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GOPIO Launches Gadar Centennial Commemoration in US

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By A Correspondent

The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International), in collaboration with GOPIO Chapters of Metro DC and Virginia, held a very successful launch of its GOPIO GADAR Centennial Commemoration in the USA on Saturday, November 3, 2012 starting at 2:00pm at the Embassy of India in Washington, DC.

Hon. Nirupama Rao, India's Ambassador to the USA, was the Chief Guest. Three (3) other Indian Diaspora ambassadors to the United States also participated in the launch program: Hon. Ambassador Bayney Karran of Guyana; Hon. Ambassador Dr Neil Parsan of Trinidad & Tobago; and Hon. Ambassador Subash Mungra of Suriname.

The GOPIO GADAR Centennial Commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Gadar Movement which began in 1913, is planned as a series of commemoration events throughout 2013 in collaboration with several NRI/PIO organizations, government and international agencies, individuals and institutions. It is a fitting tribute to patriots and heroes of the Gadar Movement and deserving of their sacrifices to free India.

The history of the Gadar movement is a testimony of the deep love that the Indian immigrants had for their motherland, India. The Gadarites wanted India freed from the British and did not hesitate to make any sacrifices for the cause of freedom, dignity and prosperity of their motherland. Over 6,000 went back to India to fight for their cause; several Gadarites were imprisoned, many for life, and some were hanged to death. They are our heroes, deserving highest of admiration and deepest respect. The determination, courage and sacrifices of the Gadarites inspired many freedom fighters to continue their mission for India's independence. The Gadar Movement is an integral part of the rich heritage in the United States for the Indian Americans and of Indian history. The Gadarites left an extra-ordinary legacy for the future generations and a global centennial commemoration is a fitting and well deserved tribute.

The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) on 15th October, 2012 announced details of the annual convention for overseas Indians, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD 2013) program which includes GADAR Centennial events at PBD2013 based on GOPIO's initiatives to the Prime Minister's Office and MOIA. These events include: An Oration at the plenary session, a Gadar Exhibit and Hon. Prime Minister's speech on 8th January to make favorable mention of Gadar.

MOIA Press Release on 15th October, 2012 stated that, "Since we are celebrating the centenary of the Gadar Movement in 2013, the PBD Oration this time will be on the Gadar Movement. We will also have an exhibition on the Gadar Movement".

As GOPIO has done for the Kolkata Memorial unveiled on January 11, 2011 in recognition and remembrance of Indian indentured laborers who left India from 1834-1920, the Centennial Commemoration of Gadar Movement is another GOPIO initiative in our continuing efforts to preserve and promote Indian history, heritage and culture.

The launch event on November 3, 2012 included a lecture/discussion on "The Role of Gadar Movement for India's Independence" by prominent Gadar researchers and historians, a release of the GOPIO publication on "Global Indian Diaspora", distribution of a GOPIO Gadar Centennial Commemoration Press/VIP information kit and GOPIO Gadar Centennial lapel pin as well as showing of the GOPIO Gadar Centennial Commemoration documentary.

The launch program included a welcome by Dr Renuka Mishra (GOPIO National Coordinator USA) followed by remarks by Dr. Zafar Iqbal (President, GOPIO Metro DC) and Mr Jay Bhandari (President, GOPIO Virginia). GOPIO chairman Inder Singh delivered a compelling presentation on Role of Gadar Movement for India's Independence; prominent Indian community advocate Dr Rajen Anand spoke on The Importance of the Gadar Movement; and Kewal Kanda of California discussed The Gadar Memorial Hall.

Hon. Ambassador Nirupama Rao spoke glowingly about the launch and positively supportive of GOPIO's initiative and GOPIO Gadar Centennial Commemoration, highlighting GOPIO's initiatives on matters of interest and concern in the Indian Diaspora. She said that "it is a privilege to cooperate with GOPIO in this auspicious venture." Ambassador Bayney Karran, Ambassador Dr Neil Parsan and Ambassador Subash Mungra reiterated the long and lasting bonds of heritage and history between their respective countries and India, with lots of inspiration and encouragement derived from the Gadar Movement for the struggle for independence in their respective countries. Their attendance and participation certainly enhanced the program and made it more global in outreach and appeal.

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