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Vol 3 Issue 6 June 2010


Young and driven by a vision, they are empowering the villages of India by
nurturing ideas, setting up enterprises and co-creating wealth



izoklh Hkkjrh; dk;Z ea=ky;

Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs

Vol 3 Issue 6 June 2010


The Overseas Indian Facilitation Centre (OIFC) has partnered

with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to develop the Global‑INK framework.
An online web portal, it is powered by SupportCentral, a next generation knowledge
management, collaboration and business solutions platform.

The communities will also provide an array of collaboration tools:

● Blogs ● Forums ● Askan Expert ● Document management and sharing ● Online resource databases

lR;eso t;rs

izoklh Hkkjrh; dk;Z ea=ky;

Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs
ollaboration is all. This is the story of a bunch of young men and contents

women, driven by a vision. A vision of bringing about a quiet

revolution on the margins as it were. “There is no better way of
industrialising the villages of India than the spinning wheel...”, said
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Gandhi. As a development metaphor, there couldnʼt have been a more

powerful messaging. The spinning wheel may not represent the formidable
wheels of large‑scale industrialisation. Yet, it ably represents the power of

scalability, sustainability and self‑reliance. The three today stand at a critical

 crossroads globally, in particular, for the developing world. The debate has
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deepened in philosophical force and intensity given the increasing fragility
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of the worldʼs economic and eco‑systems which directly impacts millions of

lives and livelihoods across the world.
First principles can neither be cast in stone nor can they be sacrosanct.
Hence the necessity of revisiting received wisdom as regards the founding
Printed and Published by principles of development and equity. However, the spinning wheel doesnʼt
Mithlesh Kumar on behalf of the call for a reinvention, it calls for adaptation and scalability. Gandhi says REVOLUTION ON
Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs further: “The charkha is intended to realise the essential and living oneness
Akbar Bhavan, Chanakyapuri, They are young and driven by a vision to
New Delhi ̶ 110021 of interest among Indiaʼs myriads...” To accommodate “Indiaʼs myriads” empower rural India by setting up
Website: http://moia.gov.in would mean revisiting the constituencies of development and national enterprises in the villages of the country
www.overseasindian.in priority. Hence the deepening dialogue on inclusive development and
equity. Which is where we go back to our original proposition of the
Consulting Editor essence of collaboration. In dozens of villages in Tamil Nadu, a handful of
K.G. Sreenivas young men and women are recasting the rules of development. Rather, they
are rewriting the first principles of development in an idiom bearing close
affinity to the soil of native genius.
Pravasi Bharatiya is a monthly

publication. The views expressed in this Sreejith who heads ROPE, or
journal are those of the contributors Rural Opportunities Production
and do not necessarily reflect the views Enterprise, aims to “bring manufac‑
of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs
turing opportunities to rural India NEWS

(MOIA). All rights reserved. No part of
this journal may be produced, stored, or and create employment opportuni‑ US President Barack Obama emphasises how
transmitted in any form or by any
means ̶ electronic, mechanical,
ties for the rural unorganised sector
workers through a replicable, 6 important India is to the US at the Indo‑US strategic
summit that concluded recently

photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
without the permission of MOIA.
scalable and commercially viable
ICT‑enabled rural distributed manu‑
facturing model”. Saloni Malhotra,
Editorial correspondence and

who founded DesiCrew, a rural BPO,
manuscripts can be addressed to ECONOMY
pravasi.bharatiya@gmail.com believes, “In a rural context, the The Indian bureaucracy is in introspection mode.

money would be distributed locally, A mindset change is needed to attract private
supporting the local economy and investment, government officials said at a recent meet
Designed and produced by IANS generating incomes.”
(www.ianspublishing.com) on behalf of
the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. Only a block away is Paul Basil whose Villgro is nurturing an ecosystem
to incubate ideas and innovations in rural India. “I was convinced that inno‑
vation and enterprise could address the rural poor, specifically, the small THE POWER OF TWO
Printed at Collaboration between academia and industry is DIASPORA
and marginal farming communities,” says Paul. Kamla Persad‑Bissessar creates history as she
Anit Printers key to applied research and development that
1811, Gyani Bazar,
Opp. D‑56 N.D.S.E Part ‑1,
Kotla Mubarkpur,
There is a link running through the stories of the three “rural visionaries”.
Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala who at IIT Madras leads an iconic institution, the
Rural Technology and Business Incubator. Ashok helps incubate ideas and
makes a difference to society
28 becomes the first woman Prime Minister of Indian
origin of Trinidad and Tobago

New Delhi ‑110003

develop full‑fledged, self‑sustaining rural enterprises. “Until then (1990s)
the whole idea of incubation was urban‑centric. At the end of the 20th
century, there was refocusing... away from urban India to rural India. It was
also around the time that India began to make rapid strides in technology‑
driven development. But again it was rather urban‑focused. In a democratic
36 38 42 44
environment it was bound to create tensions. We decided that technology Mango lends its delectable Debabrata Bhattacharjee The 11th International Indian Sudhir Sharma jots down
people should focus on rural India.” flavour to anything it melds travels through Dhaka and Film Academy weekend saw a his thoughts and emotions
This issue of Pravasi Bharatiya brings to you this story being written on with. Take stock of some Bikramhati, exploring his fashion show, celebrity cricket about his life in prison in
the margins. You will also read about another collaboration, this time yummy mango recipes to childhood jaunts and match and a ritzy awards Toote Armano Ki
between academia and industry. Industry often needs to go back to the please any palate memories... ceremony... Aawaz
drawing board for better results while researchers need to closely interact
with industry to get to know as to what is it that the community as
consumer wants in terms of better drugs, machines or technology.
izoklh Hkkjrh; dk;Z ea=ky;
Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs Read about it all and more in the subsequent pages.
www.overseasindian.in ̶K.G. Sreenivas
The government has acceded to the de‑
mands of Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs)
and has issued a clarification saying that
PIOs will not have to pay “renunciation

Proud to be in charges” while submitting old passports.

Similarly, the government has also waived
the penalty charges for retaining a passport
despite acquiring foreign citizenship for

India: Obama
US President Barack Obama once again
over three years. PIOs had begun an online
petition to protest against a notification by
the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued
on May 13 that mandated that PIOs who
had acquired citizenship of other countries
emphasised how important India is to the US at would have to surrender their old passports
and there would be a penalty of Rs 10,000
the Indo‑US strategic summit that concluded for retaining the passport for above three
recently, reports Arun Kumar years. The government has now issued a
clarification that PIOs will not be asked to
pay any renunciation charges.


S President Barack Obama has said he plans to visit India in Novem‑

Setting up a fund for distressed Indian
ber to together make “history and progress that will be treasured by workers abroad and a global network of In‑
generations to come”, as he described Indo‑US ties as “one of the dian origin people were among the impor‑
defining partnerships of the 21st century”. “Our relations with India tant achievements of the United
are at the highest of priorities for my administration and for me personally as Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in
president of the United States,” Obama said at a reception on June 4 at the extending its hand of help to the diaspora
State Department hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her Indian during the first year of its second term.
counterpart S.M. Krishna after the inaugural US‑India Strategic Dialogue. In his report card to the people, Prime Min‑
“I am delighted to announce tonight that I plan to visit India in early Novem‑ ister Dr. Manmohan Singh noted that his
ber,” he said. “When it comes to building a future of greater prosperity, oppor‑ government in March last year approved
tunity and security for people, there is no doubt I have to go to India, but even the setting up of the Indian Community
more I am proud to go to India.” The rare gesture of attending a reception at Welfare Fund in 17 Indian missions, mainly
the State department was seen as a way to ease Indiaʼs concerns that the US in the Gulf and the Maldives. Besides, a
views ties with New Delhi through the prism of Pakistan and Afghanistan or a body of prominent members of the Indian
rising China. Obama called India “a responsible global power” and said the “un‑ diaspora ̶ the PMʼs Global Advisory Coun‑
precedented” US‑India relationship “will be cil of Overseas Indians ̶ was set up and
a defining partnership of the 21st century”. held its first meeting on January 7 this year.
“We value our partnership... because of
I am proud to go to India, and I look forward
what we share and where we can go to‑ UK HEALTH OFFICE NO TO
gether,” he said, adding that the two coun‑
to the history that we will make together, progress HIRING INDIAN DOCTORS
tries share a vision of the future built on
that will be treasured not just by this generation Britain wants to recruit junior doctors from
“security and prosperity”. Obama said he but by generations to come India after their exodus from the country
has to go to India to experience “all that due to tightened immigration rules caused
India and its people and its incredible an‑ a shortage, but the Home Office is not in
cient culture have to offer”. “Whatever sphere of the human mind you may se‑ agreement. The National Health Service
lect for your special study, whether it be language or religion or mythology or (NHS) is reported to have interviewed doc‑
philosophy, whether it be law or customs, primitive art, or science, you have to tors from India and even sought the help of
go to India, because some of the most valuable and instructive material of the the British Association of Physicians of In‑
history of man are treasured up in India, and India only,” he said while citing a dian Origin (BAPIO) in its recruitment drive.
quote from an European scholar who travelled to India over 100 years back. The BAPIO stipulated that the doctors
“So I look forward to advancing our partnership, to experiencing all that should be allowed to stay and get training
India and its people and its incredible ancient culture have to offer. So when it for between three and four years, rather
comes to building a future of greater prosperity, opportunity and security for than the two‑year limit currently in place.
our people, there is no doubt, I have to go India. “But even more, I am proud to But the British Home Office said no, pour‑
go to India, and I look forward to the history that we will make together, ing cold water on the NHS drive. The Home
progress that will be treasured not just by this generation but by generations Office is the lead government department
to come.” Krishna, too, stressed the importance of the US‑India relationship, for immigration and passports, drugs policy,
saying New Delhi can be a “dependable anchor of the regionʼs growth.” crime, counter‑terrorism and police.

6 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 7



Coming out in support of developing countries and Australia and Canada, Indiaʼs Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told his
counterparts during the G‑20 meeting in Busan, South Korea that India does not favour taxing banks to create a corpus for future

India, South Africa bailouts and that more importance should be given to regulations to detect and contain any deviation in the functioning of
financial institutions. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee made this clear during talks with Sakong Il, chairman of the presidential
committee for G‑20 finance ministers meeting, in the South Korean city of Busan. The levy idea is backed by the United States and
Europe. Developing nations plus Australia and Canada oppose it, saying their banks did not trigger the 2008‑9 financial crisis and

ink three accords

India and South Africa signed three pacts and agreed to jointly promote investments
should not have to pay for cleaning up the mess. Mukherjee said Indiaʼs banking system could withstand the trouble, mainly
because of well‑placed regulations. Indian banks had largely remained unaffected during the global financial crisis, which saw
many large banks based in the US and Europe go under or seek state help to stay afloat.

in Africa during President Zumaʼs visit to India recently, reports Manish Chand

ndia and South Africa inked three ac‑

I cords during the visit of the South

African President Jacob Zuma to India
recently and agreed to work jointly to
promote Africa as a global investment desti‑
nation, and decided to call for reforms of the
United Nations. Prime Minister Dr. Manmo‑
han Singh and South African President Jacob
Zuma, who was on his first visit to an Asian
country, held talks covering a wide swathe of
bilateral and global issues, including intensi‑
fication of economic ties and closer coordi‑
nation over global issues. Setting a target of
$10 billion bilateral trade by 2012, they also
focused on jointly working to promote and INDIA, SEYCHELLES SIGN US-INDIA TRADE BODY INDIAN-AMERICAN SMEs
develop Africa as the next global investment TWO AGREEMENTS STARTS EDUCATION PLAN PLAN $320-M IT FACILITY
destination. India and the Seychelles signed two Looking ahead to global economy of Small and medium enterprises owned
“Today, President Zuma and I have de‑ economic agreements in New Delhi the future, the US‑India Business Council by Indian‑Americans plan to set up an
cided to impart a forward‑looking character during the visit of the Indian Ocean na‑ (USIBC) has launched a new education IT incubation facility in Hyderabad with
to these ties, and to further broadbase our tionʼs President James Michel in the first initiative aimed at strengthening institu‑ an investment of Rs.1,500 crore ($320
cooperation,” said Dr. Singh. “We have week of June 2010. The Seychelles presi‑ tional linkages between academia, in‑ million). Small and Medium Enterprises
agreed to focus on the expansion of our eco‑ dent held formal talks with Indian Prime dustry and NGOs focusing on the Consortium (SMEC) made the an‑
nomic, trade and investment relationship,” he Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh after elementary, vocational and higher edu‑ nouncement when Andhra Pradesh
said, while underlining South Africaʼs “influ‑ which they signed two deals. Michel ar‑ cation. “The US and India must be com‑ Minister for IT, K. Venkat Reddy, currently
ential role in world affairs.” rived on June 2 on a three‑day state visit. mitted partners in building the on a visit to the US, met CEOs of SMEs.
“The discussions were held in an atmos‑ “We have signed the Non Double Taxa‑ workforce of tomorrow, a partnership According to an official statement is‑
phere reflective of the fraternal warmth, af‑ tion Agreements with several countries. that will unleash opportunity, spur sued on June 1, SMEC chairman Ma‑
fection and strategic partnership that CEOs’ FORUM LAUNCHED We have also today signed a Bilateral In‑ growth and sustain prosperity not just in hender Musuku told the minister that
characterise the bilateral relations,” the ex‑ India and South Africa have launched an India‑South Africa CEOsʼ Forum. vestment Promotion and Protection our countries but across the global com‑ SMEs would invest Rs.1,500 crore in
ternal affairs ministry said in a statement. Indiaʼs Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and the visiting Agreement with India,” Michel said at an munity,” said Harold McGraw III, new three phases. The CEOs expressed keen
Acknowledging the rising global clout of the South African President Jacob Zuma formally inaugurated the forum on interaction with captains of Indian in‑ president of the trade promotion body interest in making Hyderabad the first
two countries, Dr. Singh and Zuma called for June 3. Addressing top businessmen from the two countries, Sharma said dustry. Delineating the areas of possible representing 300 US companies in India. choice for their operations provided
speeding up reform of the UN and interna‑ the forum would provide a platform for sustained business interaction and economic cooperation, Michel listed in‑ “To do this, we must focus on strength‑ they get equal playing field, incentives
tional decision‑making institutions to reflect guide policy issues. Sharma listed several potential areas of bilateral coop‑ dustrial fishing, renewable energy, eco‑ ening our educational ties at every level. in taxation and infrastructure. An incu‑
contemporary realities. eration. These include infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, mines and tourism projects in outer islands, retail By working together, our two countries bation centre, to be set up in two years
The two countries support each other's bid minerals, oil and natural gas, banking and financial services, tourism, infor‑ sector and Information Technology. But can equip the next generation with the for administrative and front offices, is
for a non‑permanent seat in the UN Security mation technology, pharmaceuticals, automobiles and auto components. he urged that more linkages be estab‑ education and skills necessary to com‑ expected to provide employment to
Council. “We agreed to support each other's “The much anticipated India‑SACU (Southern African Customs Union) pref‑ lished between Seychellesʼ capital Victo‑ pete and win in the global economy,” 2,000 people. While the centre will be
candidature for the non‑permanent seat for erential trade agreement will eventually lead to a free trade agreement be‑ ria and Indian cities. He said that the chairman, president and CEO of The set up in a leased facility in Hitec City, a
the 2011‑12 term,” the prime minister said. tween India, SACU and MERCOSUR (South American Trading Bloc). An negotiations will take place for a Bilateral McGraw‑Hill Companies said while ad‑ permanent campus would be set up
while describing Zumaʼs maiden visit to India Agreement for Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments is also Air Services Agreement later this month, dressing the USIBC 35th anniversary later with an investment of Rs.1,500
as “a milestone in Indiaʼs relations with waiting to be concluded. which will “surely open the window to meeting on June3, coinciding with the crore. This will create 10,000 direct and
South Africa.” increase in exchanges.” Indo‑US summit. 40,000 indirect jobs.

