Rupi Kaur:

The Indian Canadian breaking taboos with poetry

Aparna Hegde: The gynecologist who’s on Fortune’s 50 greatest leaders list

Global Indian, A hero’s journey

We are an online publication that focuses on the journeys of Indians and Indian companies abroad

Global Indian, A hero’s journey

We are an online publication that focuses on the journeys of Indians and Indian companies abroad

Rupi Kaur:

The Indian Canadian breaking taboos with poetry

Aparna Hegde:

The gynecologist who’s on Fortune’s 50 greatest leaders list

Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s first woman chief economist 

How the Mysuru Malayalee is helping stabilize the world economy during the pandemic

Global Indians | Giving Back

Ideas, initiatives and projects that are making a difference

#1
How Malayalee NRIs are helping Kerala’s ailing handloom industry
Reading Time: 4 mins
#2
LEARNING: Indian American helps educate thousands of rural school kids in 15 languages
Reading Time: 4 mins
#3
CAMPUS: IIT-B gets ₹1.25 crore from Singapore-based alumnus for fundamental research
Reading Time: 3 mins
#4
Learning: How this UK-based startup’s founder is upskilling Kashmiri youth
Reading Time: 3 mins
#5
MENTORING: How a US-based techie is remotely handholding underprivileged Delhi girls
Reading Time: 4 mins
#6
COVID: Indian American doctors’ body donates 160 ventilators to West Bengal
Reading Time: 4 mins

How Malayalee NRIs are helping Kerala’s ailing handloom industry

(July 28, 10 pm) Several NRI groups are stepping up to help Kerala’s COVID-hit weavers find new global markets. That would be welcome news to people from Thirvananthapuram’s Balaramapuram village, Kerala’s weaving capital, which once used to be home to more than 2,000 artisans. The number has now dwindled to 500 with scores of unemployed artisans.

  • World Malayalee Council
The US-based World Malayalee Council is placing bulk orders to source 3,000 to 5,000 gift hampers including traditional handloom mundu (garment resembling a dhoti), kasavu saris, masks and blouse materials from weavers at Balaramapuram, which got the Geographical Indication tag a decade ago. WMC has 50 affiliated units across the world and members of these groups will be able to buy these products — and get it delivered before the Onam festival — through an online platform. For the first time ever, the weavers will directly work with the NRI body. Overall 100 consignments will be delivered to Gulf Council Countries alone.
  • Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action
Small weavers’ products will be exported to the US during the Onam season under the auspices of the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA). CISSA member Murali Kumar told New Indian Express that 32 US-based organizations have extended support for this cause. Other long-term plans include setting up a handloom village, training the younger generation in key skills and organizing a National Handloom Expo.  

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LEARNING: Indian American helps educate thousands of rural school kids in 15 languages

(July 23, 5:20 pm) California-based Biswajit Nayak is a big fan of Mohan Bhargava, the character Shah Rukh Khan plays in the 2004 movie Swades. One can spot parallels between the evolution of Bhargava’s character and Nayak’s journey — both yearn to give back to the hinterland they were born into. Much like the film’s protagonist, Nayak grew up in a small village (Narigaon) in Odisha’s Jajpur district, and pursued BTech in software engineering from NIT Rourkela before moving to Silicon Valley in 1999.

“Many people equate an NRI with the concept of ‘brain drain,’ and I am self-aware enough to know that I am in that category. I loved my job (and still do) but there was a gnawing feeling that I was not doing enough for my people, my village, all who had made some contribution to the person I am today,” Nayak told The Better India.

How it began

During his visits from the US to Narigaon, the Oracle engineering manager would find time to teach the local students. It resulted in him starting a small tuition centre called Madhushudhan Shikya Kendra. Six years back, this endeavour took a deeper structure in the form of Shikhya (now Aveti Learning) with the aim of providing quality education support to rural pockets of Odisha. California-based Biswajit Nayak is a big fan of Mohan Bhargava, the character Shah Rukh Khan plays in the 2004 movie Swades. Today, Aveti has content in more than 15 Indian languages, including Odia. 120 people across Odisha independently-run coaching centres using Aveti Learning’s smart learning curriculum. Aveti itself has an 18-member-team including teachers and content creators. Overall, what started as Nayak’s small giving back initiative has touched more than 8,000 students. Aveti’s YouTube channels have more than 46,000 subscribers and over 25 lakh views on their videos.

