There is a high chance that Indian diaspora will lead the 'immigrants-in-politics' poll by a mile.
This Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) was graced by Indian origin politicians from across the world.
Starting with the Chief Guest of PBD 2017, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa who has roots in Goa. His father owned a house in Margão.
The young and handsome Michael Ashwin Satyandre Adhin, 36, Vice President of the Republic of Suriname was the Special Guest at the Youth PBD. His Indian roots go back to 144 year to the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Other Indian origin politicians were from Mauritius, Malaysia, Canada and UK.
Antonio Costa is very proud of his Indian heritage. At one point in time during his speech he raised his Person of Indian (PIO) card and waved to the crowd to show his Indian heritage. He is the first person of Indian origin to lead a European country.
He is also scheduled to visit his 200-year-old ancestral house in Margao, Goa to meet his family. His first cousin, Anna Kaarina Costa, is very excited about the visit of Portuguese PM. She currently lives at the Costa House, located on Abade Faria Road.
During his address, Costa stressed the role of the Indian community’s contribution in Portugal, highlighting that both countries have a centuries-old relationship. He exhorted the diaspora for foreign direct investment, stressing his country’s geographic advantage and focused on strategic partnership and development of India and Portugal.
A lawyer-turned-politician known as “Babush” - the Konkani word for boy - Costa was born in Lisbon in 1961, the year India liberated Goa from Portuguese rule. Son of novelist Orlando de Costa, whose writings included essays on Rabindranath Tagore, Antonio served as parliamentary affairs minister under Prime Minister Antonio Guterres in a Socialist government between 1991 and 1999 and was later Lisbon’s mayor from 2007 to 2015.
Michael Ashwin Satyandre Adhin
Michael Ashwin Satyandre Adhin is the vice president of Suriname. He was the Special Guest at the Youth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held on 7 January. While addressing the convention, Adhin stressed for a stronger and more influential India that was needed for the balance of power in the world.
Adhin said,“India can become a superpower and had the potential to become a spiritual and cultural hub. The youth diaspora should work for mutual benefits while recognising their strength of enterprise and entrepreneurship.”
He was born in Paramaribo, Suriname. An engineer by profession, he did his Bachelor's degree in Electrical and IT at Anton De Kom University, Suriname in 2003. He started his career as Lecturer, Head Supervisor and Joint Coordinator in Anton De Kom University, Suriname.
In July 2013, he was chosen as the Minister of Education, Science and Culture and thus joined politics as a member of the National Democratic Party (NDP) of President Bouterse. Adhin successfully contested the May 2015 General Elections and was chosen as Vice President.
He is one of the youngest Vice Presidents of the word and an avid Yoga practitioner and healer, student and teacher of Hindustani classical music adept in vocal, tabla and harmonium. He was National Checkers Champion of Suriname in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam
Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam is the Minister of Health in Malaysia, a Malaysian politician of Indian origin. He previously served as Deputy President of the Malaysian Indian Congress, a major component party of the ruling Barisan National (BN).
Dr Subra, as he is known to many, is a dermatologist by training. He has been the Member of Parliament representing Segamat since 2004. Previously, he had been the parliamentary secretary to the Housing and Local Government Minister. He served as Human Resource Minister from 18 March 2008 until 5 May 2013. After the 2013 election, he became the Minister for Health.
Virendra Kumar Sharma
Virendra Kumar Sharma is a British Labour Party politician and Member of Parliament from Ealing Southhall since 2007. He was born in India in 1947 and educated at the London School of Economics. He is also the member of the parliamentary select committees on Health, Human Rights and International Development.
Sharma travelled to Hanwell from India in 1968, where he worked as a day services manager for people with learning disabilities in Hillingdon. He started his political career by joining the Liberal Party, then switched to Labour in later years. He was Race Equalities Officer to the Labour Party nationally.
Ruby Dhalla (born February 18, 1974) is a Canadian politician and former Member
of Parliament of the Canadian House of Commons. She represented the riding of Brampton-Springdale in the Canadian House of Commons from 2004 to 2011 as a member of the Liberal Party. She made history as one of the first women of Indian origin to get elected in Canada as a Member of Parliament. Given her health care credentials and business experience, Dhalla was appointed to the Standing Committee on Health. In Parliament, Dhalla became known as an articulate and aggressive speaker on issues affecting her constituents, minorities and women.
Mukeshwar Choonee is the former Minister of Arts and Culture of Mauritius and former ambassador of the country to India. He is presently International Coordinator- Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) International in Mauritius. His experience as Minister of Arts and Culture and High Commissioner of Mauritius to India has allowed him to pioneer many firsts in connecting, partnering and engaging the Indian Diaspora, particularly the descendants of the Girmitiyas with India.
He has participated in previous PBD events in India and most countries of the Diaspora, including the French Speaking one as a speaker. As an eminent Overseas Indian he is recognised for his contribution to worthy causes and achievements in keeping the flag of India high. After successfully convincing UNESCO to recognise the "Indentured Labor Route Project", he wants to focus on a better understanding of the dynamics of Girmitiyas and ensures that India and the world look at them and their descendants differently.
Selvarajoo Sundram is the Chairman of GOPIO International. He was a pivotal force in reviving and revamping the Malaysian Association of Indian University Graduates (MAIUG) in the early 1980s. He participated in the inaugural session of the PIO conference in New York in September 1989 and became a founding member of the Global Organization for People of Indian Origin (GOPIO).
Since then, he has provided much needed leadership in building the global network of PIOs. He was President of GOPIO Malaysia for two terms and played a central role for the global drive to network PIOs. Within a decade, GOPIO established its strong presence in the global PIO community with Mauritius as its International Headquarters.
He steered the PIO organisation with regular academic, entrepreneurship and cultural international Forums and Conferences.
Madan Dullo is a prominent senior Politician and Barrister of Mauritius. He has been elected Member of Parliament in seven General Elections since 1976. He held different Ministerial portfolios in the Government of Mauritius, including Foreign Affairs, International Trade & International Cooperation; Agriculture, Fisheries & Natural Resources; Attorney General & Minister of Justice. He was the Chairman of several Parliamentary Committees, including on the promotion of Oriental Languages at schools and on Drug Trafficking.
Malini Sewocksingh is a Member of Parliament from Mauritius. She started her career in the early childhood Development project organised by the UNICEF. She is also an entrepreneur in the tourism industry with nearly 15 years of experience with a proven track record in developing new businesses. Her active social life, helping the elderly and the vulnerable, has helped her a lot in getting along with citizens. She is also a member of the Pan African Parliament.
Dr. Dew Sharman
Dr. Dew Sharman is a Member of the Parliament of Suriname since May 2015. He completed his graduation from the Anton De Kom University of Suriname as a medical doctor at the primary health level. His various trainings include management, statistics, Yoga, suicide prevention and counselling. He is a Board member of different Arya Samaj organisations and supporter to Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Suriname.