8 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 9


They are young and driven by a vision. Of empowering rural India by
incubating ideas, setting up enterprises, generating employment and co‑creating
wealth in the villages of the country, says K. G. Sreenivas

reejith, Saloni and Paul are driven by a shared vision. Sreejith has set up a network of rural production centres in a the most scalable, environment‑friendly, sustainable approach to number of such networked rural production centres catering to

S Sreejith N.N. heads ROPE International, Saloni Malhotra

leads DesiCrew while Paul Basil steers Villgro. ROPE, or
Rural Opportunities Production Enterprise, co‑founded
by Sreejith and Patrick Fischer, aims to “bring manufacturing
opportunities to rural India and create employment opportunities
host of villages in Erode, Madurai, Thanjavur, Theni and Thiru‑
valluvar in Tamil Nadu where artisans use locally available and
environment‑friendly materials, such as banana fibre, elephant
grass, korai and sisal (types of reed) to craft custom designed
complimentary and lifestyle products. Sreejithʼs ROPE, which
a rural manufacturing model. Globally, too, the concept of dis‑
tributed production systems is gaining ground as opposed to
large industrial set‑ups,” Sreejith says.
“Distributed production systems are more flexible, more eco‑
nomically resilient, less environmentally polluting, can lead to
the demands of a number of industries, both inside and outside India.”
As far as Paul was concerned, envisioning and goal‑setting was
a drawn‑out process and work in progress. “The vision evolved
over time. While the dream was to create a prosperous rural
India, the vision was to use innovation and enterprise for that
for the rural unorganised sector workers through a replicable, sub‑supplies to global furniture maker IKEA, today services top more efficient use and value addition of local resources, creates and the mission was to enable innovations to reach the markets.
scalable and commercially viable ICT‑enabled rural distributed clients like AIIMS, FabIndia, Industree Crafts and Mihika besides more equitable growth, helps greater diversity in products and Over time, we realised that our vision should be much broader,
manufacturing model,” says Sreejith. a number of overseas customers. lead to greater team spirit and more product and process inno‑ that is, creating an eco‑system that favoured innovation and en‑
In the mid‑2000s, the BPO rush began in India. Saloni ob‑ How did Sreejith tap the social, economic and commercial con‑ vations within small units,” he adds. terprise,” says Paul. (see interview)
served that though it offered an amazing rush of jobs and seemed text while setting up ROPE? “Inspired by the success of outsourc‑ A similar paradigm was also central to Saloniʼs model. “The
to be an attractive financial proposition for freshers, salaries ing from the West to the East in creating large‑scale job question was how you could demonstrate a successful commer‑ IDEATION AND TURNING POINT
were still small and attrition was high. “It would be more useful opportunities in Indian cities and inspired by attempts at setting cial model in smaller towns? Why or how cannot, for example, Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, a much decorated and distinguished
and productive to take jobs where it would be closer to peopleʼs up BPO centres in smaller Indian towns to bring further shift of an insurance company set up back‑up operations in a small grassroots visionary, and who heads the Electrical Engineering
homes. Also, in a rural context, the money would be distributed jobs from cities to semi‑urban and rural areas, a small group at village? Of course, BPOs are about economies of scale and dollar Department at IIT‑Madras and is also Chairman of the Board of
locally, supporting the local economy and generating incomes,” the TeNeT (Telecommunications and Computer Networks) of IIT convergence. But our attempt was to work a smaller but scalable Directors of what is now an iconic institution, the Rural Technol‑
said Saloni whose DesiCrew today is quietly ushering in a back‑ Madras thought about a similar model to bring manufacturing model, say about a 25‑30 seater BPO,” says Saloni. ogy and Business Incubator (RTBI), has been a common link
end services‑driven BPO market in the rural environs of Tamil Nadu. opportunities to Indian villages. Thus ROPE was born initially as The engineering and success of a vision is dependent on goal‑ among Sreejith, Saloni and Paul. The catchline of the institution
On the other hand is Paul who through Villgro is forging an Rural Outsourced Production Enterprise in January 2007. setting. What were Sreejithʼs immediate and long‑term goals? is emblematic: incubate... ideate... innovate.
ecosystem to incubate ideas and innovations, like ROPE and Desi‑ ROPE found rural India needs more manufacturing opportu‑ “The immediate goal was to identify and focus on a suitable mar‑ Asked about what was perhaps RTBIʼs most outstanding suc‑
Crew, to fuel development in rural India. “Villgro stands for nities (as it cannot any longer depend on agriculture alone) and ket or a dedicated buy‑back partner in the form of an established cess thus far, Prof Jhunjhunwala said, “We would rather see it in
growth of villages. The dream of a prosperous rural India is what rural India has the potential to do large‑scale manufacturing.” A industry, set up the first few distributed rural production centres terms of having brought in a culture of entrepreneurship into
set me on this journey a decade ago. I was convinced that inno‑ distributed production system, however, would be key to the en‑ and develop the required IT‑based systems and processes for rural India; of having helped in forging an academia‑industry re‑
vation and enterprise could address the rural poor, specifically, tire process. “ROPE decided to focus on a distributed production production and supply chain management. The long‑term goal lationship; and, of positioning technology to play a key role in
the small and marginal farming communities,” says Paul. system in the form of networked small‑scale production units as was to pioneer this manufacturing model and establish a large the life of the deprived.” (see interview)

10 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 24


“ This opened our eyes to the richness and diversity of

eco-friendly, renewable natural fibre resources of our villages.
As the world moves towards ‘green’ natural products, ROPE
decided that the use of renewable, environment-friendly natural
fibres, together with locally available skills to manufacture

custom designed products for buyers, as the best fit for a
distributed manufacturing model.
—Sreejith N.N.

Referring to the process and time taken to incubate an idea,

The ROPE market cation and Rural BPO. He advised us to look at the rural BPO sec‑
Prof Jhunjhunwala says, “Typically in a rural setting handholding j The Global home decor and furnishings market is tor. IIT Madras does a lot of work in rural areas of the country.
is longer while in urban centers it is shorter. It is self‑explanatory. worth $1.2 trillion, including kitchen, housewares, They helped us understand the nuances of development, partic‑
The environments are different, rural India has far more complex furniture, home textiles, appliances, outdoor living, ularly rural development. They also helped us network with a
problems. DesiCrew, for example, took two years. Other mentors art/wall decor and lighting. The US market alone is wide variety of people and resource persons.” Paul acknowledges
come in, funders come in and a lot of new ideas too come in. worth $270 billion the importance of ʻecosystemʼ and symbiosis (between Villgro
Ideas come in, especially from three sources: experienced indus‑ j The global home furnishings market size is $70 bil‑ and IIT‑Madras), ideas Prof Jhunjhunwala says are crucial to in‑
try persons; faculty with wide knowledge; and, youngsters, who lion, growing at an average of 5 percent per annum. cubation. “We have now set ourselves in that direction [innova‑
have just joined a company and come up with crazy ideas. They High‑value Indian exports in this is $1.2bn/annum, tion and enterprise]. This explains why we are located at the
have the ability to plunge into ideas.” growing at 30 pc fabulous IIT‑Madras Research Park, an eco‑system of technol‑ Relationships matter a great deal in growing, scaling and diversifying the
Sreejith corroborates: “Our evolution was a result of continu‑ j Though the specific market size for eco‑friendly ogy‑based institutions,” says Paul. business module that Sreejithʼs ROPE International (far left) and Saloniʼs
DesiCrew (above) follow.
ous discussions held by Patrick Fischer, another co‑founder of natural products in the above segments is not avail‑
the company, and I with Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala and Dr. Aarti able, a significant percentage is available for natural PUTTING VISION INTO ACTION
Kawlra, another board member of ROPE, who is an expert in de‑ products and that market is growing at a faster pace Social entrepreneurship needs to be commercially viable too, to opened our eyes to the richness and diversity of eco‑friendly, re‑
sign and crafts and was also a consultant to TeNeT at that time. j The current Indian exports of specifically non‑cot‑ be of credible benefit for all stakeholders, particularly for those newable natural fibre resources of our villages. Each and every
The acceptance of our model by Dr. Jhunjhunwala and his Rural ton, non‑silk, non‑wool natural fibre based home at the bottom of the pyramid who form the heart of the system. village in India has certain natural fibre resource available and
Technology and Business Incubator (IIT Madras); support from decorative accessories is estimated at just $25 mil‑ Sreejith elaborates: “The search for a commercially viable busi‑ there is great diversity and uniqueness in these renewable fibres
Villgro Innovations Foundation, Chennai; investment by National lion growing at 20pc per annum ness model using distributed and networked production centres available in each region. As the world moves towards ʻgreenʼ nat‑
Research Development Corporation (NRDC); my meeting Fischer j Dry flower exports from India is approximately $100 led ROPE to think that we should look into the sustainable and ural products, ROPE decided that the use of renewable, environ‑
who joined us as my partner and co‑founder of the company; million and is another target segment of ROPE competitive advantages or strengths of our villages while looking ment‑friendly natural fibres, together with locally available skills
and our chancing upon Industree Craftsʼ bulk raw material re‑ j New and unconventional demand for natural fibre for suitable sectors to enter. to manufacture custom designed products for buyers, as the best
quirement through the efforts of Dr. Aarti Kawlra were all critical uses are also emerging like paper manufacturing, “At the same time, a Bangalore‑based organisation called In‑ fit for a distributed manufacturing model. With this business
turning points for the company.” use in veneers, packaging, wall panels, etc. Some of dustree Crafts approached us to set up banana fibre rope pro‑ model, ROPE was incorporated as a private limited company in
Saloni says: “Prof Jhunjhunwala helped us in setting up Desi‑ ROPEʼs existing customers are in these segments duction centres to meet the growing demand for this raw December 2007 and soon ROPEʼs expansion was changed into
Crew. We had three options ̶ Rural Technologies, Rural Edu‑ material which is used to manufacture natural products. This Rural Opportunities Production Enterprise (ROPE) to represent

12 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 13


Villgro seeks to adapt

innovations to offer new
solutions to an existing
INTERVIEW / PAUL BASIL problem or an existing
solution to a new problem.
Left: Various Villgro rural

Founding vision of Villgro… their own marketing channels. otherʼs geographical locations have a two‑year funding sup‑ helped IIT‑Madras to set up a tions, we still continue to do so. tees are both urban and rural. seed funding, networking, men‑
Villgro stands for growth of vil‑ Imagine the cost and time it while serving incubatees. port of Impact Partners and lots new Centre for Social Innova‑ But increasingly we have started Example of a rural entrepreneur toring, talent, go‑to‑market serv‑
lages. I was fairly convinced that would take to build channels Around 2004, after C.K. Praha‑ of personal support from its tion and Entrepreneurship with pilots with services, innovations is P.Vivekanandan of Vivega En‑ ices etc. We exit when the
innovation and enterprise could among the poor. Thus came lad had written The Fortune at founder Deval Sanghavi. Subse‑ the objective of increasing re‑ around business models. Inno‑ gineering Works who has de‑ incubatees have a good man‑
address the rural poor, specifi‑ the vision of Villgro Innovation the Bottom of the Pyramid and quently, we attracted grants search and education in the vations challenge the status veloped the Pin Pulveriser. agement team, sales turnovers
cally, the small and marginal Marketing Private Limited, a for‑ at a time when micro‑finance from foundations in India and field of innovation and social quo, new solutions to an exist‑ look poised for growth and they
farming communities. profit chain of stores in villages, had really matured, a number of the US. The new entities in the entrepreneurship. ing problem or an existing solu‑ Scouting for innovators… have raised the first round of
The vision evolved over time. supported by a network of vil‑ social venture funds were set form of Villgro Marketing Pvt tion to a new problem ̶ both Scouting is through multiple institutional investments.
It was to use innovation and en‑ lage level entrepreneurs. up. However, few could fund in Ltd and Villgro Fund will attract On the “innovations” route… ways, opportunities are plenty. means. Wantrapreneur, our an‑
terprise for that and the mission Incubation is a very time‑ the range of $50k‑150k. This patient commercial capital in Technologies and technology‑ nual business plan competition, A new idiom?
was to enable innovations to consuming, costly and risky ac‑ seed capital was necessary to the years to come. based innovations have always One defining characteristic of discovers innovative entrepre‑ The poor have problems and
reach the markets. Over time tivity. We realised that to kick‑start these enterprises. Our Our formative years were changed lives, impacted mil‑ incubatees… neurs. We sponsor other busi‑ these problems bring with it
we realised that our vision nurture this model, we need to vision was to set up the Villgro chaotic. Serving the rural poor lions, such as mobile phones to Our incubatees are committed ness plan competitions such as opportunities for solutions. The
should be much broader, that partner with other players. And Fund for Innovation and Rural through innovation and enter‑ ATMs to credit cards. However, and visionary innovators and Sankalp and Genesis. Our team poor do not need charity. They
is, creating an eco‑system that thus was born our co‑incuba‑ Enterprise. prise is not something that has when it comes to those who entrepreneurs whose ideas are reviews the patent applications need access to affordable and
favoured innovation and enter‑ tion approach to incubate been clearly structured in terms canʼt afford them, we keep away compelling and can impact the and discovers compelling ideas reliable products and services.
prise. As we were incubating in‑ more and more enterprises. Co‑ Putting together the human and of formal training, though there from even attempting to de‑ rural poor in a commercially vi‑ from that pool. Our partnership By incubating such innovations,
novations, we found a few incubation is nothing but two financial resources… are rural marketing courses. This velop market‑based solutions. able manner and have the po‑ with the Agri‑Business Incubator we bring to rural India a new
pressing challenges. The first incubators coming together to The start is a point of challenge need motivated us to inspire Innovations like micro‑finance tential to scale. The markets and ten other leading research wave of social capital, prod‑
being last‑mile access to the offer services to the same incu‑ for any organisation ̶ limited IIT‑Madras to set up a credit have made millions bankable that they have chosen to serve, institutions under the Indian ucts/services, talent and an
end customers of ours, the rural batee. This way we leverage resources and blurred vision. course on Innovation and Social and have transformed their perseverance in doing so, the Council for Agricultural Research eco‑system that furthers inno‑
poor. All entrepreneurs that we each otherʼs strengths and With regard to financial re‑ Entrepreneurship for its under‑ lives. In the initial years we were ability to embrace uncertainty gives us access to hundreds of vation and enterprise leading
were incubating had to set up make the best use of each sources, Villgro was fortunate to graduate students. We also focused on product innova‑ makes them unique. Incuba‑ new product ideas. We provide to rural prosperity.

