An interesting question came up online “How can I participate in Indian politics being an NRI?” The question prompted us to research on this topic further.
Many Indian-Citizen NRIs participate indirectly in Indian politics by the use of social media. Some NRIs actively participate on overseas chapters of political organizations like Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP), Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and others.
Some NRIs are also known to travel to their Indian “home-town” to actively participate in elections and to vote.
But what makes Indians living abroad to be a part of political process in India? The people of Indian heritage living across the world have a mix of characteristics: some are foreign citizens, while others are Indian citizens (NRIs). Some have nominal relationship with India, their ancestors having left Indian shores generations back, while others belong to the pool of a mobile population having active stay and ties in India. Majority of NRIs living abroad find new roots in adopted lands, raise families, work and pay taxes and enjoy the facilities and privileges as much as locals do. But there is something that makes them yearn for India! They may continue to live offshore, yet their heart lies in India. In other words, you cannot take India out of their hearts. Aligning with a charitable work is one of the common things NRIs do to give back to India. Increasingly, political participation has also become a tool for many to contribute to their motherland even while sitting afar.
Over the years, the political parties of India have also reached out to the Indians settled abroad. This has culminated in Indian parties having their foreign extensions. Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) is the most obvious case in point. Its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) also has overseas presence. The global front rechristened as Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS)- has presence in several countries. The HSS provides a platform for cultural nourishment to the Indians (Hindus) far away from their land and also conduct ‘sakhsas’.
The current year marks 25 years of existence of HSS in the USA. Similarly, OFBJP has chapters in more than 15 countries, with most active presence in the USA, the UK and Canada. Behind successful organisation of political rallies for BJP’s Narendra Modi were the combined efforts of the HSS and the OFBJP. The significance of overseas chapters can be gazed from the fact that BJP has in place a full time global convener whose job is to actively work on the overseas chapters. But the most amazing story of an Indian political movement galvanising the Indian diaspora across the world is exemplified by none other than the nascent political party called Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Many Indians Oversea (OCIs) actively participate in the politics of their host nations, especially after they attain citizenship of their host countries.
As per regulations framed under the Indian Medical Council Act-1956 as amended in 2016 and the Dentists Act-1948 as amended in 2016, NATIONAL ELIGIBILITY CUM ENTRANCE TEST (UG) – 2017 [NEET(UG)-2017] will be conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), for admission to MBBS/BDS Courses in India in Medical/Dental Colleges run with the approval of Medical Council of India/Dental Council of India under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India except for the institutions established through an Act of Parliament e.g. AIIMS and JIPMER Puducherry.
The NEET (UG)-2017 will be conducted on Sunday, the 7th May, 2017. The responsibility of the CBSE is limited to the conduct of the entrance examination, declaration of result and providing All India Rank to the Directorate General Health Services, Government of India for the conduct of counselling for 15% All India Quota Seats and for supplying the result to state/other Counselling Authorities.
This year foreign national aspirants need to take NEET, according to Supreme Court orders passed last year. Here are some key points that Non-Resident Indians (NRI), Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and foreign nationals need to keep in mind before applying for NEET 2017.
A few additional clarifications for NRIs and Foreign nationals
What is the minimum qualification for appearing in NEET-UG, 2017 for candidates of Foreign Nationals?
Any examination which in scope and standard (Last 02 years of 10+2 Study comprising of Physics, Chemistry and Biology/Bio-technology; Which shall include practical test in these subjects) is found to be equivalent to the Intermediate Science Examination of an Indian University/Board, taking Physics, Chemistry and Biology/Bio-technology including practical tests in each of these subjects and English.
Provided that to be eligible for competitive entrance examination, candidate must have passed any of the qualifying examinations as enumerated in Bulletin or appearing in the qualifying examination in 2017.
Provided further that the students educated abroad seeking admission into medical colleges in India must have passed in the subjects of Physics, Chemistry, Biology/Bio-technology and English up to the 12th standard level with 50% marks and their equivalency determined as per regulations of the Medical Council of India and the concerned University.
