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Rotorua to host first meet of Maori Indians

Maoris – the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, and Indians (not to be confused with Red Indians or American Indians) have a common thread – they both have lived in a country during the British colonisation period. As migration of Indians to New Zealand dates back to the 18th century, the two communities have shared cordial relationships over the years, and a small but prominent population of Maori-Indians, that is, people with lineage to Maori and Indian communities is a testimony of that.

Hindu Council of New Zealand is organising the first gathering (hui) of such Maori Indians at the Tangatarua Marae, Waiariki Institute of Technology campus, Rotorua from Friday, 5 October to Sunday, 7 October 2012.

It is appropriate that this unique hui takes place at Tangatarua marae. Tangatarua translates to “two peoples” and strongly symbolises the bicultural nature of the people who will participate in this first hui of Maori Indians.

The Hindu Council has been working with Maori community in New Zealand for more than 15 years, says a statement issued by the council.

“The respect and relations we have built with Maori Elders over the years have brought us close to the Maori culture and community,” says Dr Guna Magesan, general secretary of the council and also the coordinator of this first hui/gathering.

“We have come across a number of Maori community members who have Bharatiya (Indian) lineage and who are interested in knowing more about their Indian side. Most of the Maori Indians (Indo-Maori people) have been brought up culturally by the Maori side.

“We would like Indo-Maori people to feel proud of their heritage – both Indian and Maori,” says Guna.

“We plan to provide a platform to these people who could help develop our inter-cultural understanding to a still higher level.”

This gathering is one more step forward in Hindu-Maori whakawhanaungatanga (relations).

“Maori Indians have a big role to play in Hindu Maori relations and also India-New Zealand relations,” Dr Magesan added.

The official programme starts at 4.00 pm on Friday, with a powhiri. The two-day gathering will provide the participants to learn more about Hindu culture. There will be workshops on vegetarian cooking, Rangoli (traditional Hindu decorative art), “Mehndi-Moko” (temporary tattoo) where both Maori and Hindu designs will be taught, yoga, and ladies will have an opportunity to learn saree tying.

During the deliberations, participants will share their stories and experiences. Sessions dealing with the issues specific to Maori Indians for example, identity crisis and acceptance that may exist in certain individuals, will be of special interest.

“This is a challenging task we have taken but we believe it will have a positive outcome for all the participants”.

Hindu Council has been organising regular Marae stay for Hindu community to learn, understand and experience Maori culture and customs. Over the years, it has become a popular programme.

“Now, we are keen to bring the Maori Indian community together, stay in the Marae together, and have a vegetarian kai (food) together and know each other better.

This gathering will be a smoke-free, alcohol-free and meat-free event in accordance with Hindu cultural practice.

“We encourage all Indo-Maori people to write an essay about their family which we are happy to publish as part of conference proceedings/ souvenir, and possible further media publication. We are planning a spot prize for the best essay.”

Those who are interested in attending this first gathering of Maori Indians need to register their names with There will be a registration fee (koha) of $20 to cover food, accommodation, and knowledge sharing.

Also read: Maoris used non-violence before Mahatma Gandhi

Event: First gathering of Maori Indians

Location: Tangatarua Marae, Waiariki Institute of Technology campus, Rotorua

Date: Friday, 5 October to Sunday, 7 October 2012

Contact to register interest: Dr Guna Magesan (021 034 5621) or email

Business Global Indians Money

NZ needs to move beyond students, soldiers in Southeast Asia – report

Southeast Asia is familiar territory for New Zealand: it educated its elite and defended its shores.

However, New Zealand needs to move beyond students and soldiers in Southeast Asia and with ASeAN, says a report.

New Zealand needs to boost its relationship with Southeast Asia and not rely solely on China for its economic growth, the report from the Asia New Zealand Foundation (Asia:NZ) says.

The report – Beyond Soldiers, Students and Sentiment: New Zealand, Southeast Asia and ASEAN – says the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is increasingly important to New Zealand’s trade routes, both in the region and through it to north Asia – including China.

“New Zealand’s economy security relies on the security of the region of Southeast Asia, in which New Zealand has both a stake and a role,” writes report author Dr Andrew Butcher, Asia:NZ director of policy and research.

New Zealand has a long history of engagement with Southeast Asia, including security and defence contributions. In education, the Colombo Plan brought students from the region to study in New Zealand, creating “deep and long-lasting” goodwill.

But New Zealand’s visibility in Southeast Asia is “remarkably low and does not appear to go much beyond the ‘students, soldiers and sentiment’ that characterised the bilateral relationships 60 years ago,” Dr Butcher writes.

The report discusses the need for balance in New Zealand’s economic ties with Asia. Economic relationships with the 10 countries of ASEAN not only “diversify New Zealand’s basket of FTAs”, but could also protect New Zealand from negative impacts if China’s economic growth slows.

Asia:NZ’s Perceptions of Asia tracking surveys show awareness of ASEAN countries is low amongst New Zealanders. ‘Beyond Soldiers, Students and Sentiment’ is the first in a series of reports aimed at increasing knowledge and understanding of the region.

In an audio interview accompanying the report, Terence O’Brien, a senior fellow at the Victoria University of Wellington’s Centre for Strategic Studies, says New Zealand needs to work hard to boost its engagement with Southeast Asia on all levels, not merely trade.

“For most of the 20th century, our international security and our international prosperity interests were taken care of by our relationships and alliances with major western countries.

“What’s happening now as we are move into the 21st century is that this marriage made in heaven between our economic interests and our security interests is actually being broken. Our economic interests now principally lie with countries that were not previously ones from whom we sought security. We have to enlarge our security-type relationships, defence relationships with key nations in East Asia.”

There are also strong people-to-people links between the region and New Zealand. Domestically, New Zealand’s population is becoming more diverse and more Asian, says the report. At the 2006 census, 11 percent of New Zealanders identified themselves as being ethnically Asian; this is projected to grow to 16 percent by 2026.