a broader approach to huge opportunities presented by the mostly run like factory floors. We decided to do it differently. We mal private enterprises. At the same time to be commercially vi‑ ness Incubator (RTBI) at Madras IIT helped us with the rest. Then
unique strengths of our villages.” help establish a certain comfort level for our employees, espe‑ able we focus on being competitive in servicing our customers in mid‑2008, we had an angel investor in Rajiv Kochhar, an ex‑
Leveraging the strengths of the rural local communities obvi‑ cially socially and culturally. Team leaders or managers go out in terms of our pricing and consistently achieving quality and Infoscion, who came on board. We now run on our own revenues.”
ously is of the essence. Saloni says, “As a business, the BPOs are and build relationships with the local community.” quantity targets. Marrying these two objectives, we are targeting Eventually, running on oneʼs own steam would be critical to
a proven model across the world. It is scalable too. We have at Obviously, relationships matter a great deal in growing, scaling high volume‑manufacturing opportunities for large key account any self‑sustaining venture. Serendipity could help occasionally,
the moment around 170 people, we now plan to scale up to and diversifying a business model that Sreejith, Saloni and Paul customers. These high volume‑manufacturing opportunities will but there is little substitute for hard planning, envisioning and
1,000 to 2,000 in the next couple of years. Till last year, we had have embraced and are nurturing. Saloni elaborates: “In rural not give us high margins as we are competing with manufactur‑ the right mix of people and resources. Sreejith elaborates on
operations in Tamil Nadu alone but this year we are looking at communities, for example the micro‑finance model has worked ers from China, Thailand, Vietnam and other South Asian coun‑ ROPE: “Patrick and I became co‑founders and the senior man‑
Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Tamil Nadu is progressive, has exceedingly well. Repayments are as much 99 percent as op‑ tries. So we target a commercially viable margin and maximise agement team. Dr. Aarti Kawlra was another promoter‑director
excellent infrastructure, good literacy and internet penetration posed to urban credit card payments where default is very high. our returns and rural impact by the scale or volume of the units of the company. Patrick also invested in the company and apart
up to the taluka level. Even in rural areas, people understand There are strong moral and social sanctions that bind the com‑ manufactured.” from that we received an initial debt funding from LRAMP, which
English, they may not be proficient but they can communicate.” munities together. So, people take pride in their work and are was an innovation nurturing and development programme
In fact, Saloni makes a deeper sociological point, which is also conscious about how they are seen by the community.” Social PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER founded by IIT Madras and Villgro Innovations Foundation with
critical to the success of the idea of rural entrepreneurship. “Peo‑ commitment and commercial viability are no contradiction in terms. Resourcing is key ̶ seed capital, human resources and training. support from Lemelson Foundation, US.”
ple in small rural communities are committed. They may be lack‑ Sreejith says: “Our philosophy for social impact is to maximise At DesiCrew, Saloni says she made a modest start but went on to Referring to the management side of it and oversight, Sreejith
ing in communication skills and exposure that urban youngsters rural employment in our villages through our distributed pro‑ expand. “As far as funding was concerned, I put in some of my says, “We set up a Board of Directors comprising Kunal R
have in abundance. Traditionally, BPOs are well established, duction centres instead of the ʻmaximising profitʼ motive of nor‑ personal funds while Prof Ashokʼs Rural Technology and Busi‑ Sachdev, Founder and Managing Director of Caravan Crafts Pvt.

14 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 15



MANUFACTURING We would rather see it (successes of incubation)
in terms of having brought in a culture of
TO RURAL INDIA entrepreneurship into rural India; of having helped
in forging an academia-industry relationship; and,

WOULD BE THE of positioning technology to play a key role in the
life of the deprived
MOST DEFINING —Ashok Jhunjhunwala

PB: When did the idea of “incu- We then thought we could per‑ At the end of the 20th century, PB: The single most defining at below Rs. 100,000. In terms of holding is longer while in urban PB: What have been some of success rate has been 10 to 15
bation” strike you? What was the haps tap our alumni who could there was refocusing... away feature of the proposals you vision, DesiCrew and ROPE, for centers it is shorter. It is self‑ex‑ the most outstanding successes percent. We plan to raise it to
founding vision of Rural Technol- devise and design products as from urban India to rural India. have received and incubated? example, wanted to create and planatory. The environments you have helped forge? 25 percent. However, newer
ogy & Business Incubator? solutions to questions industry As of now, we have incubated The key focus was to signifi‑ sustain employment in rural are different, rural India has far We would rather see it in terms business models and newer
The idea of incubation began often posed. They even set up 30 companies, 15 urban and 15 cantly reduce cost price. The India. So we went from telecom more complex problems. Desi‑ of having brought in a culture business leaders emerge. So,
forming around the mid‑80s. I two companies Benchmark Sys‑ rural. It was also around the time price point needs to be right for to education to energy and so Crew, for example, took two of entrepreneurship into rural there are a slew of ideas.
had joined IIT and had also tems and Comportex Electron‑ that India began to make rapid customers to be able to afford on. Today, as you see develop‑ years. Other mentors come in, India; of having helped in forg‑
begun consulting with industry ics geared towards innovations. strides in technology‑driven technology or innovation. The ment has rapidly moved from funders come in and a lot of ing an academia‑industry PB: The defining ideas for the
who would often come to us Towards the mid‑1990s, we set development. But again it was order of magnitude was key. For the West to the East. Similarly, new ideas too come in. Ideas relationship; and, of positioning future, with reference to rural
with questions on machinery up Midas Communications to rather urban‑focused. In a example, telephony cost Rs. we should be able to shift serv‑ come in, especially from three technology to play a key role in enterprise, innovation and
and technology. Could we fix devise wireless (local loop) sys‑ democratic environment it was 40,000 in the 1990s, we inno‑ ices from urban to rural India. sources: experienced industry the life of the deprived. development…
this part of a machinery or could tems at a considerably lower bound to create tensions. vated and made it available at persons; faculty with wide Shifting services and manufac‑
we fine‑tune this part of a tech‑ cost. Subsequently, we helped We decided, therefore, that Rs. 10,000. An ATM typically PB: Typically, how long is the knowledge; and, youngsters, PB: On auditing projects and turing to villages would be the
nology? Such were the queries. I incubate as many as 12 compa‑ technology people should then cost Rs. 500,000. We de‑ guiding, funding and hand- who come up with crazy ideas. re-engineering project models… most defining idea of the fu‑
found that generally innovation nies. Until then the whole idea focus on rural India and its vised one called ʻGramatellerʼ holding stage of the incubatee? They have the ability to plunge We meet every month to evalu‑ ture. The direction of DesiCrew
was missing in Indian industry. of incubation was urban‑centric. concerns in a serious manner. for Vortex Engineering Pvt Ltd Typically in a rural setting hand‑ into ideas. ate these projects. The general and ROPE is one such.

Ltd., Bangalore, who came on board as a representative of NRDC ment, essentially in acquiring a client perspective and knowledge classroom/formal training sessions. Later, they will be engaged the bottom of the pyramid as possible supply sources for the
and who was previously CEO of the famous leather accessories about product management. Their competition is with BPO mar‑ to work on simple designs, gradually increasing the complexity urban market or for urban industrial companies. We were a
brand Hidesign ̶ apart from Dr. Aarti Kawlra, Patrick and me. kets like Vietnam and Philippines,” Saloni says. of the product and their skill levels. In most of the orders bunch of people interested in the idea of wealth generation in
Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala and Paul Basil, Founder and CEO of At ROPE, Sreejith has outlined essentially two main types of for handmade products we adopt an assembly‑line system rural areas and developing supply bases in rural areas for
Villgro, comprise the advisory committee and they both are training. It is interesting to note that again the training is through division of labour so that productivity is enhanced urban markets. Then found that given the enormity and
permanent invitees to the board. Using the investments we customer oriented and order specific. Much if it is also gained by specialisation while reducing the level of skill required by diversity of our rural areas a decentralised approach
received from Patrick, NRDC and Villgro and under the guidance on the job itself. “One for existing artisans like handloom weavers the worker/artisan.” suits it best.”
of the Board and advisory committee the management team where it is mainly product specific and order specific training Have these rural entrepreneurs developed or evolved a Paul puts it rather evocatively: “The poor have problems and
hired the other required human resources.” during which we educate them on the particular design and new management idiom or a new management philosophy? these problems bring with it opportunities for solutions. The
quality requirements of a product. A major portion of this Sreejith invokes C.K. Prahalad. “We believe we have not poor do not need charity. They need access to affordable and
TRAINING training will be on the job itself,” Sreejith says. developed any new management idiom or philosophy. It was reliable products and services.
For success on the ground, training is critical. Saloni keeps it sim‑ A second area of training focuses on unskilled workers, mostly already identified by many that rural areas present unique “By incubating such innovations, we bring to rural India a
ple, effective and customer/product oriented. “Our training is for hand‑driven production skills like crochet or basket weaving. opportunities for businesses. Prof. Prahalad visualised the new wave of social capital, products, services, talent and an
spread across three months. We have modules in English, Math‑ Classical assembly‑line principles also come into play. potential of the bottom of the pyramid primarily as a big eco‑system that furthers innovation and enterprise leading to
ematics and Analytical Skills. We also impart training in manage‑ “We have arranged professional trainers and conduct market. At the same time many others were considering rural prosperity.”

16 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 17


Mindset Matters
The Indian bureaucracy is in introspection mode.
A mindset change is needed to attract private
investment and bridge the infrastructure gap,
senior government officials concluded at a recent
seminar, reports Arjun Sen

his is constructive self‑criticism “The average subsidy sought by private

T at its best. The biggest hurdle

standing in the way of rapid de‑
velopment of infrastructure is the
“incumbent mindset of government insti‑
tutions and officials” which tends to dis‑
developers has come down to only 19
percent of total project cost against the
currently permissible 40 percent,” Kamal
Nath said, adding that for projects
awarded to private bidders so far in
courage private investment, senior 2009‑10 and 2010‑11, “as much as 25
government officials concurred at a re‑ percent of the bids needed no govern‑
cent conference in the national capital. In ment funding at all which proves that the
the conference Infra Vision 2020 jointly sector is now very attractive for private
organised by the Union Ministry of Road investors.” This is also reflected in the fact
Transport and Highways and the Indian that the average number of bidders for
Chamber of Commerce, the common re‑ road projects has again begun to pick up
frain of almost all the speakers was that while more and more bidders are now
rapid infrastructure development is not opting for revenue sharing arrangements
possible without massive private sector with government rather than seeking
investment and this in turn is not possible government grants as viability gap funding.
unless the existing “statist”mindset of
government institutions and officials India, Member, Planning Commission B.K. vate investment,” Chaturvedi said. also seemed quite clear that attracting
change. The speakers included the Road Chaturvedi, said: “In the telecom sector, He pointed out that under the Eleventh private sector investment was the only
For projects awarded to private bidders so far
Transport Minister Kamal Nath, Minister 85 percent of the investment has come Plan, major ports, which are all in the way out. “We plan to spend $75 billion
of State for Planning and Parliamentary
in 2009-10 and 2010-11, as much as from the private sector whereas private public sector, were supposed to increase in the seven phases of the NHDP. Of this
Affairs V. Narayanasamy and several sen‑
25 percent of the bids needed no government sector contribution in the Railways is only capacity from 730 million tonnes to we are expecting $30 billion to come
ior serving or retired public servants. funding at all which proves that the sector is now about 4 percent.” He felt that unless ef‑ about 1200 million tonnes while minor from the private sector while the balance
“Just look at the documentation and very attractive for private investors forts were made to attract private sector ports were supposed to add another 300 $45 billion will come from the govern‑
red tape involved in exporting from India. investment in the Railways, it would con‑ million tonnes. But so far it is only the pri‑ ment, market borrowings etc.,” he said.
Most exporters will simply give up given tinue to lag behind in development work. vate sector funded minor ports that have “To achieve this level of private invest‑
the time he has to spend running from Both these developments ̶ a realisation 20 kms of roads a day,” said Kamal Nath Incidentally, the current policy frame‑ been able to add about 330 million ment we have to provide a more stable
pillar to post to get his work done,” said not only at the highest echelons of gov‑ while the Director General (Road Devel‑ work for road and highway development tonnes during the Eleventh Plan while the regime so that the risks and uncertainties
the Minister of State for Planning and ernment but also now trickling down to opment) and Special Secretary Ministry of is largely based on the recommendations major ports are still working out public associated with road development are
Parliamentary Affairs V. Narayanasamy. relatively lower level officials that attract‑ Road Transport and Highways, A.V. Sinha of the B K Chaturvedi‑led Committee private partnership projects for port de‑ mitigated as much as possible,” Dutt said.
“We have to speed up government work,” ing private sector investment, especially declared “We have now created a perfect which was formed by the government in velopment, he said. The governmentʼs willingness to
he declared. foreign direct investment, is the only way launch pad for PPP projects to take off in 2009 to identify and resolve procedural Apparently, however, policies, proce‑ change policy to suit private investors has
Road transport minister Kamal Nath ex‑ to speed up infrastructure development, a big way,” Most speakers at the confer‑ and regulatory issues that were holding dures and rules and regulations have led to the current framework. Even now
plained the numerous steps the govern‑ and the fact that effective steps have al‑ ence, whose objective was to deliberate up the National Highway Development been tweaked to make port development the government is mulling a few addi‑
ment has taken during the one year that ready been taken to make at least the on implementation bottlenecks in infra‑ Programme (NHDP). through the PPP route attractive to pri‑ tional changes to remove the remaining
it has been in power after being re‑elected road sector attractive to private invest‑ structure development, however, admit‑ “In the port sector too, the Eleventh vate investors. “Investors are showing a irritants. In fact, one road transport min‑
to a second term in office. He said as a re‑ ment ̶ auger well for the country. ted things were not so hunky dory in Plan target was to increase port capacity lot of interest for PPP projects,” said K. istry official said during the seminar that
sult of these steps, the private sector is The road transport minister and other other areas such as the railways and port to 1500 million tonnes, but so far addi‑ Mohandas, Secretary in the Ministry of the road transport minister has famously
now showing increasingly greater interest ministry officials are at least very confi‑ and airport development. tional capacity has been created only in Shipping. The Secretary, Ministry of Road said: “Except for the Bible and the Gita
in road and highway development projects. dent. “We will meet our target of building Referring to the telecom revolution in the minor ports that have come up on pri‑ Transport and Highways, Brahm Dutt, everything else can be changed.”