What are the eligibility criteria for appearing in NEET-UG, 2017?
Indian Nationals, Non Resident Indians (NRIs), Oversees Citizen of India (OCIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) & Foreign Nationals are eligible to appear in NEET (UG)-2017.
He/she has completed age of 17 years at the time of admission or will complete the age on or before 31st December of the year of his/her admission to the 1styear MBBS/BDS Course.
The upper age limit for NEET-UG is 25 years as on the date of examination with relaxation of 5 years for the candidates belonging to SC/ST/ OBC category.
Who can appear in NEET-UG, 2017 for 15% All India Quota seats?
Non Resident Indians (NRIs)
Oversees Citizen of India (OCIs)
Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs)
Foreign Nationals are eligible to appear in NEET (UG)-2017 for 15% All India Quota Seats.
From which city foreign nationals, OCIs & PIOs can appear in NEET-UG, 2017?
They can choose any three cities as given in Appendix-II.
Here are a few personal accounts of people affected by President Trump’s Executive action on Visa bans.
Kamran Khan, works at Microsoft My wife and I are legal permanent residents of US. Our two-year old son was born here. Pakistan has not been placed on the list, yet.
But we are not leaving the country for foreseeable future. Trump’s absolutely bonkers and random. His executive orders come as surprise to even his own cabinet. Who knows, maybe we’ll drive to Vancouver and upon returning a few hours later we’ll be told that we cannot enter USA anymore. We’re not going back home to visit family or relatives.
We are thankfully, not refugees. But the general atmosphere now is that of fear and apprehension. I don’t go to the mosque — or for that matter, I’m not even a religious person — but that does not mean that I’m not afraid.
I was planning to go to a conference in Atlanta in the summer, Academy of Management to present my paper and get to know other scholars. But this idea is shattered by Mr. Trump’s order. When I think about it, it feels horrible and unjust to be banned only because of my nationality (Iranian); something that is randomly assigned to you and you have no control over it.
I have nothing to do with terrorism as I am merely an academician and entrepreneurship writer. Yet, they imposed a ban on someone like me. I really like the US as a country since I traveled four times before but now it seems unlikely..
Iranians form a successful and intellectual community in the US and there has never been ANY terrorist attack by Iranians so I am sure that there are other reasons to put my country in the list.
My cousin’s H4 Visa was recently rejected, so he moved from where he was working in Orlando and stayed with us for a few weeks before his flight back to India. He left SFO on a Thursday red-eye and, due to flight pricing, decided to take a 3-leg flight East instead of flying West over the Pacific, which is what we usually do when going to India.
He had a stopover in Dallas/Ft Wth right after Trump announced the visa ban, and had no idea what was going on.
We got a call from him on Friday morning that went something like this (translated into English)- “Did something important happen during my flight?” “No, not really, why? Did your flight get cancelled??” (He had a two hour stopover so any delays would have made him miss two more subsequent flights)
“No, no, that’s all fine, but I was just randomly stopped and asked for a passport check and they said it was new protocol, do you know anything about that?”
After some digging we realized that he was randomly stopped while walking from one terminal to the other and asked to show his passport by an airport official. He said they asked him several question about his Indian passport and checked it for its authenticity before letting him go.
I was actually planning on traveling to USA during spring, which has always been my dream. I was planning on traveling to Venice at first, but then I said to myself: “why not New York or Los Angeles, like you always wanted?”
I love New York. My fictional work is based on a lot of things about the city and the vibe that I’ve always felt vibrating from it whenever seeing it in art, film or reading it in a book. I actually know some streets now, because of research for my book. The city, in my opinion, is breathtaking and unique. I played GTA IV, just so that I could feel the dark, rainy New York City feel washing into my soul here in Sweden.
I’ve never been a fan of the American government (as one may know if they’ve been following me on Quora). Not that I’m much of a fan of any state’s government in the world, really.