In the past five years New Zealand has had its first Asian cabinet minister  and its first Asian Governor-General. Robert Didham estimates that there are perhaps 8,000-12,000 New Zealanders in Southeast Asia, compared with approximately 50,000 Australians. In 2006 there were nearly 60,000 people born in Southeast Asian countries residing in New Zealand and about ten times that number (600,000) in Australia.

Editor recommends Featured Global Indians Lifestyle News Technology Work Abroad

Indian innovater gets ready with iPhone payments gadget

iPhone gadgets

When you speak with him, you get a sense of ease, even a sense of quiet, that sounds like an introvert. Get him to talk about his latest innovation – SwipeHQ however, and you get to hear him talk passionately.

And then, there’s an air of swiftness while answering potentially tricky questions (future product plans) that are met with a guarded and measured response.

Manas Kumar is a technology-smitten young man who spends 20 hours a day thinking about producing digital tools to make lives easier for businesses and its customers.

iPhone gadgets

And at 32 years of age, he has became the second-youngest business-owner to list his company on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Ever since that listing in December 2011, he’s been in news – for good reasons of course! The most recent being the announcement of his yet-to-be-launched device – SwipeHQ, a matchbox-sized device that plugs into an iPhone’s sound jack and converts the smartphone into a mobile payment device that can swipe a credit card to process a payment.

But that’s not how this story was meant to start.

He was a typical 20-something, cricket-struck Indian, with a dream to play at international level. That dream brought him to New Zealand in 2001, and before he knew, he was flipping burgers and pumping gas to make ends meet.

The hand-to-mouth existence meant he was working on multiple jobs, and did not leave him with much time to go home – so he would find somewhere in downtown to sleep before starting on the morning shift. Two years later, an urge to get out of the meagre existence gripped him.

Einstein gave him a clue. “The definition of insanity is,” Einstein famously said, “to do the same thing again and again and expect a different result.”

Manas aspired to break the vicious circle. That moment, the cricket bat made way for computer keyboard. A $10 buy of a domain name later, Manas started his website design company in 2003.

It wasn’t an easy ride – the first years of business were extremely difficult. Einstein probably repeated his mantra, and Manas changed gears to reinvent his company to develop software for businesses.

The year was 2007. This is when the wind entered the sail – things began to look up.

OptimizerHQ , as Manas’ company is now known, received good response to its flagship email marketing software, among other products. Manas had found his muse – to develop digital tools to help businesses serve its customers better.

Taking a leaf out of his own book, and possibly still listening to Einstein, Manas and his team looked at new ways of helping businesses, at a time when iPhones, Blackberrys and Galaxys were creating a growing category of tools – smart phones.

Manas designed a device, which will be launched in August, that can be plugged into a smart phone and voila! You have a payment gateway – a tool that merchants can use to receive payment from customers.

From lawnmower in the backyard, to the baker at the farmers market to major retail shops, the device can help a range of businesses. So who is his competition? “No one,” says Manas.

He is targeting a market that’s currently dependent on customers carrying cash. And what better place to launch his product than New Zealand – a cashless society, where the number of electronic payments (per capita, at point of sale) is one of the highest in the world. But he is not keen to compete in the EFTPOS (debit card) market.

SwipeHQ, as the device is known, will be able to process credit cards only at this stage. “It’s a deliberate strategy,” he says, and stops, not intending to reveal the reasons.

EFTPOS machines have taken years to gain trust of customers. Will customers trust smart phones to handle payments? Manas affirms that they have followed industry best practices in encryption and data safety while designing SwipeHQ.

“If you look in media, there have been so many instances where EFTPOS terminals have had issues in terms of not being able to stop fraud. There’s always risk with payment gateways.

“We have gone through all the regulatory aspects of producing this technology. We deploy a lot of resources into securing the device, and our commitment to security is second to none.”

He’s upbeat about the future of his company. “Internet is not just about website. OptimizerHQ is going to be a significant company because we are able to make a change in the way companies do business.”

Ask him about his personal life over the next few years, and you are greeted with a pause. “I’ll probably be still putting in 20-hour days for weeks at end!”

Editor recommends Events Global Indians News

Indian sporting heroes honoured

Ayush Bhatnagar Indian Community and sports awards

He was born weak. Weak in muscles that is. Ayush Bhatnagar was diagnosed with congenital myopathy – a muscle disorder in babies that causes difficulty in breathing; these children usually lag behind other babies in meeting normal developmental milestones such as turning over or sitting up.

Ayush was not one of them; while his weakness showed in his walk up the stage to receive a junior sportsman of the year award, his grit was written all over his face.

It was this grit that saw him win swimming and athletics titles in the Independence Games in 2007 and 2008.

In the same years, he also won the title in table tennis for Special Olympics, and followed it up with a similar title in National Games in 2009.

Ayush Bhatnagar Indian Community and sports awards

Ayush Bhatnagar receiving the junior sportsman of the year award

He won Mintram Cup for academic excellence the following year, and received a silver medal in table tennis at the Arafura Games in Australia in 2011.

On the night of 26 May 2012, Ayush shared the Junior Sportsman of the Year award with Ish Sodhi at the inaugural Indian Community and Sports Awards held at the Sudima Hotel near Auckland airport.

The 20-year old Ish (Inderbir) Singh Sodhi, who was born in Ludhiana in India, has played for Auckland under-17, Auckland under-19, and New Zealand under-19 cricket teams.

He took 4 wickets for 41 against Australia and 3 wickets for 25 against India in the under-19 tournament last month.

Ayush and Ish were one of the few achievers recognised by the awards launched this year exclusively for the people of Indian origin living in New Zealand.

Opened with Maori and Indian prayers, the mood of the evening was set by an inspiring speech by Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.


Tarun Nethula's father receiving Supreme Sports Award from Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres (Photo: The Global Indian magazine)

The limelight of the night however was shared by Black Cap Tarun Nethula and Junior Blackstick Shareena Nana, who received sportsman and sportswoman of the year awards respectively.

