Successful Media Leader, Community Activist; and Cultural Ambassador
It was in 2007; I met Gins for the first time. Gins called me and said, “I want to meet you. Can you tell me when you have some time for me?” I did not know him nor did I hear about Gins. He told me that he had heard about me that I am a journalist and that he has a plan to start a publication. I was working in the Bronx, NY and he came driving from his home in Long Island to meet with me in the Bronx. We both met for the first time at a local McDonalds during my office lunch break, trying to get to know one another.
Gins told me that he wanted to start an English monthly magazine, targeting the American Indian audience. I was surprised that someone who had immigrated to the United States barely a year earlier, dares to launch an ethnic magazine. I had agreed in principle to be the Chief Editor after discussing the content and the target audience. I did not hear back from Gins for a couple of months since our meeting.
One beautiful morning, I had another phone call from Gins. This time he tells me, “We are ready to launch the magazine. Are you ready to lead it?” Since then, The Asian Era, a monthly magazine has been hitting almost all major American Indian stores, institutions, churches, cultural organizations and individual families every month.
During my long association with Gins, I was surprised by his commitment and total dedication. A matriculate planner, he envisaged and executed every aspect of planning, printing, circulating, fundraising, delivery, and management of the publications. Soon, Gins had three publications. In addition to The Asian Era, he was the publisher of Aksharam, a Malayalam Bimonthly magazine and Jai Hind Vartha, a monthly tabloid newspaper, with multiple editions, read by hundreds of thousands of people across the globe both in print and online. It was often with the help of minimum input from others, he would manage everything. Gins would drive from Pennsylvania to Connecticut delivering copies of the publications weekly or monthly depending on the need.
Gins is also the Director of Jaihind TV USA, which made headlines after it successfully hosted musical reality shows in all major states of North America, a platform of opportunities for young talents to be heard, seen and loved by the vast viewership of the channel. The Channel was a pioneer in its kind and diversity in USA which apart from talent hunts dedicated its airtime to showcase business and industry leaders and closely followed the US presidential election. The weekly program ‘US Diary’ brought to the attention of the authorities, the difficulties and challenges faced by immigrant Indians in the US.
“It’s real passion, if someone dedicates more than 17 years of his life for contributing in the media dictum,” Gins says with pride and confidence. Hailing from Thodupuzha, Kerala in India Ginsmon Zacharia, with an MBA degree in Marketing and a Law degree, chose print and visual media to be his profession and his decision did serve him right.
Ginsmon Zacharia and print media took off like any other but dramatically redefined the industry outlook. Experienced in successfully starting, and establishing Newspapers in the UK and the USA with circulation in Canada too, he strategized unorthodox means to establish and win the hearts and trust of many. Gins find “Ethnic media as a means to express and restore the culture and link with our motherland and our culture.”
Not satisfied with the work he has been doing in the media world, with the objective of bringing all the ethnic media persons under one umbrella, Gins was instrumental in founding the The Indo-American Press Club. Serving currently as the Coordinator of the Indo-American Press Club, an organization he founded and chaired for three years, Gins has been behind the successful team of three International Media Conferences around the country, in addition to several local events by the Club’s many Chapters around the nation.
Gins had initially immigrated to England to pursue his higher education. After graduating and married to his beautiful wife, Siji, Gins decided to relocate and make the United States his home. Recounting his experiences while in the UK, Gins recalls, “In my first year in the UK, I got an opportunity to join a print media, Deepika, the first Malayalam daily news paper in Kerala, established over 130 years ago. The European edition of Deepika targeted the Malayalee community in Europe. And it was at this time; I came to realize that the media is a powerful platform to organize my community and use it as a platform to serve our community.”
And Gins wanted to have a larger Indian audience abroad to work with and to cherish his goal of serving the community through the media. He found the American Indian audience to be a dominant force to reach his message. He realized that having over 600,000 Malayalees and nearly 3 million people of Indian origin in the US gave him an amazing audience to launch an ethnic media platform. Since then, he and his family relocated from the UK to the United States. Having some of his relatives already in the US made that transfer easier initially.
In the past 12 years, Gins has been in the US; the young entrepreneur has seen quite a few changes in the fast-growing Indian American community. “The educated and highly successful Indian community in the US is a vital part in our adopted land. If we coordinate this powerful group, we can make a remarkable influence in our motherland and take an active part of the politics and public policy in our adopted land, thus contributing to the growth of the nation.”
During his short span in the UK, Gins founded and became the first General Secretary of a community organization he had named Liverpool Malayalee Cultural Association (LIMCA). Today, Limca has come to be known around the world as one of the largest and active organizations in the UK, serving the Indian community. Limca had raised the largest fund to help the 2014 tsunami victims among all Malayalee organizations in the UK.
Gins’ contributions have not been limited to the media world. He chaired and presided over several positions and responsibilities in various social, cultural and professional organizations, many of those which he founded, in the USA and the UK. Gins’ work among the American Indian community made him popular, that he elected as the President of India Catholic Association in 2014. “During my term, we raised funds and helped seven local organizations in Kerala.”
Gins served until 2012 as the Joint Secretary of Kerala Samajam of Greater New York, the oldest and most comprehensive of all Malayalee associations in the New York region. Gins were the General Secretary of the Indian American Malayalee Chamber of Commerce in 2013, it was “during my term, I had organized a B2B meet in Kerala in association with the Government of Kerala and Kerala Chamber of Commerce,” Gins says with pride.
A go-getter he always voiced against hesitation and lived to live the mind of Sir Martin Luther King Jr, “If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward”. Persistence is his recipe for achievement.
Recognitions and awards came his away. The community loves him, and the Nassau County, Long Island, NY has identified him with accolades for his compelling dedication to socio-cultural causes.
And did many local organizations, including the prestigious Media Achievement Award by The Indian American Kerala Cultural center in October 2017 for his immense contributions to the media world. In his address after receiving the award, Gins dedicated the award to the media world and his fellow journalists. “This is a media award, a Media achievement award. This is never singular, if you ask me. This has the participation of all who accepted my work; it’s a people’s award. So this is not just mine to take home, BUT dear all this I wish to take home!
He has been awarded and has received several citations from many local community organizations as well as from the County, State, Legislature and Rotary Clubs. However, Gins cherishes “being actively part of the ownership of four print publications and a TV channel in the US” to be his greatest achievement.
Gins lives on Long Island, New York with his beautiful wife Siji, sons Andrew, a 14-year-old and Ethen Austin, a five-year-old, and a 9-year-old daughter Brionna Elizabeth.
Success and recognition did not come easily to this young visionary. “There have been many challenges we face when we relocate to another country,” Gins says. “Whatever we attained in our life in 25 years whether it be education, career, or life practices, we need to start all over again and get assimilated into the new world in a shorter period.”