15 Reads

CAMPUS: IIT-B gets ₹1.25 crore from Singapore-based alumnus for fundamental research

(Our Bureau, July 22; 6pm) IIT Bombay has received a grant of $168,000 (₹1.25 crore) from Singapore-based quantitative trading expert Nivesh Kumar, an alumnus from the Class of 2006. The gift is directed towards a fund focused on Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR) — one of the institute's first inter-disciplinary initiatives — and seeks to promote fundamental research among students and faculty members. Kumar, who completed his MTech from the elite institute, presently works as a Systematic Portfolio Manager at Exodus Point Capital Management. He has worked in Japan, Hong Kong, the UK and Singapore for different investment banks and hedge funds,

“It is increasingly important to provide exposure and opportunities to deserving students so that they can realize their potential. The objective of the endowment is to nurture a culture of in-depth research for students and faculty in the IEOR,” Kumar said.

 Global Indians Giving Back

India’s IITs are seeing an increase in donations from overseas alumni. Before Kumar, US-based Exodus Point’s chief risk officer Dev Joneja had donated $175,000 (₹1.27 crore) towards his alma mater IIT Kanpur. Recently, US-based corporate trainer Rekha and entrepreneur Rizwan Koita donated ₹25 crore ($3.4 million) to help their alma mater set up a digital healthcare center under the aegis of Koita Foundation. Annual donations collected by IIT-B from corporate and alumni networks grew to ₹80 crore in 2020-21, from ₹20 crore in 2017-18.

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Learning: How this UK-based startup’s founder is upskilling Kashmiri youth

(Our Bureau, July 19; 6:55 pm) School dropout-turned-entrepreneur Sheikh Asif wants to make more Kashmiri youth job-ready and help them wade through the vagaries of the pandemic. The 27-year-old, who founded UK-based web designing company Thames Infotech, is spreading awareness about web designing and digital marketing among the Kashmiris. So far, Sheikh claims to have taught digital marketing to 800 students across the globe. He is a nominee for Padma Shri 2022 — one of India’s highest civilian awards.

Kashmir to UK

Hailing from Srinagar’s Batamaloo area, Asif dropping out of school in 2008 due to financial constraints. Following this, he worked with a local IT company in Kashmir. Speaking to YourStory, Asif said:
“I have only studied till 8th standard. However, in 2016, I got a chance to visit the United Kingdom, where I met a Google employee who assisted me to set up a web design company Thames Infotech.”
Today, he runs the company out of Kashmir. Students can reach him on his official website (www.sheikhasif.com) or through his Facebook account.

Suicide prevention app

There has been an alarming rise in the number of suicide cases in Kashmir over the last year.  In a bid to promote mental health during the pandemic and give people an avenue to vent out their concerns, Asif created a mobile application named ‘Listen To Me”. In just three weeks, more than 100 people downloaded the app, he said.

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MENTORING: How a US-based techie is remotely handholding underprivileged Delhi girls

(Our Bureau, July 15; 4:55 pm) Giving back can take different forms — it doesn’t always have to be about making money available to solve a problem. Ask 47-year-old techie Shaloo Jeswani. The Sushant University alumna is using technology and social media for mentoring and counseling underprivileged Delhi girls. Yes, she does help these girls financially when needed but more importantly, she is creating a network to assist them with the right knowledge, support, and a means to bond. It all began with her forming an equation with the daughters of the domestic staff at her parents’ home in Delhi. Speaking to The Better India, the business intelligence professional who has worked at the University of California and Cisco Systems, said:

“What I started off with is just connecting with them on a call and speaking to them once a week. These conversations were just a way for me to stay in touch and find out how the girls were doing in school — whether they needed help or if they wanted to share something that happened with them.”

Heartstrings with pursestrings
Thus, the Global Indian started helping the girls with the social and academic gaps they were facing – from filling out college forms to connecting them with the right people to get more information on courses. Today, she is in touch with five such families — from adolescent teenagers to single women in their 30s — and has helped at least 5 girls continue with their schooling. Jeswani, who has been living in the US for two decades, says people should open up their heartstrings too along with their purse strings.

“Imagine if each of us would bond with five such families, this could be an endless chain of support. A chain of ek ka paanch (1 to 5), that touches many families. We could make this world a better place,” she says.