Now I obviously can’t since I’m of Iranian descent and a national through my parents, despite the fact that I was raised in Sweden from the age of 1.5. I’m not politically involved, not an activist in any form, just a normal Swedish national who aspires to be a writer and is deeply both influenced and inspired by the culture of USA.
Faria Ali, Studying mind basis of politics We are US citizens born in Pakistan. My spouse’s parents are legal Permanent residents from Pakistan. Although Pakistan is not on the list yet, like Kamran Khan mentioned who the heck knows.
They are visiting Pakistan right now for a wedding. Who knows if they will be allowed back in and how long my two children aged two and four will be waiting for their Grammy and granddaddy whom they adore.
What is disturbing about this EO is that it undermines the promise of the United States government. A legal Permanent Resident is essentially a United States citizen minus voting and jury duty. Lawful Permanent Residents | Homeland Security so going forward this does not mean anything if you happen to be Muslim. You are not welcome in your own country where you have your life, your home, the people you love.
I’m also not a practicing Muslim but who cares. Now we wait if our kids grandparents make it back in a few weeks and how much of the “extreme vetting” 75 year olds with health issues can endure.
This is not the country we made home two decades ago as aspiring teenagers. We don’t recognize this America.
Teenage love stories are common as are the stories of Cupid’s arrows being shot across the internet. But rare indeed is the septuagenarian couple, falling in love on Facebook and ending up in a wedlock in Jamui district.
Satrughan Prasad Singh, 77, an engineer by profession, left his Ghovghat village in Jamui in 1960s after completing his engineering studies in Kolkata and settled in Germany with his wife. She, unfortunately, died in 2014.
Call it destiny or hand of technology, a depressed Singh met 75-year-old German woman Edeltrud Habib on Facebook and developed a friendship with her. That soon morphed into an old-age love story.
“Soon we fell in love and decided to live as life partners. Now we are married,” said a joyous Singh. Habib’s husband died five years ago.
“The marriage ceremony was held in a temple with austerity as per the age-old Hindu rituals on Sunday, and it was attended by his family members and other relatives,” Mahender Singh, a relative of newly-wed Singh, said.
Singh retired 16 years ago after he worked for 38 years in Germany while Habib retired from a judicial service. Singh recalled that after their friendship on Facebook, he met Habib at an airport in Germany.
“I am happy that my family, relatives and others welcomed my decision and helped us to become a couple,” he said. Habib said she would try to learn Hindi and would re-visit Singh’s native place.
“I love Indian people, their traditions, culture and heart-warming behaviour,” she said.
The newly-wed septuagenarian couple will after a few days return to Germany to begin a new life there.
(New York, NY – February 3, 2017) Due to an overwhelming response to advance ticket sales during opening weekend (February 3rd), the heartfelt family comedy Growing Up Smith, directed by Frank Lotito, and starring Jason Lee (My Name is Earl) and Anjul Nigam (Bad Words and True Detective), has been slated to release in several additional markets on February 10th, including Philadelphia, Hartford, Boston and Detroit.
Here’s what critics are saying about the coming-of-age Little Miss Sunshine meets My Girl family-friendly film:
“The film has accidental topicality now with the debate over immigration swirling, but you don’t need to burden it with politics to be touched by its tale of a child who is pulled by two very different cultural worlds.”
– New York Times Review
Fort Worth Star Telegram calls the film “charmingly amusing and surprisingly timely…like an extended episode of ‘The Wonder Years.'”
“Growing Up Smithis a solid watch for kids of a certain age, or really anyone who has ever been a little bit different from those around them.” – Josh Hurtado, ScreenAnarchy
Distributed by Good Deed Entertainment and inspired by a true story set in the year 1979, Growing Up Smith is about a family from India that moves to America with hopes of living the American Dream. While their 10-year-old boy, Smith, falls head-over-heels for the girl next door, his desire to become a “good old boy” propels him further away from his family’s ideas than ever before.
