and Hong Kong-born population to become the third-largest immigrant group in the United States after immigrants from Mexico and the Philippines.

About 43 percent of Indian immigrants have arrived since 2000, making this one of the fastest growing immigrant groups during the 2000s. Among the foreign born overall, about 30 percent arrived in 2000 or later.

In terms of academic achievement, Indian immigrants were better educated than other immigrants and the native born. In 2008, 73.6 percent of Indian-born adults age 25 and older had a bachelor's degree or higher compared to 27.1 percent among all 31.9 million foreign-born adults and 27.8 percent of all 168.1 million native-born adults.

Of the Indian immigrants who became lawful permanent residents in 2009, 35.3 percent obtained that status as work-based immigrants or their family members. Among all immigrants who became immigrants in 2009, just 12.7 percent were work-based immigrants or their family members.

Among Indian immigrant men age 16 and older employed in the civilian labor force in 2008, 27.0 percent reported working in information technology; 20.2 percent in management, business, and finance; 10.7 percent in other sciences and engineering; and 10.6 percent in sales.

The article is available on the Migration Information Source, an online journal of the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, DC, that studies immigration issues, trends, and policies in the United States and around the world.


10th Anniversary of the Jain Bhawan

Preparations to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Jain Bhawan are in full swing, according to a press release from The Jain Center of Northern California.

“The theme of the celebrations is non-violence, peace and harmony,” said the release. “Events being planned include eclectic speakers to address current issues, an inter-faith panel discussion with representatives from all the major religions, various cultural programs highlighted by a major dance program and Jain prayer ceremonies. Throughout the four-day celebrations, there will be extensive Jain prayer ceremonies led by Jain monks and scholars visiting from India, including Bhattarakji Devendrakeerthi, Muni Roop Chandraji Maharaj, Samaniji Akshay Pragyaji, Samaniji Vinay Pragyaji, Shri Manoj Haran and Pandit Kumud Chand Jain.”

The celebrations, which are expected to draw more than 2,000 people, “will offer activities in all aspects of wholesome practical living, how to foster communal harmony in these trying times and an exhibition dedicated to non-violence, peace and harmony,” the release added.

Invited speakers will address current environmental issues, community volunteerism, ethics and other related issues with discussions emphasizing creative and practical solutions. The list of invited speakers include: Dr. Dipak Jain, who served as dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University from 2001 to 2009; Dr Will Tuttle, is an American author, speaker, educator, pianist and composer; and Nipun Mehta, the founder of CharityFocus.org, a fully volunteer-run organization that has delivered millions of dollars of Web-related services to the nonprofit world for free.

Among the many cultural activities will be a “Dandia-Raas” program led by the popular Soli Kapadia group. There will also be an international multi-cultural program with performances of Japanese Taiko, Filipino Kaisahan, Chinese Yao Yong and a variety of Indian dance forms.

More information is available on the Web at: www.jcnc.org.


Faiz Celebration


Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984) held many distinctions during his illustrious life (and many would claim after his death too). Born in Sialkot in British India, Faiz championed the cause of the poor and powerless through his pen, thus pitting himself against some very formidable forces, not only in Pakistan but on the world stage as well. Winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1962, the Nobel committee chose to overlook his contribution to world literature. His being one of South Asia's most famous "Reds" might have impacted their decision.

Faiz started his quest for change with the Anjuman Tarraqi Pasand Mussanafin-e-Hind or Progressive Writers' Movement in India before Partition. During his participation in this movement he shared his ideals with the likes of Saadat Hassan Manto (Toba Tek Singh), fellow Sialkoti, Rajinder Singh Bedi (Ek Chadar Maili Si), Amrita Pritam (Pinjar) and (possibly) even earlier with Munshi Prem Chand (Shatranj ke Khiladi) amongst a host of others. The term "Progressive" may have different meanings today, but one thing that cannot be forgotten is the basic sense of humanity that these titans of South Asian Hindi and Urdu literature shared. Faiz married British-born Alys in 1941 in Srinagar at a ceremony presided over by Sheikh Abdullah. Two surviving daughters from the marriage, Salima and Moneeza, are active in the arts and literature scene in Pakistan today.

Keeping this background in mind, it gives one great pleasure to announce that a "Jashn-e-Faiz" event will be held at the India Community Center in Milpitas, Calif. July 11 in which honored guest, Faiz Ahmed Faiz's daughter Moneeza Hashmi will be present to listen to recited poetry and share information on Faiz Ghar (http://www.faizghar.org/) a project started last year in Lahore.

Local Urdu language luminary Hamida Banu-Chopra is busy arranging this program which is being sponsored by Computers and Structures Inc. Chalo Phir Say Muskuraiin (Let us smile again), says the event flyer.

Ras H. Siddiqui


STAR TV: Talent Hunt

STAR India PLUS, STAR TV’s flagship general entertainment channel in North America launched a nationwide hunt for a talented dancer to perform in the finals of its celebrity girls vs boys dance show Zara Nach ke Dikha.

The talent hunt spanned across the U.K. and the U.S. Final winners will be given the chance to perform in the finale episode of Zara Nach Ke Dikha with the nine masakalis (female participants) and mastkalandars (male participants) in front of judges Shilpa, Arshad, Vaibhavi. The hunt started May 29 and went on till June 10th.

The winners of the ZND international talent hunt will comprise one boy and one girl performer who get to come to Mumbai at an all-expenses-paid trip.

STAR India PLUS is one of the most watched Hindi general entertainment channels in North America and is part of the Star offering of channels available in North America.