18 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 19


revs up
Tataʼs new Sanand plant for making
the worldʼs cheapest car goes on
stream, reports R.K. Mishra
….To drive into Taiwan
ata Motorsʼ new manufacturing auguration of the Nano plant. of 14 months starting November 2008,

Tata Nano, the worldʼs cheapest car made Kumar Rawat, director‑general of India‑Taipei
facility for the Nano, the worldʼs “The revolution brought by Ford in the the integrated facility comprises Tata by Indiaʼs Tata Motors, is set to drive in to Tai‑ Association that serves as Indiaʼs consular of‑

most inexpensive car, opened in early 20th century with its small car is Motorsʼ own plant spread over 725 wan, a manufacturing hub of iPods and fice in the Taiwanese capital, told IANS.
Sanand on June 2, nearly two being replicated now by Ratan Tata with acres and an adjacent vendor park green technologies, later this year. Theodore Taiwan, the self‑ruled democratic island
years after the company was forced to his Nano,” he added. The new plant will spread over 375 acres to house key Huang, chairman of Taiwanʼs TECO group, is claimed by China, boasts of $17,000 per
shift out of Singur in West Bengal over a deliver 250,000 Nanos a year. Tata had component manufactures for the Nano. upbeat about the prospects of the Tata capita income, but has a burgeoning middle
land row. The new plant was inaugu‑ to find a new home for his Nano plant The plant has state‑of‑the‑art equip‑ Nano in the Taiwan market, but says it may class that is stuck to scooters and now wants
rated by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra after Tata Motors was forced out of Sin‑ ment. These include sophisticated robot‑ have to be modified to suit the islandʼs high to move on to economy cars. Tagged as the
Modi and Tata Group Chairman Ratan gur in 2008 by a campaign led by Ma‑ ics and high speed production lines.
Every middle-class environmental standards. Huang, who vis‑ “peopleʼs car”, the basic Nano model costs
Tata, who seven years ago had dreamt of mata Banerjee and her Trinamool Conscious of the critical need for envi‑ family’s dream to own a ited New Delhi in January and went on a test around $2,500. Tata Motors is eying a global
making the affordable family car. “We Congress. They alleged that farmers ronmental protection, the plant has en‑ car was being fulfilled with drive in a spanking new Tata Nano, said he market and planning a new model for the
belong to Gujarat and are happy to re‑ were being forced to surrender their ergy‑efficient motors, variable frequency the inauguration of the was impressed by the small car and found European market to satisfy its stringent
turn to Gujarat,” said Tata. “I am glad that land at unfair rates by the Left Front drives and systems to measure and mon‑ Nano plant. The revolution the ride “comfortable and satisfactory”. It ac‑ emission standards.
we will now be able to manufacture the government for the car plant. itor carbon levels. These are supple‑ brought by Ford in the celerates smoothly and can exceed speed of Huang, however, feels that price alone
Nano across the country.” Spread over A company spokesman said deliveries mented with extensive tree plantation, early 20th century with its 100 km per hour, he said. would not guarantee Nanoʼs success in Tai‑
1,100 acres, the Sanand plant has been from the plant, including BS4 Tata sustainable water sourcing and harness‑ small car is being replicat- Huangʼs company is interested in becoming wan and said that the TECO Group, better
created at an investment of about
Rs.2,000 crore.
Nanos, will begin later this month. The
output, supplemented by the facility at
ing solar energy for illumination.
The plant has already directly em‑

ed now by Ratan Tata with Tata Motorsʼ agent in Taiwan and selling the
Nano car in the prosperous island, the worldʼs
known for its industrial motors and home
appliances, will only sell the car if its specifi‑
his Nano
Speaking on the occasion, Modi said Pantnagar in Uttarakhand, will complete ployed 2,400 people and on capacity ex‑ 17th largest economy that has identified India cations conform to Taiwanʼs regulations.
every middle‑class familyʼs dream to pending orders from the booking pansion may eventually generate about as a focus market. The prospects of Tata TECO has provided Tata Motors with Tai‑
own a car was being fulfilled with the in‑ process of 2009. Built in a record time 10,000 direct and indirect jobs. Nano in the Taiwan market are bright, Pradeep wanʼs automobile safety requirements.

20 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 21


Stake Surge
The Finance Ministryʼs new
public holding norms will see 183

Kannada khazana
Investors have signed MoUs worth $85 billion during the second Global Investorsʼ
companies raise $32 billion in the next
few years, says Arjun Sen

Meet in Karnataka, reports Fakir Balaji

arnataka has managed to

K reap a bonanza with investors

inking agreements to imple‑
ment 400 projects in the state
during the next four‑five years at a total
cost of $85 billion.
The Memoranda of Understanding
(MoUs) for these projects were signed INVESTMENTS GALORE
during the two‑day Global Investorsʼ Meet
(GIM 2010) held in the state capital Ben‑ Brahmani Steels
galuru on June 3‑4. The projects are ex‑ 36,000
pected to generate employment for about
865,000 people.
The mega event, held for the second
time after a decade, witnessed agree‑ ArcelorMittal
ments being signed even at the valedic‑ 30,000
tory function by seven firms and 20 Bhusan Steel
state‑run and private banks with the state 27,928
government committing funds for infra‑ ew Finance Ministry guide‑

Mangalore Refinery AMOUNT TO BE RAISED IN $BN
structure. On the first day itself, MoUs for lines requiring all listed‑
208 projects were signed involving a total
15,798 companies to maintain a No of Comp Total Yr 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
investment of about Rs.3.29 trillion JSW Steel public shareholding of at
PSU 35 $26.5 $9.38 $8 $4.79 $2.44 $2
($70.2 billion), while the balance 192 15,131 least 25 percent will lead to stake sales
projects worth a total investment of about Aditya Birla Group by 183 companies to raise an expected Private 148 $5.5 $3.65 $1.31 $423 mn $94 mn $45 mn
$15 billion were signed on the 8,500 $32‑billion, according to research done Total 183 $32 $13 $10 $5 $2.5 $1.94
second day. by Delhi‑based sharebroking firm SMC
The iron & steel sector attracted 38 Capitals Ltd.
proposals worth Rs.2.21 trillion ($47 bil‑
2,250 “There are 183 listed companies pected to be raised through these stake Some of the prominent PSUs that will
lion), followed by the cement sector with Company l with public shareholding less than 25 sales, the 35 PSUs will raise the bulk of need to come out with stake sales are
Investment (in Rs Cr) l
nine projects worth Rs.36,991 crore percent. Hence, the new guidelines will the amount, $26.5 billion or 83 percent Hindustan Copper, MMTC, Neyveli Lig‑
($7.9 billion) and energy sector with (Top) Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddiurappa addressing delegates at the second Global Investorsʼ trigger a host of stake sales through of the total, while the private sector will nite, NMDC, Engineers India, NTPC,
Meet, 2010 in Bengaluru on June 3. (Above) ArcelorMittal Chairman Laxmi Ratan Mittal shares a light
eight projects worth Rs.25,214 crore various routes such as follow‑on public raise about $5.5 billion or 17 percent of NHPC, and SAIL. In the private sector,
moment with Wipro Chairman Azim Premji during the meet.
($5.4 billion). Among the major steel proj‑ offers (FPOs), qualified institutional the total,” he said. companies like DLF, Wipro, Reliance
ects are those of ArcelorMittal, Posco and rated by senior Bharatiya Janata Party year in large parts of north Karnataka ̶ placements (QIPs) and open market Further, as the requirement is that Power, Godrej Properties, Jaypee In‑
Bramhani Karnataka Ltd, which have pro‑ leader and Leader of Opposition in the has been inspired by the success of Gu‑ sale by promoters,” said Jagannadham every year there is at least 5 percent di‑ fratech, Jet Airways will have to offload
posed to set up six mtpa plants each at an Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley in the presence jarat in snapping up Rs.7 trillion ($149 Thunuguntla, equity head of SMC Capi‑ lution, the total stake sale would be their stakes.
estimated cost of Rs.30,000‑36,000 crore of Chief Minister B.S.Yeddyurappa, his billion) investments in 2009. tals, the countryʼs fourth‑largest share‑ phased out and will be $13 billion (be‑ “The companies, of course, may
in Bellary and Bagalkote districts. cabinet colleagues, central ministers During the meet, state government of‑ broking firm. tween June 2010 to June 2011), $10 bil‑ adopt alternate modes of increasing
ArcelorMittal chief executive Lakshmi M.Veerappa Moily and Subodh Kant Sahay ficials announced that the government Of the 183 companies, 148 compa‑ lion (between June 2011 to June 2012), their public, but Indian markets should
N. Mittal said he will give priority to its and a galaxy of high profile investors. had received 88 fresh proposals worth nies are from the private sector, while $5 billion (between June 2012 to June get bombarded with a series of stake
Karnataka steel project, as its two other The GIM, twice postponed ̶ once in Rs.90,000 crore in the infrastructure sec‑ the remaining 35 are public sector un‑ 2013), $2.5 billion (between June 2013 sales. One may call the first half of the
similar projects in Jharkhand and Orissa view of the global economic slowdown tor under the public‑private partnership dertakings (PSUs), Thunuguntla told to June 2014) and $9.14 billion (be‑ coming decade of the Indian captial
are bogged down by land issues and and the second time following the devas‑ (PPP) mode. These proposals are now IANS. “Of the total amount that is ex‑ tween June 2014 to June 2015), he said. markets as the “Era of FPOs”, he said.
other approvals. The GIM was inaugu‑ tating flood in October‑November last being processed, they said.

22 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 23


Collaboration between academia and industry is
key to applied research and development that
makes a difference to society besides translating it
into commercially viable and sustainable products,
be it better drugs, machines or technology, for
consumers, says K. G. Sreenivas

riting in EduTech recently, Dr. Ganesh Natarajan, from industry to academia in 1996 and had been funding such international levels. The kinds of difference that we are talking with the best as that provides the best chance for success”.

W Vice‑Chairman and CEO of Zensar Technologies,

says, “...there is a considerable gap between the
quality of students graduating and the kind of talent
that industry needs. As businesses propose to double and treble
their workforce and Indian companies strive to maintain their
projects when at BHP. At Deakin we took the model a step further
by really creating a culture of applied research linked to industry
that was underpinned by high quality fundamental research. For
industry not only were they getting solutions to problems but they
were also training high potential students in their business and gen‑
about are really diverse. For example, research on novel metal
composites and carbon fibre will create materials that will
reduce the weight of planes and cars and be used in
wind turbine blades, with potentially large con‑
tributions to global energy savings. Our new
However, it also called for establishing specific R&D strategies
for different clients to make it work, examples being Indian Oil
Corporation and life‑sciences major Bicon. “This again was
a rather slow and careful process where we had nu‑
merous visits and interactions to assess where
position in the global marketplace, it has become imperative to eral industry needs.” research in bionanotechnology has great were the best matches. Some of it was also

prepare and plan for a world‑class, skilled, Referring to the principles underpin‑ implications for enhanced agricultural serendipity! It was not an overnight success
competent, and innovative workforce.” ning Deakinʼs initiative in forging vital production and targeted drug deliv‑ for it took almost three years before we got
In India, thus many public‑private part‑ relationship, he says, “Australia went ery...” (see interview) our first research collaborations nailed down
nerships have been forged to advance through a change process from the early and with students in place,” says Hodgson.
close collaboration between industry and 1990s to now. Generally, Australia outper‑ THE INDIA ENGAGEMENT
academic institutions. The Confederation forms most developed nations on a per The India story took shape when
of Indian Industry (CII) has launched capita basis for fundamental/discovery re‑ Hodgson was collaborating with some
At Deakin, we have a tradition Innovative leader...
initiatives to promote industry‑academia search in the basic sciences. However, the of the IITs and was encouraging in‑
collaboration by identifying four key
of research collaboration with translation of this into economic and so‑ terns to come to Australia. In fact, he
Professor Hodgson, currently head of Deakin
industry, businesses and University's Institute for Technology Research
areas of cooperation: developing new cial outcomes has not been as strong. A was “also looking for future PhDs to come
governments, with the and Innovation, is a globally acknowledged ex‑
knowledge as a long‑term investment; number of initiatives were thus developed to Australia as we have a great shortage in
pert in innovative lightweight metals and advanced
helping faculty upgrade knowledge, underlying philosophy that to encourage industry and academia to metallurgy, materials science and engineering”.
materials, especially for the automotive and aerospace
preferably in an industry environment; these partnerships will result “ work together. A key element was to have The process gave him insights into “some of the
industries. His core work around innovative process technolo‑
fostering Centres of Excellence to make in research that makes a research students focused on more issues that would exist with such an education system”. He began
gies and product approaches aim to minimise the environmen‑
final‑semester students industry‑ready; difference in communities applied research where they would have visiting and interacting with Indian. It became evident to him that
tal impacts of both production and application of metals.
and, deepening the involvement of tech‑ direct contact with industry.” “there was an enormous gulf between the two sides ̶ even
Hodgsonʼs research, which will help develop new metal manu‑
nology in the pedagogies of Indian colleges and universities. Prof. Lee Astheimer, Deputy Vice‑Chancellor, Deakin University, greater than what existed in Australia”. It struck Hodgson that
facturing processes and products, will contribute to a more sus‑
Australiaʼs Deakin University too has been forging such recipro‑ who was also on a visit to India with Hodgson, adds, “At Deakin, he could possibly “tweak some of the Australian models”, partic‑
tainable metal industry. In 2009, he was appointed to the highly
cal research and educational partnerships with industry majors we have a very strong tradition of research collaboration with ularly those that involved students being placed in industry for
prestigious position of Australian Laureate. More recently, he
and academic institutions in India. In an interaction with Pravasi industry, businesses and governments, with the underlying research. The incentive? “We also committed significant funds
was appointed to the Australian Government's Green Car Inno‑
Bharatiya, Prof. Peter Hodgson, who heads the universityʼs Insti‑ philosophy that these partnerships will result in research that to make it attractive,” says Hodgson, adding that, “in our devel‑
vation Committee of Innovation Australia.
tute for Technology Research and Innovation, says, “I moved makes a difference in communities ̶ at local, national and opment of research partners we have wanted to always work

24 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 25


Deputy Vice‑Chancellor (Research), Deakin University, Prof. Lee Astheimer, and

Dr. R.K. Malhotra, Executive Director, Indian Oil R&D, sign the research protocol.