“In light of the recent immigration concerns in our country, this film highlights a positive immigrant experience in the late 70s and reminds us that love does not see race or creed,” said Scott Donley, CEO & Founder of Good Deed Entertainment. Actor/Writer/Producer Nigam says that “the movie is a tribute to childhood heroes, first love and growing up in Small Town, America. We’re proud to say that it’s a film with no explosions, no profanity and no violence,” which is the unspoken mantra at Nigam’s production company, Brittany House Pictures.
GROWING UP SMITH
Starring: Jason Lee (“My Name Is Earl”), Anjul Nigam (“Bad Words”), Brighton Sharbino (“The Walking Dead”), Hilarie Burton (“One Tree Hill”), Jake Busey (“From Dusk Till Dawn”), Tim Guinee (“Iron Man 1 and 2”), Alison Wright (“The Americans”), Poorna Jagannathan (“Delhi Belly”), Samrat Chakrabarti (“Waiting City”) and introducing Roni Akurati as “Smith”
Director: Frank Lotito
Producers: Anjul Nigam, Frank Lotito, Steve Straka
Writers: Anjul Nigam, Paul Quinn, Gregory Scott Houghton
Story: In 1979, a family from India moves to America with hopes of living the American Dream. While their 10-year-old boy Smith falls head-over-heels for the girl next door, his desire to become a “good old boy” propels him further away from his family’s ideals than ever before. A tribute to childhood heroes, first love and growing up in Small Town, America… in simpler times.
American and Indian media is all abuzz with accounts of Hollywood-Bollywood star and self proclaimed “Global Citizen,” Priyanka Chopra speaking out against President Donald Trump’s temporary immigration ban.
Ms Chopra, who is gearing up for her Hollywood debut with ‘Baywatch’, made an emotional appeal for the suffering children. “As a global citizen, this has deeply affected me,” the Quantico star wrote.
Getting ready to post this blog, I was grounded by the news. All of the ‘banned’ countries are places where a lot of UNICEF work is going on, where children are suffering the most. What can I add that people across professions and age groups have not already said? But adding your voice will definitely make a difference.
And make a difference we must. Please join me in making our voice stronger so that globally, our children are not discriminated against on the basis of their religion and do not have to bear the brunt of a political witch hunt.
Yes Priyanka, we join you in making our voice stronger !
We hope that you have enjoyed the wisdom and clarity from Sadhguru through the various videos, blogs, and articles that you may have perused. Perhaps you have picked up tips on how to live happier, with less stress, and more joyfully, or you have recalled Sadhguru’s jokes or anecdotes and it brought a smile or sparked a moment of clarity.
All of this is just a glimpse of what is possible with Sadhguru. If you wish to know the full depth and dimension of what Sadhguru has to offer, one should do the Inner Engineering program with him.
This Spring Sadhguru will be offering the Inner Engineering Completion program in Tampa and Vancouver for the first time.
Inner Engineering is a distilled essence of yogic science which is thorough overhaul of body, mind, emotions and energy. The Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya, a simple 21 minute practice that you will learn from Sadhguru during this event is a powerful and purifying energy process. This practice incorporates the breath, giving access to your deepest life energies and making it vibrantly alive.
This is a rare opportunity for one to receive this life nurturing science from an authentic source. Please don’t miss this opportunity as this program happens only once or twice a year in North America.
Isha Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization which aims to bring well-being through yoga and meditation. To ensure that everyone has the opportunity to empower themselves, those who may need financial assistance please contact us for hardship application at Info@InnerEngineering.com.
Looking forward to seeing you for this life-transforming weekend.
On March 12, 2017 The Philadelphia Museum of Art will present the first major American exhibition of phulkari textiles, exquisite embroideries made in Punjab, a region that comprises north central India and eastern Pakistan. This vibrant tradition, shaped by women and passed down through generations, has become a powerful symbol of Punjabi cultural identity. “Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of Punjab from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz” Collection celebrates the promised gift of their collection of these rare embroideries. Exhibited together with other examples from the Museum’s collection, these works span a period from the mid-nineteenth century until the Partition of India in 1947. The exhibition also includes contemporary fashion in which the creative use of phulkari embroideries suggests a powerful revival of this boldly designed and colorful textile art today.
Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, said:
“This exhibition, which examines the artistic, cultural, and political significance of phulkari, is long overdue and will certainly delight visitors who may be unfamiliar with this remarkable art form. Once again, our collection has been greatly enriched through Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz’s generosity. This promised gift has also enhanced the reputation of the institution as a premier destination for the study and appreciation of South Asia’s world-renowned textile traditions.”
The major focus of the exhibition will be on pre-Partition textiles handwoven in cotton and embroidered in lustrous Chinese silk. Some phulkaris feature animals and village scenes, while others are ornamented with elaborate geometric patterns in rich pink and gold conveying good fortune and social status. To demonstrate the continuing influence of these traditional textiles, contemporary couture created by one of India’s leading fashion designers, Manish Malhotra, will also be on display. Runway fashions from his 2013 collection celebrate the bright colors and intricate patterns found on traditional phulkaris, demonstrating their broad appeal on the international stage. In addition to high fashion, the show will include videos that examine the political and social upheaval created by the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 and how it disrupted this textile tradition as well as the later revival of phulkari as a symbol of Punjabi pride.
Phulkari embroideries historically served as a significant symbol of a Punjabi woman’s material wealth and were deemed an important part of her wardrobe. They were typically worn as shawls draped over the head on special occasions such as marriages, births, and other rituals.
Dr. Cristin McKnight Sethi, co-curator of the exhibition, said: “These works serve as a way to map a family’s or a community’s history. They are canvases upon which a woman could express her desires and worldview through needle and thread. By looking closely, we can study just how deeply these makers valued their cloths and how they invested them with meaning.”
Dr. Darielle Mason, the Museum’s Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art, notes: “Phulkari embroideries hold immense historic significance and emotional power for those of Punjabi heritage and members of the Sikh religious community who now live around the world. On a purely aesthetic level, with their almost neon colored silk threads set against deep earth toned rough cotton, phulkaris are among of the most visually stunning textile types ever created.”
Support: This exhibition is made possible by Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz, The Coby Foundation, Ltd., and The Stella Kramrisch Indian and Himalayan Art Fund.
Dr. Darielle Mason, The Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Dilys E. Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Dr. Cristin McKnight Sethi, Assistant Professor, The George Washington University Columbian College of Arts & Sciences
Location: Joan Spain Gallery, Perelman Building
The book, Phulkari: The Embroidered Textiles of Punjab from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection, edited by Dr. Darielle Mason with essays by Dr. Cristin McKnight Sethi and Dr. Mason, accompanies the exhibition. It features color illustrations and vivid descriptions of the nineteen phulkari in the Bonovitz gift to the Museum. The essays examine the meanings of phulkaris, as well as their styles and techniques. They also discuss ideas of beauty, identity, and the politics of embroidery in South Asia. The catalogue is co-published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press. It is available in the Museum store.
Phulkari, which translates to “floral work” or “flower craft,” refers to embroideries using imported silk on a rough-weave naturally-dyed cotton ground. The names given to the many types of phulkari reference their visual qualities: thirma (meaning white) are embroidered on white cloth usually worn by older women; sainchi are any type featuring figural motifs including village and circus scenes as well as what are called darshan dwars (“doorway to the divine”) that depict large gateways or house fronts filled with figures. Most elaborate and labor intensive are bahgs (“gardens”). Taking several months or even years to complete, baghs are characterized by dense embroidery that covers the entire surface of the cloth in exquisite, usually geometric forms.
