Indian Diaspora Council

Prof. Jay Nathan, PhD, Endowed Cultural Immersion Scholarship Program

Prof. Jay Nathan, PhD, Endowed Cultural Immersion Scholarship Program

A 3-week cultural immersion program, during the month of July of 2018, to enable students of Indian origin to experience American culture, excursions to historical places and learning English with qualified ESL instructors. Students will receive instruction in topics such as reading and vocabulary, writing, and conversation. Students will also experience American history and culture through a variety of day and weekend activities in Pennsylvania. This intensive, but enjoyable learning-by-doing experience that include music, theatre, field trips to nature walks.

Date & Duration
July 9-27, 2018 (3 weeks)

Includes cost of the program, at Keystone College, room and board at campus, activities and travel by bus from New York to Keystone College in La Plume, Pennsylvania. Facilities include double rooms, lounges, laundry facilities, breakfast/lunch/dinner at campus student restaurant facilities. “We are sure the students will enjoy their experience on our beautiful campus and learn a great deal about life in the United States.” ~ Keystone College President Dr. David Coppola.

Keystone College, La Plume Campus, 1 College Road, La Plume, Pennsylvania 18440. Keystone College is a private comprehensive college located in La Plume, Northeastern Pennsylvania. The school was founded in 1868. Enrolling approximately 1,400 students, Keystone offers more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degree options in liberal arts and science-based programs in business, communications, education, fine arts, science, environmental resource management, geology, and social sciences. The school is well-regarded for the personalized attention given to students and its small class sizes. Keystone College is located about 15 miles (18 km) from Scranton, PA, 110 miles (175 km) from New York City and 115 miles(185 km) from Philadelphia.

Undergraduate entering freshman/woman 17-18 years of age, good academic standing and references. Person of Indian origin; Citizen of USA or Green Card Holder. Number accepted: Up to 10.

Due date: January 31, 2018 (1/31/18) Use application format below and send via to Prof. Jay Nathan, Ph.D. at:

Accepted applicants will be notified by February 15, 2018 (2/15/18)

Promoted by Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC), established in 1997, is an international non-profit organization with global affiliates and membership in 21 countries with the objective to embrace, engage, and enhance the shared heritage, aspirations, and interests of persons of Indian origin with optimum inclusivity.

Dr. Narendra Singh awarded Canada’s Meritorious Service Decoration (Civil Division)

Dr. Narendra Singh awarded Canada’s Meritorious Service Decoration (Civil Division)

Humber River Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Narendra Chetram Singh awarded Canada’s Meritorious Service Decoration (Civil Division) by His Excellency the Right Hon. David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.

Toronto-based pediatrician Narendra Chetram Singh founded Guyana Help the Kids in 2009 to address neonatal and infant mortality rates in his country of birth. He raised funds to procure essential equipment, then went on to establish a residency program in collaboration with Canadian universities to train Guyanese pediatricians and nurses. Thanks to his efforts, the infant mortality rate in Guyana’s largest hospital has decreased by nearly 40 per cent.

Hospital President & CEO Barb Collins congratulated Dr. Singh, noting “we are all proud of the amazing work Dr. Singh, and many of his colleagues at Humber, do, not just in our hospital every day but beyond into the local and global communities. In Dr. Singh’s case, his leadership has seen the neonatal and infant mortality in his birth country of Guyana drop dramatically, saving the lives of hundreds of babies every year.”

Dr. Singh thanked his partners in Guyana Help the Kids, saying “I’m honoured to share this with them: this is a true team effort from people determined to make a difference for these kids. I also want to thank my colleagues at Humber River Hospital for their support and encouragement at every step.”

IDC Presents Memorandum on Matters of Interest to PIOs from Francophone Territories

IDC Presents Memorandum on Matters of Interest to PIOs from Francophone Territories

The Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) presented to H.E Amb. Vinay Mohan Kwatra, India’s Ambassador to France, on 16th October 2017 a “Memorandum of Matters of Interest to Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) from Francophone Territories” containing a synopsis of the major issues of interest to persons of Indian origin (PIOs) in Francophone territories who comprise a significant percentage in the Indian Diaspora.

Presenting the memorandum were: Mr. Deo Gosine, President of IDC Trinidad & Tobago; Prof. Francis Ponaman, President IDC Francophone Countries; Dr. Jean Regis Ramsamy, President of IDC Reunion Island; Ms. Rita Abraham (South Africa), Chair of Indian Diaspora Women’s Forum.

The memorandum was developed from input, suggestions and recommendations from multiple sources, including community organizations, scholars, individual and IDC affiliates in several countries. It is also based on IDC’s extensive knowledge and experience, as well as interest within IDC and active engagement with other groups in the worldwide Indian community.