Tarun, currently training overseas, also claimed the supreme sports award which was received by his doting father Sainath Nethula, as former Black Cap Gary Troup looked on from the audience. Nethulas migrated to New Zealand from Andhra Pradesh in 1997 when Tarun was 12 years old, but returned to India in few months when Tarun lost his mother.

However in 1999, Sainath returned with his son to New Zealand where he believed Tarun will have a good sporting future. The leg-spinner made his first-class debut in 2008-09, helping Auckland win the State Championship by finishing top of the wickets chart. The year 2012 saw him join the New Zealand squad for their limited-over series against Zimbabwe.

ShareenaNana sportswoman of the year

Shareena Nana receives Sportswoman of the Year Award (Photo: The Global Indian magazine)

Shareena Nana was picked in the New Zealand under-21 side last year. The 21-year-old former Pakuranga College student was one of 18 chosen from a Future Black Sticks camp, for the hockey squad that travelled to India for the Four Nations tournament in November last year. The Future Black Sticks camp prepares players for junior world cups and Youth Olympics.

Closely following on the footsteps was Rishija Dolli who received the Junior Sportswoman of the Year award. The Auckland-born girl has excelled in sports, dramatics and community work.

Rishija Dolli Joris de Bres

Rishija Dolli receives Junior Sportswoman of the Year award from Joris de Bres (Photo: The Global Indian magazine)

The St Cuthberts College student captained 1st XI cricket team as well as Badminton B team, while also playing in Senior Netball team. She is one of the very few girl guides on the central Auckland zone to achieve the Aotearoa award, and leading the Ronald McDonald House fund-raising programme for Auckland Hospital.

In the community segment, Waitakere Indian Association received the Supreme community award for providing a platform for new migrants and working with the council and other agencies in promoting events that allow the Indian community to share their culture.

Founded in 2000, the association has organised Diwali festival on the theme of community health and wellbeing along with Holi festival, sport events and networking meets for senior citizens. It organised Fiji Flood Relief Appeal last year. The association also won the Auckland City Infratil Community Award in the Arts and Culture category last year.

The community volunteer of the year award went to Constable Wells Albert who is Ethnic Peoples Community Relations Officer for New Zealand Police.

Many volunteers and community organisations were also acknowledged.

The awards were conceived by SPROUT – a group that promotes opportunities in sports and recreation for people of South Asian origin in New Zealand.  The Global Indian magazine was a media partner for the event managed by volunteers .

The true winners of the night were these volunteers and the organisation behind them – SPROUT. The awards team was led by Munish Bhatt and Ram Lingam.

It was quite over-whelming to see the quality of young minds at work, says event co-ordinator Aditee Naik. “I was extremely impressed with the dedication and devotion of people within the community. It is really fascinating to see the contributions of Indians in community development and sports.”

SPROUT trustee Munish Bhatt shared the feeling. “What everyone witnessed was a humble parade of the unsung heroes and sports achievers who made the Indian community very proud.”

Indian Community and Sports Awards winners 2012

Supreme Sports Award 2012: Tarun Nethula

Supreme Community Award 2012: Waitakere Indian Association.

Community Volunteer of the year 2012

Winner: Wells Albert

Runner ups: Ashika Jyoti Prasad and Minoo Ghadiali

International Student of the year 2012

Winner: Jasbinder Singh

Runner Up: Yaseer Shafiq

Community Organisation of the year 2012

Winner: Waitakere Indian Association

Runner up: Bharitya Samaj Charitable Trust

Senior Citizen of the year 2012

Winner: Jagjeet Singh Kathuria

Runner up: Thilliar Varnakulasingham

Sportsman of the year 2012

Winner: Tarun Nethula

Runner up: Jeet Raval and Bhupinder Singh

Sportswoman of the year 2012

Winner: Shareena Nana

Runner up: Pearl Hans

Junior Sportsman of the year 2012

Winner: Ayush Bhatnagar and Ish Sodhi

Runner up: Vedant Zaveri

Junior Sportswoman of the year 2012

Winner: Rishija Dolli

Runner up: Denise Mendonce

Long Service Award 2012

Jeet Sachdev

Pratima Devi Nand

Ranjna Patel

Kantilal Patel

Kandavanam Thuraisundaram

Dr. Nagalingam Rasalingam

Bollywood Global Indians News

Sunny Leone to set silver screen on fire

Porn movie actor Sunny Leone is taking her Bollywood debut very seriously, and has started taking Hindi language classes, according to Indian media reports.

The Indo-Canadian actor was little known in India until her entry in India’s most popular reality show – Bigg Boss.

While she did not win the show, the 29-year old adult-film-starrer gathered enough attention to arouse the interest of Bollywood film-maker Mahesh Bhatt, who entered the Bigg Boss house to offer her a role in his upcoming project.

Leone, who was only too eager to act in a Bhatt movie, did not lose any time in starting her Bollywood career soon after the Bigg Boss show was over.

She has now started working on Jism 2 – a Mahesh Bhatt production managed by producer’s daughter – Pooja Bhatt in Jaipur.

Leone is already feeling at home in Bollywood, if her Twitter updates are anything to go by.

“Can’t wait to start shooting today,” she tweeted on day one of the shoot. “This is so much fun. Living the Dream with Jism 2.”

Ironically, Leone used her Twitter account to promote her porn movies almost until she arrived in India for Bigg Boss.

Leone, who plays a lead role with two male protagonists, has done well for herself considering that she was a non-entity in India and a porn star overseas.

Joining her will be Randeep Hooda and Arunoday Singh in lead roles while Imran Zahid plays a supporting role. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the plot is a love-triangle, as is mostly with Bhatt movies, with the undertone of lust, betrayal and suspense.

“Sunny is working hard to make every shot looks exquisite,” a unit member was quoted in an Indian newspaper.

“Everyone on the set is surprised by her quick learning capabilites, as she is doing a great job at learning her Hindi dialogues.”

The Jism 2 team is currently shooting in Jaipur and will soon be in India’s capital city of Delhi.