Australiaʼs Deakin University has been forging reciprocal research and

educational partnerships with industry majors and academic institutions
in India. (Above) Prof. Hodgson with researchers at Deakin University.
Hodgsonʼs client‑partners cut across sectors ̶ from TATA Steel, Prof. Lee Astheimer, Deputy across the full research contin‑ Evaluating the Indian market Indian industry for the past 2‑3 Ph.D students graduate and the have been impressed by person‑
SAIL and General Motors to Bhaba Atomic Research Centre, Vice‑Chancellor, Deakin uum, from highly applied, in terms of commercialisation years though, so at present most value of their research is realised, ally in almost all the interactions I
Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and TERI to National University, Australia commercial research through to of R&D collaborations… of our research is pre‑commer‑ further opportunities for indus‑ have had with leaders and
Aerospace Laboratories. How did he identify the need gap in blue‑sky discovery, within our in‑ One of the great attractions of cial. This is certainly a very attrac‑ try‑university R&D will only grow. researchers in industry, institutes
different industry segments? On the philosophy that stitution, within our research conducting innovative research tive aspect of our collaborations We have based a lot of collabo‑ and universities in India has been
“The gaps in many industries are common around the world underpins the initiative… centres and even within the re‑ in India is that India is so incredi‑ and one that our industry part‑ rative activity around Ph.D stu‑ their serious and very personal
but in India there are some interesting local dynamics. One is Australia unfortunately doesnʼt search portfolio of individuals. bly entrepreneurial and is grow‑ ners are very interested in. dent‑based projects. I think this sense of responsibility for mak‑
that a large proportion of engineering students have been drawn have a strong company‑based We really try to identify and re‑ ing at such a rapid rate that there is a great way to develop inter‑ ing India a better place for its
to the IT sector and so other sections of industry have suffered. R&D tradition in its home‑based cruit people who can think and is real interest in and potentially The way forward… national understanding and re‑ people ̶ in terms of health,
This has impacted manufacturing and infrastructure develop‑ industries, but as a nation we work across the full spectrum of rapid uptake of innovation. It is a Deakinʼs partnerships with Indian search collaborations that can education, lifestyle and
ment projects. In biotech, India is moving from a producer of have been very proactive in es‑ research. Professor Hodgson is a really exciting time for new and institutes and industries are all become deeper in the future, es‑ environment. This sort of na‑
cheap generics to developing their own drugs. However, this tablishing incentives for industry wonderful example of someone even for old established markets, based on interpersonal interac‑ pecially as our Ph.D graduates tional ʻduty of careʼ at such a
change requires a large number of highly skilled scientists. It to engage with researchers in who has this unique ability. This and India represents a really new tions, discussion and real under‑ take up leadership positions with personal level is very heart
would not be unrealistic to suggest that India will need between universities. Deakin University has philosophy also underpins our approach. Look at pharmaceuti‑ standing of the synergies and Indian companies and in gov‑ warming and humanist. It
1,000 and 2,000 Ph.D graduates as a minimum each year in the really embraced this approach to undergraduate teaching pro‑ cals for example ̶ there are contributions the parties each ernment. Itʼs about building cul‑ certainly places a sense of ur‑
related fields and it also takes some time to build the capacity to research in all discipline areas ̶ grammes at Deakin University in huge changes in the market brings to the relationship. There tural understanding as well as gency and significance on the
produce them (i.e. academic supervisors and infrastructure).” but itʼs not just about contribut‑ terms of producing graduates forces globally as well as in ethi‑ has been a great deal of interest scientific and research connec‑ research that is being done to
As far as Indian Oil was concerned, Hodgson sees a number ing to applied research ̶ who are both job‑ready and in‑ cal approaches to drug availabil‑ in our ideas about industry‑uni‑ tions and Deakin is making the achieve these improvements,
of potential areas. “I have visited their laboratories a number of Deakin professors and their stu‑ novative thinkers, so I hope that ity that are likely to seriously versity collaboration, but not all investment for the long term. but also a sense of making an
times and we will be hosting a team from there in the next few dents are also conducting cut‑ there will be more people with a reconstruct the industry land‑ companies immediately see the important contribution. For
months. While we have started with lubricant development we ting‑edge discovery research. seamless approach to research scape in the next five years. benefit of conducting collabora‑ On cross-cultural learnings and Deakin University it really fits

can see this broadening into other areas The difference is that we support innovation in the upcoming Deakin has only really been ac‑ tive R&D. I think once we have defining differentiations… into our philosophy of doing
around nanotechnology and biofuels too.” and encourage connections generation! tively engaged in research with some real success stories, our I guess that one of the things I research that makes a difference.
Hodgson, however, has a different model
for R&D organisations. “India has excel‑
lent research facilities and top re‑
searchers. In this case we are looking at international supervisory team. One international panel of three experts in the field ̶ there is no as‑ is on research that makes a difference in both countries. This is
probably more fundamental research that difference in Australia is that there is no sessment by the local or Deakin supervisor ensuring that all work a long‑term partnership and there is no better way to
What I dream about is a model
builds on the strength of the two coursework and so we are often looking is at a truly international level in the field.” demonstrate this than through research.”
partners. For the students there is again
where we can have a seamless for candidates for the India‑based PhDs What of collaborations with academic institutions? “Academic However, he wants to go beyond what he calls “the simple
the potential to be awarded an overseas pipeline of ideas and research who have prior research experience ̶ collaborations are based around more fundamental topics of mu‑ academic realms” and “think about broader collaborations”.
PhD and as part of this spend a signifi‑ flowing between the countries and we must say we are extremely im‑ tual interest. However, to promote this we have recently estab‑ Hodgson says, “Australia is renowned for discovery science and
cant time in Australia. In the longer term through such a venture. We pressed and happy with the quality of lished with a number of IITs and NITK a model based around the even applied research up to the point of commercialisation. But
we aim to develop larger collaborative can help make the connections students who have been attracted to this M.Tech thesis. We identify around two topics of mutual interest we donʼt often go that next step ̶ sometimes because our local
research programmes. For example, we between leading technology “ programme.” The programme has an in‑ and during the M.Tech thesis component (i.e. 1 yr). The students market is small or the investment is not there.”
now have four large projects under the companies in Australia and duction phase “where the student be‑ will spend 50 percent of their time in India and 50 percent in In the context, he says giving a free flow to ideas is of the
Australian ̶ India Scientific Research global producers in India comes familiar with the field and Australia. Again our focus is on good papers. Where possible we essence. “What I dream about is a model where we can have a
Fund (AISRF).” company/institution followed by a critical encourage the academic supervisors to travel to Australia and seamless pipeline of ideas and research flowing between the
Referring to how Deakin structures and plan R&D work to be review of the literature followed by the research. We have a support their local costs while their institution covers the airfare.” countries through such a venture. We can help make the
carried out in India by students enrolled at Deakin, Hodgson formal meeting of students and all supervisors regularly using Asked about the commercial viability of R&D tie‑ups with connections between leading technology companies in Australia
says, “A Ph.D programme in India with Deakin is the same as a Skype or other communication media. Students are encouraged industry partners, Hodgson hastens to say that “as a university and global producers in India. Our university is named after one
PhD programme in Australia. There is the same level of academic to write papers and to present their work at national and our priority is not on commercial outcomes but on research of the fathers of our Federation ̶ Alfred Deakin ̶ and he had
rigour but the real difference is that each student will have an international conferences. Our Ph.Ds are examined by an training and the quality of the research we undertake. Our focus a strong belief in connecting with India.”

26 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 27


Indian Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam (September 18, 1900 — December 15, 1985)
Known as the ʻFather of the Nationʼ, Seewoosagur Ramgoolam was the first

origin PMs prime minister of Mauritius from 1968 until 1982. He was an Indo‑Mauritian
of Bihari descent.

across the Navin Ramgoolam (Born July 14, 1947)

Historic arrival
Her victory marks the beginning of a new era... Kamla Persad‑Bissessar creates history
Son of the late Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, Navin Ramgoolam is the cur‑
rent Prime Minister of Mauritius. He became the prime minister for the first
time from 1995 to 2000, and was reappointed in 2005. He won the 2010
election to resume the post for a consecutive second term.

as she becomes the first woman Prime Minister of Indian origin of Trinidad and Mahendra Pal Chaudhry (Born February 9, 1942)
A Fijian politician and the leader of the Fiji Labour Party, Mahendra Pal
Tobago, says Paras Ramoutar Chaudhry became the first Indian origin prime minister of Fiji from
May 19, 1999 to May 27, 2000. Chaudhry has his ancestral ties to the
Indian state of Haryana.

Basdeo Panday (Born May 25, 1933)

amla Persad‑Bissessar, a

Basdeo Panday was the fifth prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago from

descendent of an indentured 1995 to 2001. He was born to Harry “Chote” Sookchand and Kissoondaye
labourer, broke the glass Panday ̶ both first‑generation East Indian Arrivants to Trinidad. He was
ceiling when she became the conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in 2006.
first woman Prime Minister of Trinidad
and Tobago. The leader of the United
National Congress, Persad‑Bissessar led
her Peopleʼs Partnership to win 29 out
of the 41 parliamentary seats in the
I am grateful for the immense support from women and women’s groups across the country and to
elections held on May 24 and ended the
the extent that this helps to break the barriers so many competent women face. I celebrate this

ruling partyʼs 43 years in power. She victory on their behalf. But the picture is much larger than any single group and those very
was sworn in as the prime minister on women would be the first to acknowledge that
May 26 by President George Maxwell —Kamla Persad-Bissessar
Richards. Persad‑Bissessar, 58, a grand‑
mother of two and a devout Hindu, said:
“I am grateful for the immense support
from women and womenʼs groups Various social, cultural and religious func‑ equal place. To mark the occasion, she has nationhood.” ment, said that Indian Arrival Day is a
across the country and to the extent that tions on May 30 marked the 165th Indian renamed the Ministry of Arts and Culture as Trinidad and Tobago President George statement that “this nation is the home of
this helps to break the barriers so many Arrival Day, the day when 238 people first the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism. Maxwell Richards, in his message to mark people from all parts of the world”.
competent women face. I celebrate this came in Trinidad and Tobago from India to Talking about the time when over 148,000 the occasion which has become a na‑ “T&T is the micrcosm of the wider
victory on their behalf. But the picture is work on the plantations, with Prime Minis‑ Indians were brought from Uttar Pradesh tional holiday since 1994, said: “Their stake world. And all of us must work to protect
much larger than any single group and ter Kamla Persad‑Bissessar calling it a jour‑ and Bihar between 1845 to 1917 to work in this country is undeniable and, while each otherʼs cultural and religious capac‑
those very women would be the first to ney that has taken “us all centuries to arrive on sugar plantations, Persad‑Bissessar, said: the circumstances of their progenitorʼs ar‑ ities. The new government aims to enrich
acknowledge that.” at”. She said that observance of the Indian “Itʼs a journey that has taken us all centuries rival were less than noble, history has not the social and cultural stock of all the peo‑
Persad‑Bissessar, who was born on Arrival Day must be an active reaffirmation to arrive at, and still the journey continues stood in the way of progress.” ple, which in turn could be the unifying
April 22, 1952, was a topper in law of the governmentʼs commitment to en‑ as we steadily improve the means by Winston Dookeran, MP for Tunapuna force, a model nation, an open society,”
school and did her masters in business sure that every creed and race found an which we travel to the destination of our and finance minister in the new govern‑ Dookeran said.
administration and diploma in education
from the University of the West Indies.
She was the first woman attorney‑gen‑ successfully challenged her mentor, Bas‑ The five parties are Persad‑Bissessarʼs Top: The Dharmveer Sewdass Sadhu Memorial security, economic development, justice
statue was installed to commemorate the 150th
eral and also served as minister of legal deo Panday, for the leadership of the United National Congress, Congress of and the well‑being of our citizens, and
anniversary of Indian arrival to Trinidad
affairs as well as minister of education. United National Congress which he had the People (COP), the National Joint Ac‑ Right: Kamla Persad‑Bissessar offers ablutions to introduce a new face of governance for
Her forefathers belonged to the first founded 20 years ago. Incumbent Prime tion Committee, Tobago Organisation of the Shiva Lingam in observance of the Maha Shiv our beloved country.”
Ratri at the Patiram Trace Mandir, Penal, on
wave of indentured labourers brought Minister Patrick Manning broke with tra‑ Peoples, and the Movement for Social February 13, 2010 A former Spanish colony, Trinidad and
into Trinidad in the mid 19th century. dition and dissolved the 41‑seat parlia‑ Change. These parties came under the Tobago is an archipelagic state in the
Persad‑Bissessar, who has represented ment April and called for general banner of the “Peopleʼs Partnership”, over the last eight years was also an southern Caribbean, lying northeast of
her Siparia constituency for 15 years, elections May 24, some 30 months be‑ with each party maintaining its own issue. COP chief Winston Dookeran said: the South American country of
had held the reins of power during the fore it was due constitutionally. symbol on the ballot paper. The election “Everyone who wants a change, wants a Venezuela and south of Grenada in the
absence of then prime minister Basdeo For the first time since independence was fought on several issues, including better Trinidad and Tobago is welcome Lesser Antilles. It is mainly made up of
Panday. She has become the first woman in August 1962, a coalition of four other corruption, lack of medical facilities, in the Peopleʼs Partnership”. “Today, we two major islands ̶ Trinidad and To‑
to lead any political party in oil‑rich parties joined to confront the ruling Peo‑ breakdown in the infrastructural capac‑ begin the business of government as we bago ̶ and covers over 5,120 sq km.
Trinidad and Tobago. Her meteoric rise pleʼs National Movement which has ity and mismanagement. Rising crime build a partnership of interests on a Nearly 44 percent of the countryʼs 1.3
began on January 24 last year when she been in power for 43 years. with over 3,000 people being murdered wide range of national issues‑safety and million population is of Indian origin.

28 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 29


tuguese colony for nearly 450 years.
The rich heritage inherited from cen‑
turies past is marvelous. The cultural
heritage, its history is beautiful. I am a

Reliving heritage
Nalini Elvino de Sousa, a Goan origin Portuguese filmmaker, chronicles the rich
Portuguese citizen of Goan origin as
well as a Goan, and itʼs a wonderful
feeling and am really proud of my
identity. I would say that I am a hybrid

plant ̶ with Indian roots and Por‑

history, cultural heritage and tradition of Goa in a docu‑series tuguese stem, which blossoms Indo‑
Portuguese flowers.