Since setting up local offices in the U.S. in September 2007, STAR has grown to become the only broadcaster having channels on both DTH platforms Direct TV and Dish Network as well as launching on several major cable platforms including Comcast, Cox, AT&T U Verse and RCN.

To subscribe, viewers can reach out to their local cable or satellite provider and check availability or go to www.startv.com/usa for subscription details.


Bhagwati Jagran

Narinder Chanchal performing at Sunnyvale Hindu Temple, June 4. [SOM SHARMA | DIGITAL iVISION]

Noted singer from India, Narinder Chanchal and his group presented a “Vishal Bhagwati Jagran,” a concert of Bhents or songs devoted to Mata Sherawali (Mata Durga)at the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple, June 4.  

The event was packed with devotees who came in large numbers from near and far. A special performance by kids who enacted a religious story with special make up depicting Hindu deities was well choreographed.

The Sunnyvale Hindu Temple is in the process of going through a major makeover and these events are key to raising funds for the same. The temple welcomes donations and interested readers can visit www.sunnyvaletemple.org for more information on the programs and ways to donate.


Sikh Folklife Festival

On June 24, Smithsonian Folklife Festival opened with an evening of two hours of Punjabi folk dances, bhangra and gidha. The folklife festival continued till July at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Several Punjabi folk dances were presented on the opening night.

Over hundred adults and children showcased Punjabi culture through dance and music and they invite American audience to join in this dance celebration. This was performed at the Asian Fusions tent.

The Guru Gobind Singh Foundation (www.ggsfusa.com), in collaboration with Smithsonian Institution coordinated presentations in Sikh spiritual tradition, culture, Punjabi art and folk dance.

According to Ravi Singh, co- coordinator of the Sikh and Punjabi participation, the presentation was “the highlight of the festival which drew a large audience from all over the world. We are thrilled that Smithsonian has given us such a prominence.”

Dr. Rajwant Singh, Secretary of Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, said, “We are very excited that we will be able to show how our community has been part an integral part of American society from last 100 hundred years. It is a major milestone in our community’s presence in this country.”

In the past, the festival was named the Top Event in the U.S. as a result of a survey of regional tourist bureaus — thus joining previous winners that include the Olympics and the World Expo.

During this festival over 100,000 people visit the National Mall every day.


UNITED WAY: Chennai Expansion

United Way Worldwide recently announced it has established United Way of Chennai. Since the launch of the United Way India Initiative three years ago, the local United Way footprint has now reached six locations, including the cities of Baroda, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hubli-Dharwad and Mumbai. A national body of United Way of India has also been created to provide support and expand the local United Way network.

The founding board of United Way of Chennai comprises of senior executives from Murugappa Group, Caterpillar, CEEBROS Hotels, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Nokia, R.R. Donnelley, Shoetek, Quintel Solutions, and IITM Alumni.

The United Way India Initiative was launched in 2007 with an initial investment of $250,000 from Barry Griswell, past Chairman and CEO of Principal Financial Group, and his wife Michele Griswell. Since the launch of the initiative, United Way Worldwide has raised over $2.2 million to expand the United Way footprint and to strengthen the United Way network in India.

United Way Worldwide is increasing awareness amongst non-resident Indians and businesses in North America with an interest in India, to support communities across India. The United Way India Fund at United Way Worldwide invites and encourages multinational corporations and non-resident Indians to invest in strengthening local communities and improving the lives of the citizens of India.

“United Way will play a significant role in shaping the local philanthropic landscape across India by leveraging United Way reputation, network of relationships and expertise to empower the voluntary sector and build civil society that delivers impact,” remarked Sheela Murthy, chairperson of the United Way Leadership Council for India, a committee that sets strategies and raises funds for the United Way expansion effort.


First Woman PM

Indian-origin Kamla Persad-Bissessar became the first woman prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago after her five-party coalition emerged with a stunning upset and won 27 of 41 seats in the snap polls conducted in the former British colony. A former attorney general, Kamla Persad-Bissessar heads the United National Congress, which put together a coalition to oust the former Prime Minister Patrick Manning's People's National Movement. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar won the UNC party leadership over former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday.

Outgoing PM Manning's PNM draws most of its support from Afro-Trinidadians while the UNC of Kamla Persad-Bissessar largely relies on Indo-Trinidadian backing. Her coalition campaigned strongly for multi-ethnic support. Kamla Persad's campaign tapped into voters' worries about rising gang violence and corruption scandals.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar promptly selected cabinet ministers and formed the government for the next five years in the twin-island nation. The 58-year-old has promised to increase pensions and create a multi-million-dollar fund for sick children in a campaign focused on change. Manning, 64, has ruled the country for 13 of the past 17 years and his biggest accomplishments as prime minister include poverty reduction and attracting billions of dollars in investment in Trinidad and Tobago's petrochemical industries.


GOPIO NY Anniversary

GOPIO Upper New York Chapter celebrated its second anniversary as a GOPIO chapter and commemorated Guyana's Indian Arrival Day May 15t, 2010. After a reading of Sharda Yardan's poem "The Earth Is Brown" by GOPIO Upper New York director Premnauth Singh, Dr. Baytoram Ramharack spoke on the migration of Indians to the Caribbean region. His speech was an engaging encapsulation of Indian immigration to the Caribbean that provided an understanding and appreciation to those not familiar with that history. Dr Ramharack is the author of "Against the Grain: Balram Singh Rai and the Politics of Guyana" and "Centenary Celebration of the Arrival of Indians to British Guiana (1838-1938)" which he autographed at the event.



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