Global Indians Health Work Abroad

Refugee doctor retires after 38 years

An Auckland doctor, known for his dedicated service to migrants and refugees, has set his stethoscope aside after 38 years of practice.

Dr Nagalingam Rasalingam, 75, and his partner, Freddy Abeysekera have sold their Glen Innes practice, Line Road Medical Centre, to East Tamaki Health Care. The 6000-patient, very low cost access practice, founded in 1974, sold for $125,000, NZ Doctor reported.

Dr Ras, as he is affectionately known, received a Kiwibank local heroes award in 2010 for his longstanding service to ethnic communities.

Initially catering mostly to the white population of New Zealand, the practice now caters to the needs of mostly Asian migrants and refugee patients, the website reported.

“It began offering interpreter services and free care for under sixes long before government-funded schemes for both became available, Dr Ras told the website.

Dr Ras says he made his last house call in the 1970s. He went to see an asthmatic child but did not examine the boy because the child was fast asleep when he arrived. He did not charge the family house call fee of $2, and decided from that moment to stop charging for under sixes and to stop doing house calls.

He encouraged parents to bring their children to see him for early intervention, instead of waiting for a crisis, and hospital admissions dropped, says the NZ Doctor.

Dr Ras recalls a Pacific gentleman who came to see him in the 1980s with a belt fastened around his chest to “stop the pain”.  The incident showed the community’s poor health literacy at that time, Dr Ras says.

He and his practice partner have written to all their patients explaining they are retiring, and have received expressions of regret and bouquets of flowers in response.

Dr Ras plans to work as a researcher in refugee health after he retires from medicine, he told the NZ Doctor. His two children – one a cardiologist, the other a lawyer – are both living in the United States.

Dr Ras' contribution to refugee communities was recognised by a KiwiBank Community Heroes Award in 2010. (Image source: NZ Doctor)

He was felicitated by the Office of Ethnic Affairs in the recently concluded EthnicA conference in Auckland.

Mervin Singham, Director of the Office of Ethnic Affairs, says Dr Ras is a “hero” who is a “shining example of how migrants bring their skills and experience to make a difference to New Zealand.”

“His kindness, wisdom and persistence have had a real impact on the lives of those who most needed his support. He has looked on his professional expertise and his vocation as an opportunity for kindness and to make immense contribution to his community’s well-being.”

Global Indians Immigration Work Abroad

India to set up unit to monitor departing Indians

India is planning to set up an authority to monitor the activities of Indians leaving the country for overseas work.

India’s minister for Overseas Indian Affairs,  Vayalar Ravi, plans to bring a legislation in the next parliamentary session to set up an authority to facilitate migration of its citizens to other countries, and create a comprehensive database of Indians working abroad

Loosely titled the Emigration Authority, the new unit will have details of its citizens migrating to other countries for work and other purposes.

Speaking with reporters in Dubai, the minister also announced that the government has approved the use of the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) for building cremation facilities and community centres in Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

A crematorium is already being built in Sharjah after Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, donated land for that purpose, India’s PTI news agency reported.

However, he described government’s funding a ‘symbolic contribution’.

Ravi also urged Indians in the UAE to register online for votes in large numbers and said his ministry is working out details of NRIs participating in the electoral process.

The next Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, a conference of overseas Indians, will be held in Dubai on 12 and 13 October.

Education Global Indians Study Abroad

Admissions to Indian institutes for NRI kids open soon

Admissions process will soon begin for NRI children keen to pursue undergraduate studies in India for the academic year 2012-13.

Indian government runs a special scheme – Direct Admission of Students Abroad (DASA),  for undergraduate courses in engineering for foreign nationals and persons of Indian origin (PIOs), non-resident Indians (NRIs).

These courses are run in the prestigious National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) and other premier technical institutions in India. Students from more than 30 countries have been admitted under DASA so far, and the admission process, which is entirely online, will begin on 1 April.

Candidates can fill an online application form and make payment of fee electronically. This can then be followed by a signed copy of the online application form along with documents submitted to NITK, Surathkal, which is the co-ordinating institute for the courses.

The seats will be allotted based on SAT subject test scores and the preferences identified by the candidate. The application process is simple and involves creating an account, filling the form online and posting the form.

More importantly, the residential requirement for 2012-13 is relaxed from three years to two years for NRI candidates.

The PDF brochure can be downloaded online. 


Students must have passed the qualifying examination, i.e. Senior Secondary [10+2] or equivalent, with Physics and Mathematics as compulsory subjects and any one of Chemistry, Bio-technology, Computer Science, Biology as optional subjects.
Students must have secured a minimum of 60% aggregate marks or 6.75 CGPA on a 10 point scale or equivalent grades in all the subjects of the qualifying examination. Candidates appearing for the qualifying examination with the above-mentioned compulsory subjects by 25 May
2012 and expecting their final results latest by 15 September 2012 may also apply.
Candidates should have a minimum total score of 1440 in SAT Subject Tests (subjects: Maths level II, Physics and Chemistry).

First Year Tuition Fee $7,000 and non-refundable registration Fee $250 (total of $7250) must be paid along with the application form.
Foreign nationals from SAARC countries (except India) are entitled to a 50% Tuition fee waiver.  The fee can be paid either through Bank Transfer or Demand Draft or e-payment.

Similar scheme is also available for post-graduate studies – DASA PG (Post Graduate) Programme 2012 and the online application process will begin on 10 May 2012. Read the DASA PG 2012 brochure .

The Indian government also runs many other education programmes for the children of Indian Diaspora.

Business Global Indians Loans Money

NRIs don’t need to report property deals to RBI

India’s federal bank says people of Indian origin (PIOs) and non resident Indians (NRIs) are not required to report property deals in India to the bank. This is likely to encourage further investment by NRIs in India.

NRIs and PIOs don’t need to inform the Reserve Bank of India about  purchasing immovable property in India.

“Regulations do not prescribe any reporting requirements for transactions where a person resident outside India who is a citizen of India or a PIO… acquire/s immovable property in India,” the central bank says.