RELATED READ: The Singaporean Indian professor who donated 3,000 books 

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COVID: Indian American doctors’ body donates 160 ventilators to West Bengal

(Our Bureau, July 13) The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) is donating 160 low-cost CoVent ventilators to West Bengal in association with non-profit Bangla Worldwide. The lion’s share of units is being given to the state government and charitable hospitals while 40 are being gifted to private hospitals under the condition that they won’t charge patients for ventilator support.

“Applications were sought from NGOs and their credentials are being checked before the critical devices are handed over to aid treatment,” Justice Chittatosh Mookerjee, who leads Bangla Wordwide, told Times of India.

Global Indians giving back
AAPI is the largest ethnic medical organization in the US representing about 10,000 Indian-origin physicians. Anupama Gotimukula, the newly appointed president of AAPI recently said that her organization envisages affordable healthcare services and aims to establish a support system for doctors. The devastating second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic brought the country’s shortage of ventilators to the fore. While a lot of help poured in from across the world, hospitals are now bulking up their resources ahead of a likely third wave.

15 Reads

Global Indian | Good Reads

 Top reads curated from the internet 

#1
India burns: Air pollution & how to control it – Harish Bijoor
Reading Time: 5 mins
#2
Bright future awaits Indian diaspora: Ejaz Ghani
Reading Time: 5 mins
#3
Zucking the Notion of Free Speech: Facebook’s problem is its business model – TOI
Reading Time: 7 mins
#4
Fifty shades of humbug: Why desis pretend they don’t consume porn – Shobhaa De
Reading Time: 5 mins
#5
What Makes Elon Musk Different: Walter Isaacson
Reading Time: 5 mins
#6
Investor warning: Unicorns can go bust too – Swaminathan A Aiyar
Reading Time: 7 mins

India burns: Air pollution & how to control it – Harish Bijoor

(Harish Bijoor is a brand guru and founder of Harish Bijoor Consults. This column first appeared in The New Indian Express on July 20, 2021)

  • India burns its crop. India burns its garbage. India burns a lot it wants to get rid of. Let’s look around. Crop burning is a practice. Our food-bowl states grow crops for us. At the end of the crop, every plant has produced two things: Things we as well as our buffalos, cows and goats will eat, and stuff that no one will eat. This is considered to be fit to burn. And burn we do. In the crop harvest months, the entire country wears a pall of crop-burning gloom. There is a haze in our lives that one has come to expect every year come the season to burn. If rural agrarian India does this with gusto, urban and mini-metro India is not too far with its burning fetish. Burning (not controlled incineration) is par for the course in our big cities and towns alike. We love to burn dry leaves and twigs to warm ourselves in the winter months. We love to burn dry garbage all year round. It’s considered a great way to get rid of a voluminous mess. Burn up those mounds of leaf and garbage and within hours the ground is clear. All that is left is ash and plastic residue. The rest has gone into the air, polluting it along with everyone who breathes it all in...

Read the full article
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Bright future awaits Indian diaspora: Ejaz Ghani

(Ejaz Ghani is an economist who has worked for the World Bank and taught at Oxford University. This column first appeared in The Hindu Business Line on August 2, 2021)

  • India has the largest diaspora in the world with 18 million people living outside their homeland. The relationship between diaspora, home country, and new country is complex, and it is still evolving. It can raise sentiments of distrust, envy, and resentment. But, the diaspora is also a lifeline to many, as global remittances exceed foreign direct investment inflows. Diaspora networking has also accelerated knowledge and technological diffusion. Global development institutions are exploring how diaspora bonds can be used as new instruments for development. Although the share of migrants in the world’s population has remained mostly stable for six decades, its composition has changed. The share of high-skilled migrants relative to low-skilled migrants has grown dramatically during the last decade. Nearly 75 per cent of all high-skilled migrants reside in the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia. More than 70 per cent of software engineers in Silicon Valley are foreign-born.

