GOPIO Honors Dharmatma Saran – Cultural Ambassador of India to the World, For Promoting Networking of Young Women Achievers

Feature and Cover GOPIO Honors Dharmatma Saran – Cultural Ambassador of India to the World For Promoting Networking of Young Women Achievers

Dharmatma Saran, a cultural ambassador of India to the world for promoting networking of young women achievers through his annual Miss India Worldwide Pageant was among the four prominent Indian Americans who were honored by The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) during the historic 35th annual convention on April 27th, 2024 at the Royal Albert Palace, Fords, New Jersey, USA.

outstanding community service at its Convention 2024 celebrating its 35th Anniversary on April 26-28, 2024 at They will be honored at the Finale Awards Banquet of the convention on April 27th.

Dr Neerja A. Gupta, the first woman Chancellor of Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, India; Dr. V.K. Raju M.D. who has been providing great service in eradicating childhood blindness; and Lion Hina Trivedi of Chicago as a great community builder were the other three distinguished persons of Indian origin who were honored during the Convention.

Dharmatma Saran is the chairman and founder of the New York-based India Cultural Festival (IFC) that organizes the trail-blazing Miss India Worldwide, and is a pioneer in entertainment, holding Indian pageants and fashion shows in the USA and worldwide.

Originally from Patna, Bihar, Dharmatma Saran has been in the United States for over 50 years. Promoting Indian culture in the USA and around the world has been his passion.

From 1981, serving as the Chairman of Public Relations of the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) which organizes the biggest India Day Parade outside of India, Saran laid the foundation of cultural activities of FIA since its inception in 1978.

Also, as Past Chairman of the International Cultural Committee of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), Saran contributed to the cultural activities of GOPIO since its inception in 1989. He is also a Founding Member of GOPIO.

With this experience, Dharmatma Saran started the first international Indian pageant “Miss India Worldwide,” which has affiliates in over 35 countries. He has brought a new dimension to pageantry as his pageants promotes Indian culture, traditions, values and performing arts. With his wife, Neelam Saran, he travelled to over 35 countries to start Indian pageants. Often referred as “India’s Cultural Ambassador to the world”, he is solely responsible for starting Indian pageants in various parts of the world.

Saran has judged many pageants including being the first NRI to be invited to judge Femina Miss India (Times of India Group) in 1992. Recipient of various awards around the world for bringing the international Indian community on one platform through pageantry including the Shiromai Award 1996 presented by P.A. Sangma, the then Speaker of India’s Lok Sabha, and Bharat Gaurav Award from Sanskriti at The United Nations in 2017.

Saran commands great respect and adulation from his past contestants and winners as well as from his State and National Directors in the USA and around the world.

Saran has become an internationally well-known leader in promoting pageantry around the world. Support came from most unexpected quarters. Noted actress, social worker, feminist and leader, Shabana Azmi, who is known to blast all beauty pageants, endorsed Saran’s show as noble as it helped fund the deserving children.

“The IFC motivates and guides its winners and contestants to take up charitable causes. Many of our past winners have raised substantial amount of money for various charities, especially for handicapped children,” says Saran.

IFC has used the title to raise funds for the poor and the needy. Saran has been successful in combining beauty with char­ity. It was Saran’s dream that beauty works for a good cause. Bela Bajaria, one of his highly successful beauty queens from Los Angeles, has collected $35,000 each year for the Hand and Heart for the Handicapped for many years to help disabled children in US and India. Another successful Miss India Hong Kong collected $100,000 in a charity ball to help the helpless people.

Saran credits the success of the pageantry to his family and a team of hard working people. “I don’t know how I would have fared but for the unstinted support of Air India. Also my friends former News India editor John Perry; President of Jackson Heights Merchants Association V.N. Prakash; TV Asia Chairman Padmashree H.R. Shah, Bombay Broadcasting’s Giri Raj; and all the successive Indian Consuls General have stood with me.” he recalls with gratitude.

Saran is blessed with an understanding wife Neelam. She has been a source of great strength and support to him from the day one. His two daughters, Neema and Ankeeta have always been of great support and as­sistance.

Saran’s contributions to Indian culture has been appreciated and recognized by various organizations around the world and he has been acclaimed as “India’s cultural ambassador to the world.” He has traveled with his wife Neelam to various countries to start Indian pageant.

Saran and his dedicated band of men and women have inspired people around the world to participate in a truly remarkable spectacle that enjoys the status of a truly bound­less Festival of good. The Miss India Worldwide is such a hallmark, it is not just a beauty pageant.

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