Some of the critical issues pertinent to PIOs from Francophone Territories and suggestions include:

  • Easier accessibility to OCI cards by persons of Indian origin (PIOs) in Francophone Territories who are presently being denied due to lack of original English or French immigration documentation from India to prove direct links to India. IDC proposes acceptance of alternate authenticated documentation as being applied to Mauritius. Refer to attached information in the Memorandum.
  • Preservation of all available English or French immigration documents for posterity and research.
  • Conference sessions at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) be also made available in French via translation means or devices. Sessions specific to Francophone countries to be conducted in French.
  • Know India Programmes (KIP) should accommodate French speaking youth who account for an increasingly significant number of participants annually.
  • Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra (PBK) in Delhi set aside a section for documents, literature, films, documentaries, publications, works of art published in French
The memorandum requested that these matters of interest and concern be consider favourably and forward to the respective ministries of the Government of India for satisfactory resolution as soon as feasible.

(l-r): Jean Regis Ramsamy (Reunion Isl), Deo Gosine, Mrs. Tara Gosine (Trinidad & Tobago), Pankaj Saxena, Minister Consul of Embassy of India in Paris, Rita Abraham (South Africa) and Samarassame Tanigar ( IDC France)

IDC Proposal to co-name 169th Street in Queens, New York in honor of late Kalicharran

IDC Proposal to co-name 169th Street in Queens, New York in honor of late Kalicharran

In his remarks at the wake of the late Ramesh D. Kalicharran on Tuesday, December 5, 2017, Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) president Ashook Ramsaran also stated that:

“I have already started the process of renaming a portion of 169th Street as “Kali Avenue”. It is a fitting and well deserved tribute to Kali, his ideals and his legacy”.

This proposal was received with overwhelming applause in the presence of New State Assemblyman David Weprin who read and presented a posthumous tribute proclamation to Kalicharran’s wife Judy.

The proposal being submitted by Ramsaran is to rename 169th Street from Hillside Avenue to Highland Avenue as “Kali Avenue”. Kalicharran had his place of business and his home on 169th Street.

This proposal has the being supported by several New York based Caribbean organizations, groups and individuals – as well elected state and city officials who are very familiar with the outstanding contributions of Kalicharran, especially those officials whose constituency includes or are near to 169th Street.

“We are seeking maximum community and elected official support for this endeavor and we urge everyone to join with us in this well-deserved, life time achievement tribute to an icon of the Caribbean community in New York”. The renaming application will be filed with Community Board #8 and New York City Department of Transportation”, said Ramsaran.

Kritilata Ram again named one of 100 Most Influential Women in Mauritius

Kritilata Ram again named one of 100 Most Influential Women in Mauritius

Kritilata Ram, the Indian Diaspora Council (IDC) Coordinator in Mauritius, has again been recognized among the 100 Most Influential Women in Mauritius. Kritilata Ram is one of the hundred women who were recently rewarded at the ceremony 100 Most Influential Women in Mauritius. From education to entrepreneurship to social work, health and culture, these feminine elements stand out in the sectors in which they are engaged.

As President of Training & Development at the Mauritius Council of Social Services (MACOSS), her role is to provide specific training to entrepreneurs and start-ups so that they can become independent. “In two years, 1,200 have been trained in communication and project writing,” said Kritilata Ram. Twenty women will also be trained in December so that they can then train 120 women across the country.

Honouring Indian Soldiers who served in World War 1

Honouring Indian Soldiers who served in World War 1

FRANCE and INDIA – FREEDOM and LIBERTY by Ragini Arasen

Around 1.3 million soldiers from India participated in World War I (1914-1918). Among them, 140,000 Indian soldiers were sent to France. They were Sikhs, Punjabis and Gurkhas who came to strengthen the British army to defend freedom and liberty in France against invasion. They were soldiers from different ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds. The Indians troops were mobilized on August 8, 1914 at the request of London without even getting any approval from the parliament of New Delhi. At that time, India was under British rule.

The Indian soldiers left the port of Bombay and landed at Marseille in France on September 26, 1914. They were immediately sent on the North front so as to help the French and Belgian soldiers to fight against the Germans. They were dressed in simple light cottons uniforms, which were far too light to face the extreme winter of North of France. They were having frozen feet, pneumonia and life in the muddy trenches was very hard to bear for the Indians who were not used to this climate. In 1914 and 1915, the Indian soldiers were engaged in the various fights. At Neuve Chapelle, Lavantie and Givenchy, they helped in the British offensive against the Germans. The Indian troops suffered a lot and only during that period 4047 Indians were recorded in the British casualty sheet. This tragedy and sacrifice of these soldiers is well related in a film “Farewell My Indian Soldier“of an Indian filmmaker and novelist based in Paris, Vijay Singh. The soldiers wrote about their experiences in around 600 letters when they were in hospitals, records of which are maintained in the Haryana Academy of Art and Culture. “Soldiers used to send one rupee from their monthly salary to the academy, which went towards education of students,” says the filmmaker.

