Selvarajoo Sundram was the Founder and former President of GOPIO Malaysia and GOPIO International. He was also the founder of the Hindu Youth Organisation (HYO) of Port Klang. Selvarajoo Sundram passed away on 13th of July 2022 while holding office as the President of the Malaysian Association of Indian University Graduates (MAIUG). The Memorial Service for the late Mr Selvarajoo Sundram was held on Sunday 18th September 2022 at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indian Cultural Centre in Kuala Lumpur. Selva as he is fondly known, was the mentor and advisor for many NGO leaders in Malaysia and overseas.
A visionary, he has been instrumental in the many formulations and implementation of matters pertaining to the PIOs with the Government of India. His interaction with the late Prime Minister H.E. Atal Bihari Vajpayee prior to the formal inception of GOPIO in 1989 and the subsequent leadership of India, has immensely contributed to the growth of GOPIO. He served the PIO community and GOPIO till his very last breath while in office.
Selvarajoo Sundram graduated with a degree in commerce from Bangalore University in 1973. Upon returning to Malaysia in 1974, he was actively involved in PIO NGOs and later served the community full-time after his retirement in 2003. He remained a bachelor throughout and dedicated his entire life to the welfare of Malaysian Indians and the interests of PIOs globally.
Selva was also a backbone for every biennial GOPIO International Convention held since the formation of GOPIO in 1989. The convention would include socio-cultural and socio-economic and socio-educational conferences. He spearheaded and hosted three such Conventions in Malaysia in 2007, 2012 and 2019 with the participation of PIOs from several countries.
Selva was passionate about India and was a strong promoter of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) which was first held on 9th January 2002 under the leadership of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Selva has since attended PBDs, including the regional PBD which was held in Singapore in 2018. He would also ensure that a GOPIO dialogue with the Government of India is held the next day (after PBD).
Selva also lobbied for the PIO Card (People of Indian Origin Card) which has since been changed to the Overseas Citizen of India Card (OCI Card). The PIO Card was soon launched and facilitated privileges and travels to India for PIOs worldwide.
Selva also envisioned the establishment of PIO University for the benefit of the diaspora children. The idea was to further promote India as a destination for higher studies.
Selva envisioned that for the PIO community to become self-sustained, one-third of the community should engage in commerce. To boost the participation of PIOs in commerce Selva planned and spearheaded the GOPIO International Entrepreneur Awards as a biennial programme since 2006. The Awards were to identify and recognise role models in business and also in various other fields.
Selva was all for the preservation, showcase and promotion of Indian heritage, arts and culture and was instrumental in the establishment of Indian Cultural Centres in Malaysia and other countries. He went on to initiate the PIO International Festival as an annual celebration, first held in 2012 in Kuala Lumpur and attended by PIO delegates and artistes from ten countries.
Selva was a prime mover in coordinating cooperation among PIO Sister Organisations in Malaysia. He has initiated and conducted numerous meetings among PIO NGOs to discuss various social and economic issues. This includes several academic forums and countless closed-door meetings.
In this memorial service, Selva was conferred the title ‘Global PIO Icon’ for his relentless and selfless service to the global PIO community. About a hundred people attended this special event and a eulogy booklet containing messages from Selva’s friends and family members was distributed to all in attendance.
The event was attended by the High Commissioner of India His Excellency Mr B.N.Reddy and the High Commissioner of Mauritius His Excellency Mr J.Goburdhun. The Founder Members and past Presidents and Members of GOPIO, MAIUG, HYO and other prominent NGO leaders and friends. The family members of Selva were present. Many gave speeches about Selva and their experiences with him, led by the H.E. B.N.Reddy. Leaders from Mauritius, France, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Singapore, Australia and Japan also joined the gathering via webcast.