Read the full article
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Zucking the Notion of Free Speech: Facebook’s problem is its business model – TOI

(The article first appeared in The Times of India on July 31, 2021)  

  • At the core of Facebook’s recent troubles, the book argues, has been Mark Zuckerberg’s simplistic conception of free speech – refusing to take down misinformation, hate speech and inflammatory rhetoric, maintaining in every instance that “the only way to fight bad information is with good information”. This callow notion naturally has no defence against concerted hate campaigns, and the deliberate sowing of confusion and chaos. The platform actively amplifies these attempts, given the nature of the algorithm. Lacking a principled framework on speech, and single-mindedly chasing engagement and revenue, Facebook gave free play to Donald Trump’s provocations too, letting itself be used to plan the Capitol violence...

Read the full article
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Fifty shades of humbug: Why desis pretend they don’t consume porn – Shobhaa De

(Shobhaa De is a novelist and columnist. The article first appeared in The Times of India on August 1, 2021)  

  • Popular culture explores sexuality in several highly creative ways. There are folk songs, wedding rituals, and temple sculptures. There is no such thing as ‘gupt gyan’ no matter how hard we pretend to be prudish. If our education system could be rejigged to include sex education, there would be much less misinformation and far more acceptance about a topic that has been pushed under the carpet for years and years — come on, we can handle it! The Kundra case raises many issues. It is not just about one man’s porn industry getting busted. It also makes us review our own attitude towards sex and related topics. It’s a case worth tracking just to see how many diverse narratives it throws up for public discourse — considering how squeamish we are about intercourse!

Read the full article
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What Makes Elon Musk Different: Walter Isaacson

(Walter Isaacson is an American professor and author. This column first appeared in New York Times on July 23, 2021)

  • In August of 2008, Elon Musk watched with delight and then horror as the Falcon 1 rocket built by his company SpaceX launched from an atoll in the Pacific and then, just after the first stage separated, tumbled out of control. Its payload, including a United States Air Force satellite and the remains of the late actor James Doohan, who had played Scotty on Star Trek, crashed into the ocean. It was the third failed attempt by SpaceX to launch a satellite into orbit. Musk had not budgeted for another. “I thought that if we couldn’t get this thing to orbit in three failures, we deserved to die,” he later said. A few weeks later, he gathered the top executives of Tesla, his troubled electric car company, and said they were about to run out of money. They had burned through much of the millions of dollars of deposits that customers had paid to get in line for the high-end Roadster the company had promised but not yet delivered. Musk fired the CEO, appointed himself to the role, and launched a plan to cut 25 percent of his workforce. Over dinner with one of his investors at a Beverly Hills steakhouse, he confided that the company had only three weeks of cash left...

Read the full article
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Investor warning: Unicorns can go bust too – Swaminathan A Aiyar

(Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar is consulting editor at The Economic Times. The article first appeared in the Times of India on August 1, 2021)  

  • Some investors ask, even if it is dangerous to plunge into all IPOs, is it not much safer to plunge into unicorns, since these already have massive backing from the financial powerhouses of the world like Softbank and KKR? If those massive investors are willing to wait patiently for a decade before a unicorn turns profitable, does that not protect them from the plunges seen in lesser companies unbacked by global finance? Yes, there is a greater degree of safety. But high finance is not rushing into unicorns expecting them all to become Amazons and Facebooks one day. The global financiers think big, and support ventures that have the potential to become world class even if that is speculative and will take time. The financiers expect the vast majority of these unicorns to ultimately fail. But it is nevertheless worth investing in a big way because even if just one or two out of a hundred turn out to be major successes, that will more than compensate for the collapse of most of the rest.

Read the full article
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Global Indian | World in Numbers

Statistically speaking

Global Indian | Did You Know? 

Fun facts about India and Global Indians

GLOBAL INDIAN | PICTURES & VIDEOS

Your daily dose of visual media picked by our editorial team

Videos

  • Watch the moment India’s Neeraj Chopra made a stunning Olympics debut with his monster throw of 86.65m in javelin throw. He is now on his way to the finals at the Tokyo Olympics.
    Duration: 1 min
  • It was his natural curiosity that led him to Hollywood and to the opening of his boutique, House of Waris. Waris Ahluwalia talks about his journey into the world of films, fashion and finding his identity in America.
    Duration: 5 mins
  • Set between Bangalore and Kashmir, Madhuri Vijay’s The Far Field explores the fractured relationship of a mother and daughter, the pain of unrequited love and the need to escape a life. With her poignant debut novel that also delves into India’s geo-political situation, Vijay outranked the likes of Perumal Murugan to win the JCB Prize for Literature in 2019.
    Duration: 12 mins