As World War I was coming to its end, the Indian soldiers participated in the procession of the Bastille Day on July 14, 1916 in Paris.
On October 07, 1927, The Memorial of Neuve Chapelle was inaugurated in the presence of Marshal Ferdinand Foch to honor the memory of Indian soldiers who died in France during World War I. On a wall, 4847 names of the soldiers are engraved, in alphabetical order and by combat unit. In the center of the memorial, one can read “In honor of the Indian Army who fought in France and Belgium, 1914-1918, and to perpetuate the memory of the soldiers whose names are engraved here.”
On April 11, 2015, Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi was the first and only Indian Prime Minister to have travelled to the memorial of Neuve-Chapelle to pay tribute to the 10 000 brave Indian soldiers who died during the First World War and who never returned back to their home. “I am honoured to pay homage to the Indian soldiers here at the Indian Memorial at Neuve Chappelle. Our soldiers who fought in foreign lands in the Great War, have won the admiration of the world for dedication, loyalty, courage and sacrifice. I salute them. ” said PM Modi.

The Ambassador of India, his Excellency Mohan Kwatra and the sous-prefet paying tribute to Chunki Soren, an Indian soldier of the 34th Division who died on 10 September 1917. Many of the Indian soldiers who fell 100 years ago in the WWI remain missing. Every time, one of their bodies is found on the French soil, then a ceremony is organized to pay military tribute to him.

On the November 12, 2017, members of the Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) France under the leadership of Mr Taniga Samarassame attended a wreath laying ceremony at Neuve Chapelle and to pay homage to 2 Indian Soldiers whose bodies were found after 100 years. The soldiers belonged to the Garhwal Rifles regiment of the Himalayan region. This regiment lost nearly 700 soldiers during World War I.

World War I (1914-1918) ended at 11 a.m. on 11 November 1918 with the signing of the armistice between the Allies and Germany. It established the reputation of Indian soldiers for their bravery, courage and sacrifice.

Ragini Arasen is Indian Diaspora Council Coordinator, France and contributing editor IDC Journal Newsletter.

Rita Abraham’s Christmas Party at Angela Dube’s Orphanage in South Africa

Rita Abraham’s Christmas Party at Angela Dube’s Orphanage in South Africa

Rita Abraham, a tireless social warrior and champion of the indigent, on 17 December 2017, hosted orphans at Angela Dube’s House as part of her festive season campaign to bring cheer to the poverty stricken communities in and around Durban, South Africa. It was a Christmas Party for HIV and AIDS orphans, including reading the Christmas story, Christmas Carols, gifts for all the children, lunch, treats and food for the holiday season. The children lit up when Ms. Abraham arrived with gifts, food and clothes in what turned out to be a major celebration in a house overwhelmed with love and care.

Angela Dube, who was once a homeless person and who lived in the streets of a township north of the city of Durban, started caring for orphans whose parents had fallen to the HIV/Aids pandemic in South Africa. Ms, Abraham who was then the president of the South African Women’s Forte which she founded almost two decades ago, learned of Angela Dube’s plight and made it a personal endeavor by rallying help develop, furnish and create a home.

“It was at a time when much needed to be done among various communities in Durban. I came across Angela Dube and felt that she needed all the help she could get. The Forte membership joined me in my efforts over the last 4 years and now over the last two years I continued to make a contribution to what has now become known as Angela’s House – it is a beacon home for many children. I will do whatever is necessary and will continue to keep a brief and hopefully, the children will have a comfortable future. Angela Dube needs all the help she can get and I urge people to support this wonderful and courageous woman,” said Ms. Abraham.

Rita Abraham is Chair of Indian Diaspora Women’s Forum (a division of Indian Diaspora Council Int’l).
To participate in Angela Dube’s 2018 program, contact: Rita Abraham at email ID:

Rita Abraham Appointed Chair of Indian Diaspora Women’s Forum (IDWF)

Rita Abraham Appointed Chair of Indian Diaspora Women’s Forum (IDWF)

The Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) is pleased to announce that Rita Abraham of Durban, South Africa, has been appointed Chair of Indian Diaspora Women’s Forum (IDWF), a division of Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC). The appointment is for a term of three (3) years.

IDC Statement: “The appointment is on the basis of Rita Abraham’s prominent position as a pioneer and globally recognized Indian community leader, and in particular in South Africa with its multi-ethnic community, an ardent advocate of Indian Diaspora engagement, addressing the Indian Diaspora’s interests and concerns, and chair of GOPIO’s Women’s Council, as well founding president of South Africa’s Women’s Forte. We firmly believe that Rita Abraham is uniquely qualified to be Chair, Indian Diaspora Women’s Forum, recognizing her expertise and contributions, her interest and commitment, as well as many years of advocacy for women’s rights and issues of gender equality. We are confident that Rita Abraham will bring an enhanced agenda to the Indian Diaspora Women’s Forum and very successful tenure as an outstanding leader”.

Indian Diaspora Women’s Forum (IDWF)
(A Division of Indian Diaspora Council International)

Objectives of IDWF:
To recognize and address needs and interests of women of the Indian Diaspora, including gender, cultural and empowerment issues which are becoming more visible as the population of women of the Indian Diaspora continues to grow with changing demographics, mobility and migration; To actively engage in collaborative forums for dialogue and exchanges among women of the Indian Diaspora to embrace, engage and enhance their interests and participation all segments of society; To encourage collaboration with women of the Indian Diaspora and other groups, associations and institutions to foster better understanding, cooperation and community service at local, regional and global levels; To establish partnerships with local, regional and international agencies and institutions engaged in promoting the interests of women; To document and promote the history, progress and achievements of women of the Indian Diaspora with articles, publications, works of art, documentaries and films; To convene at least one (1) national or international conference or forum with a specific theme addressing needs and interests of women of the Indian Diaspora. International venues to rotated among the countries of the Indian Diaspora; To recognize women of the Indian Diaspora who have contributed to progress of women of Indian Diaspora and have notable achievements in their respective professions or community service. All awards given the Indian Diaspora Women’s Forum (IDWF) shall be in accordance with IDC’s criteria and policies.

IDC Mourns Passing of Ramesh D. Kalicharran

IDC Mourns Passing of Ramesh D. Kalicharran

Ramesh Dalchand Kalicharran

The Indian Diaspora Council International (IDC) joins in solidarity with organizations, institutions, agencies, and individuals in USA, Guyana and other countries in mourning the passing of renowned community advocate, businessman and philanthropist Ramesh Dalchand Kalicharran who passed away on Sunday, December 3, 2017 in New York. We express deepest sympathies and condolences to his surviving spouse Judy, his children Jagdesh, Nadesh and Romanee, his grandchildren, his siblings, extended family, friends and associates.

IDC statement: “Ramesh Kalicharran was an outstanding community stalwart. He was a prominent and well recognized cornerstone of the community, having pioneered several programs and events which promoted the interests of Indo-Caribbean people in New York and the Caribbean. He is widely recognized for his advocacy, philanthropy and exemplary contributions to charitable and community causes. Ramesh D. Kalicharran was an active member of IDC and recognized for his exemplary contributions to his community and the promotion of Indian culture and heritage. He was an icon among Indo-Caribbean people with a long lasting legacy of selfless service. He will be greatly missed”.

Kali was born on April 7, 1949 in Guyana. He is the eldest of eleven children born to Ramdayal and Mangani Kalicharran, second generation Indians of Guyana who trace their roots to the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. Though of Indian origin, Kali sees himself beyond such limits as he continuously and relentlessly to promote the welfare of his Indo-Caribbean community, as well as others.

Kali has excelled in every field of endeavour since his boyhood days in Guyana when he served as an outstanding role model for our youth. He excelled academically, and in extra-curricular activities since his teenage days. Kali emigrated to the United States in 1970. Kali and Judy were married in 1974 and they have three talented children and 2 grandchildren.

Kali entered the real estate business, started a driving school and then launched an innovative concept, the Kali Bharat Yatra Tours (KBY) for people of Indian origin to discover and re-connection with their roots in India. Kali was owner and president of the Kali Group Kali of Companies. Throughout it all, he contributed substantially to community and humanitarian causes.

Ramesh D. Kalicharran, popularly known as Kali, is an extraordinary community leader who led by example. In recognition of his tremendous contribution to the Guyana diaspora, he has received several citations and awards Asian-Indian, the Indo-Caribbean, and Other Ethnic American communities in New York. Kali is a proud ambassador for Guyana in particular, and the Caribbean, in general.

A citation to Ramesh Kalicharran from Queens Borough President best encapsulates his achievements.” As an outstanding business and civic leader of the Guyanese community in Queens, you have generously given time, talent, and resources toward the betterment of your community and the preservation of its cultural heritage. I, President Shulman, wish to express my sincere gratitude for your valuable contribution to the cultural richness and vitality of our borough”.