Singh – A Social Entrepreneur
Los Angeles associations recognized him with "Life Time Achievement
or / and honored him with his continued support
Los Angeles, August 30, 2008
By Gary Singh
I attended four India Independence Day functions during this
month and I had the opportunity of meeting with Inder Singh in
three of the four events. I saw him being respected as a celebrity
and felt interviewing the gentleman and write about his services
to the community.
in Artesia on Aug 9, 2008
in San Fernando Valley on August 16- India Association of
San Fernando Valley recognized Inder Singh with “Life
Time Achievement Award”
in Riverside on August 24- India Association of Inland Empire
at their function in Riverside honored Inder Singh for helping
them start and nurture the association and for his continued
support during the last fifteen years.
in Diamond Bar on August 24 evening- Federation of India
Association of Southern California at their Diamond Bar banquet
extended more respect to the founder Inder Singh than even to
their chief guest at their function.
Inder Singh got involved with the Indian community
during his university days in Los Angeles. He has continued his
active involvement during the past over forty years even when
his family and IT profession demanded every minute of his time.
“And it has been a great journey and rewarding experience
in life,” says Inder Singh
Inder Singh is currently the president
of Global Organization of people of Indian Origin (GOPIO),
an international body with chapters in over twenty five countries.
In 1989, the National Federation of Indian American Associations
(NFIA), a national body of people of Indian origin in the USA,
then headed by Inder Singh, convened the First Global Convention
of People of Indian Origin under the leadership of Dr. Thomas
Abraham, his predecessor. Never in the history, was any attempt
ever made to bring mother India’s forgotten children settled
in various countries, on one platform, under one banner. During
the five-day convention in New York, delegates from twenty-two
countries, including many community and political stalwarts of
Indian origin settled in various countries, participated in the
deliberations. At the conclusion of the convention, the Global
Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) was formed. Fourteen
years later, Government of India started organizing a conference
of overseas Indians at a scale much bigger than what the NFIA
volunteers had put together in New York in 1989 and named it Pravasi
Bhartiya Divas which is organized annually now.
In 2003, Inder Singh was elected president of GOPIO and since
then, he has been devoting almost full time to serve the global
Indian Diaspora. During the last four years, he has visited many
countries, met with Indian business and political leaders in those
countries and has increased the number of GOPIO chapters by five
times. GOPIO is highly recognized and respected body and has since
inception lobbied for the rights, concerns and issues of the global
Indian community. There are many accomplishments of this organization
and are listed on their website www.gopio.net.
In 1984, Inder in his capacity as the convener of the 4th National
Biennial NFIA convention, organized a highly successful meet in
Los Angeles where cabinet minister N.D. Tiwari, U.S. Ambassador
to India, John Dean, India’s Ambassador P.N. Kaul and San
Francisco based Consul General of India participated during all
the three days of the convention. U.S. Senator Garry Hart, two
congressmen and local elected officials also addressed the convention.
It was a major undertaking to bring many dignitaries and delegates
and mobilize 3000 Indian Americans to attend the national convention,
first in the West coast of the United States.
Inder has lobbied extensively for many issues dear to the Indian
American community. While serving as president of the National
Federation, he mobilized the Indian American community and successfully
piloted nation-wide campaign against the supply of highly sophisticated
military hardware, including AWACS to Pakistan. The Indian community
educated the U.S. lawmakers about the danger of AWACS in the hands
of Pakistan. Inder claims that it was victory for the community
to see Pakistan’s failed attempt to get the desired military
In 1986, Senator Kennedy proposed drastic reduction in the immigration
quota for Family Reunification provisions of the U.S. Immigration
laws. Joining hands with other Asian national organizations, Inder
Singh as the leader of the National Federation, mobilized the
Indian American community against the proposed reductions, and
convinced many U.S. lawmakers to keep the then family reunification
quota intact. After long and hard struggle spanning over five
years, the new Immigration Act retained the original quota of
the Family Reunification provisions of the old law.
In 2001, Inder with the support of some committed community activists
formed Global Punjabi Diaspora, to recognize the contributions
of Punjabis to their new homeland and to preserve and globalize
their heritage and culture. He organized a highly successful commemoration
event in January 2002, for late Dalip Singh Saund, the first Indian
elected to the U.S. Congress. The event attracted many Indian
“firsts” from North America, the first state senator,
Satveer Chaudhary of Minesota, the first state assemblyman, Kumar
Barve of Maryland, the first highest ranking presidential appointee,
Dr. Joy Cherian, of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and
the first premier of a state in North America, Ujjal Dosanjh.
