Ethnic Media Pioneer Passes Away
- April 10, 2008)
House pays tribute to Gopal Raju
in the city of Bangalore, India, Gopal Raju moved to the United
States in 1950. He initially found work in several different
industries, including running a restaurant and travel agency,
before setting his sights on becoming a publisher. He launched, in
1970, the first successful Indian newspaper in the U.S., India
Abroad, which refers to itself as the "oldest Indian
newspaper published in North America."
York, May 25 - In a rare honour given to an Indian American, rich
tributes were paid in the US House of Representatives to pioneer publisher
Gopal Raju, who passed away on April 10 at the age of 80.
in the House last week, Congressmen Frank Pallone from New Jersey and Joe
Wilson from South Carolina praised Raju's lifetime work of empowering the
Indian American community and promoting a stronger relationship between
India and the US.
said:, "I rise today to honour Gopal Raju, a visionary who bridged
the American and Indian communities through journalism and activism."
pointed out that Raju, who arrived in the US from India in 1950, sought to
connect the Indian American community with India.
launched the news weekly India Abroad in 1970. He served as its publisher
for 31 years. Raju's journalistic reach spread to other media endeavours
including Desi Talk, Gujarat Times, and News India-Times," he said.
further said that Raju founded the Indian American Centre for Political
Awareness (IACPA) in 1993 to encourage the community's participation in
the political process in this country.
IACPA developed the Washington Leadership Programme (WLP), which gave
university students the opportunity to intern on Capitol Hill and develop
a broader understanding of public policy," he said.
added that WLP has allowed nearly 200 Indian Americans to participate as
interns on Capitol Hill - some of whom have even served in the office of
the Second Congressional District of South Carolina.
also recalled that Raju was instrumental in launching the Indian American
Foundation (IAF), which raised millions of dollars for causes in India.
noted that Raju started the India Abroad News Service, now known as
Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), which has been "a vital channel for
information sharing between the United States and India for more than 20
named some of the honours Raju had received including the Ellis Island
Medal of Honor, which is given to immigrants for their contributions to
the US, Asia Society's Leadership Award 2000, the 2006 Taraknath Das
Foundation award, and the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by India in 2007.
a personal note, Wilson said: "I was honoured to have met this
incredible individual. I know his humility and selfless contribution to
the lives of the millions his programmes and publications touched will be
memorial service for Gopal Raju was organised May 17 in Fords, New Jersey,
by India Abroad and the South Asian Journalists Association. Several
lawmakers, community leaders and mediapersons paid tributes on the
occasion to Raju, who passed away April 10 after a brief illness.
Ethnic Media Pioneer Passes Away
- April 10, 2008)
Raju was so stoic and brave that he continued to work (from his
hospital bed) till the hour before he died,” noted Merchant, the
principal speaker at the service who now edits the News
India-Times weekly newspaper.
President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam giving away the Pravasi
Bharatiya Awards for Media to Mr. Gopal Raju from USA, at the 5th
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas-2007 in New Delhi on January 9, 2007.
and associates of publisher Gopal Raju, who died on April 10, gathered in
cyberspace to pay tribute to the man who networked the global Indian
diaspora through the media and helped create new awareness of the
strengths of migrants from India. The New York-based South Asian
Journalists Association (SAJA) organised the virtual memorial service
Monday for Raju to enable participants from the US, India and many other
countries to remember the man who virtually single-handedly effected a
paradigm shift in the manner in which Americans viewed the Indian disapora
and of the possibilities it held for enriching their lives.
from around the world were able to log on to the website for the memorial
service and listen to it or speak. A recording of the service is available
at the website that hosted it.
it his long term associate Veena Merchant or Tarun Basu, chief editor of
the (IANS) that Raju created as the India Abroad News Service, former
diplomat T.P. Sreenivasan, Indian American journalist Mayank Chhaya or
Thomas Abraham of the Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin, all
speakers at the 90-minute service stressed on Raju’s self-effacement,
his insistence on accuracy and above all, his quest for the truth at the
cost of annoying the powers that might be.
came out strongly at the end of the service was the humility of a man who
strove for over five decades to serve as a bridge between America and its
vast Indian diaspora by connecting the two communities to encourage better
understanding - without seeking anything in return.
Raju was so stoic and brave that he continued to work (from his hospital
bed) till the hour before he died,” noted Merchant, the principal
speaker at the service who now edits the News India-Times weekly newspaper.
was a tough boss and a perfectionist and when you got to know him, you
realised that he was very fair at the end of the day,” Merchant added.
to Sreenivasan, the Indian American Centre for Political Awareness founded
by Raju had, over the years, succeeded in creating a new awareness among
US lawmakers through the interns it helped place on Capitol Hill.
has helped US lawmakers see India in a different light,” said
Sreenivasan, who was deputy head of the Indian embassy in Washington in
the difficult days following the Indian nuclear tests of 1998.
that “without the media, no community can move forward”, Abraham said
that Raju’s efforts “were a great help for community mobilisation at a
time when we were spread across America and with no Internet”.
also opened up opportunities for young Indian journalists to come to
America,” Abraham added.
80, died last Thursday after a brief illness. He founded the India Abroad
newspaper, the (IANS), the Indian American Foundation (IAF) and the Indian
American Center for Political Action (IACPA).
the time of his death, he was publisher of the weekly newspapers News
India-Times, Desi Talk and Gujarat Times.