This announcement clarifies the confusion about reporting between NRIs and foreigners. As per RBI regulations, foreigners are required to make a declaration under the IPI form within 90 days of acquiring a property.

“Form IPI has been, accordingly, amended for greater clarity,” says the Reserve Bank.

However, there are still restrictions on the purchase of agriculture land by overseas Indians.

NRIs can buy  residential as well as commercial properties in India, and there’s no limit on the number of residential or commercial properties they can buy.

Overseas Indians are not allowed to purchase agricultural land, plantation land or a farm house in India. Also worth noting that global Indians cannot even be gifted agriculture land.

The only permissible way to acquire agriculture land for NRIs is to inherit agriculture land.

Can NRIs and PIOs acquire any immovable property in India by inheritance?

Yes, foreign citizens of Indian origin can acquire immovable property (IP) in India by the way of inheritance. However, citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, China, Iran, Nepal and Bhutan (whether resident in India or not) are prohibited from acquiring or transferring any IP in India without prior approval of the RBI.

Can a person of Indian origin, resident outside India gift properties acquired earlier in terms of the provisions of FEMA?

Yes. A person of Indian origin resident outside India may transfer residential or commercial property in India by way of gift to a person resident in India or to a person resident outside India who is a citizen of India or to a person of Indian origin resident outside India.

Global Indians Study Abroad Work Abroad

Of sex, alcohol and a shattered dream

A dentist from India who migrated to Australia for a better future could not have bargained for a worse nightmare that involved alcohol, sex and misjudgment – none of which was his fault.

In what started like a typical story of a qualified migrant driving a taxi in Australia, ended in a sad saga of a young man stripped of everything he had.

Prabhjit Gill came to Australia with the hope of practising medicine and fuilfilling his dollar dream.

The 37-year old dentist realised that his Indian medical accreditation had to be accepted in Australia before he could practice. While he waited for his Indian qualification to be approved, he started driving a cab to pay for expenses.

Shattered Prabhjit Gill (Photo: Channel Ten)

However, what unfolded soon was a series of events which saw Gill’s plans being watered down. He was arrested on charges of raping a drunk passenger. While the trial went on, his taxi license was cancelled by the Department of Transport.

After months of trial, he was acquitted by Perth District Court jury of raping a 25-year-old passenger.

Now he is a free man with no money, no registered qualification and no license to drive a cab. And there’s social and cultural stigma that he will have to live with not just in Australia but also in his home country – India.

Apparently, it is common for female passengers to offer sexual favours as payment to cabbies. Gill says that he knew of up to 60 drivers who had been offered sex, and he was offered oral sex as payment for fares two or three times a month.

Gill says he never accepted such favours.

He was accused alongwith another cabbie, 32-year old Amrit Pal Singh, who was convicted of raping the woman in the taxi.

Singh, the court was told, sexually violated the woman who was heavily drunk from a night of drinking at a hen’s party on 5 February 2011.

The same woman accused Gill of trying to have sex with her while she was in Singh’s taxi.

Gill says that all he did was deliver drinks to Singh at the car park where the woman was raped.

Interestingly, Gill also throws light on another concerning fact. He says that the Taxi Council and Swan Taxis (his employer) knew of drivers accepting sex for payment.

However, in support of his employer, Gill says that, during training, new cabbies are warrned about sex-for-fare passengers, and are trained to refuse such gestures.

It is illegal for drivers to have sex in a taxi, according to Taxi Council of WA chief executive Olwyn Williams.

Gill is so shaken by the experience that he says he no longer wants to drive a taxi for the fear of being accused again.

He has lost thousands of dollars in applications to have his accreditation accepted and his residency granted, because of the trial.

“I lost everything. If I want to become a dentist I have to start [from] the very first English test, it’s going to take me two to three years [and] another $20-30,000… where am I going to get it? I have no idea,” he says.

He now drives a truck and is still committed to completing his training for pursue his career as a dentist.


Global Indians Immigration News Work Abroad

Asians most discriminated against – survey

Asians have been voted as the most discriminated community in a survey of New Zealanders.

As many as 75% respondents named Asians as the most discriminated against group in New Zealand in the survey conducted for the Human Rights Commission’s annual review of racial discrimination.

More disturbingly, this figure has remained relatively unchanged in the past five years.

On slightly brighter side, the review accepted that the number of media reports of racially motivated crime dropped in the past year, but still included a number of serious assaults.

Joris de Bres

Two Thai women were abused both physically and verbally in Nelson, a couple set their dogs on a Filipino man and Japanese student in Christchurch, a man in New Plymouth attacked his Indian neighbours’ car with a machete, and a Chinese student was assaulted at an Invercargill petrol station.

An active focus on inclusion of Asian New Zealanders in all aspects of New Zealand life was required to break down discrimination, says Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.

‘Asians are now one of our four largest population groups, and one of the fastest growing. Yet the only publicly funded television programme, Asia Downunder, was discontinued last year.

There are very few Asians on the boards of District Health Boards, not enough Asian teachers in our schools, not enough Asian local councillors or community board members and Asian migrants continue to face discrimination in applying for jobs.’

The commissioner applauded New Zealand Police for its strong focus on Asian recruitment.

‘That meant they were able to deal effectively with Asian communities after the Canterbury earthquake, as well as being accessible to Asian communities elsewhere.

All public agencies should be doing the same. Some private sector organisations, such as the major banks, have also reached out to Asian communities because it makes good business sense.’

de Bres says the time has come to recognise Asians as one of the four major population groups in New Zealand, along with Māori, Pākehā, and Pacific.

‘For example, Auckland University, which has rightly provided a space for Māori and Pacific students with the marae and the Fale Pasifika, could be thinking how they can similarly provide a space for Asian students who comprise a significant proportion of the student body.’

Full review of discrimination and harassment in 2011 at Race Relations Commissioner’s website.

What is racial discrimination?

The Human Rights Act 1993 specifies a number of personal characteristics that are protected from unlawful discrimination. One of these is colour, race, or ethnic or national origins, nationality or citizenship.

If you are involved in a dispute relating to unlawful discrimination you can ask for information and assistance from the Human Rights Commission.

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Council creates jobs for graduates

New Zealand’s largest city is opening its doors for young people in an initiative that will provide around 230 work experience opportunities to 18-24 year olds.

Auckland’s largest employer, Auckland Council has joined hands with the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Social Development to hire young people from two youth employment programmes – CadetMax and Limited Service Volunteers.

The council expects at least a dozen young people will begin work this month, with 50 placements expected over the first three months. The council employs 8000 staff in 55 departments and seven council-controlled companies.

More than 2000 young Aucklanders leave school each year without qualifications, and 15-19 year olds are the most over-represented group in unemployment statistics.

The Limited Service Volunteers programme is a free six-week motivational training course run by the New Zealand Defence Force, and CadetMax offers young people, who are referred to the Ministry of Social Development, guidance to achieve their career goals. These volunteers will have undertaken substantial career counselling and pre screening. As the programme develops and there is an increasing demand from Auckland Council for young people, the Auckland Chamber and Work and Income will source young job seekers from other programmes and avenues.

“Work experience is vitally important for young people looking for that first job,” says New Zealand’s Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

“These placements will be an opportunity for young Aucklanders to get on-the-job experience while exploring a potential career,” she says.

Th Auckland Chamber Chief Executive, Michael Barnett, says the benefits to not only Auckland’s economy but New Zealand’s workforce development are greatly increased with one organisation making a commitment to invest a small amount of time in young people who are undoubtedly the future of what we want Auckland to be.

“However, this is only one organisation and we challenge businesses throughout Auckland to make work experience available to our young people.”

The initiative will target up to 1000 work experience placements for young career starters.

The work experience will engage enemployed young people in work activity and help build networks of people who have employment opportunities within the council.


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Migrating together more difficult than going alone – study

“In sickness and health” could be a wedding vow, but when it comes to moving to a new country, you would be better doing it alone than moving with a less enthusiastic partner, a study has found.

Victoria University of Wellington’s researcher Aidan Tabor and her advisor, Dr Taciano Milfont, researched the experiences of 95 British immigrants before their move to New Zealand, and found that one in three migrants were either an enthusiastic “driver” of the move or a less willing “trailing” spouse.

Moving to a new country can be emotionally challenging, as the “drivers” experience more stress and trailing spouses had lower wellbeing than people coming on their own or with an equally enthusiastic partner.

Such emotional challenges add to the already complex issues of logistics, finances and career.

Researcher Aidan Tabor

“Normally, spouses provide support to each other during stressful times, but ‘drivers’ felt they got less support from their less enthusiastic partner,” says Tabor.

Tabor moved to New Zealand from the United States three years ago with her family. She is researching into how migrants select a destination country including participants from the UK, South Africa and India.

The study found that enthusiastic migrants are more likely to adapt well and be happy in their new home but it will be harder for those that didn’t want to shift.

Unfortunately, the news only gets worse. “Extended families tended to withdraw support when they heard that their loved ones were moving to New Zealand.

The situation is particularly delicate for couples with children.

“The ones who felt the least support are those who have had to tell grandparents they’re taking the grandchildren to the other side of the world.”

What’s the way out? Tell your families you plan to return to the UK. “In these cases, extended family members were very supportive of the move,” Tabor says.

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OPINION: Honour killings, open immigration and women – a paradox

The latest incident of a Muslim teenager forcibly married off by her father came as a shock to the mainstream society in New Zealand. While such incidents are not rare in conservative countries like Pakistan, it is not what one would expect in the capital city of a western country.

Out of fear that his 17-year old daughter was seeing a Hindu boy, the father took her to the department of internal affairs and got her to sign visa papers. It turned out that the girl had signed on her marriage papers. She was then married to a distant relative who she had only briefly met.

Again, the girl was kept in the dark about the ceremony. It was only after the wedding that she discovered that she was forcibly married. She then spent two months under virtual house-arrest by her in-laws, where her every action was monitored.

She was courageous enough not to be resigned to her fate, and with the help of an NGO, Shakti, soon freed herself from the unwanted relationship. Her father threatened to kill her, before returning to Pakistan.

Not all girls are as fortunate to be alive as the Welllingtonian. In a recent judgement, a court in Canada has convicted a father for killing three teenage daughters and one of his wives.

All four were drowned inside a submerged car that was found in a canal in Ontario. The jury have found the father, Mohammad Shafia, his second wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya and their son Hamed guilty in what is now knows as the Shafia trial. Canada has reported 11 victims of honour crimes since 2005. Seven of these are young women.

However, the main problem lies in the labeling of such hideous crimes as ‘honour killings’, which almost justifies the brutality, and to some extent, makes it look acceptable, at least within the extremist groups, as one expert says.

Canada’s Memorial University of Newfoundland psychiatry professor Dr. Amin Muhammed has identified “lack of negative stigma” as one of the common factors in these crimes. The other two factors: these are planned attacks, and there is family complicity.

Dr. Amin Muhammed was called on by Canada’s Department of Justice to study the crimes in 2009.

These are not honour killings. These are not even spontaneous bursts of domestic violence. These are cold-blooded murders, often well-thought out and well calculated.

“The cases should not be seen or referred to by the controversial term, but simply as murders of women and girls,” says sociology student Saima Ishaq in an interview to Canada TV. She should know; the Pakistan-born girl wrote her thesis on the subject – honour killings.

“It’s like any other community. Violence against women exists across all cultures, they’re just given different names,” says Ishaq.

Untill the media and lawmakers acknowledge the crimes as such, we will struggle to come up with measures to effectively deal with such barbarous crime against women.

Thankfully, Canada’s minister in charge of women’s rights, Rona Ambrose, agrees. “Honour motivated violence is NOT culture, it is barbaric violence against women,” Ambrose tweets. “Canada must never tolerate such misogyny as culture.”

While on the one hand, Norway’s child welfare department has come under heavy criticism from Indian authorities for taking away two children from their Indian parents for reportedly “feeding the kids by bare hands”, the liberal Canadian department apparently did not do enough in the Shafia case. The girls, aged 13, 17 and 19, had contacted social services for help. But Quebec’s child welfare agency did not have enough evidence for intervention.

To achieve a balance between legal enforcement, safety of women, and cultural tolerance, mere law enforcement initiatives are not enough.

If the governments are following liberal immigration policies, then the social and criminal fallout, like in these instances, cannot be left to the enforcement agencies alone.

(Vaibhav Gangan is the managing editor of The Global Indian magazine)

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Islam badly misunderstood – Kiwi MP

Islam has been badly misunderstood, says a New Zealand MP, but adds that the country has come a long way of managing race relations and as a nation has been very accommodating of all religions and races.

Speaking to a cross-section of the Auckland community at the 23rd Annual Religious Convention hosted by Ahmadi Muslims, National MP Jackie Blue commended the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for their effort to change the perception and misunderstanding about Islam.

The annual convention is celebrated internationally with tens of thousands of participants in countries including Australia, England, Germany, Canada and the United States of America.

Mohammed Iqbal, National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said: “We cannot deny the fact that there is turmoil everywhere in the world in one shape or the other. This is a result of man forgetting his objective of creation, that is, his inclination towards worship of God and endeavour to gain Divine nearness.”

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s Central Missionary Maulana Shafiq-ur-Rehman said that mankind will continue to suffer from social upheavals, and the moral tones of human society will never really improve unless economical inequalities of such a serious nature, where some sections of society roll in wealth and others die of starvation, are done away.

“The Holy Qur’an, being a perfect Scripture has provided the roadmap for progress and perfection of man by means of the Law of Shariah, the moral law and the social law. It identifies the basic necessities of human needs such as food, water, clothing and shelter.

“The Holy Qur’an points to the fact that to provide these primary necessities of life to its people is the first duty of a civilized government and that a society can only be called civilized when all its members are adequately provided with these necessities” says Shafiq-ur-Rehman.

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New Zealand school successfully uses Sankrit to teach English

A mainstream school in New Zealand is teaching India’s ancient language, Sanskrit, to it pupils to build their foundation for the English language.

Auckland-based Ficino School is New Zealand’s only mainstream school to not only teach the Indian language but also to be strongly influenced by Indian cultural and philosophical thinking.

“It is my view, that through the teaching of Sanskrit, the source language of: Latin, Greek, German, French and of course English, we give our children access to the very essence of language: An insider’s guide to the workings of language,” says the school principal, Peter Crompton.

Principal Peter Crompton

Sanskrit with its “almost perfect grammatical system” provides children with a roadmap for understanding English, says Crompton. “We can all agree that English is definitely not the easiest of languages to get to grips with. To learn English grammar is extremely useful. It helps pupils write and read with increased precision and clarity. Certainly, this is something of use to students when they progress to secondary and tertiary study.

“Sanskrit not only gives young learners a clear understanding of the structure of language, it also heightens their awareness of the process of speech, creating a greater understanding of and ability to, enunciate words clearly.

Taking things ‘back to basics’, is not a new approach for Ficino, “and it works” says the principal. It is a practice we’ve followed since the school was founded in 1997, and is based on the curriculum developed by our sister school, the St James School in London.

“I am very proud of the success we’ve had with our own reading scheme. We’ve seen first hand the value of teaching Sanskrit, coupled with the use of the St James Reading Scheme in their first 2-3 years has had on accelerating a child’s reading ability. By age 8, many of our students are reading between 2-4 years above their chronological age, demonstrating significant added value.”

However, it’s not just the language that makes this school different. Here, the teachers move up year by year with their class. “This helps support the child with a good balance of love and discipline. The long term relationship forms a close and caring bond between teacher and pupil which is beneficial to learning,” says the school website.

“As time goes by, families tend to find that the teacher becomes a steady professional friend of the family. It is also more efficient as teachers do not need to spend the first few months of the year familiarising themselves with the children’s abilities and needs.”

Embracing the Indian cultural values, the school also offers meditation opportunities to students.

“Short periods of quiet time are offered daily in which youngsters over the age of 10 may meditate, contemplate, pray or quietly reflect accordingly.”

However, the school is not affiliated to a specific religion, though it “enjoys the support of the local community parish and hold services at St Barnabas Church.”

“The Christian religion is given particular prominence because Christianity is recognised as the basis of the culture of the nation we find ourselves in,” says the school.

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Blind Indian to compete in 243km race

Think about the level of physical endurance you would need to complete a 243km race through mountains and rivers. Now imagine running, cycling and kayaking that distance blind-folded. Now we are talking about mental endurance.

Meet 27-year old Neelusha Memon, who is almost blind and yet determined to compete with more than 800 able-bodied racers in New Zealand’s Coast to Coast Challenge in February.

The Challenge, which spans across Southern Alps from Tasman Sea to Pacific Ocean, is a benchmark by which all other multi-sport events are judged, both here in New Zealand and overseas.

Competitors cycle 140km, run 36km (including a 33km mountain stage that crosses the Southern Alps) and kayak 67km of the grade two Waimakariri River through the Grand Canyon of New Zealand, the Waimakariri Gorge.

Neelusha, or Neelu as she is mostly known, is participating in the race to create awareness about disability. She wants to change the perception that people with disabilities have limitations.

“It was people’s perception of me and perceptions of my impairments that were disabling,” she told a news agency. “They think impairments are so limiting that [people with impairments] can’t do anything.”

The things that can be achieved when people have support are huge, she writes in a blog entry. “There is no way I could dream of finishing one leg of this race without the support of other people.

“Everyone needs support if they are going to attempt something hard, and by completing this race I want to prove that something most people with full abilities would not attempt to do, can be completed by someone with impairments when I have support!”

She is supported by a team that helps her in her training and will also participate in the race with her. For Coast to Coast, she will run with Nick Crocker and Glenn Hedges for the 36km run, before joining Oliver Marshall for the cycling leg. Finally, Warwick Taylor will support her in a tandem kayak.

When she was 17, Neelu suffered from a rare autoimmune disease that sent her in coma for four months. Following the brain injury, Neelu had to work hard to regain her functions. While she recovered most of her functions, she lost about 70% of her vision, which makes her technically blind.

“These impairments definitely make things harder for me, but they do not stop me.” She has competed in the para-cycling world-champs on a tandem cycle, climbed Mount Aspiring, and enjoys most sports. She has also completed her masters degree in disability policy at the University of Canterbury and she currently works as team leader for CCS Disability Action Group.

However, Coast to Coast will test not only her physical endurance but also her mental strength. “This will be the hardest challenge yet as both my sight and balance will be paramount in getting over the mountain run, and will make things slower.

“With a cut off time of eight hours it will be a massive push for me to even finish the stage; not to mention the kayak stage as well as the cycling stage!

She will rely on limitless support from her team. “I have an awesome crew of people working with me who are keen to get me through this race. One to guide me on the run, one to kayak with me in a two person kayak, and one to cycle with me on a tandem.  These three fantastic people, not to mention the other people who have come on board to help me train for the race, will all get me through this race.”

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Indian embassies to stop outsourcing to foreign firms

Heeding to complaints from NRIs, India’s Ministry for External Affairs has instructed its embassies and foreign missions not to outsource any visa and passport related work to foreign firms.

A circular issued by the ministry has directed Indian High Commissions worldwide to award outsourcing contract only to Indian companies “with or without foreign partners”.

The WTO rules don’t permit Indian government to ban foreign companies completely.

These directives come soon following the foreign minister S M Krishna’s instructions to all Indian commissions warning them of disciplinary action if they failed to ensure transparency in procurement and visa outsourcing.

Officials said the decision to issue the circular was taken because of growing number of complaints against foreign firms, including Travisa in the US, which are handling such work on behalf of Indian missions, a leading newspaper reported.

Contrary to norm, it was back in 2007 when the ministry first allowed Indian missions to outsource visa and passport processing to private companies, sighting lack of resources as the main reason.

However, the ministry has received a growing number of complaints about visa and passport processing.

“The existing contracts will remain for now but from now on, no new contract will be given to any foreign firm which does not have any Indian partner,’ said an official.

The announcement has attracted mixed reactions from global Indians from around the world.

“I think this is a good decision. I have had pretty bad experience with VFS in the UK,” says Suresh from London.

“I was issued only six months’ visa while earlier I was given five years’ visas. This was very frustrating. Also, processing took a lot of time. It was only after I complained to the embassy directly that I received a faster service.”

However, some NRIs have some good stories to share. “Travisa in Chicago processed my OCI application in time,” says Meena.

“It is unfair to blam Travia who only process applications. The final visa decision as well as issuance of visa is managed by respective embassies directly.”

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US says sorry for frisking former Indian president

He may be one of the highly respected men in India, but when it came to the US immigration officials’ treatment of APJ Abdul Kalam, India’s former president was frisked like a suspected terrorist. The incident resulted in a major backlash in the Indian media and prompted the US embassy to issue a hurried apology.

The US embassy says its charge d’affaires Peter Burleigh had hand-delivered a letter of apology from the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) administrator to Kalam.

The embassy says it deeply regretted the “inconvenience that resulted for Kalam” as a result of the September 29 incident involving security screening at John F Kennedy airport in New York.

“We are actively working to prevent similar incidents in the future from occurring,” the statement said.

This was despite the fact that India’s former president is exempt from security screening. And this was not the first time that the former president was mistreated by the US airport authorities.

India’s Ministry of External Affairs had immediately lodged a protest over this incident with the US side, says the ministry’s the official spokesperson

Kalam, who is a regular visitor to USA, was to return home on September 29 by an Air India flight from New York.

“US authorities have explained to us that under existing US regulation, former President Abdul Kalam does not fall into the category of persons exempt from security screening. However, US authorities extended usual courtesies to him at the airport, including escort and private screening.

After former President Kalam had entered the aircraft, US Transport Security Agency (TSA) agents requested Air India staff for President Kalam’s jacket and shoes, reportedly as these had not been checked according to the prescribed procedure during the private screening. Air India staff then sought former the consent of former President Kalam, who had by then removed his jacket and shoes and settled in his seat, to hand over the jacket and the shoes to TSA authorities. These personal belongings of former President Kalam were returned shortly thereafter.

“The US Government has promptly written to former President Kalam (to) express its deep regret over the incident and has assured us that it is taking corrective steps to prevent recurrence of such incidents in the future.

“The two governments are also planning to hold discussions to explore appropriate mechanisms for facilitating airport procedures for dignitaries, in accordance with national regulations.”

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Muslim men awarded for work against family violence

While  they come from different countries and have varying professional background, these four migrants have one thing in common – desire to help ethnic women fight the menace of domestic violence.

These  Muslim community workers were recently acknowledged for supporting the rights of Muslim women, as part of Islam Awareness Week in New Zealand’s largest city – Auckland.

All four recipients have been involved in initiatives for early intervention family violence programmes for ethnic, Muslim and refugee communities for more than ten years. They also work in areas of health promotion, youth issues, education, employment, positive parenting and other settlement issues in the refugee sector.

Epsom resident Hashem Slaimankhel trained as a doctor in Afghanistan and works for the Auckland District Health Board as a refugee health worker. He is currently chairman of the Umma Trust and the Afghan Association of New Zealand.

Blockhouse Bay resident Mahad Warsame is from Somalia and also works as a refugee health worker for Auckland District Health Board. He is chair of the Auckland Somali Community Association.

Hassan Hosseini, who lives in Kelston, is from Iran and manages the New Zealand Ethnic Social Services organisation, based in Te Atatu.

Arif Saeid resides in Lynfield and trained as a doctor in Afghanistan. He works as the community link manager for Refugees as Survivors New Zealand.