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Los Angeles to host Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

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Washington: The Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is set to host its latest edition over the weekend at famed global hub for entertainment and films, Los Angeles. Hundreds of Indian-Americans from across the US are slated to attend the event.

Indian Ambassador to the US, Arun K Singh told PTI, “There is great deal of excitement related to the holding of the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Los Angeles on the 14th and 15th. There has been a great response not only at the local level, but also from all over the US.”

“We are expecting a participation of almost a 1000 people there,” he added.

‘The Indian Diaspora: Defining a New Paradigm in India-US Relationship’ is the theme of the two-day event to be inaugurated by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tomorrow. The Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (RPBD) aims to capture the ethos of the India-US relationship.

After holding events at Singapore, Durban, Mauritius, London, Sydney, Toronto, and The Hague, RPBD has turned towards Los Angeles, which is only the second US city after New York to host the RPBD.

The convention’s objective was defined by an eminent Indian-American community leader from Los Angeles and key member associated with the planning of the event, as a means to connect the Indian diaspora with India, to provide a platform to the Indian community and to contribute to the Indo-US ties.

“The members of the Indian community will have the opportunity to convey their concerns and aspirations to the Government of India and will explore ways to give back to the mother country,” he said.

Arun K Singh further elaborate as to what might be expected at the convention: “There would be very focused discussions related to the policies in India, economic opportunities in India, the plans of the government, measures taken on ease of doing business, make in India, digital India, startup India and various other initiatives such as the Swachh Bharat Mission… and to see how we can also involve the Indian diaspora in these schemes,” he said.

“The External Affairs Minister will also be there at the event. We hope, based on the discussions, we will also work out various follow-up measures,” Singh added.

An Indian Diaspora Business Meet is also being organized by the Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) of the Confederation of Indian Industry. Senior government officials from Haryana, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala comprise the 11-member delegation participating in the meet.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said the meet will offer a platform for business leaders from top Indian companies to meet their peers and interact with them, and explore investment & business opportunities in India.

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Ethnic Indian Jai Sears responds to complaint against the statue of Gandhi in Grenada

Jai Sears wrote in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled “Dustbin of history” written by Josiah Rougier

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Gandhi
Mahatama Gandhi, leader of non violence

Jai Sears from Grenada, Caribbean has written a letter to editor in response to complaints against the statue of Gandhi in Grenada. Here is the text:

I write in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled “Dustbin of history” written by Josiah Rougier and published in the Grenada newspaper, The New Today (Nov 3, 2017). In his letter, Rougier is asking the Government to remove the bust-statue of Gandhi which overlooks Sauteurs Bay in Grenada where East Indians arrived 160 years ago. Rougier’s opinion is based on the false notion that Gandhi was racist because the Mahatma reportedly considered Indians to be superior to black Africans when he referred to the latter as “kaffirs.”

Gandhi was only 27 years old when he made that contextual statement. If Rougier had done his research, he would have found that Nelson Mandela said: “Gandhi must be forgiven for these prejudices in the context of the time and the circumstances.” The quote can be found in “Gandhi the Prisoner” by Nelson Mandela published in 1995. Gandhi was a man; he was not god. And even god made mistakes.

In favour of Mahatama Gandhi
Photo of Jai Sears

Rougier must instead focus on the Gandhi’s vision of non-violent protest and his belief in satyagraha which inspired rebels and revolutionaries around the world. Gandhi’s ideas influenced leaders of the African National Congress and the struggle by Indians and blacks against white apartheid rule in South Africa. From as early as 1956 when he was 27 years old, Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to Gandhi as “the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change.”

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Following the success of his boycott, King contemplated traveling to India to deepen his understanding of Gandhian principles. The fact is that Gandhi saw people of all races, castes, colours and creeds as equal which led to his assassination by a Hindu fanatic in 1948. So who is this unknown Josiah Rougier? Is he as illustrious as the great Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King? And is he disagreeing with his possible heroes?

A friend to all.
Jai Sears
Grenada, Caribbean

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