Years ago, your ancestors left India for

Portugal, made home of an unknown
land... and you spent your childhood
there... what has brought you back to 3

orn to parents of Goan

the land of your roots?
descent in Lisbon, Nalini When I was a child, I used to dream
Elvino de Sousa is the di‑ about Goa, I dreamt of coming back to
rector and anchor of the the place which my parents had left
third series ʻContacto ̶ Goaʼ, a pop‑ years ago. I never thought of working
ular docu‑series in Portugalʼs leading here or marrying a Goan. All these did‑
public broadcasting channel Rádio e nʼt matter to me at that point of time.
TelevisÃ&poundo de Portugal(RTPi). But, I always felt the connection that I
It is a series about the heritage of have with this place. I knew, I would
Goa ̶ a beautiful blend of Por‑ one day come back to settle here and
tugese legacy and the centuries‑old quench my desire to live here.
cultural tradition of Goa. In 1998,
she fulfilled her dream to come back You must have been told of Goa, when
and settle in the land of her roots. you were a child... and you must have
Married to a Goan doctor, she also pictured Goa in your mind. How did 1. Nuno on camera and Nalini as the anchor of ‘Contacto Goa’; 2. Picture taken during the shooting of
runs a language centre in Panaji you feel when you saw the real Goa for the series; 3. Nalini with her daughter Maya in Portugal; 4. Nalini with her team members ̶ (from left
to right) translator Darryl Pereira, Producer Rohit Phalgaonkar, Nalini, Editor Prasheela Achrekar, and
called ʻCommunicareʼ, which offers the first time? cameramen Jude Santos Fernandes and Ricardo Estanislau.
classes in Portuguese, Spanish, Russ‑ Goa was never new and unknown to
ian, Italian and other regional lan‑ me. I was only 6 months old when I What is ‘Contacto – Goa’ all about? India and Portugal are two different
guages. Nalini founded a landed at my dream place for the first ʻContacto Goaʼ is about the history, tra‑ countries with their own distinct cul‑
Portuguese‑language kindergarten in time ever. Obviously, I donʼt remember dition, folk dance and music, the ex‑ ture and tradition. But when it comes
Porvorim. She has also organised at anything about my first trip but I used otic food and wine, and culture of Goa. to Goa, the scenario is different. You
least three workshops in Portuguese to visit Goa every two years with my Itʼs an effort to explore and re‑intro‑ will get the feel of Portugal every‑
language for children in Fundação parents. And, when I turned 17, I duce Goa. ʻContacto Goaʼ is part of a where in everything that we do in our
Oriente, Goa. started traveling to Goa on my own bigger series called ʻContactoʼ that is daily life ̶ in the food we eat, the
during my August/September summer shown on RTPi, a Portuguese channel. dress we wear, our behaviour, and in
Nalini Elvino de Sousa spoke to vacations. I remember how I used to There are 14 contactos all together our language. You will find a number
L. Jyotimala about her ties with Goa divide time between my two ancestral featuring other countries like: ʻCon‑ of Portuguese words like pao, mesa,
and Portugal. Excerpts: homes ̶ Aldona, the village where my tacto Canadaʼ, ʻContacto Brasilʼ, ʻCon‑ vestido etc in Konkani language. The
father belongs and Sinquerim, my tacto Franceʼ etc. These ʻContactosʼ ʻflavoursʼ are already there, we only
Goa, once a Portuguese colony, is the motherʼs place. Apart from these talk about the life of immigrants in had to capture it on camera.
land of beaches, fun, vibrant night places, I used to visit Panjim, to see our these countries. The series tell the sto‑
life... more than that what does Goa other relatives. Goa has always been ries of the immigrants, the stories of How and when did you become a part
mean to you? How does it feel to be a close to my heart. So, it was not a new their struggles and success. In our of the series?
Goan and a Portuguese at once? feeling when I came back to Goa in case, itʼs different because there are a I was approached to do the series by
Goa is my home. It is the epitome of 1998 and settled. I felt as if I was com‑ few Portuguese in Goa. So our pro‑ the Portuguese Consulate in Goa. It
fun, the land of beaches, magnificent ing to my own native land. gramme ʻContacto Goaʼ talks about the was in 2005, that Pedro Adão, a very
churches, tall palms, exotic food and Portuguese influence in Goa, in its ar‑ dynamic consul, called me. He told me
feni, and it flaunts a colourful life. But Any plans to go and settle back in chitecture, gastronomy, festivals, as that RTPi was interested in featuring
Goa is beyond that. Itʼs here, on the Portugal? well as highlighting certain socio‑cul‑ Goa and was looking for someone who
soil of Goa, that old culture and tradi‑ I havnʼt thought of going back to Portu‑ tural aspects of life in Goa. could help producing such a docu‑se‑
tion of Goa blended with that of Por‑ gal and settle there, but I can never say ries and he thought of me. After all, I
tugal and gave birth to a new rich never. Because nobody knows what the In ‘Contacto – Goa’, how have you man- am a product of Goan culture! This is
and vibrant culture. Goa was a Por‑ future holds. At the moment, we have aged to blend the flavours of Goa and how I got the privilege to become a
no intention or plan to leave Goa. Portugal? part of ʻContacto Goaʼ.

30 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 31



Chicken curry, papad, dal tadka, gajar ka
halwa.... all this and more was churned out
at an Indian restaurant in the heart of Is‑
tanbul to cater to Abhishek Bachchan and
others shooting in Turkeyʼs commercial
capital and most important city for a Bol‑
lywood film. Imran M. Rana, the affable
owner of Musafir Indian Restaurant, lo‑
Left: Shovan Das, Coex Intercontinentalʼs Chef de Partie
cated in Talimhane in Taxim, says he was
excited when two Indians, members of
the film crew, approached him for the
food meant for a 15‑member team this
month. They were reportedly shooting for
the movie, Dum Maro Dum. But this was

Desi tadka in Seoul

With Indian food gaining popularity, as many as 300 restaurants in South Korea now
not the first time Rana was taking orders
for an Indian film crew.
“During the shooting of Guru too, we
catered for Abhishek Bachchan and the
rest of the crew,” Rana told IANS, referring
offer tandoori items and other Indian delicacies, says Venkatachari Jagannathan to the 2007 film directed by Mani Ratnam.
“Some of the scenes of Guru were shot in
Istanbul,” he said. Born and brought up in
Manchester, Britain, Rana has deep‑
rooted links with India and Pakistan. His fa‑
f you feel like tucking into some are also chains of Indian restaurants in He said for Indian diners, the items dra Satyam, Indian Overseas Bank, Tata

therʼs side came from Jodhpur and his Top: Imran Rana with wife Ezgi outside Musafir
Bottom: People enjoying their meals at Musafir
tandoori chicken or aloo gobi while South Korea. Interestingly, the restau‑ are made as per their request and there Consultancy Services, Jindal Stainless mother is from Lahore, Pakistan. For Indi‑
traversing the lanes of the South rants are owned by enterprising Nepalis is a good demand for Indian chefs in Steel, Nucleus Software Solutions and ans keen to get a taste of their food, in 1939. Rana, in his early 30s, opened
Korean capital, walk right into one like Rajesh as well as locals ̶ and not South Korea. According to him, Indian Wipro Technologies. And their employ‑ Musafir has an array of dishes on offer ̶ Musafir more than five years ago. He has
of the many Indian restaurants that are necessarily people of Indian origin. “The dishes are more pocket‑friendly com‑ ees often make for eager customers for poppadums (papad), phirni, chana one Indian cook, one Pakistani cook and
a hit with not only tourists but also lo‑ demand is good as there are many Indi‑ pared to Korean food and there are the Indian restaurants. According to the masala, paneer makhani, naan, tadka ma‑ four‑five helpers. One of them is Gurpreet,
cals. North Indian cuisine, especially ans in South Korea. Also the Koreans are around 300 restaurants in South Korea Indian embassy in South Korea, the soor dal, matar paneer shahi, butter who is from Punjab. Ranaʼs wife Ezgi is
Punjabi dishes, is fast making inroads in developing a liking for Punjabi cuisine,” serving Indian dishes. “We require more number of Indian students in Korean chicken, chicken korma, chicken tikka, and Turkish. She helps him out at the restau‑
South Korea, with the country boasting Rajesh said. He said Koreans and other Indian chefs to cater to the needs of not universities, mostly in scientific fields, is the works. rant. He has applied for Turkish nationality
of at least 300 Indian restaurants, of which international travellers prefer tandoori only tourists but also local Indians and on the rise. Rajesh said business The colours of the Indian flag form a and is hoping to get it soon.
around 50 are in the capital city alone. items like naan ̶ the regular variety as Koreans. The pay packet is around prospects were good and he is planning prominent border around his restaurant He arrived in Istanbul to study Ameri‑
“Lots of restaurants serving Indian well as flavoured with butter‑garlic, roti $6,000 per annum,” he added. There are to set up more restaurants. “The invest‑ façade. The décor is Indian too ̶ table can literature at Istanbul University, from
dishes have come up in South Korea, more and lassi. Other items like aloo gobi, daal an estimated 6,000 Indians in South ment is quite high. One needs around cloths made of patchwork and sequins, where he graduated in 2000. While he
so in Seoul. There are around 50 Indian and tandoori chicken also find favour. Korea who include businessmen, soft‑ 100 million Korean wons ($86,950) to Indian folk art decorations inside the was teaching American literature and
restaurants in Seoul,” Shrestha Rajesh, Adds Shovan Das, Coex Intercontinen‑ ware engineers, scientists, research fel‑ set up a restaurant,” he added. Chef Alex restaurant and a wide television screen English language at Istanbul University,
president of Mount Fishtail that serves talʼs Chef de Partie: “The South Koreans lows, workers and students. There are of the Ashoka chain of restaurants predicts showing the latest Bollywood hit songs. Rana started the restaurant in 2004.
Indian and Nepali cuisine told IANS. prefer Indian dishes less spicy. For the many Indian companies in South Korea a busy season ahead. “Indian cuisine busi‑ His grandfather had moved to England Ranjana Narayan/Istanbul
Besides stand‑alone restaurants, there Indian taste buds it will be bland.” like Tata Motors, L&T Infotech, Mahin‑ ness will be good during winter,” he said.

32 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 33


Spelling queen
Spelling ʻjuviaʼ and ʻstromuhrʼ correctly,
Indian American Anamika Veeramani has
won the 2010 Scripps National Spelling
Bee crown to retain the honour for the
ʻdesisʼ for the third year in a row. “Iʼm really,
really happy. This is one of the best mo‑
ments of my life,” said the 14‑year‑old from
North Royalton, Ohio, who defeated an‑
other Indian American, Shantanu Srivatsa Q1. What was Kangani?
of West Fargo, North Dakota in the nation‑ How well do we know each
ally televised final round on June 4 to be‑ Q2. What is a Maldivian Buggalow?
come the beeʼs 83rd champion.
other? What do we know
Her win earns a $30,000 cash prize and about each otherʼs music, Q3. Who built the Jama Masjid in Durban ‑‑ the
engraved trophy from the eventʼs sponsor, culture, books, country, largest mosque in South Africa, in 1884.
The E.W. Scripps Co., along with a $2,500
U.S. savings bond and a complete refer‑
history and leaders... What are Q4. A number of turbaned Pathans, originated from
ence library from Merriam‑Webster, a those memories and Punjab, Sind, Baluchistan and Afganistan, arrived in
$5,000 scholarship from the Sigma Phi Ep‑ connections we share... In our Australia in the 1860s. They were employed as
Kshemendra appointed to silon Educational Foundation and a pack‑
effort to understand the
ʻcameleersʼ (camel drivers). In Australia they were offi‑
key US intelligence position age from Encyclopaedia Britannica
totalling $3,499. Diaspora better, we bring you
cially classified as _____?

The final rounds began with 10 contest‑ the second part of the Q5. Which year marked the arrival of first Indian stu‑
Indian‑American Kshemendra Paul is all set to lead the U.S. terror ants, who were eliminated one by one by dents in America?
information sharing agency. He will take over Thomas McNamara, who words such as ochidore, a shore crab, and
Diaspora quiz. The answers
retired from the position in July 2009, as the new Programme Manager terribilita, a term applied typically to the art are given at the bottom of the Q6. The Indian sailors, employed on European ships
of the Information Sharing Environment (PM‑ISE). Paul, whose parents of Michelangelo describing the power and page. You can also write in from the 16th century until the beginning of the 20th
migrated from Punjab in 1950s, moves to the new position after spend‑ grandeur of his work. century, were hired mainly from Gujarat, Assam, and
ing the last three years as the chief architect of the Office of Manage‑ For the most part, this yearʼs spellers
with little‑known facts about Bengal. In course of time, the sailors became an inte‑
ment and Budget. The agency that Paul would head has assumed a proved to be intrepid. The semi‑finals were the Diaspora Community. Let gral part of commercial shipping. They were known
major role as the Obama administration is focused on organising and supposed to last three hours covering two us begin a journey of learning as ______.
streamlining the huge terrorism related rounds. But the contest was extended to a
data available with various agencies and sixth round because too many spellers
more about each other... Q7. He is regarded as the father of modern Mauritius.
departments of the U.S. government. ̶ 19 ̶ were still on board to qualify for He was the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Hous‑
Kshemendra Paul’s
As the PM‑ISE, Paul will work in the the finals, usually limited to 15 or less. ing, and Minister of Social Security as well. Who was
top priorities include not
Office of the Director for National Intel‑ only short-term solutions, he and where was he born?
ligence, and will be the co‑chairman of such as interoperability of Anamika Veeramani
interagency meetings with the National multiple government Q8. On May 23, 1914, a ship arrived at Vancouver and
Security staff, to better align and inte‑ networks, but also working anchored in Burrard Inlet. She carried 376 Indians,
grate the office of the PM‑ISE with the with the intelligence who had come to make a new life in Canada. After
White House. He will be responsible for community, law enforcement being sent back from Canada, 21 of the immigrants
developing standards, policies and and homeland security were killed and many hanged by the British police.
processes to improve how the federal communities to develop a Regarded as a disgrace, Canada apologised to India.
government shares terrorist informa‑
long-term strategic vision Name the Japanese steamship after which the inci‑
tion with state and local law enforce‑ dent is named?
ment agencies.
Q9. During the 1930s, which community dominated
trade in Maldives?

