GOPIO’s Founding Life Member, former President and Chairman and current Executive Trustee of GOPIO Foundation has passed away this morning at a hospital in the Los Angeles area. GOPIO Treasurer Kewal Kanda has informed me about one hour back. He is going to the hospital now.
I had spoken to Inder last Friday, Sept. 20th. He told me that he would go to the hospital again on Sunday and hopefully return back early this week. In fact, he told me that he had drafted a letter for the GOPIO Election announcement since GOPIO E.C. had entrusted him to conduct the election. He told me that if he could, he would send out the letter this week. From Monday onwards, I tried to call him and couldn’t get him on the phone. So yesterday I called Kewal who told me that he visited Inder in his hospital and that he was not doing well. It is a great loss for all of us, GOPIO, Indian community in the USA and the Indian Diaspora. May his soul rest in peace.
It was in the late 1981, after I founded Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) in New York and served as its president for 5 years, I saw a news item in India Abroad about Inder Singh who organized an India Independence Day Celebration in Los Angeles area under a platform of India Independence Day Celebration Committee.
I called him up and shared our successful experience of bringing all Indian community groups in the New York area under one umbrella of the FIA and suggested him to do so. He immediately changed the group to FIA Southern California and organized the next celebration under that banner. Since then, I had worked with him very closely and brought him into the National Federation if Indian American Associations (NFIA) and organized a very successful national convention in 1986 in Los Angeles.
I handed over the NFIA presidency to Inder in 1988. In the same year, he came to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee against massive military aid to Pakistan. In 1989, when NFIA did the First Global Convention of People of Indian Origin in New York, Inder was NFIA President and was a great team player and travelled to Canada to reach out our community and bring them to the convention. He took over as the President of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) in 2004 and served as its Chairman from 2009 to 2016. Later he became the Executive Trustee of GOPIO Foundation till his death.
One of the major contribution of Inder in Southern California is launching Indian Heritage Foundation a society that celebrates and honors academic excellence and achievements of Indian American youth. Since 1987, Inder and his team had honored Indian American high school students who excelled in academic field as well as in extracurricular activities.
Inder has also been responsible to honor the forgotten Gaddar heroes. He, as President and later as Chairman of GOPIO sensitized India Govt. to organize a symposium on Gaddar heroes and their contribution to the India Independence movement during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. He was also instrumental on Govt. of India deciding to renovate and establish Gaddar Center as a museum in San Francisco.
A Republican, Inder, Singh also co-founded the Asian & Pacific American Republicans Coalition which became an officially chartered organ of the California Republican Party in the 1990s. In the late 1990s, he was involved with the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging. With offices in most states, the National Body of Asian Americans caters to the needs of Asian seniors.
“I have had the longest association with Inder Singh in the Indian community activities, he became an Indian Diaspora Institution in Southern California and whenever, any broad based pan-Indian community event happened in Southern California, it was always under the leadership of India Singh.” Said Dr. Thomas Abraham, Founder President and Chairman of GOPIO International.
“It is a great loss for all of us, GOPIO, Indian community in the USA and the Indian diaspora. May his soul rest in peace,” added Dr. Abraham.