In 2003, he organized “Tribute to pioneers, patriots and
Gadar heroes” at the 90th anniversary of Gadar movement
in San Jose for which former President K.R. Narayana came to USA
for Valedictory address.
As a result of the awareness created by the publicity about the
Saund event, Congressman Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina) introduced
a bill which called for the placement of a portrait of former
Congressman Dalip Singh Saund in the U.S. Capitol Building or
inside a House office building. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-California)
moved a bill which named a post office building, 'Dalip Singh
Saund Post Office Building' in Temecula, Riverside County in California.
Government of India recognized Saund by naming one of the conference
halls as “Dalip Singh Saund Hall” at the first Pravasi
Bhartiya Divas in New Delhi in 2003. At the state level in California,
Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez moved resolution AJR 1 calling for an
annual day of recognition to honor the late Dalip Singh Saund
on Sept. 20, his birthday, for his outstanding achievement as
the first native of Asia to be elected to the US Congress. Resolution
AJR 1 officially became law when it was chaptered on July 6, 2005
by California Secretary of State. Inder may not be credited with
all the recognition that the late Congressman Saund got but he
is the author of the initiative and deserves credit for many recognitions
that the “forgotten” first Asian Congressman has got
after the commemoration event of January 2002.
Inder is probably the only Indian American who has chaired reception
committees to officially host serving presidents of two countries,
president of India, Giani Zail Singh, and president of the United
States, George Bush, once in 1989 and then in 1991. No other Indian
American has that distinct honor to date. He also facilitated
reception at LA city hall for Prime Minister Mrs. Indra Gandhi.
Besides involvement with the Indian American community, Inder
has held leadership positions in Asian community organizations.
He co-founded the Asian & Pacific American Republicans Coalition
which became an officially chartered organ of the California Republican
Party. In 1991, he became member of the Asian Advisory Board of
the Republican National Committee. He also served as National
Co-Chairman for Asian Americans for Bush/Quayle ’92, National
Honorary Chairman for Asian Americans for Bush/Quayle ’88
and National Vice Chairman for Asian Americans for Reagan/Bush
’84, and Co-chairman of Asian Americans for Simon for California
In 1992, Inder served on the Presidential Rank Review Board,
an appointment by the White House to review and rank senior Federal
Government executives for Meritorious Services Award. He also
served as a Board Member from 1995 to 2001 and Vice Chair from
1998 to 1999 of the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, a
national body of Asian Americans with offices in most of the states
in the U.S. with Asian population, catering to the needs of Asian
seniors. For the premier of “Gandhi” movie in Southern
California, he served as advisor to UNICEF.
In 1981, Inder founded Federation of Indian American Associations
of Southern California, to celebrate India Independence Day and
Republic Day on a large scale. The celebration of these two events
has become an annual tradition in greater Los Angeles area. He
also co-founded India Association of Los Angeles (San Fernando
Valley) and encouraged and supported the formation of India Association
of Inland Empire. Inder is president of Indian American Heritage
Foundation which has been recognizing and rewarding excellence
among Indian American High school graduates every year for the
last twenty two years.
Inder Singh has been speaking and writing on Indian Diaspora
and many of his articles have been published in some Indian newspapers
in the United States. Two years ago, he spoke at a conference
in North Gujarat University, Patan on “Punjabi Diaspora
in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.” In January, 2008, he
spoke on “Indian Diaspora in the US” at a conference
in Chandigarh and his article has been published by Indian Express
(US Edition) in 2008 India Independence Supplement. The article
gives brief account of Indian community in the United States since
the beginning of twentieth century and is strongly recommended
to all those who want to know about their Indian American Heritage.
It is also available at NRIPRESS website: www.nriinternet.com/NRI_Columnists/E_Q/I/Inder_Singh/index.htm.
Inder Singh has spent many years of his life on issues dear to
the Indian American community. He has been a community architect,
a social entrepreneur and dedicated and committed community activist.
“Community involvement in the beginning was a social pastime;
service for fellow NRIs/PIOs is a fulltime passion now”,
says Inder Singh.