Mankind gets its first artificial life Q10. Who was Cheddi Bharat Jagan?
Three Indian‑origin scientists are part of a team that has for the first time
created a synthetic cell, controlled by man‑made genetic instructions, which
can also reproduce itself. The 24‑member team included Sanjay Vashee,
Radha Krishnakumar and Prashanth P. Parmar. “We call it the first synthetic
cell,” said genomics pioneer Craig Venter, who oversaw the project. “These
are very much real cells.” Developed at a cost of $30 million by the re‑
searchers at J. Craig Venter Institute, the experimental one‑cell organism
opens the way to manipulation of life on a previously unattainable scale, the
Wall Street Journal reported.
politician who became Chief Minister of British Guiana (before independence); later President of Guyana from 1992 to 1997.
originating from western India, 50 Mopplas from Malabar and 50 Ceylonese Moors. 10. The son of Indian sugar plantation workers, Cheddi Bharat Jagan was a Guyanese
4. Indians 5. 1901 6. Lascars 7. Sir Abdool Razack Mohamed, Calcutta 8. The Komagata Maru 9. Bohra Merchants. The foreign mercantile community comprised 250 Bohras,
34 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 Malaya. 2. During the colonial period, the Maldivian ‘Buggalow’ drove trade in the archipelago. An inter-island vessel, it even sailed as far as Sri Lanka. 3. Memon traders
1. Derived from the Tamil kankani, Kangani means foreman or overseer. Kangani emigration prevailed in the recruitment of labour to be sent to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and

CHICKEN SALAD WITH MANGO and vepampoo. Sauté until it splutters.

The most delicious starter you could Add the sauteed ingredients to the
ever have, this light on the stomach mango mixture and mix well. Garnish
dish is perfect for the summers. with curry and coriander leaves.


1 big size Mango (diced) A popular Rajasthani dish, this is made
1/4 cup Mayonnaise with some thick gravy and is best en‑
2 tbsp Mango chutney joyed with rice.
1/4 cup Lettuce leaves (chopped)
500 gm skinless, boneless Chicken Ingredients
breast halves 200 gms Mangodi (Mango)
1/4 cup Coriander leaves (chopped) 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
3 Celery stalks (thinly sliced) 1/4 tsp Asafoetida
1/3 cup Curd 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
2 tbsp roasted Almonds (sliced) 1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
2 tbsp Lemon juice 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
1/4 tsp Black Pepper (ground) 1/2 cup Coriander leaves (chopped)
1 tsp Curry powder Salt to taste
Oil for frying
Take one tsp salt, and enough water to
cover the chicken by one inch in a
Fry mango in oil till it becomes golden
saucepan. Add chicken and salt, and 100 gm contains brown. Mix turmeric, chilli and corian‑
boil over high flame heat. Reduce heat der powder, salt and water, to make a
to low, simmer (boil slowly at low tem‑
Calories - 107 paste. Heat oil in a kadhai, temper
perature) for 8‑10 minutes, or until
Protein - 0.84 g cumin and add asafoetida. Add the
cooked. Cool for about 30 minutes.
Carbohydrate - 28 g spices paste, and cook till the masala
Mix curry powder, curd, mayonnaise,
Total Fat - 0.45 g leaves oil. Add the mango to the gravy
chutney, lemon juice, pepper, and half
Fibre - 3 g and cook for 15 minutes. Add corian‑
tsp salt separately in a bowl for dress‑
Vitamin A - 6425 IU der leaves and serve hot with rice.
ing. Drain chicken and slice it into bite‑
Vitamin C - 45.7mg
Magnesium - 18 mg

Mango Delights
The juicy fruit lends its delectable flavour to anything it melds with.
sized pieces. Toss chicken, mango, cel‑
ery, and coriander with dressing. Line
platter with lettuce. Top it with roasted
almonds and serve.
Potassium - 300 mg
Calcium - 20 g
Cholesterol - 0 g
Saturated Fat - 0 g
Treat yourself with a tangy, chilled
dessert that would simply melt in

Traces of manganese,
From sweet to spicy, starters to curries, Kamini Kumari explores some MANGAI VEPAMPOO PACHADI
selenium, iron,
Popular in South India, this fairly easy 2 Mangoes (medium‑size)
yummy mango recipes to please any palate and suit every mood to make dish is a must for April, when
sodium and phosphorus 2 cups unflavoured Yogurt
the mangoes are still raw. 2‑3 tbsp Honey
2 tsp fresh Ginger (chopped)
Ingredients 1 Egg (separated)
1 raw Mango (medium size) Pinch of salt
he best thing about summers is the fact that the

EAT MANGOES, STAY YOUNG 3 Green Chillies (sliced) Pinch of cream of Tartar
succulent juicy and the thousand‑flavoured mango is The king of all fruits has many nutritional benefits and is an 1/2 tsp Jaggery (crushed) 2 tbsp Sugar
the seasonʼs essence. And because they are in such de‑ excellent cooling agent. It contains a powerful antioxidant ̶ 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
mand during this time, most regions have specialised phenols ̶ that helps to unblock the clogged pores of our skin. 1 tsp Vepampoo (neem flower), optional Method
recipes for not just desserts, but also main courses. One of the During summers, we tend to sweat a lot, which causes dirt and 1 tsp Oil Peel, pit and chop mango. Puree with
most delicious fruits, the exotic flavour of mango appeals to pollution to accumulate on our skin, resulting in blocked pores. 4‑5 Curry leaves honey and ginger in blender or food
just about everyone. A tropical fruit, it comes in as many as Therefore, contrary to popular belief that consuming more man‑ 2 tsp Coriander leaves (chopped) processor. Bring puree to boil in a
1,000 different varieties, each of them utterly delectable. goes results in pimples and breakouts, this one‑seed fruit keeps Salt to taste saucepan. Gradually whisk in beaten
The fruit traces its roots to Southeast Asia ̶ specifically your skin healthy. An enzyme found in mango soothes the stom‑ egg yolk, then set aside to cool. Beat
India ̶ it is now also grown in Central and South America, ach and helps treat acidity and poor digestion. Method egg whites with salt and cream of tar‑
Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula. Originally from the The ʻMaharaja of Fruitsʼ is rich in iron, carbohydrate and mag‑ Chop the mango into big cubes. Boil tar until soft peaks form. Gradually
Indian sub‑continent, it has been established that mangoes have nesium, making it a fruit with wholesome goodness. So make the mango cubes with green chillies beat in sugar until stiff peaks form. Stir
been around for over 4,000 years. Legend has it that Lord mango a part of your daily diet during summer and stay healthy. and salt for seven to eight minutes, yogurt into mango mixture then fold
Buddha found peace in a mango grove. Considered a symbol of Welcome the ensuing summer season with a wide range of until cooked. Add the jaggery, stir well in egg whites. Spoon into a shallow
life and prosperity, mangoes form a part of our lives on most mangoes including Dusshehri, Hapoos, Banarasi, Choosa, and heat for a couple of minutes. Heat metal pan and freeze until firm, stirring
auspicious occasions. Lucknawi, Alphonso, Sindhu, Badami, to name a few. oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds occasionally.

36 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 37


Footsteps along They say that you can never go home,

No matter how long you did roam.
Thereʼs no way things will be the same,

Having been gone so long, you must take the blame.

Where are all the people I once knew?

Are they in another city alone and blue?
We must make an effort to come home once more,
Revisiting his birthplace, Debabrata Bhattacharjee To visit and be among the people we love and adore.
travels through Dhaka and Bikramhati, exploring his
childhood jaunts and memories... A few have been faithful to our home town,
They remained here long after the cap and gown.
Listen quietly, thereʼs a voice from the past,
Hauntingly asking, ʻAre you coming home at last?ʼ

Lynn B. Glover, Poems from the Heart

t was the year 1950...

I I was studying in St. Gregoryʼs High School in the eighth

grade and lived in Dhaka, in an area called Malitola.
Political unrest and communal riots had forced me to leave
my beloved homeland and settle in Calcutta (now Kolkata) with
my family...
With the passing of the years, my family settled in Shantinike‑
tan, East Pakistan became Bangladesh and I moved to the U.S.
I never thought I will get to visit Bangladesh again since
I hadnʼt even visited India in 30 years. However, after retiring
in 2009, I decided to visit my family in India and planned a
trip to Bangladesh.
We landed in Dhaka after a very short flight from Kolkata.
The shared cultural and linguistic heritage of the two cities
meant that they felt quite the same but with one stark
difference ̶ Dhaka was cleaner. After many years of political
Photographs: Sulakshana Bhattacharya

unrest, the country was now experiencing stability.

The Dhaka I grew up was now in Old Dhaka and the paddy
fields of our childhood were now thriving with commerce and
busy streets. The new Dhaka looked just like any other large
South Asian city ̶ with shopping malls, hotels, banks,
multistoried office buildings, highways, flyovers...
However, as I entered Old Dhaka, my heartbeat quickened,
my home was beckoning me. The affectionately named “City of
Rickshaws” felt familiar, yet so different. I felt like the errant

son, returning home for some good‑old scolding.
When I hopped on to a cycle rickshaw, it suddenly struck me,
I was home. There are probably millions of rickshaws in Dhaka.
In fact it appears to be a safer option of travelling on the streets
than walking. Even though the sight of the rickshaw didnʼt
surprise me, the unique character and ornate décor intrigued
me. Covered in tinsel, paintings of popular images from local
The entire village of
and Indian films and coloured plastic sheets, they looked like
Bikramhati turned up
little girls, dressed up as brides! Weaving through the bustling
mass of people, rickshaws, two‑wheelers, four wheelers and the
at our house. Some were Nostalgic moments: (Above) Debabrata with old village acquaintances
descendents of the people and descendents at the house at Bikramhati. Debabrata (left) with
occasional three‑wheeler, we reached Sadarghat. Dhaka is lo‑ one of his younger brothers at St. Gregoryʼs old school building.
cated on the banks of Buriganga river. When I was a child, we used to know and some (Top) The pukurpar (pond‑side) at the Bikramhati village.

Sadarghat was a beautiful riverside promenade where people came to quench their “
used to picnic with families, shelling peanuts and eating ice curiosity about the ‘returning
cream. Now, the promenade has disappeared, and so have relatives from India’

38 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 39


HOME The old and the new: Dhakaʼs
It was 10.30 in the morning of old world charm, such as its
street‑side sweetmeats (right)
Friday, February 10, 1950. My and ornate rickshaws (below)
brother Sunil and I were in exist side by side with seven
storied malls (bottom).
school ̶ St. Gregoryʼs ̶ when
the alarm sounded, asking us to
flee home. Hindu‑Muslim riots
had broken out in Dhaka. We
reached home in Malitola at
around 2 p.m., having dodged
various rioting groups on the
way. All afternoon we could hear
the sounds of screams, gunfire
and bombs. Scores were getting
slaughtered everywhere. By
night, some 200 people from
our neighbourhood had taken
refuge at our home.
The next morning, we left
home with only a gathri (cloth
bundle). A Bengali military offi‑
cer assisted us and sent two
jawans with Baba to retrieve few
more possessions. We were es‑
corted till the High Commission
of India. However, even though
we got shelter, there was no
food there. Baba, Sunil and I
went in search of food. That was
the day, we discovered what
true hunger was. We went to
Dipu Mama, who lived nearby.
There he gave us some bashi
(stale) pulao, but for us it was
amrit (nectar).
After a few days, one of Babaʼs
The unused restroom of the Bikramhati house which has now decayed gracefully into an old nostalgic relic and has become part of the shrubbery. friends offered us his house, as
they were leaving for Calcutta.
Soon, a Muslim barrister from
West Pakistan came to our house
and requested shelter for his
peanuts and ice cream. Buildings have risen on the banks of the The next day we went to the village of Bikramhati in the family. Baba agreed to rent them some came to quench their curiosity about the “returning relatives
river and there are vendors and hawkers selling all kinds of Tangail region. Bikramhati is our ancestral village, where my the upstairs apartment, in turn from India”. The afternoon was spent sharing stories of the last 60
goods on both sides of the street. The river still serves as the family has lived for the last three hundred years. Even today, for protection, since a Hindu years, dining and forging new memories and bonds. It was a
means of mass transportation but the lazy days of watching the the house is owned and occupied by the family. household was never safe. wonderful experience and I cherished every moment of it.
boats and steamers passing by were gone. Exploring the city Upon arrival in Bikramhati, it was an emotional experience During this period, we went back While I was nostalgic about the old times, it was very refreshing
based on 60‑year‑old memories, I tracked down the location of as we started walking along the “pukurpar” (pond‑side) to our to our Malitola house once, to see the progress the village had made during the years. The vil‑
my old school, St. Gregoryʼs. Sadly, the old school building was old house. We came upon the old, now unused, restroom of the where a rude shock awaited us. lage now has electricity and permanent houses, which we could
no longer in use except the church. But the inside looked the house. This building was as old as the house itself. Trees have Our house was taken over and not even think of during our time; and most of all, there is an over‑
same except that there were many more pictures of principals struck roots deep within the brickwork and the building has turned into ʻAliah Hotelʼ. The all sense of prosperity and economic progress.
on the wall. The school had grown a lot in the last 60 years. It decayed gracefully into an old nostalgic relic. The veranda is owner told us that they had kept Neither was the Bikramhati of today the one which we had left
now has a huge new school building with modern facilities and now covered with rows of cauliflower and cabbage fields. our possessions in a room and behind, nor was Dhaka. Even though Dhaka suffers from common
a studentsʼ hostel. Thankfully the students still use the same Walking around the property, seeing the places where as a we could take them. urban problems such as pollution, congestion, and lack of
football field that I used to play in. Next I visited Jagannath Col‑ child, some 60 years ago, I used to play, fish and climb trees to After two months of ordeal, adequate services due to the rising population, it remains the same
lege, where my father was a lecturer. I remember going to the get fresh mangoes, I felt a wave of nostalgia engulf me. on March 23 we left Dhaka in essence ̶ the delicious food, mainly the ilish mach (Hilsa), the
staff hostel, where many of my fatherʼs colleagues used to live, As we arrived, the entire village turned up at our house. forever and came to Calcutta. sweetmeats and above all the warmth of its people, irrespective
and being treated to snacks or candy. Some were descendents of the people we used to know and of religion or nationality.