Before Partition, in which the Punjab was split between India and Pakistan, phulkari embroidery was deeply rooted in Punjabi life. Usually worn by women as large shawls, some were also made as blankets or as wrappers to cover sacred items in the household. They were stitched by women of many religious groups—Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs (who consider the Punjab their holy land). The events of Partition led to the death and displacement of millions of people across what is today Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the northern half of India. This schism left in its wake fractured communities and enormous loss of heritage. Some phulkari were abandoned during the mutual flight across the new borders; many others were destroyed, leaving us only a small fraction of these once abundant historic textiles. Today, however, phulkaris are made and displayed around the world as a symbol of both Punjabi regional pride and Sikh religious pride.
About Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz
This exhibition is one of several in recent years that have featured gifts by Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz. In 2013, Great and Mighty Things: Outsider Art from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection, exhibited more than 200 works created by American self-taught artists between 1930 and 2010. In 2009, the Bonovitzes gifted their collection of embroidered textiles created by women in Bengal (today Bangladesh and West Bengal, India) which were included in the survey Kantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection and the Stella Kramrisch Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The publication garnered the prestigious Alfred H. Barr Award for outstanding museum scholarship.
Many phulkari and kantha works have hung in the Duane-Morris’s Philadelphia offices, in dialogue with other works from the Bonovitzes’ collection of self-taught artists. A selection of phulkari from the Bonovitz Collection is on permanent exhibition at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, in its Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Concourse of Lenfest Hall.
Sheldon Bonovitz is Chairman Emeritus and CEO of Duane Morris LLP and a long-serving Trustee of the Museum. Jill Bonovitz is a distinguished artist who works with clay and wire.
Oscar and Golden Globes awards for music composer Bappi Lahiri
Music maestro Bappi Lahiri continues his National & International nomination spree by getting nominated for two films at Oscars 2017 & Golden Globes Awards for -“Best Animated film- Moana” & “Best Film- Lion”
The first time in the history of Indian Music Fraternity that a music composer & singer “Bappi Lahiri” is associated with “Two Oscar nominations & Tow Golden Globes Awards for the films “Moana & Lion”
He says that music affects the way we live. Our thoughts, our joys and sorrows, the way we think and the way we dance; all of it moving to the unending melodies and patterns of the soundtrack of our lives.
With some of the finest pieces of music work to his kitty, music icon Bappi Lahiri feels overwhelmed with the musical association in the film Moana & Lion which has been nominated at Oscars & Golden Globes Awards where he has lend his melodious voice for songs in each films “This year has bought the best gift for me. I feel 2017 is a big blessing of my long journey in musical life. I thank God, my parents, my family and all my fans all over the world “
Music Composer, Music Director, Singer, Actor & Record Producer thanks his friends and family members after his historical nomination “I feel proud to glorify our country on International platform. Not just me, the entire team of Moana, Lion are over the moon. For me it’s not about the win, it’s about recognition & appreciation. I hope the best person wins”
“India is making its way to Hollywood not just in the field of entertainment & performing arts but everywhere. There is a feeling of acceptance and acknowledgment which feels nice” adds Bappi Lahiri.
Here is a question from an online forum answered by our Editor.
My wife doesn’t want to move to the USA because she’s afraid of racism. What should I do to convince her?
I want to build my startup in the Silicon Valley.
If you want to know what kind of racism she’s afraid of… we are Indian Muslims.
A Muslim family moving to America? Your wife is probably right in voicing her concerns. Here are a few facts to think about:
As an outsider to a new community, one might encounter some element of “racism.” This does not necessarily have to do with religion, but could be due to parochial mindsets, pre-conceived notions of accent, language or other factors.
As others have also mentioned, the Bay Area and Silicon Valley is among the most liberal parts of the country. You and your family will not face much “racism.”
The bay area is home to a vibrant Desi community, and also has several mosques and Islamic community. (list of mosques).
You and your wife will find a welcoming community and find new firends!
The new President has proven that he can walk-the-talk, when it comes to his “promises” on immigration and border control.
We can only speculate on other Executive Actions that the president might or might not take
Bottomline: As an entrepreneur, you are willing to take risks. The risk of moving to a new place is par for the course. Go in with your eyes wide open, and explore the opportunities.