Convention Festival of Ideas – Intra PIO Diaspora Tour And Travel


The PIO Diaspora is slowly but surely rising as a collective world Community. The dynamics of globalization is a major cause for this new thinking for a global grouping among the people of Indian Origin or PIOs. This global grouping is a relatively new thinking, despite the efforts for networking among the PIOs being a little more than a decade old now. The vision of GOPIO (Global Organization of People of Indian Origin) is to bond the PIOs as a global community. GOPIO is non-political and non-sectarian by design and the emphasis is on social, economic and cultural cooperation and exchange. The diversity within the PIO community is immensely varied, and this diversity is also our strength. Avoidance of party politics and sectarian activities in GOPIO is an effective means to hold the diversified community together as a united PIO community.

This is a common question that pops up, soon after a short period of “feeling good and being part of a world PIO community” through the activities of GOPIO. Getting to know and meeting the PIOs in different countries that have similar histories of migration and where the people have been able to pull through huge socio-economic difficulties to live much better lives in the present has given the “Feel Good” and the sense of being “one people”. There are many similarities and cultural practices that can be shared among these migrant Communities and this leads to a natural tendency to recognize that the international PIO community is a single global Community. However, this happiness lasts for a short period of few years and then, the intercommunication thins out. Sustaining global networking among the PIOs calls for much more systemic efforts and the continued holding of hands.

Common Histories

The forefathers of the PIO people of South Africa, Reunion and the Southeast Asian countries mostly left India from the then Madras Presidency region in south India and the same goes for the PIO people of Mauritius, Fiji and the Caribbean countries, who are mainly from today’s State of Bihar, in north India. Gujarati is another major PIO Community. Together, all these PIOs from India have similarities in the many phases of their socio-economic histories of more than 100 years. Their separate histories in the various countries are littered with identical sufferings and almost similar struggles to arrive at their current status of being much better off than their forefathers. When they meet, their feel good and bonding is grounded in their common histories of phases of struggles. GOPIO was formed on the synergy of this oneness of the PIO communities from the various countries.

Today, together they make up a community of more than 30 million people. GOPIO expects the PIO community to rise to become a major global community for the well being of themselves as well as for all peoples of the world. This is not merely a laudable guideline, but one of the entrenched principal objectives of GOPIO: that PIOs, network globally, shall together aspire of the well-being of the PIO community and all peoples of the world.

PIO Image - past and present Mahatma Gandhi, a role model PIO

At times, the current period seems to be a world of desperation. Terrorism is the answer for some. But the irony is that this same prevalent terrorism was foreseen by quite a few and narrated in numerous writings. The “Clash of Civilizations” by Samuel Huntington is only one of such cautions, followed with detailed explanations. However, looking around at the current happenings, obviously equability is not going to arrive peacefully, on a golden platter.

And if humankind is not careful, more communities could end up in desperate stand-offs. In this environment of violence and potentially more violence, there is a dire need to promote the ethics of ahimsa or non-violence. It is heartening to observe that in the history of more than 150 years of the PIO community, the PIOs have largely abhorred recourse to violence and have sought peaceful means to resolve their many problems. To be heard and to find resolution to their problems and issues, they protest; organize protest rallies; lobby; pray and they fast.

Ahimsa or nor violent action is PIOs cultural strength. The passage of the PIOs from the past to the present has been through civic actions and such form of actions will remain their choice means for their future tasks and objectives. Mahatma Gandhi is an excellent role model from within the PIO Communities, for it is during his fourteen years stay in South Africa; he first experimented with Ahimsa or non-violence protest and succeeded.