40 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 41


When Salman, Anil

danced to Boman's
Versatile actor Boman Irani
showed a different side of his
personality as he played the
guitar and sang a song at the
IIFA Awards. And two people
who enjoyed his performance
to the hilt were actors Salman

Cricket, fashion Khan and Anil Kapoor. Boman

sang Give me some sunshine at
the event and both Salman and
Anil supported him throughout

& awards
The 11th International Indian Film Academy weekend was a milieu of fashion show, Clockwise from left: Actors Sohail Khan and Aftab Shivadasani celebrate during a cricket match between
by doing some dance moves
from where they were standing
and tried to motivate the audi‑
ence too. After seeing Salman
and Anilʼs enthusiasm, the
Bollywood actors and Sri Lankan cricketers; actors Salman Khan and Seema Khan display designs at IIFA Rocks;
film festival, cricket and ritzy awards ceremony... Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez attend a "Habitat for Humanity" initiative event for villagers; and actors
audiences joined in and soon
Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan arrive at the hotel lobby in Colombo to attend the 11th IIFA Awards weekend. the venue was abuzz with claps
and people singing along with

When Riteish
amir Khanʼs 3 Idiots swept the the awards night and the humid weather. Sangakkara, who walked the ramp for ̶ Sri Lanka Partnership: The Way for‑ being declared the Best Film, while the embarrassed Neil

A 11th edition of the International

Indian Film Academy (IIFA)
Awards that was recently held in
Colombo in June. The three‑day extrava‑
ganza included a fashion show, celebrity
The Bollywood flag flew high with the
likes of the glamour quotient of Salman
Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor, Saif Ali
Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and
Bipasha Basu.
leading Indian and Sri Lankan designers.
This was backed by a live musical per‑
formance by composers Salim‑Suleiman
and singers Kailash Kher and Anushka
ward”, with some key speakers being
President Rajapaksa and former Indian
junior foreign minister Shashi Tharoor.
The first look of movies like Dabaang,
Lamhaa and Knockout were also show‑
Best Director award went to Rajkumar
Hirani and the Best Actress award to
Kareena Kapoor for the same movie.
Kareena shared the award with Vidya
Balan, who was honoured for her role in
Riteish Deshmukh, who is
known to play pranks, embar‑
rassed Neil Nitin Mukesh when
he showed his semi‑nude pic‑
ture from the movie Jail and
cricket match and the main awards event. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa A charity cricket match was organised cased at the event, as was a sneak peek Paa of a single mother whose son is suf‑ asked why he was exposing so
The ritzy grand finaleʼs highpoint was was ecstatic about hosting the awards the next day between the Sangakkara XI, into the multi‑million project ̶ Kingdom fering from progeria. much. An embarrassed Neil
Hrithik Roshanʼs mindblowing livewire ceremony in his country. “Thank you IIFA boasting of some Sri Lankan greats and of Dreams ̶ a mega entertainment des‑ Sanjay Dutt walked away with the Best said: “The director of the movie
performance where he not only danced for choosing my country as the venue for two teams comprising Bollywood stars tination slated to open in Gurgaon ahead Comic Actor trophy for his rib‑tickling wanted me to do this and
but wowed the audience by singing as well. this extravagant event. It will help us in and led by Suniel Shetty and Hrithik of the Commonwealth Games in October. performance in All The Best, while Boman hence I did it.” But Riteish wasnʼt
The other highlight was the compering bridging the gap between the two nations Roshan. The former, quite naturally, The green carpet of the IIFA sported Irani received the Best Actor in A Nega‑ done with pulling Neilʼs leg and
by Lara Dutta along with Boman in a simple manner,” Rajapaksa said. knocked out the Bollywood heroes. dresses, train gowns, saris and black suits. tive Role honour for his brilliant portrayal said: “Abhi aisa kar rahein ho to
Irani‑Riteish Deshmukh, who once again The grand finale apart, there was much The sixth edition of the FICCI‑IIFA Just like previous years, most of the of an eccentric professor in 3 Idiots. aage kya karoge?” Neil blushed
enthralled the audience with their excel‑ more to the three‑day event. On the first Global Business Forum, focused on Bollywood beauties stuck to gowns and Sharman Joshi won the Best Support‑ and couldnʼt find words to
lent chemistry on an extravagant set. But day, the IIFA Fashion Extravaganza saw various strategies to explore and boost dresses while men chose to play it safe ing Actor award, while Divya Dutta match witty Riteish.
then, there were the low points too ̶ for the participation of many Bollywood business opportunities between India and with black. received Best Supporting Actress honour
instance, Bipasha Basuʼs performance on actors and Sri Lankan cricketer Kumar Sri Lanka. The theme this year was “India 3 Idiots walked away with 11 trophies, for her performance in Delhi 6.

42 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 43

Puffin Lives: Akbar: The Mighty Emperor
By Kavitha Mandana

Imprisoned dreams In this story of Akbarʼs life, as exciting and thrilling

as any adventure tale, the author describes
Akbarʼs rough, difficult childhood spent on the
Sudhir Sharma jots down his thoughts and emotions about his life in prison in Toote run; his consolidation of the empire through war
Armano Ki Aawaz. Vishal Gulati takes a peep into his transformational journey and diplomacy; the myriad interesting and enter‑
taining people who made up his court; the Book: “We, The Children Of India”;
Author: Leila Seth; Publisher: Puffin; Price: Rs.150
strong women of the Mughal household; and finally, the intrigu‑
ing circumstances under which the crown passed on to his son,
Jahangir. Accompanied by many vignettes of information about
he play, Toote Armano Ki Aawaz, was staged by eight
Preamble turns
the Mughal empire, this book is a fascinating introduction to the
local artistes on June 4 with the active participation of life and times of a ruler who still rules our imagination.
the Himachal Pradesh government, the Delhi‑based NGO
Delhi Kala Karam and the National School of Drama. “A col‑
lection of 153 poems which Sudhir Sharma penned during his con‑
The Life and Times of Baba Ramdev
By Ashok Raj
demnation has been put into dramatic form and was staged at
Gaiety Theatre on June 4,” Saroj Vasishth, Delhi Kala Karam general The continuing saga of a contemporary mass Whatʼs the most important book of India? Itʼs the Constitution, silly,
secretary, told IANS. She said the play was an effort to portray the leader who sought out a vision and a method to and its goals are contained in the first long sentence, the Preamble.
mental frame of a prisoner during his sentence and his transforma‑ amalgamate yoga and healthcare into the main‑ Any child who has gone through super grandmom and former chief
tion if corrective measures are adopted by the prison authorities. stream consciousness.... justice Leila Sethʼs latest offering can tell you that.
Sharma, 29, was convicted in 2000 for raping a woman. He Baba Ramdevʼs emergence as the new ideo‑ Seth, the first woman to be chief justice in an Indian state, who has also
received a nine‑year prison sentence and was discharged from logue of a national and global spiritual resur‑ penned her autobiography, acknowledges that she has written this time
Kanda prison, on the outskirts of Shimla town, in February 2009. gence is considered by many as a curious phenomenon. This with the help of her five‑ and eight‑year‑old granddaughters. And it shows.
He has got married now and does farming in his ancestral work is a study on the making of the Ramdev spectacle with all Not only does she break down every single big word ̶ Sovereign,
village near Solan town. Sharma said: “My initial years in jail were Sudhir Sharma exhibits the book of poems he wrote in prison its inescapable assertiveness, and mass enthusiasm. Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic ̶ to its simplest meaning
Photo courtesy: Kumar Lalit
quite worrisome. But when I started penning poems, I learnt how but also, through trivia, photographs and drawings, turns the
to live in a different way. Now, I am trying to reorient other pris‑ Leela: A Patchwork Life Preamble into a storybook.
oners so that they come out of prison as better people.” motivated him and transformed his restlessness into black and By Leela Naidu, Jerry Pinto “On 9 December 1946, about eight months before India became
While in prison, the Class 12 dropout also maintained a daily white,” she said. Vasishth, who is also a former All India Radio independent, a group of men and women met in a beautifully deco‑
personal diary. “I have also jotted down the hidden details of (AIR) broadcaster, said Sharmaʼs poems were compiled into a A Patchwork Life is a memoir that is charming, rated hall in New Delhi, which is now known as the central hall of Par‑
prison life... the way the jail staff violates quarantine procedures Hindi book titled Toote Armano Ki Aawaz ̶ the same as the idiosyncratic and a window to a world of Chopin, liament House. They were to discuss their ideas and write the
and promotes drugs and triggers circumstances that convert an play. The 66‑page book was also released on June 4. red elephants, lampshades made of human skin, Constitution...” And thus the golden book came to be written. In “We,
ordinary prisoner into a hardcore one,” said Sharma. “Several copies of the book have been procured by the NGO moss gardens and much more: a world where a The Children Of India”, the words as well as pictures do the talking.
Vasishth, 77, popularly known as ʻmomʼ among the prisoners, and will be distributed in other prisons across the country to mo‑ naked Russian count turns up in a French gar‑ Starting with B&W photos of Gandhi and Nehru in action and on to
said: “He used to give us a few stanzas of poem penned on a piece tivate other inmates,” she said. Vasishth was associated with re‑ den, plush hotels offer porcupine quills as tooth‑ pages from the Constitution, the book is a feast for the eyes.
of paper when we visited the jail during reformatory pro‑ forms at Tihar Jail in Delhi for a long time and later shifted to picks and an assistant director sends his female lead an inflatable The drawings by Bindia Thapar will hook children from the start.
grammes being run by our NGO for prisoners.” Shimla to continue her prisoner reform programmes in the hill rubber bra. Leelaʼs life was about ʻstaying in the momentʼ. Every‑ The back cover simply says the book is for seven‑plus readers. But this
“In fact, when we met him during his initial years of the sen‑ state. By staging plays and other correctional programmes, her one who met her has a Leela Naidu story. This is her version. tome should make it to junior school curriculum and to bookshelves
tence, he was under frustration and deep mental disorder. We NGO re‑integrates non‑violent offenders into society. at home, for adults to refresh long forgotten pledges. Paloma Ganguly

3 3
1 4 1 4
5 5
2 2


The Immortals And Thereby Theodore Deliver Us One Amazing Thing

TOP 10 BESTSELLERS Songs of Gandhi: The Difficulty Jangalnama ̶ Travels In Becoming
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Author: Amish Author: Jeffrey Archer Publisher: Hachette Author: David Baldacci Divakaruni Author: Fatima Bhutto Author: Jad Adams Author: Gurcharan Das Author: Satnam Author: Pavan K. Verma
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44 Pravasi Bharatiya  June 2010 June 2010  Pravasi Bharatiya 45


Left: Ananda Krishnan ranked second

with with a net worth of $8.1 billion; Peerage for
Right: A.K. Nathan placed 24th.
Indian tycoon
Dolar Popat, who worked
as a waiter after arriving in
England in 1971 and later
became a self‑made
multi‑millionaire, will be
nominated for a British
peerage by Prime Minis‑
ter David Cameron. The
Ugandan‑born Indian
business tycoon, who
Making investment in India easier for overseas Indians.
gave the Conservatives
over £200,000 in dona‑
tions, will get a seat in the
House of Lords. He has an
estimated fortune of £42
million, Daily Mail
reported on May 27.
A spot on the Richie Rich list Popat's family fled from
Idi Aminʼs regime; when
Two persons of Indian origin figured among The 72‑year‑old former oil trader Krishnanʼs he arrived from Uganda
Forbesʼ list of Malaysiaʼs 40 richest as the re‑ most valuable asset is Maxis Communica‑ as a 17‑year‑old in 1971,
bounding Malaysian economy expanded 10 tions, Malaysiaʼs largest cellphone service he had just £10 in his
percent in the first quarter of 2010, its high‑ provider, which went public in November, rais‑ pocket. He has helped
est growth rate in a decade. Malaysiaʼs 40 ing $3.4 billion in Malaysiaʼs largest‑ever IPO. bankroll Tory front‑
wealthiest are worth a total of $51 billion, up Krishnanʼs telecom interests in Indonesia benchers, including Inter‑
from $36 billion a year ago and even higher and India are still privately held and he plans national Development
than the $46 billion they were collectively to take his satellite TV broadcaster, Astro All Secretary Andrew
worth in 2008, the U.S. business magazine Asia Networks, private. Mitchell and Cabinet Min‑
noted. Indian origin Ananda Krishnan with a Newcomers include another person of ister Baroness Sayeeda
net worth of $8.1 billion retained his second Indian origin ̶ self‑made building contrac‑ Warsi. Popat, 55, has also
place after Malaysian Chinese Robert Kuok. tor A.K. Nathan, 54, placed 24th with a net made a string of dona‑
They are worth a combined $20.1 billion, worth of $250 million. He owns and runs
tions to fellow Ugandan‑
or 40 percent of the top 40ʼs wealth. The Eversendai, a Kuala Lumpur contractor that
born MP Shailesh Varaʼs
countryʼs 10 billionaires are worth $30 bil‑ fabricates, designs and erects the steel
lion, accounting for 59 percent of the total. frames for buildings.

For details contact:

The India-born population in Australia rose from 110,563 in 2002 to 239,295 in 2008 | In 2007-08 alone,
the number of Indian-born people in Australia grew by 39,529 | In 2008-09, for the seventh year in Chief Executive Officer, OIFC
a row, India was the biggest source of permanent settlers in Victoria & Director, CII
Courtesy: The Age 249-F, Sector 18, Udyog Vihar, Phase IV
Gurgaon - 122 015, Haryana, INDIA
Tel: +91-124-4014060-67 / 4014071
Limca moment for Veena Rao Fax: +91-124-4014070
Website: www.oifc.in
US‑based Veena Rao, who recently entered the Limca Book of Records as the first NRI
woman to edit and publish a newspaper outside India, hails from Mangalore and is the
editor and publisher of NRI Pulse. Launched in 2006, NRI Pulse is a free monthly newspaper
that serves the Indian‑American and other South Asian communities of Georgia and other
southeastern states of the U.S. “It is important that people know whatʼs happening in their
community, and the country they live in. It is important that they stay abreast of happen‑
ings in India. This is vital for the socio‑economic and cultural growth of the community as
lR;eso t;rs Confederation of
a whole,” a statement quoted Rao as saying. Rao has a mastersʼ diploma in journalism and Ministry of Overseas Indian Industry
communication from Indiaʼs Symbiosis International University. Indian Affairs
— PB Desk
46 Pravasi Bharatiya  May 2010
Located in Kutch in Gujarat, this small village called Hodka is rich in traditional art and craft, and culture. The village beckons you with its
sand dunes, mud houses, mural paintings and has emerged as an important rural tourist destination. Once in Hodka, you will be
mesmerised by the sparkling clean and naturally cooled circular mud houses called bhungas. The women folk have mastered the art of
mural painting ̶ the art of using dung, natural dyes and pieces of glass, to decorate the interiors of their huts. The camel is the most
preferred mode of transport if you want to go strolling in the desert. The villagers play the perfect host treating you to their very own diet
of ʻbajre ki rotiʼ along with curd made of camelʼs milk. Hodka is home to a variety of birds, including the rare to spot black‑necked stork. You
can also witness some fine embroidery and leatherwork of the region. Hodkaʼs colours and culture are what lures the tourists most. Allow
the community to host you in the style they are used to ̶ plying you with food, sharing their art and music and showcasing their craft.

lR;eso t;rs

Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs